Over the course of a few months, our team of three was given the task of creating a sequence based off of a book of our choosing. Collectively we came to the decision to base our shots on the Dystopian novel Paolo Bacigalupi’s novel “Windup Girl’. The Book is set in post apocalyptic Thailand and is about big name industries controlling the food market and genetically modifying their wears to compete with rivals. This post mortem seeks to critically analyze and deconstruct the positives and negatives of the project.
What went right
Having worked on projects with both team mates I was cautious about how this project would progress, however overall our team worked a lot better than initially thought. Aside from the beginning few weeks, there were very few arguments and the team communicated efficiently. The team regularly offered each other advice that seemed to help out. This probably had as much to do with the people growing as it did the nature of the project. I too felt like I was a lot easier to get along with within the group. Ever since meeting the team I’ve aimed to not get so close to my work.
Although the shot started out really rocky I was really happy with the end shot. That’s not to say that there isn’t anything I wouldn’t change but it is a good settling point. Lecturer feedback really helped to shape this project. The second iteration of this shot which can be seen below was really off. However, after taking notes into consideration it really made a transformation. Additionally, research into David Fincher’s techniques of composition shed some light on where to take this sequence. In future projects, I seek to collect iterative feedback to improve my projects. If I had time to go back and do this particular shot again I would go back and add bits of rubbish and old news papers to give the scene a bit more noise. Regularly we had to present the volume of our work in front of the class. As team lead, this would have been ideal to record feedback and upload it to google drive. This way the whole group would have benefited equally.
What went wrong
The organization was definitely something that needs to be improved. The second iteration of shots really suffered from not having enough time to create a decent composition together. This occurred because of many reasons. The first being that the file structure was way too convoluted, especially for such a small team. Another cause came from the fact that we were very loose on the idea of a Gantt chart. As a team lead, I should have allocated time aside to research, learn and implement GanttProject. We were having weekly meetings every Monday so updating the Gantt chart definitely would have been an excellent contribution to the team.
The shot kind of felt like there was something missing besides the clutter. I needed to investigate and research how to make strong values in a composition. I didn’t put enough research into designing a really nice Value concept. This could have helped nicely in bringing that shot more to life. As seen below the Value of the factory in the final composition is almost blurred into the background. Having the factory contrast against the colour may have been as easy as darkening the factories textures and making the background lighter.
Initially, I was going to use an effect I quite liked from my shot deconstruction. See how John Doe creates such an aesthetic contrast with the background. Not only does it make this shot look gorgeous but in this particular instance, it has the hidden meaning of transcendence. I am undecided whether or not it would improve or take away from the atmosphere of my shot but it’s something that I would have liked to test given more time. I will definitely be playing around with values more next time I get the opportunity to composite another shot like this.
Post processing in unreal engine
During this project, I got the honor of learning about Post Processing both inside the unreal engine and after effects. This really helped to bring some nice contrast and color correction into the scene. One particular feature that I enjoyed was playing with the temperature of a scene. This just slightly changes everything to either a warm or cooler color depending on how you adjust it. After effects allowed me to add just some really tiny details that you can barely see but it really adds to the composition. For my scene, I added a vignette that you can barely even see as well as some mud on the camera that is incredibly blurred out as to not distract the viewer from the composition.
Working under pressure and organization has been my biggest thorn this trimester. I started out really strong, even making a weekly time table, however over time it got lost in the vacuum that is my disgusting google drive.
Every body managed to do their part very well. As a team lead, I think I did fairly well. Most of my documentation was being completed before I had a chance to get to it. I did, however, make up for it by applying myself to other areas such as our animatic. I have a tendency to really overthink things which I used to my advantage in our small group by focussing on little details. However, I was team lead last project and that came across as overwhelming. Either I am becoming better at being a team lead or I am more successful in small groups. Either way in future projects I am happy to experiment to see if I can learn more about my transferable skills and how I can improve them.