Sintel, the Durian Open Movie Project » Blog Archive » First Minute Update


First Minute Update

on March 19th, 2010, by Colin Levy

Okay okay, should’ve probably updated you on this stuff earlier.

The first minute has gone through some radical changes since the last time I posted about it, and I think it’s much improved!

To bring you up to speed, the first thing I did was try an alternate ending for the bandit fight, partially based on the comments I received on the blog. I restructured things a bit to give it more of a frantic quality, and to better introduce the Shaman character. I can upload this version if you’re interested.

But a few weeks ago we decided replace the scene with another section of the fight scene that was originally placed later in the film. I think this change really streamlined the film and made it feel much more cohesive. An unavoidable biproduct of this choice is that we’ve completely scrapped three of the four guardian characters. (!)

Anyway, check out the current version of the first scene! Except for the last few shots, which are still in layout, the entire scene has been brought to *final* animation by Lee Salvemini. I could also show the layout version of the whole scene if you’re interested.

Jan Morgenstern is also doing great stuff on the sound for this scene as well! Dialogue edit and mix are perhaps not 100% final, but it’s getting close. See if you can spot the cameo in the soundscape! πŸ˜›

Next time: renders!


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135 Responses to “First Minute Update”

  1. kopi Says:

    Awesome! I like it! It’s much much better than the last one!

  2. Franco Barbeite Says:

    Hey, I just wandered on to this site doing searches on Blender. I think your animation is great!

    I’m not animation expert, but I have some notes that will hopefully be useful.

    1: You can tighten the rhythmic gap between the open credits and the attack for effect. Imagine: Blender Foundation presents, and we’re on the girl, and just as the audience expects the next credit, we get the attack. Credit beat, Credit beat, Attack beat. An easy fix is to bring the credits in later.

    2; Just before the girl is attacked, using a guardian POV could really amp up the tension without revealing the guardian yet. So you the fly in, insert the POV, and then cut to the of the guardian guy appearing in the BG, which would be sweet. POV shots are great for creating a sense of dread.

    3: Why doesn’t the guy come out from behind the rock? (he’s also visible in the first epic shot, which kind of undermines the isolation of it. Maybe take him out of that first shot so you can reveal him later with more impact?)

    3: When that staff goes flying during the fight, what if it almost stabs her on the way down? I was so worried it would land on her and impail her by accident. Adding that beat could be really exciting, and add a sense of chaos and realism to the fight.

    4: When that guy pulls the knife out of his body, there are really two dramatic beats there. 1; He pulls it out and she’s like “oh shit” and 2: he rushes her, and she’s like “Oh God!.” You can really milk those moments.
    All it would take are two reaction shots paced properly. So the shots are Guy pulls knife out of shoulder, girl reacts, guy attacks her, girl reacts.

    5: This is just a personal comment, not so much a craft comment, but when the guy pulls out that kife, having a spurt of blood fly out would be awesome. He looks at his wound, realizes he’s dying, and decides to take her with him. That’s sort of a character defining decision however, and he’s your character so that’s just a personal note of I might do that beat.

    Hope you found these comments useful. If you did and you’re doing any more scenes you’d like feedback on, feel free to contact me. I direct TV commercials and if I’m not out doing a spot, would be happy to help you guys out with any feedback you might find useful.


    Franco Barbeite

  3. Achim Luebbeke Says:

    “freen Says:
    A camel is a horse designed by a committee.”
    You are mixing things up.
    Giving feedback doesn’t mean to decide anything.
    The team of Durian has its own cycles of discussions anyway.
    Consider it as an onion with skins of influences. What you see here is just the outer skin, not as close to the core of the decisions as the others.

  4. Greydesk Says:

    If you’re looking for a quick excuse for her collapse, you can move his falling had slightly towards her abdomen with the knife to wound her. Then, at 1:!0 her hand covers her abdomen, where she was wounded. In the long facial shot, cut to her moving her hand slightly to inspect the wound, then cut back as she lay back a few more moment, gathering her strength, and then continue as cut.
    At 1:19-23, you could have her vision blur momentarily to show her weakness again.
    I’m assuming she is using the staff later to hobble on?
    This is an awesome remake. The other three guardians, plot-wise, could have been earlier in her journey, adding to her fatigue. Better to string them out and lull her into a sense of security . . . she’s already beat the other three, how many can there be?

    Rod Naugler aka Statik aka Greydesk

  5. Rudiger Says:

    I had the same idea as Greydesk with regards to having the plot assume that she has fought with the other three guardians along the way. It would be quite a simple change to make the opening fly through the mountains actually follow the path that Sintel has taken to get where she is. That way you could show, at a distance, the bodies of the other three guardians she has left along the way. This would give a better set up for the opening fight sequence, as we have been given a glimpse into the long, arduous journey Sintel has been through and a reason why the guardian would really want to kill her and therefore make it more impactful.

  6. kram1032 Says:

    A great starter scene πŸ™‚

    It’s just very confusing how the models, outfits and even EYES change, lol. You can cleary see, when that part with Sintel’s yellow eyes was done, based on the blog πŸ˜€

  7. Victor Says:

    Oooh shut up! I mean people from above, It’s a fine animation. You’re not directing this movie, you know. The first cut is just layout, so they can hide the guardian or do something more interesting.

  8. Simon Says:

    Everyone’s an artist…

  9. Hoxolotl Says:

    I know you’re probably past the production stage where the following might interest you for inspiration:

    Especially the animators might grap a move or two out of there πŸ™‚

    These are the current “limits” of what a human body can do… I’m amazed.

  10. Will Says:

    I think this first minute was awesome. I like not knowing what’s really going on yet because then it makes me want to see the rest of the story. Way to draw me in.
    @Durian–I was watching “Kungfu Panda” the other day and when it was over, I watched the credits. The sheer number of artists that were used for that production only causes me to respect thee Durian team even more. You are doing very professional work with a small team. Impressive. Blessings.

  11. Ovidiu Says:

    > jan Says: March 19th, 2010 at 20:51
    > Note to self: Throw that vulture out and replace it with
    > something else. Hey, it was a try.
    I was wondering what are those helicopters doing there! LOL

    may a make a small suggestion? … this was also raises several times before: it is unrealistic that a 15 years old will defeat an experienced guardian so fast. I believe a better approach will be to make her win by chance, make her lucky or make him made a fatal mistake or something. Somehow she must preserve her innocence (to some extend) and not turn her in a body killer. Guardian falling on te spear is good but far from original: this is quite common and present in a lot of movies… even the Mammoth from 10.000bc did that:

    – starting from min 1:40 on

  12. jdcooke2010 Says:

    Hey guys great work! I love the fight scene. Two things however,…. πŸ™‚

    -In scene “Camera 5.8 N” the guard moving from right to left confuses the relationship between the two fighters. You have a straight on shot of the girl which heightens the tension then a “right to left” movement of the guard which slightly defuses that tension.

    – Scene “Camera 5.8 U” might need the girl in the foreground to establish the relationship between where she is and where she’s headed. Or, a hand held camera can work by making the audience “look” through her eyes.

    Other than that it looks great! Love what you’re doing

    take care

  13. Reyn Says:

    So far, the direction is awesome! Keep it up. These updates keep us wanting more, haha! ^_^


  14. yman Says:

    Somehow I get the feeling you are heavily inspired by Disney’s movie Aladdin.

  15. yman Says:

    0:47 – The dude aims the spear for her head. It would make more sense for him to aim at her torso, since it makes a bigger target and is harder to get out of the way. Less flashy, but would seem more realistic to me.

    0:51 – He’s crushing her throat. What reason could he possibly have for tossing her aside when he has such an advantage?

    1:03 – He should have seen that one coming from a mile away, no?

    I guess the efficiency of his movements in his initial attack shows he does not have much skill. His aim is always high, making it easy to dodge his swings. He also seems to run and swing pretty slowly, even considering the the snow. Guess he’s just an unskilled grunt.

  16. yman Says:

    @D.C. and @Luis Felipe:
    If I understand correctly, Sintel is ordinary street trash, not an intellectual living a cushioned life outside the real world. As such, she should understand better than anybody that if she is targeted by someone who means business, she’ll definitely die if she holds back. Under the circumstances of someone seriously trying to kill her out of the blue, the most sensible thing, and the moral thing as well, is to kill him. The stupidest thing she could do is deliberately miss a chance to hurt him.

    And I absolutely love the lack of dialog. Putting a dialog in this will make it feel cheesy, unrealistic, and generic. Less is more.

  17. yman Says:

    Sintel’s collapse makes sense. She was just attacked and had to fight for her life. Now that it’s over, she feels drained of energy and needs to kick back and take a breather before going on.

  18. Matt Says:

    That would be Ton as the guard, yes? Excellent casting πŸ™‚

  19. joeri67 Says:


  20. Ben Hubel Says:

    The removal of the guardians does sadden me, but there is no reason to think the hard work on them has gone to waste. Being that the source files are being released, they can be used in other peoples projects. Perhaps somebody might even make a a movie related to Sintel.
    Also, just because the Durian team does not have time to implement these suggestions, this does not mean that people are unable to make an updated version or something like that. This is the beauty of open movies. If anybody wants to take the time to do so, they can make a more realistic version.

  21. Lamhaidh Says:

    One of my favourite parts of a pixar film is always the “bloopers” they invent for the credits, like in Mosters Inc when the floor’s too waxy, or the joke about how the guy who did ham’s/school of fish/mac’s voice had the part at the end of Cars where he complains about how they always get the same voice actor.

    My Point? What about having an end credits section where the 3 missing Guardians keep messing up and sintel has a winge then Ton storms on and fires them?

  22. Tim Says:

    So is that Ton grunting in the soundscape?

  23. Martin Says:

    You can have the other guys lying dead in the snow! That way, at least they get used. And it shows that the fight is an epic one.

  24. Anonymous Says:

    love it. much better than the 1st. Smoother though i do agree on the dark spots that run across the screen.

    geez, please! is it realistic to wave a twig and chase away shadows?…tell Harry Potter it isnt realistic…or that suspended huge eye in LOR. An eye seeking one little gold ring that holds the fate of an entire world…shall I go one?

    you need to know what FANTASY is

    maybe Sintel fell into the same couldron of secret potion that Obelix the Gaul(of Asterix). Sometimes you just gotta let go and go with the story. Maybe she’s a descendant of very strong child-warriors. Do you know that there are child soldiers who handle AK-47s? Not that I support that kind of crime, but I intend to bring to light how a a young body can be conditioned to physical activity.

    as for violence, this is BBB

  25. Anonymous Says:

    I meant to say, this isnt BBB

  26. Wray Bowling Says:


  27. Lamhaidh Says:

    As for violence, BBB was worse than any pixar I’ve ever seen and I loved it! If Sintel is supposed to be an action film we can rule out the under 15s can’t we?

  28. Magic_Man_3d Says:

    We all know that there is going to be some violence. Don’t like the fact that there is going to be violence? I say get over it. If you think that there might be too much violence you have not seen anything in the real world or any other movie that wasn’t rated pg.

  29. Another Fellow Says:

    I think she was already wounded. Her clothes look torn…

  30. Jan - 2 Says:

    Ton, Happy Birthday. We are so glad you were born. This world is so much more special with your existance. So many of us have been helped with you caring to create Blender. Thank you. I hope you took time to celebrate.

  31. nathan Says:

    I also disagree with the objections to the violence in Sintel. However, I seriously doubt those objections are based in ignorance of the “real world” or entertainment media. I’m sure the people objecting are well aware these things.

    And saying (effectively) “everyone does it” really isn’t a sound argument on its own.

  32. greyshirtguy Says:

    Wow! – that worked for me….I liked it all.

    Joooo: For what it’s worth, I really liked the delayed title….It just seemed to fit there “real nice” (well, to me anyway)

    And I don’t mind the “un-answered questions” feeling I got at the start….
    “why is she attacked for seemingly no good reason?” – “why did she kill her attacker without any second thought or dialog?” “where is she?”, “what is she doing there” “what is he doing there?” etc etc

    It reminds me of a lot of films/storys where early story events become more clearly understood by stuff that is revealed later – That is, more of the complete story is revealed later and you get those “ah ha” moments as you mentally fill in the gaps and connect-the-dots…I think that style works well for this short…

  33. jin Says:

    GREAT!!! one small comment-

    the spear was NOT going to hit her. why was the guy aiming for the wall next to her?

    kinda reminds me of sword fighting as a kid where you didn’t understand the goal was to try to hit the other person’s body – not to hit the other person’s sword!

    the spear thrust should’ve had lethal intent and the only reason she’s not a shishkebab is because she GETS OUT OF THE WAY.

    this will also make the lethality of her actions “excusable” in dramatic terms – he was indeed going to kill her.

  34. Matheus TΓ³folli Says:

    Really, I’m loving it! She is so sexy πŸ˜€

  35. dyego Says:

    The best think I have ever saw, it is going to be great!!