Wednesday, February 18, 2015

INTERVIEW: The Lord Inquisitor Movie Update

If you haven't heard about The Lord Inquisitor movie it's an unofficial fan made 3D animation that has received the blessing of Games Workshop and is quite frankly, looking awesome so far! Today I got to sit down with Erasmus, the man behind the project, and talk a bit about the status on this highly anticipated movie. 

Tyler: Can you tell us a bit about where The Lord Inquisitor movie now stands in terms of development?

Erasmus: As we shifted the whole production from an offline rendered towards a realtime rendered one, many things had to be adjusted and converted in order to be working correctly. This took a great amount of time, but was totally worth it as it abolished the very long render times and will help to create the movie faster. However, the last half year I struggled some private problems that made me pause the project for quite some time. Luckily, my other team mates were doing some progress on facial performance pipelines and rig creations. Also I quit my job at Crytek and am now Art Director of all cinematics for Chris Robert’s Star Citizen. These two major events lead to a huge slowdown on the project. Now everything is almost back to normal again so I can continue focus on The Lord Inquisitor as usual and finally create more updates. As this is a free time hobby project only, many things in private and professional life have to run smoothly, otherwise it is very hard to continue on a regular basis. Also I reported one year ago that the collaboration with a huge team didn’t work out as planned, what made me cut down the team size to a minimum again in order to guarantee a smooth workflow. That was also the reason why we had to come back to a 15 minutes animation instead of a 40min one as originally planned. Creating a quality like this is incredibly time consuming and challenging, also finding the right story is a hell of a job. I have done so many different story ideas already together with Aaron, as this aspect is just as important as the visuals – if not more. So the last year was pretty turbulent and taught me a lot about a production like this. At this point I wanted to be already further ahead with the development, but the above mentioned points led to this delay. Especially with the very long creation time for story development and the change of the story writer in the middle of production we weren’t able to work on all the 3D scenes, as you have to have the story first in order to build the stuff you need. Still progress was made and I’m very motivated as always to continue and finish this project. We gained a lot of new fans and I can’t wait to show new footage and scenes. To be honest a pause like this was in fact beneficial for a project like this, as I’m now so much more experienced and can produce a so much better movie compared to the time I started the project. So we have the technology, the people and the skills - we’re now on creating the final new designed short movie.

Tyler: With Aaron Dembski-Bowden now leaving the production team and Mike Lee stepping in for him can we expect any major shake ups story wise or is it going to be pretty much the same story with a new author?

Erasmus: The core story won’t change that much as it was designed carefully with a lot of thoughts. However I want to involve as many of Mike’s ideas as possible. I always saw and still see this project as a huge collaboration and not as my dictatorship. I drive the main production and take care everything results nicely – but I’m very open for his ideas and influence. He is more experienced with the franchise than me and has written fantastic stories already. “Fallen Angels” is still one of my favourite W40K books of all time, so I’m really happy to have him on board and to think of additional story changes and ideas. As we are still at a point where we can change things easily, he is also in a great position to be able to shift things around.

Tyler: Have you considered doing any tie in material to help set up the movie, such as a short story by Mike Lee or even a short webcomic illustrated by some of the concept artists?

Erasmus: Yes, I thought of multiple ideas that could be tied in – however as we’re all industry professionals, there is just too less time for us. We all need to focus on the main movie and to make sure this works without reading any additional material. It would be great to have way more time in order to create little sub plots and such, but a hobby production sadly doesn’t allow this. In my job I’m a director and also in my free time for my own stuff - there is also some sort of private life and other free time activities I still want to do J

Tyler: We all know that Games Workshop has given the “green light” to this movie, but can you tell us a bit more about what that exactly means?

Erasmus: It means that they allow me to continue this project without any control by GW. I have to stick to certain rules, like don’t make any money out of it, etc – but that’s pretty self-explanatory. So I don’t have to fear this project gets cancelled or that it gets influenced by GW’s own ideas. This is all 100% my interpretation of the universe and I’m very happy that the company behind this great franchise likes it and gives their agreement to continue.

Tyler: How does it feel being the first fan made movie given the official go ahead from GW?

Erasmus: Pretty cool J It’s a very motivational feeling to know the movie I want to make is received to positively by a huge audience and the owner of the franchise. I also love fun facts that many fans like to paint Torquemada Coteaz now a red armor instead of a golden one like in official illustrations, simply because I made his armor red in my movie. That’s why I will probably never lose my motivation and continue this challenging ride to the final movie we all want to see.


Tyler: Recently an excellent Grey Knights centric teaser trailer was released, can we expect anything similar for other forces involved in the conflict?

Erasmus: Basically yes, but that depends on the available time. Creating teasers and trailers also take a certain amount of time and I would like to focus only on the main movie at this point of time. I have something planned however for the imperial guardsmen, to announce them in a similar way. But for the next trailer I would like to only use existing final footage from what is done already, instead of creating something particularly for another teaser.

Tyler: When this movie is released what formats can we expect it to be in?

Erasmus: The movie will be available for streaming on Youtube. Also you will be able to download it on the website as a regular .mp4

Tyler: What can we look forward to seeing in the near future as far as developments go?

Erasmus: There are still a few characters that haven’t been announced yet, so you might see some of those. But the main stuff that will be shown as a next step are environments and test clips showing the progress. They might not be perfect, but it might give everyone some nice behind the scenes feeling I really want to push this a bit more as it also shows how much work it is to create a movie like this, even if it’s only just 15 minutes. Also, as feedback is very welcome and helpful, many work in progress shots can be improved due to the feedback of the community. Maybe I also have the time to create a few live streams when I create certain characters, sculpting something, etc.

Tyler: What is the best way for fans of the movie to help?

Erasmus: The best way is to spread the word about the project to become a larger audience so that all Warhammer fans will be able to see it. However, all the fans are already doing such a great job on this that the Facebook page already has around 70.000 likes. Otherwise help in terms of 3d asset production is always welcome, but as I mentioned above I have lots of negative experience regarding that topic, what made me make almost all assets on my own again, as it turned out that’s faster in most cases and also more reliable. But if a great 3D artist comes around and really wants to help creating assets, then help is really appreciated.

Tyler: Are there any other projects you are working on in your free time?

Erasmus: Yes, if I were to only work on Lord Inquisitor I would go insane at some point. A little bit of variation is the key to always have a fresh mind when continuing working on this project. You can easily go blind for quality when you work on a specific scene for too long. So I still play and write a lot of music and also develop some plans for creating my own board game, as I’m a passionate player coming from the old days of HeroQuest and Space Crusade. This board game is actually pretty interesting and will contain lots of great artworks and miniatures, however it’s still in early development and a friend of mine is working on creating the game design while I like to think of story, characters and art. It has nothing to do with Warhammer and does not include lots of sci-fi elements which is also refreshing for me as my job being an art director for Star Citizen and Lord Inquisitor is 100% sci fi nonstop. So at some point I might be able to show a little bit more about that game as I think many of my fans would be interested in playing and seeing it.

Tyler: Any final thoughts?

Erasmus: I know that this production takes a very long time and also longer than I expected it to be. Movies in a quality like this are eating up a great amount of time and can be hard to calculate. I receive a lot of mails from fans asking me when the movie will be released, but I’m not able to tell as I don’t know it myself. I’m trying to be as fast as I can, but my quality bar is set very high, so I don’t rush things. I’m more than happy to see that I still get many new fans that are all excited to see the movie and I hope everyone continues the ride watching Lord Inquisitor becoming finalized J Only in death duty ends.

You can support The Lord Inquisitor by liking them on Facebook. It's also the best way to keep up to date with any new progress. You can find their Youtube channel here with all of the trailers so far as well as some great behind the scenes stuff and of course their website here.

Until next time,

Tyler M

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