Iron Sky: Inspiring Indie 3D VFX
As someone who was just starting out with LightWave at the time Iron Sky was going to the cinema, it was quite motivational knowing that the production had relied quite heavily on the software, as have many film and television productions on a huge range of budgets. After watching the hilarious, low budget Star Trek parody, Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning (some years after it first appeared), I immediately set to Googling and uncovered the first hints of another project by the same crew underway, Iron Sky. The film was still some way off back at the end of 2008, and even though moon Nazis in clunky retro space craft instantly appealed to me, it fell off my cluttered radar. Perhaps, if it wasn’t for my interest in LW I might have again ended up missing Iron Sky for years after release.
Since its cinema debut the quirky sci-fi comedy has only growing in popularity (and notoriety), as any true cult hit should, with the trailer ticking up over 12.7 million views on YouTube. With this continued interest a sequel, Iron Sky: The Coming Race, is now in preproduction and looking for backers on Indigogo to fund the production of a script and promo reel. Rewards include exclusive shirts, script drafts, script development invites, a speaking part in the promo, and in this day of social media a very enticing opportunity to view and share the promo before it is officially handed over to the media.
So for those who aren’t familiar with Iron Sky, the films basic premise revolves around an American astronaut who is captured by Moon Nazis, who having fled Earth at the end of WWII, have been assembling an armada of massive, clunky era inspired war ships. Ensue hilarity and jaw dropping effects and action scenes.
VFX To The Indie Producers
The film’s spectacular visual effects are a testament to the power of CGI methods to transform vision to reality, and increasingly, on a tight budget. Gone are the days where VFX was the sole domain of the mega financed film, with increasingly small budget productions making heavy use of CGI. Though Iron Sky’s 10 million is not to be sniffed at, its place as a VFX heavy sci-fi still place it very much on the low scale of funding. Much of the movie’s 800 + shots were done against green screen and incorporated elements produced with LightWave, Maya, and Nuke. I won’t delve into how LightWave saved the day for the production, but you can read further details in an article published at LightWave3D.com
Iron Sky: The Coming Race
Details are light at this point, but the campaign introduction at Indiegogo implicates North Korea in the plot, which is stated to be darker and MORE EPIC. All we really know is that the writing team from the first film is back, as are some of the VFX crew and actors. And yeah, Laibach is back to score the movie again. Who’s Laibach? Well, that’s all part of a whole other world that may not be familiar to many Iron Sky fans. That is to say I assume a good number of IS fans have little or no idea about this strange music history footnote thing called industrial music – go check it out. Follow the bread crumbs out from Laibach (I don’t suggest doing it the other way around).
Anyway, we aren’t here to talk about vague and dark places in music (unless you want to?). So we know a pile of people are coming back from IS, both on and off camera – meaning we know it is going to be well scored, and packed with eye-popping levels of visual candy. We know that the producers are looking for 150 000 thousand preproduction dollars. So far the Indigogo campaign has many times eclipsed the previous failed 2011 campaign for Iron Sky, and is on track to smash the current goal.
A final draft of the script is to be completed by the end of 2014, with a first draft ready by the end of this year. The promo reel is targeted for release at Cannes film festival 2014, with shooting to be done in 2015 with an estimated budget of 15 million dollars to realise “the epic scale of the story”.
For me, 2015 still feels so far away for my next fix of comedic totalitarian fuelled space mayhem, but this time around there will be no dropping off the radar. This one is staying locked on. If you haven’t seen the first movie, do yourself a favour and go pick it up right now, and then you too can wait in excited anticipation for the end of 2015, or 16, or whenever it will be released.
And How Can I Forget The Iron Sky CGI Reel?
Not sure, but I almost did. It is amazing how much of the movie is shot against green screen. All-in-all there were 800 VFX shots – which is about half the movie! That’s a lot of CGI for an indie film.