13 April 2013

UpCar™ Blues - Feed Natimuk Development Part 3

I think the UpCar™scenes were one of my favourite experiments thus far. Not all that pivotal to the plot, more of a means of getting Violet and Titus from one scene to the next but I was really keen to have a go at updating this...
(image source movietom.wordpress.com)
The old rear projected screen behind the stationary vehicle was a classic staple of 50s and 60s cinema and I was itching to try it in a theatrical setting and put my own twist on it, not just projecting the background, but the car as well. Unlike the old cinema version, the car in Feed is free to turn in 3D and move about the stage depending on which way its facing the background stream. The two passengers are seated on the moving table. The actors, with only their faces, are seated on the moving table just behind the sharks-tooth scrim as bright colours in the projection obscure them except where the windscreen which has been left black to reveal their faces. 

Theoretically it would be possible to track the passengers as they moved around and update the projections accordingly but for the time being I was just tracking them manually with the ipad.
I could control the rotation, left right up down and tilt as well as the X Y and Z position of the car in space and it was pretty easy to keep up with the performers who were moving the passengers around on the stage. It would be possible if you wanted, to have the car do a complete 360 withthe passengers inside it. The background would just recede into the distance based on the direction the car was facing and the whole scene is rendered in real time so there is no need for the actors to have to try and move the car to exactly the right spot at the right time which would have been almost impossible.
It was one of those things that seemed like it ought to work but really, until we set it up and actually tried it, it was impossible to know it if was going to be convincing enough for the audience to be worth doing. It was a lot of work to get this scene all set up and when we first tried it at the Horsham workshop the scrim we were using was too transparent and the effect totally lost (Below is the extremely lame looking Horsham first take on the whole car thing).
I almost abandoned the idea at this point, so it was quite a relief to see it looking just so much more convincing with the sharks-tooth. Very pleasing after all that to finally see it working as well as it did.

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