Cleric BTS Pictures – Day 5

More behind-the-scenes photos from day five of the film shoot for Cleric.

Day five, and the Red One bore witness to the juiced-up fist of a howler nearly taking out Samara, cracking her shield in the process. A searing post-nuclear sun, unfiltered by a long-poisoned atmosphere, beat upon our heroine as she herded the Rat Shaman across the wastes. More scumbags were dispatched on the trip into the Below, and a chainsaw-weilding giant ended the Rat in a blaze of gory. We’re talking chunky, people. I can’t believe I just typed blaze of gory.

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All the CGI and visual effects work take some serious horsepower to process. Here’s some of the renderfarm that I’ll be using to crank out frames in post-production:

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Day five awaits after the jump:



Cleric BTS Pictures – Day 4

More behind-the-scenes photos from day four of the film shoot for Cleric.

Today was one sizzling day on the shoot, with a spell-binding battle of blade and blaze! Crystal the fire-eater blew up the set while her friend Shay kept a watchful eye on the mayhem. (a thousand apologies if I spelled your names wrong, ladies, let me know!) Seregon braved screaming fireballs whipping blindingly fast past her face, putting her life in Crystal’s expert hands. Thankfully Katy Saul’s whimsical fire-eater makup didn’t melt and blind Crystal; Seregon is hot enough without being lit on fire! The acrid stench of burning hydrocarbons was a treat that took me back to my childhood (no comment). We did have one casualty of the inferno – audio maestro Marco’s windscreen caught the tail of a fireball and has the scars to prove it! And wait till you hear the fire’s voice… Oh my god.

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More beautiful set dressing from Mark and Travis. Those guys can really dig some gold out of the ground when needed; they’ve got an eye for details and know what works. Mark has also done a fine job keeping us all well-fed, hunting and gathering some local treats that have gone over quite well. Lots of green screen shots today, too. Day four lurks after the jump:



Cleric BTS Pictures – Day 3

More behind-the-scenes photos from day three of the film shoot for Cleric.

And who has the most kick-ass electrical department? This is epic gaffing right here, folks. It was so far from the upper floors to the generator that I had to take five photos and stitch em together! (would have been a better stitch but I wasn’t using a proper pano head) See that tiny blueish speck on the lower right? That’s a large generator. I hope Rick Arena wasn’t suffering from vertigo as he got that cable up.

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Massive fun today filming hot-like-sparks Seregon O’Dassey (as Samara) battle with the brilliantly twisted Sean-Michael Argo (playing Jah), going at each other’s throats in uber-silky slow-motion, trading plasma bolts back and forth in time, and blasting away with terrifying psychic attacks. Bob Bozek threw some insane acting into the lens as the Rat Shaman, with a spot-on mix of creepy and hilarious. Day three of chaos after the jump:



Cleric BTS Pictures – Days 1 & 2

I’m working on production for a film called Cleric, being made by a fantastic group called Medicine Show Cinema, among other things. I am serving as the CGI effects supervisor, production photographer, second camera, and put on other hats as needed to make this insanity happen. You’d be dumbfounded at how much has to be done. Even still, I am so totally loving working with a group of such talented, enthusiastic and cool people – amazing performances, hott costumes, scary makeup, a beast of a DP, and support working their butts off! So for all of you, cast and crew, I can only say you rock!

Here is a small sample of behind-the-scenes photos from days one and two of the film shoot for Cleric. These are unprocessed and shrunk for the web; full size and retouched images will be available after production is complete. Photos taken by me, Cedric, and probably a few others who were handed my camera at some point! Gotta spread the love, right?

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See the full gallery after the jump:



Pano Bubbles for Filming Locations

Panoramic Photo of CyberJocks

When the Speed Racer movie came out, I read this fantastic article in VR Magazine about the way they used “pano bubbles” to create backdrops for animated and keyed footage. I’ve had an interest in panoramic photography anyhow (thanks to a friend I’ll call Geo), so I decided to try out the technique just for fun, and to have something new to add to my bag of tricks. Gotta have a bag of tricks!

The panoramic image here (not full rez as shown) was generated by autostitch from 316 photos of the interior of CyberJocks. The source photos were taken with a 75mm equivalent lens (after crop factor) on a 10.2MP camera (the Samsung GX-10). Most of the time that kind of resolution is major overkill for panoramic photography – heck a lot of people will use a lens wide enough to take six images and stitch from those. But, since I was experimenting with a technique that could have application as a cinematic background, I figured I should use all the resolution I can get my hands on, if only to beat up the toolchain and figure out how to do it.

With some fiddling of the settings, autostitch did a bang-up job of stitching the pano together, even though I didn’t use a real pano head on the tripod (this was a spur-of-the-moment exercise). If you look at the full-rez pano you can see some parallax error artifacting but it’s subtle. Good enough for this purpose. Next step: make a pano-bubble!

First, we have to get the pano to be more like a full spherical equirectilinear projection, so we adjust it to a 2:1 aspect ratio by adding black bars.


Opening the ever-handy 3ds MAX, we make ourselves a sphere. Then we make a material, using the equirectilinear projection (I just love saying that word) as a diffuse map, and apply it to the sphere. We also create a free camera at the center of the sphere, and give it a nice wide lens for now. Of course, any of you 3D nerds out there will realize that the camera won’t see the sphere, unless we flip the normals. So, we flip the normals. With a little adjustment of the sphere’s orientation relative to the camera (north pole goes up…), and a flip of the texture map’s V angle to 180 degrees, we now have a camera that can effectively look in any direction “inside” of CyberJocks. Thanks to the stupidly-high resolution that I shot in, we can zoom in quite a bit if need be.


Now to make it come alive! A little more 3ds Max magic gives us a biped dummy, some shadow map materials, and some lights positioned and colored to match the lighting inside CyberJocks – or at least close enough to prove the idea out. I also tweaked the texture map to give the lights some glow and punch, and make the scene overall more realistic. The camera is animated to follow the walking dummy, and since all looks good, we render it out. This time it took two passes – one render of just the pano bubble background, and another of the walking dummy and shadow/alpha. A quick compositing yeilds – omg! a 3d dummy walking around inside CyberJocks! And it looks seamless. I was blown away at how cool this technique is.

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Realize too that this technique limits your camera moves; you have to stay pretty damn close to the center of the pano bubble or the perspective is off and you loose the illusion. In the movie, they made several layers of bubble, just like the oldschool parallax-scrolling in video games. This gave the illusion of more depth and camera motion than there actually was.

Now, just imagine it with a velociraptor animated into the scene, mixed with some keyed footage of real actors! Actors being eaten by the velociraptor! Or perhaps taming it, and making it their friend! Whatever floats your boat, but it can all be filmed “on location” in a pano bubble.