Topic: [Production Log] The Last Mecha

Hey all. I've been interested in being more active on BiM for a while now, so thought I'd try my hand at a production log. Yesterday I began character and set design on an upcoming short currently titled The Last Mecha. The screenplay is done already, so all I have left is, you know, literally everything else.

The characters have been completed so we'll take a look at them first.

https://i.imgur.com/s19XTRvl.jpg

The Last Mecha begins in the year 2431, and the soldiers of tomorrow are geared up in tough armor. I'm sure you've never seen blue versus red before. Why do they fight? Probably because they have different favorite colors.

https://i.imgur.com/6zIk5zBl.jpg

Time may pass, but war never changes. Looks like things have gone downhill since 2431. The air quality has seemingly deteriorated, and that poor fellow can't even afford a shirt.

https://i.imgur.com/V3Qzyn9l.jpg

Meet Chunky Boy! If you haven't guessed already, it's the star of the show. Those Mixel ball joints really came in handy trying to build a smaller mech.

https://i.imgur.com/smeVIPrl.jpg

Another view. I actually built the legs first, and during their design I decided to give the mech a boxy look. Unsurprisingly, the cockpit is just a box. The feet aren't entirely flat so that they can attach to studs. This ought to help stability immensely during filming.

https://i.imgur.com/5QBBBpbl.jpg

Yes, it can fit a people. It is the last mecha after all.

That's all for now. Hoping to have the first set completed in a few days.

Re: [Production Log] The Last Mecha

Looks great and the mecha seems animatable, looking forward to this one,

Re: [Production Log] The Last Mecha

Robukka wrote:

Looks great and the mecha seems animatable, looking forward to this one,

Thank you! I certainly hope it will meet/exceed expectations.

https://i.imgur.com/ztokY4Dl.jpg

First set is complete. Unfortunately, set design is not my strong suit. It is something I would like to improve on as time progresses, but I typically give it the short end of the stick in favor of moving on to filming. In particular I have a love-hate relationship with BURPs (Big Ugly Rock Pieces): I feel like they make me lazy during set design, but they are so useful for covering large areas efficiently. I don't have the bricks or patience to do so otherwise.

Anyway. This is a small red army outpost with an alarm tower and a landing pad. Nothing too complex here.

https://i.imgur.com/LzwcavVl.jpg

My favorite part of MOCing for brickfilms is putting absolutely no resources into anything the audience won't see. Saves both time and bricks.

If all goes well (meaning I can design a blue army hovercraft before the day ends) I can begin filming tomorrow. There isn't a ton to film on this set, though it will likely take a while regardless. I've never filmed a large figure like a mech before so this will be a learning experience.

Re: [Production Log] The Last Mecha

Robukka wrote:

Looks great and the mecha seems animatable, looking forward to this one,

Yeah, I would really love to get my hands on that thing!

https://bricksafe.com/files/thistof/hillbillyheist/DtubeNowOnline2.png

Re: [Production Log] The Last Mecha

Been a bit longer since the last update than I anticipated. But there are a few things to share. Finished shooting on the first set so I'm transitioning to building the second (or first and a half, which will make sense once you see it). Here's a frame from the first scene:

https://i.imgur.com/8g2ADHHl.jpg

Yes, it's definitely overexposed. I don't know if it's a feature of my specific lens (Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II) or zoom lenses in general but the exposure increases as my focal length decreases. Quite possibly it's because I need to reset the aperture at each focal length. It's a huge pain though, because I use the "slightly twist off the lens to maintain aperture" trick, and every time I twist the lens off I have to reconnect the camera to the frame capture software. Oh well, live at learn. At least it's overexposure; much easier to fix in post than underexposure.

The muzzle flash and rig are a new visual effects method I'm trying. The idea is that in post I remove everything but the muzzle flash, alter it to my liking (color, glow, blur), and lay it on top of a nearly identical frame without muzzle flash. Had pretty good success with it in a few attempts before shooting, but actual post-production will be the real test.

The next set is not complete so I can't start filming Scene 2 today like I planned, but arguably that's a blessing in disguise. I ordered a couple lenses recently; the 35mm came yesterday and the macro 55mm ought to arrive today. While I initially meant to film The Last Mecha entirely with the 18-55mm, I'm eager to switch to these prime lenses as much as possible. That way I can get some practice in with them before moving on to Bigger and Better™ things. I also have some extension tubes now I'll no doubt use a couple times.

Re: [Production Log] The Last Mecha

Set 2 (or set 1.5, depending on how you look at it) is complete and filming is underway. Time jump, anyone?

https://i.imgur.com/7KjjzFul.jpg

Chunky Boy's not looking so hot. But at least Red and Blue are hanging out and having a good time, yeah?

The Nikkor prime lenses have already been a pleasure to film with. They appear to have better color rendition than my kit lens, and they changed my camera placement from "place first, frame second" to "place according to frame." The latter of these two is definitely the better artistic choice. The 55mm is especially excellent because I can get close-up shots from a whopping 9 inches away; with my Coolpix P7000, the camera had to be right up in figures' faces, leaving very little room to animate. The only thing I don't like is that both lenses have significant focus breathing, but I'll get used to that.

Last edited by mysteriouspi (May 8, 2019 (07:25am))

Re: [Production Log] The Last Mecha

Big update: finished filming on the second set! More screen time occurs here than on either of the other two sets (potentially combined), so there was a lot to do. But I felt extra motivated and spent nearly all my personal free time making progress where I could. Let's get on to some images.

https://i.imgur.com/SiV6Ch1l.jpg

Discovery. I don't do enough camera movements, so this shot is the end of a pan. I'm not convinced the pan will look great as the movement between frames wasn't exact, but I didn't have quite the space I needed for better. Hopefully it'll look fine in the end.

https://i.imgur.com/wUHt4Mol.jpg

Uncovering. This shot was a pain because not only was the vehicle not secured to the baseplate, the tools weren't secure in the vehicle, and the rocks being pulled off Chunky Boy didn't always want to sit nicely. Fortunately, Live View made it infinitely easier to get things back in place when they moved. I don't know how I ever got by without onion skinning but I don't plan on filming without it ever again.

https://i.imgur.com/zBCN3Mwl.jpg

Resting. Took this with only a red flashlight to simulate a campfire. I captured frames of the actual fire pieces with the same angle but with my full lighting setup and will overlay them on this darker frame during post.

https://i.imgur.com/o99Y2hal.jpg

Anyone need a hand? Or at least an arm?

https://i.imgur.com/Wv6m8bNl.jpg

I really like this shot, feels very artsy. That's the mecha's pointer finger the mechanic is touching. Or is it the other way around? Hmm...

Overall very happy with the progress I've made. I'm taking a small break from the actual filming but will start again next week when the final set is complete. Post-production will take much longer than set building and filming has simply because other projects will take priority for a good while.

Re: [Production Log] The Last Mecha

Looks great. Some impressive set design and nice cinematography. I am looking forward to this mini/bigsmile

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Re: [Production Log] The Last Mecha

This looks awesome! mysteriouspi I'm loving the lighting in a lot of these shots. Can't wait for this film. Do you have any sort of release date yet? Or is it not THAT far along?

Re: [Production Log] The Last Mecha

William Osborne wrote:

Looks great. Some impressive set design and nice cinematography. I am looking forward to this mini/bigsmile

Brick Block Animations wrote:

This looks awesome! mysteriouspi I'm loving the lighting in a lot of these shots. Can't wait for this film. Do you have any sort of release date yet? Or is it not THAT far along?

Thank you both! The release window I have in mind is February 2020. I know that's several months from now, but I already have three videos in various stages of post-production, and a fourth in there if I participate in BRAWL (currently undecided). Reasonably spacing those out pushes The Last Mecha into next year. Wish it could be out sooner, of course.

Anyway, my apologies for not updating for a few weeks. My brickfilming efforts in that time were unevenly split between The Last Mecha (which got the short end of the stick) and an unannounced project that is definitely not my second feature film. mini/shifty Plus I took a lot of time for serious spring cleaning, which was far less exciting but absolutely necessary. That's done for now, though, and I'm returning to finish production on The Last Mecha starting today.

https://i.imgur.com/QLp7W4Rl.jpg

Here's the last set. Doesn't take place too far from the second. Scenes 6 and 8 will be shot here, after which filming will be wrapped up and the short will enter post-production (or rather the post-production backlog). Looking forward to finishing this one!

Last edited by mysteriouspi (June 7, 2019 (08:07am))

Re: [Production Log] The Last Mecha

And we're back! I got very little done (on this project, anyway) between my last post and now. This is because I had a few small things come up like organizing nearly my entire LEGO collection, getting married, and moving. But yesterday I finally got the last part of my animation kit back and set up, so The Last Mecha is back in production.

https://i.imgur.com/EzwE4Hml.jpg

Had to deconstruct the set to make moving easier, so it's not exactly how it was before. Still effectively the same though, which is what counts. Time to wrap this up!

Re: [Production Log] The Last Mecha

That's a wrap! Filming on The Last Mecha is complete and post-production is ready to begin. I'm moving the release window to March 2020; I didn't consider that I'd be participating in THAC XVII when I suggested the original window. Here's some shots:

https://i.imgur.com/GsSi2iUl.jpg

Ambush. Yet another example of VFX that will need some processing to look...well, hopefully good.

https://i.imgur.com/UWDrw0Xl.jpg

Danger. One of those shots where depth of field is an important choice to make. Been trying to use it artistically whenever possible.

https://i.imgur.com/F9UN5MPl.jpg

Offering. This is deliberately meant to parallel a shot I posted in a previous update. This one will need to be cropped during post-production.

Thank you so much for reading! It's been fun to document the stop motion process for once. There will probably be just a couple more updates here before the film releases. See you then!

Re: [Production Log] The Last Mecha

Hey! Just a quick update on The Last Mecha today. It's been coming along slowly, but coming along nonetheless. The basic editing and VFX are all done. Music has yet to be written because I don't know how much I'll need until I finish up the sound design, which is currently in progress but not complete. Two reasons for that.

One, I'm trying to really get the sound right on this short. I've never really given SFX the focus I ought to and figured this would be a good time to start. It's one of my least favorite parts of production, though, which makes it hard to start working on it any given day.

Two, I've been putting a lot of time toward filming my next short film that will release sometime after The Last Mecha. It's one I'm really passionate about so has been taking up my attention span more recently. I'm not letting myself work on that one in post-production until The Last Mecha is done, though, as I definitely want to get TLM out this year (sooner rather than later, too).

Re: [Production Log] The Last Mecha

I really like the stuff you have posted in this thread. The film looks like it's gonna be awesome!

If you need a composer, I make kind of electronic/synthwave stuff, I'd love to give scoring a try. PM me if you want. Either way I'm excited for this film!

Re: [Production Log] The Last Mecha

Brick Block Animations wrote:

I really like the stuff you have posted in this thread. The film looks like it's gonna be awesome!

Thank you! I'll have to post some in-progress shots once things are a little more put-together.

Sending you a PM.

Re: [Production Log] The Last Mecha

MECHS
Finally someone is making a brickfilm with Mechs
I’ve always wanted to try one but they’re way harder to animate than minifigs. Can’t wait!

Re: [Production Log] The Last Mecha

Wow. I'm impressed!!

Re: [Production Log] The Last Mecha

Super cool, I can't wait!

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