Mask update 7-9-2021

I always post my progress on this site so customers can see their mask being made up. As far as I know I’m the only mask maker that does this and it’s fun and informative for the customer. Everything from the casting to the final paint and hair work is done by myself.

Today I’ll lay the hair on this mask. Yesterday was prep to paint, paint, teeth, eyes and glazing.

Work continues day and night on the post production of our film. It is going well and I should have a finished trailer out soon.

Masks 7-8-2021

Filling orders here’s yet another Werewolf of London of Henry Hull. This mask was never popular when I made it back in 2008 but today it’s one of our biggest sellers. Thank you all that have ordered them!

Here’s the mask in the raw rubber straight from the mold before preening and painting. I just pulled this from the mold before leaving the studio last night.

And for those of you new this is a finished mask.

Also I nearly finished the new micro free flight J-3 Piper cub.

It’s needs panel lines for the cowl and elevator, ailerons, and rudder. This will a great indoor flyer and a calm day flyer outside.

A little break

I’ve been putting in so much time in post production that yesterday between pouring orders for mask I worked some more on this tiny free flight J-3 Piper Cub. I also did a bit more on the Laser blast gun. Mark did such a great job on this 3D print it looks just like the real thing.

I’m also getting ready for a first Flight my PA-20 Piper Pacer. This is a much bigger RC airplane all wood and fiberglass no foam here.

The latest 7-6-2021

I used this entire long 3 day weekend to work on the film. The work I’m doing now is usually the work of several people. CGI, 3D modeling, After effects compositing, and editing. I’m doing them all. Without a doubt I’m enjoying it but it is tiring at best. Long days and the machines rendering around the clock and the progress is somewhat slow. I need a bank of super fast computers and even then it takes time.

I assembled a rough first trailer on top of everything else and it’s exactly that, rough. Even now I’m re-rendering shots to remove the flaws and make corrections to color and blend that stands out to me.

Raul Arteaga is going to do a sound mix on the final version later this week. There will be a longer better trailer later on.

The entire time line is in place and much of the editing is done. I’m now cutting in the close ups and other angles we shot. I have a lot of coverage and it’s helped to make correct editorial choices. You can never have too much coverage.

The hardest part was getting the proper look for the Dreamtime effect or look part of the film where the two characters are in that strange dream like building environment. I didn’t want the footage to look crystal clear and in focus but rather dreamy and surreal. Through making the visuals over and over again I arrived at a look using light burst, and camera lens blur for the backgrounds and walking ghosts that I was happy with. Then I had to go back to each After Effects file for each composite and re-render them with the settings matched to that look for consistency.

I’m rendering these files out as Quick Time ProRes files. They take an original 2-3 gigs file shot in camera and up the size to nearly 29 gigs or more which is slowly pushing my hard drive space. Luckily I have a huge Raid that Paul Gentry built me and high speed external drives. I tried using H-264 mpeg 4 with some degrees of success but I found on the highly layered After Effects shots they didn’t hold up and produced a lot noise due to their high compression. They work fine for SNG weekly live action footage but not for effect shots.

Today we are back to the studio to fill some masks orders received over the weekend and to work on the Laser Blast figure!

We hope you all had a great 3 day weekend and enjoyed the holiday!

9 years at SNG Studio

I’ve said it before but it’s been 9 years since Mary and I moved into this wonderful creative space. I just can’t get my head around it. So much has happened hear. So many people from all walks of life and fame have been here. It would be hard to list them all but the guest book tells the story.

So much creative work from art, sculpture, props, models, and films we have made and still are making. I really must write the SNG Studio story at some point. I have a wealth of pictures and even video from our events here.

As I was cleaning up my office I took some pictures in detail of some of my treasures not seen in past pictures. Here’s a Gallery of them.

Spring Cleaning and old friends revisited

I have been on a cleaning binge for awhile now. Between filling orders and working on my film every week night and weekend. I had over time this build up of clutter, dust, dog hair, and spiders and their webs that just had to be dealt with.

The models where covered in dust. Many the lights weren’t working on. Power supplies had failed and some the cords were ripped out of. This is what happens after a couple of years of neglect and the Covid lockdown.

I got rid of the things that were clutter and thinned it out so it’s just things I love. I still have much to do but the office is pretty clean. I removed all the computers for visual effects and editing and brought them home. Only 2 PCs remain for printing and internet purposes. I never did like doing post production at the studio.

When I get the post production set up at home finished I’ll out some pictures of that up too. What I’ve done so far I really like. I’ll be getting an additional high end PC to add to the mix soon as I plan to make many more films.

Here’s some pictures of the office. I’ll get more today and a video tour. The old TMP Enterprise was built over 15 years ago and was my first of that model and the only one that remains. It was shoved upstairs broken and falling apart. Originally made as a RC sub it wasn’t fully lighted and did have a NAV board. I didn’t know about them then and the water would have shorted it out anyway. Instead if had just blinkers.

I got it to light up again and it looks pretty good but this will be a project later on to Re-fit the Refit with up to date lighting and details since the entire model was made to come apart. Even the saucer section is put together with screws as is the engineering hull.

Monday’s work

Mary and I had a peaceful Monday at the studio. Mary worked on her paintings and I made up a V-2 Rocket kit order. I forgot to glaze the eyes and mouth on the Salt Vampire so I did that and packed it up to ship.

I also made a repair to my Canterbury J Class sailboat. I found that the screw for the rudder was backing out slowly that could have resulted in my losing rudder control. Glad I found it before that happened.

I then did a little work on the J-3 Cub and got some more covering on her.

Got home and tested the other sailboat in the hot tub and found no leaks. Nice and dry boat. I plan to take the first voyage with her Friday. It will be nice to have both boats tested.

Lastly I worked to about 8pm on the film doing VFX work in After Effects and got some amazing results! I made the first composite of the characters Mark and Adolf in the opening scene in “The Dreamtime”. I have been waiting a couple of weeks now to do this as I had other footage to edit and comp first. In editing I work from the beginning to the end in a linear fashion. The effect I got with the green screen footage was beyond my expectations bringing an end to a perfect day.

I love Filmmaking

This all takes me back to high school and college. I had a 3 man crew, my friends as actors, a 16mm camera and a Nagra for sound. I made films. Not movies. Kubrick was my inspiration and it’s never stopped for me. The passion is strong.

To me film is art. You don’t follow the rules of the movie maker that puts out branded products to suit the needs of their pocket books feeding the public a formula they will eat.

Let’s face it, art is art and in the eye of the artist. This current film I’m making meets this criteria. 
I’m a one man band on the post production of this film aside from the help of Raul Arteaga. He was my assistant director and creative contributor to this film during production. He is now sound and sound editing for the film. I’m doing all the editing and VFX. That includes the green screen composites and there are a lot of them.

Using Unreal Engine for my backgrounds and virtual sets is a dream come true. It’s powerful, fast rendering and allows me to play god. This outmodes Maya, Lightwave, and the rest of those old programs in this experienced VFX man’s opinion. I am one that has used most of them in the past. Best part. It’s free.
So I’m plugging along daily, every chance I get between the lines of the studio to make this film. And I’m writing the next script which is about the importance of space exploration and how it will solve all our problems on Earth first. And it’s a drama, not a documentary, I don’t think I’m cut out to do docs. Although I may try it one day.

Here’s a few frame grabs from the edit bay. God I love this work. I’m so thankful to still be alive in a time when the technology and equipment allows us to make films without the need for Hollywood. The sky’s the limit. Or is it? 😉