"I would build a machine to prove my theory and change mankind's perception forever..."
Do NOT email me with technical questions. I don’t have the time or the expertise to give you useful answers. Besides, everything I learned about the technology I learned from the links below.
The camera was a Panasonic HPX170 at 720p 24p . This is not an ideal camera for green-screen work for a number of reasons, but I needed to pipeline the entire project through my home computer. In fact the necessity of being able to control post production dictated many decissions.
Location sound was recorded using boom and FM radio mics though a mixer, then routed to the HPX170. Tobias Haynes (sound recordist) provided separate sound files, but they were not needed.
You might shoot on a RED, but if you can't control your post-production process (i.e. actually get it done), you footage will never be seen. The trick to remaining independent, as Robert Rodrigez has pointed out repeatedly, is in being as self-contained as possible. Post-production is the easiest place to become self-sufficient. Post Production was done entirely through the Adobe Production Suite CS5. From first cut to last colour timing; sound edit, sound mix; DVD and Blu ray output. For independent film production this really is a comprehensive package. Adobe are not paying me to say this -- although they may if they wish.
The 3D work was made with an old copy of 3DS Max 9. I also used a plugin from olden times called Treemaker.
Textures were made in Photoshop, or as procedurals in 3DS Max, or in Wally, a texture editor for games, which is still the easiest tile generator I’ve ever used. Textures were also generated with Dynamic Autopainter.
Why use these packages and not just paint the textures myself? Continuity! I needed to be sure that textures would be consistent across the entire film, so I wrote down some settings, and whatever I created on my own got filtered through Autopainter.
All textures were created in greyscale.
The editing was done in Premiere Pro, then each scene was copied and pasted into After Effects in manageable chunks. Video Copilot provides lots of excellent free plugins, but the one that really saved me was Trimcompose. Thanks to trim-compose my copy-paste routines worked perfectly. In the entire show I only lost one frame.
I did NOT use the Adobe Dynamic linking function -– I get nervous when software packages start linking themselves together. It saved time doing DVD tests from Premiere to Encore, but ultimately I rendered out everything into nice big archivable files.
Stefan Minning’s plugin Normality allowed me to do the interactive lighting without going insane.
Compositing was done in After Effects, using Keylight. The monochrome look was created by applying the Black and White filter and boosting the red to lighten skin tones. Unfortunately this, combined with Keylight also increased grain levels.
Pyrotechnics were added using the Action Essentials package from Videocopilot.
Motion tracking was done in Mocha for AE. The 3D tracking was done with Syntheyes.
When everything was done (more or less), each scene/sequence was rendered out in AE and pasted back into Premiere as a new video layer. This let me start the sound edit, but allowed me to re-render and tweak the AE files.
The sound edit and mix were done in Premiere Pro, through MAudio AV30 speakers. Hardly an ideal sound system, but the AV30s provide a flat response, and only cost $100. Each mix was burned onto a CD and tested through as many devices as possible.
The music was made entirely with Sony Acid Music Studio 8 and used the ELOTTRONIX XL Vsti pluggin to generate the "waves of sound" effect.
The DVD/Blu-ray was authored through Adobe Encore –- which stands out among the CS5 suite as a dysfunctional software package. Due to Encore’s "eccentricities" I was forced to reassemble the final project numerous times. When encore works it's quite pleasant. But after wasting days and days (yes days) trying to find solutions to common problems, I discovered the most common solution is to start the project again from scratch. If this was version 1, I'd shrug and roll my eyes, but we are cS5 (now 5.5) and the inconsistencies are simply intolerable. Between the corrupted files, weak documentation, and looking for solutions to problems that should never have arisen, Encore cost me three weeks of extra work.
Doktor Fang wouldn’t have been possible without the enormous community of Post Production people (professional and amateur) who provide tutorials and guidance over the internet. In fact they provide far better documentation and advice than Adobe. The number of tutorials I watched are too vast to remember, let alone document here. However, the following have been constant sources of information and inspiration:
Video Copilot.net with it's extensive After Effects tutorials and forums gave me the knowledge and confidence to make a green-screen movie with 140 composite shots on my home computer. Ninety percent of my questions were answered through the tutorials and forums on this site.
Creative Cow kicked in the balance. And the amazingly helpful and generous Simon Webb covered the rest.