a film by R. Zane Rutledge
R O M T H E T R E N C
H E S
S e p t e m b e r 1 9 9 9
digital rebirth of Hell is Texas was about as crazed
and over-ambitious as the original project itself. That is,
my plans tended to vastly out-reach realistic expectations.
Heck, I've learned a lot about visual effects in a decade of
computer graphics commercial work. But then again, we usually
have a team of people working for six-to-ten weeks
to produce less than thirty seconds of material. And
I had big plans for expanding and augmenting and digitally-modifying
eighty-something minutes of live-action western.
to say, it didn't all get done.
some wonderful stuff happened. Some really cool stuff, considering
absolutely no budget and only seven or so months of mostly weekends
and late nights. That and a team that for a week or two expanded
to about five volunteer artists working at the same time, but
was mostly just one -- me.
proved some things. It helped me form a much clearer perspective
on the use of visual effects in indie film projects; the time
involved; the value to the production. I'll likely cobble out
my own "digital manifesto" soon and call it "Why CGI? (Computer
Graphics Imagery)," because now I know you better have a good
reason for spending the time, even if you can avoid spending
lots of money (which most people can't).
those who are interested, here's a little rundown on some of
the effects I produced. Most of them are "transparent effects,"
fixes like wire-removal or background replacement. Things that
if they were done right, you'll never even notice. Things that
improved continuity, or timing, or mood. A couple sequences
had more overt effects work -- some "ghost" sequences, with
people appearing and disappearing in wisps of smoke. Plus a
few smoke-clouds and bullet-hits we didn't get on location with
the techies, here's the rundown on hardware/software used: Most
compositing was done in Adobe After Effects on a Mac G3; roto
and paint-fixes were accomplished with Puffin Design's Commotion;
some shots were finished or helped by Flame artists using discreet
logic's Inferno/Flame/Flint running on respective SGI machines.
The 3D work was mostly Softimage (on SGI Octanes), with particle
systems (smoke) being produced exclusively with Alias PowerAnimator.
T h e E f f e c t s
a little glimpse into seven of the sequences enhanced with digital
trickery. There were others, but this should give you a taste
of what DV technology and effects post-production did for Hell
Chicken Sequence: Dynamic Moving Footage from Locked-off Source
Hell is Texas ©1999 by Puppy Dog Head Productions. All Rights Reserved.
668 ©copyright 2000 by r zane rutledge. all rights reserved.