47 years ago, I was making lunar landscapes from polyfilla and coal dust. Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon was still a few years away, as was my musical taste. But I was living through the space race, and the moon landings were better to think about than the other uses of rockets during the Cold War. Life in Lancashire was surrounded by coal.
Polyfilla is a kind of plaster of paris for filling holes in walls, and adding coal dust tinged it a slightly speckled grey. I used cardboard for the base, and there was always the challenge of stopping it curling upwards or cracking, as the Polyfilla shrank as it set. It was fun getting the craters right, which depended on getting the right consistency to the Polyfilla. You could buy a plastic lunar module kit, made by Airfix, to sit on the surface. You can still find them at a price, though the kit made by Revell is somewhat cheaper.
So, almost 50 years on, I’m back again. I’m producing my lunarscape for a machinima, and it’s still just as tricky! As the moon is spherical and the map is flat, it takes a bit of cajoaling to stretch it round. However, unlike in 1969, images of the far side of the moon are freely available, on the internet.
Floyrillen is inspired by the iconic artwork of the Pink Floyd albums. I had to be selective as I didn’t want to do a breathless tour of everything – three sections were enough, covering five ideas.
The opening sequence, from the wall to the rainbow, was laid out across the entire width of a sim. Windlight settings were set to black, but with the stars and a sun still shining. I use a 3d mouse to move the camera, which is self-levelling (as a spacecraft would be). But even so, when following the lines in the blackness there is no sense of scale and so no sense of speed. This may be just virtual space, but I felt surprisingly lost trying to navigate it.
I created all the props either in-world (the sculptures) or in Photoshop. I had hoped to make the wall collapse, but that proved too unreliable so I cammed through it. In setting up the fly through, I planned for the triangle to appear from behind the moon as the distant Earth disappeared, and then to pick up and follow the line of white light. The reveal of the rainbow was the result of experimentation on several fly throughs. However, I particularly like the burst as the camera passes through the bright edge of the triangle so that was the choice of clip.
The sculptures were filmed on their own at Black Kite. I love the windlight and colour of that sim and it was great to use it as a location. The final sequence was shot at my home in Skybeam – Robin is standing in the boat with a custom pose that I put together for this purpose.
So, that’s the machinima. The Pink Floyd event is at Furillen over this weekend, 8-10 July 2016. See you there!