End Credit Composition

Reaching the ending of Pitch Black, I felt it only right to “celebrate” it with some sort of spectacular ending credits. I didn’t know what I wanted to do… so I began to start thinking deeply. Maybe I could make a 3d mock up of the basement and fly around it… but I thought my 3d design skills would require like 40 hours to make something worthy of the project.

I also entertained the idea of showing stylized footage from the film and running the names underneath it. But then images of M*A*S*H, Sanford and Son, and Good Times ran through my mind (How they would pull freeze frames for the end titles…) and I thought against it.

But I still like the idea of revisiting the story… but not in a literal way. So I thought, what if we looked at it as an police investigation that happens after the events in the movie. Using police photos of important pieces of evidence (props) from the film.

I also knew I wanted to have the light bulb play prominently in the credits because I see that as a turning point in the film. I figured I could use the “firing up” of the bulb to take us out of black and then smash it for the end of the sequence.

I began first trying to get a good smash. I smashed two bulbs with a putter recording ini my 5d at 30fps and my EX1 at 60fps. Neither camera gave me that erotic glass breaking… so I kept moving thinking I would figure that one out later.

Then I started assembling the items from the crime. To give it a little more sexy movement I employed a technique I posted a while ago:


This involved shooting a lot of stills while moving the camera very slowly along a craning path. Putting together 30 images when the hand moved considerably was a bit time consuming but I think it was worth it.

The hammer from the first scene. I rolled my car out onto the street and watered down the street.

The smashed window… I shot my car wetted down like it just rained. The shattered glass would be composited in later.

The aftermath from when the Ryan beats the Detective… I had some oil stains in my garage that, if colored red, would look pretty nasty…

The ice skate…

The baseball bat.

I shot all these with a single dedolight (I was almost tempted to buy a worklight but I came to my senses).

Then I looked to Digital Juice Motion Graphics Toolkit which I had purchased a while ago and haven’t put much to use.

Rain, Water texture (the blood red river), Smoke effects, Glass shattering, and ink drops (when turned red look deliciously like blood)… I rendered these to use.

And then… my favorite part… I managed to put a couple shots from the film into the end sequence but I colored them like a mad man for a wild stylized look.

The eye that flashes right before Thurman’s name is a Press shot we took of Jonny. I love how that composites over (which some bizzare overlay effect applied).

And like a jazz musicion… there’s just a lot of improvising…

And thus what I was up to 4AM doing the night I created the first cut of the film.

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