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July 8, 2005

Ah-ha! A blizzard!

by sven at 9:16 pm

New idea. Start the film with a blizzard. Use hypervoxels in LightWave, I think.

We start with a white-out... I'd been thinking it would be neat to start with white, rather than fading up from black, anyway. Howling winds. The blizzard parts... Maybe we see a mountain briefly. Or maybe base-camp. And then, the lavamen step out of the mist...

This solves a bunch of problems all at once. Previously I've been going a stock-footage route, but sending the shots through Photoshop so they match the outdoors-painted look. The trouble is, I've been uncomfortable with not having created that footage myself. I want the whole project to be mine, this time around. Also, if the plane is right by the cave, why do the lavamen act as if they're just discovering it? ...Ah-ha! Because they landed during a blizzard!

The white-out also allows me to do the subtle homage to Kurosawa that I've been wanting. That segment in "Dreams" that's about hikers in a blizzard -- that's been at the back of my mind all this time.

Sound effect ideas: In the opening white-out, we hear the scream of one of the Elder Things. That sets up the question "what the hell was that?" in the audience's minds. I mean, of course they have to know what's coming -- but it's foreshadowing, anticipation. It might also make the ending a little less corny. (Something I've been worrying about.) The ending isn't just "boo!" if it's a bookend.

We could also hear the sound of the airplane through the blizzard -- but that might cause more problems than it's worth. I don't want to have to create spluttering plane sound effects.

If I can get the mist/fog effect to work, then I think I can salvage the shot that introduces the lavamen. The airplane in the background in this shot hasn't looked right to me. But if it's occluded by whiteness, it might be good enough. Plus, having the glowing red figures step out of the fog -- that's much more powerful than introducing them with a simple cut.

So, script-wise, I think I've really just hit on something. Special-effects-wise, I've just created more work. I'll spend a little time testing the concept immediately -- but for the teaser-trailer I should probably start after the blizzard has abated.

Unless, y'know, I get really lucky and the blizzard effects just work right off the bat. (Ha!)

Addendum @ 11pm:

Well, I took an hour and took a stab at blizzarding. The results are promising. It looks like I need to set up a particle emitter in LW, then turn those particles into volumetric hypervoxels. It'll take a while -- particularly since it'll involve rendering time -- but I'm hopeful.

posted by sven | July 8, 2005 9:16 PM | categories: let sleeping gods lie, movies