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Visual Effects Breakdown

After The Rain was a project that spanned over 11 years because of its production complexity. For 10 of those years it sat on the shelf as just an idea and an incomplete script. But in 2010 after purchasing After Effects CS5 (an upgrade from AE 6.0) I decided to take a deeper look at what the visual effects the program can do and landed on several tutorials that sparked that old idea back to life. So I went back to the drawing board to rewrite a script with a more profound meaning, but more importantly one that can fit within our budget.

From day 1 I knew that the biggest challenge was to film the scenes over a few days with consistent rain, and was also well aware that natural rain is not always visible on screen. So I had to find a way to add rain digitally to a realistic environment without ever having used any CGI particle systems before. However, I made it an important point to shoot the scenes in actual rain, and add the appropriate amount controlled digitally in the post production. CGI elements will only look good if they are placed in their natural environments, I’ve seen way too often rain added to a dry scene with a horrible outcome.

How did I create the rain?

For most of the rain in the movie, I actually used a particle effect already in available in After Effects, the CC Particle World. The most difficult part was figuring out the intensity and getting the right angle for every shot, besides that the tool is fairy easy to use, there are several tutorials online that explain this fairly well, I find that VideoCopilot.net has some of the best After Effects tutorials and are very well documented, watch the first part of Lightning Strike to learn how to create realistic rain easily. Making the particles look like rain was the simple part, I just colorized the particles from shades of blue to grey, with opacity between 20 and 80 percent, and blending mode either screen or add. Finally adding a blur to the rain is what makes it seem realistic and avoids imperfections, the blurriness of the particles varied between shots, I usually tried to match the depth of field of each shot using several layers of rain with varying speeds and focuses.

After The Rain - Creating RainThen there was the slow motion and rain drop close up shots. This is where the fun all began, where a lot more patience and RAM were needed! For this part we had to get external, but very powerful and costly plugins to generate the 3D particle systems, like Trapcode Particular and Trapcode 3D Form. I took a chance getting into this because I had no previous experience in 3D, and a pretty advanced level is needed to use these professional plugins. But I was dedicated and really wanted a couple of cool rain shots for the film, especially for the last scene where we see the first raindrop fall on the main character’s face from his point of view after opening his eyes. I read many tutorials for the Trapcode Particular, but my favourite one, and perhaps the one I owe ‘After The Rain’ to, is ae tuts ‘Create a Breathtakingly Awesome Rain Scene‘ tutorial.

The rain was the reason the film took so long in post production, with rain scenes in more than 80% of the movie, each shot needed to be carefully crafted, but well worth it in the end since the film revolved around the rain.

Reflections

We had several different ideas for the opening sequence, our original plan up to 2 days before filming was to start from the main character’s point of view looking at the rainy sky, and as we pan down the camera rotates around the character to reveal him. We were not happy with the fluidity of the shot, mainly because we did not have the right equipment for it. So we had to think for a plan B, which I believe turned out to be the perfect way to reveal our character Ed, from his P.O.V. we pan from the sky straight down to reveal his reflection on a car stopped at a red light. While this made things slightly easier while filming, it was a completely different story for the post production. I had to start by removing our own reflections, camera and crew, which proved to be a difficult thing to do on a moving, wet vehicle, followed by adding different reflections on several different parts of the car like the window, plastic and curved door. To add to complications, the car drives away and the reflection distorts accordingly. This was all done with layers over layers with masking and distortion mesh, which turned out to be a fun experiment.

Getting hit by a car

Visual Effects Breakdown - Car CrashPerhaps the most common question I got from the movie, ‘How did you do the crash scene?’. This is one scene that I absolutely wanted in the film since the first draft in 2001, especially the shot from inside the car where he hits the windshield. This was the pivoting point of the film and we needed a bang! I knew it would be a though one pull off without a budget nor a professional stuntman, but I had an idea in mind and just prayed that it would work. The side view was quite simple, using the old superimposing multiple shots trick, you can find countless tutorials online for this, but in my opinion none seem realistic. To take it that extra step, I close cut the man frame by frame stumbling over the hood into the windshield, a time consuming method, with satisfying results.

For the inside the car shot, I needed to think outside the box. How can I hit somebody with a car without really hitting them? I came up with the idea to shoot the scene in reverse, meaning that the actor starts leaning on the windshield and the car drives off in reverse to make the actor stumble off the car, when reversed, it seems as if the car advances into the actor and rolls onto the windshield. Due to constraints we only had a few minutes to shoot this scene, not the best scenario for a complicated shot. The shots we captured were not perfect, but with a few adjustments in post and we finally came off with a satisfying shot.

It’s a very tricky shot and you need to really think the shot through before shooting, you also need to remind your actor to ‘act’ in reverse, which is not the easiest thing to achieve while rolling off a moving car! Make sure your actor is up to it and has some agility, Our actor Franco did an amazing job, but did come off with a few bruises. I had to play around with frame dropping and speed since reversing the shot alone did not feel like a natural motion. It takes many trials and errors to get this right, so patience is the key.

Hello Demon

Visual Effects Breakdown - Demon transformationThe demon scene was also something that was in the script since the very beginning, I wanted a scene that would make people jump off their seat early on in the movie. This was the first visual test I did on After The Rain back in 2001 (back then called A Rainy Day) when I was still writing the first draft of the script. When I got back to doing research in 2010 for the film, I stumbled on a wonderful tutorial on Video Copilot that was exactly the effects I was looking for, I took this as sign that the movie needed to be done.

I won’t say this scene was easy, but it was definitely lots of fun! Following Andrew Kramer’s Demon Warp Face tutorial on Video Copilot along with the actor Stephen really made things much easier for the face transformation. However creating the glows and auras took me weeks of fine tuning.

Learn from mistakes

We had to shoot the film on such a tight timeline with a very minimal amount of crew, meaning that each member had several jobs. This made planning a shooting date easier, but led us to oversee many little avoidable mistakes. Mistakes that added countless hours to the post production process, digitally removing cast reflections off the cars or windows, fixing continuity content, adding and removing characters to the scenes, and removing any unwanted background activity. I am embarrassed about these mistakes, that’s why I tried my best to cover them up, but thought it would be a good point to bring up for any filmmaker to always plan to the littlest detail.

If you have any other questions on the production of the film or any any special effects or softwares I have used, leave a comment below or send me an email, I would be more than happy to answer.

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Official Selection of The NSI Online Short Film Festival

Official Selection - NSI Online Short Film Festival

We are extremely excited and proud to announce that our short film ‘After The Rain’ has been officially selected for the NSI Online Short Film Festival. The festival is hosted by the National Screen Institute – Canada (NSI) a national training school widely known for its prestigious training courses for Canadian writers, directors and producers working in film and television.

‘After The Rain’ is scheduled to premiere Monday, September 10, on the NSI Canada website along several other short film who will compete for 3 awards: The Shaw Media Fearless Female Director Award, The A&E Short Filmmakers Award and The Bite Comedy Award. ‘After The Rain’ will most likely be eligible in The Shaw Media Fearless Female Director Award category (Laura Aloi) and The A&E Short Filmmakers Award. Links and blogs about the selected films will be posted on the NSI website nsi-canada.ca in the first few weeks in August.

Our film has also been featured on several other sites, including IndieFilmTips.com. Created in May 2012, Indie Film Tips is a resource for filmmakers to learn from the experiences of other filmmakers. On his blog we talk about the difficulties we encountered while filming ‘After The Rain’.

The most challenging process besides writing and editing the script must of been finding the perfect timing to shoot. We had the hard challenge to deal with weather. Most of the short takes place under the rain, and ends up with a dried up street with with some sunshine and rainbows.

Read the full post here indiefilmtips.com/2012/07/18/after-the-rain

Some of other sites we’ve been featured on or mentioned are
OnlineShortFilms.net
OpenFilms.com
OchiFilms.com
NikkaEvents.com (ATR Premiere)
MotiveNutrition.com (Yes, we inspired healthy food too!)
iloveshortfilms.com (Review + Director’s Notes)
and of course, will soon be featured on our own brand new short film website FilmShortage.com

We encourage you to go take a look at these websites and support them the same way they supported us!

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‘After The Rain’ Short Film Premiere

ATR invitation
A couple of weeks ago we finally had the opportunity to show a premiere of our short film ‘After The Rain’. In fact, in was more of a private screening rather than a premiere. We decided to put this night together to thank the cast and crew for all the hard work and ambition they had put into this film, and at the same time give them a chance to watch the film before anyone else.

We would like to thank everyone who came to support our short and made this night a memorable one for us, and also thank the ones who were not able to make it, but were a part of this production and helped us make this movie. We hope you enjoyed the night and food as much as we did, and we’re extremely happy to finally get some feedback from all of you on the finished movie.

We also want to say that this night would not have been possible without the hard work from Tanya Carlucci and Peter Filato.

Tanya from Nikka Weddings & Events helped us plan and put the entire evening up together as well as prepare the outstanding ‘After The Rain’ themed sweet table. You can see more of Tanya’s {Nikka Events} work and follow her blog at:

nikkaevents.com
Like Nikka on Facebook


ParkWay Resto Pub
ParkWay Resto Pub provided us with their space and great service, but most importantly with all the delicious food served during the night. Make sure to go back to ParkWay to check out the rest of their tasty menu, and don’t hesitate to contact Peter if you have any future events in mind at 1 514.351.4418

Like ParkWay on Facebook


We would also like to thank Geno Proteau for taking pictures of the event as the night went on, here are a few snaps:

ParkWay Resto pub full
Sweet Table From Nikka Weddings & Events
Actors and crew members chatting
Directors and actors chatting
Director chatting with friends
Mini cupcakes from Nikka candy barSweet table and screen

for those of you who don’t know what the movie is about, here are the trailers

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The First (clots of) Thoughts

ATR invitation

“The clots of thoughts had finally dissipated…”

After The Rain private screeningYes, last week we finally got the chance to show the finished movie to the cast and crew at a private screening!
The screening took place at the wonderful ParkWay RestoPub in front of over 45 guests.

After over 15 months since the first words have been written, and 10 months since the first shot was filmed, the crew finally got to see their hard work pieced together. And at last you get to speak! We put this page up so you can tell us and others what you thought about ‘After The Rain’. We are extremely curious to know everything that crossed your minds during the film, good or bad. So speak up! leave a reply at the bottom of this page, enter a fake email and name if you want to remain anonymous.

For the rest of you who haven’t seen it yet, this can only be good news since the online release is just around the corner!

Stay tuned, we will soon have more pictures and details from the premiere night itself.

-ATR Admin Team

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Sounds of Rain And Saint Bernards

Since that first word was written down on that piece of paper I knew that the music and sound would be one of the most important characteristics of this short film. Luckily enough we had the chance to work with two great musicians in Marco Baldino and Michael Wieland who composed the soundtrack for After The Rain. We strongly wanted Marco Baldino involved with the film since the story was based on short one-page essay he has written over a decade ago in college. Besides casting for a role in the film, Baldino volunteered to create the soundtrack for After The Rain. Baldino composed the first track of the short, capturing the buzzing and static feel of rain; recreating effects of being stuck between reality and a dream. Robby Lucà adds a touch of distortion waves to the opening track.

Saint Bernard of LoveFor the second part of the short we were looking for something a little softer with a strong build-up, a mix of drums and synths, something straight out of an M83 album. When we heard samples of Saint Bernard of Love (by Michael Wieland) we knew we had found exactly what we were looking for. Wieland wrote the song entitled “Small Victories (Reprise)” for the second part of the film, “(Reprise)” because after writing it he realized it was a continuation of an old song he had composed for Saint Bernard of Love called “Small Victories”. The song floats you right up to the dramatic ending.

Make sure to listen to “Saint Bernard of Love”. His experimental style and synths give you a glimpse of what ‘After The Rain’ sounds like.

http://www.myspace.com/saintbernardoflove/

We will soon have the actual soundtrack songs available on our website.

Stay tuned!

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New Teaser Trailer Release!

Since the movie release has been postponed due to the decision to go the extra mile and create an original soundtrack for the movie, we decided to piece together a new teaser trailer.

If you’re on a mobile phone, you can view the video HERE

This trailer features music from Montreal band Suuns, the track is called “Pie IX” and you can watch their official video on here or find it on iTunes.

Comments and opinions are very welcome, so don’t be shy to leave some.

Have yourselves a rainy day,

– The After the Rain crew

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Our page is officially launched!

Welcome to the official Web Page of “After the rain”.

We have creating this page to keep everyone up to date on everything about this upcoming short film.

Such as the official release date and future film festival presentations. We will also be constantly updating the page with new media from the movie.

Stay tuned People!

– “After the Rain” Crew

 

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