Click on a picture to see the original version or the new version.

NOTE: This cut (#28) is a follow up to cut number 25. As such, the build for this set is the same. I have repeated the build information here for the sake of thoroughness but if you have already read this section, you can jump down directly to the explosion info by clicking HERE.

Began cut number 28, which is a distant shot of the laser being bounced back to an old ship and blowing up.

Brandi starts by scoring and cutting black foam core to the desire shap. She then hot melt glues it around a form.

The bow of the ship has a distinctive shape. Brandi carved a piece of balsa wood following the general look of the original cartoon.

The final ship, awaiting paint.

After adding a touch of seaweed and some masts, the boat goes before the camera.
The boat was placed on a sheet of black acrylic to get a natural, dark reflection.

Rigging, sails, seaweed, etc were added via a digital matte painting in Photoshop.
(Click on the picture for a larger view.)

To create a firey explosion on a budget, I employed the old school cloud tank method.

In this set up, you can see two HD cameras in the foreground. One points directly at the tank and the other points down at a first surface mirror, which allows a view pointed directly up through the bottom of the tank. The up view is really all that we want but I set up the second camera to record the side view just for future use on other projects. Note the side lighting and the black background. Also note the reflections of the tripods in the glass, which required that we cover them in black tape!


A shot glass of milk is used to create the explosion and delivery of the pour must be hyper accurate. Reflections of the ceiling must also be avoided. So a black foam core top for the tank is employed with a hole in the middle for a funnel to direct the entry of the milk.


Here Brandi cleans the tank to an inch of its life. All water spots and debris must be removed. Creating cloud tank explosions is not an exact science and we probably spent about 4 hours to get 2 viable takes out of probably half a dozen attempts. The tank had to be drained and polished cleaned after every shot.


A rather atmospheric shot of me filling the tank for the umpteenth time. The local water supply had quite a bit of calcium in it so Brandi was constantly pissed off at having to reach in the tank with her bare arms to nit-pick tiny calcium deposits swirling about after she had already scrubbed the tank spotless clean. Getting them out took longer than the actual shot!

Click HERE to see the raw shot of the cloud tank!


This is what an original frame looked like. The milk was heated in a microwave to just near boiling. The water in the tank was cold. Since heat rises, the milk pretty much stopped in its tracks after it was poured into the cold water. This made it collect in one area instead of shooting to the bottom of the tank. It also kept the milk from simply dissipating into the surrounding water. In the past, I have also added red and yellow food coloring but, in this instance, I just tinted the cloud orangish in post.


To add some "punch" to the shot, I hand animated a shock wave that spreads out ahead of the explosion. I also animated the breakup of the old ship into pieces that fell away into the water and also toward the camera.


And this is what they look like combined with overlaid debris. I cranked up the contrast to introduce some grain into the cloud to make it less smooth and also gave it a firey orange/red tint. The video was shot at 30 frames per second progressive. I then increased the speed of the raw shot 600% by skipping frames. This was then sandwiched between the background ship/shockwave and the foreground debris.
Click on the picture for a larger view.

The final clip is at the top of the page!
Thanks for looking!


All information, videos, photos and graphics in this website are copyright 2009, Roger Evans. All rights reserved.
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