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We are constantly marvelling at the polished work produced by our students and fabulous CGI short film First Contact is no different.

We are constantly marvelling at the polished work produced by our students and fabulous CGI short film First Contact is no different.

This little gem of a film is produced by second-year students from Media Design School’s Advanced 3D Productions course. It’s a somewhat droll take on the ‘alien sightings’ phenomenon, with a few well-placed jokes about probes, alien recessions and outsourcing.

First Contact was directed by 3D course leader James Cunningham (of Poppy fame), with a script by Nick Ward and digital effects produced entirely by students of the Advanced 3D Productions course.

The project was finished by 14 students over 13 weeks and including tutor time, took the class about 9000 hours to complete. James said there were many hurdles to overcome during the filming.

“The tracking worked well but the match-moving of the necks onto the actor’s shoulders was time-consuming to get right. On top of that, there was the manual rotoscoping of the collar and paint restore work when the actor’s head covered costume that we needed to restore once we had the alien heads on.”

But it wasn’t all hard work, sweat and tears. Although he had many great memories to pick from, two things stood out for James.

“The shoot day was a great day and went really well…except for the rain on the roof ruining sound takes. The other thing is how well the students captured the performances of the actors. This comes down to great models that were well-rigged, and then well-animated.”

The biggest difference between this year’s class compared to 2009 has been the size. James says it’s the biggest Advanced 3D class he’s had so far and that meant they could tackle much larger projects.

“Overall though, it’s not that different a class. The skill level is very similar and they are always very willing to work hard and push the limits for their Advanced 3D projects.”

A Wellington company has already approached James to ask for reels from all the students as they are looking at hiring in the New Year. We wish all of them the very best for their next set of adventures…wherever they end up!


 

Hi! My name is Melissa and I'm from the Marketing & Admissions team here at Media Design School. Please contact me if you have any questions.

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