Posts Tagged With: Movies

A little note…

Just to let you know that I will be posting my new film and art projects here very soon. I’ve decided to combine my film design, visual art and other creative work together in one place as I am a cross-over artist and use many different forms of creativity to reach a brief or personal project.

This image is a little taster of some of the film locations that I have visited this year.

DSC_0206

Advertisement
Categories: Working as a Production Designer | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Books Versus Film and My Final Project (The Tube Riders)

As a separate part of my project review I wanted to not only share a handful of the designs from my novel to film project with the wider world but look at the book versus film scenario.

We’ve all heard the phrase “yes I saw the film but I preferred the book”. I see these comments posted regularly on social networks, but why is that?  As readers we have a personal experience when we read a book. The author will guide us and entice us with their own vision, but that doesn’t mean we all see the characters or locations in exactly the same way as another reader or even the author. Novels allow us to get inside a characters head whereas  film, by comparison,  can be more selective. It’s probably because we spend so much time with these fictional people. A book can take anything from a day or two to several months to read depending on the reader compared to a film which is normally set around 2 hours.

Perhaps it’s unfair to compare the two given the time constraints for film makers to produce a believable world. All we can do is to strive for the very best rendition we can, using the best technology, scripts, actors, talent available. Some film versions are better than others for this reason. In many cases some novels are just more adaptable.

My own opinion is that films and books should be treated as two separate  experiences, after all, there are a lot of people who don’t read. Films allow a window into an author’s mind albeit for a few hours and makes a story accessible to all.

What’s important is a good story and a set of characters that an audience can relate to.

For this reason I chose The Tube Riders by Chris Ward. Immediately I was drawn into the world from the first page. There was a great blend of character insight and world building without being too caught up in unnecessary verbal clutter. It also had the right pacing for a film and fell into the science fiction/horror/dystopian genre that is currently popular in both film and TV. Given the time constraints of the project I concentrated on a couple of settings and also worked on some visuals as future guidance for VFX. Working without the normal set up of director/art department/producer I had to make my own decisions through discussions with my tutor. I also used some artistic license as there was no screenplay to work from.

The purpose of this post is to firstly share my work, maybe get some opinions or comments and secondly to hear from those who have read books and seen them transformed into films. What are your experiences negative or positive? Feel free to comment below and let me know what you think about the designs or the subject matter.

tube riders visuals

Below are some photos of scale models for the Medical Research Centre reception area and arena.

DSC01001

DSC01047

arena render 4

 

The book can be found at:-  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tube-Riders-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B007LVFSP8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1409468188&sr=8-1&keywords=the+tube+riders

 

Categories: General research, MA Practical Project, MA project | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

The Post Apocalyptic Landscape: Location and Production Design(The Road)

When  watching films and TV programmes I am always trying to guess which locations are real and which are built sets or have been altered with CGI.

Being fascinated with derelict buildings and looking at the photographs that I have recently documented I am turning my attentions to actual locations that have been used, albeit slightly altered to suit filming. From a production design point of view, it’s interesting to see how and what informs the decision-making for the Production Designer/Director and whether it is story or budget or both that influence these.

 

Here are a few actual locations used for post apocalyptic films/TV so far:-

The Road

Much of the filming was done in Pittsburgh and not in the studio as the budget was small and the story  called for multiple locations. Chris Kennedy talks about his location experiences to Rochelle Siemienowicz.

“AFI: And was it always going to be a location-based shoot? Was there ever any talk about doing it in a studio?

CK: Basically it was an independent film and always had a very small budget, so there wasn’t really the money to do it in a studio. Also it’s a journey story and needed a lot of different locations. So straight away that meant asking the question what kind of landscapes can we use? Straight off the bat, what country can we go to? Russia would be good – Chernobyl! Those kind of landscapes. Iceland was one idea. Even thought about Australia. But what about the gum trees? And blue sky? A lot of people just think, ‘oh post-apocalyptic, oh go to the desert.’ But of course the  book isn’t set in the desert. It’s set in North America. So I spent a fair bit of time online looking at places in America and found all kinds of places. Eight miles of abandoned freeway in Pennsylvania, a beach in Oregon, an abandoned amusement park. Started putting together a list of locations, the ideal plan. We had to do a certain amount of it in Pennsylvania due to tax incentives. So a lot of it in Pittsburgh rather than where we wanted to. We found pretty much what we needed. Abandoned coal piles. And Pittsburgh itself is pretty much an abandoned city. Back in the early 20th century  basically half the population left…so that all came together pretty well.”

http://www.afi.org.au/AM/ContentManagerNet/HTMLDisplay.aspx?ContentID=9954&Section=Turning_words_into_pictures_An_interview_with_production_designer_Chris_Kennedy [sourced 30/12/2013]

The following images are taken from the film and are courtesy of Dimension Films. They are of locations in post Katrina New Orleans, Pennsylvania and Oregon.

road_beach_1200-660x277

An Oregon beach location.

The Road excerpt:
They stood on the rock jetty and looked out to the south. A gray salt spittle lagging and curling in the rock pool. Long curve of beach beyond. Gray as lava sand.road_bridge_1200

Abandoned freeway in Pennsylvania.

road_suburbs_12001

Post-Katrina New Orleans.

road_industrial_1200

“One of the more compelling aspects of John Hillcoat’s 2009 adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s novel The Road is the fact that the film’s post-apocalyptic landscapes are not computer generated but largely shot on real locations in the United States.”( Cited Chiarella 2009: 91).

The below statement is taken from the blog post  It’s All out There:-

“Production designer Chris Kennedy scouted a number of locations in post-Katrina New Orleans, including the devastated neighborhood pictured above. He also found Pennsylvania to be a treasure trove of desolate settings. “The state has depressed socioeconomic situations in suburbs like Braddock and Keysport and devastated mining areas with coal piles and fly-ash piles that looked like a blackened landscape,” Kennedy said in a statement.” (Landskiper.BlogSpot.co.uk, 2011)

 

For the most part The Road was all about location and America provided many opportunities for filming. Some CGI was used in the bleaching out of colour particularly when dealing with sunnier places such as New Orleans to create the desired effect. America and other large countries will provide many locations similar and it would be interesting to see if the same can be said for the smaller more heritage influenced UK.

road_lede

Director Hillcoat discusses the film’s use of CGI when dealing with the New Orleans location above. Image courtesy of Dimension Films. Sourced from http://landskipper.blogspot.co.uk/2011/05/its-all-out-there.html

“This maritime wreckage was filmed in Louisiana by an Imax documentary crew two days after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and the surrounding area. “Cormac’s material felt so familiar, like we’ve already seen it,” Hillcoat said. “That’s why we went to the leftovers of Katrina. Then we used CGI to take out the bright blue sky and green grass.”

References:-

SIEMIENOWICZ, R., 2010. Turning words into pictures:An interview with production designer Chris Kennedy [online]. The Australian Film Institute. Available at: www.afi.org.au/AM/ContentManagerNet/HTMLDisplay.aspx?ContentID=9954

http://www.wired.com/underwire/2009/11/the-road-page-to-screen/3/[sourced 30/12/2013]

2011. It’s All Out There. Available at http://landskipper.blogspot.co.uk/2011/05/its-all-out-there.html [sourced 30/12/2013]

Cited sources from Chiarella, Tom (2009) ‘The Most Important Movie of the Year’ Esquire June: 87-91.[sourced on 30/12/2013]

Categories: post-apocalyptic film and design | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The DreamWorks effect–initial thoughts on dossier

Last week we were given a dossier to read on historical film and television and the problem of presenting history in an authentic way. The dossier focused on Band of Brothers, in particular detailing the camera work used, CGI and the documentary style of the filming. It also touched on the issues facing the use of CGI which is something that is closely related to my own project, so I will return to this later in the term.

To me one of the key points being discussed was the idea of authenticity, whether it is possible for dramatization to be deemed to ethically portray true events (stories supplied by veteran testimonies) while still providing a story that’s engaging and seemingly real, given the technology that is involved.

But what is authenticity when dealing with stories?

The references of the piece discussed the ‘spell of imitation’ and continually referred to the idea that art in various forms should be treated with suspicion when claiming to represent reality (SUTTON,D., 2010). But all art is an extension of ourselves, so maybe a form of truth, and film and television are no different. With the use of CGI and colour manipulation for added authenticity, the dossier mentioned that we become more removed from the actual truth.

Surely true reality can only be experienced if you’re actually there? So not through books, film or even stories handed down to the next generation. These kind of stories and the memories of the Veterans for that fact can get altered, forgotten, blended with other memories, so change over time.

As artists all we can hope to achieve is that we touch on something–some element of reality–an emotion that is authentic and portray it as honestly as we can. CGI is a tool to be used wisely so to not distract. Combine that with the shaky documentary camera work shown in Band of Brothers that allows the viewers to almost feel that they are there, or with subconscious symbolism in the use of colour for example, we can aim to develop a satisfying end product.

Now more that ever we need to look at the amalgamation of the role of designer, director, writers etc. as visual story telling seems to be a holistic process that blends the actors, pre-production, post-production, writing, soundtracks etc. seamlessly. For me dramatisations that neglect one of these cogs in the machine even fall short of  imitated ‘authenticity’.

Reference:-SUTTON,D., The DreamWorks effect:: the case for studying the ideology of production design (2010) [Online] Available at Screen.oxfordjournals.org

Categories: General research | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.