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article - st que

Henri gives us some backround on his VFX company:

Henri Pulla kindly allowed us to "interview" him on the 18th March 2003. This is the full transcript from the conversation:

B: Henri, tell us a little about yourself:

H: I was born in Helsinki, Finland 1971. 1978 I saw 2001: A Space Odyssey.

B: How long have you been using Real ?

H: I bought my Real V3 1996 if I remember correctly. This happened the same time than I bought my first PC, 90 Mhz Pentium with 32Mb RAM. Earlier I had an Amiga 500 and tested sculpt 3D or something but could not get anything visible done, maybe because I did not know how to put a light on the scene.

B: What does St. Que mean in your signature block ?

H: It is my company name. I could not think of anything decent so this came up as an expression of what I was not clever enough to express. ;)

B: How long have you been working with film ?

H: Some 2 years ago I tested first film resolution scans from our own material shot on super 16mm, earlier I did some work and experiments with video resolution material and some experiments with film files from demo file disks. I have had a good Nikon 35mm slide negative/dia scanner for 4-5 years. Now that I think of it scanning and manipulating still images with it was good exercise.

B: Do you prefer 3D or live action ?

H: If the aim is to do a scene that looks natural I prefer live as far as it is possible. And then add the impossible with effects and CG. The 3D and other CG must look as if it was originally there during the filming, if not it is not good CG. Some work I have done was merely to change the looks of an ordinary object on the set to something a bit different. The reason for that might have been as simple as "it looks better and was fun to experiment".

About what would I prefer I'll have to add that sometimes the aim is to do "3D look" and then I would prefer 3D of course, because it looks more 3D so.

B: Is this your main job or something you do in your spare time ?

H: It is a main job at the moment with some graphics and still image work. I also make occasionally decorative paintings and restorations which I did earlier a lot (yes, manually, by hand :)

B: Do you manage to make a living from it ? (Making films)

H: Making films in my company does not bring any money to me. These films I have produced have been experimental and supported by public money from a place that supports audiovisual culture. The money to my company comes from doing graphics and animation & effects work to productions for some other companies. These shorts have been very good for experiments on techniques that I could not have experimented on commercial work. And if the experiment is a success I can always show it and convince someone to buy similar effect from me to some other film. At least I hope so.

B: You have made mention of the Icarus plug in your work flow, care to tell us how you used that and for what ? (And what it is)

H: Icarus was camera tracking and geometry reconstruction software from AIG. Unfortunately the technology is now sold (just found out) and I do not know how the product is going to be. You may read about it at:

Anyway the ones that did download Icarus when it was available will have a possibility to import its 3D tracked camera data to Realsoft and make interesting composites.

Below are some samples that I used to test the Icarus import for Realsoft:

B: Why did you use Realsoft for your animation work ?

H: When I first found out about Real I read an article of it being program for professionals. I desperately wanted and still want to be professional that is why I use it.

B: What are Realsoft's advantages vs other 3D applications ?

H: For example SDS modeling, VSL materials and the render engine are very good. Also the way it works and the interface are the things that I like and I am used to them. I do not know any other program which would have so easy and complete help system: by pressing F1 on any button or feature you get the description of the tool/function, and this works on icons too. Also the user group is very responsive.

B: Was Realsoft's support important to your production ?

H: Yes, it is always very good to know the guy who is responsible of programming the tool you use:) Couple of times if I had difficulties Realsoft helped me and also few bugs got fixed over night (!) if I had trouble completing the work because of them. That I call really good support, thanks Realsoft!

B: Do you have any other projects under development ?

H: Yes, there are always projects under development and I hope some of them will come true. Some sooner, some later.

B: And finally, is there anything you wish to say to the RS community ?

H: This is the only community which I have participated quite actively over past 7 years and felt always comfortable with its members. Thank you for sharing things with me and others.

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