Dafydd Neal Dyar (dafydd@dyarstraights.com)
Thu, 22 Mar 2001 12:33:11 -0800

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Andrew Ryan Chang [mailto:archang@sfu.ca]
> Sent: Wednesday, March 21, 2001 23:16
> Subject: Re: [gundam] Gundam Run
> FWIW, I thought the CGI opener of the PS2 Gundam game was one of
> the nicer bits of CGI I've ever seen. Terrific detail, good sense of
> weight, good editing and composition... Course, I don't know if they
> could keep up that sort of production values over the budget of a movie,
> but I would _hope_ so.

I'm not sure whether or not you meant to send this to me alone, but I'm taking
the liberty of replying to the GML at large.

It's one thing to animate a sequence for a short run on a small screen and quite
another to animate for a long run on a large screen. I've seen some excellent
bits of video, such as one done for MechCommander that was used as a streaming
media test when I worked at RealNetworks a couple of years back, that look just
awful when blown up to a larger screen.

The same is true of film, as when TV movies are released theatrically.

Meanwhile, Dr. Core wrote:

> But IMHO, visual realism is not of highest priority here. The original
> designs were rather unrealistics to start with. The elbows, knees, hips,
> ankles were all rather rigid in the original designs. The animators get
> around this with rubber armors. The model designers just didn't get
> around it. So those old Bandai TV ads always show the models in very
> limited situations. Invariably you have either the Factory (with all the
> mechs standing still and looksing pretty); or the Launch (with the mechs
> _shooting_ out of the hangar or WB etc; or you have the Lift, with mechs
> emerging out of the ground in (invisible) EVA-style elevator; or you have
> the Approach, with the mech flying towards the camera until the face or
> chest of the mech fill up the whole screen; and finally you have the
> Crash, with a good guy and bad guy flying towards each other, just before
> they touch, there's a flash to symbolize the fight or explosion. You
> never see the mechs doing simple things like walking or shooting or
> drawing the beam sabre, actions that are essential for even the most basic
> story. Hand-to-hand combat, perhaps the most important action scene,
> would be impossible without (at least) PG models.

This harks back to a problem with live-action mecha shows that I noted here on
the list some years ago -- everyone tries to do mecha battles like mechanized
kung fu.

A better method would be to limit the screen time of the mecha to establishing
shots and not bother with "realistic" humanoid movement. Instead, do what we
already do with air battles like Top Gun or, for that matter, car chases --
intercut shots of the mecha with reactions of the pilots, spectators,
instruments and such to create a dramatic as well as an action sequence. If the
mecha ever looks dorky or unrealistic, that bit gets cut -- only show the scenes
that work.

George Lucas showed the way with his use of models. Where every other film
maker was giving us long lingering looks at their work, showing us in
excruciating detail how much time and effort they'd put into the job -- three
months work equals three minutes on screen? -- George was whizzing it past us so
fast that we had to buy the book just to find out what the whole thing really
looked like.

Don't show all the fiddly bits, tell the story.


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