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The Blaine Brothers guide to using VFX

The Blaine Brothers have a positive can-do attitude to VFX, and see it as a tool that should be used in the service of a story, not as decoration.
I’m Ben, and he’s– Chris. And we’re the Blaine brothers.
We are filmmakers. We’ve just made our first feature film, Nina Forever, which comes out on February 15th.
As well as being filmmakers, we also have done a lot of editing work for television, and we’ve directed everything from virals, to commercials, to music videos, to documentaries– all sorts. Our main passion is making films.
The very first thing that we did film-wise was an adaptation of the whole of the Bible that we did one summer holiday. And, yeah, we were very strict, and we did the whole thing.
The films that we make generally have– there’s usually something quite odd or fantastical about them, and we’ve always had ideas that aren’t necessary entirely kitchen sink realism. And so fantastical things often happen. Generally the way that we’ve learned doing VFX stuff has been by doing it. I mean, actually, the very first sort of pure visual effects stuff was actually painting out the booms in [INAUDIBLE]. A lot of filmmakers who treat VFX sort of like cheating, and like it’s kind of the devil’s work, and a bit like not doing it properly, And I think actually kind of, you know, it’s like, that’s not true. Like, it’s– you know, it’s magic. It’s great.
It’s magic, it’s great, but it’s also kind of– the whole point of– Making a film is you’re lying to people. Yeah. It’s like– That’s from the get go, you’re pretending. You’re making something up. It’s just incredibly empowering. I mean, I think that’s kind of the key thing as well, it’s sort of, I think there are so many reasons to not make a film, and it’s so expensive, and that can sit on top of you, that anything that kind of goes no, actually, you can– and it’s like me, you know, going back to our first thing– we had one day, we could afford one day’s shooting. And you go, if we had gone– oh, we’ve got the booming shot.
We can’t– either we can’t use that show, or we can’t show that film to anyone because it’s ruined, because, you know, the boom operator didn’t know what we were doing. Like, that’s pathetic.

The Blaine Brothers are filmmakers foremost, and turn to VFX when they need to, just like they might use any other tool available to them.

“The films we make generally have something quite odd or fantastical about them” says Chris Blaine, so it’s easy to see the attraction VFX holds. The Blaines are self-taught, and learn as they go. When they need to do something in VFX, they’ll find out how.

In many ways they exemplify the guerrilla filmmaking spirit. We were surprised to find out that until last year they were still using an almost 10-year-old piece of VFX software called ‘Shake’, (no longer available) kept alive on a computer with an old operating system in order for it to run. In a way, this seemed to give their work a different flavour from other filmmakers.

The Blaine Brothers’ approach in the clip above contrasts with that of our next guerrilla filmmaker who comes from a computer games and CGI background, and discovered filmmaking through VFX. He’s Hasraf Dulull, and we’ll find out about him in the next video.

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Visual Effects for Guerrilla Filmmakers

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