Ashore (Design to Sell Project) – Evaluation

Starting out we didn’t consider target audience that much, we looked at what we could do then started to plan it. But as time went on the question started to pop up and we then decided that our film was mainly targeted at around teens to young adult area so 16 – 25. With this age group we could go a lot grittier and maybe introduce blood into the film but as time went on this grittiness didn’t show and the target audience decreased to 12 – 25 year olds. If we took the time to add this extra violence, then I think the film would have changed a fair bit but as we skipped that part we decided that our original target audience didn’t fit so we decreased our minimum age.

Overall I think that the project was a success in many ways. Personally, I learnt a lot from this project through editing, acting and Visual Effects. I had a lot of chances to learn new things with this project and the biggest one is VFX.

* I had to remove the crew’s footsteps from the sand because it had to look like a deserted beach. Removing the footsteps was simple yet took a while. I had to duplicate the clip, masking out a clear spot on the sand and moving it over the footprints. I did this around 35 times until I finished with the shot below which has no footprints but I kept the sea weed in.

* We needed smoke on the horizon which was a little harder. I tried different programs but ended on using 3ds max’s particle system. I set up the particle system, setting my start and finish points and assigning a material to the particles that make it look like smoke. This was only meant to be temporary as I wanted a thicker smoke but couldn’t find a way to do that in time so I stuck with this type of smoke.

* The explosion was the most difficult. I used Cinema 4d for this and used a plugin called TurbulenceFD. I used this plugin because Cinema 4d’s particle system isn’t the best when it comes to smoke. This is a very expensive plugin so I used the demo version which had awatermark on it and I positioned the explosion in such a way that I could mask out the watermark but keep the explosion in the frame. All this I learned by going on Youtube and VFX blogs and trying different ways to pull these elements off and I’ll definately use this knowledge in later projects as I feel like VFX is a fun way to add more to the story.

Shot (NO VFX)_00000.pngShot (VFX)_00000.pngSmoke_00573.pngExplosion_00306.png

(Low resolution due to the fact I rendered it far away)

Writing the script was very simple. As it was a collection of shots with little audio, we wrote in script like a list. Each bullet point would be an idea for a collection of shots or one cool looking shot. This was the easiest way to complete the script because if we wrote it like a normal professional script, it would have been one wall of text that would be hard to read and follow. If there was more dialogue involved then we would write it in a normal way but bullet points were the easiest way for us to follow what the ideas that we came up with.

We did come across a few problems while filming which were resolved rather quickly. First off was coming up with shots for the trailer. This was very time consuming when on set because we thought of cool shots to do before but we didn’t think of the smaller shots that much. We thought that we can come up with some when we were there but must of the time we were sitting round thinking what we could film next. But with everyone thinking we got what we wanted by moving to different locations and thinking what we could do in each place.

Another difficult part about being on set was the water. I was the actor so I was the one being washed up onto the beach and it was freezing. I spent at least 30 minutes trying to get wet then 30 minutes in the water for filming then 30 minutes out of the water in drenched clothes for walking up the beach. It wasn’t a pleasant part of filming but with the sun coming out it was getting warmer and we got all the shots the director wanted in an hour and thirty minutes. And you’ll have to pay me a lot of money to do something like that again.

I feel like if I had more time to test these effects I could make them better and the way I wanted them to look but with this short amount of time I set aside one week to test and finalize these smoke effects which, looking at the result, I’m impressed with. This is my first time doing this and I feel like I did a good job. In future, I want to see if I can make even better VFX and test myself to see what my limit is and to make it relevant. You don’t want to see a random VFX shot in a film that has no purpose so I want to test my VFX and storytelling self to bring these two together and find a way to merge them.

Overall I think this is one of the better projects I used my time with as it allowed me to test myself in ways I couldn’t do a couple of months ago. I will keep using VFX to test myself and hopefully get better at doing as time goes on.

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