27 October, 2006

Interlude 1:-

Recently I have managed to bump into 2 well known comic artists, funny what you find in comic shops.

Few weeks ago I met David Lloyd (V for Vendetta) and had a really long chat about everything, he's a really nice bloke but is having a hard time getting his new graphic novel Kickback promoted. The publisher, Dark Horse, had not done much with it and he's having to run around waving at people, not good for such a talented guy so I said I'd mention it as he doesn't have a web site. Of course only about 2 people read this blog, but its a start.

Second artist I met was Mike Collins (Rouge Trooper, Dr Who Magazine) he had just came up to Aberdeen to visit the local comic shop and sell some artwork, which was ace - very good original Dr Who and x-men stuff, nice. Didn't buy any of course as I'm a cheapskate but it was nice to see. He'd just seen the preview of new Dr Who spin off, Torchwood, and was pretty excited about it as its filmed near his place in Cardiff. After seeing it I must agree that it does look like a nice place, may have to go down there some day. I chucked him a copy of The Planet on DVD as he's a big SF buff, so I hope he likes it and shows RTD (Am I deluded? what do I mean "am I"?)

Just thought I'd have a little fanboy-et rant before getting onto film stuff again, which I will be rather soon as we now have budgets for 2 films. Now we are making a feature length remake of one of our old shorts, Removals, it will have Scott Ironside and Patrick Wight (The Planet) in the lead roles and hopefully be finished before Christmas. Its a good opportunity to use the new equipment and get the team together, it will be interesting I'm sure.

Off now to buy an old van and beat it up, doesn't get more fun than this.

12 October, 2006

New Developments

Now that we've got the premieres, signings, cuddly toys out of the way it straight onto the next production. No hanging around with this bunch.

Due to the extraordinary good fortune of finding a generous benefactor in the person of Ken fraser (a well known figure in the UK oil industry) Stirton Productions now has a good 6 figure budget and a new HD edit suite/ camera system. Mark Stirton, the director and CEO of Stirton Productions has entered into a partnership with Ken's new enterprise, Cannyfilms Partnership Ltd. and the team (Mark, Kerwin Robertson and me) are full on with the latest movie - a dark comedy/drama set in Aberdeen with Patrick Wight and Scott Ironside from "the Planet", in the lead roles.

Last week we took possession of the editing and camera equipment, locking it all away in the new facility Mark has had created for the venture. It took about 3 hours to unload and catalogue the equipment, and 10 minutes to get Mark out of a steadycam rig that we had put on him the wrong way round (who reads manuals?). I won't dribble on about all the equipment, but the Mac Pro computer is well smart - like a huge 2 terabyte cheese grater. The other main thing of note, the Canon XL-H1 is just as sexy as I don't know what, yes, we went 1080i and not for a progressive system. I'll just sit back and wait for the hate mail from digital film makers now for that.

Mark, who is now getting his head round Final Cut Studio is also mostly finished the script for the film, which is handy as I have to get costings for all the props and costumes soon. Part of the design work for the film, and the main part, involves the creation of large scale Viking longboats; hey, I've built a space pod from a water tank - how difficult can 2 boats be? That along with the hospital and police office set is going to keep me busy for the next few months, no CG fakery for this film - oh bollocks!

Here's a link to the new Canon camera, it's ace.


More to continue soon when I have something to show.

25 September, 2006

The Planet - Premiere Night

Well, 6th of September saw the whole cast and crew milling around the Belmont Cinema to a 'sell out' screening of our movie, The Planet. It was the first time all the cast and crew had met up in the two years since filming and the premiere had pretty good party atmosphere going even before the film started.

As comedy producer and show off I was hosting the show, which sounds really easy until you stare back at a cinema full of people expecting you to say something interesting - I did and all went well. The only hitch during the screening was with the magic lantern the movie was being projected from, the fast action and jump cuts seemed to upset the glow worm inside the apparatus and there were occasional flickers. Nothing too bad and everybody enjoyed the show.

Afterwards a question and answer session was held, which was fun and not too serious, Then everybody vanished off to the bar in the cinema for a pish up. It was, all in all, pretty fun and a nice evening for the cast and crew. I'll post some photos at the end of this blogglet and let you see them all, anybody wishing to find out who the people are will have to check out the cast page on the Stirton Productions web link in me profile.

There is another showing on 4th October at the Belmont Cinema, Aberdeen. Tickets can be bought from the cinema or online here

Also at the premiere Mark Stirton (writer/director) made the announcement that he had secured a six figure budget for the next movie, a black comedy/drama set in Aberdeen. So far details are being kept pretty vague during the development phase, but the movie will involve several cast from 'The Planet and a large Viking longship. I'll be production designer again so I'm going to have some fun with the longship, I will post some production artwork when I can - we're in pre production at the moment and its all hands on deck!

Main cast from the movie, don't we all look just great!

Former multiple Mr. Universe, Mike Mitchell, and director of Stirton Productions, Mark Stirton.

26 July, 2006

Stirton Productons, 'The Planet' - Design Work

Before I post these I'd like to point out that we made this movie on a tiny budget and that none of us are trained 3d animators, we are film makers. Unlike many recent movies made by groups of modellers, this film has a plot and acting. What a novel idea!

Below are some early renders of the main spacecraft used in the movie. The attack craft and views of the main transporter ship. Both the main models were made by Kerwin Robertson, an architect and cg modeller, using autocad and Cinema 4D. The design was initiated by Kerwin and modifications made during the production process by the team. I retro fitted the suicide craft with some barrels of 'explodium' and pipe bombs; the baddies in the movie are a bit on the poor side.

I did the texturing and modification to the attack ships and some of the transporter craft, the main challenge was making the cannons work the way we wanted. I devised a series of particle emitters for the lasers and muzzle flash which work well when the ship is static but have to be adjusted for velocity of the craft: The faster the ship moves the faster the rate of emission for the lasers, or they start trailing behind and flying out of the ship's arse (comical, but wrong).

After a few months of r&d the firing system was worked for the attack craft and later applied to the gun turrets on the main ship. The rate of fire was adjustable so we had a lot of fun going mental with the space battles. The director, editor, digital effects chief, Mark Stirton, put all the work together and laid on the explosions etc. The results can be seen on the trailer, or on the movie if anyone is willing to buy it (

There are other bits of design and physical props from the movie but I'll leave those till later, way too much for one blog. I'm currently working on the production artwork for the next project which features a Viking longship, so I'll put those up soon.

25 July, 2006

Hi I'm Michael Clark and welcome to my blog. I'm a designer and illustrator currently working with a film company in my native Scotland. For the past 2 years I have been working on a film called 'The Planet', starring Mr Universe, Mike Mitchell. Check the website, its pretty cool.

After being locked in a cupboard for years doing the design and animation work I've finally been released and have some spare time, this blog is intended to show some of my design work and for general rant purposes. I am currently getting my head round the more complex features of 3d prog Cinema 4D, so I'll chuck some of my latest work on to illustrate how infuriating even a simple package can be.

Expect swearing, blood and gutoids..... But first, a dalek.

Not my model (thanks to Dystopia for that), but textures and environments are. Really like new dalek design so I thought I'd play about with colour schemes. Nothing to do with the film I was working on, I'll post some of that work later.