It’s that time folks! Part 2 of the interview with the creator of The Lord Inquisitor animated short film. I was lucky enough to interview Erasmus on the 6th October and we chatted about the awesomeness that is his film. If you’ve not read it, you can find it here.
On the 11.11.11 the trailer for The Lord Inquisitor was unleashed on the world and to put it simply, it’s just the tits and for your viewing pleasure you can view it below. Because I’m nice like that…
Now you’ve had a chance to watch that and drool at its splendour, below is part 2 of my interview with Erasmus where we discuss the film in a bit more detail and some of the efforts that has gone into making it.
TSC: Thanks for taking the time to chat to The Shell Case again. The trailer for The Lord Inquisitor went live yesterday and having watched it through two or three times now I have to say it looks amazing. I knew we were going to be in for something special but it just blew me away.
Although obviously rooted in the 41st Millennium certain features, like locking mechanisms on bulkheads, have a degree of artistic license. Where did you get your inspiration from?
E: I’ve created art and fantasy for a long time now and I have my inspiration from various different sources; movies, animations, mangas and of course Warhammer. All those inspirations are etched into my memory and form a certain pool of ideas which I dip into as I need it. So I can create all sorts of things on the fly while modeling. For example the door, which Torquemada walks through, was created within a few hours. I thought of a door and this image instantly came into mind. I then modeled and textured it and lastly created the animation of it.
TSC: And he looks hard as nails while he does so. The trailer, aside from giving us a proper look at Inquisitor Coteaz, reveals some of the other characters we’re likely to meet in the movie. Can you give us a run down of who’s who?
E: Sure, Torquemada is definitely the main character, but there are other important figures as well. The second main character is Marcus Allenbrisk, in the trailer you can see him sitting in front of the commando table watching the report of the imperial ship carrying the artefact. He is the acolyte of Coteaz and thus being not as powerful as Torquemada himself he is the most human character. He has no super powers or genetic improvements, he just serves the Emperor with all his passion and knowledge. He is a clever guy and able to help Coteaz on his path against all sorts of Xenos. He’s young but tough. The dialogue at the beginning is spoken by just some mining workers who found this artefact; however you hear that they want to report this case to Admiral Phoenix. This guy is a fleet commander of the sector in which the artefact was found and really a high-class person. He has overall command of the naval elements at Coteaz’s disposal.
TSC: So plenty of Imperial brass lying about the place as one would expect. It’s great to see the Grey Knights in action during the trailer, especially that last tantalising clip before it cuts to black. How do you choreograph fight scenes when everything is built-in a computer?
E: Well it’s very similar to visualising any other scene. I instantly have images, or whole scenes very clear in mind and can go create them just as I see them. In this particular scene I was rather lucky, the animation of the Grey Knight took only one hour. Sadly, the really long part was the cutting of the deamon into two halves, which was really a pain in the ass. It took me a week, but in the end the scene just looked exactly as I had it in mind.
TSC: Blimey. So no scribbled story boards for you then. Seeing the Grey Knight going to work on Bloodletters has me interested to know, without giving too much away, about the ‘bad guy’ in this movie and some of the challenges facing the Inquisitor?
E: The bad guys are Chaos, yes. I think for a movie they are always a good choice, but in Lordi, there is a special case as the Inquisition has to deal with the Alpha Legion, who are known for their devious and insidious plans. This will hopefully make the film really interesting to watch as you can’t say for sure who is evil and who is not. You never really know what circles the Alpha Legion move in and who of the Emperor’s servants are truly loyal and it’s hard to say if the Alpha Legion are the real danger.
TSC: I suppose it’s made more complicated as not all of the Alpha Legion have embraced Chaos. And knowing what we know now from Dan Abnett’s Legion (if you haven’t read it you’re just a terrible person) it’s entirely possible their motives are just.
Between the trailer and the clips on your website we’ve seen a visual of a Land Raider, a Thunderhawk, Strike Cruisers on fire), a Battlebarge, strip miners and super heavy tanks speeding through the desert, which looks epic. Of all the various vehicles you’ve animated, what sticks in your mind as the most fun and the most frustrating?
E: The most fun was the strike cruiser falling through the sky. I really love that scene. For me it shows, that even Grey Knights are not indestructible and how breathtaking it must be to see such a massive ship crashing through the heavens. Also you can see the scale of this scene, as the ship is so big and far away that you can’t really see it falling, it just seems to be stuck in the sky. And, to be honest, the ship is not animated at all. The smoke is obviously animated and I added the feeling of driving on a road and filming out of the window to create this large-scale effect.
The most frustrating was the scene with the Baneblade through the desert. Luckily the work paid off as it is one of the visual most impressive ones in the trailer. The tank itself was modeled by Alexey and textured and prepared for animation by my friend Dennis. I then created a rig for the tank treads and animated this monster driving through the scene. But then I wanted to have this sand coming up to make it look cool and I tried several methods to achieve this effect. It took me maybe 2 or 3 weeks to complete this effect and I ended up with a real smoke simulation with FumeFX using 200 GB of memory on the HDD. So all in all this scene took me and the other artists maybe 6 weeks for a 2-3 second scene. Of course you can count only the evenings in, as we all have jobs – but still it was rather frustrating. I’m really happy that it turned out so great.
TSC: Six weeks for 2-3 seconds of footage? That’s dedication for you. And I couldn’t agree with you more about the Strike Cruiser. It looks epic. You’ve recently landed Adam ‘The Ultramarines Movie’ Harvey to compose the soundtrack for The Lord Inquisitor. Tell us how that all came about.
E: Adam contacted me and was really complimentary about all the progress I’ve made on Lordi. We had a nice chat for a few evenings and spoke about different things, Lordi, Ultramarins and creating films in general. I loved the music he composed for Ultramarines and I still couldn’t really believed that this guy had contacted me. So I took the chance and asked if he would like to create the music for my trailer, and luckily he said yes, as he loves 40k and is so passionate about creating music for that world. I think there is no better choice for a 40k movie than Adam. His music is really heroic and sticks in your mind. Also his music is not so full of clichés like other ‘heroic’ themes. His music has something special. So I was very lucky to have him on board and I have to admit to doing a dance around my room the evening he signed up.
TSC: Sounds like the soundtrack is gonna be epic. Hopefully it’ll be made available to download. And from reading your news page you’ve got a couple of voice actors onboard too. Tell us a little bit about the auditioning process.
E: Yes, that was crazy and easy all at the same time. The easy thing was the dialogue at the beginning with a great guy called Robert S. Benjamin. He contacted me and I was impressed by his talent without being a professional. He only has a small role now in this trailer but I want to work with him in the future as he seems to know what I need in the acting. Also I know a German music composer named Daniel Pharos who has a really cool voice and has been a big help too. The hard part was the role for Torquemada’s voice. I found a professional speaker named Zdravko and I think his voice is just perfect for this role – deep and powerful. It started well enough as he was quick to send me over his first take on the script. I had a few notes but was generally please. Sadly he I did not hear from him again. So the voice overs in the trailer aren’t perfect, and people did notice, but luckily it is easily fixed and I just need another voice actor for the final movie.
TSC: I’m sure it’ll come good in the end. At least you’ve got a couple of years to find a replacement. Last time we spoke you talked about how involved the site forum had been in your early efforts. Now the trailer is out, how much impact will the forum community have on the movie or any edits you may make?
E: The audience is very important for me but I have to separate the different forms of comments. They range from “it’s shit” to “you are the Emperor”. At the end of the day, some love to be negative and other like to be really constructive. However I am the harshest critic myself and I see errors in every scene. So when I see that more and more people share the same opinion as myself I will go back and make improvements. Right now I have so many comments I can’t read them all, but I fly over them and see the main reaction of the fans for the trailer. In the first 24 hours of the release the video was watched by around 18.000 people and the main reaction is really really positive and that made me really happy. The criticism I’ve had so far has pretty much reflected my own thoughts so I think I have a good feeling of what the fans want to see. But I have to remember I can’t make everything perfect which is important for fans and myself to keep in mind when creating a vision of something as established as the 40k Universe. I’m doing my best to make a really cool film that everyone will enjoy but I know I can’t please the entire 40k community and will try to include their ideas as much as I can.
TSC: Well there’s plenty of shell cases so I’m happy. You’re aiming for a 2013 release, how are you intending on making it available to the masses?
E: I definitely need a larger team for this release, as the work load is immense. I especially need good animators and technical artists. But I will explain that later in detail on my website. If I work alone on all things I need much much more time and I’m not perfect in every field of the CG industry. I need support with animation, story writing and voice acting. So every talented person willing to serve my orders for this project, feel free to contact me via the Lordi site.
The final release will be available for download on the website and of course free to watch for everyone on YouTube, Vimeo or whatever. This all will cost nobody a single penny.
TSC: I think it’s a shame that you’re putting in all this effort and you won’t make anything back from it, but I understand why you can’t and I’m certainly very grateful to you for carrying on anyway. It really matters to the community that people like you are willing to share their talents in such a significant way. So, finally, where can I get a Lordi t-shirt?
E: You can download the design from The Lord Inquisitor website. I don’t want to sell those shirts on my own, as I really can’t be seen to be making money out of Games Workshop’s IP. Also I think it is cheaper for everyone to create their own shirt and that way they’ll all be slightly unique.
TSC: Once again, Erasmus, thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions and hopefully you’ll be back again in the new year to discuss further developments.
For more information about The Lord Inquisitor or to get in touch with Erasmus about some of the skill sets he requires then please go here.