Posts Tagged With: post-apocalyptic

Street Alteration: Final stages and set dressing

elements of street dress

After working on some of the CGI background and graffiti I needed to turn my attentions to the actual set dressing that would  include rubbish, signs, a burnt out car and dirty streets in general. I designed a replacement sign for the fish bar above and changed it to the burger bar in the story. I also needed to dirty the brick work of the existing buildings, board up some of the windows with designed wooden boards. The background also included an abandoned train carriage. This was collage’d in from a photo and would be part of the CGI background. The car was also collage’d in but would be a set dress rather than CGI.

street alter with shop windows a

Theses pictures show the addition of set dressing components as they were added.

Below picture shows the dirtying up of the building fronts.That would be done using water-based paint so it can be removed easily. It also includes the burnt out train.

street concept stage 4

Below the image shows the addition of some fly tipping on the far right and the burnt out car. I have also added some street lights as it’s night and one or two of the buildings are inhabited.

street concept car lights

The final stages were about filling the street with bags of rubbish that hadn’t been collected, loose rubbish and papers, alteration of lighting and just generally blending and tidying the image. I also added a larger bin into the foreground and some blending of the figures so they fitted the scene.

 

street concept car rubbish 3

 

Final stage from this….

alteration 1

….to this.

street concept final orange

The final image.

The street alteration needed to look like a dystopian society that had a more post apocalyptic feel. The city is generally uncared for, rubbish is left, people are rioting and setting fires. But the streets are still inhabited, so that meant there had to be life and places where people lived and worked. There is a burger bar, there are places in the city that will sell cigarettes, papers etc albeit limited stock. It was about creating a scene that incorporated CGI and potential post production techniques as well as traditional location scouting and set dressing.

The visual needs to portray the background to pass onto the digital matte painters. It will also need some visual effects due to movement in the background of search lights, maybe a moving train, movement in the clouds etc. to create a dynamic, believable scene.

There were some other items that could have been added such as a shopping trolley, dead flowers etc. I tried adding the shopping trolley and some more piles of rubbish and it started to look a bit too staged, after all it is a street that is still used with people running a business or a shop albeit dirty and run down.

I decided to keep the sky a murky orange green to show the fires off in the distance and the pollution. In heavily built up areas skies do take on an orange glow, this of course is emphasised for this scene.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Categories: MA Practical Project, MA project, Post Production, post-apocalyptic film and design, sketchbook and visual diary, The production designer and art department | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Street location Alteration 1: Graffiti and posters

I wanted at least one street alteration that incorporated CGI/VFX as part of the set extension. I chose Shadwell as it provided some interesting urban views that could be added to or manipulated. The main action is focused on the bridge end of the street and some shop fronts, one of which is used in the action.

I gathered some visual inspiration from my Pinterest page of urban dystopian/post apocalyptic streets and some of my own photos.

 

mood board apoc

 

A short excerpt from Chapter 3, The Huntsman in which one of the characters Switch walks the streets of London.

A couple of streets away he found a dirty fast food joint and bought a burger which he ate back out on the street. In a bin he found an old newspaper from two days ago which had little of interest, but he wasn’t much of a reader anyway. Most of the news he did glance at concerned crime within the city, murder, robbery, arson. The only mention of the world was from opinion columns that criticised the European Confederation’s trade blockades, and there was no mention of America at all. (The Tube Riders by Chris Ward)

Description here is mainly about the world around him and the character himself so it was fairly open in terms of design. Reading through other parts of the book though gave me visual ideas to work from. It had to say city, London, future, dirty, uncared for etc. Because the story revolves around a gang I wanted to make the streets have a gang-like feel with graffiti and posters. I also wanted to incorporate elements of resistance in the wall art, such as doves wings. The eye was used as a resistance poster, “they are watching you…join us…”. It adds to the sense of dystopia and being watched.

eye for poster aposter mask 2graffiti wall mask c

 

poster graffiti wall 2 final

 

Above show the visuals for one of the walls. I used some of my artwork and adapted it, combining it with some tag street art.

I worked on some visuals that could be part of a boarded up shop front. This was inspired by some of the abandoned buildings around Nottingham that were boarded up with wood panels and joined together. This would also be part graffiti’d and would fit over the front of one of the existing shops.

shop fronts boards 1        shop fronts graffiti 2       wing wall darker

The finished boarded up shop front using my building photo, artwork and graffiti wall. The image was produced in photoshop with layers and digital painting.

This image shows where it will fit.

alterations visual board

 

Categories: MA Practical Project, MA project, sketchbook and visual diary, The production designer and art department | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Case Study Breakdown

My case studies are a combination of academic research, question and answer sessions, work shadowing/ observation and studying elements of design that have come before. Each case study will have its own focus and approach and will encompass more than one genre. What will link them will be what I want to find out to answer my MA question:-

Given the post production techniques available today, what is required from the Production Designer at the pre-production stage in terms of scenic design?

From this I will look at the Production Designer and their role, write-up any observations or research relevent to the pre-production phase and how it follows through to production/post production. I am looking in particular at what needs to be done in the early stages of design, the planning that goes into design for later stages particularly in film and the relationship between the designer and the art department/director/director of photography. One of the most important parts of the research will be how it informs my own practical project, so each case study will have a reflective element. The majority of my findings will be based on qualitative research rather than quantitive as it’s more relevant to the question, as is the hands-on approach to some of the enquiries.

Case Study 1:- The Role of the production designer in pre-production/production: Matthew Gant

This case study comprises of several research approaches:-

An overview of the designers work

Q+A session

My work shadowing and observation of his role (2 days)

Reflective write-up and how it relates to and informs my work

Conclusions

 

Case Study 2:- The role of production designer in science fiction film: Alex McDowell and Minority Report

An overview of the design/designing the future

The relationship between the designer/director and post production

The future of the film industry/production design role

How designing science fiction and post production relates to my work

Conclusions

 

Case Study 3:- Production design in the post apocalyptic and horror genres: Various designers of The Walking Dead

An overview of the design and designing the future/adapting the graphic novel

Production design relationships with post production/special effects

Horror/futures in TV

How horror/post apocalyptic genres relate to my own project

Conclusions

 

Case Study 4:- The Production Designer in Derren Brown’s Apocalypse: A different kind of Apocalypse (Dom Clasby)

An overview of the designing of a reality TV show

Production designer role

Q + A session

How it relates to my own project work

Conclusions.

 

 

Categories: Case Studies, MA project, post-apocalyptic film and design, The production designer and art department | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Production Design: The concept or visual

Concept drawings are impressions of the set, often starting out as simple pencil drawings and becoming full colour renders that encapsulate the look of the film (LoBRUTTO, V., 2002). These can take on many forms from rough sketches to paintings with many being produced using computer software like Sketch Up or Vectorworks. The concept or visual is also used as a tool to show the set or character with possible colour schemes and overall mood of the scene ( BARNWELL, J., 2004). I have always had a fascination with the concept and while researching my project I have come across so many different styles. The following images are taken from various dystopian/post apocalyptic films and TV shows. Here they show how the concept creates the atmosphere and gives an overall impression of setting, props, lighting and colour.

road3

road2

Above: A visual concept from The Road found at  http://liveforfilms.wordpress.com/tag/concept-art/page/3/[sourced on 5/3/14]

TWD_prison_concept_1

Walking Dead 9.jpg-large

Walking Dead 8.jpg-large

Visuals from The Walking Dead found at http://www.thewrap.com/tv/column-post/walking-dead-showrunner-unloads-stash-concept-art-exit-photos-75131 [sourced on 5/3/14]

largecom

largecom3

Visuals from The Children of Men by Peter Popken found at http://abduzeedo.com/astonishing-movie-art-concepts-peter-popken [sourced on 5/3/14]

References:-

Visuals:- http://liveforfilms.wordpress.com/tag/concept-art/page/3/ [sourced on 5/3/14]

http://www.thewrap.com/tv/column-post/walking-dead-showrunner-unloads-stash-concept-art-exit-photos-75131 [sourced on 5/3/14]

http://abduzeedo.com/astonishing-movie-art-concepts-peter-popken [sourced on 5/3/14]

 

Books:- LoBRUTTO, V., 2002. The Filmmakers Guide to Production Design. New York: Allworth press

BARNWELL, J., 2004. Production Design: Architects of the Screen. New York: Wallflower

 

 

Categories: dystopian film and designers, post-apocalyptic film and design, The production designer and art department | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

So What is Science Fiction? Themes and contexts part 2

I’m continuing with my research into science fiction as a whole and the breakdown of the themes highlighted in Science Fiction Cinema: From Outerspace to Cyberspace. Because my project focuses on earth-bound science fiction I won’t go into great detail about some of the themes, but this is a brief description with sample pictures of the next two that feature in both film and literature.

Travels in space and  time

Probably one of the most well-known science fiction themes in cinema. It provides stories that can be either realistic in terms of what was technologically possible at the time that the film/book was made, or pure fantasy. With space travel, the genre has taken us from the retro, colourful  This Island Earth (1954) through to the more  realistic visions of Apollo 13 (1995)  in which technology fails and human bravery and ingenuity is at the forefront of the story.

ThisIslandEarth00

This Island Earth picture available from http://www.retrocinema.wetcircuit.com/films/this-island-earth/

apollo_13_16

Apollo 13 picture available from  http://www.blu-ray.poral.net/apollo_13.php courtesy of Universal Pictures

Science fiction not only takes us beyond this world but to other times. A perfect example of this is Back to The Future (1985) in which a DeLorean car is made into a time machine. It highlights the brilliance of the mad scientist but more importantly that time is a concept that should not be tampered with; that every time an alteration is made in the past, no matter how small, it can have far-reaching consequences in the future.

“Time travel broadens the visual scope of science fiction because it allows its stars to be shown in various costume styles and interacting with important historical events” (KING, G., & KRZYWINSKA, T., 2000. pg. 26)

This makes the theme particularly popular in cinema providing the chance to use all manner of technologies and design approaches available to the filmmaker. At the opposite end of the scale, the much darker approach to time travel can be seen in films like The Terminator  and  Twelve Monkeys (1995) both showing the future world as dystopian or post apocalyptic and the present as a preferable time to live in. Here changing things in the present can be seen as a good intervention, preventing the cataclysmic events of the future. In these films maybe we can learn something from knowing what the future is, then time travel becomes humanity’s saviour.

“The Dystopias of recent Hollywood science fiction have a seductive appeal to some viewers, combined with a sense of horror.” (KING, G., & KRZYWINSKA, T., 2000. pg. 27)

Time travel, post apocalyptic and dystopian themes combine well with horror and is another good example of themes overlapping in science fiction. I will look at some of these cross overs in later posts.

twelve-monkeys-bruce-willis

Twelve Monkeys available at http://www.scriptgodsmustdie.com/2010/09/format-18-screen-direction-the-absolute-last-word/ courtesy of Universal Pictures

terminator 2

Image from  The Terminator 2: Judgement Day  available at   http://www.imdb.com/media/rm1147444736/tt0103064?ref_=ttmi_mi_all_prd_41

References:-

KING, G., & KRZYWINSKA, T., 2000.  Science Fiction Cinema: From Outerspace to Cyberspace. London: Wallflower Press

http://www.retrocinema.wetcircuit.com/films/this-island-earth/ [sourced on 22/01/14]

http://www.blu-ray.poral.net/apollo_13.php [sourced on 22/01/14]

http://www.scriptgodsmustdie.com/2010/09/format-18-screen-direction-the-absolute-last-word/ [sourced on 23/01/14]

http://www.imdb.com/media/rm1147444736/tt0103064?ref_=ttmi_mi_all_prd_41 [sourced on 23/01/14]

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

The Derelict Landscape: Nottingham Part 2

I’ve added another selection of derelict building photos from Nottingham continuing the theme and providing more visual inspiration.  Although sunshine doesn’t always set the mood for post apocalyptic scenes, winter sun provides the right light to get some nice shadows and contrast which might be useful.  The light also makes it possible to see some of the detailing in the brickwork and windows. All these photos have had some digital enhancement playing with contrast and colour but I have all the originals for future reference.

building 4

building 7

bus station 6

doorway 1

windows 1

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Future Landscapes: Photoshop development

I want to develop my Photoshop skills  further as it’s a useful tool for the Production Designer when producing concept art. I am trained in the more traditional approaches to design such as hand drawn concepts/costume etc. and on Carcass I had a go at drawing concepts and altering them in Photoshop. This time  I have developed images that are made up entirely of photographs. Here is one of my attempts with a few variations on colour, showing some of the stages of adaption.

The sky, moon/planet and city were all different photographs pieced together to create a composite image.

moon background

A cloud scene that is altered in Photoshop using hues/saturation and gradients. Below, the moon is added in stage 2.

moon background 3

Below:- Colour variation. I like to save variations just in case they come in useful for another scene at a later stage.

moon background 2

london-skyline-2012-olympics

The addition of the cityscape. Original photo above.

apoc city 1

…and colour variations below.

apoc banner 3

apoc banner 4

moon background weird

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Photographs of Abandonment: The post apocalyptic landscape

This is a selection of photographs showing places around the world that have been abandoned for many years. These serve as inspiration for my scrapbook and also show in conjunction with my previous  post https://amandafullwoodma.wordpress.com/2013/12/30/the-post-apocalyptic-landscape-location-and-production-designthe-road/ that potential locations do exist and provide a wealth of visual information for the Production Designer.

nr chenobyl

Pripyat, a city of nearly 50,000, was totally abandoned after the nearby Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986.

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

The Ryugyong Hotel –Abandoned for 16 years.  In 2008, work started again and although a lot of the interior is still abandoned and incomplete, the outside is now coated in $150 million worth of glass and has paying guests.

fakfafas

Abandoned Coal Plant – France

hashima

The abandoned Hashima Island which was once rich in coal, with over 5000 miners once living on the island.

power

Abandoned Power Plant – Belgium

The Domino Sugar Factory in Darkness

Abandoned Domino Sugar Factory — Brooklyn, New York

281 rigs

Originally built during World War II to protect the River Thames.

References:- http://distractify.com/culture/arts/the-most-spectacular-abandoned-places-in-the-world/ [sourced on 28/12/2013]

Categories: post-apocalyptic film and design, sketchbook and visual diary, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 5 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]

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Contexts: Where to go from here

I’ve been giving my project some thought in regards to context and have come up with a list of potential avenues of research.

The question:- Given the post production techniques available today, what is required from the Production Designer at the pre-production stage in terms of scenic design?

Initially I can break this down into a list:-

Post-production techniques

Production Design/Designers

Pre-production

Scenic design

Each one gives me a vast amount of potential research. I have started to look at the role of the Production designer and art department, seeing where it fits in to the production as a whole. I am also looking at the Pre-production stage.  As my chosen genre is Sci-Fi- the post-apocalyptic/dystopian film/TV production, I will mainly concentrate my scenic design and Production Designer research within these parameters.

 

The genre choice also gives me a wide base of potential research:-

Science fiction in film and contemporary culture.

The role of Production Designer within Science Fiction/changing role?

The culture of Post Apocalypse/Dystopia in modern culture.

Scenic design in Science Fiction.

Post-production techniques in relation to pre-production.

Does Science Fiction differ from other genres in regards to design, pre/post production, the designers, knowledge etc.

Practical:-

Visual research for Science Fiction/the chosen novel (this will form the basis for my practical development in stage 2)

 

I also wrote down a few thoughts when I attended the past MA students lecture that relate to the above and my learning agreement.

-Do culture and politics impact on the books and films that are being produced…and why?

-What do Production Designers think in regards to above(this may become part of my case studies)

-Audiences/readers in regards to science fiction/dystopia/post-apocalyptic books, films, TV. What do they think? (a possible case study/survey/poll. This might be useful for the production designer when dealing with budgets/metaphors/pre-production techniques.

-Determine if there is scope for change within Production Design. The future of the film industry with Sci-fi in mind.

-Can we promote a more holistic approach in the design process, from pre-post production?

 

With this in mind, the contexts for research are as follows:-

Technology:- skills, techniques for sci-fi in a changing world.

Culture/philosophical/social/political:- an overlap of background research into dystopia/post apocalyptic ideas and how it relates to society and film.

Economic:- this relates to technology in regards to the changing film industry/design roles/budgets. Producers?

Audience:- aesthetic issues when turning books into films/how the designer uses visual metaphors/symbolism in design. The designer has to portray the directors vision while keeping audience in mind.

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