The Fussy Curator Singapore #fussysg coldsteam-bts_2

COLDSTEAM – BEHIND THE SCENES OF THE SHORT VFX FILM

FUSSY Interviews 0 Comments

We spoke to the creators of Coldsteam, a short visual effects (VFX) film based in a post-apocalyptic world about a girl’s struggle for water in a world infested with mysterious creatures. It was screened just yesterday at Cartoons Underground along with a few other shorts. The team behind Coldsteam; Nicholas Chia, Yeo Shiyun, Goh Peng Fong and Yang Sishuo, were the pioneers from Nanyang Technological University’s School of Art, Design & Media’s Visual Effects course. Coldsteam is one of its first ever VFX final year projects, and also one of the few examples of a multi-disciplinary collaboration across different majors. They collaborated with the school’s film students and it was shot entirely in front of a green screen with an ARRI Alexa Camera. Watch the trailer below.
  • // Reason for FUSSY feature
  • We’re in the creative scene ourselves but we do not see films being produced as frequently as other creative forms. And through the few questions we asked them, we learnt a lot about what it takes to produce a film even if it’s a short. Usually produced with a team, each with different areas of expertise, it takes up the time of many individuals and that itself requires commitment. In the local context, we’ve seen cartoon animations as well as cinematic films but not so much ones consisting of CGI VFX. We found out more about their process and realized the amount of work needed is tremendous.
  • // For the ones who are unfamiliar with film, can you bring us through your process of pre-production to post?
  • Sishuo: We began with a very simple story about the search for water, and slowly developed it into a full CGI Film with live action. VFX films typically require lots of preparation, especially when you try to achieve it closer to reality. We spent the first quarter of the production purely developing ideas, searching for resources, actors and preparing props for the shoot.
  • Nicholas: I remember how we wanted to have a full-blown action sequence where a huge monster crashes through some broken airplane or train. That was too big for us, so it became a small monster chasing a girl into a train which then moves off. Mind you, we wanted to have the train freeze up wherever the monster went. But that was too big as well. So we finally settled on a monster that chases a girl into a room (doesn’t move). Still, I think we could have simplified it. But really, all we wanted was a cool flick to showcase some VFX sh*t so we can all get hired. And it seems to have worked out pretty well considering 3/4 of us have jobs.
Sishuo: After the idea generation, we moved on to the actual shoot. We were lucky to have met some very talented friends to help us for this. Namely Martin, Kelvin and Longhao. Without them, the film would be disastrous as we don’t have much film experience, let alone green screen filming. But the combined effort and talent of the crew and team managed to complete the green screen shoot in just 3 days.

 

The post-production took up more than half the whole production. It was really challenging as we were still very new to the VFX pipeline when the project started. We soon found ourselves tackling some of the most complicated scenarios one can experience during a VFX post-production. We adept to learn as we go and solved many technical problems as we near the final stage of the production.

  • Sishuo: We were still fixing things here and there down to the last few days of the production. There were times where we have to remove or add certain shots and those were some of the toughest decisions we had to make as it often would mean months of work getting cut or replaced. But in the end we all managed to pull through and put together a short VFX film that we can be proud of, an extremely rewarding experience, which was something that kept all of us going.
  • // Hurdle you guys weren’t prepared for?
  • “We believed in ourselves a lot and did not consider the technical difficulties nor physical limitations when we wrote the story. Eventually we found ourselves often having to seek assistance from many other fields of expertise to learn the necessary skills just to pull through some of the shots.

     

    We were really lucky to receive great support from the school staffs, faculties and friends.

     

    We’d like to give a big shout out to Ronald Fong for constantly helping us throughout our project although he didn’t have to.”

  • // One message you want viewers to take away?
  • “We really wanted to show the possibilities of VFX in a film and what a group of budding Singaporean students can achieve with minimal amount of resources. We hope to inspire future aspiring young local Visual effects artists to dream big and try their best to venture into the amazing field of visual effects.”
Read more of their favourite moments working as a team, the whole crew and more of their works below!
// Favourite moments working together?

 

Sishuo: As we have to work day and night to make this film possible, we spent a lot of time together as a team. I had very memorable nights having barbecue, sharing our life stories with each other and watching movies. We eventually picked up the same hobby of fish keeping too. Through thick and thin we not only learnt, but also understood each other better. Though we might never get to work as a team so closely again but the memorable times spent together during the production is going to last with me for a life time.

 

Nicholas: My favourite moments were all the sleepless nights and sleepy days, working, eating and sleeping in the same place with close friends. All of us animators cooped up in our little cubicles, working tirelessly on our stuff, and finding time to always have a meal or two together. And of course, shrimp keeping.

 

ShiYun: Cubicle time! I enjoyed staying over in school doing work with my friends. Also, eating zhi char at the canteen. I love the kung pao chicken. Also, when my group mates bought me a betta fish for my birthday, I was the first to have a fish tank in my group. My fish just died a few days ago, but my dad secretly bought me another one. 🙂

 

Peng Fong: I also enjoyed the fish keeping. I got the biggest tank amongst my friends. They all bought 30cm ones, and mine was a whopping 60cm. hehe.

  • Nicholas Chia

    nicholas-chia.com

     

    Main Roles // Lighting & Rendering, Matchmove, Keying, 3D Camera Animation.

    Sub Roles // Rotoscope, Dynamic Simulation, Texturing, Compositing, Music & SFX.

  • Yang Sishuo

    sspandayang.com

     

    Main Roles: 3D Modeling, Rigging, Character Animation.

    Sub Roles: Keying, Texturing, Dynamic Simulation, Compositing.

  • Yeo Shiyun

    yshiyun.com

     

    Main Roles: Compositing, Matchmove, Keying, Texturing

    Sub Roles: Rotoscope, Dynamic Simulation.

  • Goh Peng Fong

     

    Main Roles: Character Development and Creation.

    Sub Roles: Rotoscope, Texturing, Compositing.

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