How did we get started?
We all love super heroines. But it’s been many years since we were introduced to Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Cat Woman, Elektra and even Lara Croft. David Burns, CEO of Eden Films, thought it was time we had a new super heroine for the big screen. But what sort of new heroine? There have been so many introduced over the years. Howabout a Fallen Angel and the need for her to save the world from evil. Enter Elizabeth Grey.
Elizabeth Grey was a beautiful woman tragically murdered in 1432 in a terrible Black Magic ritual. But her body was quickened by a Fallen Angel – Tiriel – who had managed to escape from Hell. Having hidden for nearly 600 years in human form, Elizabeth discovers that the most powerful fallen angel on Earth today, Moloch, is going to try and challenge Satan for the rulership of Hell. Our story starts with Moloch planning a satanic ritual that needs nine angel stones and other requirements (sorry, no spoilers here!) to bring about a terrible evil on mankind to prove he is worthy.
With a new set of powers in an exciting new genre, Elizabeth feels compelled to come out of hiding to try and stop him.
Research Becoming Reality
Eden Films did a lot of research into the writings that described the casting out of heaven of Lucifer and his followers (eg Milton’s Paradise Lost and Danté’s The Divine Comedy) and the nine orders of Angels (eg Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite’s book On The Celestial Hierarchy). Using this background material, Eden Films created a new world of characters with compelling stories that were exciting and fresh. For many years now Film Trilogies have been very popular and Eden Films realised that the story of Elizabeth Grey had the potential for three films with enough ideas to get better and better, rather than some of the disappointments we have all groaned at… So scripts were written to enable three potential blockbuster feature films to be developed.
The Redemption TrilogyTM was born. Eden Films now wanted to get someone to help with the design of the characters and locations, so Burns called on his longtime friend and associate Rolf Mohr. Mohr is a brilliant concept artist and had previously been the Director of Visual Development at Disney Games. So Mohr was commissioned to produce a series of sketch designs for the first feature film. The sketches were amazing. Gradually, the look of the world of Elizabeth Grey began to take form. But as the work progressed, it was clear that Mohr’s illustrations were capturing the story so effectively – and with such life and energy – that the idea of adapting the drawings for a comic became more and more apparent.
Eden Films is a London-based film company with two released movies: Making Waves, a romantic comedy based in the UK with Robert Hardy and Tracker, a period thriller set in New Zealand, starring Ray Winstone and Temuera Morrison. Two other features, a psychological thriller called Sociopath and War Criminal (the true story of the first and last Nazi to be prosecuted in England) are both soon to go into production. Also a documentary about the iconic music of Tomb Raider composed by Nathan McCree and two TV series are being developed, including Whimsy – an animated program for pre-school children.
Eden Films set up Codec Studios to convert the storyboards for Redemption into a comic. A team was brought together to take the initial sketch designs and begin the process of preparing them for a comic.
Using the traditional double page spreads, panels and speech bubbles the comic started to take shape. Here is an early example in Grey-Scale:
Why can’t we show you any examples with bubbles in colour? Because another thought occurred at this point. What are we doing? Just creating another paper / digital comic? Surely, in this day and age we can do more.
Why not create something more unique. A motion comic video. Using parallaxing graphic techniques the 130 or so coloured 2D drawings could be turned into a 3D video, using over 1,250 versions of the pictures.
Parallaxing allowed Mohr’s drawings to give the impression that they were three-dimensional. The result can be so effective it’s easy to think you’re looking at a 3D map in a game, but every element is 2 dimensional; every element is, in fact, flat.
For example, in a scene set at the Tyne Bridge in Newcastle, the drawings started out as rough sketches, which were then inked and finalized as a design. Each drawing was then separated into different elements and colourised – clouds, the path, the foreground building, the river, the bridge and finally the background buildings. These elements were then imported into After Effects and animated. The finished result, with snow added to complete the picture is extraordinary.
Eden Films has used a number of real locations throughout the stories to add authenticity and a sense of reality to the supernatural story. You will believe that the world of Elizabeth Grey actually exists:
Music, Character Voices and Sound Design
David Burns composed the orchestral score and professional actors were brought in to do the character voices. But what about the sound effects? Walking, door knock, growls of the Venkus demons? Burns called on his good friend Nathan McCree to help with the sound design. Burns has known McCree for many years and like many of us, was a big fan of the iconic theme tune and sounds McCree wrote for the first three Tomb Raider games.
We were on target for Part 1 of the first story in the Trilogy to become a Motion Comic Video.
Running along in parallel with this was another idea. Enter GameLab UK.
GameLab UK – DAz Technology
What about the viewer being able to interact with the motion comic? Become a player: A potential Hybrid Comic/Game rather than just a motion comic video. What if you could interrupt the video, watch sub-videos and go back to where you were in the main video. Or even more interestingly, click on parts of the video to select items while the main video is still running. Then if all items are found, the player is given access to bonus material. An Interactive Motion Comic. A video that can be played!
This had to be the answer to make the motion comic even more interesting. Eden Films had been in contact with the designer of DAz Technology Richard England at Gamelab UK for a while. The project was at the right stage to become a Hybrid Comic/Game. So the DAz software was built into the first release of Redemption: The Challenge: Issue 1.1 The Seraphim Stone.
How Does DAz Technolgy Software Work?
Designed and developed by Richard England – in association with Professor Martin Wright of GameLab UK – DAz Technology enables the user to “play” a video. To do this, the software introduces two types of “hotspot” into the video: signaled and unsignaled. The following describes how this has been implemented in our Interactive Motion Comic Video.
The signaled hotspots tell the user when to touch or click on the screen while the video is running. This pauses the primary video and brings up one of a dozen secondary videos – a series of short documentaries that describe the background of the stories, the characters, and other historical information.
The unsignaled hotspots are where the user has to try and find seven hidden angel feathers in various scenes throughout the story. If a user sees one of the feathers and then touches or clicks on the screen over the hotspot (got to be reasonably quick!), that feather is added to their inventory. If all seven feathers are found then the user is able to access exclusive material on the website.
Eden Films and Codec Studios are currently in talks with two major game production companies to look at the development of Redemption: The Challenge into a 3rd Person 3D action/adventure game. A prototype level is already underway and will be ready by June, 2016. Watch this space!
Eden Films Ltd is a London based feature film company. Redemption: The challenge is the first release by it’s animation and game division, Codec Studios. As a result of releasing the Interactive Motion Comic, a 3rd person 3D action/adventure game has now started development.