I’m new to this forum, and I’ve come here primarily to pick your much more knowledgeable brains on the subject of film production with Blender!
Basically, I’ve been producing low budget films in the UK for the last 2 years, and also develop TV programmes. Whilst I’m getting these features and TV projects produced, I’ve also been reading a lot of short and feature scripts to find some really worthy projects. Now, in the last few months, I’ve found and helped to develop a short film script that I believe has the potential to be really great. Generally speaking, short films don’t hold much excitement for me, but this script was really enjoyable and very interesting, and I felt that it would be worth producing if possible.
The problem is however, the film is ambitious. It’s basically a sort of psychological horror, and features 2 characters (a common thief and a court jester) seemingly trapped in a gigantic labyrinth of a castle, for a reason they do not fully understand. Naturally, the issue is, we don’t have access to any gigantic castles without a fairly big budget, and getting a short film financed is pretty difficult, especially when you’d need quite a decent amount of money to do it!
So, naturally I have been looking at alternative and interesting ways to shoot the film. Our first though was to shoot it similar to ‘300’ or ‘Sin City’ - against green screen with CG elements. We toyed with this idea for a while, but realised that even then the budget would probably be £150k+ (or $300k+) to shoot it properly, and that was a cost we simply could not afford.
So, we have recently begun looking at lower budget ways to try and film the idea. Since it’s such a visual film, just going out and shooting it on DV against some stone walls isn’t going to work. We toyed with the idea of rotoscoping, or using a programme like 3D Studio Artist to rotoscope - filming it against green screen still. We’re still toying with the idea of using this sort of method, but it still creates the problem of trying to merge live action and CG on a very low budget. We’re keen to make the film look as professional and coherent as possible, and having poor CG and rotoscoped DV footage probably won’t cut it. Some of the rotoscoping tests we’ve performed have looked decent, but it’s combining and compositing all the elements together that is going to be the tricky part.
So, I’ve started to look into doing the film 3D, and at whether that’s a possibility. The film is going to be black and white, quite high contrast imagery, and so we’re aiming for an interesting visual style that we feel 3D might be able to bring to the project. If any of you guys have watched a film called ‘Renaissance’, you’ll see how the CG was used to create a really stark, almost comic book like visual world. Something a bit like this, though probably with a little more tone and shading, would work excellently with our script and create a really interesting looking film.
I recently watched Elephant’s Dream, and I thought the visuals were excellent for an open source project. It led me to thinking, could we produce something similar with the volunteered skills of Blender/CG artists? Our film would look radically different, with a much more limited colour palette and wholly different visual style, but it would still be a great challenge to create a memorable and visually acceptable short film. I know very little about 3D, so I wanted to put the question you guys. Is it possible? On a very limited budget, with a team of volunteers or very (very) low paid artists? Is this the kind of project that could bring together a team of talented artists for a challenge, or is it a hopeless ambition?
I’m just looking for thoughts right now - positive and negative. You guys out there know more about working in 3D than I probably ever will. Is it just too much to ask, or is it possible to string together a talented enough team, and organise the project effectively enough to be completed?
Look forward to hearing from you guys!