Some of you may have seen a series posts from students' 'coaching diaries' on our blog recently. For those of you who don't know, some of our students studying our classroom courses are being coached by the industry's biggest post houses; The Mill, Double Negative and Framestore. This week, compositing student Clement Roland shares his experience with us.
When Miles Pettit (Escape's Training Manager) popped his head into our classroom one day, we didn't think much of it - well, not until he told us that Framestore, who are coaching our class, wanted us to work on two shots as an exercise. I have to say, there was silence. Most of us were only into compositing for as long as the course started, which is to say 6 weeks, and here was Framestore knocking on the door with two shots for us to work on! The impact was atomic, and the excitation no less. Marc Rice, Head of the Roto department at Framestore then invited the class to Soho to explain what he wanted us to do. Marc said it had to be 'pixel perfect'. Pixel perfect! - how perfect can a pixel be? Lots of my fellow classmates and I were shooting nervous glances across the room.
Shot No. 1
The first exercise which we were given was a shot from Avatar. Great, nice and simple to start off with! The mission was to rotoscope one of the characters, Trudy, over 100 frames. We experienced at once the crude reality of edge placement and the perverse unreliability of motion blur, as well as hairs, dark backgrounds, and "lights leaks". It sounds like hell but believe it or not, it is totally addictive! Once you step into it you have to have it done the right way, the pixel-perfect way. It suddenly made sense and I decided to bring out as many details as I could within the given timeframe.
Shot No. 2
The second exercise was a shot from Sherlock Holmes. We had to remove the safety wires attached to the stunt performers. It was particularly exciting because I actually love that film! But when I understood the wires had to be painted out frame by frame I was suddenly not so sure how good that film was afterall. In fact it turned out to be a great experience and I found myself working with the team and asking lots of questions about techniques in order to get the job done. We all took the exercise extremely seriously with a high sense of dedication, we all saw it as an absolute privaledge.
One of the most important parts of the exercise and probably what remains the cornerstone of the entire course was Marc's feedback on our job. Marc generously returned the commitment we had shown by taking two hours going through everyone's work. It was just amazing. It sounds obvious to say but there is so much to learn from someone else's experience and so much to learn from each others mistakes. The great thing about Marc is that you can feel he has gone through that already. He really knew what he was talking about because he's done the job before. Talking with Marc also boosted our confidence. When you get the chance to meet with great professionals who know everything about your solitary struggles in front of the screen it suddenly makes things more accessible. It really brings your job into perspective and when you're just starting out, that kind of advice is worth it's weight in gold. It's safe to say that I've caught by the bug. Since then I've tried to reach a certain pixel perfection in every possible aspect of my life, but at the moment I'm certainly more pixel than perfect. Back to the show-reel!
A big thanks to Clement for sharing a page from his diary with us. If you'd like to know more about what the Industry Coaching entails, drop us an email. If you'd like to check out our classroom course pages, click here.