Playing with Fire
This is my second animated short using the Source Filmmaker beta. I started it shortly after finishing my tutorial test video on the 7th and got finished with it today. Except for eating and sleeping, all of my time the past three/four days has been spent on this.
Originally, the concept for the video was for it to open up with the scout telling the second half of a joke, with all the other classes laughing afterward. Unable to find a second half of a joke that I liked and would be able to deliver well via voice recording, I decided to make the video about a scout hitting on a pyro with negative results. The idea was to make a video that focused on facial animation and lip synching using custom dialogue in order to get some practice with the tools.
0:00 - The first thing I wanted to do was make the scout look as douchey as possible while still being able to see all of his face (meaning no sunglasses), so I removed his default hat (you can see it in the cubby behind his left shoulder. I actually moved the mic up and angled the hat based on its position and weight of the headset) and placed the backwards cap on his head, locking it to his movement. I then added a pair of headphones which I couldn't figure out how to attach. The cord is actually going through his body, but I tried to make it look like it's going under his shirt.
I recorded some dialogue (using a $30 Logitech headset I got at Walmart a couple of years back), beginning with the winky-kiss thing, and then used the automatic lip synch to get something to work with. I then spent several hours tweaking every millisecond of the shot, editing the movement of his face, eyes, and mouth. I even animated his tongue properly, though I don't think anyone can really see it. There are a lot of subtle touches that aren't noticeable on their own, but I think they make the whole thing better. I didn't have any reference to go off of, and I'm going to film my face while recording dialogue in the future to make it easier. I also darkened the scene a bit so his facial movements would stand out more.
I bought a professional recording mic with a pop filter so I can better record audio. I guess I'm about to find out whether I'm a good voice actor or not seeing as I've never done it before!
The music didn't come until much later, when I came across the "scout_boombox" WAV files. This is 04 on loop.
0:09 - Nostril flaring is funny. I'm really proud of the scuzzy look the scout gives here.
0:11 - When the second shot begins. I knew I wanted HER (that's right) to turn her head as she does in the video, but I went back and forth on whether or not she should have any dialogue. I originally used the announcer's voice from Team Fortress 2 as a sort of inner monologue saying, "Kill him! Slaughter him like a dog!" but later changed it to the 'negative vocalization' sound for the pyro. I wanted her to have sound when the first two shots were a bit longer before transitioning to the final, much louder shot since there was too much silence in between, but after trimming the clips I found it to be funnier if she is completely quiet. I also cut off the music. I tried to find a record scratch WAV file but was unable to.
0:14 - The final shot and probably what I spent the most time on. I wanted a high enough vantage point for the scout to launch through a window and fall, but there really wasn't a proper place on Sawmill, the random map I chose. I lowered the angle of the camera and staged everything at the very top of the building. There actually isn't any flooring up there, and both characters are on the level below. Since I don't know how to animate a window breaking (I don't even know if that's possible), I made it so only the very top of the window can be seen. I then used volumetric lighting to make it look like everything inside is on fire.
There are five different audio things happening here: the scout's footsteps, the pyro laughing, an explosion sound effect to simulate a flamethrower, the scout's dialogue, and some ambient forest life sounds. For the footsteps, I used the five "footsteps\wood" WAV files and put them together. I mixed them around so it wouldn't sound like an obvious pattern of them going in order and put a delay before the window break so it would seem like the scout is either jumping or getting blown off his feet. Since the pyro's laugh and the explosion sound effect are currently behind a window, I lowered their volume.
0:17 - I increased the intensity of the light to simulate an explosion and added glass_largesheet_break1.wav for the window breaking, along with increasing the volume for the things I lowered previously as sound is now able to escape the building. Animating the scout falling out was by far the hardest thing of the whole project, and I eventually settled on what I have now since I just wanted to move on. There are a lot of small movements that aren't noticeable at the speed he is going. I even came up with a pretty great "fear" face and turned his dogtags around his neck so they would be flying behind him. I increased the volume of his scream as he gets closer to the camera and lowered it as he passes it and added a "crackling fire" noise to indicate things are burning inside.
0:24 - That was a long fall. WILL HE RECOVER
In total, I have one track of dialogue and 46 sound effects, 42 of which are in the last shot.
Proof of my commitment: