Friday, December 16, 2011

Two new pictures!

These are pictures of a throwaway model I made to add some movement far in the distance of the first shot of Boston. It goes about 15 miles an hour and is powered mostly by steam.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

And done...

I added another shot, an extreme closeup to tell the story a little better. I also totally changed the end, so we no longer see Dad in the water. I think it works a lot better now!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

An almost finaled sequence!

The only thing missing is the ship in the last shot. But I like the timing, Scott's expression before we cut to the wrecked hull is pretty awesome and I love how the burning ship turned out.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Transition to imagination!

This is an attempt to show how Mulvey's mind worked, even as a little kid. Here his imagination convinces a reluctant Fanny that maybe there's something to this whole moon thing.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The dying Swift. This is how the flashback starts.

I built the wreckage of the Swift based on a real ship, the Flying Cloud. At the time, she was the fastest thing afloat, and set a record for the trip between San Francisco and New York. Anyhoo, I spread the love between the fore and aft section of the boat, with a gaping hole in it exposing decks and ribs. I added some barrels and boxes and then set the whole thing ablaze.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The wreckage of the Swift.

We never see this much detail in the actual shot; it's blurred and there are a ton of fire elements as well as smoke a a foreground actor. But I really like the mood this sets. Pirates of the Caribbean in Paris was, when it was built, the crown jewel of all of them. There's several wrecks the bateaux pass by and they all have this crazy hot/cool lighting that makes them look surreal. Well, I don't know if I captured it, but I got something I really, really like.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Adventures in Science trailer!

Joey wanted me to get this ready for the Great New England Steampunk Expo. I had four days to cobble something together, and the results, I think, speak for themselves. All the backgrounds are digital, and for this trailer I ended up using images from other shots. But looking at them, I believe they are all pretty convincing!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The aerobus!

I designed this blimp as sort of a public transportation air bus, for those ladies and gentlemen who don't wish to walk to the street to get a conveyance. I based the seats on the ones in a red car, which we got to ride out at the Orange Empire Railroad Museum. The props spin down (they have an elaborate gear system to be able to reverse quickly, while the main motor sits atop the cabin roof) and the passengers enter from the rear.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Anachronism is interesting, but in the end a disappointment.

So this film came highly recommended by several blogs, and from the stills I was pretty excited. Then I spent 15 minutes with it and came away pretty nonplussed, and wondering what the excitement was about. It began strong and ended... Abruptly. And the mystery that was touted was pretty silly, as if mother knew what was going on all along and had to protect that knowledge from her children.

Still, the squid submarine looked pretty cool and the mechanical design was nice, although parts of it looked pretty rubbery in execution. It might have been stronger as a silent film since dialogue was at a minimum.

I sure hope my film turns out better.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Big Steam + Loading Dock = awesomesauce

Here's a render I did after I threw in some rudimentary animation on Big Steam No. 6. I can't wait to see him moving!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A couple of shots of the Hypatia for you!

I went in and retextured this beast, adding some spajadigits and what not. I also redid some of the maps and I am quite pleased with how the envelope turned out.

Here's the Hypatia coming towards camera. Like I said, overall I am pleased. I also like the new rigging, which makes it feel bigger.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The elevator!

 I realized I'd never actually made this part of the loading dock. I need a shot of the doors opening up and Glowerston exiting, so I put this together. It is also going to be kind of important to all the shots where we are looking this direction.

I really like this one. Oh, that sign way in the back says "no spitting."

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Aurora, the movie

Wow. Great production value, powerful acting... It's like A Steampunk Pirates of the Caribbean. You can actually watch the whole movie online, here. It's got it all... Pirates, airships, love and adventure.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Where's Fanny?

Another shot from the film, this one involved a lot of roto'ing and even a flop of Chris. Originally, he came in from the other side and I had to make everything work.


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

It works!

This is the first mostly complete shot I've done. It's for the trailer and has a ton of awesome innuendo- it was a lot of fun to shoot, and even more fun to finish off.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Big Steam number 6

I know it's been awhile since the last update- I got done with the shoot, and started editing and then I got assigned to a new show with tons of OT. Ah well. Here's some pictures of a labor automaton that Mulvey invented. There will be several of these guys loading the Hypatia in the prologue.


Friday, July 15, 2011


This was a matchmove from the day of the shoot. I'm putting our lovely actress into the third shot of my film. She'll appear at the end of the shot as we're looking at the Glowerston aeroport.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

It went awesome.

The first day was a total success.

Here we go...

Shoot starts tomorrow at 9. I will be there around 7:30 or 8.

Yikes. It's really happening.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The weekend schedule!

  • 8am - Setup and prep. Breakfast.
  • 9am - Nolan, Workman, Scott & Mark
  • 12pm -Lunch
  • 12:30pm - Scott & Mark
  • 2pm - Scott, Mark, Steve, Kat, Chris
  • 3pm - Scott, Steve & Chris
  • 4pm - Scott, Chris & James
  • 5pm - James & Kat
  • 6:30pm - Dinner
  • 7pm - Kat & Chris
  • 8pm - Assess the stamina of cast and see where we are!
  • 8am - Setup and prep. Breakfast.
  • 9am - Extras
  • 10am - Steve, Chris and Extras
  • 11pm - Ensemble and Extras
  • 1pm - Lunch and release Extras
  • 1:30pm - Pickups
  • 4pm - Kat & Chris live action reference

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The newspaper props.

 The stack on the right is for the opening of the film, when it gets dropped to the ground. The single one on the right is for one of the extras to hold before the Golightly shoots past.
Here's a closeup of the newspaper. I'm pretty happy with how this came out, although modern newspapers are four inches narrower than the papers from 1870. Weird, huh?

Sunday, June 5, 2011

"Oh, I forgot to grope her!" - James Muscarello

We had a blast rehearsing for the upcoming film shoot in two weeks. Here's a highlight from the afternoon!

Ready for the shoot?

 So today I went to Target and bought some organization. At least, that's what I was telling myself as I picked up large plastic boxes with which to organize my props/weapons/etc. It worked, mostly, but it also showed me that I have a lot of stuff. If I need to do another period show? Hahahahahaha. No problem.

 Here are all the costumes on a "Professional Target clothes rack. With wheels." Well, professional or not, this thing is gonna make Saturday morning easy peasy.

I have a lot of guns. Granted, one of them is my friend Marks, but still. Pretty awesome!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The fateful telegram...

So yeah. I found some awesome Western Union vintage telegrams from the late 1800's and recreated them using the new moniker United Union Telegraph Co. I made up a fictitious president and changed some of the fine print to create this prop. I also used a manilla envelope cut down to the right size and reglued with rubber cement. Looks convincing enough to me!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Shooting Schedule

Hey! It's official. I just paid the deposit on the stage today, and here's the plan.

I would love it if you can watch College, Steamboat Bill Jr. and The General before the shoot. They are all Buster Keaton films and even though we're not going slapstick, I love the performances and the overacting.

My house
Saturday June 4th
4pm to 6pm - blocking rehearsal.

Atomic Studios
2556 East Olympic Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90023

Saturday June 18th
9am to noon - Shooting the opening loading dock
Noon to ? - TBD

Sunday June 19th
9am to noon - Shooting the extras shots
Noon to ? - TBD

Over the next three weeks, I will be figuring out our schedules as some scenes require everyone and other scenes require two or three people tops. Once I get that done, I will publish the call times here.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Atomic Studios is awesome.

I just went there tonight on my way home from work. It's a 24 hour studio that is much bigger than I thought it would be. I tentatively booked it for the 4th and 5th, so hopefully my entire cast will be able to make that date. Ooooh. Now I'm getting excited.

Teresa said "Can you try and shoot everything in one day? That place is really expensive!"

Silly rabbit.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Attention, cast!

We will be using Stage 101to shoot this thing in.

Actually, no, we won't. No wonder I haven't heard back from them. Or rather, in a timely manner. They're out of business. Yep. Got a form email tonight. Went down there to look. Now the building is some kind of dance facility for the neighborhood. Oh well.

We will probably be shooting at Atomic Studios instead. They charge more, but they're still in business, which just goes to show.

I've emailed them and haven't heard back yet, but the facility looks like it should be perfect.

Originally, we were going to have the first shoot the weekend of the 14th & 15th of May but I need to book the studio a week in advance. (That's what all the books say, anyway. I've never done this before- I really don't know for sure.)

I didn't hear from most of the cast until this evening and so I decided to hold off on the shoot until I heard from everyone and then use June 4th & 5th as the first shoot, and follow that up with the 11th & 12th as the second shoot.

I only need the entire cast (and six to eight extras) together on one half day. The rest of the time we will focus on the individual interactions- Fanny and Farnsworth, Fanny and Wu, Fanny, Glowerston and Mulvey, etc. Once I nail the script down completely I will be determining how best to use the time for all of these breakdowns.

Thanks for your patience! Here's to a year and a half in prepro!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Golightly ver. 2.0

So I was perusing the web the other night, looking for inspiration for alternative vehicles to populate my opening shots with and came across this:

This was a logo the wonderful Voyages Extraordinaires had used for a while. It turns out there was this fellow named Charles Golightly who patented an aerial steam rocket in 1841. Though it was never built, (probably because to have done so would have instantly killed any rider brave enough to give this thing a go!) the device became quite popular among newspaper editors and political cartoonists. There is an excellent history here.

From a personal standpoint, I thought this was the very thing my film needed. And so I present the Golightly ver. 2.0!

Truthfully, this thing couldn't really fly either, but it looks awesome and after all, that's what really counts. Right?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Another test for you!

I had to fix Jakes eyes as he was looking at the camera the entire take, and this was the only coverage I had as a close up. It ended up working out anyway and just as a test I added the text of what he was saying.

One of the things I've noticed is that the dialogue cards tend to interrupt the flow of the scene a little. Most times, it's ok. But having subtitles of a sort helps out with that, if they're creative!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Here's a test of the opening scene.

I'm pretty happy with it although there are some issues. The blimp is moving too fast, some of the people look like they are leaning backwards, and several elements are missing. (Live actors up close, more digital people, a car, several blimp like ships and the like. But it's working!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Finally- The finished personal blimp!

Well, here it is. I've been working on this thing off and on (mostly off) for a week and a half and We never get this close to it. But, the details are all in there, and once I get the pilot and his lady modelled, I'll be ready to drop it into my scenes.
This is closer to how big it will be in frame, although it still is pretty large.
This shot is most likely how we'll see it- Flying away from us and towards the main event at the Glowerston Aeroport.
Here's a nice view of the details that I put in- There's even a connection from the boiler to the engine and from there to the motor.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The finished trolley!

A while back, I showed a couple of friends a test I'd done for the first shot in my film. They thought that despite some of the things that were in it, it looked a little too conventional. so I went back to the drawing board and came up with this. Let me know what you think!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Here's something new!

This is a test of the first shot, as Dad comes out of the water. It's not finished, the miniature Fleet will be back behind all those flames. But it still looks pretty good, so I thought I'd share.

This is the finished version of the second shot, with all the mattes cleaned up and some additional smoke elements thrown in for good measure.

All in all, I think this is going to look pretty awesome! Scott is looking pretty sad about the whole thing, which I suppose is how it should be.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Hopelessness... Despair...

Actually, that's a little bit how I feel looking at the twelve minutes of green screen I'm going to have to pull for this movie. Heh heh heh. Seriously, though, this is a very early version of the middle shot in Mulvey's flashback as he imagines his father's last moments. I still need to pull a matte for his hair, but all the elements are blending together quite nicely.

I've also dropped in the overhead shot for the extreme pull out, but I'm approaching it a little differently in the real shot as I didn't really know what I was doing the first go around. I'll post it once the Fleet is finished and in.

It's getting pretty exciting!

One of the funny things that Scott asked me as he was bobbing about in the hot tub was "Can you imagine doing this... and getting paid?"  Hell yes. Yes I can. It's so much fun.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Here's a photo from the shoot!

Here's a very moist Scott. It's going to be interesting to see what the green reflection in the water is going to do in terms of pulling a matte, but I love the look of the firelight on his face.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

No pictures yet, but...

Holy crow, the shoot went really well tonight.

I had estimated about two hours to get all three of the shots, and it took... two hours.

The shots look beautiful. Man, the Canon 7D is awesome. The results look really professional and even with a green screen behind Scott, it totally looks like he's lost at sea.

Now I gotta get the ship built.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Another film shoot!

Yup. Thursday night at 8:15, Scott gets in the water and pretends to drown while the merchant ship Fleet meets its fiery doom.

My wife's friend Delphin has graciously allowed us the use of his heated pool for the night- It's a black bottom affair that should allow me to pull a really nice matte on that last pull out shot. I've also packed the green screen for the closeups.

Essentially, we're looking at three shots. The first is looking at father from the front, as he watches his ship burn. The second is over his shoulder so we can see the burning ship. The third (and most difficult) is from directly overhead as he loses hope and the vessel explodes. This is the grand reveal. The camera pulls out from the closeup and becomes a map.

I built a pretty neat firelight rig for the shoot. A few years ago IKEA was selling these butt ugly torches for children's rooms, cheap. The thing is, though ugly, they had a really neat random flicker built in, with an umber filter on top. And they're pretty bright. So I bought about seven of them, not really knowing if I would ever find a use for them. Well, I now have an ugly torch array to cast a fiery rim light on Scott. Perfect! I also bought some cheap 500 watt work lights to light up the green screen.

This is the first of the two flashbacks during the prologue.

And, while things have been slow on the filming front due to family illness, I'm hoping to shoot the whole damn thing at the end of May.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A grand reveal...

In preparation for a shoot I'll be doing in the coming weeks with Scott, who will, in a twist of fate play his own father dying, I started to put together this rough comp in After Effects.

This is a flashback Mulvey has when he reads a telegram sent to him that finally, after ten years of searching, reveals the location where his father died at sea.

In the sequence, we watch Mulvey read the telegram. When Grimmauld asks him what it is, there is a flash of his eyes, and a reveal of a lone man barely holding on to a broken board. Illuminated by a fire, the next shot is over his shoulder, looking at the ship as it burns out of control. The last shot (the one you just looked at) is directly overhead as he stops struggling. Right at that moment, there's a blast and the camera travels straight up, to reveal a map and the location where Mulvey's father died. Back in the present, the camera pulls out of Mulveys eye and he says, "They know where my father died."

Obviously, the father and the ship aren't in the shot yet.

This sets up an interesting quandry for our hero; Does he go to the Moon, or does he search for his Dad's ship and the fortune he was travelling with? His decision is made for him when Glowerston tells him to build the bathysphere.

Monday, February 28, 2011

This is absolutely stunning.

EYE OF THE STORM  |  Lovett from Lovett on Vimeo.

My friend Joey sent me this and thought I'd like it. Yeah, it's gorgeous.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Nothing to report...

Sorry, gang. I've been plagued with some health issues of late and between my Mother in Laws bout with blood cancer (I didn't even know such a thing existed!) which she thankfully won, and my own trip into all the horrid side effects of sleep apnea, my energy level has been below zero.

However, it looks like I will be doing pick ups for the flashback sequence this Sunday, and shooting the shipwreck flashback next Sunday. I will keep you posted about that. It's going to be very exciting.