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December 2011

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Bits & Pieces Creating an indie short without big staff or budget L OS ANGELES — "Find a way." In the world of DIY filmmaking, this is about as close as you can get to a commandment. For Jesse Griffith, it was the only way he could get his movie made. While Griffith is a director and animator, it was his writing that gave him the push to create his own film. Griffith, who grew up a fan of science-fiction movies always wanted to create a "Star Wars-level" film on his home computer, but he was lacking the ability to manipulate 3D scenes and figures in an affordable and easy way. "I don't have a big studio paying my bills, so I have always had to look for ways to do more with less," he explains. He had written a script that he felt could be made into film. It was called "Cockpit," and it focuses on the struggles of a stranded crew of pilots against mind controlling aliens. It was a finalist in many screenplay competi- tions and won four awards. ware along the way. As he worked he would wonder, how would George Lucas start a film like this? "Lucas would request that ILM design a bridge," says Griffith. "They would sketch up five or 10 versions, and he would choose his favorite. In my case, Daz 3D is my low-budget ILM. I type in 'bridge' or 'sci-fi' in the Daz 3D search engine, and I see products like Kibaretto's 'The Commander' or Stonemason's 'Dark Star.' I decide which best fits my story, plop down 30 bucks and get to work." This easy access to things like 3D depictions of bridges allowed Griffith to construct sets that studios Loopmedia gets political for The West Block T But this recognition couldn't overtake Griffith's main and glaring problem: studios don't trust untenured talent with big budgets. And all outside projections of his script suggested a big budget, which meant Griffith's film looked like it might be stuck in a per- petual state of limbo. In his day job as a graphics animator for Jimmy Kim- mel Live, Griffith had found great results for good- looking backgrounds and 3D models with Daz 3D's software packages. Since he now needed to prove that his story could be both visually striking and affordable, he realized that Daz 3D's catalog of online assets might be a way he could satisfy both goals. Griffith created a 10-minute teaser to Cockpit, called Cockpit: The Rule of Engagement, featuring veteran Hol- lywood actor Ronny Cox (Beverly Hills Cop, Robocop, Total Recall). It was designed as a way to show the studios that his screenplay could be made. Beginning with concept storyboards and extending into greenscreen visuals, Griffith used Daz 3D's soft- 4 Post • December 2011 wanted, but for a lot less money. The sets also became malleable environments that he could stage his charac- ters in. Now this indie artist had visual storyboards that he could pass along to his crew, which enabled everyone to get on the same page quickly. The proj- ect's budget was a very slim $3,000. During post, the same footage Griffith's crew had shot against greenscreen covered garages was brought to life thanks with 3D backdrops he had picked up in the Daz 3D store. He took a simple Daz 3D store bridge, tweaked it in Smith Micro's Poser and polished it up in NewTek LightWave. "The last thing I wanted to do was draw people out of the film," he says. "I wanted them to feel like they were there with the actors, not snickering at some shoddy graphics." Tools like Daz 3D and LightWave can help filmmak- ers realize their visions affordably, he says. "Don't let the lack of an effects team keep your movie from being made. There are too many routes around this problem for you to get stuck." Other tools employed by Griffith include Adobe After Effects and Avid Express Pro HD. Visit this link to see Griffith's short film in its entirety: http://io9 com/5821641short-film-premiere-cockpit-the-rule- of-engagement. ORONTO — Loopmedia (www.loopmedia. com) has designed and created the opening for Global News' new show, The West Block With Tom Clark. Airing weekly from Parliament Hill, The West Block is a political talk show that covers current political issues that are being debated among the Canadian people. Loopmedia was approached by Shaw Media to design and develop a memorable opening sequence for the program. Directors Dave Desjardins and Mike Spicer from Fiction, who are currently represented by Loopmedia, were called on for the open. With a concept based on the fact that understanding the parliamentary system starts with its blueprints, they created an opening that incorporates iconic visual elements such as images of the Parliament building, the cere- monial Mace, the Canadian flag, the crown and Canada's eternal flame. Spicer and Desjardins used Maxon Cine- ma 4D and Adobe After Effects, Photoshop and Illustrator to create a vibrant and glossy 3D world where the traditional feel of old Parliament Hill combines with a modern look that The West Block With Tom Clark aims to cover each week. The opening is fast paced, promoting a news-like urgency. 3D objects, images and foot- age of the shows host all slide across the frame, ending with show's logo, which was also designed by Loopmedia.

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