16 June 2022
Last week the kickstarter project for the English film production ‘PHASE’ was successfully financed.
From the kickstarter page:
“ Phase is a coming-of-age sci-fi feature film about a young pregnant woman named Ursula, who unexpectedly loses the stability of docked life. Ejected from Alexandria, a pioneering scientific space station that engineered the mass evacuation of the Earth, Ursula begins a search for the father of her unborn baby.”
In a period of about a year, IJsfontein-employee Joram van Loenen worked on designing, 3D printing, painting and lighting miniatures for the film.
“Mid 2021, I was approached via Instagram by writers and film producers Jessica Vogt and Tom Ransom asking if I was interested in collaborating on a Sci-fi feature film. They showed pictures of a fantastic set they built of the interior of the spaceship, and I was completely blown away by their effort and quality. As a fan of Jessica’s previous work and of the genre, I couldn’t pass up this opportunity.”
Drawing on his experience as a designer, the collaboration began with an inventory of the required parts, amount of detail, and determination of the style. In the weeks that followed, an extensive mood board with detailed ‘character descriptions’ for the space stations and ships was created.
“With the miniatures, we tried to evoke a sense of nostalgia, reminiscent of the first designs of the space race between the 1950s to 80s, combined with elements of great artists such as John Berkey, Chris Foss and Simon Stalenhag.
Together with producer and writer of the film Jessica Vogt, I searched for a balance between the styles, but also for feasibility”
Based on the descriptions and chosen style, the miniatures were digitally modelled and then printed (in his study) in 3d, in UV cured resin. After cleaning and sanding any imperfections, the models were painted in several layers of acrylic, enamel and oil paints. Details were added with Waterslide decals, custom designed and printed for the project. Thin transparent stickers which most resemble kids’ temporary adhesive tattoos.
“The challenge in painting (science fiction) miniatures is to make it look like it has been used for years or decades, and thus may have been exposed to radiation and usage damage. Paint layers are weathered and chipped, and leakage of parts have left their marks. Balance is the art here too. Too much weathering and it feels unbelievable, too little and the effect can no longer be seen on film. Techniques that have remained virtually the same as, and have been developed by, the major effects studios such as ILM for the original Star Wars saga.”
Light effects, controlled by an arduino development board, were applied using RGB LEDs and wafer-thin fibreglass wires. The pulsating blue glow of the ion engines, hazard lights and interior lighting finally bring the miniatures to life.
To minimise post-processing of the footage, the models were fitted with thin power wires or even rechargeable circuits, which were made accessible through invisible, magnetic access hatches.
With the successful financing of the kickstarter project, the next step in the production has been secured, and the recordings can continue. With a super talented crew and a great cast, we are very much looking forward to the result.
PHASE is expected to hit international festivals and select cinemas in early 2023.
For more information about the project, visit:
Or follow Heartsquid movies on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/heartsquidfilms/
and on Tiktok at @Heartsquidfilms https://www.tiktok.com/@heartsquidfilms
More info about Joram’s 3D print adventures can be found on his instagram: https://www.instagram.com/joramvanloenen/