My First 360° VR Video in 4K by D.L. Watson

My friend and co-worker Casey Faris ( turned me onto 360° videos, or what's being called VR. Recently, Discovery has launched their own VR channel for their specials and it looks incredible.

Casey told me that there was a plugin for After Effects which allows you to generate such videos using 3D plugins like Element3D. So of course, curiosity bit me and I immediately challenged myself to make one, with Han Solo's favorite hunk of junk. The results are below, just hit the play button and click+drag mouse to move the camera around:

The process of making the video was relatively straight forward. I had to purchase Mettle's Skybox plugin for After Effects which transforms your 3D compositions into a spherical video map. It looks like this when it's all done:

Because the resolution becomes so massive for the final render (12K x 6K), I had to do the comp in passes (much like how it was done in the old days).

Of course, all this would be pointless if Youtube didn't allow you to upload such videos. Using the controls YouTube provides, you can manipulate the view of the camera as you please.

Anyways, that was a fun learning experience and I think the end result turned out pretty good. Let me know if you'd like to see an in-depth tutorial.

It's not how talented you are; It's about Networking! by D.L. Watson

Each day that I'm in this industry, the more and more I learn that great short films with well-written characters and talented acting isn't going to get you the attention you might be looking for when trying to break into the "Hollywood" production plant.

Instead, it looks like as the years go on, concepts don't even need to make sense let alone showcase any skill other than how good the visual effects looks (and sometimes that can be questionable).

For example, I read that NoFilmSchool posted that another short film has been optioned to become a feature film. Watch it below:

As a filmmaker and vfx artist, I know exactly how hard these shots can be to pull off. The problem is the story, or what little story they showcase. It all just feels too one-dimensional. And Ill give it the benefit of the doubt by saying there may be an excellent script I'm not seeing.

It just goes to show that it's not about how talented you are (director, actor, producer, etc.) its really about who you know and who you network with. Maybe the lesson to learn from this situation is that filmmakers should spend more time getting to know other filmmakers and producers as they write their project - because even if they tell a great story it could go unseen.

Of course, a bad short film can be turned into a great movie. And a great short film can be turned into a horrible film: like Pixels (great short, horrible film).

What do you think? Should filmmakers at least put some effort into Networking or should a good short film, with well written characters and solid story create the possible environment of networking?

"The Hateful Eight" Trailer - First Impressions by D.L. Watson

Well, I just watched the first "real" trailer for Quentin Tarantino's "The Hateful Eight" and I must admit the film looks beautiful. As some know, not only is this movie shot on film, it's shot on the previously extinct 65mm and is going to be projected from 70mm prints. And on top of that, he's shooting with Panavision APO Panatar Lenses which means that this will be the first film since Khartoum (which was released in 1966 by the way) to be shot and projected in such format. 

Have a look at the trailer below:

While the footage looks absolutely breathtakingly cinematic, I hope it isn't being used as a gimmick to get people into the theater - when in all honesty - I'm going to see it because it has Tarantino's name attached to it.

What do you think? Do you like the super-wide look? Sound off below.

Being a Filmmaker - There's nothing like it! by D.L. Watson

There is a lot of folks I know in the industry that are only in it for the money. It's their primary focus and we and audiences see that with the saturation of reboots after remakes to immediately make a cash grab. And don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with getting money for the hard work and creativity.

A graphic I designed to promote the upcoming episode, now aired.

But me personally, what I find most rewarding is being in the same room with others who are watching something I had a hand in making. And that high is exponentially increased when I know that same product is being distributed across the United States.

Tonight, a special episode of Graveyard Carz - a show that I produce along with the Division Productions, LLC - aired this evening on Velocity. While I can't go into specifics on how many people actually tune into our shows, I can say we do bring in a large audience on the network owned by Discovery Communications.

This specific episode is called "How to Cook a Barracuda" and it's been accurately dubbed our most emotional episode ever. We get to see a couple's car go from faded memory to near brand-new in just forty-three minutes. It's just one of the amazing transformations that Mark Worman and the team at Graveyard Carz does.

I feel truly humbled to be allowed to direct, edit, and produce the show. Right now, we're working on our second half of the season which I cannot wait for people to see. Personally, it's the best that we've ever produced and I'm sure our viewers and 1.6 million fans will enjoy it.