Beginners needing advice

ScottyBros Posts: 35 Enthusiast
edited April 2018 in Practical Filmmaking

We've just finished writing part 2 of our first movie "Star Wars Flight of the Renegade" and need to get down to planning production. (with no experience at all, we taught ourselves Express in just under a month)

One conclusion is that we have exhausted our source material for backgrounds and sets (Star Wars the Old Republic) and would like to start directing scenes with a combination of 2D and 3D elements. The step up to Hitfilm Pro now seems clear for our desired VFX needs. However, we would appreciate any feedback from veterans for some of these new hurdles...

  1. a new ship...we need our own millinium falcon...a decent sized plot device that is a character, set, and a mode of transportation. We've seen lots of great free/cheap 3D ships online but nothing with a detailed interior we can also use as animated sets.
  2. droids...we need 2 non-humanoid animated droids. Again, lots of stuff out there, but are we going to be able to animate them using Pros tools? Is motion capture from a live actor even possible?
  3. distance models... we are building a practical speeder bike prop for close up shots but would like to use a 3D stand-in for distant shots needing extreme stunts. Is pasting an image (of the practical effect) onto a simple model a good way to go about this? 

Thanks in advance for any advice in advance!!

(edit) HA! Looks like I need advice in how to embed a movie here first!


  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,080 Ambassador

    Scotty. I'll look at your other questions a bit later--getting ready for work. 

    I fixed the embed. On this forum, all you need to do is click the share link on YouTube, copy and paste the basic share link without the embed code. 

  • ScottReid
    ScottReid Posts: 145 Enthusiast

     That was a pretty awesome video.

    I have watched a few sci-fi shows recently on Amazon prime and your video has put their VFX to shame.

  • ScottyBros
    ScottyBros Posts: 35 Enthusiast

     Thanks a lot Scott!, 4 hijacks and one compliment (appreciated) but no input. 

    Did I post this in the wrong forum category?



  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,080 Ambassador

    Well, I split the hijacks to a new thread. 

    The other questions. 

    Interior sets: chances are you are NOT going to find a free model of a ship that also includes a detailed interior. I'm not aware of any. You can browse model sites like Turbosquid for sci-fi interiors, but on that particular site nothing free looks particularly Star Wars. Foundation3D has some Star Wars interiors, but I think they're all Death Star or Tantive IV interiors. But, unless someone else can think of a specific model, you'll have to browse. 

    Droids: Again, this is about browsing model sites. I personally don't have any Star Wars type non human droids other than an R2 and BB-8. The R2 is from a VideoCopilot pack, the,I'd have to track down the site of the artist who posted it.

    Animation of droids: this will depend on how the model is built. If it's correctly separated into parts, yes, you can assign animation groups and build a point rig.

    Starting around 12:30 in this video, I do a demo rig of a Dalek. 

    Note that animation is possible in Hitfilm, but it's basic point rigging, no bones, no IK. As @ZachAlan_Productions can tell you that makes it "fun" to deal with anything with legs trying to keep feet from slipping. 

    Hitfilm does not directly deal with mocap data. You would have to have other motion capture software and a 3D program capable of applying the mocap data to a model, and be able to export the model/animation in either Alembic or FBX format. Hitfilm can import Alembic and FBX files. 

    This tutorial discusses exporting Alembic from Blender for import to Hitfilm. 

    Distance models: Lots of "It Depends" here. If you're shooting practical for CG overlay you'll probably need to know 2D and Mocha tracking. For a static camera and a simple motion (say the bike moving straight side to side across the frame) a point track will do it. Start moving the camera or having the bike turn and you need 3D tracking, which requires a mocha solve for the camera, then another Mocha track for the object. There was a Zach King video a few years back using speeder bikes. He built a full speeder bike from cardboard and plastic. His VFX work was just removing the wheels. This is probably a better way to do this for 90% of your shots.

  • ScottyBros
    ScottyBros Posts: 35 Enthusiast

    Thanks a lot! I am going to follow up on each one of these tips asap.

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,080 Ambassador