Monday, December 27, 2004

Why 3-D?

I have been obsessed with 3-D since childhood. Be it movies, comic books, ViewMasters, you name it. As a kid, with colored pencils, I would even make my own anaglyph perspective drawings. I actually missed the 3-D movie revival in 1982-83, and didn't see my first theatrical 3-D movie until the (now hard to find) sci-fi animated cartoon, STARCHASER: THE LEGEND OF ORIN, in 1985. That was the same year that a late night horror movie host sent us to the neighborhood 7-11 to get glasses for the special showing of the low-budget Canadian horror film, THE MASK (I still have them!). I tried to track down everything I could find that was 3-D related, including buying a Super 8mm camera attachment from Spondon Film in England, which allowed you to make anaglyph movies in-camera.

In case you're wondering what anaglyph is, it refers to 3-D images viewed using red and blue colored glasses. Theatrical movies, including all of the 80's features, use polarized glasses for a full color experience. Unfortunately, the polarizing system is fairly complicated to use. It requires a special projector lens, and some calibration - plus a highly reflective silver screen for best results. Recent big screen 3-D ventures (including FREDDY'S DEAD and SPY KIDS 3-D) have been distributed anaglyph - which is done in the lab, and requires no special modification to the projector.

As technology improved, the home marketplace saw the rise of a superior full-color 3-D system, known as field sequential 3-D. Field sequential systems use electronic shutterglasses to blink the right and left eyes alternately on and off so the viewer sees a full 3-D image. Although I believe it was primarily developed for the medial industry, the system was exploited by the Japanese in the late 80's, with a laserdisc format known as VHD, to release full-color 3-D versions of the early 80's 3-D movie wave. Titles such as FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 3, JAWS 3-D, SPACEHUNTER: ADVENTURES IN THE FORBIDDEN ZONE, HOUSE OF WAX, etc, all found their way to this format, and have now turned up on DVD on eBay. Aside from catching a revival showing of one of these films in a theater, this is the best way to see them. Recent IMAX shorts, such as HAUNTED CASTLE and ENOUNTER IN THE 3RD DIMENSION, have turned up for sale domestically in this format. You can get more information on the system by visiting, who sells an affordable set.

Anyway... since I believe that every movie should be made in 3-D, I did some digging. What kind of 3-D could be produced with home made CGI? More specifically, could it be done in Poser? Well, low and behold, it can. I won't get into the technical specifics of that now (we'll wait for a slow news week), but basically what you're doing is rendering the movie twice, once for the left eye, and then again, 2-degrees to the right. These two versions can be combined in post-production to make field sequential 3-D, anaglyphic 3-D, or any other 3-D format that will eventually be dreamed up. And, the upside is (for all exhibition considerations), you have a perfectly acceptable 2-D version of your movie as well.

Before I started working on the movie (actually before I even started on the script), I made the FRANKENSTEIN VS THE WOLFMAN teaser trailer that you can find elsewhere on this website. I even have a field sequential version, in living color, and it rocks. So, the future bodes well. I have seen and studied a lot of 3-D movies, and it's resulted in a lot of theoretical knowledge. I've always wanted to make a 3-D movie - so here's my chance. Besides, 3-D is on the cusp of another resurgence. The 3-D POLAR EXPRESS is the highest grossing IMAX film to date. Robert Rodriguez is apparently doing another 3-D kids movie, THE ADVENTURES OF SHARK BOY AND LAVA GIRL, and James Cameron (who is currently making 3-D underwater IMAX movies) plans to return to the big screen with the 3-D sci-fi epic BATTLE ANGEL.

When I get the photo gallery up and running, I'll post anaglyph versions in addition to the 2D screencaps, so you can see how it looks.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

So - Why Frankenstein vs the Wolfman?

After RAVEN 2, I was developing a number of projects, none of which seemed to be coming together. The two rules I have, when working on filmmaking projects, is a) don't repeat yourself, and b) cross another genre off the to-do list. The first RAVEN satisfied my desire to do a superhero/dark avenger/Goth action movie; with the second I was able to do a gritty, satanic private detective thriller. I wrote a script for Raven 3, but felt I was mandated to tie up loose plot threads, which ultimately wasn't very interesting. I then wrote a 3-part crime story anthology (one piece was actually backstory on Lucas Foster), but after the initial writing, I lost interest in that one as well.

One idea that had been floating around in the back of my brain for a while centered on three orphaned pickpockets, in a non-specific, Dickensian time period. These three kids teamed up with a aging Ernest Hemingway-type to combat a supernatural Jack the Ripper. The story also featured a secondary character - a reanimated man with no past, who was tasked with collecting and burying the city's plague and murder victims. Over the course of the story, he went from being a suspect to an asset, possessing a natural condition that rendered him immune to the villain's power. I could see the characters clearly, but I could never get the story to work. The group needed a better nemesis.

The current trend of horror movie team-ups gave me an idea... what if the reanimated fellow in the story actually was the Frankenstein monster? Naturally his antagoinst would be the Wolfman. My proposed story would follow the same basic outline as the orphan idea. Except, I would make the monster the one the kids partner with, and have the writer be the Wolfman. By creating new backstories, I felt energized - further distancing the characters from those made famous by Universal studios. This idea caught fire. I have been a horror movie addict for my entire life, and although the two Raven movies have horror elements, I haven't yet made a movie squarely set within the genre. I had visions of skeletal woods, full moons, and crumbling graveyards and knew this was the one I wanted to do.

As of now, I'm working on some preliminary animation. I don't consider myself to be in full production mode yet; that'll come after the voices are recorded. This is kind of a head start. I'm working on a scene that comes late in the movie, the final battle between the Monster and the Wolfman, which has little dialogue. I plan to make a major update to the site after we get the voices done, in early 2005. I'll be posting cast and character info, the full script, the poster, and the first images from the movie. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Test Renders and Preparation

The screenplay is finished, at least a version that I'm happy with, and can hand out. Andy is functioning as casting director, and tells me that he's found people to fill all the roles. The whole casting process is more difficult on this movie due to the need for English accents. I'm still skeptical as to what we'll eventually be able to get, but I'm hopeful.

I'm trying to map out a plan of attack for production. With the first two Raven movies, I would animate one shot, and then render it before moving on to the next. That consumed an awful lot of time, and basically locked up my computer for hours (sometimes days) at a time. In the interest of efficiency, I think this time around I'm going to animate the entire movie in one go, and then begin the rendering process. Since I have to make virtually two movies (one for the right eye and one for the left), I plan to render out one version completely, then as the second one renders, edit and score the first.

The only thing slowing me down is the extra time needed to position the 3D camera. I hope that as I get back in the swing of things that will become easier. The test renders are looking good. I'm making analgyphs (red/blue) to check the depth of the images on my computer, and the 3D is working as well as expected. If only there was some kind of Poser plug in that would allow you to see it in 3D as you worked...

Production Begins

Hello, this is Colin Clarke and I'll be using this space to update you on the progress of my new movie, FRANKENSTEIN VS THE WOLFMAN. As of this writing, the second draft of the screenplay is complete, and is currently undergoing extensive revisions. It's being written with the help of Marc Packard, who also collaborated on the script to the original RAVEN.
The character models for most of the main cast have been designed, dressed and finalized. Once again, like RAVEN and RAVEN 2, I'm using Curious Lab's Poser 4 to make the movie. Why Poser? Because I don't know jack about 3D modeling and animation, that's why. I'm faking my way through it with this fantastic program that makes 3D animation something within the reach of people who know little about it. Seriously. Poser comes with its own "people" models, and more high-resolution characters can be purchased or downloaded from stores and databases online. The Frankenstein character I'm using is from
Daz3D, and the Wolfman is a model created by Sixus1, and is available from Renderosity. Other places you should visit for clothing and prop needs: Poserworld and PoserOnline.

Voice casting is underway, with the help of Andy Carlson, who under the banner of Darkhouse Productions, is hip deep in a bunch of projects of his own - including producing local bands, developing screenplays, role-playing games, commercial artwork, you name it. Hopefully, we'll be able to get some headshots of the actors playing each part, and post them along with the character they'll be playing in the Characters section of this site.I have talked to Ryan Wummel, who composed the music for both RAVEN and RAVEN 2 about scoring this one, and he's agreed.

The purpose of this log is to document, as well as possible, the making of this short movie - from concept to execution. I expect that the whole process of making the movie may take between one-and-a-half and two years, with a target runtime of 20 minutes. In that time, I will try to make regular updates on this site of images, audio clips, video clips, and other stuff. Thanks for visiting, and check back soon!