A REPRESENTATIVE SAMPLE OF WORK FROM OVER 30 YEARS IN FILM AND TV

"LOST"

VFX Producer & Supervisor

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CHARACTER/BRANDING CREATION

Over the course of our company history, Home Baked Entertainment has created a wide variety of characters and icons for our clients, many of them original creations. We can work with you to create a visual identity that suits your advertising needs. Here are some samples.

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ON-SET ELECTRONIC DISPLAYS

It is almost impossible to tell a modern-day story without TV and computer displays. Over the last several years, in addition to more traditional visual effects, Home Baked Entertainment has been called on to provide "shutter-proof" TV sets and computer displays for TV shows such as "LOST", "Flight 29 Down", "Off The Map", feature films such as "Forgetting Sarah Marshall", as well as graphics, edited video, and animations for same, some of which were required to interact with the cast on set.

 


THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW


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FINAL FANTASY

 

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STARGATE

Morphing shot

Originally designed as articulated model motion control shots, the on-stage environment resulted in the elements being shot without the proper motion control registration and the sets were struck before the problem's full implications were understood.

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Eventually, with the techniques smoothed out, the very first scene in the film where the gag was used was morphed. This was critical because this was the first time the audience saw this effect, and if it didn't work here, it was not going to work for the rest of the film.

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STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE

TREK/V'ger probe

One of the first tasks I was assigned involved the sequence known as the "V'ger Probe". As the newly refurbished Enterprise approaches V'ger, V'ger inserts a probe onto the bridge of the Enterprise.

As originally filmed, the probe was a huge tube with a xenon light literally carried around the set by a technician (whose rear end kept sticking out behind the edge of the tube and into view.)

The decision had been made to use the footage for the wonderful lighting effects seen in the scene but to replace the solid tube with an animated moire' glint done in rotoscope. This required the removal of the actual tube (and protuding buttocks) from the field of view.

Again, this being before the age of the computer graphics systems, the solution was rather streightforward. The live action footage was reflected in a mylar mirror in the rear of which was a metal straight-edge whose position was controlled by stepper motors and an Apple II computer. When the streightedge was pressed in the mylar from the rear, the resulting deformation, like a funhouse mirror, eliminated a portion of the field and stretched the rest of the image to fit. This created an artifact seen as a vertical line, which was covered over by the animated moire'.

One trivial note is that the best lubricant we could find to minimise the drag between the metal edge and the Mylar was banana oil, the aroma of which was a source of puzzlement to stage visitors.


Transporter

The Paramount executives wanted the transporters to have a new look to them; something beyond the aluminum dust poured in front of a high intensity light (in hindsight, a risky effect owing to the explosiveness of powdered aluminum).

This effect was acheived by having a motor spin a wire in a tube shape on an optical table. Using a clip of film from the live action shot held in the film gate of the 70mm effects camera, the spinning wire was super imposed over the correct location for the transporter, then was illuminated with a laser beam that was first projected through some rippled plastic, creating the interference patterns across the wire. A second motor, holding a shutter wheel, and running in sync with the spinning wire, allowed the tube to be shot as a front half or back half, to enable the insertion of the actor "within" the tube during the optical composites.

While it may sound high-tech, the reality was slightly less glamourous. The assembly was mostly hot glue and wooden tinkertoys, and the rippled plastic was literally stolen out of John Dykstra's office ceiling light (we were up against a deadline).

TREK/Transporter eating people

For some reason, Star Trek fans had made an issue of the fact that the transporter never mangled anyone, so the following effect was created to satisfy what was considered a shortcoming by the fans, and to get rid of the other Vulcan so that Spock can make a dramatic entrance.

To distort the images of the tranportees, Matt Beck and I resurrected the mylar mirror from the V'ger probe and replaced with metal streightedge with a contraption hotglued together out of film cores, tinker toys, and pieces from a plastic doormat bought at the local hardware store (I was exiled from Dykstra's office furnishings by this point in the project). The machine, powered by a stepping motor, vaguely resembled a military tank, with a band of much abused doormat plastic functioning as the tread looping over and over the film cores. When pressed into the back of the mylar, it rippled the reflected image of the transportees. This was shot several times with different speed settings for the "tank" and combined in the optical printer.

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SON OF PINK PANTHER

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The concept for the opening credit was a studio scoring stage. The panther appears on the movie screen, then steps off and walks down among the band.

The "band" was actually just one person, Bobbie McPheren, who does wonderful instrumental sounding music with just his voice, and who performed the opening theme music. All the Bobbies were shot with motion control and layered together around the cel animation of the panther.

None of the technical people had been allowed to supervise the actual shoot, and the result was that set pieces were moved from one motion control pass to the other, lights were changed, in one case the camera had continued to shake after starting the run which "wobbled" an element. These sorts of things make VFX people "unhappy."

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Following the above sequence, the Panther takes over the podium from Henry Mancini, who had composed the original panther theme. This gag was accomplished by having a girl dressed in a pink leotard step into the scene and take the baton from Henry.

The girl, although the right color, was not panther-shaped, and stuck out behind the cel animated figure. A background plate had been shot of the curtains and empty set, but the curtains had been moved, which mis-registered the scene.

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Portions of the scene were all cel animation, as this clip shows.

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This was one of the most complex shots in that it combined mechanical gag effects which were timed to the cel animation. The problem was that the live action footage was missing almost a second, and from the front end where practical debris is moving!

So, for the first 20 frames, the background is actually a cut and paste assembly copied from the later frames!

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REALLY OLD STUFF!

ROBERT ABEL & ASSOCIATES
Benson/Hedges TV spotBenson/Hedges TV spotSexy Robot TV spotSexy Robot TV spot

DELTA DREAMFLIGHT
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