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From Idea, to Production, to Launch - How short film 'Turning Tide' came to be

Recently, the short film I Co-Produced and VFX Supervised, 'Turning Tide', was finally released online. It marks the end of a personal saga that began back in 2014, while I sat in the Westfield Gourmet Burger Kitchen with my old friend Andy..

“So what sort of film are we going to make?” we asked.

The idea was that Andy would write and direct and I would get the opportunity to make some cool visual effects sequences, so we needed an idea that would satisfy both. By the end of our burger and chips, we'd settled on the image that would become the visual inspiration for the script Andy would go on to write: a young boy in the middle of a 1940s war zone, looking upwards in awe of an airplane filled sky.

Several years later, we sit on a plane bound for Rome, to hear the orchestral score for our completed film performed live in the city's premier concert hall, as part of a selection of the best film music by Italian composers. Surreal to say the least!

The making of 'Turning Tide' took us through many highs and lows, many new experiences and challenges, and introduced us to some amazing and talented people. One of the most rewarding experiences it brought me personally was the opportunity to work with fifteen Escape students in creating the visual effects that would bring the 1940s town to life. Despite filming in relatively secluded locations, and against period architecture, modern day life inevitably found its way into most of the shots. Satellite dishes, wheelie bins, plastic double-glazed windows, modern cars, and families out at the beach on a sunny day, all made appearances in our otherwise 1940s world. Thanks to Klaudija Cermak's compositing students, we were able to clean up the all the 21st century objects and create the illusion of wartime Scotland. What a difference it made to the film! Although this 'invisible VFX' work isn't as evident in the final film as the aerial battle, it's nonetheless just as important to the film and the story.

For me the most fulfilling application of VFX is in working with a team of artists to create effects that serve a larger story - maintaining the illusion of a world that's inhabited by the characters. I got the opportunity to do this with the students at Escape, and I hope they all got something rewarding from the process too.

You can check out the full film here:

And a making of documentary here:


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