Brickfilms Interviews: 4096

How old are you and where are you from?

“Im 30 and from Toronto, Canada. Toronto is now SARS free thanks to the Rolling Stones ;)

How did you get into Brickfilming?

“I started out by making a couple of music videos for some tracks that I wrote, using Bryce 3D. Rocketmen 1 started out as a fourth music video (still unfinished ;) and one day I unexplainedly hit on the idea of creating a lego man character in 3D max, and having him get chased by the robot model I had already built for the video. That became the opening shot in rocketmen vs robots, and I expanded from there to create the rest of the film.”

What is your favorite part about Brickfilming?

“Being able to make films that dont suck. Most films these days are terrible, and you’d think that with the millions of dollars they throw at these things, that the films would actually be better. (There are a few notable exceptions once in a while, namely Donnie Darko and Equilibrium) Now, take amateur films like the Killer Bean 2 (Jeff Lew), Good Company (Nick Maniatis) or Blood of the Wolf (Bluntman) which are well executed, filmed, etc. It says something about the state of ‘entertainment’ today when someone with a webcam and a tub of legos can make the better film.”

In both of your movies, what was the easiest and most difficult thing to do?

“The hardest part, and the most time consuming part, is definitely animating the characters. I can’t imagine having the patience to actually stop-animate minifigs, so hats off to everyone who does it, and pulls it off well (the walking scene in ‘out of time’ is especially slick) The rest of the ‘production line’ (rendering, effects, compositing) is farily straightforward once you get the hang of it, and i’m at the point now where the only real limiting factor is the ability to animate the characters. And you will see in my third rocketmen film that the character animation is much more natural and dynamic than in my previous films.”

In your two movies the voices are computerised, why was that?

“Eventually someone will make a computer voice program indistinguishable from a real person (probably about the same time they invent real-time 3D rendering ;) Then it will be possible for the average joe user to sit down at their home computer and create a ‘hollywood’ quality movie. (Well, hopefully it’ll be much BETTER than what comes out of hollywood…) Working with the computer voices allows me to completely change entire scenes if I want to without having to get people back in the studio to record new lines.”

Can you explain the basic steps in creating and object for your films, whether it be a person, thing, or whatever?

“The 3D modelling is usually straightforward, start with one of the object primitives in 3D max, shape it until it looks kind of like what you want, and then apply textures and materials. I usually work with a lego man character loaded so that everything is always to scale. Other than that, it’s a matter of adding just enough detail to make it look convincing enough for the scene.”

What was your biggest inspiration in creating your 2 films?

“Star Wars (original series) , Evil Dead 2 , Commodore 64 video games, old movie serials, etc etc etc…”

What job title are you currently holding?

“Ms Access Database Computer Nerd…”

What software do you currently use?

“3D max for modeling and rendering, Adobe After Effects for compositing and effects, DDClip pro for editing and soundtracking, and Virtualdub for final processing and compression.”

If you could give one piece of advice to a brickfilmer what would it be?

“Watch as much anime as you can, watch bugs bunny and tom and jerry cartoons, and also watch as many movies as you can. Keep careful mental notes as to what is cool and what sucks (avoiding all J-LO movies) and then incorporate what you have learned into your own films.”

If someone is interested in CGI would you suggest 3Ds max as a consideration?

“3D max is very powerful, you will want to run it under windows NT / 2000 / XP, it is very unstable under win 98. Any of the other pro level 3D programs will also work just as well. You could even use the freeware Blender or POV-RAY as long as you are willing to learn their interfaces. (which I am not now that i’m sort of ‘stuck’ on 3d max) Basically, pick one program and learn in inside out, the more professional packages will leave you a lot happier.”