THE GATHERING DEAD Film Update #2
So, things continue to plow ahead on the project. I’d like to show you some concepts here that will go in the fundraising trailer. This is where the Black Hawk carrying McDaniels, Gartrell, the Safires, and the rest of the team from The Gathering Dead crashes in Manhattan’s Upper East Side.
First off, we have the storyboard concept art. This is basically just a picture that covers most of the dynamic elements that will be embodied in the fully rendered scene. In other words, it’s a comic book-like drawing, as shown here:
Boom goes the Black Hawk! Not terribly exciting to look at in this incarnation, I know. But this is how it almost always begins: a scene from a script is roughed out in a set of storyboards, usually in a shot-by-shot format. This specific board here actually incorporates three different shots in one, but conceptually, I think it’s easy to get what’s going on: the MH-60M is crashing in NYC.
Now, the sequence has to be rendered for animatics, which will be the first generation CGI effects pass. Obviously, the board above doesn’t look very realistic at all. So what has to happen is that actual images of NYC have to be captured and mapped out. This is thankfully easy to do, since New York actually exists–it’s not an alien city or anything like that, so there are tons of photographs out there to use in mocking up the animatic. (And if need be, I can always take the 4 or 5 trains uptown and take pictures myself.) In this instance though, Our Friend Google Maps comes to the rescue.
Above are two shots of the intersection of East 79th Street and Lexington Avenue, the location of the building the team takes shelter in. You can see no such structure exists; it will be built in CGI and then composited onto the scene. Additional effects will be added, such as wall-to-wall traffic, smoke, some flames, and yes…zombies. And in the middle of that, comes the stricken MH-60M Black Hawk.
And how will that happen? Am I going to go out and pay the U.S. Army $45,000,000 for a Black Hawk and have them crash it in Manhattan’s Upper East Side? Nope. It’ll be a CGI model, which is already partially rendered:
This model isn’t complete. The pilot doors will have to come off, the gunner doors will have to be opened, and so will the doors to the troop compartment–the 160th flies pretty much without doors on their aircraft in all weather, so those elements will be altered. But in the coming weeks, all of these elements will be brought together using Maya, Mental Ray, Blender, and 3DS Max to provide a fully-formed action element. In other words, you’ll see what happens to a multimillion dollar special operations aviation aircraft after it’s been hit by a window diver. Add in some additional opticals, composites, music, sound effects, and voila! Ten seconds of a trailer is born.
Should be fun.