Wednesday, 11 June 2014

The Flythrough

     Hi guys, Ewan here, thought I'd take the opportunity to discuss the development of our flythrough now we have a near final version you can watch below.

     Like every aspect of our project the flythrough has gone through a lot of iterations as we've worked on it as we've finalised our vision of what we wanted. It's been huge fun to work on and is definitely one of my highlights of this project as it was very different from what else I was doing as part of the team and outside of that in the rest of my work. The video you've just watched is a culmination of past video efforts which we'll get into now.

     We started off creating the video above for a university presentation and it's fair to say that it was pushed out the door slightly rushed to meet the deadline and I don't think any of us we're very pleased with it at all. We received some good criticisms that we would later implement in a new video that we'd create from the ground up. What exactly were the issues with this version then? For starters it was way too fast, like "strap-your-selves-in-for-a-rocket-ride" too fast and while there are areas which emphasis this they should've been cancelled out with slower camera movement. The camera also accelerates/deaccelerates at random intervals rather jumpily which also extends to the height the cameras at and how it spins round far to much. Though I feel the biggest issue with this flythrough was there was no drama or tension in the cinematography with it relying wholly on the environment itself to do this. I feel I may have been a tad harsh there but for all it's fault it offered us a good base to jump from.

     When it came time for us to produce a second flythrough we spent more time looking for reference and planning the flythrough out. We pushed for a more gameplay-esque trailer similar to the Thief and Amnesia trailers below.


     What we were gunning for was much more narratively based as we tried to bring Dracula to the forefront of the flythorugh. It was felt that by placing the viewer in the role of the player we would be able to more effectively the tension and narrative lacking in out first outing. and you can watch the results of this below.

    While this video is stronger than it's predecessor it fairly divided the teams opinion. Of course it would need refinement to iron out all the bumps and creases but I felt, as well as one or two others, that it just wasn't exciting and failed to capture what we wanted in the flythrough. To me personally I believe we strayed to far towards a gameplay approach that it felt like watching someone play the game which defeated the point of the flythrough and by using the player as the camera crippled what we could do to emphasis the scale of the architecture and the mood of the level. I felt a better balance between gameplay and cinematic aesthetic of the video could be reached. 

     This is where I come more into the picture as before this point I had just been giving my critique to the video rather than being the driving force behind it which had been Kit but I had a strong vision of what I wanted to achieve and so asked the group if they'd be OK with me going over the flythrough once more. I started by creating a storyboard of how the video would roughly go included cuts between shots which I took back to the team before going forward and setting up the cameras in Cry. 

     There were three main things I wanted to capture with the flythrough and that was to build up the tension, emphasis the height and symmetry of the architecture. The first point I felt I could achieve by the camera's speed and creeping around corners and doorways. The second point was what I felt was perhaps the easiest to achieve as it meant really pushing how low the camera was. For the third I immediately began looking at Kubrick's work such as The Shinning and I felt the key areas the symmetrical shots could be achieved were the gatehouse and lead up into the cloister and the Abbey interior. I thought that if I could nail these points then the narrative and tone of the level would really shine through. I feel much more confident with the video, if I don't say so myself. As always there are areas that need work and a few jerks that need smoothed out but the broad strokes of the camera movements and timing are all there. As you'll have probably noted if you've watched the videos Dracula has be replaced by a simple rise and fade in the Abbey rafters however we're currently working on re intergrating him into the video by placing him in the rafters as you'll see below.

     The idea is we'll fade out just as the form becomes recognisable to the viewer leaving them questioning what the saw and ultimately leave a more sinister and memorable ending, well that's what I'm hoping. 

     That's a wrap I guess. There isn't anything else I can really think of to discuss but I hope you've enjoyed the insight into the development of the flythrough. Like I said I've had some great fun working on it and I hope I've created something that people will enjoy and remember. We'll have an absolute final version out when we finish the level which we're close to which is very exciting. What's left is polish and some optimisation before we finishing off and of course getting Dracula back into his Whitby. 

     Thanks for reading.


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