The Last Jamurai

Keegan Posts: 294 Just Starting Out
Hey guys! back with another film!
As usual, I try to focus on the effects I used Hitfilm for as opposed to After Effects, which is my primary effects software at the moment. So here goes!
Trapcode particular is a wonderful plugin, but not without its faults. Hideous render times and sub-par optimization with CS6 have made a lot of things fairly difficult for me on this month's film. Luckily, I have lots of experience with Hitfilm's particle engine and used it many times.
The main effect is, of course, the red particles. However, there were instances when I needed musical notation inside a particle system. Particular supports this, but its super resource-heavy and would have added an insane amount of render and preview time to my film. So, once again, Hitfilm comes to the rescue. It handled those particles like they were nothing. Seeing Hitfilm beat-out RedGiant's monstrosity of a plugin really surprised me.
The moral of the story is this: Hitfilm is more than capable of picking up the slack of After Effects and other popular plugins. By using multiple programs, you can work through shots much faster knowing where each program has its own strengths!!

As always, feedback is greatly appreciated! Your criticisms help me grow as a filmmaker!


  • KirstieT
    KirstieT Posts: 1,187 Staff
    So very many moustaches being torn off in that sequence! :) I like the simple theme - a music battle isn't something I would have ever thought of doing, but it worked well.
    I'm not so knowledgeable about particle simulation so I can't comment on your effects so much (although I did like the final effect where they jumped off his guitar and became notes, that was pretty cool. Kind of made me think of a real-life version of Guitar Hero). The sound was clear and as you made it clear it was a comedy, the costumes and somewhat hammy (sorry if it wasn't meant to be) acting at the beginning was well justified. 
    I liked it!
  • SimonKJones
    SimonKJones Posts: 4,448 Enthusiast
    edited August 2013
    Well, now, this is entirely good fun! Quite possibly my favourite video of yours so far. It feels a lot more assured and cohesive than your previous work, as if the technical ability is catching up with the ambition and innovation. This is a great concept, neatly executed.
    One thing I would say is that I would have liked to see wider shots. A lot of the time the shots felt too constricting, which reduced the impact of some of the VFX and cool action moves, and occasionally resulted in the geography of the space being a little confused. Comparing it to what's probably its nearest competitor, Corridor Digital's Dubstep Guns, compare how they retain a sense of physical space and shoot wide enough to get a really good sense of how the VFX are playing into the scene:
    Maybe it's also the occasional longer shot in the edit, which slows down the action for a moment?
    Anyway, really loved this. Also great to hear that HitFilm was a vital, useful part of your post. Would love to know a bit more about what was used for what.
  • spydurhank
    spydurhank Posts: 3,193 Expert
    Very, very cool.  :) 
  • Keegan
    Keegan Posts: 294 Just Starting Out
    KirstieT- Don't worry, we were trying to make it as hammy as possible! xDD
    Simon- Thanks! I referenced Dubstep Guns for a lot of the sequences! I know what you mean when you say the geography got a little confused. I tried to add a few wide shots in there following your advice from my previous film, but I agree that some of the shots were just too close. Lots of times it ust looks like the particles are leaving the frame and we never see what happens to them!
    The biggest issue I felt I had was coverage. I broke the 180 degree "rule" countless times, leaving me not a lot to work with in editing. Why did I do this? I have no idea. When you write/shoot/produce/direct/light/cater all by yourself, you  have less mental RAM, if you will, to dedicate to your creative vision. Since we shot this chronologically, you can actually watch as the shots get worse and worse as the day went on. By the end, I was so dehydrated and flustered, my composition skills reverted to what they were 4 years ago! xD
    As far as Hitfilm, Whenever you see particles as notes, that was hitfilm. The glow and everything was brough back into AE to blend with the Particular layers. I also did a lot of the displacement effects in hitfilm. I don't know why, but Hitfilm's deplacement map effect always has looked better to me than After Effects' equivalent. I couldn't tell you what it is, but After Effects feels dull and wonky, as where Hitfilm's feels sharp and glossy. Maybe Im just crazy xD
  • StormyKnight
    StormyKnight Posts: 2,722 Ambassador
    Nope- you're not crazy. Great job! Three thumbs up. ;) 
  • MatthiasClaflin
    MatthiasClaflin Posts: 674 Just Starting Out
    That was really good. The effects were very well done and, with the exception of a bit of confusing geography, it was very good. I personally didn't find the breaking of the 180 degree rule all that bothersome, but it was distracting a time or two. I too would have liked to see a wide shot or two, possibly including both the enemies and the jamuri in the frame. Other than that I thought this was very well done.
  • MichaelJames
    MichaelJames Posts: 2,034 Enthusiast
    How did you get Keanu Reeves to be in your video? ;)  Whats his quote? Id love to do a shot for shot remake of the Matrix but using Street dance as their fighting style.
  • JoeyVFX
    JoeyVFX Posts: 38 Just Starting Out*
    Yup, I got a huuuuge Corridor Digital vibe from this video. Great work!
  • DanielMorgan
    DanielMorgan Posts: 324 Just Starting Out
    Well that's a fantastic video you have made, really enjoyed it. A nice concept, I do see the corridor digital connection inspiration:)  I would have liked to have seen maybe a bit more sound design representing the VFX, I think there was a lack of exploration in that department which would have aided the overall effect. I had really no problems with the way it was shot. I thought the grading was very nice & I thought the VFX were very satisfactory. 
    Maybe It would have been cool to have seen that final power struggle from the other 3's point of view a little more, to add to the intensity of that sequence but that's totally personal taste. The 'breaking' of the 180 degree rule wasn't a major problem for me. I think I might understand why you shot it the way you did, I get the feeling that in an attempt to have a really dynamic flowing shot structure, it just happened to get lost in that maybe?
    It happens to me. I actually feel a nice way to counteract that is to story board your sequence. It doesn't have to be massively indepth, uh but having an idea of the shot structure will mean you'l have a better idea of hows its gonna be cut together when your shooting. You'l be more aware of the 180 degree rule then. I think the way it's shot is pretty good though, that opening move with the camera headed toward them in a sort of still motion is cracking. 
    I think this was a really cool concept executed pretty well - I look forward to seeing your next piece of work :)
  • Keegan
    Keegan Posts: 294 Just Starting Out
    Thanks for the tips!
    I actually did storyboard it on a 3-hour flight, but I left the boards at home during shoot day! Oops! xD
    But I get what you mean! I'll try to make things a bit more cohesive next time!!
    I'm glad you liked the 3D tracking shots! They really pull you in to the story and I was really happy with how some of them turned out!
  • SimonKJones
    SimonKJones Posts: 4,448 Enthusiast
    Incidentally, the shot with the camera pulling back fast with the two bad guys attacking, one leaping over the other: aces.