Secret of Kells

Features, Shorts, Live-Action and Direct-To-Video
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"The Secret of Kells" nominated for Best Animated

Post by hcjehg » December 2nd, 2009, 10:49 am

Best Animated Feature

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs — Sony Pictures Animation
Coraline — Laika
Fantastic Mr. Fox — 20th Century Fox
The Princess and the Frog — Walt Disney Animation Studios
The Secret of Kells — Cartoon Saloon
Up — Pixar Animation Studios

Check it out here

http://www.annieawards.org/consideration.html

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Brendan and the Secret of Kells - trivia

Post by hcjehg » December 2nd, 2009, 11:21 am

Did any one see the film yet? What are your thoughts ?

I worked on this film, and I'd like to bring a bit of trivia to market, along with a bit of information about the production system used :-)

"Brendan and the secret of Kells" official website
http://www.thesecretofkells.com/

The film was produced in 7 studios around Europe and Brazil with a not trivial work split approximately like this:

Pre production and Story up to Layout was done in Kilkenny-Ireland (Cartoon Saloon)
Backgrounds: Kilkenny-Ireland and Angoulême-France (Blue Spirit)
Animation: Kilkenny, Brussels-Belgium(Walking the Dog), Sao Paolo-Brazil(Lightstar Studios) and Kecskemet-Hungary(Kecskemet Film)
Cleanup: Sao Paolo and Kecskemet
Ink & Paint: Liege-Belgium(Digital Graphics)
Compositing: Brussels and Angoulême
3D: Brussels
Final editing: Paris-France

All being directed and edited (except for final editing) from Kilkenny, the main base of the director Tomm Moore (His blog: http://theblogofkells.blogspot.com/, and the teaser for the next film from Tomm and Cartoon Saloon http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VdCabgJQpbA)

The film was drawn on paper, with a few sequences in Flash and 3D integrated with 2D. A few scenes incorporated flash elements.

Software:
Photoshop for Layouts and BG's
Good old pencils and paper for animation and cleanup
Linetest in Animo
Ink and paint in proprietary software (SoftAnim) in Digital Graphics (http://www.digitalgraphics.be)
3D: 3DSMax by "Walking The Dog" (http://www.walkingthedog.be)
Composite: Combustion, Shake and SoftAnim (Digital Graphics)
Misc: A little bit of flash
Editing: 4 Avid system automatically kept up to date with latest footage
Production system: HoBSoft (http://www.hobsoft.net)

Here is an early clip of video featuring some early artwork, and some clips from the studio in Brussels, it is in French, but interesting even if you do not understand.
http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x5eo6s ... shortfilms

Here is an article more or less about the same
http://www.cinergie.be/article.php?acti ... lay&id=579

The final clean-up scan was done in very high resolution to keep the soul of the pencil in the film, no vectorization here.

The film was produced with the workflow based HoBSoft production system incorporating To-Do-Lists, Tracking, Reporting, Automation, Rolling conformed full resolution master and 4 Avid stations (in different studios) always up to date with the latest footage.

Generally a lot of money are lost when producing in more than one studio, there seems to be consensus at 35% of the image budget when producing in 3 studios. However the HoBSoft integrated production system significantly lowers the losses and gains a lot of other advantages. On a €6M production HoBSoft can save in the order of €1M for a fee of only €200K. See here how that can be done http://www.hobsoft.net/budget

As a last tid-bit of info I would like to add that the production Manager Camille Leganza(Now DreamWorks Redwood), who at the time was living in Turkey did about 50/50 of her time at home and in Kilkenny, however... once production had finished in Ireland (Except for direction and editing), (so only 6 studios producing), Camille worked almost 100% from home in Turkey. Imagine keeping the reins on 6 studios "From the comfort of your own home".

The film has won prizes around the world and has latest been nominated for Best Animated Feature for the Annie Awards.

http://www.annieawards.org/consideration.html

Thoughts on this way of producing are also welcome :-)

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Post by Meg » December 2nd, 2009, 2:18 pm

Very glad to see Secret of the Kells get a nomination! I really enjoyed that feature quite a bit. Actually, I'm very pleased with all five of the nominees this year - each has a very unique style and voice to it, so it's a very nice variation.

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Post by Meg » December 2nd, 2009, 2:25 pm

hcjehg - Interesting information you've got there! Yep, they screened this film at the animation club recently here at SCAD, and I have to say, I'm really glad I attended. I was surprised at how good it was, as I hadn't really heard anything about it prior to seeing it. The art direction and character animation were exceptional, very stylistic but still extremely appealing and interesting to look at. It was a beautiful, compelling, and unique movie that all the students seemed to really enjoy.

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Post by hcjehg » December 2nd, 2009, 4:02 pm

Hi Meg

If you have any questions what so ever about this production, I will see if I can answer them.

In the mean time I can tell you that the film Chico & Rita is made with the same Integrated Production System, HoBSoft, also with 7 studios (Brazil, Europe, Eastern Europe, Philippines), but this time with paper and ToonBoom Harmony.

http://animated-news.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3509

Harmony works around a central database, and that is really usefull when working in one studio, but when working in several studios a lot of exporting/transfering/importing is normally necessary. With HoBSoft however, the artist experiences it as if they were working around a single Harmony server even though they work 11 timezones apart. Import Export and Transferring is automatic. Rendering and updating of reference material, incl. media files for the editing systems are also automatic.
As in Brendan editing (this time FCP in stead of Avid) is maintained up to date in several sites. That really helps in the discussions between the Director and Local supervisors that they have the same timeline available during conference calls...

Okay, back to Brendan... questions... fire away :-)

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Secret of Kells

Post by EricJ » October 21st, 2010, 1:03 am

Thought I'd salvage this one out of last year's Oscar thread, since it didn't seem to have its own yet, even with the Blu-ray currently reviewed:
droosan wrote:I managed to catch TSoK at the L.A. Irish Film Festival last month, and enjoyed it immensely. Its unconventional subject matter (at least for western animation) is presented with 'conventional' storytelling, but blended with a nearly-abstract visual style (which, IMO, captured the spirit of medieval 'pre-perspective' artwork more successfully even than Disney's Sleeping Beauty)..
Finally managed to catch it on Netflix, and....oh, I so wanted to like this one. :?
I can see the atmosphere the story was trying to aim for, and I feel guilty saying bad things about it, but the nearly-abstract stylization for me was what sabotaged it--
I could see a picture "done in medieval style"--and comparing the stylization to "Mulan" would've been a compliment--but unfortunately, what we GET in the character design, expressions, movement, and comedy-relief gags looks like a contemporary "first Clone Wars series" Genndy Tartakovsky style of whip-movements, square characters, and hyperactive expressions that doesn't take us into 6th-century Celtic as much as, say, the live-action "Dragonslayer" did.

Am I the only one who sensed missed opportunities? (And yes, Ben, it's a relief to know I'm not the only one who first thought "Dave the Barbarian" when the monks are all first talking about the "legendary" Brother...Or even, heaven help us, "Fairly Oddparents" in some of Aisling's expressions.)
For all the talk of "an independent return to 2D animation", I ended up not getting a sense of medieval Ireland; I got nostalgic for when Cartoon Network had better shows. :(

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Re: Secret of Kells

Post by droosan » October 21st, 2010, 3:57 am

:o

Well .. maybe you're right.


It's possible that Celtic imagery mightn't have informed the design of the film ..

Image


.. and that the movie's flattened perspective and intricate color pallette has few parallels with medieval art ..

Image


.. or that the character design barely reflects the contemporary stylized depiction of medieval monks ..

Image


.. yep; maybe they based it all-l-l-l-l on Clone Wars and Samurai Jack. :roll:
Last edited by droosan on October 21st, 2010, 6:36 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Secret of Kells

Post by EricJ » October 21st, 2010, 4:02 am

droosan wrote: Image
.. yep; maybe they based it all-l-l-l-l on Samurai Jack. :roll:.
I'm sorry, that's the Genndy-Clone Wars version of Qui-Gon Jinn, and you can't tell me it isn't. :mrgreen:

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Re: Secret of Kells

Post by droosan » October 21st, 2010, 4:12 am

Yes, well .. I can see how you might make that mis-

Image

What the @#%! are you talking about..?! :?

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Post by Ben » October 21st, 2010, 6:26 am

It's clear from the supplements that medieval art was the core inspiration, no doubt about that. And though I picked up similarities to other projects, I didn't really suggest they were drawing from them, but merely things that came to mind in trying to describe the multiple styles on show (not all of which gelled).

I also really wanted to like this, but just felt there was too much missing from the story. The extras suggest than in addition to a vastly different script in the ten year development, that the final film had ten minutes taken out. My theory is that the filmmakers were too close and involved with the story and its meaning to notice that it didn't really have any access points for a wider, general audience.

So while, Eric, I can agree on your comments about the visual tone, I'm with Droo on what they were trying to achieve, even if it did bring to mind similar styles that other projects have employed.

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Post by estefan » October 21st, 2010, 11:06 am

I saw the film last week and your review of it was spot-on my thoughts on it. I thought it was visually beautiful, but I found the story and characters to be dull. Aisley was the most interesting character in the whole film and she's barely in it. So, all in, it was a major disappointment and I'm surprised this got the nomination over Ponyo.

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Re: Secret of Kells

Post by Dacey » October 21st, 2010, 12:14 pm

We're supposed to be getting this from Netflix soon, so I should be able to check it out before long.

I'm still of the opinion, even without seeing it yet, that "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" should've gotten the fifth nomination instead. But maybe I'll be really surprised.
"Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift--that is why it's called the present."

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Re:

Post by EricJ » October 21st, 2010, 1:27 pm

droosan wrote: What the @#%! are you talking about..?! :?
Square fingers...That's what I'm talking about. Only cable-series characters have square fingers.

(Look, you're the one with the...aw, I don't watch Disney Channel, who the heck is your icon from, anyway?) :wink:
estefan wrote:I saw the film last week and your review of it was spot-on my thoughts on it. I thought it was visually beautiful, but I found the story and characters to be dull. Aisley was the most interesting character in the whole film and she's barely in it. So, all in, it was a major disappointment and I'm surprised this got the nomination over Ponyo.
I liked Aisling's interpretation of the Folk, and the "ferret" movement they gave her, but her voice and some of her expressions (like her "Oh no, they're coming" panics) just kept making me think of Lilo with a peroxide 'do. :)

As for the nomination, that was just more Oscar Good Intentions--
Even with three nominations, the committee knows that it's going to be Pixar vs. Dreamworks, or with five nominees, Pixar vs. Disney vs. DW, and that the fourth and fifth nominees barely need to show up...
So, since it "doesn't matter anyway", the "spare" nomination usually goes to an undiscovered "Support your local arthouse" favorite for charity's sake, like "Persepolis" or "Waltz With Bashir". "A Town Called Panic" was also the lead favorite for the "exposure" nominee, but Kells' "Imitation of medieval style" had just recently taken all the critics by surprise--And that shortly after the whole summer campaign to say "Why haven't you seen Hurt Locker, either?", which was driving the awards that year.
Last edited by EricJ on October 21st, 2010, 1:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Secret of Kells

Post by American_dog_2008 » October 21st, 2010, 1:44 pm

Kells deserved the Oscar.

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Post by Ben » October 21st, 2010, 2:09 pm

Hey, AD08, what's your reasoning there? I'd love to hear what your take on Kells was to merit such a comment. Some of us here obviously didn't plug into it like you did, and I expect they'd be interested, too, in what you found to be so rewarding? :)

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