Its not often I get to spend 4 months working on a high concept music video with some kick as people, so when the State of Mind boys told me I had an extended time frame, I jumped at the chance to try somthing I had been working on, and will be working on for quite some time. The Following is our production process for Back Raven. Play the tune below from State of Mind and enjoy the photos. 

DESIGN


 

These designs I originally concepted around 2007 - 2008 they are, and will continue to be work in progress. I wanted to try something different from traditional armour that uses plates interlacing downwards. The idea is a reverse plate exo-shell, the plates act as a electromagnetic spring, they can compress omni-directionally as you move offering maximum protection to vital organs... against you know some kinda future hellish "Tank Animal"

These scale models were also done around 2009. A further exploration to how all the shapes were to fit together in 3d space. 

 

These design above were done during the construction process. After building the cardboard prototype we addressed questions such as, can you see your feet? so I added an extra jaw plate that in the real world would swivel up and down as the soldier moved his head. The system needs further refinement. 

 

The raven costume was to look somewhat like a witch doctor. These designs were just guides to the concept that Sophie Tucker would eventually sew together. 

  As always my ideas were much grander than just a head. There were going to be extended claw arms and wings etc. However time and budget made me scale back to just the head. Originally we had planned the 2 soldiers to also have a robotic quadrupedal drone with them which would be a human in a full body costume. The entire opening sequence was based around this animal drone confronting the black raven then the soldiers coming in..... maybe another time.... below was the concept for the TANK ANIMAL. 

 

As always my ideas were much grander than just a head. There were going to be extended claw arms and wings etc. However time and budget made me scale back to just the head. Originally we had planned the 2 soldiers to also have a robotic quadrupedal drone with them which would be a human in a full body costume. The entire opening sequence was based around this animal drone confronting the black raven then the soldiers coming in..... maybe another time.... below was the concept for the TANK ANIMAL. 

In the grand scheme of things, these designs and characters are part of a much larger story. The Black Raven although primarily an action sequence, relates to my larger concept as part of the back history. I treated it as a proof of concept for the armour design.  These characters have been a work in progress just like many of the characters and I have designed as part of my universe. With a concept as large as this one, I only get moments here and there to work on it and I took that opportunity to use Black Raven as another step in the project. 

 

More character concepts available here as part of my FACES OF THE FUTURE project

LOCATION SCOUTING


After a tip of from a good friend, we were directed to an old burnt down freezing works. Lets just say we didn't look at any other locations after we visited. It was the perfect post industrial apocalyptic wasteland.  

CONSTRUCTION


 

Prototype #1 - A cardboard prototype was made to test whether the concept would work. Modeled by Henry Aitken. Henry played a integral role in the development of the prototypes. 

 

Prototype #2 - We chose to work with EVA foam, it's firm, flexible, easy to mold, cut and glue. 

 

Prototype #3

 

After finalizing the foam construction, tactical fabric was sprayed glued to the foam, then aged.

 

Details on the chest plate. 

Below was a concept planned for one of the assault rifles, however due to time and budget constraints it we would not have time to fabricate 2 of them from scratch. 

 

We opted to use nerf guns as a base structure for the guns, then re work some of the elements and dirty them up. This wasn't my ideal choice but the fastest one. 

 

Adding epoxy and prototyping. 

 

here we were prototyping the shoulder armour shape. This was a process of trial and error until we got the most ergonomic and functional shoulder pads. 

 

Testing out the ruck sack camo

Originally I storyboarded that 3 mini drones search for the raven, we experimented with cheap mini toy drones however they proved to be too unreliable and modifications to the shape would prove difficult. I ended up investing in a parrot drone and got Hendrikus DeVann to modify the shape of the hull. 

 

The Base of the raven head was built from EVA foam, a thinner foam to that of the armour. The mask was built in sections which clip together, modeled below by our mystery man. 

Craig smith helped wire up some practical lights to give the visor a classic night vision look. 

FINAL BUILDS


The final guns 

Satnav uplink prop

The final suits

  This photo was taken at the end of shooting so the suit had gone through some considerable wear and tear. we only had the luxury having one suit per person so any damage had to be repaired on site. Richard Elsworth did a great job of hiding the cable ties... Note there is no groin protection, and that is simply because we ran out of time to design and build it. The suit used clips to stay together which reduced maneuverability, the design of the armour plating works best when freely moveable needing some kind of magnetic technology...

 

This photo was taken at the end of shooting so the suit had gone through some considerable wear and tear. we only had the luxury having one suit per person so any damage had to be repaired on site. Richard Elsworth did a great job of hiding the cable ties... Note there is no groin protection, and that is simply because we ran out of time to design and build it. The suit used clips to stay together which reduced maneuverability, the design of the armour plating works best when freely moveable needing some kind of magnetic technology...

 

Suit #2 Modeled by Mike Morgan

 

Rowan Bettjeman as Merc 1

 

Mike Morgan as Merc 2, Of Course in reality there is too much green light spill, but it's all for dramatic effect. 

 

Hannah Tasker-Poiand as the Black Raven. 

THE SHOOT


The shoot was 2 days long. The first day was the longest getting the more complex shots out of the way with Oliver Hibert supervising our VFX shots, I also brought on Sam Britten as a 2nd Camera man and he brought his A game to the shoot adding some nice drone footage touches to some sequences. It was an intense 2 days but the crew worked hard and had lots of laughs. My gratitude to all of them for their great work.... and early mornings.

POST PRODUCTION


Originally i was going to have a chalk chart on the ground, however after running the idea past Oliver Hilbert he whipped together this test to see how a hologram concept would work. The final Hologram was put together by Nick Glasson. 

Originally i was going to have a chalk chart on the ground, however after running the idea past Oliver Hilbert he whipped together this test to see how a hologram concept would work. The final Hologram was put together by Nick Glasson. 

Final grade and comp

winner.jpg

Thanks for viewing our project. Your support will help us to make even better projects in the future.

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CREDITS

Writer and Director

Music By

Funded By 

 

Black Raven

Mercenary One

Mercenary Two 

Aleksander Sakowski

State of Mind ft Sacha Vee

New Zealand on Air

 

Hannah Tasker-Poland

Rowan Bettjeman

Michael Morgan

Shoot Crew

Director of Photography

VFX Supervisor

Camera B/Gaffer/Drone Operator

Camera Assist

Bestboy

Standby Props

Raven Costume Standby

Make Up and Hair

Raven Make Up

Set Assit/Photography

Production and location manager

Aleksander Sakowski

Oliver Hilbert

Sam Britten

Craig Smith

Boyd Anderson

Richard Elworthy, Lara Tarroni

Sophie Tucker

Nikki Millana

Andrea Hows

Jesse Meha

Aleksander Sakowski

Pre-Production

Production Design

Black Raven Costume Fabrication

Armour Fabrication

Gun Fabrication

Fabrication assist

Aleksander Sakowski

Sophie Tucker

Aleksander Sakowski and Henry Aitken

Michael Morgan

Hendrikus DeVann, Lara Tarroni, Fraser Mildon, Richard Elworthy, Craig Smith.

Post-Production

Editor

VFX Supervisor / Raven Sequence

Hologram Sequence

Visor Sequence

Thanks

Aleksander Sakowski

Oliver Hilbert

Nick Glasson

Jay McDaniel

Molly Sullivan, James Thomas

Joe McHale and Mike Gong