50's inspired Evil Machine

Metropolis inspired Evil Machine

A frustrated painter/evil-mastermind creates a dark machine to help with his painting. This is one of those films that characterizes “What if” scenarios that you may daydream about when you’re fed up with something, “If only I could…create an evil machine to do my bidding!”, which is exactly what real-life painter Kendric Tonn goes about doing. Rembrandstein was created as the final project for my Compositing class Sophomore year, and features a dozen effects shots that utilize a wide range of effects; digital sets, CG-brush object insertion, tracking, etc. The evil brush itself is a live action prop-on-a-stick in most scenes, but was recreated in Lightwave for the more complex shots.

The Evil Brush

The Evil Brush

Like most of the other short films done that year, Rembrandstein was created in about two weeks and represents many all-nighter’s at Montgomery Hall spent toiling away in Shake. There wasn’t much time to plan, but I knew “evil machine” meant Metropolis-like imagery, as well as the cliche art-deco designs of 50’s science fiction programs. I actually gathered most of my reference from Star Trek Voyager’s Captain Proton episodes, whose designers amalgamated everything I was looking for into their sets. It’s unfortunate that there weren’t more shots with the machine, but dealing with black drapes was easier than keying greenscreen.

Quicktime Video

Watch as Quicktime

Flash Video

Watch as Flash

This was also the first project shot on Oliver’s Canon XHA1, by today’s standards a mediocre device for a mediocre format (HDV) but at the time, and for someone used to keying ntsc footage, this was pretty awesome. Rembrandstein runs for three minutes and stars Kendric Tonn and Oliver Palmer as the Igor character. The effects were rendered in Lightwave and composited in Shake.

Note: It seems that the Flash version, although properly compressed, has trouble playing back unless it’s in full screen, however you can watch the quicktime or right click on either version and save the file to your disk.

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