Saturday, 25 September 2010

Research: 1950s Retro-Futurism

Today I decided to look at the future the people of the 1950s wanted sicne thats the setting our story The Day of the Invisible Cannibels From Beyond the Stars is taking place, if anyone thinks I'm spoiling anything I'm not.
while I was researching the 1950s idea of a future I learnt that there was a term for it called 'Retro-Futurism' so heres my research on Retro-Futurism so far.






While researching Retro-Futurism I notice that the shape of the building have a curvy appearance and they point towards the sky in a dramatic manner. The cars are also curvy but with a more slick appearance, and they can be either big or small depends if the driver wants to give people a ride. There are also trams/buses that can fly or have the tracks above the tram/bus for transportation.
The 1950s future looks so much fun.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Ideas: 2 More Ideas for the Plot

Firstly, I apologize for the format in which I wrote my idea, literally is the whole film story which later is broken down in scenes for the trailer.

Idea 1:

Setting: Small 1950's American Village
Villain: Invisible Flesh-Eaters Aliens
Hero: Charming Young Inspector
Others: Young Woman

Genre: Sci/Fi-with humorous acting

An UFO coming from beyond the stars has the mission to invade Earth secretly, finding this remote American village, they find the perfect place to start with their evil plan. Using their invisible powers, they start by kidnapping and consume their victims bodies they wreak havoc in such quiet town. Meanwhile, this charming young inspector, who is seduced by this young woman, they are madly in love with each other and ready to marry, though this moment of affection has to be interrupted when he receives an urgent phone call from the Police Station.
As he arrives, he hears some rumours that they found a woman's body all disfigured as she has been eaten, being an inspector, he is assigned to be the right man to the investigate the case.
The Invisible Aliens, as they main interest, they kidnap a human consume its body and they genetically mutate into that person without losing their invisible powers.
Being left alone at home, the inspector fiancee's becomes vulnerable to the alien menace,  when confronted by strange happenings around, she doesn't stand a chance against an incredible being. They kidnap her, devour her and use her body.
When the inspector returns home the day after, he is faced with a strange situation, his supposed fiancee begins to act strangely and gain a weird appetite for human flesh.While smelling him, she strikes, being the inspector a man with good reflexes and good physique, avoids the attack. Realising it is not his fiancee he attacks it, however the alien still having the invisible powers disappears, runs away hastily.
The Inspector listening to the front door of the house, he runs there, and by a mere of pure physics (Invisibility works in a flat soil, being set in 1950, small village in America, the soil is still gravel, therefore when you step on, footsteps appear). he can follow the Invisible Alien trail.
This path will lead just outside the village to a field full of vegetation that until that moment was hiding the flying saucer.
The young man phones his colleagues to announce his new finding and asks for reinforcements, while awaiting forhelp he spots many people from the village ( at that time they were not humans anymore but a mutation between humans and alien) heading inside the spaceship.
When reinforcements arrive feel their presence and open the spaceship. The Inspector and the other officers are stroke by moments of absolute silence, still aiming at the UFO some the police officers are disarmed and thrown to the ground by this unnatural force. Reacting to that the all the remaining reinforcements shoot randomly to the area in vain. Some more officers suffer other attack.
The inspector retreats behind a car, with the bounces a pen in his shirt's front pocket opens and stains his clean shirt, he shouts "damn!", (with that Texas accent), but at the same time, an idea strikes in his head. "If we can't use human force, If we can't use guns, we will use INK!"
 he hurries to the phone and call for more reinforcements, but this time in form of ink to make the aliens visible and finally being able to destroy them.
Unfortunately, He also finds that he cannot save his fiancee, because all people consumed are already dead.

Idea 2

Villains: Group of Invisible Cannibal Aliens
Hero: Astronomer/Scientist
Others: Funny police officers

An Astronomer in his lab his doing extra hours, when looking through the telescope he spots an UFO in direction to this small town he lives, landing a few miles away.
the next following days, he leaves the lab and goes after some samples from the UFO.
Meanwhile, In the town he lives rumours are spread that people are being reported missing and found days later all disfigured with no evidence to find the criminal.
Being an astronomer/scientist and not believing in sorcery, he associates the crimes to his new finding.
determined to solve this case, he goes to the police station and but it is taken as a joke.
Ashamed he returns to his lab, while there he begins to hear strange noises of furniture moving, and suddenly a chair is thrown at him. Not knowing where it came from the astronomer feels disorientated and again is attacked by the remaining chair.
He has just become the prey for this alien species,as they found he was spying them. After taken a lot of a beating, a brilliant idea stroke his head, "If I can't see him with my bare eyes maybe a natural element will be able to help me". Hastily he runs to the sink, gets a tin with water, that was ready for his experiments, throws it all across the room, and it reveals the shape of the Alien.
The Alien being vulnerable to water is captured by the astronomer. Having now evidence that something extra terrestrial is provoking all this. The police officers believe him and he takes them to site where the UFO has landed, also he informed of the formula to reveal the aliens.
When arriving to the site, the aliens prepare to strike the human forces, being invisible it becomes different for the humans as they start to shoot randomly at the area.
Realizing that it was leading to nowhere the astronomer shouts "Stop!" and gives instructions to the fireman to pulverize the whole area with water.
Immediately, the alien shapes are revealed and therefore become a target for the police officers, who destroy this alien menace.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Research: B-Movies II

More research into B-Movies but this time around movies that has anything to do with invisible people or creature, aliens and cannibles. These type of movies will help us in making our own movie more believable that it was made around the 1950s, even though two of the films are made around the 1980 they still carry that low budget feeling.

Sci-Fi Horror

The Invisible Man (1933)

Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)

The Man From Planet X (1951)


It Came From Outer Space (1953)

Invaders From Mars (1953)

Invasion of the Saucer Men (1953)

Devil Girl From Mars (1954)


Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

Invisible Invaders (1959)

Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959)


Cannibal Apocalypse (1980)

Cannibal Holocaust (1980)

Marketing: B3D Logo Animation Development

So the logo was decided for B3D Studios, so I started thinking about a simple animation.
I re done the logo again in illustaightor and imported the three shapes into after effects. The entire animation was done in this.

I'm still regarding it as a test piece, which shows the basic idea of how I wanted to separate the various components. I'm thinking to complete the animation with the two closer letters falling back to where the D is, but next to each other. Then the word Studios appearing somehow next to it. The camera will probably have to shift to one side to allow room for the extra text.

Research: Cannibalism - real cannibalism compared within film

In this video you can see how the mind of a real cannibal works, he doesnt beleive hes evil at all - which is the typical case of an evil mind. Usually, Cannibalism is found in tribes in more Eastern Countries or African origins and is seen as a tradition of spiritual significance. This sort of behaviour begins to acknowledge the fact that a cannibal could be a clumsy, greedy character if comical, or a sacrificial madman who's mind is corrupt by his beleifs.

As a result of these characteristics films have been made around the subject of the cannibal as a horror figure, eliting some classic films and iconic monsters such as Hannibal Lecter. In mixing the image of Hannibal with the comic approach of a cannibal in space to go along with one of my story ideas I have come up with a rough idea of how I visualise this character to be.

Obviously these are not final designs, there is no set story that we are working with yet. However I feel it is important that we start drawing conceptually to gain a better understanding of our most common direction so that we can come together with an overall concept much easier.


Research: What is a B Movie? ... Retro?

What is a B Movie?

In cinema terms a B-Movie is considered a low- budget commercial film, and defined the Golden Age in Hollywood Cinema. Being a low-budget film, this type of film is identified by its less-publicized, low-budget acting, and design than a blockbuster film at that time.
Most of the B-movies are represented in certain genres- westerns, sci-fi and horror, not meaning that other genres can be used, but less likely to be found. This genres were mainly used as being the pop culture of that period, 1940's to 1960's America.
B-movies are present in cinema history almost since the beginning, with great merit in the 1950's period, the Golden Age of Hollywood, from that time onwards the numbers of films produced was increased, leading to more recent days.
Although nowadays, we still have B-movies, they are less-likely to make the big-screens, as in Hollywood money counts a lot.
B-movies may be considered cheap produced movies, but they were crucial for the history of cinema, as they provided opportunities to less known directors to shine. New actors to enter the film business, and improve their career and also create many celebrity actors, such as Vincent Price.

Being our project about creating a Retro style B-movie trailer, I felt the urge to explore the term Retro.

What is Retro-Style?

Retro is an aged style, which nowadays we find culturally outdated belonging to the past. In Art, this style is often associated to the 1940's and 1950's America.
The mass production era, the old saturated colours of the adverts, arts films etc.
Retro mainly means a aged out dated style, which was rejected by Postmodern Art.

Ideas: a Crazy, a Silly and One Serious Idea

Plot idea 1

Humans from the future come to earth (in present time), bringing their technology and gadgets.

One particular gadget is this wrist band tech thingy. It tells the time, built in sat nave and all sorts of useful stuff.

It becomes compulsory for every human from present day to wear one of this wrist band tech thingys.

What the present day humans don't know is that the future humans are actually humanoid alien cannibal beings, and the tech thingy they wear round their wrist is disguising their true form.

So why are these cannibal aliens even bothering to visit earth, pretending to be humans? what’s the point of this.

Well they are obviously smart creatures that can unfortunately only eat meat that is their own. This is not ideal. The solution is to convert a similar race into their own, and eat them.

What the humans don't realise is that the wrist bands they have all been given is converting their genetic code to be exactly like the aliens. While at the same time, still looking human.

So aliens have come to earth from beyond the stars, and have secretly lived with humans in disguise. (effectively invisible, not literally)

all humans on earth have been gradually changing into the alien creatures, while still remaining the look of humans.

Now the aliens face one problem. How can they tell which ones to eat without revealing their ravenous form? (the aliens get quite hungry)

Even if they switch off the clever disguise so that everyone, originally human and alien look like the alien. The aliens still won’t know which ones to eat.

The answer is simple. Food colouring. More specifically, glow in the dark food colouring.

So the aliens wait for night time, switch off all the power, and every former human is a green glowing target for them to feast on.

So that’s the aliens plan. How the humans find a way to transform themselves back and defeat the aliens is beyond me. Bu then we are creating a trailer, so the ending is never going to be revealed.

Plot 2

One day an invisible cannibal lands on earth. It decides to eat his own tail because he is the last cannibal. No one notices his existence on earth as he is invisible. The end.

Plot 3

A parallel earth from beyond the stars, where humans evolved into cannibals. Instead of intelligent humans on the earth that we know.

Another Idea
I’ve been thinking about what sort of time period the film should be set. Instead of setting it in the future as imagined in the past. Set it in today’s time, with today’s real technology. No smooth hover crafts or anything like that. But obviously trailer wise, styled like an old film.

Research: B Movies horrors (continued)

Here is a personal favourite piece of B-Movie gore and power, the immensely thought provoking, frightening tale of Werewolfs, "Ginger Snaps". Made in 2000, this film is somewhat pushing the boundaries of the traditional B-Movie. The horror scenes are actually unnerving, the monsters aren't tacky and overall builds a brilliant display of tension that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up straight.

Watch the whole film through a series of links on Youtube:

This film was later re made into a new story based in medieval times, which provides the film with the usual B-Movie slapstick horror scenes. Personally this ruined a well made, well thought out movie in which both acting and production reigned supreme.

The interesting thing to note about this film is that the Werewolf is the Sister to one of the other main characters, yet as she has lost her mind she wants to feed on everyone she knows that comes in her path. This can relate to cannibalism, even though the character is no longer human in form.


Ideas: ' The Day of the Invisible Cannibals from Beyond the Stars'- First ideas

In our groups we have each received a randomized title for a fictional film that we are to design a trailer for, of which shall be showcased at a animations festival entitled "Retro-fest". My group has decided to each come up with concepts within the first week, no matter what genre, or how different each idea may be so that we can then sit down and discuss which ideas work and what direction we are to place our trailer within.

So here are some of my (very random) ideas for this somewhat comical, yet horrific title...

•The hungry astronaut

Basically in this concept, it is set around the idea of a lonely astronaut stuck in space, who works on a space station that has run out of meaty food. On his attempts to gain food he creates a teleporter, to collect all the burgers in the world and collect them on his ship for food. Unfortunately, he only manages to pick up humans, who start to noticeably go missing on earth due to some "invisible" force. Being hungry, he becomes deluded and believes the humans are burgers and starts eating them. Only one human who manages to escape his grizzly fate manages to over ride the teleporter and save the day...

•The incredibly greedy Cannibal in space with his evil plans for world domination

A play on the above story, a cannibal with intentions to find a way to safely eat more people without being caught decides to build a star ship that can teleport humans into cages on his ship. Again, it takes one brave soul to escape and figure out a way to save his fellow captives...

•The meteor shower with alien infections

In this story a shower of meteors lands and in a similar fashion to that of the film "Invasion of the body snatchers". The meteors contain a virus which, in comparison to traditional zombie films, turns people mad and makes people eat other which in turn spreads the virus through surviving victims and insects carrying the virus from infected human remains. One other thing to mention which makes it incredibly difficult to capture this virus and its infected, they are invisible during the day. This helps make it easier for them to prey on those who aren't yet infected by the virus, yet at night they are visible and seem like everyday normal human beings. This also causes problems, as there is no where to run or hide, and no one to trust.

•Santa's revenge

This is hilarious, when thinking of the "preview man" voice describing the hungry astronaut concept over the trailer, I imagined him saying "this summer at a cinema near you". Then I stopped and thought as its nearly Winter it'd make much more sense to say "This Christmas". As a result, I sprawled to mind a totally new idea which mixes some of the above concepts and throws them into a very post-modern, amusing yet shocking tale based on Santa Claus himself. This is comparable to that of such tales as the Grinch, A Nightmare Before Christmas etc on the basis that the peacefulness associated with the festive season is disturbed and faith is questioned as a result. Santa Claus has become evil due to his anger at the fact Children have stopped believing in him as much in modern times, therefore they seem to lack putting foods and drink above the fireplace. He finds this unfair, ungrateful and very hurtful. He needs this food to survive with the lack of people interested in his business now days, it is a recession after all! The world seems to be relying on the commercialism of Christmas and lacks faith in what Santa stands for and does. This drives him insane, he needs to survive, so he starts taking parents back to Lapland with him to punish them... and eat them. There would be a hero in this, perhaps a child who's parents managed to contact him through text message, or on Santa's "faith-book", to tell him they are all in danger. This child could set out on saving the parents and stopping Santa on his evil quest and in turn making him realise he isn't as forgotten about as he believes. Tissues at the ready please!


Research: B Movies horrors

As my group faces the challenge of making an invisible cannibal from beyond the stars, I feel that this relates to a dark, often socially shunned topic which most would find unnerving. However, due to the title given to us I can tell there shall be an element of amusement within this film, therefore we could use what we know people expect in a typical film and turn whats stereotyped as scary into funny.

Here is an example of typical B-Movie horrors, of which each carry humour in the moments where the acting is suppose to be most serious.


Research: Into B-Movie

There has always been a widespread interest in the art of film making, for it holds the ability to tell a tale through physically depicting the envisioned ideas of the writer. We cant all be George Lucas and own millions of pounds worth of studio equipment, or be able to hire out specified workers by the dozen, but this doesn't stop a large majority of artists with a passion for film making from making their final cuts. These somewhat lower budget movies are often described as "B-Movies", and are often either brilliantly executed according to the resources available to the maker, or quite often immersed in cringe-worthy acting and soaked in obvious amateur editing skills.

A lot of the best B-Movies that one comes to find would be that of the horror genre, laced in laughable special effects yet showcasing brilliant bursts of the imagination. Sometimes these lower budget horror films would succumb to being far scarier than anything created with a higher budget, due to the more realistic-less "Hollywood" feel that the actors would portray, and also with less access to special effects of any outstanding quality B-Movies tend to use the saying of "less is more".

An example of a typical scary old B-Movie would be Dracula (1931) which was released by Universal studios and stars Bela Lugosi as Dracula himself. Directed by Tod Browning, this is described as "The story of the strangest passion the world has ever known!", unleashing the audience into a thrilling ride of love-crossed evil in an anxious hold. The actor playing Dracula is said to have a distinguishably unnerving smile "You have never seen a creepy as hell smile until you've seen the smiles Bela Lugosi throws at people in this movie." This suggests that the fear induced into the audience is more about the acting than visual effects. According to, there is a lot of suggestive notions of society in the 1930's within this film as the audience only ever witnessed Dracula biting women on the neck. This suggests two things, that Dracula biting men would be perceived as exposing homosexuality to the masses, which in such times was looked down upon greatly. Also this shows how females were seen as the weaker of the species, how men overpowered them and were in control. (information on Dracula found at

These aspects of how film makers pursued their storytelling within a low budget continued into the modern age B-Movies. Some of the more successful B-Movies to weave this craft managed to get their films into mainstream cinema. Examples of this include films such as "The Blair Witch project" and more recently "Paranormal Activity". This film has undergone such success that they are working on a sequel to the first film, of which I beleive is to be an enhanced version of the original due to its success. On a review site it points out facts based on the film itself, some of which sum up the nature of the budget movie itself. An example of a few of these facts are:

•Filming was completed in 10 days.

•The entire movie was filmed in Oren Peli's own home. (the writer/director)

•The actors weren't given scripts but were given guidelines on how to behave or what to discuss in their scenes. (This created a more "realistic" sense, however made things cheaper on the printing costs!)

•Dreamworks wanted to remake the movie with a bigger budget and better known actors rather than release the film as it was and use the original as a DVD extra. (This goes to show how a higher end production company enjoys the ideas portrayed in such a simple storyline and piece of film, however this shows throwing the film at a more commercialized audience would ruin its scary appeal)

•The film is based on a personal experience in which Oren Peli encountered an object in his house fall off a shelf at night which seemed highly to be paranormal at the time. Therefore he took this concept and created the idea of a demonic presence overcoming a house of a usually contented, happy couple and twisting it into a maddening possession that somehow all audience members feel they can relate to. We have all experienced that feeling of not being alone at night, or being watched, this is the very human emotion that Peli plays with in this movie.

Info on paranormal activity review at

Overall these two films I have discussed show similarity in how they shock the audience using simplicity and a lower end budget to spend on. I am not yet sure of which genre my group is placing its "B-Movie" trailer within, but this provides evidence that horror is a prime subject to touch on when faced with empty pockets. I will be providing a list of different B-Movies in my next blog to compare different genres and get a better understanding of what works and what doesn't.


Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Marketing- Final Logo Design

After using Ethan's designs for the logos, we decided to take the better one and develop a bit further.
Using photoshop we aimed to get a polished and professional look logo in which our followers have the possibility to see.
A logo is a important identity which will define us as a studio out in the professional world. Adding to the Logo, the blog banner was also altered to look more professional and yet appealing.

Final Sketch Design
by aflockofpixels

1st Variation of the Logo
By Ruben M.
Final Design Logo
By Ruben M.
Blog Banner

So keep tuned as our spaceship is arriving to our destination... Retro Sci-fi land already on sight! yupi!!

Administration- Project Plan

As promised, here is the week 1- 5 project plan, this will be used to help us to understand if we are on time or delayed in any of the aspects of pre-production.

Once again, If you have any problem in understanding the plan, don't hesitate and ask me.

Administration- Project Timetable

After looking at the project plan,that I have put together, I have also done a timetable based on UCA's one, but adding the project tasks, times or event places.
This will enables to work more efficiently with no problems along the way. I have also added some 3 leisure time periods meaning watching film as a studio and annotate important characteristics.
Here's the Timetable, if you have any questions, I will clarify them tomorrow after the Post-Modernism Briefing.

Bear in mind, that some tasks may change or not.

Also I will be printing a copy for each, if any of you can't attend any task, tell me in advance.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Administration- Pre- Production Roles

After delegating about the management roles, We started to get our teeth on the actual pre-production stage. In order to have a more efficient team, we decided to delegate roles in pre-production.

The roles are as followed:

With our tasks divided, we are ready to switch on the spaceship motors.

Research- List of Some B-Movies

Last Night I was on the hunt for some B-movies that ranges from the 1950s to the 1990s. We could also make a day to watch some of these movies.

The Fly (1958)

The Return of the Fly (1959)

The Raven (1963)

Masque of the Red Death (1964)

Halloween (1978)

Mad Max (1979)

Friday the 13th (1980)

The Fly (1986) remake

The Hitcher (1986)

Reservoir Dog (1992)

The Blair Witch Project (1999)

Administration- Management Roles

As part of the first task, we were asked to delegate different management roles, often seen inside a real studio. So after, long discussion to find the most efficient person in each we reached our last decision.

The following document is for mere consultation if any questions arise. For my fellow colleagues keep in mind your ranks, as the spaceship to B-movie land is ready to depart.

Bon Voyage!

Marketing-Logo Designs- B3D Studio

After assigning all the different roles of the project, we created this blog and decided on a name. With the studio name B3D decided, we needed a logo.

So from my sketch book came some initial designs. My first idea was actually how it could be animated. Each letter would just slide out from behind the previous letter. So starting with B, the 3 effectively duplicates from the B, sliding right, then somehow the D replicates from the 3. Never quite figured out how, other than morphing it.

So I started by just drawing the letters, making sure the 3 was drawn so the end bits didn't curl round. As I attempted to draw my idea, all the letters got meshed together.

Looking at the sketches you can see how it evolved, we also experimented with a few different shapes and then we all decided on this design.

You know how you look at something for ages and think its just right, then you look back at it later and your thinking, no. Its not right. As I started tracing it in photoshop I could see that it wasn't reading the same as before.

I can see the 3. I can see a reversed £ sign and or a reversed E. So basically I don't think it is the final design. Although what does the rest of the studio think? Or anyone else.

PS. I'm not supposed to tell anyone this but our latest film is entitled, The Day of the Invisible Cannibals from Beyond the Stars. We will be releasing a trailer for it in 15 weeks time. But you didn't hear any of this from A Flock of Pixels.

Oh well... the secrets out. So you'll probably see a lot more posts on it during the run up to the trailer.

By Aflockofpixels


Taking Ethan's initial designs, I (Ruben) started to develop some further and work on the final idea.

Narrative Project Briefing - Retro Festival

Hello, our Studio is consisted by Chris, Ruben, Ethan S. and Shahbir. and our first assignment is embrace the 1950's Sci-fi era and create a 2 minutes trailer in full 3D as submission for the Retro-Festival.
I will go through the brief with you to make things clear.

Being a narrative project, we are asked to take on board all the B-movies concepts, either the successful ones and the not so, and apply them to our own piece.

Festival Entry Requirements:

- A short animated film trailer of no more than 2 minutes of length.

- An animation based on the film randomly picked:

"The Day of the Invisible Cannibals from Beyond the Stars"

- The film in a 16:9 Aspect Ratio

- Publish our work in different via marketing ( posters, banners, business cards. etc). Using three 300 dpi stills from the final render.

Also, we are asked to work as a professional studio, where we delegate the different roles for each task. Also where time management and business planning are crucial for the studio to run smoothly.

Finally, I'm uploading a copy of the brief, page by page, for easy visualization. If any technical problems may arise. Also, the extended reading list will be here.

So for more information follow us, as we travel back in time to experience Golden Age of Sci-Fi Genre in Hollywood, meanwhile we will share our findings and some interesting facts we will find along the way.

Stay B-Tuned!