QUESTION # 1
Would it be possible for an Artist in Blender, to create, dress and light virtual sets, with accurate room & furniture dimensions for shooting with green screen. Not clean & perfect like some of the architectural images, but looking more lived in.
This has been a growing trend in indi film production, particularly for sci fi stuff. Over the last five years I have seen this more and more with some very interesting projects.
Very possible to do in Blender. Just a matter of having good source images for texturing. You can get just about any look you want. The most difficult thing to pull off is the lighting in the studio. By bringing a lap top to the set you can composite stuff right there and tweak as needed.
Blender is lacking in good realistic lenses, but you can pull it off with decent approximation and you can set lens sizes in Blender and also convert depending on your camera’s lens and ccd.
It is easy to measure things up properly to scale. Planning and design is the key here.
QUESTION # 2
How much time would it take to build a room? (If this works we could do a lot more)
I’m not imagining any motion graphics just static shots & green screen.
It would have to be determined on a case by case (even shot by shot) basis. Could be anything from a few hours to a few days depending on scene complexity and availability of textures and other assets.
QUESTION # 3
What else should we know about, assume that between the three of us we’ve produced 1000hrs of broadcast TV, sold 5 figure web sites and written/produced/recorded albums, but we have done NO 3D.
Well in that case, you don’t want to know. Kidding.
Well there is lots to know about on the 3D end. But mainly you’d have to be aware of basic things like file formats, pixel aspect ratio and other stuff that if you have done any editing and web work - as you clearly have - you’ll already be good to go. Basically all you are dealing with is an image that has to fit in the frame you are going to use.
Then you use images to map onto the virtual objects for the best realism. Say the fabric on a couch or curtain. A stained wall etc. So this is of very high importance to the success of the project if it is to look real.
So there is the issue of the art design and how and where these texturing (not final) images will come from as well as having a good source of texturing (not final) images at a high enough resolution for the shots you are planning. This is all rendered out in Blender with lighting and so on to give you the final image for the virtual set.
In short a decision has to be made as to how these images will be acquired to fit the art design of the virtual set. There are many sources online, you can take photos etc.
Now the only caveat is when you decide the character wants to walk around a virtual object or interact in any way - sit on for example. Then it gets tricky. So you’ll be building a set with green stand-ins for the 3D objects. You can also do some of this in the computer. So then it is a matter of planning so that you know how you are going to be layering things.
For example, a character sitting on a couch in front of a coffee table. Blender has a built in compositor so you can layer this any way you want right in Blender or you could render layers out and composite it in an external comp app or your NLE.
The next level of complexity is shadows. Again it is going to depend on a shot by shot basis.
My suggestion as a work flow would be not only to do a good story board, but also plan a series of shots that give you plenty of leeway. Use the language of film to your advantage. Don’t plan a series of wide angle shots for example with a lot of action. Break up the scene into a master shot and then plan the coverage for the other shots to help you work around some of the problems. Close ups, cutaways, reactions shots, and break up the time flow where you can to avoid things that will be time consuming and/or stretch the believability of the set you are trying to create.
This is something I am good at planning because I have done enough storyboarding, shooting and editing. And because I come from a traditional BG I have these things on my mind even for entire 3D stuff. As a side note it was doing my first film where I needed virtual sets some 15 years ago that got me into 3D in the first place.
QUESTION # 4
I anyone was interested, what would you be looking for in return.
For me, the money is the best option. I work freelance on the side while doing my own personal project. We could talk more on that via email.
It sounds like an interesting project. Whatever you decide, good luck!