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June 25, 2012 8:00 AM
by B.N. Reporter

A notable short film using Blender is about to be released on August 8, 2012 by a well-organized  international body of artists. A representative of www.BlenderNews.org who had a look at the WIP intermediate preview of the short film described it as a "Syntel-quality" short film at the least.  "Carlo" the organizer and the director for the short film "REVERSION" has responded to an interview with www.BlenderNews.org.

 

Thank you for responding to this interview, Carlo. Would you like to introduce yourself?

My full name is Giancarlo Chan Ng. I currently work as a middle manager in the business district of Makati in the Philippines. I started studying film and animation on my own starting 2006. My interest in CG immediately fell into the quadrant of semi-realistic human actors in mature situations (mostly action-oriented). REVERSION represents a culmination of my interests not just in CG animation and 3D modeling but also in Project Management (yes, I actually like managing projects!), film promotion, story writing, story telling, and interacting with people.

Reversion_shot01.jpg

What is REVERSION about?
REVERSION is an 11-minute film so at the end of the day, it's about one experience that's wrapped in another experience.  
Somewhere in the Congo, a lone security guardian under Ethercorp, the same company running the research facility, is breaking into what seems like an abandoned Ethercorp edical/research facility. The mission of this individual is not entirely clear for the audience, but in truth this is not very essential to the core experience of the 11 minute film.  What is clear from the get-go is that there is some kind of purpose involving information inside the facility.
But just then a previously unseen threat emerges... Something not entirely natural.  A chase ensues, and there is some action... The chase eventually leads to a revelation that changes the way the action is perceived from that point until the end of the short.
Basically the tormentor becomes the victim and what was previously believed to be the victim becomes the tormentor.  The one with advantage becomes the one at disadvantage. This is partially where the title comes from - because everthing "reverses".  But the title has multiple meanings not just in terms of story-reversals, role-reversals, but also has some roots in other areas of the short. 
I wish I could say more but we're trying to keep things spoiler free until August.

Could you introduce your MAGIC MOVIE MACHINE team members for this project?
We've had Sidney Carlos Morae, Jr (a professional aritst in Brazil well known for "Yo! Frankie") and Jeffrey Alan Pitts (an experienced sound designer) as well as about 9  talented artists and students invited for this project.

What's your goal for making this short film?
Simple enough, the goal originally  was to finish.  The team on REVERSION was a heavy mix of people who had experience but not enough time, and young people with no experience, but who also had limited time available to work on a picture.  Around the entire project was this sense of exploration and learning about how to make the best images possible with little more than just what we had at home. As the film started coming together, and as we started doing select previews, it became clear that the film (and the Team) had more potential in it and thus we are having to assess our goals now with a view to what is possible.
It helps that REVERSION, in the end, has become a story larger than the 11-minute time frame can allow.  So we have to see what comes.

Reversion_shot02.jpg

Why did you choose Blender?
For students and people like me with no means to access the kind of software and assets used by professionals, Blender was the only real choice.  But that is not the complete answer, and is only valid to answer the question of why I chose Blender to learn Computer Animation a few years ago. 
REVERSION partially came about from the growing understanding amongst all of us that Blender was quickly maturing into something that is very capable. Everything you see in REVERSION is done in Blender. Modeling, Animation, Visual Effects, Lighting, Smoke, Atmospherics, IK rigging.  The color-grading is also done in Blender Compositor using Nodes. There is nothing in this film that was created in another application, save for the texture maps which were made in either Gimp or Photoshop.
The music was done in Apple Logic and I believe Jeff uses Apple Final Cut Pro for the Sound Design.

Other than Blender, what softwares are you using?
We used Blender for Modeling, Rigging, Animation, Visual Effects, Video Editing, Video Compositing, Color-Grading. We used Photoshop and Gimp for Textures.  We used AVIDEMUX for some video processing compatibility with Apple Final Cut Pro. Apple Final Cut Pro was used in Sound Design.  VirtualDub Surround is used for final multiplexing of the Images and Audio together. 

Did you utilize motion capture technology?
REVERSION does not use Motion Capture technology.  We have been asked this question a number of times and the truth is that REVERSION's final motion is done in passes.  At the root of REVERSION's animation is a very old-fashioned method involving video footage study and thumbnail drawings. 

Reversion_shot03.jpg

What's your plan after the release of REVERSION?
Since the trailer came out, some parties have started approaching us about the potential of this film.  We are evaluating our options and we cannot reveal much in this area at this time.

Thank you, Carlo, for your response. And we hope the best for your MAGIC MOVIE MACHINE team and for REVERSION soon to be released on August 8, 2012.

REVERSION is a pioneer project for decentralized "cell production", as Carlo puts it, where artists from all over the world can be organized to produce a professional quality film. Please tune in for a future article, where Carlo will illuminate on the process.

Related Links:
1. http://reversionmovie.blogspot.kr/
2. http://www.blendernation.com/2012/04/16/movie-project-reversion/
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