What are some good super powers for a short film?

MichaelJames
MichaelJames Website User Posts: 2,034 Enthusiast
So I am working on a project and wanted to see if I can get some ideas for super powers that would work well for a indie that you yourself might film?  My goal is to limit powers to something that's useful but not overly powerful and not like a impossible amount of work in post.  My goal is to have the people with the powers in training. 

I know I want the main hero to use Telekinesis which can be very difficult but I will give it to the over all main hero who won't be really able to use it till the vary end.
I am thinking about doing Teleportation because it can be simple, done well from a technical standpoint and be a plot device later.

I am looking for 3-4 more powers that I can do to great effect, aren't overly powerful and won't be logistical nightmares when it comes to incorporating them.  Like I loved orangePekoe's cryokinesis but I look at ice powers as too big because besides being pretty powerful it would take some working to have a good effect.  Super strength is out because I want to do more then the classic tv where you cheat the shot to make it look like someone is getting lifted.  Or how Filmriot did when they threw ryan.

Any ideas would be appreciated so I can try to find something which works.

Comments

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 19,784 Ambassador
    edited July 2014
    Tk and teleport, ok... Both of those involve movement, somehow, so, superspeed... (And Film Riot just did it)
    Invisibility is easy. Just need a cool wipe to remove the actor, and invisible person moving objects is the same edit tricks as TK. Invisibility is bending light, so "movement based..." (I am seeing if I can do a "kinetic" theme.)
    How about Gambit/Bishop energy-transfers. Both of them convert energy from one form to another. Gambit-type kinetic energy transfers to objects could be fun, and those objects would, again, be the same kinds of edit tricks as TK and superspeed.
    Telepathy and precognition are visually easy to do: TP can be all audio editing. Pre-cog is just quick-cuts of short shots intercutting with the pre-cog's face.
    A power-drainer like Leech or Parasite is visually easy. Just touch another character and powers stop.
    And, of course, there's tons of way to do a good ol-energy blast.
    Sonic powers: sonics are often visualized via concentric rings, but sound is vibrations in a medium--thats masked fractal noise, etc and a displacement map. Look at Rody's Bullet-Time tutorial where he did the bullet shockwave with the particle sim and displacement. That's a good sonic blast.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ez-3UQsNNg&list=UUDgr6-zVkvRwE52EB5fHLgg
  • MichaelJames
    MichaelJames Website User Posts: 2,034 Enthusiast
    Super speed is interesting in general but I don't think there is a steep enough learning curve in learning to use that ability.  People may never get super creative with that power but its pretty easy to get up and going.
    Invisibility is easy but I think it is too close to the teleportation power in terms of function for my story.  I want the teleporter to be the quick means of exit that eventually gets disabled.  The goal is to have the TK step up and actually get useable with his powers when the teleporter is disabled and the others get captured.
    I want someone with the visual flare of gambit/bishop but without the instant badass of the power.  I was thinking of a power like Psylocke's, the psychic knife.  Something colorful but of limited range and not physically damaging.
    I would love a kind of limited telepathy or something where the person lets out lights and something colorful. 

    I am trying to avoid the energy projection attack powers just because I am trying to make things a challenge in a fight. 
    I need to make time to watch the movie SkyHigh to see if there are some doable powers.  I kind of like the idea of duplicates/illusions.
  • Triem23
    Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 19,784 Ambassador
    edited July 2014
    But, if the TK isn't with the group, and the teleport is disabled, then the invisible guy can be the one to escape and get the TK and give the final "man up" speech to rescue the rest?
    Telepathy and pre-cog can always be enhanced with an eye glow or something.
    Speed may NOT be the easiest one to get up and running (pun intended)--comics ignore a lot of the physics of superspeed--like friction and inertia. Kinetic energy/inertia is a function of speed * mass, so you could get some nice comic moments of a speedster trying to make a 90 degree turn on a dime and finding out that he can't keep his balance--maybe the speedster takes a full mile of running to make a 180 degree turn, or maybe the speedster needs special shoes for increased traction to not just go spinning off into the distance?
    Gambit/Bishop powers don't have to be instant badass either--sticking with Gambit-type charging for a moment, what if adding kinetic energy affects the structure of a substance--so, trying to charge playing cards fails because so much energy is given to the card, the card just disintegrates when thrown--exploding in the heroes face. Maybe he can only charge objects so massive that he can't actually move them, until the fine control is learned to balance a charge with stability? Onthe other hand, you can have a cool car chase-type scene where the heroes vehicle gets a speed boost due to the combined powers of the kinetic-charger (Gambit) giving kinetic enrgy to the car, and the speedster pushing!
    Obviously I don't know your plot structure, so I'm totally riffing here.
    Gravity effects could be done in a way similar to TK--maybe add some distortion in there, like I suggested for sonics, since increasing/decreasing gravity would also cause the air to move like heat haze?
    Don't forget good ol' superstrength--BUT, maybe the hero has super strong muscles, but NOT super strong bones! His muscles can exert more force than his skeleton can stand, so he can't throw cars-and, if he does something dumb like lift a half-ton object with one hand, he'd dislocate his shoulder! If superstrength requires the hero to stop and properly brace/look for leverage before using the power that's a good limitaion.... In later stories this character could wear a rigid body armor designed to give the lever support his skeleton doesn't...
    Apropos of nothing: I had done a poster of the owner of the Karaoke company I do work for as Captain America. So I was asked to do one of the whole crew as "KaraokAvengers," which I whipped up tonight.
    I dibs'd Tony. Otherwise, Feminizing Thor was a pain in the butt! But I used Kate Upton's breasts...
    14761138786_82baeddca9_o.jpgKaraokavengers by triem23, on Flickr
  • MichaelJames
    MichaelJames Website User Posts: 2,034 Enthusiast
    Hmm a gravity effect sounds interesting..  I might have to see if I can find a version of that previously made.  I always loved how dragon ball z did it, but I don't know how practical that is to do in live action.

    Here is a work in progress breakdown of the story.
    On the verge of starting a training mission on a uninhabited planet, a group of inexperienced people with special abilities discover they are not the only ones on the planet; but when this enemy discovers them they must learn to use their special abilities to their maximum or else they will share a fate worse than death, becoming a member of the core.
  • SimonKJones
    SimonKJones Moderator Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 4,448 Enthusiast
    One observation: choosing powers based on how cool they are, or visually interesting, etc, isn't necessarily the way to go.
    Many of the best superhero characters/stories have powers which relate directly to the story. Fantastic Four being the most overt example, but the X-Men also have powers that connect with their personalities directly. It's the person wielding the power that makes the power interesting, not the other way around.
  • Triem23
    Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 19,784 Ambassador
    I think for gravity (increased) actors can sell that. I mentioned above like a 'heat haze,' but going down, since gravity would effect gas (air) as well. Sketchworks TV did a ground crack tutorial which could be a good effect.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eVXLZNsxPw8
    Decreased gravity is treated like levitation, flight and TK, except, maybe the "heat haze" as well.
    Also, look at Andrew Kramer's latest. Not so much the energy blasts, but the distortion FX. Good ideas from Kramer, as always.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWppqLrS6cU
    Is this new project in the same world as "Justice Blood" and your other training shorts?
  • Triem23
    Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 19,784 Ambassador
    [quote name="Simon K Jones" post="44779" timestamp="1406721069"]One observation: choosing powers based on how cool they are, or visually interesting, etc, isn't necessarily the way to go.
    Many of the best superhero characters/stories have powers which relate directly to the story. Fantastic Four being the most overt example, but the X-Men also have powers that connect with their personalities directly. It's the person wielding the power that makes the power interesting, not the other way around.[/quote]

    Good note, but I don't think Michael is choosing powers based on VFX, since he did state certain abilities he didn't want to use because he figured it made his heroes too powerful. I think I have been tossing all the VFX notes.
  • MichaelJames
    MichaelJames Website User Posts: 2,034 Enthusiast

    I am thinking about the story from the script point, from the production point and the vfx point and the visual point.  The problem with a power like fire is then you have things burning... and have a lot more to account for and it can be too powerful or you run into moments like well why didn't the fire guy just____ .

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 19,784 Ambassador
    edited July 2014
    I like the idea of a character with super-muscles, but normal skeleton. He could take himself out of action in act II doing something heroic to protect a team mate in danger. Strong Character is down! This facilitates our heroes capture, give the team reason to not escape. Be brutal, Strong Character has to stop debris or something from crushing a team mate or something else massive. A car. Which takes out the spine. Now our heroes either have to stay captured, or abandon a team mate--because it takes a TK to move a person whose spine is jelly...
  • SimonKJones
    SimonKJones Moderator Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 4,448 Enthusiast
    Yeah, having powers with built-in flaws tends to work really well. It's something you don't actually see very often in Marvel and DC's universes (I guess Rogue and Cyclops fit the bill).
    Straczynski's Rising Stars covered it the best, I think. eg, a completely invulnerable guy who has an invisible energy shield over his whole skin, meaning he can't be shot/stabbed/hit/anything. Except he also can't feel anything, and thus has no real connection with the world and grows up to be a very withdrawn person. The shield is only on his outer skin, so he can still sense stuff inside him, which basically means food, and thus his only sensation is achieved through eating food - thus he becomes extremely obese, which pretty much stops him from using his power for anything. Etc.
  • MichaelJames
    MichaelJames Website User Posts: 2,034 Enthusiast
    @Triem23, im not a big fan powers that are inherently weaknesses. Strong muscles and a normal skeleton means the muscle will rip right off the bone on any basic use of the power.  I would rather they just limit the power level of a character... so hes not bullet proof or knife proof just stronger then 5 men.
  • MichaelJames
    MichaelJames Website User Posts: 2,034 Enthusiast
    Im curious how would one pull off a Colossus type effect?  Doesn't necessarily have to be metal, some people took on the property of whatever they touched.  In Marvel's Generation X comic there was a character named Mondo who could do just that.  How could I give someone a texture and either keep their skin the same color or change the color of their skin? I know how to change colors of something in hitfilm, but the idea of a texture that's applied to the skin would be interesting. 
    He touches wood and has the cracks and texture of the tree he touches... switches and touches a smooth stone and takes on those properties. 
  • SimonKJones
    SimonKJones Moderator Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 4,448 Enthusiast
    It would depend on the shot and action. It would certainly be possible in HitFilm under very strict circumstances - eg, he grips the tree, you see the texture spread up over his arm, but that's about it. Actually having him walk around with the tree texture (like Colossus in X-Men) would require something rather more hardcore, probably a fully animated 3D version of the character.
    You could also use actual prosthetics, of course. Particularly for something like tree bark, you could apply a prosthetic for that, combined with some HitFilm compositing for when it initially appears.
  • Triem23
    Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 19,784 Ambassador
    In DoFP they put the actor in a silver suit. Cg was used, mostly for transformation scenes and doing environment maps.
  • MichaelJames
    MichaelJames Website User Posts: 2,034 Enthusiast
    Hmm when I get home this weekend I am going to see if I can work on having the texture spread over his arm.  SInce this is ideally supposed to be people inexperienced with their powers, I could try to keep this limited to him not being adept at his power.
  • StormyKnight
    StormyKnight Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 2,722 Ambassador
    edited August 2014
    I've been thinking this over and following along- What about electricity as a power. It can be limited by standing in a pool of water or getting rained upon or a six year old with a super soaker (which could lead to a funny moment if the kid shot the character by accident and at an inopportune time). The power would "short out" when the person possessing it would come in contact with any kind of liquid- so they couldn't use it while they were eating dinner i.e. soup or large soda, in the shower etc. You could have him/her discover another person with a negative charge and they duel it out. Anything that wouldn't conduct electricity would become an arching point fx wise. Sparks and all.
    Just a thought. :) 
  • MichaelJames
    MichaelJames Website User Posts: 2,034 Enthusiast
    Hmm I didn't even think about electricity... See this is why I like crowd sourcing things.
  • CalebK
    CalebK Website User Posts: 435
    Currently i am going over a simmalar thing. What I did is without planning filmed multiple movements with the hand and various motions and other things, then I shall go into hitfilm and try to make an effect for them.
  • GodofThunder
    GodofThunder Website User Posts: 190 Just Starting Out
    Saw this, and thought it might give you ideas http://youtu.be/dGiQtLev3vA
  • MichaelJames
    MichaelJames Website User Posts: 2,034 Enthusiast
    That is the Orange Pekoe video I mentioned on cryokinesis
  • GodofThunder
    GodofThunder Website User Posts: 190 Just Starting Out
    edited August 2014
    Oops, sorry only quickly scanned this thread, then happened to come across the video