After a very extended leave of absence from my blog, I’m back in business!

So here’s a quick update on what I’ve been up to:

At the end of Term 3, we started planning the VFS Impact Awards, our group pitched a Copacabana theme.  We are now in the process of executing it, I’m handling Food, Decor and Logistics with my classmate and team awesome co-producer Sandra.

At the start of Term 4, we started planning and working on our Final Projects, I’m working on a travel based reality show with my classmate Myles Messinetti, titled Myles off Track. (Follow us on Twitter at : http://twitter.com/MylesOffTrack or “Like” Us on Facebook at : http://www.facebook.com/pages/Myles-Off-Track/132534086782583 Thank you for your support! )

All the while I was still Calling C’Thulhu…. and he finally called back………

Sandra and I had spent a large part of term 3 knocking on wood at all of our good luck; we had an excellent team to work with, a great Monster to create and an incredible time on set. Minor issues here and there, but overall smooth sailing and we were ready for whatever was coming up next.

As we arrived for our mini-vacations at our separate homes in Edmonton and Mexico, Sandra and I got word that our green screen was too dark and that our lead motion designer, Ehab, was having trouble keying the actor and the set out of the screen.

….Welcome to term 4.

My first step was to try and assemble a team who take control over all of the keying and rotoscoping for Ehab, so we could meet our fast approaching deadline.  I spent a large part of my week off e-mailing, calling and trying to communicate with my crew in Vancouver and to try and get things started, and I gotta say though it’s a bit harder when you’re a province away — it’s totally manageable!   I started by reaching out to all of my instructors and the department heads, trying to see if they had any more available students willing to work, and after a week of e-mails, phone calls and screaming into a pillow, I finally had my answer, the oh-so-wonderful, Raymond Corbett.

Ray is back at VFS, and works in the 3D Animation & Visual FX department.  After speaking to him, he gleefully agreed to come on board and help us find some students who would be able to do our keying for us.  I was spending the afternoon with my friend, Steven Davies, who is currently in his 4th term of 3D Animation, when he told me that he heard Ray was looking for students who could help with keying.  I jumped at the opportunity to work with Steve, knowing he’s a dedicated, talented and passionate worker and asked Ray immediately if he and his classmate Jagdeep Saggu could come on board.  He thought they were the perfect team to bring on board, and we were ready to go!

We knew we had some tricky footage, but we weren’t quite aware of all of the issues.  The hues of the pants, and the transparency of the shirt were causing them to disappear when they used Nuke to key them out, so they had to do everything shot by shot, and a lot of extensive rotoscoping.

About a week after we handed the footage over to our team, Ehab and I went over to the 3D campus for an update from Ray, Steve and Jagdeep, and we were very pleased with what we saw.

They had worked night and day, sacrificing their own projects to finish our shots, and they had produced some incredible work.  There were a few slip ups here and there, but Ray quickly corrected them, reassured us and gave us the opportunity to work with a truly amazing professional, and it was a fantastic learning experience overall.

Then came the infamous shot 21… When we shopped and concocted our vomit, we made the mistake of using pea soup, forgetting that it would disappear in the green screen!  When they got to that shot, they found that no matter what they did, there was no way around it, so we needed to re shoot some vomit and fast.

On a sunny Saturday, we set up a mini production studio at our EBM Campus with our decorative lamps, black sheets, garbage bags and our new formula for orange vomit, and we got to work.   Steve volunteered to “vomit” while Jagdeep filmed and Sandra and I squirmed from the sounds.

We shot a few times to make sure we had a few different takes for Ehab to work with, different speeds, heights and projections!  Who knew vomiting on camera was such an art?

While the keying was already an incredibly long process for both Steve and Jagdeep, this was just another task they offered to take on and I can’t express how much I appreciate all of your hard work guys!

When we started keying the footage, it was insinuated that this was a job that a production house would probably decline due to the degree of terribleness of the lighting, and we’ve now finished, and we have some excellent shots that work seamlessly into our final product.  We couldn’t be happier and thanks to the team at 3D and all of their hard work, we’ll make our deadline for the festival! Hollywood here I come!

See ya’ll next time!

P