Hi folks! Ray here, another member of the Spry Fox team. I do a bunch of different jobs for our studio, including making video trailers for our games, QA, and community management. Sometimes, just to have some fun and goof around a little, I make live action videos using my fellow Foxes as actors (or guinea pigs…) And since we’ve been working really hard on our upcoming game, Road Not Taken, I thought it would be cool to do a live action video for that!
OK, to be honest, I mostly just wanted to have some fun with this whole thing. But I also wanted to use this video to show you a different side of the game’s main character. The brave and lonely side that maybe hasn’t come across in the other sneak peaks that Spry Fox has released. Even when reuniting a grateful parent with their child, there’s a noticeable gap between our hero and everybody else. I wanted to really play that up.
For those of you who are into video editing or are curious about the process, let me tell you a little about how I made this!
The first step was to design the costumes for the video. We’re a small company and we don’t exactly have a big costume or prop budget for the stuff I do, so I bought a cheap cloak and dark facemask and did some digital footwork to make the main character look a little more serious than our generally more-whimsical main character. Most of the other outfits you see in the video are made up of clothing that we owned or borrowed, with the intention of making it hard to place the era of the video (was this filmed 20 years ago? 70 years ago? Who knows.)
The second step was to film all the live action scenes. We used a Nex 5n camera; nothing fancy but it got the job done. There was just one problem: Road Not Taken takes place in a snowy forest and I wasn’t anywhere near a snowy forest at the time we filmed this! But I realized that I could use wind sounds, color filters, and digital snowfall effects to get us where we needed to be. The filter bit was simple enough; I just used a blue color filter that grows stronger over time, making the whole video feel “colder” as it progresses. (One exception: the scene with the father and child, played by our co-founder Dave & his daughter Aria — I left that with its original warmer colors, since it’s supposed to be a happy moment.)
For the digital snow, I found a nice pack of effects online that included video files of snow falling in varying amounts. Those were great because they worked for both the still shots and the motion shots. There wasn’t a real need for tracking, so I could simply layer them on over the original footage. I started off with no snow, and then gradually added more and more layers of snow to transition into the title screen with the blizzard.
Next, to add an element of magic to trailer, I added a blue fire to the staff and glowing eyes to the main character. It took a few steps to make the fire cling naturally to the staff and be properly affected by wind and movement. First, I manually tracked the fire’s position to match the movement of the staff. Then, I put a 2-frame delay on the fire’s motion, hence making the fire seem like it’s ‘chasing’ after the staff. Finally, I used the transform settings to stretch and tilt the fire during larger movements to make it dance. I also added glow effects to the fire so it would stand out a little more, and used filtering to get it to blend in a bit better with the rest of the video.
And finally (my favorite): the “glowing eye” scene right before the Avatar magically throws the creature blocking its path. This was actually pretty easy to do… a little manual tracking, and a very subtle horizontal screen flare coming off the eye, but it was really fun putting it together because I think it has a lot of impact despite being such a small part of the video!
Well, that’s pretty much it! If you have any other questions about the techniques I used to make this video, don’t hesitate to ask and I’ll do my best to answer! Also, if you want to see some other stuff I’ve done or meet more of my teammates in Spry Fox, check out this goofy parody video we made last year. It’s, uh, not as good as the original source material, but we had fun making it.
PS. I want to send out a big thank you to my friend Nicole (and her dog, Hans) for helping me bring this video to life!