Filmmaker Rufus Wilson reached out to us earlier this year, asking if we could help him render elements for his production. After that he has been using Blendergrid extensively in order to create footage for 'Thrill', a music video he directed. We're really proud to be part of this production :) There's tons of VFX going on in the video, and Rufus was kind enough to have a chat about how he used Blender in the process.

The final music video: 'Thrill' from Rasstokyo

How did you get started as a director, and why in this industry?

It started around 3/4 years ago, I was working in a factory for a company specialising in fitness products. My manager at the time had just finished filming a promotional video which wasn't very good so I asked for a chance to have a go myself. The video wasn't amazing but it was leaps better than the previous video - from then on I was in charge of creating all video content for the company.

As my film-making confidence grew and I was comfortable with my abilities, I was introduced to a hip-hop music collective 'Local Geezers' by a fellow friend and film director Ollie Hutton. From then on I assisted on several shoots before directing my first full music video for artist 'JimiDaKilla'.

Since then I have been trying to better myself with every project, consistently working to better my overall craft. That being said, I plan on Directing my first short film in the near future.

How did Blender become a part of your pipeline for 3D / VFX?

I had previously been using After Effects for VFX however when I had the idea for this concept consisting of 3D environments and greenscreen, Blender was a no brainer. After watching endless amounts of tutorials I started using Blender in November 2019. I began with a small 9-second test shoot using Eevee in December confirming that the tracking would work.

Tracking greenscreen footage in Blender
Tracking greenscreen footage in Blender

In January 2020 I realised that I would need to improve when working with shaders so I took the opportunity to produce an artwork piece that required great detail. This allowed me to brush up on my skill set, with an amazing end product - I knew that I was ready to start working on 'Thrill'.

In Thrill you've used lots of 3D elements. Did you create all of this yourself? What does your workflow look like?

I modelled as much as I could, however due to working alone I had to work efficiently so after analysing my time I decided to focus on the environment design instead. I then made the conscious decision to use Quixel Megascans and other asset libraries. I had a vision of how I wanted each scene to look based on my initial storyboard, this was important in order to get the correct lighting and for more realistic compositing.

Modeling the environment in Blender
Modeling the environment in Blender

I cut the video together using the raw footage then I rendered out each individual shot. After that I created all the environments in Blender, then to finish I tracked every shot and put the tracked cameras in the correct environments.

At what point did you make the decision to use a render farm?

I always knew that the biggest issue with this project would be rendering based on the render times from my previous projects using Blender. If it wasn't for Blendergrid we wouldn't have been able to complete this project. And I wasn't paid to say that.

VFX Breakdown

Where can we find you and your work online?

I'm currently working on a new website so at the moment the best place to see my work and keep up to date with me is Instagram: _rufuswilson_