SFX – Final Assignment

Final Project

For the final project, we have to make a 30 seconds trailer full of special effects such as 3D, matte painting etc. Below is my full story, relating to the opening credit from Assignment 1. Do note there are differences in story and characters from assignment 1 and the final. The changes in the story is due to student needs to include more visual effect scenes and this does affect the story a from early semester. The opening sequence features more male character in red tie while the final doesn’t have much as the scenes with red tie male figure has less visual effects scenes. To get a full sense of early rendition of the story; read the plot below.

Plot

Act 2_Scene 1

Before he gets to the door he looks around the living room and is instructed to use the gun and kill her. He looks at the gun and the door as he’s deciding whether or not trust and obey the Voice. Cuts to the door opening, we see the back of an employee as the protagonist greets. A female hotel employee asks if he needs a cleaning service. Protagonist hesitantly said yes and let her in.  We see him holding a gun behind his back and is slowly instructed on how to kill her. Still not believing she’s a threat, he then tries to tell her something weird is happening. As he’s talking, the employee then grabs a knife from her bag and slash at his arm. A holographic “30 points!” appeared as she slashed. Every injury made, a holographic point pops up.

He dropped the gun and a brawl ensues as the Voice instructed every move he has to make to defend. He then manages to kill her with a cup to head repeatedly. A high “100 points!” pops up as every hit made. Traumatised and injured, he sobs a bit. Then, a hologram sign pops up saying “LEVEL UP” and awarded with a better gun, 30% defence and increase health bar. His body is also recharged to full health with his injuries all disappearing. Feeling angry, he insults the Voice threaten to rip the bomb off his neck. As he’s doing it, another girl by standing by the door shouts “Stop”.

Act 2_Scene 2

Protagonist looks at the knife she’s holding and asks her if she’s going to kill him. The girl laid down the knife and told him she can help. Talk how she doesn’t why all this is happening but she understands that surviving is the only option. She tries to convince that their chances of surviving is better as a team and win this sick game. She told him, if he’s going to die, he might as well died fighting. He slowly stops sobbing and agree with a hopeful tone. He stands up slowly and tries to find his pistol. Then as he looks back at her, she points a gun and shoots at his heart. He slowly bleeds and struggles to move. She grabs a cup and bash his head 5 times. “100 points” pops up after each hit. She then talks to her Voice and surprise that the cup actually gives the highest points. “Wow, you weren’t kidding! The cup actually gives the most points!”

Camera slowly zoom in on the a surveillance camera lens as we hear the Voice swears repeatedly.

Act 3_v2_Scene 1

As the girl stood up, she is announced as the winner. Relief as she felt, she ask if she’s free to go. Suddenly, everything around her slowly disintegrate. The walls, table, shelves disappear unveil a vast empty space around. As everything disappear, we see people in white uniform appearing. One player(looks exactly like Protagonist) pops and yells at a female player who looks exactly like the winner assassin in the game. They both argued of who cheats the worst ingame while the assassin is still feeling confused and in disbelief. She yells at both players as they’re still busy arguing. She yells louder finally getting their attention and ask if this is actually real.

Annoyed, the female player mutes her voice thru floating interface which leads to the assassin screaming silently while looking distressed. She then pulls her gun and shoots with zero effect on them. The player then press a “Pause” button and the assassin body freezes.  Soon after they finish arguing, they debate on what environment to choose for the next round. She scrolls thru the holographic interface, and the environment around them changes from parking lot to jungle to finally a garden as they both finally agreed on it. The player then goes to her clone and tell her to get ready as the next round is about to start. She goes through the interface and decreases her Intelligence to increase more points for her Durability instead. Behind her, we see the Voice checking on his clone. After several gestures on his interface, the dead Protagonist digitally became clean and healthy again. While this is happening, we see the assassin’s eyes shivering. The player looks at her as she’s done customizing and a “RESET” button pops up. She smiles and tell her not to worry as she’ll win again and again. We then see assassin face from Player’s point of view.

Scene 2

The camera then zooms out and comes off a monitor screen. Slowly the camera pans around unveiling hundreds of gamers being strapped with virtual reality device on their heads sitting while enjoying their video game.

Storyboard

Filming Day

Director/VFX artist: Safwan Aziz

Director assistant: Cheokyin

Actor: Chin Tong Jie

Actress: Sarah Choong

Cinematographer: Adrianus Otto and Matthias Lim

Final Work

Overall

The whole process has been hard especially balancing the story and usage of visual effects into the story. The filming also has been a bit tough as many of the props need to be bought new, thanks again to Sarah Choong and Chin Tong Jie for buying props out of their own pocket. Post production also tough as a lot of effects also needs to be done from 3DSMax; such as the gun, environment neon grid and title card. The rest are done on softwares like Adobe Photoshop, After Effects and Illustrator for matte painting, colorization and composition. Overall, there are a lot of space for improvements on area such as matte painting and greenscreen keylighting.

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SFX & Composition – Assignment 1

For the first week, we were tasked to come up with some ideas for a scifi short films. All of the ideas are inspired by a lot of works of art from television, movies, internet and etc. But the vibe and bleakness of the film I’m going for is similar to British sci-fi series; Black Mirror by Charlie Brooker.

1) What if the great life you lived is all just a dream? 10 years of living with your wife and son immediately disappear and you realize it was fiction. Inspired by the reddit post below; https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/oc7rc/have_you_ever_felt_a_deep_personal_connection_to/c3g4ot3/

2) Clone of a real person created to be used as a reality game avatar. The clone doesn’t remember anything and forced to be in a deadly game of battle royale. Other participants are also clones of their gamers. He is being treated as a merely “extra life” until he dies.

3) In future, where everyone can store all their memories in storage so none can’t be forgotten. Beneficial to the police as the evidence is always in the chip of a person. Is this necessary a good thing? Are all memories suppose to exist forever?

4) What if you can change your dream when you sleep? Would you get addicted to it compared to bleak reality? How can the bad abuse it to their advantage?

5) What if in future we can transfer all the information we need by simply plugging USB to our brain? No need to go to school, university etc. Just one download and you are now an expert in cooking Italian cuisine. Would this is impact the social life of  a person? With no more need of teaching, would the lack of communication between people cease to exist?

6) What if someone close to you who died can be brought back as a digital version? Would a mother who lost her child try to bring her child thru a phone app just to hear her laughter and giggles? Is the idea of “moving on” after the loss of someone overrated?

Reference for Black Mirror vibe:

White Christmas episode: What if we can block people in real-life as you can do on social media?

White Bear episode: On internet, we can find videos of people recording a car accident without helping them. How would you feel if everyone is recording you while you are helplessly being attacked?

 

Opening title sequence would preferably in style of motion graphics of Saul Bass style and aesthetic. Example: The Tick and Catch Me if You Can.

Instead of the jazzy music and colourful objects, the vibe will be towards bleak and futuristic. Of course this can be seen on Black Mirror 18 seconds opening card.

 

 

Video Editing – Final Assignment

For the final assignment, we have to make a film based on our own idea. My idea was solely based on visual and feeling. No plot, characters or dialogue. More of the context can be read here. Video Editing – Week 7

The experience overall of shooting was very tough as we had to go thru multiple reshoots. The first shooting day, we used iPhone as the main camera as we thought it’s the only way to have slow motion shots. Once we checked at home, all footage are grainy and hard to apply vfx on it. Hence another reshoot was required but this time, the camera we use is DLSR with settings being tweaked to 720p and higher frame rate. This setting with After Effects plugin Twixtor gives a much better slomo footage we need.

Another thing we change alot is the storyboard and style of visual. Early on, the idea was to make my own animation as psychedelic texture. But as we go on, the visual isn’t “psychedelic enough”. So we try to find a  better psychedelic texture(royalty-free footage) off YouTube in a medium of “liquid light”.  These footage are much more abstract and colorful compared to being animated digitally.

My role in this is director working with 2 other members; Cheokyin and Zikri. Cheokyin work as cameraman and Zikri is the “actor” in all the shots. They also work on editing and working on heavy load of visual effects on Adobe After Effects. The post production also took a lot of time and planning as the time consuming part was the rotoscoping every movement of the character. This needs to be done as the footage being 720p being greenscreen keyed makes the footage noisy and grainy. We experimented with many special effects to get the psychedelic/ecstasy feeling we thought are best. Hence, these became much different to original storyboard shots. In the end, we thought the final work is very much similar to the context I’m going for.

Storyboards

 

 

Final Work

Credits
ZIKRI HAZMI BIN MUHAMMAD DZULKIFLI – 0331797 – Actor/VFX artist
CHEW CHEOK YIN – 0323732 -Cameraman/VFX artist
AHMAD SAFWAN AZIZ – 0324648 – Director/VFX/Editor

Psychedelic Footages from
universallightforms channel
Ed’s Amazing Lightshow channel

Music credit to
Watching The Planets by The Flaming Lips

Sonic Design – Final Assignment

For the final sonic design assignment, we have to replace the sounds with our own. Every sound you hear is recorded and manipulated from scratch. Things we use to create sounds are slippers, bucket, coin, cups, cabinet and other home items. For the ambient background sound, we recorded near the university’s lake late at night at 3 in the morning. For the aesthetic of the sounds, I tried to make them realistic and gritty as I thought it would be interesting contrast to its cartoonish visuals. Juxtaposition as they say.

Sonic – Assignment 2

The Sleeping Beauty

The story we used is the classic Sleeping Beauty. The planning for the narration took way longer than it should’ve been as we have to speed up the narration for the story. We did have some fun in recording studio trying out variety of impressions. There isn’t alot of sound effects we can put into the video as the story is very slow. All the sounds we use are from music royalty-free site and freesounds.org.