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Prepping for take off!

Andy hanging out on a MiG 17 during our Kickstarter shoot

This week has been quite the mixed bag. Lots of small progress on many fronts. I had originally intended to switch to VFX mode this week. But, production took a turn in a different direction. A lot of work was sunk into other departments this week. As intended, I kicked off the week tackling some visual effects work. We shot all of our footage on the Black Magic Cinema Camera in 2.5k DNG raw. DNG is a phenomenal format, it's lossless and gives you a ton of room to play in post. The downside is, the files are massive and Davinci Resolve is the only program I've found that is happy to play with DNG shots. That means in order to edit the footage every shot is transcoded to a low res proxy that is easier to edit with. Then when it's time to export shots for vfx or color correction, the proxy files need to be re linked to the original DNG shots in Resolve. This is a semi time consuming process, and took a bit of time to online the proxies in Resolve and export all the shots for VFX.

A look at the most satisfying part of Resolve, the deliver tab!

If there's anyone out there interested in the Resolve proxy workflow, Shane Hurlbut has a great write up on his blog here.

Once I got the shots out of Resolve, I began vfx work. For all of our shots we'll primarily be using Nuke and Maya. I made some decent headway on two shots from the trailer getting them keyed and tracked, prepping them for CG integration. Then I moved on to playing around with our model of the Swedish JA 37. I'm incredibly happy with the way our 3d model looks. Our talented modeler Andrew Trout took his time, modeling and placing nearly every bolt on the plane by hand. It's that sort of attention to detail that's going to sell this thing as photo real. With any luck I should have some test renders to show next week.

Home Depot run

On the practical side of production, we did some shopping this week. Co-director Andy and I took a trip with our production designer Cody Bousquet to buy material for our SR-71 cockpit. Since we don't have access to the actual jet, we'll be building the rear half of the cockpit to shoot the interior plates of the Americans in. Then we'll be shooting all of our inserts, such as the gauges, joystick, and throttle in an F-15 Eagle cockpit. The cockpit will primarily be made out fiberglass and I'm anxious to see how it takes shape over the coming weeks.

For those of you interested, Cody found a really cool hi-res 360 photo of an SR-71 cockpit that can be found here. Take a look!

We also spent a good chunk of time cutting our Kickstarter video. Sometime in February we'll be running a Kickstarter campaign that will feature the official Mach III trailer and lots of behind the scenes content. It's been a lot of fun putting together the Kickstarter and I can't wait to release it. Below is a frame grab from an ultra secret bonus video that will screen at the end of our Kickstarter. I plan on color correcting it tonight. But more on that as the month goes on.

Ultra secret bonus video frame grab.

On a less Mach III related note, a fair bit of my time this week was spent cutting my new vfx reel. Many of the big studios have their internship deadlines in Feburary. So I had to take a chunk of time this week to get my reel cut for internship applications. At the moment it's just a temporary reel until I'm able to finish some shots for Mach III. But I figured it would be fun to share. As a bonus, one of the vfx shots in there may or may not be from our trailer...

My 2015 temporary VFX reel

That's all for now! Be sure to check back next Monday.

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