It is currently Tue Sep 23, 2014 10:22 am

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]




 Page 1 of 1 [ 7 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: Chocolat Tidbit #23 - Special Effects
PostPosted: Tue May 23, 2006 9:24 am 
JDZ Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 2:13 pm
Posts: 12429
Location: The Left Coast
The Affect of Special Effects on the Town and River

Adapted from a novel by Joanne Harris, Lasse Hallström's "Chocolat" is a celebration of sensual pleasures -- the shudder of a sip of hot chocolate spiced with chili powder, the decadence of an elaborate banquet sauced in chocolate, relinquishing to Nipples of Venus and Depp himself -- all in a fairy tale atmosphere. The film's visual style -- hazy, diffused, a color palette soft and pastel – helps to create a feeling of magic that is nonetheless grounded in the reality of everyday life. Likewise, the film makes use of a number of transparent digital effects, created by Mill Film, to enhance reality with a little bit of magic. For all of you film students out there, here is how Mill Film worked their magic.

From:

Mill Film Spices Up 'Chocolat'
By Bjorn Thoresen
January 26, 2001
VFXPro

Image
"Town Before"

In all, Mill Film supplied "Chocolat" with nearly 60 effects shots ranging from simple fades and dissolves to sky replacements and season changes, and also produced the opening and closing credits for the film. Mill Film used a Quantel Domino Complete scanner and workstation for its compositing work on "Chocolat," with 3ds max used for 3D animation and SceneGenie for 3D tracking; some additional paint work was done in Matador and additional compositing in Media Illusion. According to digital manager Dan Pettipher, the film's opening sequences required the most complex work. "The initial and the main thing they were after was the opening shot," Pettipher said. "More shots followed, but that shot was their initial focus." "Chocolat" was filmed on location in Flavigny-sur-Ozerain, France during the first half of May, with additional exteriors shot in the West Country of England in late May and early June, and interiors filmed at Shepperton Studios in London from mid-June to mid-July. While the lush greens of the spring Flavigny countryside were appropriate to the film's second half, digital enhancement was required to create a suitably desolate winter landscape for the film's first shot, an aerial view that sweeps down from the clouds, moves across the valleys surrounding Flavigny and closes in on the town's central square.

Image
"Town After"

Mill Film began by stabilizing the aerial shot, then applied color correction to strip the landscape of its color and painted a dusting of snow over the fields. "We first had to smooth out and stabilize the shot," Pettipher said. "It was a helicopter shot, so obviously it wasn't perfectly steady. We then color corrected the landscape so it would have a cool, wintry feel. We were lucky that the weather was semi-overcast when they shot the footage -- there were no strong areas of shadow, which made it easier to create a gray, early-morning feel. We also tracked in individual patches of snow on the trees in the foreground and the road. We didn't have to create any falling snow for that shot, although we did for the shots that followed."

Pettipher noted that the complex camera movement in the opening shot made it more challenging to track. "The opening shot was difficult to track because it was moving in all directions," Pettipher said. "It wasn't a simple crane -- it cranes up and sort of slowly moves forward, so there were a few parallax issues we had to lock down, and we were slightly limited as far as how much snow we could add. Luckily, the production team didn't want the 'blanket of snow' look, because that would have meant tracking in between individual roofs and houses and buildings. Once we stabilized the shot, that helped simplify the move, but there was a lot of tracking involved to get all the little bits working together. The Domino has a good tracker on it, though, so we were able to achieve that effect."

Mill Film also applied titles, designed by Nina Saxon at New Wave Entertainment, to the first shot of the film, which opens with a white backdrop of clouds through which the camera moves to look down on the town. "There were about 1,000 frames worth of clouds that dissolved into the main shot, which was another 900 frames, followed by an interior sequence in the town church. The interior sequences also had title cards, however -- there were about 30 cards in the whole sequence, which was 4,000 frames total. The longest section was the transition from the clouds to the main shot, which was a seamless shot lasting nearly 2,000 frames. The file sizes for the sequence were fairly large, given that each frame was 18 MB. The Domino's resolution is 3K by 2K and the files are stored on D16, which is very fast. The reason we kept everything on Domino was because we needed to quickly and easily archive these long shots."

Image
"River Bank Before"

The river that girds Lansquenet-sous-Tannes plays an important part in the storyline of "Chocolat," serving as the route of entry for several important characters -- Vianne, and a community of riverboat travelers including Roux (Johnny Depp) -- and also as the site of significant action -- the developing romance between Vianne and Roux and the fiery destruction of the travelers' boats. However, unlike Lansquenet-sous-Tannes, the real-life town of Flavigny is not surrounded by a river, so an additional facet of Mill Film's work on the opening shot was the creation of a river to match the one seen later in the film. "We had to create a CG river and track that into the plate as well," Pettipher said. "When you see the difference between the original footage and what we ended up with, it's a fairly radical change."

Image
"River Bank After"

The river was created by Mill Film artist Evan Davies. Mill Film sent drafts back and forth to Hallström and the film's editing team to get approval on the final look of the river. "We went through early mock-up stages -- we would paint something really rough and then e-mail it to the editor and the director for them to look at it," Pettipher said. "They would either e-mail us back or give us direction over the phone. They wanted a nice, wide, flowing river. It wasn't supposed to be frozen -- we had to put some movement in to show that it was flowing. We went through a couple of versions to lock down the position of the river and its size in the frame, and then it was just up to us to lock it and track it to the moving plate. The river was the main geographical change we made to the opening shot, other than removing the odd tree or two for aesthetic reasons. We were mainly adding to the shot rather than removing things."



_________________________________________________________
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.
Offline
 Profile  
 
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 24, 2006 7:26 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2006 9:34 am
Posts: 5754
Location: Georgia, USA
You really don't think about all the work that goes into seemingly simple things. Movies are really complicated.



_________________________________________________________
"Because, you know, it seems to me that, I mean, except for being a little mentally ill, she's pretty normal"
Offline
 Profile  
 
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 24, 2006 7:36 pm 
JDZ Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 2:13 pm
Posts: 12429
Location: The Left Coast
PhD, I am in absolute awe of filmmakers. :-O



_________________________________________________________
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.
Offline
 Profile  
 
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 24, 2006 8:30 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2004 11:47 am
Posts: 1504
Location: This is Bat Country!
I got to hang out on the set of a little known series called "Nowhere Man" for a day.

I was totally amazed at the logistics of setting up a few seconds of film. The crew would work for hours to set the track and lighting for just a glimpse of a few people on the street. even the parking, feedng of the crew, had to be a huge challenge.

They would film on location in small towns around Oregon, so each new location (that week) would have to be totally scouted way in advance, permission from the town, businesses, then you had to make sure everyone knew how to get to the site.

The day I was there, they fed over 150 people twice, had a smaller truck just for snacks, including ice cream. A huge tractor trailer hauled just bathroom facilities. Not counting the stars dressing rooms.

I was amazed and could of cared less about the supposed stars, the set up and take down had to be the most impressive.

And I was payed $150.00 for them to use exactly 1 sec of my dog in a very fast scene.

The crew was the best and most fun, they would find out in advance if they would be put up on the credits for that episode and then call all their families to look for their names.

It was a great experience, but it would be very boring if you had to just supply the dog for a few days.



_________________________________________________________
"In my experience, those who do not like you fall into two categories: the stupid
and the envious."
John Wilmot, the 2nd Earl of Rochester in The Libertine by Stephen Jeffreys
Offline
 Profile  
 
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 25, 2006 8:25 am 
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jun 21, 2004 10:43 pm
Posts: 10376
Location: Austin
That sounds like fun Raven! But did your dog get a credit? :slick:



_________________________________________________________
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -
Wow! What a ride!
Offline
 Profile  
 
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 26, 2006 9:32 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2004 11:47 am
Posts: 1504
Location: This is Bat Country!
DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:
That sounds like fun Raven! But did your dog get a credit? :slick:


no, just the dogs agent!! :rotflmao:



_________________________________________________________
"In my experience, those who do not like you fall into two categories: the stupid
and the envious."
John Wilmot, the 2nd Earl of Rochester in The Libertine by Stephen Jeffreys
Offline
 Profile  
 
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 27, 2006 10:56 am 
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jun 21, 2004 10:43 pm
Posts: 10376
Location: Austin
How about residuals? :lol:



_________________________________________________________
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -
Wow! What a ride!
Offline
 Profile  
 
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
 Page 1 of 1 [ 7 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  


phpBB skin developed by: John Olson
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group