Week 1: The Pitch

Earlier in the week, we met as a group to go over concept art and the pre-vis camera move. Shiny crated a Maya scene of the office layout using models downloaded from the web. She and I began blocking out the initial camera move while Lauren worked on creating the concept art by painting over one of our renders from the Maya scene. For the camera move, we wanted to make the viewer feel as though they were stepping behind the lens as the crime scene photographer. To achieve this, we had the camera move throughout the scene with a first-person hand-held type movement, pausing at certain moments and snapping "pictures" of the areas in the crime scene. Our inspiration imagery and camera move can be seen below:

Reference Images

Concept Art and Layout

Camera Move

We presented our concept pitch and pre-vis to the DWA team today and we recieved some great feedback. The concept was well-received, and they thought our story was very interesting. They suggested that we rethink the camera movement as a series of vignettes instead of the hand-held movement. They also brought up the idea that if we are going to do film noir, we have to commit to it, so going to more contrast and making the lighting really graphic will be essential, since the style relies heavily on telling the story through light and shadow. They encouraged us to try and create a very heavy atmosphere and try to find a camera move that tells the story in a compelling way.

Week 1: Introductions

Today was the first official class meeting and video conference call with DWA. Each group introduced themselves to Dave, Grazia, Megan, and Courtney, and Dave outlined how the critique/"dailies" process will operate. As a team, we decided on the name "Electric Sheep", inspired by the book Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. This novel was the main story inspiration for Blade Runner, a classic neo-noir film that uses the film noir style with a modern twist. We hope to create a similar aesthetic in our piece, with graphic, high-contrast lighting and color. 

Now, we are working on developing the pre-vis concept art, and preparing our official project pitch for our meeting with DWA on Friday. We have started to assemble a Maya scene with downloaded assets and have begun blocking out the initial camera movement. Our story synopsis can be read below:

The year is 1948, in Chicago. Late at night, a call is made to the Chicago Police Department. On the phone is Dean Lewis, a distinguished private investigator. Dean has been working closely on a case with the Chicago PD, investigating Michael Scarpelli, a notorious hitman working for a well-known crime outfit run by the Marcello family. Dean has called the Chicago PD in order to report on a recent breakthrough he has made in the case. While on the phone with the PD, Dean is violently interrupted and a dangerous altercation can be heard on his end of the line. The perpetrator is unknown but seems to be ruthlessly attacking the investigator, as if he had some personal vendetta. The police officer on the phone begins yelling into the receiver, desperately trying to interrupt the conflict, when suddenly the line is cut and the call is dropped. An eerily morbid dial tone rings out into phone as the officer hurriedly assembles backup and heads to the investigator’s office. When the police arrive on the scene, there are clear signs of struggle found throughout the office. Case files from the Scarpelli investigation are strewn across the desk and floor, some covered in blood stains. Despite being the setting of an obvious conflict, Dean and the perpetrator are nowhere to be found. The police immediately suspect Scarpelli to be the assailant, and they begin setting up a crime scene.