The Basement

For this week’s post (yes, I am going to post something every week from here on out — even if it’s just a quick, frustrated blurb or scribbled drawing of some sort), I thought I’d share this image of one of the featured locations in the film: the basement.


This set was built using some of that new “tech” I was referring to in the last post, which allows me to move objects, lights and camera around in real-time, helping to dial-in an amplified, illustrative feel for The Price. No more waiting (like in the “Old Days”) for minutes/hours between adjustments while the computer crunches away — it really is such a huge artistic advantage! To compare, here is an image of the quick 3D set I cobbled together for the animatic:


When developing the animatic, I realized this was one of the sets I couldn’t just “fake” with a simple image for the background, as I had to generate multiple shots from very different angles. Luckily, these renders were very simple, didn’t have any real textures or colors to worry about getting right (as the images were eventually turned monochromatic), and were only meant to get the general idea across. If you look carefully between the two versions, you can see that I’ve re-purposed some of the same models (although they have been upgraded significantly).

One last thing you may find interesting: to keep from going crazy, I sometimes amuse myself by adding little references to various friends and family members into the background of shots, like the label for this paint thinner can:


(“Kodus” is a nick-name for one of my sons…and yes, the rest of my kids are watching very closely to make sure they don’t get slighted.)

At any rate, I hope you enjoyed this quick peek; have a great week!

PS: For the record, Neil’s basement looks nothing like this. It’s got a marvelous library, tons of comics, and is both inviting and comfortable in every way; that wouldn’t really work too well for the movie — I want my basement scary and mysterious! :)


Photo by: Kyle Cassidy

About Xtopher

Director of The Price, and Owner/Creative Director of Silver Fish Creative, LLC.
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12 Responses to The Basement

  1. Jordi says:

    I always love those little details. Gone Home is a game that has tons of references to the developers, other indie games, etc.
    For a film like this that would work equally well, making the environment feel more alive.

  2. Fantastic! And super pleased to hear you’ll be trying to do weekly updates. I will look forward to them, however small.

    Little details like this are great fun, especially since in films we so rarely get to see the (more so in games, since they’re interactive and we can focus our attention on weird little details if we so choose). I hope you’ll mine these little details for posts like this. I’m sure most of us have little to no experience with how this all works; I know for me even something as simple as how you created a background object is very interesting.

    • Xtopher says:

      I’m so glad you liked it, Michael. And yeah, posting regularly is the least I can do for incredibly patient patrons like yoursef! :)

  3. Liz M says:

    Excellent detail in the new basement shot — to the point that I can imagine what it smells like (just a bit musty/rusty, with a hint of brick dust from the wall, plus the fresh cat litter) and how that furnace must clank as it starts up.

    Thanks for the update!

    • Xtopher says:

      Cool Liz — great to hear that the visuals get your other senses engaged in some creative fun! (I can smell & hear it to…) :)

      • Joyce Noni Mullen says:

        That was my impression as well. Great description. Love keeping updated. Love your perception. ♡

  4. Joe K. says:

    Nice job — and I envy Neil that library space; I still need to put my own together.

    Yeah, tooling keeps leapfrogging itself. Just remember not to let the temptation to jump to the latest and greatest distract you from completing the project!

    • Xtopher says:

      Thanks Joe. I appreciate the sage advice; to clarify a bit, it wasn’t the allure of using the bright & shiny new tech that had me rethink the path I was on — it was the idea of being able to do what I had originally wanted and more fully animate The Price. The possibilities that these new tools suggested got me thinking outside the box & come up with new techniques to achieve my original ideal.

  5. Andy Van Wagoner says:

    I want the exact same setup in my basement, but filled with the Jack Kirby!

  6. Satyam Raj says:

    Great post. I’ve always wanted a library space like this one.

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