Building Spaceships & Living in Star Wars Land - Sort Of!
Having just seen Rogue 1 - A Star Wars Story, I feel somewhat blown away and in awe of the spectacular special effects and the sheer ambition of the film. Even though I’m very lucky to be making my own sci-fi movie, looking at what Gareth Edwards and his team have pulled off has left me feeling slightly shell shocked. What it must feel like to have megabucks to make a movie like that with some of the best creatives on the planet helping you must be mind blowing.
I’ve learnt so much about practical effects and CGI over the last few months, even on the budget of a small house in suburbia, we’ve done some really great work which I am very proud of.
First of all, Huw Bowen (our wonderful 2nd Unit director on our resent tank shoot) has been carefully adding laser and gun fire to the tanks vs alien battle scene – a painstaking job to say the least, but the results… wow!
Huw is now testing out backgrounds for our interior mothership scenes. These are some ideas we are working towards.
Above - Some early interior mother-ship CGI atmosphere tests.
Below - Original concept design of the interior mother-ship by Matt Allsopp.
Once we have the backgrounds for this scene sorted, Huw will be able to get rid of most of the greenscreen which currently fills nearly a sixth of the movie. I can’t tell you just how excited I am about finally doing this. (Green is no longer my favourite colour!!!)
One of our greenscreen scenes - Simon Haycock, Julie Hoult, Sophie Anderson and Danny Steele ready for a laser battle inside the mother-ship.
Lukas Remis is still working hard on the space station scenes and is now nearing completion. He has been working on this for months and months and I know it has been a mountain of work for him.
But again… wow, the scenes are looking completely flawless. A far cry from the cardboard sets Mark Robbins and myself built nearly 4 years ago.
Then there are the Harvester spaceships…
Ian Whiston has been slaving away with the harvester ships and placing them into the street background plates we shot. It’s great to finally be able to see tanks and soldiers firing at the ships and people running from them. For ages the spaceships have just been red blobs crudely animated by myself to give the idea of what they will eventually be doing.
Seeing the work that Ian is doing and the many hours he’s putting into getting this right is very inspiring. It’s a technical and time consuming process and after seeing the scale of FX’s in Rogue 1, I can’t imagine what it must be like to have an army of ILM animators working away for you.
There are some really great shots in our battle scene and I feel genuine exhilaration and excitement when I watch it – especially with the John Williams music which I currently have over it (Minority Report “Everybody Runs” for all you soundtrack buffs out there).
Talking of music, I had a great meeting with a top film composer last week and we sat in a Beefeater restaurant in Hereford watching the movie on my laptop (not something I would ever recommend!). He’s very excited about the movie and will be starting work on it in the New Year. More news on this soon…
In the meantime, I personally have been editing like never before. We have the movie together and it’s looking great but I wanted to try some crazy ideas out which meant some serious and brutal cuts. This has worked a treat and the movie feels very slick and fluid. It’s quite a complicated story which movies along at a fairly rapid pace, these new cuts help to keep you engaged with the characters more which in turn will create more intrigue and excitement for the audience. I’m very excited about this latest edit.
So, as we wrap up on 2016 it’s been a good year for Kaleidoscope Man. To see the movie in its current shape is just great and to be honest, a bit of a relief, especially as this time last year we had about 65% in the can but absolutely no idea how we were going to finance the rest of it. We still don’t have all the money we need to finish it, but I have a feeling that will sort itself out soon, as this movie seems to have a way of getting itself made.
Thank you to everyone who has supported and backed us so far - Kaleidoscope Man may not be Rogue 1, but I think you’re going to love this movie. It’s very moving, exciting and inspiring.
By the way, if you haven’t seen Rogue 1 yet, get down to your local cinema to see it, it’s bloody great!!
Love to you all.
Simon Cox - Writer & director – Kaleidoscope Man