Friday, 28 January 2011

Location research: Waterloo, Southbank and London Bridge

Today, our group went to various places in London to do location research for our project, so that we can find the best places to produce an effective parkour chase sequence and also, to help us storyboard and visualise the project.

Matt and Will both went to Shoreditch to look for various parkour spots which had an urban look; whereas I went with Nat, Ed and the newest addition of our team, Perri up to Southbank to take photos of various spots that could work within our piece.  Click on images to view large.

I mainly took shots of railings and steps, as well as balconies.  I went largely for shots that wouldn't resemble Waterloo/Southbank too closely, in order to make our environment more original and I made sure that there were no signs, advertisements or posters that would ruin the scene.

If you look at the architecture around Southbank, many of the designs are very rigid in shape but also have some curved corners.  Many even have floors that are larger in width than others.  I also took a few photos around the outside of the Hayward and I came across many railings, along with a spiralling yellow staircase around the outside.

We also came across this structure near Tower Bridge that is apparently used as an outdoor theatre.  You can see how these steps can be used as seats!!  We thought this may be good for some parkour sequences, but I think that it would also suit skateboarding.

The main drawback of filming in central London is that it is full of people, and this may run the sense of this being a chase.  It wouldn't make sense to have a monster chasing one parkour runner and passers-by make no reaction!  One solution that I proposed is that if we were to film in Southbank, that we do our filming in the early hours of the morning, as they did in the film 28 Days Later.

We will just have to see how Shoreditch was for Matt and Will; or we may look for more areas that would make good parkour/chase spots.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Parkour research

Welcome to my blog for the ANI204 Post Production unit.

This unit is going to involve producing live action footage within a group and then creating CGI that will be added to the footage.

Within my new group, the Kash Kong Monkeys, we have been having discussions on Facebook and we have come up with the idea of a person being chased by a monster and they do parkour to try and escape.  In order to get some ideas for this project, I have looked at several chase scenes, as well as parkour/freerunning videos to get an idea of what this art form is all about.

I started trying to narrow down my research by looking at chase scenes from films that specifically integrate parkour.  I looked at quite a few French action thrillers, particularly those of Luc Besson.  Here is a chase sequence from the film District 13, featuring the amazing David Belle.

When looking at David Belle's work I came across this advert for BBC1 that I remember from years ago!

Another athlete, that was suggested to me by my teammate Will, is Sebastien Foucan, although he is more about freerunning.  After watching this video, I learnt quite a bit about what these disciplins are about.  They are about freedom of movement and focus; they are about making the most of your environment and about finding yourself. Foucan really is an inspiring person and I have a lot of admiration for the way he made the most out of growing up in a tough neighbourhood; he really sets a great example of how anyone can really make something of themselves if they really go for it.

Lastly, here is a compilation of parkour videos that I found on Youtube. I used this largely to study the typical camera movements/shots that you see in parkour videos.

The camera work in parkour videos tends to be static or with limited movement; but the focus is always on the athlete. This is quite obvious but it may be important to reference when we are going to consider elements such as motion capture of the animated pursuer in our piece.