Our second project in Term 1 at Lost Boys Learning is the Telekinesis Spoon project, referencing the spoon-bending scene in The Matrix. Students are required to create a three shot sequence of a character with telekinetic power bending a spoon with their mind. The first shot establishes the location, introduces a mysterious character and shows some spoons that have previously been bent out of shape. We see the character make contact with a practical spoon prop and hold it up to prepare for his telekinetic exercise. The second shot is a medium/close up with focus on the bending action of the spoon and interaction with the character. Finally in the third shot we see the bending spoon solidify through a seamless transition into a bent practical prop that the character then sets back down with the other bent spoons.
This project covers a solid foundation of common VFX integration issues such as matchmoving CG to actor movements, accurately replicating an established prop, adding environment and actor interactive reflections to a CG object, matching practical lighting, and the importance and inherent challenge to synchronize actor eye-lines and reactions to yet-to-be-created elements. We also explore better VFX Design through the actions of setting up and supporting successful illusions by manipulating the viewers expectations through subtle semantic clues, such as the mysterious character, bent spoons visible in scene and establishing the physicality of the prop.
"Incorporating the CG spoon into the live background was difficult; I had to model, light, texture and render the spoon in such a way so that it blends seamlessly with the background. Setting up the lights in the location was equally difficult - a three point light setup was used with additional lights in various locations in the room to create a natural feel. Additional problem areas were reflectivity, contrast, negative space, tracking and texturing."
"The spoon project has a tight turnaround of three weeks. On day one we hand out the real spoons, begin modeling and begin to conceptualize our ideas for location, mood and character. Fifteen working days later we are ready to screen the final sequence."
"In this project I posed a woman in an antique and classic kitchen, where the metal quality of the CG spoon references the metal objects in the kitchen. One of the most difficult parts for me was to match the reflection of the CG spoon with the real environment, working within a warm, ambient lighting setup."
"I think the most challenging aspect for me was finessing all of the technical details required when blending CG with reality, particularly when transitioning from the bending CG spoon into the bent practical prop that the character sets back down on the table."
"My inspiration for the character and location was "dark-creepy" so we shot in my basement. Being a big fan of the horror genre, this inspiration came from movies like Saw, 13 Ghosts, and Silent Hill. We did about an hour of filming. The hardest part of the project was using Nuke to blend the real spoons and the CG spoon. I learned more Compositing which is new to me."
For more behind the scenes photos visit our gallery. Watch for further project posts of our Ghost project and recent Studio Tour to Vancouver coming in the next few weeks.
Lost Boys Learning is North America's only dedicated accredited visual effects school with world-class training in photo-realistic 3D for VFX and compositing for film and television. Boasting a 94% placement rate Lost Boys Learning offers a specialized 1 year Visual Effects Diploma on Vancouver Island, Canada. Our students work with the award winning VFX Supervisor and experienced mentor, Mark Benard, in a project-based learning environment, covering VFX pre-production and shooting, 3D for VFX and compositing. We are now accepting applications for our new intake starting in January or May of 2009. Please visit our website and/or email us for further information.