Digital Effects Work Begins

Vfx We are now prepping for the Digital Effects that we need in Gone Fishing. This is a bit of a technical process. It starts with a chat with the FX guys, in this case, the amazing wizards from Men From Mars. We isolated the shots we need, in this case a shot of a worm that is going to be increased by 50%. My effects supervisor is Tom Horton, and when I showed him the cut yesterday he looked at me and smiled saying, ‘wow, you really could win the Oscar for best short film!’


Editor, Eddie Hamilton then created a VFX (visual effects) EDL (Edit Decision List or Cutting List) in Avid which lists each shot, plus 10 frame handles on either side (should we want to make it a smidge longer in the final version). Post Production company Midnight Transfer will then scan the 35mm negative and supply those files on a hard drive in DPX format (Wiki Link). These files look like film negative (effectively very low contrast and with an orange colour hue) and so they need a special Look-Up-Table, which effectively changes they way the colours are displayed on a computer so when a VFX artist makes changes, they will look how they would in the final print.

So then Men From Mars will do the effect – in this shot they will rotoscope the worm and increase it by 50% (note the name of this Quicktime file and all the burn in detail in the frame, which all helps the VFX guys). It should just sit ontop of the hole where the old worm was, and look 50% bigger! Crafty! No CGI worms needed. Like so many effects shots, the simplest way is of the best. At that point I guess I will approve the shot and then the files will be saved to disk and taken back to Midnight Transfer to be integrated into the final DI of the movie, and graded to match the other shots.

All sounds so simple. Let’s hope that it is.

What I am looking forward to is going through the whole process so I can speak with experience about the problems and hurdles when working with DPX files, lookup tables etc. This to me seems like that stage most people know very little about.

Once this shot has been done, I will post a clip for us all to see.

Onward and upward!

Chris Jones, Film Maker and Author 

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