Western film - full 3D environment, 3D steam train, Blender/HitFilm (half year VFX project)

lukasandersen
lukasandersen Website User Posts: 17 Enthusiast

Hello Everyone,

I have been working on this mystery-western short film for over half a year now, and have finally finished it. I made the film as a school special project. It is only 10 minutes long, but it took over half a year to make because I did not have any real western movie sets to work with, so I made full 3D sets in Blender (Including a train station and a steam train), into which I placed green screen elements of myself. I also made the whole film by myself except for most of the sound effects and textures. If you have watched any of Sergio Leoneโ€™s westerns, you may recognize the film style I was going for as well as the musical style inspired by Ennio Morricone :-)

Here is the short film:

Any feedback would be appreciated :-)

I also made a behind the scenes video:

I used my favorite combination of software for all the effects, which is HitFilm Pro with Blender :-)

As you can probably tell, all the scenes in the western town, in the train, and at the train station, are entirely 3D environments except the green screen elements. I filmed those on a large green screen I set up outside (by the way, the visual effects prompt last December for demonstrating current projects with new-bought FXhome software was where I showed the green screen and some of the effects for this short film). For all the scenes where I am seen walking from the front and back, I used my technique of walking in 3D without actually walking in front of the green screen. This short film was actually where I developed the idea for that effect, and the inspiration for my tutorial pitch submission (I was the third runner-up who was mentioned, with the fake-walk in a 3D set).ย 

I hope you enjoy it ๐Ÿ™‚

Comments

  • LordPaladin
    LordPaladin Website User Posts: 30 Enthusiast

    Really great work, my friend!

  • cianoh
    cianoh Website User Posts: 20 Just Starting Out*

    That's fab, great work went into that! I wouldn't have a clue how to do all those blender scenes!

    It's pretty cool that we put up westerns on the same day!!!

  • Andy001z
    Andy001z Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 3,091 Ambassador

    Wow, you should be proud, this is a great job.

    OK so down to feedback (disclaimer - I'm not a pro and all my comments are based on what I have personally learnt or observed)

    • Your Lighting was just perfect, you nailed it so many times. For me the sitting on the train with the light hitting the face was great.
    • 3d Sets, great job again, it only slightly let you down when you had a camera shot from behind the lead it just somehow didn't look quite right. It might of been the depth of field. However, I loved the moment you pulled back inside the sheriffs office window, that really brought the set alive.
    • Titles - OH MY WORD you nailed that look. Simple but very effective.
    • Story - At first watch it is not apparently clear that the character in the beginning is not our hero but rather the Sheriff (thief). As the story unfolds this is apparent and I get why you did it that way, it just didn't feel that the two characters where distinct enough. Maybe we needed more of a visual prompt of the guy arriving (I see why you put the white gloves on) Maybe you should bulked up your costume of the sheriff to make you look like the two parts?
    • Camera Framing on confrontation scene ( the two screen captures below, the first I really like the framing feels like we are there and very movie like, the 2nd not so, think it feels to far back and off to the side more.
  • FilmSensei
    FilmSensei Moderator, Website User, Ambassador Posts: 2,945 Ambassador

    That was very fun. Nice job @lukasandersen. This is real proof that you can create a whole short film by yourself without help from anyone else, except a dog of course! ๐Ÿ˜

  • KirstieT
    KirstieT Staff Administrator, Moderator, Website User Posts: 1,074 Staff

    @lukasandersen now THIS is so cool! I absolutely love how realistic the train scenes look specifically, with you gently rocking side to side. An incredible amount of work, you should be so, so proud of yourself!

  • TomCowles
    TomCowles Staff Administrator, Website User Posts: 29 Staff

    I am completely in love with the effort that went into this. You're turning into a one-person production team @lukasandersen, keep up the awesome work!!๐Ÿ™Œ

  • lukasandersen
    lukasandersen Website User Posts: 17 Enthusiast

    @Andy001z Thank you so much! The feedback is also very helpful! The point about the characters not being distinct enough is very good to know, and I will definitely consider that for future projects. The scene not looking quite right where the camera is from behind, makes sense to me, because the camera move is virtual, so the perspective probably does not match perfectly (especially on the hat). Thank you for pointing that out! This shows me again that with such virtual camera moves that I did not do practically, I need to be very careful.ย 

  • lukasandersen
    lukasandersen Website User Posts: 17 Enthusiast

    @KirstieT @TomCowles Thank you so much!๐Ÿ˜€

  • lukasandersen
    lukasandersen Website User Posts: 17 Enthusiast

    @FilmSensei Thank you very much! When I started using HitFilm Express in 2017, I watched quite a few of your tutorials! The first one I saw was the โ€œHow to Use the Light Saber Effect in HitFilm Express 2017!โ€ I was looking for free editing software, and chose HitFilm because of its cool logo. When I saw the tutorial, I was fascinated that I could do such effects with the software, as I had totally not expected that!

  • FilmSensei
    FilmSensei Moderator, Website User, Ambassador Posts: 2,945 Ambassador

    @lukasandersen I would encourage you to participate in the next HitFilm Community Collaborative Short Film. I believe that you would have a lot to contribute! It will be headed up by @solosamuraiwhatchef and will most likely happen in the Fall. Something for you to think about.

  • StevenSpicer
    StevenSpicer Staff Administrator, Website User, Imerge Beta Tester Posts: 42 Staff

    Dude! This is really impressive @lukasandersen. Can't believe you produced this whole thing by yourself. Really love how well you've used all the different elements to aid the storytelling, and the use of soundtrack is top-notch! I know you've said you were heavily inspired by Sergio Leone, but am I also picking up a sprinkling of Tarantino in there? Great work man, really well done.

  • lukasandersen
    lukasandersen Website User Posts: 17 Enthusiast

    @FilmSensei Very interesting! Thanks for letting me know about it, I will definitely think about participating :-)

  • lukasandersen
    lukasandersen Website User Posts: 17 Enthusiast

    @StevenSpicer Thank you so much! I am happy to hear you liked the soundtrack! As far as I am concerned, one of the songs I used (the Trinity theme) is used in "Django Unchained", but I know it from the original film "They Call me Trinity". I have never actually watched any of Quentin Tarantino's films, but I can see why you thought that :-)

  • cianoh
    cianoh Website User Posts: 20 Just Starting Out*

    @lukasandersen I just looked at the opening titles for A Fistful of Dollars - https://youtu.be/rnSU_qq7owA

    Yours are just brilliant - totally nailed it!!

    I loved those spaghetti westerns growing up!

  • FilmSensei
    FilmSensei Moderator, Website User, Ambassador Posts: 2,945 Ambassador

    I love the Trinity series of movies. My son and I watched through them a few years ago, and he loved them also!

  • JavertValbarr
    JavertValbarr Staff Administrator, Website User Posts: 336 Staff

    Great result, and really cool to see all the effort you put in through the BTS. Keep it up!

  • cianoh
    cianoh Website User Posts: 20 Just Starting Out*
    edited June 10

    @TomCowles @KirstieT @StevenSpicer

    You should give this @lukasandersen a job - Itโ€™s fricken awesome, right!? :)

  • lukasandersen
    lukasandersen Website User Posts: 17 Enthusiast

    @JavertValbarr Thank you very much! โ˜บ๏ธ

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 19,581 Ambassador

    Excellent work. The VFX are pretty seamless, you absolutely got the style right.

    I'm sure Oli or Hannah already sent you a "can we feature this in our newsletter?" email. ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ˜

  • lukasandersen
    lukasandersen Website User Posts: 17 Enthusiast

    @Triem23 Thank you very much! ๐Ÿ˜Š

    I checked, but it doesn't seem like I got an email like that. Was one sent out to me?

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 19,581 Ambassador

    Lukas, Mods and Ambassadors don't work for FXhome, so I have no idea.

    But I betcha they ask. This is a frickin showcase and a half!

    @OliThompson @hannahodebode y'know you're gonna, so just watch the thing and get to it! Hah-hah!

  • lukasandersen
    lukasandersen Website User Posts: 17 Enthusiast

    @Triem23 Ok, that makes sense. Thanks โ˜บ๏ธ

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