David Whittet Films Blog
Independent New Zealand Film Production

Movie Magic, illusion and painstaking compositing!

Motion-1
Working on a complex compositing shot using Apple’s Motion software.

I am falling behind with post production work on the Amiri & Aroha trilogy. I was hoping to have Amiri’s Child complete by the end of this year, but release will now be well into the New Year.

The reason for the delay is the painstaking work on special effects. I have previously commented in this blog on the endless list of Digital Compositors on the titles in the commercial cinema and how this contrasts with the Indy film maker, who does all the work themselves. Amiri’s Child in particular is heavy on effects shots. As well as images in Kōkā’s crystal ball, there is a complex opening sequence, an overture in which the crystal ball travels back to Rere and Kōkā foresees the birth of Amiri’s child.

I have spent the last fortnight working on Kōkā’s return to Rere, a dramatic scene towards the end of Amiri’s Child. Kokā must take the crystal ball back to Rere and smash it on the rocks to break a curse, and as she travels back to Rere in her caravan, she asks her beloved crystal ball to show her the future one last time. Creating these effects (using Apple’s Motion programme) has been laborious, which single shots taking several days to achieve the level of perfection essential to make the audience believe in the illusion.

Motion-2
Creating a travelling matte around the actress’s fingers so that they appear in front of the lightening, which has been superimposed on the shot to create the illusion that the lightening is inside the crystal ball.
Motion-3
The completed effect, with the fire in the crystal ball on Kōkā’s final journey.

Digital compositing may be an exacting task, but the results are rewarding when they work!