Project Management

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Most of the projects that you will be making in this course will be small. However, for your final project, I expect you to show some ambition. You are to produce a reasonably substantial, large project. Some of what is required of such a project is detailed below:

The Stages of Filmmaking

Filmmaking is a very hierarchical and compartmentalised process. There are distinct phases of filmmaking, outlined below. Within the phases, different groups and sub groups toil. I shall not cover them in detail, as this is only an introductory course.

Development

Development refers to the ideation stage of the movie. Ideas are discussed by the team and a script (if needed) is developed. Visual material is gathered, which might consist of detailed digital paintings, simple sketches, reference photos and suchlike.

See Development for more details.

Pre-production

In filmmaking, pre-production refers to the preparation that takes place before filming has started. Key to this stage is an understanding of the difference between scenes and shots. See the following section for a definition of these terms.

See Pre-Production for more details.

Production

Production refers to the shooting of the movie. From the animatic you will have developed a concrete idea of all the shots that your project requires.

See Production for more details.

Post-production

Post-production refers to everything that takes place after the edit has been finalized. This includes the visual effects, the sound effects and the color grading. This is the most complex part of the filmmaking process, with many departments all working on separate tasks.

See Post-Production for more details.

Organisation

A VFX project (in fact, filmmaking in general) quickly becomes a small hell if it is not organized in a very coherent manner. There is commercial software that is designed to help with this management, but we will not be using it. However, it is a requirement of this course that all your files and projects are organised according to the 'house' style.

In organising a project, effective file naming and folder structure are vital. There are few things more annoying in VFX than dealing with 'mystery meat' files: a file the name of which contains no important information. Examples of such are: 'test1.mov', 'me.jpg', '1.nk' etc. A filename should tell us: what function it serves, what version it is and who made it.

Each one of the pages linked in the preceding section, details the particular naming conventions required. Ignore these at your peril.

Summary of the Filmmaking Process

Stage Task Key naming requirements Key output
Development Coming up with, and developing, the idea: sort of like sketchbook sketching The name of the project Sketches and paintings that give an idea of the story and of the 'look and feel' of the movie
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Pre-Production Refining the idea: sort of like preparatory drawing The name of the project The animatic
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Production Shooting footage and editing After shooting: the shot number (as defined by the camera). After editing: the scene and shot number The edit (from which the shots are exported as image sequences)
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Post-Production VFX, sound, colour grading The task (compositing, animation, FX particles etc) The final movie as a high quality render