As an investor (if you’re lucky), every once in a while you see something come out of one of the companies you’ve invested in that gives you a “holy shit” moment where you realize that the company has created something that will forever alter the landscape of the market they serve. Yesterday was one of those moments for me.
Dan Farr, CEO of Salt Lake City-based DAZ3D sent me the movie short below that a graphic designer in the UK named Ben Craig made recently in his spare time. The most amazing part of the movie is that other than the people, absolutely everything in the film was created using DAZ3D’s Carrara software. It was purely a personal project which was non-commercial and he had no funding to make it. The entire movie was rendered on his MacBook Pro.
The movie is less than 4 minutes long. I urge you to click on full-screen view once the movie starts (4 outward facing arrows in the lower right corner of video) to get the full effect. However, it wasn’t until the second time I watched it that I felt the full impact of what I was seeing.
Now that you’ve watched it, let me remind you that one person made this movie, with off-the-shelf software on his MacBook Pro. Granted, it’s not as easy to use as iMovie, but I guarantee you that it won’t be long before it is and then you’ll see 5th graders making films like this. There’s no doubt that entertainment is moving in this direction and companies like Animoto (online video editing), Xtranomal (easy basic cartoon animation) and DAZ3D (character and environment animation and effects) are pushing to make these capabilities available to everyone.
I had a chance to visit with Ben yesterday and get some of his thoughts. The idea for the movie short came when he was reading about some work the British film institute is doing to restore and archive vintage movies. He wondered “How long in the futre will these films be enjoyed, by whom and where?” The notion of making Modern Times evolved. It took Ben a couple of weekends filming the live action and a couple of months of design/build/render. There was no render farm. Just his MacBook Pro and “ridiculous amounts of coffee.” He did all of the work himself.
Ben used Carrara because he had used it before for animation and wanted to see if a film like this could be made without using “industry standard” (i.e. expensive) software. What he discovered was Carrara had all the tools necessary at a fraction of the cost. “It didn’t let me down. Carrara has all the functionailty that the most expensive software in the industry has. It’s simple, not expensive, and completely user friendly. It’s a great package to learn how 3D works. It taught me.”
I’m still flabbergasted by Ben’s work and I’ve had a front row seat to what DAZ3D has been doing for the last few years! I asked him if he thought Carrara would change film making and I loved his answer. “No, people will change film making. However, having tools like Carrara in their reach to make it possible is the key.”
My partners and I are thrilled to be a small part of such a revolutionary company. Dan and his team have done an amazing job over the last few years and they’ll be releasing a couple of radical new products during the next quarter that will make it even easier for people like you and I to become masters of 3D special effects and animation.
Epilogue: If you’re interested in seeing how Ben made Modern Times, below you’ll see a piece he put together called Behind The Scenes. While there’s quite a bit of equipment that you’ll see during the green screen filming, remember that the entire movie was created and rendered in Carrara by Ben, alone on his computer.
Also, below that is a 2 minute clip showing many different projects that have been created by Carrara users.
Note: Modern Times was written up today by Hollywood Reporter as the year’s first hot short film – http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/blogs/heat-vision/meet-years-hot-short-modern-69971