Check out This Mind-Blowing SFX Tutorial That Shows Some Skin for Less Than $250
You know — there’s more than one way to skin a guy’s arm. The London-based filmmakers of the short film He Took His Skin Off For Me have come up with a unique and intriguing premise for a film: a “story of a man who takes his skin off for his girlfriend, and why it probably wasn’t the best idea.” If that’s blowing your mind right now, just take a gander at their tutorial that shows you how they created the “skinless” SFX. If you have $250 and a team of dedicated and talented artists and filmmakers, you could be well on your way to making excuses to make a film about people with no skin. Check out the tutorial, videos, photos, and a few words from director Ben Aston after the jump.
Alright, did I mention that these SFX are mind-blowing? Well — they are. I have an affinity for affordable SFX for indie filmmakers, namely because SFX and VFX can be costly enough to limit your creativity. When cost doesn’t enter the equation, in any and all areas of filmmaking, that’s when we see the unencumbered and unhindered filmmaker shine.
Here is some test footage they shot:
Aston said that the team spent less than $250 on materials — and the skinned arm looks incredibly realistic, which is no surprise. Special Effects Artist Colin Arthur, former assistant to stop-motion legend Ray Harryhausen, has been enlisted to mentor the filmmakers on the project. The SFX artists studied the anatomy of a human in preparation, painstakingly sculpted each muscle group in chavant, then carefully painted the “skinless” body using Skin Illustrator. Aston told NFS:
We knew we wanted to go practical as we love the way it photographs and wanted to make sure someone watching the footage really FELT that there was something there. Jen Cardno was the SFX supervisor. She spearheaded the cast of the hand and the moulding of the muscle pieces. Tom Smith and Hermes Pittakos handled additional moulding, painting and application. We approached it knowing we had to follow the anatomical form, but also knowing we had an element of poetic licence.
Here are a few photos from the creation of the skinless arm:
If you’re interested in learning more, you can find the tutorial here, which offers incredibly in-depth explanations on how they achieved the realistic look they were going for.
He Took His Skin Off For Me currently has a campaign on Kickstarter. Check out the video below:
Even though they recently reached their goal of almost $11,000, the filmmakers are looking to reach their stretch goal of a little over $15,000 in order to afford to film the rest of the movie on a less restrictive schedule.
Since getting their actor in full makeup eats up the majority of the time they have to shoot, having time on their side would allow them to invest more in the actual filming of their film (what a concept, huh?)
Time is money, especially on a film set. The lengthy makeup application means we will only ever have a handful of hours in a shooting day to deliver the sequences you want to see! If we only shoot for 4 days we have to significantly cut back on the what we can show, both in terms of story and a SFX. We want to have the freedom to accomplish EVERYTHING in maria’s story and deliver on the promise of the SFX team. A whole extra day of shooting is going to give the team more time to ensure the team is able to make this film the BEST it can possibly be.
Their Kickstarter page and their how-to guide are definitely worth taking a look at. I’m truly amazed by these artists’ work.
What do you think of the methods these filmmakers used for their SFX? What are your go-to budget SFX techniques? Let us know in the comments.
- He Took His Skin Off For Me – How-To Guide
- He Took His Skin Off For Me website
- He Took His Skin Off For Me campaign — Kickstarter