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BREAKING THROUGH part 4: Assembling Realities

This is the last post leading up to the release of breakthrough. Here, we will be discussing the process of putting it all together.

With shots filmed, it was time to place them into After Effects (AE) to composite everything together. The Effects process is very lengthy and time consuming. It requires a plethora of skills and a way of thinking that is equally creative as it is technical. But lets not get too excited, the actual work is almost entirely technical; One has to be able to imagine what they want, but also know how to build it.

I’ll go over a couple shots to show you the process.

The first shot is of the the protagonist holding a holographic tablet (figure 1) which, by the way is entirely digital. it would have been much more practical to only do the screen using CGI, but limited resources meant that I had to actually build the tablet as a 3D model. Ideally I would have just made a mould and filmed the tablet live.

comparison 1.jpg

Figure 1

The tablet itself was built in 3D studio Max, and the holographic info was built in photoshop using various layers. That was then transported into AE, placed into a 3d space and had effects applied to it to make it look ‘cool’. And as we all know everything on a screen has to look cool seriously, it does. I would explain in detail how to do this but that would greatly lengthen the post.

The second is a shot (figur 2) that demonstrates all the important elements, most noticeable, colour correction.As you can see from the the before image, a lot goes into a shot like this. Make no mistake though on the grand scale of things this would be considered a relatively simple shot to accomplish. After filming with propper green screen techniques (refer to part 3), the objects in the footage were replaced with the ones created in 3DS Max. once the character was placed in the shot, the lighting had to be replicated and the light emitting from the hologram had to be emitting realistically; you can see it bounces off the door and off of the characters lab coat.

comparison 2.jpg

Figure 2

Afterwards, an overall aesthetic was applied through a process referred to as colour grading.

Like I previously stated, effects are time consuming. And although one person can do everything on a film, he/she could never do it as well as many; Initially, I was doing the sound design my self and was planning to license music for the film. But I concluded that in order to make this film the best that it could it needed original music and top notch sound design. Visuals are only half the information and i think audio is just as if not more important.

As a result, I highred Gabriel Ostafew to score the music. I also hired Joshua Hemming to do the sound design; If i was going to put my lack of budget towards anything. this would be it.

With the Audio out of my hands I was free to focus on the visuals.

If ‘Breakthrough’ was meant to be anything, it would be a testament to no-budget film making. Low budgets don’t always have to mean low production values. thus, I only hope this encourages other film makers out there to take a chance, dream big, and strive to accomplish those dreams. Of course, said film maker must know what he or she is doing and work within the limits of what they have. Nonetheless, we have to push those limits before we realize just how far we can go.

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