Annnnnd... It's done.
Final delivery of the final shots for "Lost Hallway" happened yesterday at noon. I burned the last two shots (479 and 130 frames respectively) to DVD (the portable hard drive had crapped out) and sent it off with the director to be Avid-ivated. I saw the semi final cut on Saturday with the final music and it looks good! It's a five minute short about lost umbrellas, lost dogs and lost innocence.
I want to write up a detailed post-mortem later (so I don't forget the results of my hard won experience! (and because I'm narcissistic)), but for now just a few thoughts...
In total, I was responsible for about forty-five shots ranging in length from 90 to 1242 frames. (In retrospect, I was an *eedeeott* for taking on that much, but it seemed like a good idea at the time.)
CGI was rendered to 1/2 or 3/4 HD, outputting to full HD.
Pipeline was:Sony HDCAM 60i from the camera, converted to 8bpp TIFF (we had enough data management issues already, thanks... 16 bit was right out)
Virtual sets and prop replacement in Animation Master v15, rendering to OpenEXR format for RGBA and depth, PNG for matte passes.
Matting and compositing with Vision (worked great with AM:15 using OpenEXR! See my other posts about depth buffers), output to TIFF.
Final edit with Avid.
[*] Data: 49GB incoming footage, 62GB total layers (renders, etc), 46GB outgoing footage. 900MB model, texture, animation and composite data.
[*] Most regretted statement: "Oh, I can just put a garbage matte around that!"
AM 15 was a real champ. It performed very well on my main machine (I often had AM, Vision, PhotoShop, Xemacs, FireFox and Thunderbird all churning at the same time!) with no crashes! The models were not terribly sophisticated, but they were *big*. Each standard hallway segment was sixty feet long (built to scale with the greenscreen set). The set for one shot was a hallway over a thousand feet long. The hallway sections were lit with model lights which worked really well -- except in the real-time preview (DirectX /OpenGL limit you to eight lights in a scene -- since each hallway section had twelve lights and I often had multiple hallway sections, I usually got to see black). I had big plans for ambient occlusion, shadows and reflections, however, due to time and hardware constraints, most shots were rendered without them.
My one point of reference for most of the greenscreen shots was the doorknob that we had bolted to the greenscreen stage door. I modeled that precisely in AM and built the surrounding door based on my measurements from the stage.
Best part about AM (aside from great workflow and easy modelling) was being able to reference and seamlessly import models, choreographies and light rigs. Worst part: Who do I have to kill to get network rendering back!?! ;-)
Big huge props to Jason Young and Carlton Munday. Jason rendered shots for me in ENGLAND and figured out how to get the frames to me! Carlton did some rendering, and more importantly, got me a loan of a fast Shuttle PC for rendering locally with. Couldn't have done it without you guys! And a very special thanks to Martin and crew who put out some great software that let me take this project off the kitchen table and right into the editing suite.
If anybody has any questions, I'll be happy to answer after I've had some sleep... I don't think I've slept more than an hour a day for the last three weeks, so please forgive any disconnectedness in this post.
P.S. Are there any Toronto Hash users interested in attending the first screening? If so, PM me -- if there's any interest, I'll see if we can get you in!