In March 2015, after meeting Director Zoran Trajkovic, I got involved in his project, the music video for the track “Tokyo” by Vienna In Love. Zoran approached me and asked me to assume the role of D.O.P and visual effects supervisor and join a most brilliant crew on a journey to make a sci-fi visual dream come alive. In addition, I joined Zoran and the band as an executive producer.
It became obvious even from the pre production stage, that this music video was turning into a short film, in the sense that the overall look and feel of the project had to be cinematic. While Zoran got absorbed by the coordination of the whole production process, making sure the right cast and crew is found, as well as the costumes and a proper location, I got on my shoulders the heavy weight of literally creating a whole world from scratch, where the story would take place. A story that deserved our best skills and efforts.
I did 93 VFX shots in total over a period of 9 months, working mostly on my spare time (and also I started sleeping for significantly shorter periods of time). To be able to meet the deadline I had to be resourceful and manage the limited time available to work on each scene carefully. As always it was more than a few times that I would stumble upon problems that I couldn’t solve so every time that happened I would move on to the next shot and come back to the problematic one later with a much clearer head so that way I was able to minimise any downtime. The most time consuming part was all the green screen removal, paint and roto of the tracking marks and props from the footage and the creation of mattes. The second biggest challenge was to create all the 3D models/assets. I used 3dsmax for modelling and texturing and to save up time, I used additional models from sources like Turbosquid and Videocopilot. As I knew that rendering the digital sets would be very time consuming and I would have to constantly jump back and forth between different software, I chose to use Videocopilot’s excellent Element 3D. Apart from the 8 lights per comp limitation, Element provided me with the speed and freedom to rearrange, relight, retexture and update scenes with very fast results and without having to wait for hours for re rendering frames with new changes. The After Effects camera tracker did an amazing job tracking most of the shots. For the few ones that it couldn’t solve, I had to manually animate the camera by eye.
Being part of this project has been an amazing journey and it was a great challenge to complete it. I had an amazing visionary director by my side throughout this film and a wonderful and talented crew during those three days of filming.