Smoke Grenade Effect

One of the latest effects we’ve been working on is the smoke grenade shot, where our protagonist throws a smoke grenade to distract and divert the Yuriqstani guard’s attention in order to rescue his team mate. We had no grenade prop in the original footage so David just imitated throwing the grenade.

The challenges then faced were to create both a fake grenade in his hand as he tossed it, and of course the actual effect itself of the grenade exploding. After doing some tests with the explosion, we decided to go with a smoke release grenade instead of a fireball explosion or even a standard explosion. Firstly, grenades don’t actually explode in a cloud of fire and heat (even if Hollywood and the computer game industry is set on misleading us), and although we wanted a realistic grenade explosion we just couldn’t get our simulations to look that realistic. So in the end we went for a slow release grenade as we were able to at least simulate that with some accuracy and realistically.

The fake grenade effect being thrown was created by using a grenade model and simply moving it frame by frame in each shot to be in the right place and rotation, then using a mask and lots of motion blur through the Blender compositor to pretty much blur the whole thing so that you can’t see it too closely. The main focus was simply to cover the otherwise empty hand, so it works quite well to that degree.

Put it all together and you end up with this! All effects in this scene are created using Blender 2.75.

 

What’s New – 10 Oct 2015

It’s been just over two months since my last update, however we have gotten quite a lot done in the mean time, especially the last month in particular.

What’s Happened?

In the last few weeks, we have:

  • Done a heap of roto-scoping to add in some fake walls.
  • Modelled and tracked a safe which holds the intel.
  • Created the smoke grenade effect using tracking.

What Will Be Happening?

Coming up:

  • The two main visual effects left, creating the ACR (Automated Combat Robot) and the air strike.

What’s Left?

  • Designing, finding and creating all the visual effects needed, and compositing them into the final edit
  • Colour-correct all the shots
  • Review the sound, what’s needed, what can be used, etc.
  • Clean up all recorded audio and dialogue
  • Record extra SFX and ADR as needed
  • Mix all SFX into the final edit
  • Perform the final smooth edit of the video (difficult to do until ADR has been recorded)
  • Mix the soundtrack into the smooth edit
  • Review whole video together for problems, errors, etc. Lots of tweaking.
  • Review by executive producer, more tweaking as necessary
  • Lock-in, and publish

Progress has been rather quick in the last couple of weeks and we’re hoping that trend will continue as the final two main effects will be quite difficult in some parts. Our current aim is to be finished the VFX by mid-November, leaving the rest of the year to clean up minor details, edit the sound effects in and give time for our composer to write the soundtrack.

Creating an Exploding Lock

One of the smaller but essential VFX shots in Project Firestorm is a quick shot where the protagonist finds a locked door barring him from escaping back outside and shoots the lock with his pistol.

There were four effects we decided to add into this shot. Firstly, we added a little bit of gun flash onto the walls as this is an internal shot and it is quite close to the walls. It’s really quite a subtle effect, but since the aim of this project is to stretch and improve our abilities we decided to add it in anyway.

Flash

The next job then was to add in the actual bullet-riddled lock. We briefly considered 3D-modelling a damaged lock and placing that into the scene, but it’s a lot more feasible and simple to add in a decal in place and manually track it for the five frames that it’s visible. We did take out the middle of the decal and add a shot of the background to seem like the bullet penetrated the whole way though. It’s a pretty crude effect but for such a short shot and at this size it does the job pretty well.

Decal

The third effect we added was a smoke sim through Blender to simulate the dust/particles that would have ricocheted off the lock when it was shot. Again, we also considered adding thicker particles to represent bits of metal but we found this was adequate and saved a lot of time.

The final effect was simply to add in a gun flash to add to the image and show that the gun had been fired. This was a simple plane put over the scene with the gun muzzle masked to make it appear in front.

Lock-22.4_0024

Playing Catch Up – 13 Aug 2015

After a rather long break from this project, we’re quite happy to say we’re finally getting back into post-production for Project Firestorm.

What’s Happened?

In the last couple of weeks, we have:

  • Finished the rough edit for the whole project.
  • Finished numerous VFX shots, including: most binocular overlay shots, added in security cameras, created an exploding lock.

What Will Be Happening?

Coming up:

  • Setting up VFX for the interior shooting scene, including:
  • Modelling a safe
  • Adding bullet holes and gun flashes
  • Tracking and adding a fake wall

What’s Left?

  • Designing, finding and creating all the visual effects needed, and compositing them into the final edit
  • Colour-correct all the shots
  • Review the sound, what’s needed, what can be used, etc.
  • Clean up all recorded audio and dialogue
  • Record extra SFX and ADR as needed
  • Mix all SFX into the final edit
  • Perform the final smooth edit of the video (difficult to do until ADR has been recorded)
  • Mix the soundtrack into the smooth edit
  • Review whole video together for problems, errors, etc. Lots of tweaking.
  • Review by executive producer, more tweaking as necessary
  • Lock-in, and publish

After a very long pause, we’re happy to say we are finally back on track, and our goal for completion is now roughly November.

What’s New – 16 Dec 2013

Just a short update this time, not a lot has happened.

What’s Happened?

In the last week, we have:

  • Edited scene 4 together

What Will Be Happening?

In the week coming up:

  • Clean up the scene 4 edit
  • Start working on visual effects

What’s Left?

  • Designing, finding and creating all the visual effects needed, and compositing them into the final edit
  • Colour-correct all the shots
  • Review the sound, what’s needed, what can be used, etc.
  • Clean up all recorded audio and dialogue
  • Record extra SFX and ADR as needed
  • Mix all SFX into the final edit
  • Perform the final smooth edit of the video (difficult to do until ADR has been recorded)
  • Mix the soundtrack into the smooth edit
  • Review whole video together for problems, errors, etc. Lots of tweaking.
  • Review by executive producer, more tweaking as necessary
  • Lock-in, and publish

We will be very busy for the next few weeks, with both Christmas and client projects. We’re hoping to finish what we can, but work will be virtually non-existent until late January. We encourage you to spend some time relaxing during the Christmas break!

Filming Scene 4!

So this past week signifies the end of a large part of the film process, production. That’s right, every last piece of footage has been filmed!

We started by building the set (turning a bedroom into an office). Firstly we had to move everything already in there out somewhere else (it’s not easy to find space :)), then move all the props in and set them up. The only thing we left in was the bookcase in the background as that was too hard to shift around. We would have liked to add in a filing cabinet, but that also would have taken too long. It took about three hours to set up on Friday, and we filmed the day after.

Picture of the office set. A table and bookcase, with the tripod and microphone in the view.

The office set.

Saturday morning started about 9:00am, setting up the final touches and getting costumes ready. We practiced on-set at around 10:00, and started filming at 11:00. The film process itself took about an hour and a half. Firstly we practiced a couple of times with the camera just running, to get used to the dialogue and interaction. For the final footage, we ran through the scene from four different angles (the scene takes around one and a half minutes, but each take was a lot longer), plus a few close-up shots of important actions.

"Major Farrell" sitting behind the desk in a wheelchair.

“Major Farrell” – in his wheelchair. Note the box which we used to store papers on. In the film, it will be a secure drawer.

When you include all the extra footage and testing, we have approx 19Gb of video, which goes for just about an hour. When filming, we set the camera to manual exposure (using a Canon 600D), as the natural light outside would have caused the interior to be under exposed. All the audio was recorded on a stationary external boom mike.

Since we had no extra help on that day, the two actors (myself and my dad) also had to set up the room, set up and run the camera, and monitor any extra events. We almost set up a dolly track on the side as well, but decided that due to the limit of time and talent, we would have to scrap that idea. If panning is needed, we can always add in small movements digitally.

 

If you’ve got any questions about the process, feel free to ask in the comments. It’s what they’re for! 🙂

What’s New – 9 Dec 2013

It’s been a couple of weeks since our last update, as yes we’ve been quite busy with the Christmas busyness in life (we love Christmas, but people need to spend more time appreciating it for what it means instead of missing the whole point in the rush to ‘get it done’!) But anyway…

What’s Happened?

In the last week, we have:

  • Finally completed the shoot for scene 4! Which means that the filming is officially over!

We only managed to film last Saturday, so we’re very happy that we found the time to finish this stage in production and now we can finalise the rough edit.

What Will Be Happening?

In the week coming up:

  • Edit the rough cut of scene 4
  • Create rough drafts of some of the simpler visual effects

What’s Left?

  • Designing, finding and creating all the visual effects needed, and compositing them into the final edit
  • Colour-correct all the shots
  • Review the sound, what’s needed, what can be used, etc.
  • Clean up all recorded audio and dialogue
  • Record extra SFX and ADR as needed
  • Mix all SFX into the final edit
  • Perform the final smooth edit of the video (difficult to do until ADR has been recorded)
  • Mix the soundtrack into the smooth edit
  • Review whole video together for problems, errors, etc. Lots of tweaking.
  • Review by executive producer, more tweaking as necessary
  • Lock-in, and publish

The biggest accomplishment this week has been finishing the film shoots! But the next few weeks until after the New Year are pretty packed so updates may be a little sporadic. A number of other projects need our limited time.

Credits

We’ve just added a credits page!

Follow the link or just click on the credits tab up top of the website to have a look. BlenderMotion Studios is very grateful to these people for their contribution to the work that goes on in creating this project, it wouldn’t be the same without them!

What’s New – 25 Nov 2013

Time for another weekly update! And we have gotten…nothing done. Well for Project Firestorm anyway, we have been busy with a number of other projects. But that’s ok, as this week is looking more open, so this week we’re looking at the same goals as last week. They are:

  • Reviewing the dramatic structure draft, start locking in the impact points
  • Completing part of the list of visual effects, start working on the easier ones for now

That’s all folks!