pre-pro Making a Low Budget Sci-Fi Film

onebaldman

Member
Hello everyone!

Thanks for stopping by. Can I offer you a drink? Coffee? Sure, I'm going to need some coffee too for this thread. It's gonna be a long one.

I am posting because I wanted to bring you all along with me on my journey to making a Science Fiction film called "Infinitus".

My plan is to make something with practical FX, while retaining the moody/artsy atmosphere I like so much. Science fiction is one of my favorite genres. I grew up watching the Alien films, Bladerunner, 2001, Terminator, etc. It seems like lately, SciFi might be coming back strong again. I am ready for it! Interstellar was great, The Martian too, and I'm hoping Ad-Astra can pull it off.

For my film, I want to create a vibe similar to Stalker (1979) directed by Tarkovsky mixed with Sunshine (2006) by Boyle.

Our plot begins deep underground in bunkers near the Earth's core. A species similar to us has invented a technology to harness the power of a dying star and use it for themselves. Called the "Infinitus" program, it was designed to go inside of a star and control the reactions at the core. Instead, it causes the star to collapse and leaves a small black hole at the center of the system. (Don't worry, I've researched the heck out of this. Contrary to popular opinion, a black hole in place of the sun wouldn't change orbits of planets). Our main character, Rachel... Goes through the film plotting to eradicate the singularity and restore the star.

It sounds very high concept, I know. That plot was created after 6 revisions to the original idea, and there are still bits that I want to fine tune before filming begins in November-December.

Ultimately, I just want a piece about a female character taking action, a black hole as an antagonist, and the backdrop to work in practical FX.

For the set, I've locked down a warehouse and we will style it as a bunker. That won't be too hard, we are going to use scrap and cardboard/wood to build prop pieces in order to create a rusty/grungy vibe.

For the ship, I will be kit-bashing plastic bits and what not in order to make a studio scale miniature. (That seems to be the biggest challenge).
ship+design.jpg

For the suit, we've already pretty much finished it. Rob and Ray's homemade FX talent is quickly moving along.67821117_346581479565317_7627216530140299264_n.jpg 67870241_2505006162889261_4127552322660204544_n.jpg

Filming will be done over a 4 day period, mostly indoor/cockpit scenes. The outdoor shot, we have to wait for the snow to settle in and the lakes to freeze over.

And for the rest, I will keep posting up here. I hope to continue sharing the progress of the film with you all. If you love scifi films, or have done some in the past, I would love to hear your stories too!

Until the next post.
-Cam
 
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How long will the movie's run time be? 4 day's will give you...... perhaps....... a 20 minute movie. If you want to learn about kit-bashing and painting scale models. There are some good groups on Facebook that do amazing conversion work with 40k models. I also know some channels on pro painting and whetering effects if your interested....
 

onebaldman

Member
How long will the movie's run time be? 4 day's will give you...... perhaps....... a 20 minute movie. If you want to learn about kit-bashing and painting scale models. There are some good groups on Facebook that do amazing conversion work with 40k models. I also know some channels on pro painting and whetering effects if your interested....
Always interested in resources! Thank you.

The film is going to be short, with a runtime planned of 10-14 minutes.
 

onebaldman

Member
Director's Journal, Day 278 of Pre-Production for Infinitus:

I have realized I bit off more than I can chew for a certain part in the script. (The part in which the main character modifies a spaceship to allow her to "hack" and pilot it, and then launches on a sled from the bunker to the frozen surface of the planet).

I am no builder, and I feel like I wont get the people required to design a semi-life size replica of the space ship. I have thought of several ways around this over the course of a month, but I keep coming back to the thought of cutting it in a way to avoid the scene.

I have thought of green screening the actress into a miniature version of the hangar w/ the ship model in it. I have thought of building a true to life size replica for the actress (with the downside of needing to also build the hangar into our set), I have even thought of doing forced perspective (only good for one establishing shot, and still need to build a hangar set to place her in as she works on the ship.) Or maybe even shrinking the ship down to only the size of a car.

All of these are technically challenging, and not free.

So, in a last ditch effort to save the film from disaster, I am thinking of completely cutting the hangar and launch sequence of the ship, and creatively writing a moment where she looks at the schematics of the ship design on a white board. A slow push into the board, fading into the ship floating along in space. This will reduce the need of a launch sequence, and give me focus on the bunker set, instead of worrying about building a whole hangar and launch tube.

The whole point of that ship building and launch scene was to really push the idea that this going to be a last ditch effort/suicide mission for the main character. The struggle is going to be finding a way to keep this theme or feeling, while reducing the amount of actual materials needed.
 

onebaldman

Member
A couple of the space suit add on pieces. Shoulder/Knee pads, helmet design, and boots. Most of these materials were made with a combination of gym mat foam, hot glue, bondo, and paint. The suit is coming along very well.
 

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I am thinking of completely cutting the hangar and launch sequence of the ship, and creatively writing a moment where she looks at the schematics of the ship design on a white board. A slow push into the board, fading into the ship floating along in space. This will reduce the need of a launch sequence, and give me focus on the bunker set, instead of worrying about building a whole hangar and launch tube.
Before you abandon the sequence completely, how about compressing that into a montage of close-ups against something like a matte background? Push into the board, towards one specific structural element as a line drawing, then dissolve into the "real life" version of that, with Rachel working on the piece (welding/cutting/hammering/something with light and noise) followed by close-up shots of her working on a succession of other parts (extreme close-up of her soldering a circuit board, over-the-shoulder shot of her dragging cables or pipes across the floor, shots with little background ...) maybe a sequence of her closing hatches, snapping clips, flicking switches.

If she constantly refers back to the design drawings, could you use the white-board as a visual substitute for the hangar? And then (depending on what level of CGI you've got) have the line-art ship launch off the whiteboard, at which point you "catch up" with it floating in space.
 

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