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Making a film about bird. But how to get a bird?

Yes, I know its expensive to get a real bird. Especially someone who is a beginner like me.

I'm a director working on a possibly-5-minute-short. It'll be a horror about a fictional, scary bird and will take place in the woods.

For most part of the film, the bird will either be hidden or will appear in the form of a shadow but at the end, the bird has to show up under low key lighting, for about 30-35 seconds.

So please suggest me some methods that I can adopt to pull this thing off. I have fair amount of knowledge in digital matte painting, camera mapping. I've got these softwares: Adobe CS6 Master Collection and cinema 4d.

Is there a CGI method for this? I'm ready to learn and work it out. Problem is that, the so-called professional animators and graphic designers in our country aren't as good. Their works look so amateurish and they suck. That is exactly why Big Production houses here in India refer to Foreign VFX companies for CGI. So I must do this thing by myself and believe me, I'm a good learner :)
 
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Alcove Audio

Business Member
indieBIZ
I'm assuming that you have actors reacting to your bird; and that's going to be very important, having the characters react believably. You may want to consider the idea of a birds shadow. It will probably require exquisite lighting to pull of properly; others will have to discuss that...


In post, audio post to be more specific, you will have to create LOTS of bird sounds - flapping, pecking, scratching and calls of all kinds. You will need to create a very substantial library of bird sounds; you are essentially creating a sonic character. Your biggest challenge is that when you don't have visual references it takes a little bit longer for a "sound character" to evolve, so you will have to story board great of detail to compensate for the lack of visual references.

You may want to check out Hitchcocks "The Birds" as they had to use a lot of puppets, stuffed birds and the like. He used real birds as well, but he faced the one same problems you do - lack of CGI - and had to improvise, cheat cameras angles, do some creative editing, and, of course, pay close attention to what sound could accomplish.
 
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There's always a CGI angle.

Some of the best bird cgi iv seen on the internet is this fabulous piece by Muharraqi, you could contact them to get a price estimate.

I am 100% positive that no matter how eager you are to learn you won't be able to pull something like this off if you still have to start learning 3D modelling. There's a ton of complex techniques, plugins, and shader-knowledge required to create something this good.

Even with a few years of experience in 3D, I'm fairly certain I wouldn't be able to pull this off without spending at least a few months. Don't underestimate this stuff. Organics are hard to do in CGI. But if you'v got the cash, the CGI approach might make sense.

//edit: funny to read this from an audio persp as well, thanks alcove :) and yes, it seems like it'd be cheaper to do this with a trained bird, rather than CGI. could be a problem finding one.
 
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I'm assuming that you have actors reacting to your bird; and that's going to be very important, having the characters react believably. You may want to consider the idea of a birds shadow. It will probably require exquisite lighting to pull of properly; others will have to discuss that...
Yes, you are right. I must figure out a way to make my actor feel that he isn't doing a Mono Acting.

In post, audio post to be more specific, you will have to create LOTS of bird sounds - flapping, pecking, scratching and calls of all kinds. You will need to create a very substantial library of bird sounds; you are essentially creating a sonic character. Your biggest challenge is that when you don't have visual references it takes a little bit longer for a "sound character" to evolve, so you will have to story board great of detail to compensate for the lack of visual references.
Thank you very much. That was something I didn't think about. You gave me a food for thought :)

You may want to check out Hitchcocks "The Birds" as they had to use a lot of puppets, stuffed birds and the like. He used real birds as well, but he faced the one same problems you do - lack of CGI - and had to improvise, cheat cameras angles, do some creative editing, and, of course, pay close attention to what sound could accomplish.
He is the great Alfred Hitchcock, and Birds is what inspired me to take up this project. That was one scary movie!

I am 100% positive that no matter how eager you are to learn you won't be able to pull something like this off if you still have to start learning 3D modelling. There's a ton of complex techniques, plugins, and shader-knowledge required to create something this good.

Even with a few years of experience in 3D, I'm fairly certain I wouldn't be able to pull this off without spending at least a few months. Don't underestimate this stuff. Organics are hard to do in CGI. But if you'v got the cash, the CGI approach might make sense.
I must respect your experience and understand that CGI angle is currently out of my reach. Thank you for letting me know, or else I would have just wasted my time :)
 
I once spent an afternoon sneaking up on birds (magpies to be specific because they had the right silhouette and crows weren't available) and filming them. I then spent ages masking around them for a 2 second moment in my film. It was a low light situation. You might be able to attempt that

Either that or buy some stock footage of the exact bird you want then do your masking to the footage if the licence allows
 
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