Going Digital And Loving It
A digital shot from the work-in-progress.
A Unique Idea
This commissioned work has a tight budget, which means I must work with a short shooting schedule, a small team, and no ambitious sets. It was a challenge to come up with rich visuals that were interesting enough to fulfill the task of illustrating such vibrant opera music. Then Stéphane Simal, who offered to co-produce the film, started to talk about an idea he had, about using a digital camera.
This was new to me, as so far I have done all of my works in a traditional manner using 16mm and 35mm film. Since the images we shot would be directly entered into the computer, it has opened the doors to infinite possibilities throughout post-production. Also, I have been able to utilize far more ambitious visuals than such a budget would normally allow. These are the aspects that seduced me. For example, my idea required stylish landscapes that the character could travel in and interact with, but we didn't have the studio space or the equipment for such large sets. So I shot solely the foreground against a blue screen and was able to add a 2D painted background later.
A Unique Idea
Once the images were stored on CD-ROMs, we used a Macintosh computer and Adobe's After Effects and Photoshop software to continue to build the film. These tools allowed me to create a background, which was a painted sky with moving clouds, or mountains with additional atmospheric touches like fog and lighting changes. I would never have been able to accomplish this through traditional animation methods. I was also able to add finishing touches like motion blur, sparks, shock effects, and more. Another added bonus was that I could correct mistakes like camera bumps or displaced props which can otherwise ruin a shot. I also digitally removed set supports for a sequence with flying butterflies. All of these kinds of tricks are usually reserved for big budget productions.