We present an exclusive interview with Pepe Valencia of Baraboom! Studios, the company that worked on the previsualization of the film in CGI and 3D Captain Harlock.
How you were contacted for this project and when did you start working on Capitan Harlock?
I was contacted by Marza Animation Planet Producer Paul Wang. Paul and I worked together at Imagi Animation Studios during “Astro Boy” were I served as Director of Photography. Paul asked me to collaborate in Captain Harlock as a Creative and Technical Adviser, meaning bringing a cinematic style to the movie, and helping to build a pipeline and a layout team workflow. I start on March 2012 and during one year I collaborate with a team of layout artists, the the layout lead Kise and the CG Sup Kengo. We Cinesync two or three times a week, where I was giving directions.
Previz technique is extremely important for a film because it “draw” the movie before shooting it, how much is important for a movie as Capitan Harlock that is entirely shot with CGI and 3D?
Previs is in fact an extremely important process/technique in today’s productions, saving tons of time and money to the production and the most important a flexibility in the creativity process. Previs was used extensively to analyze the space where all the sequences were supposed to be mocap. It was important to know the space limitations for mocap.
Beside that, we previs a few action sequences that needed some attention, then we follow the regular pipeline of layout, RLO (Rough Layout) and FLO (Final Layout).
How was the collaboration with Toei Animation? Which lines did you got from them? Did you collaborated directly with the director Sinji Aramaki?
At the beginning of the production I had talks with Director Sinji Aramaki and Executive Producer from Toei to discuss the artistic guidelines and parameters in which the movie should be developed from a camera/cinematic point of view. One of my main concerns was to bring anime/manga to film. In other words how to translate the graphic style of anime/manga into a more cinematic and film environment. I love comics and love manga, the freedom in camera angles, lensing, framing and composition is something unique to that style. From that meeting it was clear we were looking of merge the two worlds, the anime/manga with Hollywood action style. We talked about references, cinematic styles and flavors it was perfectly clear the direction to take.
How many persons worked on previz? May you detailly explain your work and the main technologies that you employed?
I collaborate with a group of 8 layout artists, 13 at the pick, a layout lead Kise and CG Sup.Kengo. We worked in Maya and we pay a lot attention to the camera rig. It was important to have a camera rig multi-use, so thanks to Tomokazu we elaborate a sophisticated rig, that allow us infinite possibilities. We accommodate a lens package
choose menu. We create a crane inside the rig etc etc. As per workflow, we depart from storyboards mainly, then we add motion to our cameras, we work with the camera sequencer to have a sense of timing between shots.It was really straight forward workflow.
Which is your favorite scene? And the most complicated?
My favorite and at the same time the most complicated was an action sequence where spaceships are charging towards Captain Harlock’s Spaceship Arcadia. Is my favorite because it was really fun to create this action sequence, with a fast pace and with all the ingredients of a good action sequence. And complex because the scale factor between Arcadia and the rest of the ships, that was a really complex situation that with patience we resolved.
Which are your future projects?
We are actually working in a couple of projects under an NDA, so I can’t reveal its names. In the horizon there are a couple of Hollywood movies, both action movies, where previs can help and improve a lot production. Unfortunately I can reveal neither any detail, Hollywood, but definitely you can always check our website to keep an eye on what we are doing. www.baraboomstudios.com