The goal of this project was to create a video highlighting the story of Samson in the Bible. The idea was to take elements of the story and film visual representations of each element. Before the project officially began, the first step for the team was to simply go back and re-read the story of Samson starting in Judges Chapter 13. After the refresher, the main symbols we ended up choosing were a lion (Judges 14:6), a honeybee (Judges 14:8) just one fox… not three hundred (Judges 15:3-5), dry grain going up in flames (Judges 15:5), a donkey’s jawbone (Judges 15:15), a knife cutting off locks of hair (Judges 16:19) and destroyed pillars and a pile of rubble (Judges 16:29-30).
Unfortunately, some of the props on our list (a statue of a honeybee, a donkey’s jawbone, and giant stone pillars) were either unrealistic to try to obtain, or very difficult to find with reasonable shipping times. As a result, those props had to be created in 3D.
Day 1: Honeybee
Instead of getting a metal wasp figurine, we ended up going for a 3D model of a honeybee. In hindsight, that was a much better move. Originally, we were just going to sit the model in a scene and render out a few shots of it, much like the other shots of real statues. However, the model was posed with the wings stretch out to the sides, which wasn’t very aesthetically pleasing for an epic shot, but it did beg to be rigged.
The last time I tried to rig something, I tried for hours and hours and ended up having to hire a professional in order to meet the deadline, and ultimately didn’t even have the opportunity to use the final rigged model for animation.
This time, I was feeling ambitious, and I tried for a simple IK rig just to get some posing. I got everything working except the antennas. For some reason, I was seeing a large group of vertices getting left behind when I moved the bones, and I spend too much time trying to weight paint the antennas, and ended up abandoning the idea of making the antennas move. Later, I retried using the exact same method as before, and it worked perfectly. Not sure what happened.
Day 2: Pillars
Originally, we may have been a little too ambitious with the concept for the pillars. One of our first ideas was to have a shot of a pillar cracking up close, then cut to a wide of two pillars falling into each other, crumbling and breaking apart. Sounds like a great concept, and I started to work on it, but soon realized just how technically demanding those two shots were. So in an effort to hit the deadline, but still delier something cool, I changed strategies a bit. Instead of showing the destruction as it was happening, I opted to show destruction that had already happened. So I got to work creating the ruins.
Day 3: Filming
With all the digital assets created and ready for the timeline, it was time to film the practical props. We tried to keep the amount of CG work to a minimum to keep turnaround time fast. Shoot day required us to capture a lion statue, a wolf (we couldn’t find any fox statues), burning grain (we didn’t have any proper grain, so we grabbed some long dry grasses from a swampy drainage channel behind our building) and Delilah cutting up a wig (you’ll see).
Still pretty stunned that our team was able to turn this video around in 3 days. Incredible job by everyone involved, and I’m extremely pleased with the final result.
Direction: Dan Fajardo, Matt Jones
Lighting: Shelly Bogard
Edit: Dan Fajardo
VFX: Matt Jones
Makeup: Katie Eldridge, Ana Womble
Talent: Lexi McLeod