A ten-second film has been created, demonstrating various visual effects using Fusion 9, and Adobe After Effects and Premiere. The film is set in a fantasy world, where a woman is learning how to cast fire.
An initial idea was to use a younger character who would portray a witch or fairy type character that used a wand, shown in Figure 1. This idea was tested, creating a short example of the character using a wand. Particles were applied to the wand with star shape textures to create a ‘sparkle’ appearance. The movement of the particles was not realistic, making the particles bend and the attempt for them to move seamlessly was unsuccessful. However, the test with fire for the main idea was successful enabling more potential for the idea.
The film research expanded across different mediums, such as music videos, advertisements and films. This allowed for greater inspiration and creativity that did not only look at narrative ideas but other elements, such as sound and set design. Figure 2 is an example of one of the inspirations, discussed in a reflective blog.
Fusion is a sophisticated and advanced compositing and visual effects software script, making it a beneficial application to learn. It was used for keying and masking, gaining valuable practice using this software.
After Effects had previously been used, making it an easier and more comfortable application to use for challenging effects, such as casting the fire and motion tracking. Using both the software made it an easier process, choosing the most comfortable software for the particular effect. However, when changing effects it became complicated. For example, after the film was rendered it was notable that the edges of the hair could be improved. However, this meant re-rendering in Fusion and then replacing the initial footage in After Effects with the improved version. This was not the most practical working method, however, it allowed for experimentation with Fusion without committing to the software completely and then feeling overwhelmed with its unfamiliarity and an approaching deadline.
Low key lighting emphasised the flame when the character made it appear in her hand. This produced a mysterious atmosphere that connoted the magical element in the narrative. Props were used to further signify the fantasy theme. The candles introduced an eerie atmosphere that amplified the whimsical ambiance and connected with the fire that the character has cast in her hand, shown in Figure 3. To improve the film, the props used in the mise-en-scene could have been made more visible in the main clip when the character was seated. Using a lower angle that showed more of the table would have made the props more) visible to the audience.
The edges of the characters hair were too hard, making it apparent that green screen had been used. The edges around the figure were blurred in Fusion which improved the hardness, although it could still be improved through more research into removing green screen and understanding how to use Fusion.
The initial plan of using a window in the film had to be changed during filming. This was because the reflection could not be removed, therefore a green screen was placed in front of all of the background, as shown in Figure 4. The green screen was smaller than the background that had been planned. A wide angle, therefore, was unable to be used, which made the framing tight and removed too much of the table from the scene. This made the props more difficult to view and created an unappealing angle and positioning of the character and table against the added background. With the additional time left after completing the filming in one day, a second filming session could have been organised that corrected the background issue, this could have simply been done by using a larger green screen.
A slow pace was created for this film. The very short time limit of the video made it increasingly difficult to produce a film that contained enough footage and effects, and impacting audio with a slow pace, this resulted in removing and shortening clips. Understanding how a slow tempo could work with a short film and considering if this would be the best option could have been developed in more detail.
To conclude, there are many improvements that could be made to the overall production. However, the main goals have been completed, achieving a film that met the time constraint in the brief and demonstrated at least three visual effects. More effects were included in the final product in order to produce a higher quality piece and push further than the minimum requirements of the brief:
- Motion Tracking
- Remapping fire
- Light flicker and glow on flames
- Lighting applied to all layers
- Key frames added to fire for bend in flame when there is movement
- Applying mask to flame to fade in and out
- Camera zoom and pans
More patience is required for future projects and attention to detail is essential. The project should have adequate time spent without rushing and hiding errors. Many skills and working methods have been learnt throughout this project. It has brought awareness to the challenges and difficulties when creating even the smallest effects and produced a larger appreciation for realistic effects that go unnoticed in films that enhance the aesthetic appeal and audience experience.
If this film was developed further, it would be expanded into a music video, featuring the song, Light Of The Seven that is already used in the film. The film would be poetic with some narrative, creating character development and interesting visuals that correspond with the pace and atmosphere of the music.
Further reflection has been made on the project, detailing the working process and in-depth discussion about the personal response and analysis of the work in a blog format;