The DIY Film Guy Projects

Hi everyone,

I've decided to start a thread where I post projects that I am working on, and talk about my process. I'll also be posting iterations of shots as I work on my VFX skills. Critiques, comments and suggestions are welcome!

For my first post, here is a short that I recently finished. It is a lego/stop motion version of the Star Wars trailer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KU7YLkkmVhA

This was one of the most time consuming projects I have done. To start, I shot the stop motion, which didn't take too long, since many of the shots are completely CGI. Once that was done, I started to edit. Sound design and music were already done, because I would use the original audio of the trailer. The only thing I had to worry about was VFX. A lot of them were just compositing images, or stock footage with 3d camera moves and camera shake. Some of the more complex ones involved 3d models, which I did in Autodesk Maya.

I go into more depth on my blog, where I post updates Monday, Wednesday, Friday. I discuss more about editing this short in a blog post, which you can find here.

You can also follow me on youtube, where I'll post videos on a (roughly) weekly basis.

Let me know what you guys think!

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Comments

  • LOVE this!  Subscribed!

  • edited August 2

    As you guys may or may not know, Hitfilm University recently held a competition. The theme for this contest was "space shots." I decided to enter two videos. Here is my better entry, about Mars in the future:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MAipBcFmTRM

    Mike Miller, the guy at Hitfilm University, or Triem23 on the forum said that it looked like a trailer for a longer short film. So, I thought that I would start to extend it. I haven't really started working on the extended short film yet, so if you guys have any ideas for what can happen in the short, let me know!

    I also did a blog post on my workflow and how I achieved all the VFX from this short. 

  • edited August 2

    Hey @DIY_Film_Guy ;  I really liked the space one you all did for production crate's contest, that was really sweet! And the one above, I was really impressed! You did an amazing job on it, it really looked good :) You should totally expand it and make a short film! Keep up the good work! I can see you getting better :)

  • edited August 2

    jsbarrett  and HIS__Films  - Thanks so much for the kind words and support!

    I think a VFX breakdown of the Mars trailer will be up on the youtube channel soon!

  • Recently, I was bored in my hammock, when I had the idea for this video:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HYwLfssBrVE

    I originally was going to have me in a snowy canyon, with snow and ice being whipped around and landing on the lens, but I couldn't find a good enough image. 

    The parallax, camera shake and lens dirt were added to help add realism. The green screening wasn't perfect since I used the grass as a green screen, but I was pleased with the result.

  • Fun!  Clever idea to greenscreen the grass.  One thing that would have sold it even more for me is if you blurred your hammock footage just a touch.  Everything else has a subtle softness to it, but your hammock material is very crisp.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    What Jsbarret said. Your digital set is sweet, and this is a great idea, but the live plate is just a tad sharper than the rest. 

    But I'm also gonna guess that the total time from having the idea to shooting, editing and posting was only a few hours and you just whipped this up quickly. Nice job! 

  • edited August 3

    Triem23 and jsbarrett - Yeah, this was done really quickly. I agree that the footage was a little too crisp. I think the background was a little more blurry because I scaled the canyon image up a ton - I believe it was originally 4k. Thanks for the feedback, guys!

  • edited August 7

    A new short film, the Earlings is up! This was a really ridiculous short film, which was the result of me and my older brother messing around. 

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LhXJ5qUlW14

    I know it was a really stupid concept, but it actually turned out alright. A new blog post is also up about this short.

    The beginning shots had sky replacement, then I kind of forgot throughout the rest of the film. Oh well... 

  • edited August 7

     Here's a VFX breakdown of the Mars 2083 contest entry:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XDT6vNLMP2U

    The astronaut was animated in Maya, rendered with a transparent background, and everything was composited in Hitfilm Express. I go much more in depth on the VFX of this in this blog post.

  • Even though you feel the Earlings bit was a "stupid concept," it's got a fun spark to it, and has some nice effects work in it.  You might not feel like it's that important, but I'm sure you learned something from it, which will make whatever you do next that much better.  Keep at it!

  • Wow some really solid stuff in this lot, your camera work looks good and some nice effects and grading. Earlings is fun, and yes a bit silly what I really loved was the ending and the ear shaped earth, nice touch.

  •  Thanks!

    As you guys may or may not know, I am working on a full length Star Wars fan-film, titled Fall of the Resistance. Shot in August of last year, this film has been in post ever since - it a very effects heavy film. It is also my first full length film.

    I do not really have a plan of when this film will be finished - possibly in a few years. I will post scenes here and on my youtube channel as they get finished - there are 13 of them. 

    Right now I am working on a trailer for it. It should be uploaded pretty soon, maybe in a few weeks. For now, here is the first scene that was finished a while ago. This was done a while ago, so it isn't perfect, and there were a lot of things I might redo before I publish the entire film, like to overdone shake on the text and the bad green screening in the last shot.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lgXkyKtctEw

    Most of this scene is text, but I am working on Scene 2 , which is much longer. I also have a blog page about Fall of the Resistance.

  • Hi @DIY_Film_Guy ;great effort. The effects are looking tight, at first I found the speed of the ships arriving a bit jarring, but actually think it has a comic style about it that is cool. The title crawl is massive, but then maybe the orginal is also and setting up the story is something that needs doing, maybe see if you can reduce it a bit. Of course you know that you might get a YouTube strike over the music, which would be a shame given the effort you are putting in. Parts of the scenes felt a bit fast paced not really inkeeping with the tension that the Empire gives off. But the main bridge worked well.

    Did you know about the Free StarWars assets that Andrew Kraymer gave away last year. There should be links on this forum or maybe on his website still.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    Earlings... Hey, man, sometimes the "stupid" film with terrible puns is just the right thing to watch! That's a fun short with some nice VFX and a couple of truly horrible jokes. The last "Earth" shot is a nice tag. 

    VFX Breakdown for Mars 2083: I still like this short. 

    Star Wars film: good start. The crawl is a bit large for the Star Wars style, but that's minor. That's a very impressive virtual set, pulling back from the docking bay through the Kylo Ren reveal. 

  • Andy001z - Thanks for the feedback! I will keep those things in mind when I go back to fix little mistakes. The ships were moving so fast when they arrived because they were emerging from hyperspace. For the music, I really had to use the original star wars theme, or it would have ruined the opening for me. For most of the movie, however, I hope to have an original score. I do have Andrew Kramer's Star Wars models - they are amazing, and I've been using them for everything! I used the corridor model in the first scene of the Star Wars movie.

    Triem23 - Thanks, glad you enjoyed them! Glad you enjoyed the virtual set in the last shot - that was made in Maya and took 11 days to render just that shot. For making the Star Wars text smaller, should I make the font smaller or scale everything down?

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    Scale the font down, but you'll need to reformat and retime the crawl to account for the smaller text. 

    You can find the opening crawls for Star Wars movies on YouTube. If you use a YouTube Downloader to rip one of those you can stick it on a layer under yours a a reference track to match size and spacing. You could even use the eyedropper in Hitfilm's crawl generator to sample a color directly from an actual crawl for an exact color match. 

  • edited August 8

    Triem23 - Okay, great idea! I just looked at the original title crawl and it looks like a more pale yellow. And yeah, definitely smaller text.

  • edited August 28

    Messing around with zombie makeup!

     

  • Bad day in the studio.... looks good. FilmRiot I think has a video on blood makeup if you havn't seen it check it out.

  • Andy001z  - Thanks! Film Riot is where I got the idea for the bullet hole in my forehead.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    Fun stuff! 

  • @DIY_Film_Guy

    Not that you need help, but this has a better fake blood recipe than a flour based one which is what I think you used...I may be wrong though.

    https://www.stevespanglerscience.com/lab/experiments/fake-blood-recipes/

    Hope it's useful in the future.

  • Awesome, thanks! I was using the flour/water mixture, but this looks much better. Can't wait to try some of them!

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    Wow, @tddavis that's a complex recipe for "easiest ever."

    Blood.

    Bottle of corn syrup. 

    Add red food coloring. Mix. 

    Once it's nice and red add a single drop at a time of blue food coloring and mix. If too bright add another drop of blue at a time. 

    Note most commercial blood is corn syrup based, with some glycerin added to make it a bit more runny. 

  • @Triem23   I totally agree the title is a bit ridiculous.  I didn't trust my memory for the proportions so went a googling and found that.  The recipe I used back in the day (ahem!  60's 70s) added, I believe a water based paint called Tempura to be added to give it that "body" so it wasn't immediately so transparent.  Same thing I assume the flour ones are trying to do.

  • edited August 10

    Triem23 and tddavis - Interesting, I'll experiment with those techniques! 

  • edited August 11

    I can tell you about blood! I've been a volunteer for over 20 years with a group that puts on a charity haunted house, and the blood we like best is the chocolate blood. Original recipe is from  shades-of-night.com/larp/blood.html, which can only be reached from the Wayback Machine nowadays.

    "Chocolate Blood

    I was promised the recipe years ago, but only came across it quite recently. It was worth the wait. The mixture may seem odd, but it tastes pretty good, looks surprisingly like real blood, splatters like real blood, dries like real blood, and had several people asking me if I was really okay after that staged fight....

     

    • 1/2 cup water
    • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
    • 3 or 4 tablespoon corn syrup
    • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon red food coloring
    • 2 drops yellow or green food coloring (optional)

    Mix the cocoa powder thoroughly into the water before adding the other ingredients - it may help to use warm water. After adding the rest, blend the concoction well, and then wait for it to settle a bit. Either skim the bubbles & chocolate scum off the top with the edge of a kleenex, or pour the mixture into another container. The longer it sits, the more the cocoa tends to settle to the bottom, which oddly mimicks the effect of real blood seperating.

    If you splatter this mixture onto cloth, it makes neat two-part marks which dry into pretty convincing bloodstains. If you let it run from a victim's mouth and then let it dry, the blood darkens and cakes to the skin in much the same way real blood does. I can also say from personal experience that any washcloth used to wipe down the 'bloody' face afterwards looks remarkably realistic, too."

     

    We mix it up in a water bottle so it can be taken into the set and hidden, and the actors can refresh as needed. 

     

     

  • edited August 18

     AllMediaCreation  - Thanks! These recipes will be helpful for an upcoming short film. I'm leaving for North Carolina today - maybe I'l shoot a video there.

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