Lost eye test logo banner

Discussing Filmmaking, VFX, and ActionVFX with Lost Eye Films

Discussing Filmmaking, VFX, and ActionVFX with Lost Eye Films

See how the creators of "He'll be Back in a Minute" utilized our newest Atmospheric Smoke & Fog Assets

We had the opportunity earlier this month to be involved in Lost Eye Films’ newest short film entitled “He’ll be back in a minute.” The VFX Artists on this film made great use of our newly released Atmospheric Smoke & Fog assets, simulating cold-weather breath and area fog.

VFX Artist Stuart Cohen (who just happens to be one of our Kickstarter backer’s) was involved in building the visuals behind this short. “He’ll be back in a minute” was written and directed by Matt Mitchell of Lost Eye Films.

Stuart Cohen (left) and Matt Mitchell (right) were both kind enough to answer a few questions about their work on this short film.

How did you two start working together?

Stuart: Matt and I met at university (Kent, England) where we were studying film. We quickly became friends and worked on a couple of projects together. Ever since then we have worked on a lot of things (some…thankfully will never be seen by the general public). My phone will ring and it will be Matt, sometimes he calls for a chat, sometimes it is to see if I can pull off a certain visual effect. I enjoy working with him which also pushes me to learn more about how to create certain techniques to get a certain look. 

What drew your company to be specifically interested in producing horror films?

Matt: With no distribution contacts, no family in ‘the industry’, and even less money, we had to make sure our 1st feature was very commercial and an easy pitch worldwide. “Gangsters, Guns & Zombies” was born and written around what we had access to (locations, actors, kit, etc…). We’ve been steadily increasing the budgets and scope of the films we make as a company, but when all is said and done we do love horror and sci-fi, so I suppose it’s no big surprise that’s what our slate revolves around – at the moment – especially with our latest features ‘The Gatehouse’ and ‘The Rizen’ coming out very soon!

What brought you into VFX and what inspires your work?

Stuart: Many years ago I won the London Sci-Fi Film Challenge (Matt came 3rd ...just saying) and one of the prizes I received was a copy of Adobe After Effects. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing and in a desperate search on the internet trying to find any tutorials on how this complicated looking software worked, I found Andrew Kramer and Video Copilot.

I would say my work is mainly inspired by wanting to improve what I am capable of. Push yourself and what you can achieve and to see where it can take you. When I am watching anything that has a visual effect element in it, I appreciate the hours, days, weeks and months it takes some people to make them.

The film covered a lot of ground in such a short time, but what would you say your personal interpretation of this story is? 

Matt: The story was originally based on the Greek myth about the River Styx, but I wanted to make sure that was something you only really ‘got’ if you knew it (Sharon’s name reworked from the ferryman ‘Charon’ for example). I wanted to make a short that you could bring something to yourself, was entertaining to watch, and to try to do that in a short space of time.

Can you tell us a little bit about your techniques for compositing the character’s breath?

Stuart: Compositing the character’s breath was pretty straightforward, especially with the help of some good quality smoke elements supplied by you guys! (Thank you again for that). I watched the footage back closely to see when the character would naturally breathe and then starting pulling in the smoke elements over the top. Depending on the type of shot (close up, long shot, medium), I resized each element and changed the position and rotation. Then I drew masks around the parts I wanted to use and took down the opacity slightly. Certain shots I had to key frame the movement of the smoke element to give the impression he was breathing more heavily so it needed to look as though the breath was moving away from him faster.

What about for the giant?

Stuart: When it came to compositing the smoke/fog around the giant, I wanted it to be more subtle and tried to blend it in to the clouds. As the smoke elements come in 4K it was easy to move it around the screen on a 1080p project and pick which part I wanted to use. I simply changed the blending mode to ‘screen’, added a couple of masks and it seemed to all come together nicely.

The special effects make-up was also very impressive, how was that done?

Matt: A friend (Jess Heath) who was massive part of the designs and horror SFX for ‘The Rizen’ had a couple of make ups that she had wanted to do for a while but hadn’t been able to. The Frozen Man and ‘Martin’ The Drowned Man, were her brainchild and they’re pretty amazing!

What was the most challenging part of producing this short?

Stuart: Matt had asked for a figure to be in the final shot towering over the characters. After discussing with him the look he was going for I went to work on trying to bring it to life. I tried to create the figure using shape layers and masks inside After Effects but I just wasn’t getting naturalistic flowing motion. I needed something more organic to work with. When push came to shove, I grabbed a green screen, set up a camera, took my top off and looked silly for 10 minutes trying to act as though I was this giant figure. I think this might start off my acting career! I wonder if I will get an IMDB credit? Stuart Cohen – Topless Giant Figure

“He’ll be back in a minute” is making its rounds through the festival world, but is expected to be available online for free. Stay tuned to our social networks to find out when it goes live.
Until next time!

First time here? ActionVFX creates action stock footage for VFX and filmmaking. (We also have some great free stuff!)

Remember to connect with us on our social networks to stay updated on our latest news, giveaways, announcements and more!

Facebook - Twitter - Instagram - Linkedin