POST MAGAZINE: Previs & Postvis help production

BARABOOM!  Culver City, CA’s

Baraboom! is also looking at the role VR might play in previs. “We’re playing with Oculus, to see how it fits in the pipeline,” says founder and previs supervisor, Pepe Valencia. ( * read the entire article here Post Magazine – March 2015  )

“You need to embrace all new technologies.” About two years ago the company invested in 3D printers, so it has the option to print out scaled previs characters and sets in three dimensions. “It’s a really effective tool for art directors and production designers,” he says. “We did previs for a live-action feature where a character was a 30-foot creature; we could print her out to see the scale and volume related to the set.” Even Maya is “much more powerful today,” Valencia reports. Running Viewport using the DirectX 11 rendering engine gives one-click, realtime access to depth of field, motion blur, effects shaders and displacement mapping, he notes, “allowing us to get a look closer to the final product. We just did previs for a commercial using a preview of fluid simulations in Maya. It looked finished — but we didn’t intend for it to be a final shot. Just a tool to help the director envision and anticipate the shoot.”

Baraboom! did extensive previs for the 3D animated feature from Reel FX Creative Studios, The Book of Life, which was released last fall and is now available on DVD. A universal tale of love and loss, it’s based on Mexican folklore and was co-written and directed by Jorge Gutierrez. Valencia met the director years ago and admired his first short, Carmelo. They kept in touch as he developed the idea for The Book of Life. “Almost all the film’s sequences were laid out with storyboards except for the bullfighting scene, the scale of the giant bull and the action sequences,” he explains. “There was a script but no storyboards, and Jorge wanted to know how to shoot these scenes, where to place the camera” before the animators got to work. A Spaniard who’s familiar with bullfighting, Valencia led a team of eight artists who delivered 18 minutes of bullfighting and action scene previs representing close to 300 shots. “Jorge came up with a reference for the sequence: Sergio Leone spaghetti westerns,” says Valencia. “It was like a shoot out between the bull and Manolo the bullfighter with really specific close ups beautifully integrated with the environment.

“Jorge wanted to explore the camera lenses, the POV of the camera in the plaza, the scale of this huge bull. We provided coverage, giving him options and variations to send to editorial to create the pace and timing. The first sequence we did gave him 90 percent of the camera moves he used; it wasn’t our intention to be that close to the final but Jorge told us we really nailed it with the Sergio Leone reference.” Baraboom! needed to develop some facial expressions for the animated characters, which can be time consuming in previs, Valencia notes. So artists grabbed facial expressions from the character designs — sadness, smiles, surprise — and applied them to the lead actors. The company also did previs for the chase at the film’s conclusion, a dynamic sequence when the villains come to fight the villagers. “We previs’d more than 50 characters at once, really intensive work, and were really happy with the results,” he says. “Previs was instrumental in materializing Jorge’s creativity.”

( * read the entire article here Post Magazine – March 2015  )