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Featured Director - René Jacob

René Jacob

My name is René Jacob. I am a filmmaker and video editor from Germany. Since 1999 I am working on short stories, did a lot of short movies as director, writer or editor. I work as a freelance video editor for German TV. But my real passion will always be the movie business.



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Q: How did you start the animation experience with iClone?

In September 2012 I was looking for new challenges. I had a lot of stories in mind I couldn’t do in Germany. Stories about the World War II or a western story would be a very expensive adventure to do this in my home country. So I was looking for 3D software which could be the base of my stories I wanted to tell. I found iClone and I loved it from the beginning. I started a little training project to get used to the tools. This project grew over the weeks and after almost two months my first iClone short movie “The Trap” was finished.

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Q: What's the benefit about using iClone for Previz?

As a filmmaker the benefits of iClone obvious. iClone has a very flexible camera system. You can preview every kind of camera movement in your scene. You want a dolly shot? Just link the camera to a motion path. You want a handheld camera? Just link the camera to an avatar with idle motion applied.
You can easily create sets with a lot of props, the lighting system works very well and the avatar animation system will get you results in a very short time.
Filmmakers can check their desired shots and try out different camera position or lenses to get the right shot. With all those atmosphere effects and the depth of field effect on the cameras you even can create a desired look, how the movie should look like when it’s finished.

Q: What was the major challenge about setting up the scene and animation in iClone before you roll the camera?

It is always the animation of a character. iClone provides a lot of tools and predefined motions to make the animation process as easy as possible. But if you want to get further you have to animate by hand via key frames. This is a lot of fun to do but also very challenging. I remember the hard work to get the attack scene in my previz video right. It last only a few seconds but there was a lot to manage. The interaction between the characters was very important, so I had to trim the animation very often.

When I create a set, I always think a lot about the right lighting. You can create a real good set but if you fail to light it then all your hard work is not paying off. I always try to get a good mixture of real lighting, like lamps or neon tubes, and effect lighting, which is not real but very moody. It is also very important to use the lights which can create real-time shadows. If did create good shadows, than the lighting is finished.

Q: Which feature inside iClone help you the most to visualize a story?

That’s not so easy to tell, because iClone has a lot of features I need to tell a good story. But if I have to choose the one feature it will be the facial animation capability of iClone. With this tool I can create emotions with my 3D characters. And this is the most important part to tell a good story. Without emotions every animation won’t really work. So I am happy iClone provides the tools to achieve this quality in storytelling.

Q: What's your favorite iClone work? How long does it take you to complete an iClone movie?

I really love "The Amazing Electrical Adventures Of Young Tesla". That is a real good iClone movie. I love it. I think it is possible to do a 20 minutes short movie within two months. It always depends on how much work you are willing to give. I am currently working on a 25 minutes short story. It's a western, called "The Journey". I started preproduction (script, getting the props and sets) in January 2013 and I think I will finish this movie in spring 2014. I am doing this in my spare time so it will take time. If I could work on this movie every day, I probably would have been finished by now.

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For more information about Rene, please visit his YouTube channel:

http://www.youtube.com/user/direx1974

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