Couple of weeks ago we took a studio tour to DIGITAL DOMAIN in Vancouver. They showed us their workflow and team, we checked the studio and the projects they were working on etc.
We talked about several things but we specially talked about what the studios would like from us to show in our demo reels. They said that they prefer to see existing shots from a movie than any crazy idea that we might have.
Of course being creative and original is something very important in the audiovisual industry, but the VFX companies prefer a good technique with a good result more than a crazy idea, that might be great as an idea but maybe the wasn't so good.
So they encouraged us to go ahead and pick our favorite shot from our favorite movie and try to replicate it. Other studios that we visited before also mentioned the same thing, and also made me think about it, but the fact that Digital Domain said the same thing made me go ahead and try that out!!

Lost Boys Class 009 at Digital Domain, Vancouver

The movie I chose is "Stealth", which is not my favorite movie but it has cool shots. Plus, DD worked a lot on it :P
"Stealth" has crazy camera move shots, superdynamic with a very good feeling of supersonic speed, but instead, I chose one of the most calm almost still camera shots. This choice was for several reasons:
First of all, I just finished the UFO project (actually I need to do some tweaks and finish it so I can upload it here). We worked on our UFO shots for 7 weeks and I was really exhausted of working with the same thing just changing small details, so for this project I wanted to do something way more simple.
This project is a personal project that is completely off the curriculum of the VFX course at Lost Boys. Right now we are working on the Group Project and I have to work on several shots, so basically I'm doing this "Stealth" shot in my free time.

It's a simple shot, but has cool things like the atmospheric conditions and lighting that are creating that epic look with volumetric light and sun rays. Also I like the fact that the Jets aren't flying super fast so we can really see them, and they come very close to the camera, so I really need to work on high resolution textures and believable motion blur... So, it might look simple compare to the other shots but it actually has challenging stuff. Make the jets looking real and those atmosphere cool... believe me, is hard.
But the project is not going bad and I am happy with the results so far.
It happened that I have a plate that I shot myself, very similar to the one in the movie, so I just decided to go with it. The plate was super easy to track and the solved camera was working nice. It's true that the direction of the light was different from the original shot but the color and intensity look pretty similar at least to me. Plus is a back-lit shot which gives me the chance to get a dynamic lighting and effects like flares and stuff. 

I modeled the Jets in about 2 days. Did some previz just to have a feeling of how the lighting and the mood was working and I was pretty happy with it so I made 4K texture maps for the jets (took me one more day). I decided to modify the textures and do something different. Doing the research of my UFO project a found a cool concept piece done Tim Flattery of this Jet with a different colors and patterns. I loved the modifications he did so I stocked with that one.
You can check the Tim's awesome concept images, here

So far the result is not bad, but there are many things I need to tweak. Specially the shaders of those jets, the are not looking photorealistic and I might not get an amazing result but I think I can do something better than that... I hope so.
From now on I will rest from this project and work on our Group Experimental Project at Lost Boys
When I finish this shot I'll post the animation here.
Please if you have any suggestions or comments to make, feel free to write them. I am sure they will help me a lot.

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