Posts Tagged ‘trailer’

The as-of-yet untitled fourth episode in my Fallen Star series is still in post-production, however I have put together a gloriously Star Wars-styled trailer. Check it out below and stay tuned for the full episode… some time.

The hardest part of making this trailer was recreating the logos! Fun, though.


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About a year ago, we held a screening of the third episode in my Fallen Star series. As it’s become a tradition now, I had to stick a teaser for the next one at the end. A while later, it went onto YouTube:

The point of the ‘teaser’ is, naturally, to tease. It’s not a fully-fledged trailer, it just gives a taste of what’s to come. Or rather, it functions as a placeholder. It just says “yeah, we’re working on this. Watch this space.”

So, when you’re still knees-deep in unfinished footage, up to your eyeballs in unusable concept art, and missing anything resembling final dialogue, how on earth do you put together something that looks and sounds like the thing that you haven’t done yet? Let me break down the teaser for Episode 4 and take you through it…

1. Logos and BRRARRRRRPs. Thanks, Inception!

2. Previous footage. Best way to set the scene and use what you’ve already got. Re-coloured and zooming out to give it a foreboding tone.

3. Nebula reveal. Well, that’s actually a shot of the Britannic from Episode 1, played backwards (you can tell because it’s missing the shield domes on the dorsal hull). The nebula was a placeholder; the final one looks different, but it wasn’t ready last year.

4. It’s Humphreys and Knight on the bridge. This is new footage, an actual shot from Episode 4! It needed some digital bits added (those computer monitors were green) and all of our dialogue will be dubbed in later, so you can’t hear what they’re saying. Instead, you hear Knight narrating a line that isn’t actually in the episode. We recorded it specifically for the teaser.

5. Zooming in on an open hatch while Knight explains that Humphreys is missing. See, that’s suspense, that’s drama, right there! The implication is that he’s taken an escape pod and disappeared. Again, though, that exact shot isn’t in the episode, but something similar is.

6. Logan declares they’re going to find him and closes his space helmet. Again, this shot isn’t in the episode, it was recorded specifically for the teaser. Logan will indeed be donning some kind of space suit, but we (still) haven’t even finished building it yet, never mind filmed anything in it!

7. The shuttle departs. That’s a shot from Episode 2, albeit flipped.

8. Volgin puts up his fists for a fight. Who’s he fighting? Where is he? More on that in a moment (see further down), but this was taken from a recently shot scene so it will feature in the episode when it’s been finished properly.

9. Knight looks around, confused. This is another shot taken from the episode. As it didn’t need anything doing to it, aside from adjusting the colour, it went straight in. What’s he confused about? What’s happening? You’ll have to wait to find out!

10. The Britannic flies through space. This is a stock shot, for filler. Again, it’s been flipped and may not appear in the episode.

11. The ship is shaken about! Well, this is just a shot from Episode 2 again. Yes, similar things will be happening but not like this. It’s just there weren’t any other shots ready at the time!

12. Darling in the medical ward, with a patient. This is one of the few finished VFX shots that’s actually in the episode, and that’s only because I’d already made the necessary background.

13. An unknown ship zooms off into the starry sky. Yyyyyyyeah, this technically has nothing to do with episode 4 except it might be used for a part of it. That’s a bit cryptic, sorry. It’s a ‘finished’ VFX shot so it went in.

14. The shuttlecraft flies through a cloudy region of space. Well, this exact shot isn’t from Episode 4; but I put it together using a new cloudy background that I’d started working on for this episode. The shuttle is a re-use of a shot from Episode 2, because dammit, time is money!

15. Logan announces that he sees something ahead, and we see the shuttle radar/scanner/thingy picking it up. This is a tone-setting shot; it’s what’s going to happen but not how it happens. The cockpit wasn’t finished and that line was recorded only for the teaser, but it’s all I could use at the time.

16. Something ahead approaches. A dark and gloomy structure hidden amongst the clouds. In the final episode, there will indeed be something like this, but this isn’t it. At the time, I hadn’t even conceptualised what it would look like, never mind started making it. Needless to say, this shot will not be used in the episode. Not least of which because it turns out to be an enormous number 4, and that would just be silly.

So, three finished shots and two half-finished shots, and the rest of it is re-used clips, ‘concept’ footage and voiceovers. That’s how you make a teaser more than a year before you’ve finished shooting!

Since this teaser was put together, we’ve shot more scenes and I’ve done a lot of post-production. We’re not finished yet but I thought I’d share one thing that I’ve been working on for the last couple of weeks – an engine room.

In the teaser, you see our spy character Volgin preparing for fisticuffs. With whom and for why, I shan’t say; but his location is our ship’s engine room. The only trouble was, last year I hadn’t made an engine room and didn’t even know what it would look like. So I had to improvise – I found a photograph somebody had taken of a dry-dock and flipped it upside-down.


Some sort of dry-dock for ships, the right way up.


Volgin in the engine room, before we had an engine room.

Several months on, and I find myself with the daunting task of designing and building a 3D model of our engine room. I’m not beholden to a photograph I used in a teaser that nobody would notice, but I used it as a reference point anyway.


To start with, I plot out the space.

Our ship is powered by a McGuffin, as are most sci-fi ships. The ‘engine core’ is a common theme, but this one is most inspired by the Mass Effect videogame series. There will be a raised platform across the middle of the room.


Staging, placeholdering. That’s a thing.

It was important to get the scale right. We’d already shot the scene (on greenscreen), and used a stepladder as a placeholder for the steps. By overlaying the footage in the modelling software, I could make sure the real steps lined up with the virtual ones. More bits were then added to the room.


Close-up of the railings and grates that I started to add.

Once the layout was decided, I began to model the finished elements. Grating, pipes, railings, bits of equipment, computers, doors, ceiling supports…


The ceiling, based loosely on that upside-down photo.

It became rather detailed rather quickly and, once the lighting was added, I was chuffed with the look of it.

Here it is, the first exclusive look at the HMS Britannic’s engine room, the location for at least one scene in Episode 4…


The engine room, a finished render. As (will be) seen on TV.

Ain’t it lovely?

Thanks for reading, I hope to have more soon. The work continues.

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As work on Fallen Star’s third episode draws to a close, I finally have enough usable footage to make a trailer. So I did!

This is the final trailer before the film’s release. Its tone is a bit daft and silly, in contrast to previous episodes’ trailers. This will not be an action-packed episode, rather a laid back look at the sort of mischief that goes on aboard the ship during its quieter times.

Despite the slower pace, Episode 3 has still required a hefty amount of visual effects work. Adding in backgrounds, cutting around actors, fixing continuity mistakes. All of this will be shown in an upcoming vfx showreel.

For now, stay tuned for the release of Episode 3, it’s really close now!

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This is the recent-ish teaser trailer that I made for the upcoming third episode of my Fallen Star series. A very similar version of this trailer appears on the batch of DVDs that we made back in November, but it has been slightly updated with a couple of new shots since then.

It was tricky to make a trailer to release alongside episode 2 because, at the time, so little of it was finished. Things like dialogue don’t get done until the very end, so I ended up with this montage style yet again, using the tiny handful of shots I had available, most of them unfinished! I did have fun writing the fake quotes, though.

Episode 3 is still in production but I expect a release later this year.

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Last weekend, I put together a short trailer (or a long teaser, depending on your take!) for Fallen Star: Episode 2. Here it is on YouTube (click the video title to view it larger on YouTube):

This is what I’ve been working on for the past few months. Well, the past year if you include all the writing and planning we did first.

But how?! Why?! Well, towards the end of 2010,  barely a month after we premiered Fallen Star Episode 1, we discussed the possibility of making more ‘episodes’. It wasn’t completely out of the blue – we’d thought about making it episodic right from the start – but the scale and difficulty eventually put us off, and so it became a one-off film.

After it was finished, making more ‘episodes’ made sense in a way – we still had all the pieces of the set, all the costumes, etc.  – but we didn’t want to just make one more; it seemed too much effort for the sake of just another film. So I considered the economics of scale – we’d only have to set everything up once; filming five times as much footage doesn’t take five times as long. If we could end up with a kind of ‘mini-series’ of episodes, it would be worth the relatively little extra effort required to make it happen.

Principle filming began in August 2011, and I’ve been working on production and post-production since then. With all my attention on episode 2, I’ve had my work cut for me in constructing new virtual interiors, new spaceships and new graphics. I’m reusing whatever I can, but that’s surprisingly little. It’s still a learning process, and I’m muddling through the best I can, but I love doing all this stuff.

For the trailer, there wasn’t a lot I could show off just yet. Full trailers normally have dialogue, but none of our scenes are finished because we’re going to redo all the audio right at the end. That left me with only one choice: a montage of shots to some epic trailer music!

And as for the line at the end – “they’re here!” – would it spoil the illusion to learn that I recorded that at the weekend while sitting around in my dressing gown? Yes? Oh well!

I’m hoping the film will be done before the end of the year, although there’s a lot going on at the moment and hobby projects have a tendancy to slip. We’ll see!

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I did a bit of ‘remastering’ this week, so to speak, so I thought I’d talk about it. Sorry if it’s boring or technical.

In film and television, remastering is the process of creating a new master copy, from which all other copies are derived. This can be anything from a spliced reel of film, to a tape or, more modernly, a digital video file. Remastering involves taking the elements that built the master and putting them together again in an improved manner (usually this would be done to update a film or TV show into high definition – the original celuloid will contain more detail than the master tapes it was copied onto).

When we made Premium Bond: The Spy Who Taxed Me, I had, frankly, no idea what I was doing. I chose to edit the project at 24 frames per second (the framerate of movies) and at a weird square-pixel widescreen resolution of 480 lines (by 853). I’m not sure that’s actually supported by anything, and since it was ultimately ending up on DVD, it led to problems with the conversion (DVDs author at 576 lines, at 25 frames per second, and widescreen is always anamorphic [ie. the pixels are rectangular]). This is just one of those things that you learn through doing. The original run of DVDs had a formatting error, and the film came out cropped to the wrong ratio. When we included the trailer as a bonus feature of our Fallen Star DVD, I converted it again so it displayed correctly, however because the framerate and resolution had to be adjusted in the conversion, it was still somewhat blurry and the frames blended together weirdly.

So, four years later, I decided to fix it!

All of our footage was shot in standard definition on digital videotape, at 25 frames per second, which is exactly what the new master needed to be. I had shrunk this down originally to the bizarre size that I chose back then, so all I had to do was not shrink it down this time. The project files were still sitting on my hard drive and everything was intact, so I opened it up, resized the project and corrected the framerate. All the video clips were correctly edited, so it was simply a matter of resizing them to fit the larger project area. Some of the animation keyframe markers didn’t line up anymore due to the change in framerate, but this didn’t seem to affect anything.

As the video was cropped or framed a particular way in certain places, the remaster actually has some minor framing differences, a little bit of extra image around the edges, and so on. The few FX shots, eg. the gun barrel, had to be repositioned piece by piece as it wouldn’t scale uniformly. The credits at the end were kept the same absolute size to allow for an overscan area that I never bothered with the first time around.

Ultimately, the differences are minor. The point of doing it was to create a new master copy that looked better on DVD (smoother motion and less blurry). We don’t have any plans to make a new batch of DVDs, but if we include the film in any future projects (wink, wink!), this will be one we’ll use.

Premium Bond Remaster comparison 1

Because of the mismatch in speed, frames were blended into each other in the original conversion. The remastered circles slide across the screen smoothly. They’ve been upsized a tad, but that’s purely by accident.

Premium Bond Remaster comparison 2

Where the frame size has been increased on all sides, some of the shots have been expanded. This isn’t really detrimental to the composition, and it does mean the image is a tad sharper, but it wasn’t done on purpose – I just didn’t bother to check they matched.

Premium Bond Remaster comparison 3

Again, the mismatched framerate of the original caused effects like this when it was converted to DVD (the online hosted video seems fine, incidentally), but the remaster eliminates the problem entirely. You can also see the reframing again here, making the plane look a little sharper.

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Here is the second of the two trailers for my Fallen Star project. This is the last one before the full episode is released.

Unlike the ‘British’ trailer, this one is full of action and special effects, cut together quickly in that Hollywood style. You may also notice the colour grading is rather desaturated and blue-ish, to give it that modern movie look.

It’s comprised of many of the ‘cool-looking’ shots I could pull together from the episode. I actually made this trailer before the British one, which ended up being ‘leftovers’ I suppose, but I liked the idea of having two different styles.

I could go over every part of this trailer, but it’s a biggie, so I’ll just delve into a few details about it. We start with a montage of short clips to the sound of drum beats.

A forest, that’s actually a photograph with an animated lens flare and clouds.

A man running through a forest. That’s actually me, being filmed with a steady-cam. The running speed was slow and the footage was sped up.

The Britannic insignia. That’s our ship.

A pull-back shot of our ship looking over a space station inside a pink nebula. This is a shot taken from about half-way through the episode, although it’s actually reversed as it works better this way as a ‘reveal’.

A zoom-in through some windows of a room full of people. This is our briefing room at the back end of the ship – most of that is digital, save the bits of the room we’re all sitting in.

A small ship flies out of some trees. This is a CGI ship and another photograph of more trees used as a foreground element. We tried filming some real treetops, but lighting conditions were poor and the quality wasn’t high enough for a decent composition.

A giant space cannon moves into position. More CGI.

Finally, the Britannic insignia again, the camera going upwards towards the bridge window this time.

There’s a lot of CGI in the trailer, as these were the most interesting shots to use. I will be posting a comprehensive showreel of all the 3D models some time after the film is released, so that’ll do for now.

Additionally, you’ll see some ‘action’ shots. The film isn’t especially ‘actiony’; this is just selective editing. There are a few laser beams and such, which, again, will be looked at more closely in a later feature.

Enjoy the trailer!

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