Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Right to Shear Arms...

How to CG a severed arm effect on a live-action TV series... censored to Disney standards.

(Initial instruction:)
"Add the stump.. it can be dark red but not see bone etc."

Duly, said effect is done vis-a-vis tracking a "cross-section" to a certain point on the footage of the actor's real arm, and rotoscoping the rest of the arm out. (This section was assembled in photoshop out of the most inoffensive and "nearly boneless" crosscut of steak we could find - just don't ask about the "salami arm" of Version One... ! )

(Note comes back:)
"... I don't think we can get away with this... IT'S TOO GRAPHIC... too much detail in cross-section of arm, too meaty... with great respect it's a SPARTACUS shot, expertly executed... we have to make this a little more "Barbie" doll or we're not gonna get it on the air."

Duly, the meaty quality is toned down to a blander and more acceptable shade.

Also, for amusement an alternative version is rendered, with a big yellow smiley face, and sent to our "quality controller" - because sometimes it helps to appreciate the silliness that is sometimes required in the effects industry.

It exists, it really does. Because some viewer, might take offence somewhere, and have a word with the Broadcasting Standards Authority. Somewhere, that most horrific of things might happen - yes - a COMPLAINT!
What we do, as a result, is to take the "violence and gore" and colour it a little less violent and gory. Sometimes we're even asked to make things a little less "sexy" too, because that makes EVERYTHING OKAY...!

Here is my face. Here is my palm. *smack*
Those of you who work in this industry, know of what I speak. If you've ever had to work on certain "wholesome-yet-action-packed" programme types (often for the American market), I'm sure you have your own stories to tell. ;) We have to laugh. (frustration would be unsightly, and must be edited out...)

Fogey voice: Lemme tell you something. When I was around the age of 5-6, I remember I absolutely believed there was a difference between being killed, and being dead. It had to do with being shot by guns. And presumeably another actor going (blablablablabla) "been shot/been killed!" but it turns out the shot person hadn't been killed really, and they got treated by a doctor, and were OKAY.

You can see how a young mind might make such an association as "shot=killed=still alive/fixable=not dead", and that "dead=no longer alive=dead" yeah?

It had nothing to do with the special effects.

My father, under similar circumstances, used to think that falling off a building meant that one would die. He did this once by accident as a small child, and spent the rest of the day sniffling quietly until Grandma assured him he wouldn't. Ironically, some 20 years later he fell off the roof of the family house, broke both arms, and had a pretty near miss by all accounts.

Can I point out again? Nothing to do with special effects.

Perhaps my father and I should have watched less action television at our respective young ages. It's a thought. ;)
I don't think television directly causes violence, but I do think a lot of it causes misunderstanding. And misunderstanding can be very harmful, especially when it is appropriated by some people as "knowledge", and treated as "fact".
Those with more violent and/or active tendencies who also fall into the above category, are the ones who cause "teh troubles as wot get blamed on telly"
I think.


marcus said...

needs moar meat

GuanoLad said...

I also prefer my violence to have less meat and more smiley face.

Kirby said...

Let's see. How would that go?

smiley fase is in ur FX making everyting OKAYZ! :D

Yep, I think I can see a niche market for it. ;)