Week 7: Planning, plotting and pilfering…

“It’s time to get serious. It’s time to set our sights on the finish line and prepare a sensational, mind-blowing piece of digital compositing for our major project. Yikes!”

We’ve reached the half way mark of the semester which means knuckling down and getting stuck into major project mode. We knocked over the easy part of the task (possibly the only easy part) which was to form a project team. Tick, done. Our team is:

  1. Rob Glanowski
  2. Tanapong Soontonbenyakul (aka Bird)
  3. Teri Cooper

We knocked around quite a few ideas and are currently leaning towards a suspense or sci-fi theme, not least because they are enjoyable to watch and are well suited to the addition of special effects. We agreed to research some ideas and come up with one concept each that we’ll present to the team this week, and we’ll then pick the best one (i.e. something that sounds interesting but is also achievable in a technical sense for After Effects novices such as ourselves) and march forth to produce it.  Should be a snap!

My research so far has led me down some interesting paths, with the website (referenced in week 6 by our Digital Compositing lecturer Todd Anderson-Kunert), being a wealth of information and great ideas.

I find myself very drawn to editing techniques that bring historical events to life by compositing contemporary actors into very old footage, as was done in the 2012 HBO film “Hemingway & Gellhorn”. I’ve admired Martha Gellhorn ever since reading Caroline Moorehead’s 2004 biography, “A Life”, which chronicles her fearless 60-year career as a war correspondent (she covered every major 20th century conflict from the Spanish Civil War in the 1920s through to the American invasion of Panama in 1989 when she was 81 years old – no mean feat!). Her private life was almost as interesting as her professional one, with numerous high profile romances dotting her life, the most notable, and the reason for the existence of the footage below, being her fiery marriage to Ernest Hemingway from 1940-1945.

To provide context, here is the trailer for Hemingway & Gellhorn…


…and here is an expose on the special effects used throughout the film (due to privacy I can’t add the clip directly but you’ll find it a few paragraphs down via this link).


You can see that by using ‘green screen’ the editors have been able to seamlessly insert Nicole Kidman (who plays Gellhorn) and Clive Owen (Hemingway) into original 1940s footage, to great effect. This is something that our team project may consider using.