Production is a GO!

After months of seemingly endless delays and missed opportunities the production is finally picking up pace.  All the pieces are falling into place and the excitement is building again.

First of all I want to apologize for being silent.  I was going by the mantra, the only news should be good news, but a few people pointed out on facebook that any news is important. So I’m going to remedy that.

Here goes…

I have been working on the HEV suit. It’s really coming together. The under suit is proving tricky, at one point I had lined up a seamstress, but it fell through. However I had a realization that I could use a wetsuit as a platform for the under suit and that is working really well. I had shipped to Bernhard (Freeman) for sizing.  Below in the middle is the wetsuit on a chest bust stuffed with t-shirts and underwear.

HEV IMG_20141027_060314 2014-10-21-(1)

Tons of painting still to do and I am planning to get some pieces 3D printed. 3D printing is more economical than sculpting them by hand, so long as the pieces are small. I also have my trusty father working on the electronics panel on the front of the HEV suit.  He did some pretty amazing work on another project I worked on a long time ago.   Lots of LEDs and fans on dimmers and stuff all running on batteries inside a helmet.

helmet lights

I want to provide something that looks cool and I will stay as close to the Black Mesa model below as I feel I should. In the end keeping cost of materials low is imperative.  I have been tempted to add some flair and the image to the bottom right is inspiration for that although something as complex is not possible for this productions small budget.  I have worked on films where the cost to create a suit was many times the entire amount we have raised and for perspective the cost of producing the Robocop suit in the videos below was over 1 million dollars.  Yeah I am just making one orange foam suit but every time a new piece is made it is being made for the first time.  Anyway I am very happy with how its looking so far.

hev-suit zrzjr7fvrhpuxqzfakwx

I look at these images above and watch the videos below when I need inspiration. Awesome!

Steve Wang is committed to providing a Vortigaunt puppet and we will likely shoot it on set, on green screen and also take a 3D scan of it.  That should begin creation in the first week of November. This is an insane process which I hope he will completely document.  First he will literally have to hand sculpt the model in clay and then create a mold that can be used for the outer skin and body of the puppet.  After that I have no idea what the process is.  I have never been part of that type of creation.  Here’s a link to amazing Steve Wang imagery, some recent stuff for RIOT games featuring League of Legends characters I have seen in person and they are epic. Money well spent. A true legend this guy is.

With that in mind creating as much in GC as possible to reduce cost in the production has been of great importance to me. Here’s a couple of examples put together by what’s shaping up to be a pretty amazing VFX team.  Creating back ground props and set dressing in 3D will save enormous cost and complexity and will allow us to move fast on set.  See the test videos below.

Fingers crossed I can keep hold of these guys through and after production.  They have been putting in the effort and made some great stuff.

So much more CG is planned but the focus now is on the things that are required for the shoot itself to happen.  We are looking at a 4 day shoot in the Marin Headlands. There are some awesome old school batteries from pre world war 2 that have a cool industrial look similar to the game.  We are also considering some refinery type locations in the Los Angeles area.  A decision will have to be made within the next couple of weeks.  Permits, the costs of having park rangers, insurance, etc all play a part in the decision.  We need to get all the shots in one location. One exterior and one interior.  Two days at each location is planned.

atlas_obscura Google Maps

Although the plan is to do a lot of effects in CG after the film is shot, there are plans to have practical effects as well.  The rules in California are really strict so there is typically no outside fire or smoke.  We can fake it and then we will do some compressed air cannons for debris. See video below, it’s pretty underwhelming but its basically filled with dirt.  When it comes time on set we will use some pre made movie debris mix.

Thanks to all those that reached out about music. As soon as we get into post production we will reach out and see if anyone still wants to donate their time to compose and go from there.

The script was broken down some time ago and many costumes and props necessary for production have been purchased.  These need to be roughed up and toned for the film. Stone washing, sanding, etc. There are numerous guard and HECU soldiers costumes, wepons etc.  A lot of the time we will probably reuse the same costumes for multiple actors since we dont want to spend on costumes that can be shared.  We will also have several zombie costume variations although only one Headcrab mask. This will be shared, wearing the mask for any great length of time is not fun at all anyway.

I would love to make another but its gonna have to be one that we duplicate with some CG wizzardry.

There are some scenes in the script that involve the G-Man and dialog that he has never said in game.  I am still looking at the dilemma of pulling off that voice which is so specific.  We had reached out to the actual voice actor but never heard anything.  I assume that is a tricky line to cross for any talent.  I have the perfect actor to play the G-Man so we will probably shoot several options and alow for ADR in post or a solution that has not yet presented itself.

Wrapping up then, with at least weekly updates to follow.

Thanks again to everyone that donated.  We are finally bearing down on it and it’s shaping up to be amazing.  There are some really special moments in the script, we have fantastic actors and crew and I cant wait for everyone to see the final film.






Posted on October 27, 2014 in Pre-production

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