Full Contact Scrabble

Scrabble-thumb-smIn the game of Scrabble the consequences of a challenge are, at worst, a lost turn. But our 3 players have come up with their own rules of play and you might want to think twice about joining in. This ain’t your mothers’ quaint board game– this is Full Contact Scrabble!

cast: Jennifer H. Cobb, Gregory Brazzel and Tracy Thomas.
co-written, directed, shot and edited by Jeff Gatesman.
Nancy Breaux: writer/producer
Gregory Brazzel: stunt coordinator
Ken Ballantine: gaffer
Scott, “Scooter” Hillman: Key Grip
Mary Beth O’Connor: set decorator
Kendrick Hudson: location coordinator
Ron King: location re-recording
Tracy Thomas: original music
Adam Johnston: sound design

Tampon Touchdown

It’s a girls against the guys tackle football game, how can that possibly go awry?

This is a little project written by Jenn Cobb (aka, the bubble gum girl who gets the upper hand in Full Contact Scrabble) who also plays the quarterback. I directed and shot the film. I also did the post. If you are interested in how we accomplished the big hit between Jenn and Aikman check out this blog post.

CREDITS
The Girls team were: Jennifer H Cobb
Laya Portillos
Deena Grassia
Michelle and
Ahna

The Guys Teams were: Bobby Scott Schweitzer
Steven Rummenie
Samuel J Paul
Troy Remelski
Isaac C Singleton Jr

and the Stunt Coordinator was Marque Ohmes

Pedro Guimaraes was the Camera Operator and Steadicam operator
Jennifer Ann Henry and Allen Starnes were the Camera Assistants and Bret Carroll was our grip.

See What I’m Saying

SeeWhat-thumbSee What I’m Saying is a music video for the feature documentary film of the same name. The song which plays through the closing credits was written for the film by the rock band Powder.

This music video, filmed with deaf actors, is one of a kind as it is open captioned throughout, which makes it accessible to all audiences. It was directed by Hilari Scarl, co-produced, filmed and edited by Jeff Gatesman and was generously sponsored by Sprint Relay.

Forced Perspective

forced perspective
I shot this in-camera forced perspective image as a test

Can you teach new dogs, old tricks? It seems these days if you want to show something out of the ordinary in your film or video project, the default option is to composite, green screen, photoshop, or fix and create images in post, on a computer, in a digital realm. But before the days of instant-gratification cameras and super fast, powerful and affordable computers, a lot of special effects had to be created “in-camera”, meaning they were accomplished with lighting, optics and physics, which are the key elements in creating forced perspective images. In this article I’ll go over some history of the technique and show you how I used it recently.

Forced perspective is the effect of making images look smaller, larger, closer or farther away in comparision to another object in the frame. The most recognizable example of this is a photo of someone who appears to be holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa. A more cinematic example of forced perspective would be making a full sized actor look much smaller, ie, like a Hobbit in Lord of The Rings. Steven Spielberg even employed the technique in Close Encounters.

Close Encounters forced perspective
Spielberg placed a toy ship next to the camera to create this forced perspective shot in Close Encounters

So why bother if we can just do it in post? There are arguably many reasons for and against, but the most overwhelming reason to create forced perspective shots in-camera is simply that they look better. Case in point: Peter Jackson had a sizable budget and the digital magicians from WETA at his disposal and still chose to employ forced perspective shots in LOTR to make hobbits and dwarves look smaller than their human companions. From a producers’ standpoint, forced perspective may end up saving production money in the long run by cutting down on production and post-production time and teams of compositing artists. Image how much the shot of the ship in Close Encounters would have cost if it were a real ship transported to the desert, or something composited in post, as opposed to just placing a small model in front of the camera. Continue reading “Forced Perspective”

Johnny Rocket

Rocket 88 Studios: Live Acti-mation campaign and promo film

Rocket88 Studio: Los Angeles, Calif.
Jeff Gatesman, Writer/Director
Judith Gatesman, Executive Producer/Head of Production

Alexander Scholz played Johnny
Sam Whitehead played his Dad

Ron Turowski, Assistant Director
Pedja Radenkovic, Director of Photography
Original music written and performed by Keith Waggoner and Josh Caldwell
Jill Black, Wardrobe
Andrea Burish, Hair and Makeup
Lisa Gillespie. Sound Recordist
Greg Andrejko, Production Assistant

Special Thanks to Jim Maloney for allowing us to use his vintage Rocket 88

Concept, Script, HD Live Action, Stop Motion and 3-D Animation, Motion Graphics, Sound Editing, Title and Design.

Media Type: Commercial, Television/Internet
Genre: Visual
Content Type: Action/Adventure
Release Date: October 15, 2008
Duration: 02:45

Live Action and CG from Rocket 88 Studios, Los Angeles, CA. This self-promotion piece takes us to the imaginary world of 10 year old Johnny. Searching for an adventure, our hero wanders through his father’s garage where he finds, among other things, a captive fairy. The sound of a car horn grabs his attention as Dad rolls into the garage in his classic Rocket 88 Oldsmobile and as Johnny takes over the driver’s seat of the car, his imagination takes him on an animated mission aboard his 3-D rocket ship throughout Garage Space.

Wire Removal with After Effects

Wire removal can be useful for a variety of reasons: sometimes it is for aesthetics, such as getting rid of unsightly power lines, but if you work with stunt people, wire removal will become essential. Unfortunately, wires left behind by stunts tend to be more difficult to remove due to all of the action, moving backgrounds, etc. I recently had to remove a wire from what initially seemed to be an easy clip, but it turned out to be a little more complex and none of the “easy plug-in” methods were going to work, so I had to come up with another, more time consuming method.

Here are a couple of still frames from the before and after clips.

before wire removal
before wire removal
After wire removal process
after wire removal

The problems start with the fact that, rather than a lock-off shot, this one was made on a steadicam, so the background is in constant motion. This is an issue because I want to replace the wire with a piece of background from another frame in this clip, but because of the motion in the background, the pieces have to match in color, texture, light and motion or the fix is as apparent as the wire itself. Also the wire is fairly thick and moves vertically through the frame, so filters such as CC Simple Wire Remover, which cover the wire by extrapolating surrounding pixels, were also ineffective. Continue reading “Wire Removal with After Effects”

Johnny Rocket Screening Schedule

Johnny Rocket in Garage Space has been selected for the 2009 Chicago International REEL Shorts Festival which takes place September 10th through the 13th.

Chicago International REEL Shorts Fest posterOur film will officially screen at the festival on Sunday, September 13 at 2:00pm at the Film Row Cinema at Columbia College, 1104 S. Wabash – top floor. We are pleased to announce that our film has also been chosen to screen at the Festival Preview, Thursday, September 10 at 8pm, at Mothers Nightclub, 26 W. Division St, Chicago.

The preview is a 21 and over event, but the Sunday screening is for kids as well as adults, and we are hoping to see as many of you there as can make it. There will be an audience choice award given to the film with the most votes. And in good conscience, I couldn’t say I had Chicago roots if I didn’t ask you to vote early and vote often!

Johnny Rocket in Garage Space is a short (2:45) High Definition film that was written and directed by Jeff Gatesman, and produced by Judith Gatesman. The film, which is a multi-media project incorporating High Definition live action video, 3-D modeling and animation and stop-motion photography, tells the story of a young boy playing

Johnny Rocket in his spaceship

Johnny in his rocket

in his father’s garage who, through nothing but his imagination, transports himself into other worlds; worlds where he is an adventurer, fireman, strongest man in the world, and finally, in a spaceship made entirely of artifacts from his garage, a space explorer. The film was shot on location in Santa Barbara with all the post production, modeling and animation done at Rocket 88 Studios in Culver City, CA.

As a personal note, it is very exciting to have this screening in Chicago, the place where this whole filmmaking adventure started for me, and I look forward to seeing you there. There is a $5 ticket price for the preview party at Mothers, $7 for the festival screening on Sunday, and kids under 16 are admitted free.

Johnny Rocket to screen in Chicago Film Festival

Johnny Rocket in Garage Space has been selected for the 2009 Chicago International REEL Shorts Festival which takes place September 10th through the 13th.

Chicago International REEL Shorts Fest posterThe Chicago International REEL Shorts Festival seeks to provide opportunity for filmmakers from around the world to showcase their work in the Chicagoland area. We at Rocket 88 Studios are proud and honored that our little promo film has been chosen to be part of the 2009 schedule.

We have just been notified of our inclusion into the festival, though the schedule has not yet been announced. Anyone in Chicago, or planning to be in Chicago during that weekend, please make tentative plans to come see our film and help support independent film making.

Johnny Rocket in Garage Space is a short (2:45) High Definition promo film that was conceived, written and directed by Jeff Gatesman, and produced by Judith Gatesman, with cinematography by Pedja Radenkovic and original musical score by Keith Waggoner and Josh Caldwell.

The film, which is a multi-media project incorporating High Definition live action video, 3-D modeling and animation and stop-motion photography, tells the story of a young boy playing in his father’s garage and using his own imagination to transport himself into other worlds; worlds where he is an adventurer, fireman, strongest man in the world, and finally, in a spaceship made entirely of artifacts from his garage, a space explorer. The film was shot on location in Santa Barbara with all the post production, modeling and animation being done at Rocket 88 Studios in Culver City, CA.

The film stars Alexander Scholz as Johnny Rocket and Sam Whitehead as his father.

Johnny Rocket in his spaceship
Johnny in his rocket

Though we don’t know the screening schedule yet, I can tell you for certain that the festival kicks off on Thursday, Sept 10th with a preview and party at Original Mother’s at 26 W Division St. at 8pm. We will be there, so please come celebrate with us.

Our film will screen at the Film Row Cinema at Columbia College which is at 1104 S. Wabash.

Schedule information will be posted as soon as it is released.