Monday, December 10, 2012

Scene 02 - The Run

Second scene on the movie is a run from Flint´s office to the bank. I wanted to experiment creating a run that would fit most, if not all of my character´s properties. In my movie it´s mainly his visual aspect, however I tried to make it reflect a bit of my character´s personality.

With this in mind, I had to decide the tempo of the run. It had to be fast, silly and it had to bend the laws of physics while at the same time still remain believable. I went for a 6 frames per step run. It´s fast, almost unbelievably fast. Following the line of thought, I then made the distance between each contact position big enough so that it would seem that Flint actually gives a little jump. This distance seemed to big at some points, as illustrated bellow, but it looked good because of the small amount of frames.

One curious thing that happened by chance when deciding the distance he would travel, was that I found a interesting arm and hand position. At first, I planned to do the run with both arms staying behind the character at all times, and only have a small swing when following the opposite leg. But then when I was creating the first and last frame of one step, I had posed the character´s hands and arms randomly behind him, and in a awkwardly high position on the first frame, and when I moved to the last frame, I noticed that in the middle position (frame 3) my character would have both his hands parallel and exactly in the same position.

This just looked so good to me that I decided to only have his lower arms doing the swing, while maintaining the upper arms variation to a bare minimum, thus having the arms and hands behind my character all the time, like I wanted.

I also planned the scenario to have some direction variations, so that I could film it from different distances and perspectives to make the run fun and varied and capture the comic aspect of it. Initially the plan was to make the run along this path and film it all:

However, animating the run was very time consuming, the scenario was big and I would not have time to animate him running the whole distance, so I decided to cut some corners and use my cameras to simulate the feeling of this run being long (enough), and change directions.

So I had 4 cameras, however right now only the first 3 matter.

 One at the door where Flint leaves his office to start the run, and this camera would follow and catch my character doing a direction change by turning a corner. And it would film my character from the side and in the end, a few steps from his back.

Second one perpendicular to the first one and filming Flint after cutting the corner. I used frames from the first run to save time, and I increased the camera distance, but maintained the side view. It captured my character crossing the screen and disappearing. And after leaving the screen he jumps from position one to position two in the screen shot bellow and there starts shot 3 in camera 3.

I then used a Third camera that would be in front of my character and would follow him until he reached the Bank building. The shot starts right after a turn in the sidewalk in my scenario. I was afraid that this wouldn´t look good, and maybe would throw away the audience because it would not make sense in the image sequence, but it turns out that it´s barely noticeable due to the different camera angles and positions throughout the 3 shots. This saved time, work, and still gave the feeling I wanted to transmit.

In shot 3 Flint reaches his maximum speed, and then comes to a slow stop. Looking back at this shot, and remembering what Richard Williams wrote, the camera angle was not the best one. First it´s much, much harder to animate a run viewed from the front and second I think that it does not transmit the feeling of slowing down with the body in the same way as if it was being shot on a more side view. I believe this happens because you can visualize much better the spine movements and the weight shifting involved in the movement of the character trying to slow down his speed. So this is a lesson to next time.

On shot 4, at the bank entrance, Flint is already walking, and I tried to reproduce the feeling of being tired, and feeling the weight of his body on him after such an intense run. Looking at it now, it worked nice, however the shot could use a few more steps, and a bit faster tempo, so that he could drag his feet a sufficient amount of time for this feeling to be convincing.

In retrospective, I feel happy how this scene looks, although now I would animate and shoot it differently.

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