Backwoods – Horror Short

Inspired by the H. P. Lovecraft tales of horror, Director Ryan Mackfall set out to create a short horror featuring references to The Call of Cthulhu. I was brought on to the production in the post phase to fix a few issues that Ryan wanted to clean up. This consisted of removing a latch on a door frame, adding candle flames where needed and adjusting some camera moves to further the cinematic feel of the film. Each of the tasks presented a challenge throughout the production of the vfx, the latch for instance required a re-paint and then a manual shadow to be animated over the newly painted section. While on set, the candles set infront of our characters kept distinguishing adding a new shot to the list of invisible effects. This particular shot presented a new issue of tracking a zoom out so finely as any small mistake would be instantly seen especially due to how long the shot is held for. Luckily I had a plate where the candles were lit, unfortunately this shot was also kinetic which required the process of stabilising the candle plate, correcting distortion and reapplying the new track from the shot that originally required the candle light.

Final touches came about when rotoscoping the left side character and simulating the lightwrap of the candle. I also took it upon myself to tackle the camera issues, two consisted of a simple two point stabilisation where the only difficulty rose when the character covered every point trackable in the shot subsequently requiring a manual stabilisation. The more difficult camera issue was contained within a long and slow handlheld pan starting from the ceiling and continuing down toward a door frame. Due to being handheld, this shot had a lot of small shakes, removing the cinematic element from the short. To correct this I used a one point track to track the initial movement, then using an expression to effectively ‘smooth’ the original track. After manually correcting some small jumps I reapplied the track to the original footage creating the desired look of a dolly tracked camera.

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