Test shot of the newspaper editor's office. Seen in a brief flashback, probably going to be about 9 seconds long.

Comment by StopmoNick on November 3, 2013 at 10:45pm

Ok, so I started with a plain flat wall behind the editor, but it was too boring, added no sense of period or character at all.  So I added a couple of arches, but it just looked wrong with solid wall in them, there needed to be windows.  Fortunately I already had some building exterior that would do to put outside.   I've got a light coming in through the window that hits the editor nicely, but looks very flat on Poe's face, so it needs some tweaking.  

Comment by Dennis on November 4, 2013 at 12:17am

Excellent! The windows add so much to the setting.  Also the globe, posters and all those books. Were they purloined from Poe's room or did you make another hundred or so?

Comment by StopmoNick on November 4, 2013 at 12:26am
The bookcase on the far right, mostly out of shot, is from Poe's room. I had another two bookcases full, and probably enough loose books to fill a fourth one. I got a bit carried away with the book making.
Comment by Tim Daniel on November 5, 2013 at 10:44pm

Fantastic work Nick. I love everything but especially your books:)

Comment by StopmoNick on November 6, 2013 at 12:10am

Thanks Tedco!

This scene is a flashback, which we go into as Poe stares into his glass.  I've just shot a version and blended it in with the glass shot.  This is part way through the office becoming visible in the glass - it gets clearer, but the glass rim is still visible on the edges.  The comp is done in Lightwave 3d so all settings can be saved, even if I re-shoot the editor's office shot.

I thought I would try to do the editor's voice myself, but it is pretty bad, even with 5 takes, and lowering the pitch to add some authority.  (I have a thin flat dweebie voice.)  I will probably call for help with voices, but there are others like HP Lovecraft and possibly Poe himself which are more important so I thought I'd save those for people who can act and have a natural American accent.  So I tried.  But I will most likely re-do this.  Even so, shooting it is helping me to see what the film might look like.  (Not the right way around, I know, but whatever works.)

Isabel Peppard did temp voice tracks herself, for me to animate to on Butterflies, and then hired actors at the end who were so professional they could match her timing and synch to my mouth movements, and still do a beautiful performance, but I wouldn't feel confident restricting them like that.

Comment by Dennis on November 6, 2013 at 12:27am

Really coming along, Nick. Love that thing you're doing with the glass, and the top hat on the coat rack.  Ha, if you need help with the American accent, allow me to volunteer my services. (You'll no doubt have plenty of volunteers.)

Cheers 

Comment by StopmoNick on November 6, 2013 at 3:50pm
Ok, let's try it! I'll see if I can send you a private message with my email address.
You know, my film could be the Making Of, and yours the actual Raven...
Comment by Jack Liddon on November 8, 2013 at 11:23am

So meticulous in its details and still feels perfectly natural. Really dig your set designs.

Comment by Shelley Noble on November 14, 2013 at 9:21am

I LOVE whatever is happening in the photo just above, Nick! Is there somewhere you've explained the framing/lens effect. It's incredible what it does to the sets and sense of reality.

Comment by StopmoNick on November 14, 2013 at 5:54pm

Hi Shelley!

First, I shot the editor's office, as you see it in the first photo.

Then, I shot a close-up of  rubber hand holding an actual wineglass, containing water and food colouring.  

In Photoshop, I made a B&W image where all the inside of the glass was a dark grey, and the part where the wine was was black.  The rim of the glass, and everything outside it, remains opaque through out the shot.

Then in Lightwave 3d  I made 2 3 x 2 shaped rectangular objects, and mapped the images onto them.  The object in the back had the animation of the office on it. The front rectangle had the normal colour image of the glass, then the B&W  one was applied as a transparency map, which determines which parts are solid and which are see-through.  (This is similar to how I shoot frontlight-backlight to composite puppets, only that is done by turning lights on and off and shooting twice.)

I could control how much the transparency was applied at different times, so it starts at 0, with the glass fully visible, and over 20 frames or so I increase it to 75%, so it still lets some of the black area remain 25% visible.  This is part way through so the glass is a little more solid that it gets to be.

I also moved the virtual camera closer, so we zoom in, but the glass being closer it seems to grow faster.  That's really why I used Lightwave, it can ease off a move at the beginning and end, and also I can save all the settings and make changes if I don't like how it comes out.  In this case, I re-shot the scene animating to Dennis's voice instead of mine.  I just changed the sequence of images on the back object to Take Two, adjusted the timing of the transparency and move a bit, and rendered again.

Without using Lightwave, you could simply erase part of the top layer to reveal the bottom layer in Photoshop or TV Paint (or After Effects probably). and not have that transparency map.

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