Saturday, 29 October 2011


György Ligeti


String Quartet No. 1

Arnold Schoenberg

Kammersymphonie op. 9

String Quartet No. 2


Arvo Part

Tabula Rasa "Silentium" (Dark Rework)

George Crumb

Black Angels I

Black Angels II Absence

Thursday, 27 October 2011

German Expressionist Sculptures

Due to the slight clash between our character concept and our environment, we have decided to develop the character by making it more 3D and Textured. We decided that a good way to achieve this might be to look into German expressionist sculptures.
German Expressionist Sculpture by Stephanie Barron
I have discovered a useful resource for finding our character design development. It is a book called German Expressionist Sculpture and it is available online.

Ernst Barlach
Ernst Barlach is a German Expressionist sculpture. I think that his depictions of humans are very reminiscent of woodcut prints except with an added dimension. Taking inspiration from this style would mean we could fit the detective character with the environment without changing his fundamental look.


Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Narrative Pitch Presentation

Hallway Concept

I have been working on an environment concept, in most of our animatics so far we have had shot moving down a hallway moving towards the door. When i started working on the concept i realised i was making it too realistic for Sam's detective's style so i toned it down with lighting and really exaggerated the the expressionist angles on the doors. The final touch was to add a blue tint as an overlay to make the grey tones feel more cold and icy creating a ghostly atmosphere.

Reference Images

1930's Art Deco Carpet

Hallway reference for perspective.
30's Art Deco light for reference.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Studio Logo Ideas

Iv made a couple of simple studio logos, would be useful to have a opinions of what is working the best. Many thanks :)

Monday, 24 October 2011

Video Reference - Descending into Madness

In our group meeting with Alan we discussed that we were unsure of how to develop our animatic further because Phil commented saying it seemed to be more about the woman rather than the room, pulling us away from our given title. Alan directed us to change our focus from the woman to the detective in the story, meaning we could start the trailer as a typical noir then turning into a horror. He also put forward the idea of the transition being shown in the detectives sanity, the more involved he gets in the case the more mad he becomes which will leave the audience questioning the existence of the woman we want to show at the end of the trailer. 

Looking through some videos on youtube I found this video which is a clip from 'The Tell-Tale Heart' (1960) an adaptation of Edgar Alan Poe's novel. The sequence shows the main character Edgar being driven mad by his own guilt of murdering his only friend. I feel that the mise en scene of the house would be perfect for reflecting the atmosphere in our hotel such as the spiral patterns on the banister and lamp wallpaper etc. The feeling of paranoia is created by the continuous heart beat leading up to the floorboards pulsating, when music is introduced for the dramatic reveal lifting up the floorboards. A technique like this could be used for a trailer, with possibly a dripping tap or a ticking of a clock as our detective descends into madness.

Do you think there is anything else we could use from this clip or any other influences we can use? 

New Idea

Following our talk with Alan I have put together a rough idea for a new version of our trailer. In this version I attempted to begin as a typical noir and slowly introduce horror elements. I started by writing out a narration and then attempting to think of imagery to go with it.
Scene One
A sunken eyed, grave and serious looking man is sitting over his desk pondering over old newspaper clippings and case files. A small desk lamp provides the only dim light source. There is a half burned out cigar smouldering in an ash tray, a half empty bottle of whisky and a glass. On the front of the desk is a name plate that reads Warren Everett: Private Investigator. 
Narration: The police, politicians and the press said it was a cold case, a dead end, no leads and no hope.
A closer look at one of the newspaper clippings reveals the headline Murder at the Hotel Del Coronado.  There is a photo of a woman in Victorian era dress and another photo this one depicting the Hotel Del Coronado itself.
Narration: Some poor broad gets savagely raped and then shot dead at the Hotel Del Coronado. That kind of thing doesn’t go cold unless someone wants it to, someone powerful.
Scene Two
Warren Everett is standing outside the Hotel entrance and looking up at the looming structure. The rain is pouring heavily, the wind is blowing and the atmosphere is thick with humidity.
Narration: An anonymous client contacts the agency, offers a lot of money, askes for me specifically
Scene Three
Everett is perched on the edge of a hotel room bed his appearance is changed. He has an unkempt look about him, he is unshaven, his tie is loose and his shirt is un-tucked. More disturbing than his unkemptness is his facial expression, a fanatical grimace and a cold plotting stare.
Narration: I don’t regret coming here, even now, after… after everything.
The room itself is revelled to be unkempt to an even more bizarre degree. Empty alcohol bottles are lain out all over. Old newspapers and documents of various kinds are lain out across all surfaces including the floor.      
Narration: This place, this room, its secret, it opened my eyes.
A mysterious silhouette figure of a woman in Victorian clothing appears in the balcony area doorframe.
End Titles

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Detective Concept

I have developed my German expressionist woodcut print idea into a full figure concept.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Week 5 Summary


In 1982 the body of a young woman was found dead in her hotel room at the Hotel Del Coronado. From the evidence gathered at the time, her death was ruled a suicide but no one could explain why she killed herself.

Nearly 30 years after the apparent suicide a series of mysterious death have occurred in the same room most of which were hushed up to protect the hotels public image. However news on the most recent death had worked its way into the newspaper attracting the attention of an ageing detective. The detective experiences strange phenomenon during his stay at the hotel leading him to uncover a murder building up to a confrontation between the now aged killer and the detective.

Character Triangle

Character Bio's

Name: Annalise (Ghost Woman)
Age: 25 (age at time of death)

Before her death she was an attractive woman, her husband and her were both gamblers and she escaped to the hotel avoid gambling debts waiting for her lover to follow. After 5 days she was raped and murdered, however her death is written off as a suicide. Desparate to unveil the truth of her murder her spirit is tied to this world, however she is bitter and twisted for revenge so she kills all those who tries to contact. She will only rest when she gets her revenge.  

Name: Warren Everett
Age: 49
Many years of experience have made Warren Everett a damn good detective. However years of dealing with the dark underground of the big city has hardened him.  He is cynical about almost everything, and has turned to cigarettes and alcohol to help him cope. One last case, a case like no other, may change his outlook on the world or reinforce his cynical nature.

Name: Eugene Milton Jr.
Age: 55
Eugene Milton Jr inherited the illustrious Hotel Del Coronado from his billionaire father Eugene Milton Sr. Thanks to his inheritance Milton Jr has been rich all his life because the hotel is a massive source of income. The persona Milton presents to the public is proud, business like and welcoming.  However he is hiding a terrible secret and more sinister side to his personality.

Visual Style

Chosen Visual Style: 
  • Set and character design will be influenced by German Expressionism, translating the jagged shapes into the 1920's furniture and architecture.   
  • Black and white footage
  • Lighting Style  - Noir 


I put this image together like a film poster/DVD cover to convey our ideas and bringing them all together into one image, could say its part of the concept art.

Chosen Text for Title from

Following the German Expresionism theme, referencing 1930's wallpaper designs and tracing over them block colour and lines to look more bold could bring the theme into our environment designs.

Resolved Ghost Woman Silhouette

Our character Annalise died in the 1820's so the look of the woman had to be victorian, as Phil commented the first one was a bit 'piratey' I refined the silhouette to make it more elagant and victoiain. I also decided to get rid of the glowing eyes to as though her head is slightly bowed or hidden by the hat.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Another Storyboard

1)      Establishing shot of the Hotel
2)      Pull back to revel that the shot is actually a photograph in a frame
3)      Pull back further to reveal the detective looking at the photo.
4)      Pull back to reveal more of the detective and the wall (This wall could have lots of other photos that hint at the story)
5)      Cut away and fade into a long tracking shot of a hotel corridor
6)      Zooming in slowly to a door at the end of the corridor
7)      Close up of the door
8)      Cut to pitch darkness
9)      Door opens to reveal the detective 
10)   Pull back to establish that this is inside the hotel room
11)   Flash back to a silhouette of a man with a gun
12)   The detective siting, apparently drunk,  at a dresser table mirror
13)   The ghostly figure of a woman appears in the mirror
14)   Close up of the ghost woman
15)   Title + End Credits     

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Detective Concepts

I have done some character concepts using the German expressionist woodcut prints as a base for the style, however they came out looking more pulpy/comic bookish.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Quick Storyboard Long Shot

From the beginning of the project we have been talking about one continuous shot leading to the ghost woman on the balcony of the hotel. To give us an idea of what it will look like I put together a quick animatic. Each frame is supposed to continue into the next one so there are no cuts. 

Looking at the animatic if we are to use one long shot we will have to put more inter cutting sequences or add something to the scenes to make them interesting. 

Ernst Barlach

I have been looking at german expressionist artist Ernst Barlach as a possible character design influence.


Der Bettler (The Beggar)


Visual Style: German Expressionism

Chosen Visual Style: 
  • Set and character design will be influenced by German Expressionism, translating the jagged shapes into the 1920's furniture and architecture.   
  • Black and white footage
  • Lighting Style  - Noir 

Here are some reference images we found searching Noir and German Expressionism in film to start piecing together concept ideas.

Exploring Film Noir

Film noir was a term first coined in the mid 1940's by French critic Nino Frank, and although it grew to become a very popular genre with many mid 20th century Hollywood films, the name was not widely adopted until the 1970's. The genre is generally associated with Hollywood crime films, particularly those involving cynical attitudes and sexual motivations. These types of films generally had a black and white visual style rooted in German Expressionism amongst several other influences. In his book What is Film Noir?, author William Park writes:

"What is film noir? Most commentators agree on the essential films that make up the category, films such as Double Indemnity (1944) and Out of the Past (1947). They also agree that the "movement" began in earnest in 1941 with The Maltese Falcon (the third Hollywood version), that it peaked in the late 1940's and early 1950's, that it included a semi-documentary phase, and that its classic period ended in 1958 with Touch of Evil. Every writer acknowledges the same sources of noir: German expressionism, pre-Code Hollywood, French poetic realism, the pulp fictions of Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, James M. Cain and Cornell Woolrich."
In terms of the visual characteristics of the film noir genre low-key lighting was a major contribution. This lighting style was key for creating the great light and dark contrasts - also known as chiaroscuro - also allowing for great shadow play; faces and bodies obscured by shadows. The lighting can also also help with setting the mood of a particular scene.

Noir films also employed methods of disorientation including multiple mirror reflections, strange natural forms, obscured view points (i.e. frosted glass) and low, wide and tilted angle shots. Most films were also shot at night - also known as Night-for-Night shooting - as opposed to faked night scenes (Day-for-Night shooting)

Shadows of window blinds fall upon private eye Jake Gittes, Chinatown (1974)

Detective Concept

 This is our initial concept for the detective character