As the blurb says: the longer he stays dead, the weirder things start to become. Max’s “Deadvision” starts to kick in, and as always, Max-The-Artist really starts to tap into his inner Bernie Wrightson here.

One great thing about webcomics is just how gorgeous some of the colors are in the RGB backlit screen format. Don’t get me wrong, they look great in print too (we’re in the process of putting together the first book, and what you lose in illumination you more than make up for in resolution) but there’s something about that glow that really works for hellish visions, no doubt.





As mentioned earlier, I get these requests.

When you do effects as a sideline, you rapidly run through the standard gunfire-blood-flame-smoke stuff and since these days there’s plenty of people doing the same, the market quickly becomes saturated. Because I personally work almost entirely in miniature, I have a chance to spread out a bit, trying things that are not as common but which are occasionally useful. I’ve found that sometimes it takes a while to pay off, because people have never seen it available before. But eventually, as they browse the DetFilms sites, they discover it, and even though they don’t need it right then, it gets lodged into the back of their minds as a possibility, and they end up planning it into their next project.

Of course, as with all VFX, budgets are a major sticking point. I get letters from people wanting me to shoot in 4K at 120p, but of course they themselves don’t really have any money to spare right now. They are amazingly good at coming up with reasons why I should take out a loan for a fifty thousand dollar camera for the benefit of their project. The harsh reality is that such a camera, at my little end of the business, simply would never pay for itself; whereas with technology getting better and cheaper all the time, in a couple of years I may be able to obtain a camera that will shoot at that level at a far more reasonable price. In the meantime, I shoot at 1080p60 and can work on my other skills.

Such as with this current project. Someone making a low-budget movie wanted a hallway explosion — a blast going down a hallway at a specific angle to lay over the footage they’d already shot. They didn’t want the standard propane flames; they wanted debris and burning stuff interacting with the walls, to look more “realistic.” Naturally, they had basically no money for this. But it was something I’d been thinking about doing anyway.

So I built a miniature mockup of the hallway — basically a long black box — and went off to my workshed to create the tiny blast effects that would be used. These were complicated little things, involving a tiny burst charge inside a fragile shell containing a flammable dust and a bunch of lightweight pet bedding and vermiculite to serve as “debris.” This was then attached to fine black threads that would hold it suspended in the air inside the mockup.

Naturally, the only way for me to do all this tiny work was to don one of those magnifying visors and hunch over the workbench, painstakingly assembling these little effects bursties. Which is nerve-wracking enough. But just as I’m putting the thing together — BANG!

Not the effect  — something had banged off the shed roof.  I was startled, but as soon as my heart recovered, I went back to assembly and —

BANG! rattle rattle rattle 

God dammit. I got up and went outside to discover a squirrel in the overhanging oak tree, deliberately hurling acorns at my shed roof because I was in his territory.

ME: Knock it off, you little shit!

SQUIRREL: (defiant chittering, then runs to fetch another acorn)

So this was how my afternoon was spent, trying to construct tiny little effect charges while acorns went BANG! against the roof at random intervals. Not exactly calming.

But the shoot went well enough, with enough variations in angles to make a decent collection. However, the very last one launched burning debris right out the end of the mockup and all over the camera. Fortunately, I had the camera swathed in a fireproof cloth (have done this before, you know) but the UV filter over the lens was pitted with burns. Still. the filter is replaceable and the lens is still fine.  And the camera only got a few spark burns where there had been gaps in the cloth.


Nonetheless, this is why I resist the urge for an Epic Dragon, at least for now.

— Bob out