Music and FX updates
Time for an update! First off- there will be more updates more often from now on. I promise!! In this post- updates on soundtrack, sound mixing, 3D effects, 2D effects, and more!! so read on!
Soundtrack My good friend and music composer, Chris Haigh has been hard at work on the soundtrack. Although we've had some bad luck in making our weekly video conferences - scheduling, computer, and network problems!!- we've still managed to make a lot of progress. Last week Chris sent me his newest compositions in wav file format.
The way we've been working is like this: He lives in England, I live in NJ, so we rely on the internet for correspondence. We'll email each other over night, sometimes he'll catch me while I'm at work and we'll talk over IM. And, when possible, we'll video conference together. That actually is the best since we can talk and gesture, and Chris can hop on his keyboard to play me something, and I can use my hands and facial expressions to convey ideas I can't articulate!
So before Chris could get started, I exported the film into scene chunks that I thought would make sense from a soundtrack standpoint. So the scenes are given names like, Lockerroom scene, Dropship scene, Sexbot fight scene, etc. I created an online directory for Chris and uploaded the files there for him to download. I also gave Chris FTP access to the directory so that he can upload his work. Usually, I'll get an email from Chris letting me know that there are new wav files I can download. Once I do that, I open up my editing software (Premiere Pro 2) and drop in the wav files to watch the scenes with the new score. These latest files are the best so far!!
Because we've spoken so much, Chris pretty much knows what I'm looking for in each scene. It's important to understand how much of a collaborative and organic process the soundtrack composition can be. There's a constant back-and-forth between us and we really feed off each other's energy. I told Chris that I wanted nearly the entire film to have a musical element to it, I wanted the music to weave into and become one of the characters in the film in a sense. He's done a stellar job at doing so, and one of the things I'm getting really excited about is how Chris has managed to create individual themes for several of the major characters. Lee our hero has his own theme which has variations based on his mood or what he's experiencing - exciting, heroic, doom. Our nefarious diplomat and his rogue programmer also have their own theme.
One last thing I wanted to touch one- during the editing process, I would use soundtrack music from other films to help me construct a scene. The music helps set the mood I'm after which is vital when structuring the pace of the story and sequence of cuts. Before Chris got started, I asked him if he wanted to watch the scenes with the sample tracks I had laid in. The sample tracks ended up conveying to Chris exactly what I was after- probably even better than I could have articulated it in words. So what sample tracks did I use? Works from James Horner and Basil Poledouris mainly. Do I have to tell you the film titles too?! You should know these guys! ok: The Rock, Crimson Tide, Aliens, Conan the Barbarian, Robocop.
I intend to post some sample footage featuring Chris' amazing work soon, but there are a couple things I need to wrap up first. Just a bit longer!!
3D Effects So the 3D effects have finally reached the animation phase. Before that it was in storyboard phase, before that texturing phase, before that modelling phase, before that conceptual phase. This past weekend I got the first sample render from our animator, Ramiel, who lives in Italy. (that reminds me that I need to update the Crew section). Ramiel is a cool guy who I met on one of the sci-fi modelling message boards. The sample render is an exterior shot of the dropship as it races to it's destination with soldiers on board. The shot will be used as a cutaway shot during a pretty major scene. You've probably read about it in one of my earlier posts or articles, but it's a scene where characters are developed and a bit more of the plot and the complex future is revealed. The characters' discussion evolves quickly into an all out argument and the exterior scene of the ship plowing through some turbulence underscores the verbal tension inside. The animation looks good and I'm excited about it. We're going to try and add more elements to the shot to give it a bit more pop. As the work progresses, I plan to post some samples (I don't like posting 'before' shots if I don't have an 'after' shot to accompany it!!)
Ok, gang, that's it for now. My train is arriving at it's destination. Time to go to work!