Playgrounds festival curator Leon van Rooij asked us to create the artwork for this years edition of the festival. While working on the stills we became enthusiastic to see them move. Previous months we also started collecting film equipment and really wanted to experiment with it. With these things in mind we decided do an extra tribute to a festival we love and started working on this live action with cgi driven short.
The main Playgrounds image came from illustrations I created earlier, Factory Series: mennofokma.nl/site/project.php?id=31 . Every image is a new canvas for visual research. In that way a personal 'Playground' to develop new imagery. The factory is the key object which is present in every visual. In the short we choose to focus on the moment before the experiment also, the part that takes place inside.
Kevin Megens (artibite.com) wanted to make his hands dirty and started working on the device. Wrapping our small basement in plastic was a nice solution to make it look indefinable and therefore acceptable as inside of the factory.
We're very happy we had Studio Takt (studio-takt.com) onboard to create an outstanding score again. He really wanted to push his sound design skills further and focused on every single thing.
We have to mention that this final piece is finished a bit later then the festival. We already showed the movie over there but grabbed some time in the subsequent weeks to give it an extra touch.
Direction: Artibite (Kevin Megens) & Menno Fokma
Music & Sounddesign: Studio Takt (Joris van Grunsven)
3d Design & Animation: Menno Fokma & Marius Denisse
2d Design & Compositing: Floris Vos, Wouter Kroese, Kars van Geenen, Menno Fokma
Set design: Kevin Megens Aka 'The Mouse'
Camera & Light: Dennie van Dijk & Menno Fokma
EDIT: This video was graded with Davinci Resolve 9 while I was still learning the program. Resolve 9 had a pink fringing problem which had to be removed with a technique that degraded the image. Fortunately since then Resolve 10 has been released with much better debayering algorithm, the pink fringing problem gone and a special raw sharpening tool. Here is a new video graded with Resolve 10. The difference is huge! vimeo.com/77580463
After doing a few random test shots of landscapes etc, I decided to take Magic Lantern RAW and the 5D Mark III to the game reserve to film some animals. This was a very good test to see how the raw hack puts up in various lighting situations.
I used the 3x crop mode on a lot of these shots. I discovered that the crop mode has the same effect as the 2x extender in that it magnifies the image, so any imperfections of the lens get more noticeable, although this is hardly noticeable as you will see from the footage. Turning my 200mm 2.8 into a 600mm 2.8 with a click of a button was really great. I tried a few shots with a 2x extender and the 3x crop mode combined but then the quality is just not usable. All the shots were filmed from a car with a big pillow rested on the window.
Import into Davinci Resolve 9 and export proxies. Edit sequence in FCP. Import xml into Davinci. Automatically relink to original RAW files. Grade and export beautiful proress 4444 sequence.
Once you get to know this workflow it gets really easy. It's surprisingly similar to my h.264 workflow which was the following. Transcode to Proress with Mpeg Streamclip, edit in FCP, grade in Color, export. The only drawback is hard drive space but its absolutely worth it when you see the quality.
The part I loved most about Resolve's workflow is that you can apply the BMD Film color space and gamma to all the clips which turns them into super flat gradable footage. An excellent starting point.
For archive of the footage I decided to render all clips in Resolve to Proress 4444 with the BMD super flat color space applied to it and the white balance and exposure set as desired. I did a few tests and applied the exact same grade from a RAW clip on the same Proress 4444 clip and even at 400% there is no difference at all. The only difference between RAW and Proress 4444 is that you can change the white balance and recover exposure, so do this before you export to Proress 4444.
By archiving Proress and not RAW you save 60% on storage. Proress HQ is just not good enough as you can see the difference so be sure to use Proress 4444.
Camera: Canon 5D Mark III
Lens: 70 - 200 2.8 IS II
CF Card: 2x 32gb Lexar & 2x 64gb Lexar (all 1000x)
HDD: NextoDi NVS1501 750gb
Support: Pillow :)