1995 THE_FRIGHTENERS

TasmanSt When I first joined Weta, there were 6 of us, and we were in the front room of a small house in Wellington. After initial tests, we moved to Weka St in Mirimar, where the rest of the crew were assembled as the cinema was built next door.

For the Frighteners I designed the pipeline and scripts for the Ghost Effect and set up the software GUI to streamline their use. The “Blobman” effects were all done in Explore and Dynamation; both products were eventually bought by Alias and evolved into Maya. Stephen Regelous wrote custom code to provide convolution surfaces (a polygonal version of metaballs). There was a lot of working overnight and sleeping under desks to get through the huge shot-count.

1994 RED SCREAM

Starting in 1991, my brother Michael and I embarked on an ambitious attempt to treat animation like live action. Based on his storyline and boards, we set up characters, props and locations, and then shot them with multiple cameras, multiple takes to eventually generate almost 25 minutes of footage.

This was (brutally) cut down by Johnathon Woodford-Robinson to a breathless 3 minutes 33 seconds of insanity to become Red Scream – New Zealand’s first computer-generated short film. (The reason it was started in 1991 but not finished until 1994 was a combination of money, time and the Cubicomp’s slow rendering speed)

Shot anamorphic 235, with an orchestral soundtrack scored by John Gibson (this sound quality does not do it justice I’m afraid), the animation was shot out to Kodak 35 mm film by a camera in a blacked-out cupboard pointed at the Cubicomp monitor. Mixed at the NZ Film Unit by Mike Hedges, Red Scream got a local cinema release playing before the film “The Mask”. It was shown at several festivals around the world, and is best viewed in a cinema, on a huge screen, LOUD!