Here’s something interesting on VFX in short films.
Heart Breaker, a short film by Abishek Nair and Osmand Lu of Bangalore based Suitcase Films is all set to premier in Bangalore on 2nd September. The film features four minutes of VFX
Written by David Elder, the seventeen minute short film is about a Casanova who begins to see and understand people’s broken hearts.
Made with a budget of US$1500, Heart Breaker was completed in a span of about four months with Osmand Lu working on the pre-production and Abhishek Nair on the post production as well as the VFX.
The tight budget was something that was seen as a test by the film maker duo as a test of their innovative film making skills. The entire movie was shot on a DV camera without lights, crew and the like and then edited on an Apple laptop.
Speaking to Animation Xpress.com about how the film was made possible, Osmund Lu shared”This film for us is a technical and a story telling milestone compared to our other films, because the film is much longer in terms of duration compared to our previous films which were of just Eight minutes”
“The film heavily depended on compositing to bring out the look that we wanted in spite of our budget. CG elements were also re-lit and color corrected in post production to achieve our visual style. The film was an amazing experience and a huge, well planned experiment in visual effects” he added.
Abishek Nair commented, “The inspiration behind making the film lies in the fact that the story was a Drama which demanded visual effects. The challenge was to integrate the effects with the story and to go with the flow. We were lucky enough that Vivek Malhotra from FX graphics, Mumbai, agreed to sponsor a license of Shake (Apple’s High-end compositing software) to complete the film”
Owing to the fact that bare equipment used which was not very technologically advanced to achieve the effects in the film, the challenge was the 3-4 minute sequence where the protagonist enters his sub-conscious and talks to his conscience. The entire sequence, called “The Heart Realm” was shot in front of a blue screen and then the environment and effects were added in post. The representation of the actor’s conscience was visually depicted like the ring wraiths which are seen in the Lord of the Rings.
Another interesting part of the effects in the film was in the opening scene which required a helicopter shot showing the city. Due to paucity of funds the scene was created using a photograph with the incorporation of cars, birds and a camera move in compositing. A lot of color corrections, faking depth of field and re-lighting were done in compositing.
After the premier in Bangalore, the directors propose to send the film to LA where it will be screened at various film festivals including Sundance.
Established in 2003, Suitcase Films has made three short films so far which are Human Seasons, Darkness (which was a finalist on the online film festival Triggerstreet.com) and Till we meet again with Heart Breaker being their fourth.
Talking about Suitcase films he said, “Suitcase Films consists of just the two of us, Osmand and I. Its something we get back to between our jobs. Its not a full fledged company that takes in projects and so on but we see it as a representing platform for us to show case our films under a banner.”
“Suitcase Films is something like a band where like minded technical artists, filmmakers and professionals in this field come and join us on and off, depending on the film we are working on and help us in any possible way. So it’s like this fraternity or this informal brotherhood where alternative and experimental minds meet to encourage independent work” he further added.
Abishek completed his education in VFX from Escape Studios, London, worked with a couple of studios here in India and is now a freelance compositor. Osmand started off as a concept and comic book artist in 1998, worked as a Visual consultant for a while and is currently working as a Chef and in his own admission “Really likes to takes time off to make short films”
“We hope that this film can inspire other independent artists to come out of their shell and realize that one need not have expensive equipment to make decent visual effects. In the end it’s not the computers that you use nor the software, its the problem solving capabilities that you have and the trick of keeping the vision alive,” concluded Abishek.