Sunday, July 17, 2011

Birthdays and Visual FX Research

After Dinner Cheesecake while watching The Office
 When I was a kid, my family, especially my Dad, always made a big deal out of my birthday. I recall Tiki torches and makeshift Luaus, extreme catering with Filipino Food, large potlucks, cheesy birthday cakes, and themes ranging from Star Wars to Spiderman.

Yesterday I turned 36. And I didn't care one bit about what I did for my birthday. Long gone are those days that I craved a ton of attention, cake, toys, and parties. Now all I want to do is make this movie(s) happen. Even if that means working on it for my birthday.

I got my wish.

Not to say this wasn't a day without some sort of a celebration. My wife insisted we cook some classic Filipino food. Lumpia and Pancit. Never had it? IT'S DELICIOUS.

Takes a bit to prepare, but it's worth it.

We cooked, had a fine meal, afterwards we spent some time playing on the Wii, and then I got a great birthday present. I got to do what I always do, and have been doing for the past year. Work on my movie. I'm working on re-writes for Redd, preparing for shoots for the next few weekends, and started editing the next Monster Cops video.

In my head there isn't a minute to waste, and definitely not on something as trivial as my birthday. I have GOT TO GET THIS THING DONE.

But there was cake. My wife had stuck a candle in a piece of cherry cheesecake we bought the night before and brought to my desk as I worked, along with a nice cup of irish cream coffee. It was quite sweet of her.

But honestly, the best present I got tonight was really being able to spend time with my wife. I cherish every minute I have with her. It's always a party and a celebration when I'm around her, and I'm so very lucky to have that, and her. She's amazing.

Oh, I did watch a movie tonight. I got a bit of writer's block and I decided to scroll through Netflix Instant Watch to see what was on. Ya know, I understand people being up in arms about Netflix's new prices, but I'm so fascinated by how I'm able to scroll through a database of movies with my remote, hit a button, and watch something crystal clear on my large screen TV. I mean wow. We've come a long way from watching grainy video tapes you'd have to pick up from the store and watch on your square picture smooshing television.

I mean I'd love it if they could widen their streaming selection, but hey, I refuse to complain (too much) when I have a great wife, a roof over my head, and the technology at my finger tips that enables me to both watch and or create movies. I find it truly amazing and an utter blessing.

And you know what else is amazing? Gareth Edward's MONSTERS.

It's the movie I watched tonight. I heard alot of buzz about this last year. Now I know why. It's a brilliant movie. Now to be honest, this barely qualifies as a horror film, and just barely makes it in as a Monster Movie. The heart of this is a road trip movie, where two people grow closer as they experience the unexpected. It more closely resembles a love story and a character study then that of a full on creature feature. Not to say their weren't moments of eeriness. There were definitely some solid Giant Monster moments, very creepy stuff. But if you're expecting hardcore action like Cloverfield or ID4, you might find yourself bored. Me? I loved it. Great filmmaking, great ending, and as a fan of practical visual fx I thought it was brilliant. So many scenes you wouldn't think would have visual fx in it or recognize any kind of effect, and that's what makes it work so well.

One of the reasons I sought out a movie to watch, and was glad to have selected that movie, was because my brain is thinking about the visual fx for my own projects. I'm going to be trying to pull off some pretty neat and complex stuff before the year is out, and I'm trying to workout some of the best ways I can accomplish this. That means it's research time. Time to start looking at videos that stimulate my brain on the subject.

A few videos that have got me thinking about visual fx. Both for Monster Cops and for Redd. These are just the ones I happened to have perused this fine evening.

Ben 10: Alien Swarm VFX Behind the Scenes

Sweeney Todd - visual effects (behind the scenes)

Time Freeze Shootout - Behind the Scenes


VFX Breakdown

Terminator Salvation Breakdown Video

The Troll Hunter (Trolljegeren) - SuperRune VFX Shot Breakdowns