12HW Production Details

Production Details

 

Shot over the course of three days in the summer, the idea for “12 Hot Women” came about when director Alan Chan was having lunch with a colleague. “We were railing on all those short films on the Internet - laughing about how they were all artsy and pretentious, pretending to carry some deep philosophical message,” Alan said. “ Finally I said ‘You know, if I put TWELVE HOT WOMEN in a movie, I wouldn’t need a plot!”

And so the idea came to be. In the course of the next few months, the idea became a running joke at lunches and barbeques – friends and colleagues started joking about it, and the one-liners and punchlines started coming fast and furious. After a barrage of input, Alan decided he needed to “exorcise” the idea from his head - and started to sketch storyboards about a cadre of supersecret female agents working for a covert government agency called Omega Omega. These storyboards were then edited together on a Sony VAIO computer system running Adobe’s Premiere editing software. A rough voiceover, temp music and sound effects were added to create the initial “animatic” edit.

The animatic received great responses from those who saw it (a fellow vfx artist who saw it got so excited he started to make up an entire plot for the “plotless” movie), so much so that Alan started to entertain the thought of actually producing the trailer. A copy of the animatic edit made its way from California to Dallas, Texas, where Spirit 10 producer Breanna Jarvis got to see it. “I laughed my head off!” Breanna says, “it was so incredibly off the wall - so badass! I called Alan and told him we had to shoot this.” Breanna then turned around and showed co-founders and producers Jeff Howard and Jason Bagley the animatic edit as well. “Convincing them wasn’t hard, because the animatic practically sells itself.”

Production:
With his co-conspirators onboard, Alan, Jeff, Breanna and Jason set to work sorting out the logistics of the production. With a small production budget of $5000, Breanna juggled the tasks of securing locations, props (enough guns and bazookas to outfit a Navy SEAL team), casting and costuming. “Because the short is in the form of a trailer, we ended up with a lot more locations than a typical short. Within the duration of the short itself, there are probably some 15 different scenes and location changes spread out over three minutes. In addition to this, we had to manage the shooting schedules of twelve hot working actresses and models. That’s a lot of logistics.”

Production commenced in late July in Dallas, kicking off with a swimsuit photo shoot. “We knew we would need publicity shots,” Jason says, “and we wanted additional material for the website for the fans, so Alan said, ‘why don’t we do a photo shoot as well?’” Photographer Dan Katzenberger was brought on board, and the result is over a thousand swimsuit glamour photographs, which will be released over the course of time.

“Our production schedule was hectic,” said Jeff. “Because we were on a small budget, we could only afford to rent the HD camera and equipment for a few days - and even then it was a significant portion of our budget. We were literally running all over the Dallas metropolitan area in order to get all the shots we needed to get. I think when you watch the trailer, you’d find it hard to believe we shot all those different locations and setups in two and a half days. Through it all, the girls were great – they were all professional and awesome to work with.”

“It’s interesting to note,” says Alan, “that although the short is a spoof of the sexploitation in movies, that none of the actresses in the movie felt exploited. In fact, I think it actually empowered them to be running around with guns kicking butt.” It was such a pleasure having 12 hot women onset, Alan says, “that I want to go make the actual movie of the trailer just to hang out with the Omega Agents once more!”

“We had a great crew,” says Breanna. “Clay Liford and Trent DiGuiglio alternated DP (Director of Photography) positions, with Lindsey Perry working sound and occasionally as First Assistant Camera. The support crew included Janet Harris, who did great makeup jobs on the women, and Toby Thomas, the “gunmeister”, who supplied a literal arsenal of prop pistols, machineguns, rifles and even bazookas. Dan Katzenberger, our onset photographer, documented everything as well as photographing the swimsuit photo shoot.”

Post-Production:

After wrapping principal photography, Alan returned to Los Angeles where the raw HD (High Definition) master footage was dubbed down to DVCAM tape format for offline editing. The footage was logged and digitized onto the same Sony system that was used to edit the animatic, and shot by shot, the animatic storyboards were replaced by actual footage.

Meanwhile, back in Dallas, music composers Chris Gill and Steve Zube were hard at work composing original music for the short. “Alan specifically wanted a big metal-rock influence, timed to the edit,” says Chris. “So we built this over-the-top track with guitar riffs all over the place. It worked great with the edit.”

As all this was happening, Eki Halkka sat halfway around the world in Helsinki, Finland creating the 3D computer generated imagery (CGI) effects that would flesh out and expand the scope of the project. “Because of the limited budget,” Eki elaborated, “It was not possible for Alan to physically shoot the massive wide shot of the Omega Omega Headquarters Atrium. So we simply replicated Alan’s vision in CGI, and added the girls in as digital doubles.”

Some shots even required Eki to perform ‘breast jiggle enhancements’. “Alan had this shot where we were supposed to see one of the agents in a Jeep, and her breasts were supposed to bounce up and down. Because of the muscularly endowed nature of the actress, Alan could not get the amount of bounce that he wanted, so we simply went in and used Adobe After Effects’ warp mesh tool to exaggerate the bounce. Alan fell out of his chair laughing when we showed him the first tests of the shot.”

Upon completion of the rough edit, Alan approached Creofilm CG Supervisor Andy Lesniak for technical assistance. “The plan was always to offline edit the movie at TV resolution,” says Alan, “and when we were happy with the edit, go back to the HD master tapes and essentially replace the tv resolution frames with the high resolution frames - much like we replaced the storyboards with the tv res frames.”
“Hi-Def is the postproduction solution of the future,” says Andy, “and Post Logic/Creofilm is one of the few post houses in Los Angeles that has two fully-integrated HD Inferno bays - one at its Hollywood location and another at its Santa Monica location”. Using the HD Inferno bays, Andy used an Edit Decision List to cull the shots from the HD master tape, delivering nearly 10 gigabytes of image data to Alan at HD resolution.

Returning to his editing system, Alan conformed the HD frames to the edit, adding the finished CGI effects and completed audio post as well as performing final color-timing on the edit. The completed edit was then exported back to Post Logic as a sequence of images and an audio track for mastering onto an HDCAM master.

“It’s an all-digital pipeline,” says Alan. “From concept to execution to post, we’re utilizing digital tools to master and shape our vision within a limited budget. That fact alone made it possible for us to turn what started off as a lunchtime conversation joke into the epic masterpiece you see before you.”