Archive for effects

Render This

Posted in Post Production with tags , , on March 15, 2010 by Richard Diaz

An early effects shot that will be redone.

Due to some technical issues it looks like the tweaks I want to do to the older effects shots may require me to almost redo them from scratch. Not completely as certain elements I had to create as separate clips. However I may have to recreate most of the elements. Or, I just leave them as is. Well, if you know me then you know I don’t like to settle. I admit I have my lazy moments but when it matters I fight. And I fight to win. And in the case of my film I am fighting for a victory.

So as much as it will probably kill me this week I will redo a lot of those early effects shots. A lot of shots need to be done too but it just means I’ll be putting on more coffee. Also means I need to delay the new trailer a little as there are three effects shots that will be in there from the newer batch.

I also decided to slightly reedit one sequence as I think it’ll work better a different way. Which in turn might mean I need to re-score it. I’m not sure if the current score for the scene will time out correctly now.

Just when I think I am so close I am so far away. Seems to be a running theme lately. But like I said I fight to win. Time to roll up the sleeves and get to it. This will be a very long week but once it is over I will finally be able to say the film is (basically) completed. Or I will be hospitalized. Whichever means I can get a little rest.

Two more festival deadlines are approaching and fast. It amazes me how time is flying by lately. Outside of the trailer there will be several promotional items created. Time to start heavily getting the word out.

Then it’s back to work on the new film. Wait … I thought I was going to be able to get some rest?


The Home Stretch

Posted in Post Production with tags , , , , , on February 17, 2010 by Richard Diaz

Filmmaking is exciting stuff.

I can’t tell what is working and what isn’t at this point. I am desperately trying to get every last thingĀ  done to send out the film to festivals. The music seems to be working so far. I think two spots need to be either tweaked or redone but I’ll do that last. It’s not enough to hurt the film and I don’t want to spend time on it right now. I need to concentrate on the remaining visual effects. Mainly one big one which will be very complicated. I did a rough version of it for the earlier cut and that was hard enough. Can’t imagine what the final version will entail as far as complexity and even render time. The rough version took like 10 hours to render.

I know the film won’t be 100% done by the time I mail it out but I need it to be like 95% done. I know I will tweak the music and a few visual effects but overall it’ll be done. Enough so I feel good mailing it out as is. Luckily I am just sending out submission copies not screening copies so I do have a little time to work on a few things. However, I also can’t obsess over every little thing. At some point I need to walk away and just call it done. Otherwise I will work on it forever.

My main problem is I am pretty fried so it’s hard to determine what works and what doesn’t unless it sticks out a lot. My original goal was Friday to mail the film out but I do think I will take the weekend and mail it out on Monday (at a great expense especially sending it out to the Cannes Film Festival submission). I think the extra two days will help. Plus I can make my own DVD to test to see if there are any last minute things.

It’s been two and a half years since I started, in essence, PreProduction. I’m almost at the point where this will be out of my hands. The film will be out there and it won’t be mine anymore. It’ll be in the hands of the audience. No matter how much I tweak only they will decide whether it works or not. And whether my long journey to make this film will pay off.

Day Of Reckoning?

Posted in Post Production with tags , , , , , , , , on September 19, 2009 by Richard Diaz

Today is the last day to work on the film before submitting it to Sundance. I’m not sure how long it’ll take to compress and convert the film and put it on a DVD. When I did that before I think it took something like 8 hours alone to convert it. I need to leave a day open to make the DVD and test it.

So funny how it’s come down to the very last minute. Kind of nice working on a deadline however. My main regret is that I will have to submit an unfinished version. They let you but I only wanted it to not have a final sound mix or something. However, some of the digital effects won’t be finalized. A few will be a little rough. I figure if they are rough but not bad and the intention is there then I’m good. Also I will have to leave some of the temp music in. Some of it I think is ok because it’s not noticeable unless you really know the David Fincher film ‘Zodiac‘ really well. However, there is music that is much more noticeable (like music from ‘The Dark Knight‘) which I think would standout. I will be replacing all music that is recognizable.

I’ll send a very brief letter along with my submission just quickly stating this. The film will be done by November but I don’t want to have to rush through the digital effects and music. If I can leave those a little rough and have time to really finalize them then that will be good. And I don’t think this is the deal breaker. If they don’t like the film then it won’t be because a visual effects matte I have is shifting slightly.

My main concentration today will be the ending. It’s the one thing that isn’t fully working for me. It’s very anticlimactic at the moment and I think what I am adding will make a huge difference. I’m just not sure I can do it successfully in so little time. But it’s my main goal even if I’m up all night on it. If I save the ending I save the film. At least in my eyes. Hopefully in the eyes of Sundance as well.

William roaring before digital effect added.

William roaring before digital effect added.

William roaring after the digital effect is added.

William roaring after the digital effect is added.

No Small Effect

Posted in Post Production with tags , , , , , , on June 3, 2009 by Richard Diaz

Lately I’ve been planning for the additional shooting for ‘Distortion’ but also playing with music and with visual effects. As I mentioned in a previous post I am going to be getting a very cool particle generator for After Effects to help with some of the visual effects for the film. But other effects are not so intensive but no less important.

Here’s a good example of me not wanting to get into trouble but a different kind of trouble followed. When I was in film school my friend Joe made a film which was a big chase scene. I was the chaser and wore a long coat and had a water pistol. Someone not realizing what we were doing called the police and three cop cars pulled up. This was the summer of 1993. Different time. Different world. During the summer of 2008 I wasn’t about to take the chance of any one of us getting into trouble. For the film I used an air soft BB gun. It looks real and even operates in a very real manner which is awesome for a low budget film. But for legal purposes they are made with an orange tip so that it cannot be mistaken for a real gun. In Illinois, or Chicago specifically, they’re not fans of these guns either. To avoid any possible issue I decided to not paint over the orange tip and find someway to color it out in post. Unfortunately that means I do have to go frame by frame. Luckily the fun is only in two scenes but still quite a lot to do. Here is a rough test for it.

Raw camera footage.

Raw camera footage.

The orange tip has been recolored and then image is color corrected and matted.

The orange tip has been recolored and then image is color corrected and matted.

Another effect in the film is an eye glow. A typical effect but I wanted to try and do it in a cool way. Not have it look cheesy. While it’s hard to tell from the still the glow does pulsate and have inner movement. While still a rough test I was pretty happy so far.

Raw camera footage.

Raw camera footage.

Rough test. Eyes were motion tracked and the red glow added. Plus color corrected and widescreen matte added.

Rough test. Eyes were motion tracked and the red glow added. Plus color corrected and widescreen matte added.

More stuff coming soon.

That’s My Name

Posted in misc with tags , , , , on May 31, 2009 by Richard Diaz

While I get ready for the remaining things to shoot for ‘Distortion’ I am also in the process of looking for more work. A key to that is having a reel. In this line of work a reel is more important than anything else. Doesn’t matter where you went to school or what is on your resume. It all comes down to how much someone likes your reel. I try and always keep my reel within reason. It’s easy to take something I was marginally involved with and slap it on there. My feeling is if it’s not something I can do or duplicate then I don’t put it on there. And everything in my reel I was involved with. Either I shot it or edited it. Or both.

One thing I wanted for my reel was a new end plate. Basically an effect with my name. Also a good way to show off some After Effects skills. Since it’s summer and the summer movie season is here I decided to go with something a little bit more … flashy. As a friend put it,”Michael Bay presents Richard Diaz.”

I did this in a few hours the other day. The sparks worked really well. I think they’ll look better once I get Particular. I used Particle World inside After Effects and I liked it. It’s just Particular gives you more options for the particles. Or sparks in this effect. The plug in Twitch from came in handy. I thought it was done but I wanted something else. So I added Twitch and chose the brightness option which gave it that pulsating light as if the sparks are being created above. For me it just brought the whole thing to life.

Gearing up for more ‘Distortion’ stuff in a bit. Stay tuned!

Don’t Break The Plate

Posted in Post Production with tags , , , , , on May 13, 2009 by Richard Diaz

A small update today.

Last week I shot some background plates for some visual effects shots that will be added to the film. I keep forgetting that some of the things I do may not make sense to other people without explanations. I was asked what I was doing and my response was,”I’m shooting some plates.” Well, needless to say the reaction is one of confusion.

There is much to be shot this summer for the film. Most of it is very simple establishing shots and POV shots like from a car. But there are a few effects sequences that need to be shot plus two “visions” which will involve actors. Plus some reaction shots of people in the street. I’m hoping to get a lot of friends in there for cameos for those shots. A lot of post production will be done as well going from visual effects to additional editing to music and sound effects. The music I already have sort of figured out. That will take a lot of time because music can make or break a movie. The visual effects will take time but are sort of on hold for a bit. One key element I need for some of the effects is a powerful particle generator. One great one for After Effects is called Particular from Trapcode. The second version of it is do out this summer. Not sure on everything that will be updated but it’s worth waiting for.

One thing I also need to shoot is of a newscast. The more I thought about it I think it may be where my little cameo comes in. I have a few ideas how to make it a little fun. Details for that though will have to wait.

Still much to do but it should be a fun time. And once it’s done expect a new trailer to really show off the final film.