Indie film time again!


Our sister company Fanimatics has been making a ton of pre-vis for some rather huge clients these days. We’ve also been lucky to help some new friends in Cambodia develop the look of a new live action short. We typically don’t get too involved in our client’s kickstarter campaigns, but this one is a little different.  Under the Tamarind Tree is a tragic story of two lovers separated during the time of the Khmer Rouge regime. It’s a very intense script that made us take notice and want to get involved.

Take the time to check out the project’s Kickstarter Campaign. They are on a mission to tell a powerful story.


New boards: corrections

Corrections to scenes 13 and 15.

In 13 we’re stripping 013-02 and extending the action in 13-01 so that we can more effectively follow through with the motion both in 013-01 and set it up in 11-03.

We’d like to pull 14 entirely and place the explosion into 015-01 (Scene 015 will become 14 once these corrections are confirmed), with Lincoln and Nine looking up at the kaboom, then to each other, then out to the future.

The rest of the cuts in scenes 013 and 15 remain unchanged.

New boards: Sc013-Sc015

The final sets of boards fit in a single thread. As always, click a thumbnail to view the full frame or the sequence as a whole.

In scene 013, cut 01, we return to Lincoln right where we left off with the boot through the door.

A looming shot of the smashed doorway (013-02) shows the Cleaner in full form (design to be determined) as he steps into the room and delivers a pair of double-taps from his suppressed pistols with ruthless efficiency.

This means little to the holographic forms of Nine and Lincoln, as the bullets pass through their images and strike the surrounding environment.

The cleaner leans in close to the smiling form of Lincoln as his image sputters.

The cleaner then looks down camera right

Angled up to camera left is a claymore anti-personnel device fitted with a remote detonator and a jaunty note.

Scene 014 cuts to an exterior of the building as an explosion blows out a corner office. We may be able to re-use the exterior shot from 001-01, allowing for a nice bookend of cuts.

015 starts with a low angle of Lincoln and Nine, who glance at each other with a satisfied expression and then walk out to the sunset as the dialogue plays out.

New boards: Sc012

Scene 012 is the most extensive of the new additions, and requires its own thread. Ironically it only calls for two new unique cuts, but the additional action is significant. As before, click any thumbnail to view a single frame or the full sequence.

Cutting away from the action at Lincoln’s place, we return to the lab with a match of 006-01. Kali appears in the middle of the room (teleport effect to be determined) before a deeply doped Benny, and the attendants have barely a handful of frames to react before they’re splattered against nearby surfaces with explosive force, reducing them to chunky paste.

02 is a gesture towards camera, but without looking it makes the gesture dismissive. Kali’s full-body design needs to be addressed and modeled, but for the purpose of the boards we’re using a placeholder based on the description of “winding tattoos”.

03 displays the interior of the observation chamber (match 006-04) with the head scientist leaning forward to shout just before he and everyone in the room receives a similar explosive liquidation.

In 012-04 the belts that restrain poor Benny gently unbuckle themselves and his catatonic form is lifted into the air.

05 is a small movement that emphasizes the tenderness of the character.

In 06 the pair vanish, leaving with a singularity effect that draws in everything nearby in the moment before the scene is consumed by fiery blasts.

New boards: Sc007-Sc011

New script additions required new boards, so we’re scratching scene 007 forward from the old shot list and adding approximately 8 new scenes. With match cuts and judicious planning the amount of new animation is significant but not overwhelming. Click any thumbnail image to view that frame or the entire sequence in order.

We start the new scene 007 with a lot more action in place, the hand motions and facial movement of Lincoln will be more varied to match the dialogue. New cuts to 007 include a closeup of his hands working various holofeedback boards and a rapid-fire view of the various windows and dialogue screens that flash across his console.

Scene 008 is all-new, a long view of a hallway somewhere in the building. The hallway is dusty and dilapidated. Details to be determined on layout. The lights in the ceiling flicker and die as the elevator rises into place and the doors open to reveal the Cleaner in silhouette.

Scene 009 cuts back to Lincoln as he works more furiously at his controls. This scene will probably involve some simple lip sync. It’s a match cut for 005-01 and 007-01, allowing us to reuse the background and some foreground elements and simplifying the drawing process a bit.

010 is a low and long shot of the hallway at a reverse angle, a single door the only destination, and the boots of the Cleaner move from the extreme foreground into the scene with a Terminator-like stride.

011 match cuts to 002-01, allowing us to build on the dog’s base frame. He lifts his head to look off-camera, then back towards Lincoln. A bead of sweat runs down his forehead as reflections of holographic screens flash across his lenses. We get a view of a reinforced door with several locks that are of no effect when the Cleaner’s boot smashes through the wood like kindling.


Upon review, we need to flip the direction of the action in scene 010 and the final cut of 011, so that the Cleaner’s motion is right-left (emphasizing that he’s coming up behind Lincoln. This also works better with Nine’s look to camera right in 011-01, as the Cleaner will be moving left in 10.

005-01 keys & 007-01 rough

Scene 005 was originally a single hold frame showing the Hacker as he receives the data stream from the bug.

In order to maintain camera consistency we flipped the angle and widened out so that we can move the camera a little. We’ve also added a slight head movement to break the static hold, and the rest of the action can be picked up by the holographic windows in the foreground.

For the match cut (007-01) where the feed ends, we’re suggesting that we add some simple hand actions to keep it from being static and to separate it from 005 a little.

004-09 BG layout

Proper background layout for the board that the wasp hacks into. While not based on any particular board, the layout and such is based on a variety of internal computer parts. When cleaned up more of the detail will be apparent. The path of the wasp is largely unchanged, but some of the planes will allow for layering to create a nice depth effect.

Board edits – 12 to 14

Cut 12 begins the gruesome sequence of Doom. While we’ve already submitted board edits for c016 (the headscraping) and 017 (the splattery squeeze-n-drop), 12-14 covers the bonebreaking.

Cut 12 is a medium shot similar to the one seen in the animatic. A long 3/4 angle lets us emphasize the depth cues between the near and far limbs as they spin in opposite directions, pulverizing each bone into splinters. We can also use this beat to provide the Soldier with a bit of expression before the pain begins.

C13 is a match cut to 10, and here we break the legs in a fashion similar to c12, by torquing each part of the limb in a counterwise direction along the joints and the axis.

C14 allows us to see the fully ruined limbs of the Soldier as he is crushed ever more tightly in the grip of the Patient’s psychic abilities.  Blood begins to pour from his clothing, and we also see the utterly nonchalant non-reaction of the Scientists in the background.

The remaining cuts in Scene 006 are near enough to the animatic that we can proceed to the layout phase, wherein the roughs represent the final drawings more closely and lead up to the construction of the actual animation frames.

Board edits – 08 to 11

In cut 08 the soldier walks towards camera (tracking with), readies his weapon and fires. We’ve added a 3-point tactical sling to the weapon design, and included a chambering action prior to the trigger pull. While he still fires into the extreme foreground, we’ve moved him a few degrees off the perpendicular to avoid covering the action with the muzzle blast.

C09 is an insert cut to show the first reaction of the Patient as the bullets slam into the air before his face. It’s a very fast cut (starting as it does with the weapon already firing) and pushes the camera back very fast to help sell the impact and allow room for his arms to swing up into the air before him

C10 is one of the only cuts where we maintain a camera perpendicular to the action, for a couple reasons. As the primary intention of the cut is to illustrate sustained fire with a closing gap, a straight angle that clearly shows the space between the characters is most effective. In addition there’s a few tricks we’ll be able to use to save resources that won’t work as effectively at a sharper angle.

We also suggest an interruption to the fire that allows the Soldier to reload. A fully-loaded automatic weapon can empty a clip in just 4-6 seconds. A rapid reload action not only grounds the weapon in a realistic manner but also helps to display the professional, cold skills of the Soldier (who never slows down his stride nor pauses more than necessary in his steady rate of fire).

c11 is where it all goes wrong for cold, professional skills. The Patient goes from deflecting the bullets to a sweeping motion that simultaneously pushes wide the limbs of the soldier, forcing him into a pose similar to that of the Patient. His weapon drops to his chest and his arms are stretched back to the breaking point. This cut is similar to the version in the animatic, but delays the most gruesome action until the following beat.

Board edits – S006 C02 & 05

Scene 006 is (along with 004) the most animation-intensive series of cuts within the short, and as such we’ll break the board edits into a couple of entries. As before, please click any board to open the full sequence. We have only recomposed boards for which significant changes are suggested.

In C02 , we’ve adjusted the camera angle down and to the left slightly, mostly to get us off the perpendicular angle. This angle is also most suitable for the action in C05, which is a match cut for 02.

In C05 a Lab Tech walks in from Left, injects the contents of a wicked-long syringe into the IUD port and then activates a few buttons on the back of the chair before leaving Left. The chair rises to the standing position, and the neck restraints disengage (the injector in the back of the neck leaves a small line of goo from the neck to the port to emphasize the connection without seeing the actual mechanism).

Board retakes – Scene 004

The majority of scene 004 (the UAV bug’s infiltration of the base) is unchanged, but we’re suggesting some significant changes to the part in which the bug gains access to the computer. We maintain the same number of cuts, but the action and the camera angles are new. Please click on any thumbnail in the sequence below to see the full frame, and use the controls on the popup to navigate through the frames.

Starting at Scene 004 cut 008, the bug lands upon the back of a server and enters the casing through the vents. Once inside (004-09) it hops from the wall to the motherboard, and from there to the processor, then leaps to a cooling vent in the foreground. While moving on surfaces its actions should be sharp and fast, much like an insects normally is (also conveniently saves on frames).

004-10 displays our new concept for the interface. There seemed to be a general agreement that the “jack” interface wasn’t quite working for anyone, so we’ve tried something new. The wasp’s segmented abdomen retracts to reveal an articulated eye and triple-barreled microfiberoptic relay. Once the processor is targeted, the relay fires fiberoptic cables into the foreground.

004-10A is an insert shot, but it’s a match cut with 004-09 so the added content is negligible. The shot is needed to show how the fiberoptic cables extend from the abdomen of the wasp to connectors on the processor, allowing the Hacker to gain direct access to the network.

004-11 illustrates that the bug is transmitting, as it did before. We’ve added a little animation in the extension of the antennae. The radiating circles are intended as a graphic device rather than a literal visual effect… intermittent light pulses and an accompanying sound effect will telegraph the “transmission” impression.

The final image is a new model sheet detailing the modified interface relay. The wasp design remains largely unchanged, as the new mechanisms fit entirely within the abdomen, which was already designed with articulated plates.

Board retakes – Scene 002

We’ve got new boards for those cuts in which we would like to make significant modifications to the layout or the composition.

Scene 002 (the Hacker’s room) has been tweaked, but the action is still matched to the animatic. The first cut (002-01) has been shifted back and a sleeping guard dog added to the foreground. 002-02 is shifted to slightly behind and over the shoulder to add some depth to the shot and show the holographic displays more clearly. 003 is another angle shift, and shows how we’ll round the projected data to simulate the shape of the lens.