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Old December 4th, 2007, 08:00 PM   #1
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Bull VFX reel

Bull is a feature film written and directed by Kent Tessman (me) and photographed with the HD100 by Tim Dashwood. It stars Craig Lauzon (Air Farce), Lindsey Deluce (Beautiful People), Simon Reynolds (Instant Star), Ellen Dubin (Napoleon Dynamite), and Maury Chaykin (Entourage, Dances With Wolves).

I've been wanting for a while to get something online, and we're just waiting for the final pieces to be aligned before releasing a trailer, etc.

In the meantime, though, here's a look at a visual effects reel showing some of the work done on the film. It's not an effects film per se, but there are around 130 vfx shots in it, everything from minor tweaks/fixes/additions/deletions to entirely CG shots. (Make of that what you will. There's got to be something in there about the danger of being able to do something being that you'll actually go ahead and do it.)

http://www.sparkola.com/vfxreel.html
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Old December 10th, 2007, 05:38 PM   #2
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nice work

very impressed with your removals, its the type of work that if you weren't told it was done you wouldn't have known... thats always the best work.

Do you guys work out in New York?

We have a few projects coming up... interested in talking a bit.

G.P.
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Old December 11th, 2007, 10:00 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Giuseppe Pugliese View Post
very impressed with your removals, its the type of work that if you weren't told it was done you wouldn't have known... thats always the best work.

Do you guys work out in New York?
Toronto, actually. But on Bull we did a lot of work from different places, physically. God bless broadband.

Thanks for the kind words about the work. As I said originally, it's a small sample of that sort of thing that went into the film. I think this kind of affordable, achievable compositing is a tremendous benefit to independent filmmakers working in a digital pipeline in particular. Because lower-budget films are exactly the ones that can benefit by being able to use a prop, location, set, camera move, etc. that they wouldn't have otherwise been able to include, budget-wise.
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Old December 11th, 2007, 10:21 PM   #4
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Come on, hand over the goods. Gotta blog? details details details. Let's here about the new baby. You owe it to your family.

Obviously a lot of effort went in to this. Very professional. I added you to myspace.
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Old December 13th, 2007, 10:41 AM   #5
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There is a blog. Or rather there will be. Or rather there will be a (proper) website complete with some bloggish production information in addition to the regular movie website stuff, in January hopefully, at http://www.bullthemovie.com.

A little bit of effort went into it, yeah. Two and a half years, or so. :)
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Old December 13th, 2007, 12:28 PM   #6
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Yes, very interested how things are been done:
- preparation and approach on how to shoot (so you don't get in trouble during post)
- and what software is been used to create these effects afterwards.

Looks very good and well done.
Especially the background removals are astonishing.
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Old December 14th, 2007, 11:33 AM   #7
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Yes, very interested how things are been done:
- preparation and approach on how to shoot (so you don't get in trouble during post)
- and what software is been used to create these effects afterwards.
That should all hopefully be covered in the production materials when the website goes live.

In terms of preparation and approach, more planning goes into something like the greenscreen shot of the janitor and the falling desk than the removals of buildings, etc. through the windows.

For the greenscreen, the angles were all planned. I knew we'd be replacing the building with our CG model. We did the greenscreen itself on the practical location mainly because hey, the actor was there, we had the light, and we had a portable greenscreen. In all honesty I don't remember if I'd planned from the very start to do an on-location greenscreen: I'll have to check with Tim about that or look through my notes. I know we did a clean shot of the physical building behind the janitor so that it could be extended in post to match the CG model, but the greenscreen worked so well I never bothered trying the other way.

On the other hand, the removals were not nearly as planned -- they're the sort of thing that gets done at the end when you see what shots you used and what the final edit looks like. (No sense in cleaning up rough footage that you might never use: the second pair of removals is from a long scene in a sunroom that probably took me a week and a half to clean up once it was edited.) I think on the street, I probably gave Craig a line to walk that would keep the frame clean behind him (and save on rotoscoping work for me). But in the sunroom with the removals through the windows, those I knew at the time were going to be time-consuming paint/roto/replacement jobs. And something like the face replacement in the big bedroom wasn't planned at all: when I was putting it all together I just decided the CG figure was too artificial-looking behind the table and needed a more human look, so I picked a suitable shot, rotoscoped it, and hand-tracked it to the CG master.

As far as tools used: Everything was editing in Premiere Pro and mastered in After Effects, so at the same time as color-correction a lot of little cleanup was done. Big shots were done independently. Photoshop was actually handy for a lot of low-impact 2D work. Compositing was done with After Effects as well as, depending on what and when, Combustion and Fusion. Most or all of the modeling was done with Maya. And a few things were handled with some software that I wrote myself.

Last edited by K. Tessman; December 14th, 2007 at 02:11 PM.
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Old December 14th, 2007, 12:05 PM   #8
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Thanks for the explanation.
I was hoping to hear 'After Effects' as one of the tools.
I just started learning to use it. Seems like a never ending learning tool with so many possibilities.
Looking forward to see the website when it's ready.
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Old December 14th, 2007, 02:30 PM   #9
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After Effects is a very powerful tool. Really, this sort of thing is all math when it comes right down to it, and AE can do pretty much anything that Nuke or Shake or Fusion can do. It gets used on studio features all the time. And the wide variety of plugins available for it (more than for any other compositing package) make it even more powerful, especially for the "average user".

AE's one shortcoming is probably complexity, something I ran into on only a handful of shots. AE's layer-and-composition-based approach is arguably more difficult to navigate than a node-based application (like Nuke or Shake or Fusion), but it's not something you'd notice, for the most part, until you had dozens of elements with all kinds of effects all needing careful attention.
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Old December 14th, 2007, 05:39 PM   #10
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Yes I know what you mean, after using Adobe Premiere Pro for more then 10 years, one would think the step to AE would be a transition... heuh not really.

I learned a lot with the on-line tutorials on the net, as reading the manual and help files were too cumbersome to get a real grip on this AE package. Watching these demonstrations, it all looks strait forward. Until you want to start yourself, then it is not that intuitive to find the details by your own. A lot of stuff is really hidden... but the results are awesome.
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Old December 26th, 2007, 11:04 AM   #11
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Audio Post

Kent, what do you do in terms of audio postproduction? Premiere is notoriously bad at that, with its "export to aaf" just crashing most of the time.

Thanks for any insight!
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Old December 29th, 2007, 04:31 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marc Colemont View Post
Yes I know what you mean, after using Adobe Premiere Pro for more then 10 years, one would think the step to AE would be a transition... heuh not really.

I learned a lot with the on-line tutorials on the net, as reading the manual and help files were too cumbersome to get a real grip on this AE package. Watching these demonstrations, it all looks strait forward. Until you want to start yourself, then it is not that intuitive to find the details by your own. A lot of stuff is really hidden... but the results are awesome.
Mark, as you can see I also live in Belgium and am a beginning user of After Effects. I have got quite a few tutorial DVD's so if you want to exchange information, let me know.

om niet te zeggen dat ik best een dubbeltje kan maken en opsturen, maar dat moet de rest hier niet weten :)
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Old December 31st, 2007, 01:46 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jiri Fiala View Post
Kent, what do you do in terms of audio postproduction? Premiere is notoriously bad at that, with its "export to aaf" just crashing most of the time.
This will hopefully be answered in more detail when the website goes live, but what I did was to solo each track and export it independently as a .wav, then bring the tracks into Audition. I chose Audition for any potential inter-Adobe-operability upside, but I don't really think there was any. I was familiar with Cool Edit Pro, so Audition's quirks were not show-stoppers, but I think I could've done it all just as easily in something else. My mixes had up to 40 tracks per scene, so I just mixed down each scene on its own in Audition, then brought the audio back into my final master assembly in Premiere.
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