October 13, 2012

Ah, ze children of ze night. They go: tik tik tik tik tik tik. . .

My interview with SFX guru DAVID YU of Mothership Studios and PostManila is now up on Dave’s such a cool, laid back guy, but his work and his team’s speaks for itself. Just see the trailer for Erik Matti’s horror opus.

All stills are courtesy of Mothership Studios.

Behind the Fang: Inside the visual FX of ‘Tiktik’


Posted on 10/12/2012 4:06 AM  | Updated 10/12/2012 4:40 AM

DAVID YU, Mothership Studios CEO and head of visual FX for “Tiktik”

MANILA, Philippines – David Yu is soft-spoken and laid back like a Zen master.

He’s wearing a “Tiktik” movie pin on his breast pocket that jumps and moves as he gestures, telling me how his childhood monsters, having grown up in Canada, were the vampires and werewolves of the West.

Yu was born in Hong Kong but has been living in Manila since the early 1990s, having come here as an R&B and hip-hop musician, when synths and drum machines were first beginning to cut through the swath of expensive analog recording and live performance.

Yu was an early adopter at the vanguard of that tech movement that put soul into music made by machines.

Now he’s putting the soul and the fangs into the dark, dark corners of Erik Matti’s (“Dos Ekis”, “Prosti,” “Gagamboy”) new opus as the head of its visual effects (FX) team.

“I became a hobby model maker after I saw Episode Three of `Star Wars,’” he explains. “I said, that’s what I want to do: I want to make models, blow them up, put them in movies and have audiences enjoy the explosion!”

When “Tiktik, The Aswang Chronicles” is unveiled, it will claw a new high watermark for Philippine-made CGI and visual FX for cinema.

Most of it will be thanks to the work of Yu and his team of 60 or so artists, animators and illustrators at Mothership Studios, along with post-production and editing done at PostManila (another young company that bagged 2ndplace in the Adobo Magazine Post Production House rankings and snagged two Gold Araw Awards in the Advertising Congress).

A company especially dedicated for feature film and broadcast entertainment, Mothership was formed in 2011 in reaction to the demand of “Tiktik” as their flagship client and other major commercial projects.

Yu brings 17 years of experience as a multi-awarded visual FX supervisor and artist to his company’s efforts for Matti’s movie.

“This is the hardest project I’ve ever done,” adds Yu. Our interview follows.

How did you approach the scope and the demand of Tiktik’s CGI and FX?

David Yu (DY): Erik Matti and I discussed that we wanted to make a film, not a special FX-driven thing. Traditionally, folks from the FX side would want you to lock off your cameras. You cannot move your cameras because there’s just too much going on and it’ll be very hard for the visual effects (VFX) people to fill in afterwards.

But I said to Erik: “Do whatever you want and the post-production will be part of your storytelling.” The attitude from the get go was, we’re making a film. We never tell the director to second guess what he’s doing just for our sake.

Special FX in service to a story is a great thing.

DY: There are, of course, budget and production limitations but no limits for creative decision-making.

You want to move the camera? No problem. You want to do the wire harness for the action scenes and we’ll paint them out in post? No problem. You want to do the wires AND the moving camera? No problem!

That must have been such a relief for them.

DY: “Tiktik” is not really a monster movie. It’s not a “Resident Evil” kind of effects-driven thing.

It’s actually a love story. They run into this local gang, these mobsters, who just happen to be aswangs. There’s a pregnant Lovi Poe and they want to eat her or her baby or probably both and Dingdong has to defend her.

I think the audience will be surprised. It’s a very Pinoy movie. Dingdong is playing a role that he usually doesn’t do.

Read the rest of the Q and A HERE. 



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