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Featured Director - Mark Pleasant (SmallWStudio)

Mark Pleasant

SmallWstudio is a fun spin-off of my original production company Small Wonder Studio which was
started in 1973. I have been doing documentary films, music videos, animation/graphics and corporate films
for almost 40 years now. Ooo that sounds like a long time. Guess I'm gettin' pretty old!

When I setup my YouTube channel a couple of years ago I wanted another name to represent my company.
The channel was going to be used for screening test footage, experimental animation and live action projects.
Just a hodge-podge of clips and projects that may or may not see the light of day.

Master the Multiple Cameras inside iClone with Mark

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

Guess I found out about iClone around 2009. I wanted something that would help me visualize ideas and experiment with projects quickly and easily. I had been working with New Tek's Lightwave 3D, Poser and VUE. And I love those programs but for my purposes I needed something that would allow the flexibility to create my own props and visual assets, which those programs would do but...most importantly...render very quickly. iClone seems to be a perfect fit for me.


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

Well filmmakers like to be in control. Really it's all about having control and being prepared for a given situation. When you get on the set of your film that control can sometimes slip away. Things can get pretty hectic quickly. The more you can anticipate the potential problems that might arise the better and the more you can visualize the scene the better. When you use iClone for PreViz you can hopefully work out those potential problems with camera placement and lighting so you won't be surprised when the production day least work out most of the surprises! Now I'm not saying that the PreViz ideas will be set-in-stone but it's good to have a starting point on the shoot day.

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

I think the challenge really is narrowing down your options. With iClone you can easily see numerous options and that may be a problem for some..too many options. But once again it's better to work out those issues in "pre-production" not on the set. Work it out in PreViz...that's what it's for you know.


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

I guess it's really the flexibility of the multiple cameras. You can pretty much set up as many cameras as you need to see a shot from any given angle. That a huge benefit. Then there's the flexibility of the lighting so the DP can work out a lighting scheme. And don't mention the way you can add speech to your avatars. Wait you just wanted one feature...oops.

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

I'm really happy with my "Tesla" film series so far. It's a work in progress for sure. I have no idea how long the entire series might take to complete but the first episode took about 3 months to produce. The second episode was a little shorter because many scenes were completed with the first episode. The story started percolating about a year before I started animating and I still working on the storyline as I animate. I want to make it a fun ride as I said before it's got a modicum of truth and a boatload of hokum. That's the kinda stuff I love to do.

My short film/music video "The Audition" took about 2 weeks to do. And that was mostly due to the fact I changed the direction of the film in mid-stream and really re-did it. Now not all projects take that long. Most of the time I'll noodle an idea and animate in a few days. You can work real quick once you know the basics of iClone. It all depends on how much detail you want or need.

For more information about Mark and Small Wonder Studio, please visit these websites:

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