The Thinking behind Operation: Deli Platter

The potential of CG Storytelling

8 min

July 17, 2023

Operation: Deli Platter

Storytelling is my favourite part of being a filmmaker.
Or maybe it’s Directing… They share a top spot :)

Ever since I picked up CG into my workflow as a Visual Effects artist I’ve been in love with its storytelling potential.

Operation: Deli Platter is a sequence of CG renders that function as film stills.
All put together they should convey a complete story, including the opportunity for subtitles and music.

Logo for Operation: Deli Platter
Logo design for Operation: Deli Platter.

The Story

Operation: Deli Platter follows a variety of groups and their interconnected mystery.
From the military, to its secretive leadership, and from civilians to those above the law; everyone is impacted by the mysterious Deli Platter.

Official poster for Operation: Deli Platter. Film by Blauw Films. Banana and banana clip.
Poster for Operation: Deli Platter Chapter I.

Today I’d like to look at a secondary story set in the desert.

The plots about the global banana-trade and the Deli Platter converge and attract the interest of the UN.

Every shot was made in Cinema 4D, and rendered with Corona Renderer.

First Shot

for this shot it was important to convey a claustrophobic feeling as the plot thickens.
Layered movement was important.

The rotors of the Blackhawk feel quite menacing in motion.

At 258 RPM the camera could barely catch it.
At a shutter-speed of 1/500s we could render the rotors with enough definition.

Shot from Operation: Deli Platter. Film by Blauw Films. UN Soldiers in the desert.

Second shot

The UN soldier’s close-up was important to conveying the tension.
Eyes express nuanced emotions.
That makes them an invaluable tool for storytelling.

Shot from Operation: Deli Platter. Film by Blauw Films. UN Soldiers in the desert.

The banana-trade subplot requires a lot of colour coordination.
When I think of Operation: Deli Platter what comes to mind is natural lighting and strong colors.

These colors can come from nature or by painted man-made objects.

Reference was taken form real UN soldiers.

Depth of Field

We’re using an f/1.8 lens to get this shallow depth of field.
This helps with hiding imperfections in the 3D-model as well as bringing out a graphic element with the lights inside.

To achieve this quality of bokeh I used our Bokeh Builder to make an eye-bokeh map:

open-source Resource by Blauw Films. VFX tool for Bokeh and depth of field. This is the Human eye bokeh.

open-source Resource by Blauw Films. VFX tool for Bokeh and depth of field. Test render for the human eye bokeh.
Eye Bokeh map from our Aperture Builder.

Third shot

The reverse shot was a challenge of its own. The surface of the dunes had to look believable to sell the desert effect.

Shot from Operation: Deli Platter by Blauw Films. UN soldiers in the desert.
Still from Operation: Deli Platter with dusty soldiers textured in Substance Painter 3D.

Luckily for me, Waleed Nabeel’s dune model was perfect for my needs.

3D Desert Dunes available here!

The dune mesh was a bit heavy at first so I had to optimise it in C4D.
But I found this super useful video below.

The Volume Builder is used to recalculate the mesh density into a more manageable file, as StrangerObjects says at 6:40.

I could’ve simulated sand in the wind flying over the dunes but that might be something for the future.

The soldiers were rigged and dropped on the ground with Mixamo.
In most situations for these renders you can get pretty far with Mixamo presets. If I need additional adjustments I’ll do them manually in C4D.

Shot from Operation: Deli Platter by Blauw Films. Banana clips.
Still from Operation: Deli Platter simulated with Dynamics and a multi-instanced Cloner.

Shots in Sequence

Shot from Operation: Deli Platter by Blauw Films. Title Design.

Shot from Operation: Deli Platter by Blauw Films. UN soldiers in the desert.

Shot from Operation: Deli Platter by Blauw Films. UN soldiers in the desert.

Shot from Operation: Deli Platter by Blauw Films. UN soldiers in the desert.
Story Sequence from Operation: Deli Platter

The Story Continues...

As we make progress with Operation: Deli Platter we are developing more and more tools that we will share soon!

Operation: Deli Platter. Film by Blauw Films. Poster Design with banana.
Alternate poster for Operation: Deli Platter.
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