Welcome to the Dune Special Edition Project

This is a project I have been slowly working on over the last few years with the goal of ultimately replacing many of the "outdated" special effects shots in David Lynch's 1984 version of Dune.
The project initially began as an endeavor to build a "proper" ornithopter - one with flapping wings, that neither the movie or the mini-series managed to achieve. However, with the advent of the "fan-edit" the scope of the project has expanded with the goal of updating the effects in all those places in the movie where I feel things could be significantly "improved."
Although I am currently working on this by Myself, it's a large undertaking and if there is anyone interested in helping this project along, feel free to contact Me - We might actually be able to get this project completed with a few more skilled and enthusiastic people!

Sasha Burrow

If you are curious about My professional work, I have been working as a VFX artist (Among other things) at The Asylum for the past 6 years, including visual effects on all 4 Sharknado films (Mainly stuff blowing up!).

DUNE Special Edition: Showreel March 2010

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Harkonnen Frigate ("Hammer Ship")

(Click on images for larger view)

I finally decided to get back to working on the Harkonnen frigate over the weekend. I had started it some time ago, but really only had the basic shapes done.
Now with the blueprints I have really been able to get into it!
I start by tracing the blueprints in Adobe Illustrator, then import that into Lightwave, where I can use it to construct the model more easily. So far I have redone the main body... next it's on to redoing the "wings".
I am going to point out that since this is the special edition, the model is also going to be for the special edition - which means it is NOT going to have the long tail section and IS going to be roughly similar in configuration to the Atreides and Emperor's frigates... My logic behind this change is that the Guild uses a standardized docking system in their Heighliners - therefore all ships are roughly the same shape (given some latitude for local deisgn preferences).
The second major change is going to be moving the unseen and unused "Thopter Launch Bays" from the tail of the frigate, to the underside of the "wings"... I think it will fit three thopters per side... but will have to wait until I get both ships to scale.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Special Edition Scenes List

Recently went through the theatrical cut of DUNE and made a list of all the scenes I'd like to change/update/improve (Whether I will is another matter entirely!), and thought I would post it for you all to check out!
Would love to hear your comments on which scenes I've listed you'd really like redone, which ones you think are fine as is, and maybe some I've missed!

(Added a new poll on the right hand side too, so cast your vote!)

DUNE (Theatrical Cut) Shot Fix List.

1: Universal Logo:
Use New One

2: Opening Title Credits:
Redo text in 3D before Irulan comes on.

3: Irulan Introduction:
Color correction and morph her face to make seamless speech without fade ins/outs.

4: DUNE Title and credits:
Redo all text in 3D dune font.

5: Secret Report within the guild scene:
Redo entirely all the way up to the first shot of the guild exiting the ship… same audio/voice though.

6: 3rd Stage Guild Navigator meets the Emperor:
Fix Navigator with “blue eyes” and orange spice gas in his tank. Replace crappy 2nd stage navigator costume masks with CG heads based on original concept sculpture.

7: Caladan Establishing Scene:
Take that wonderful footage of the waves crashing on the rocks but instead of cross-fading to crappy model waves, keep shot going, panning and tilting from waves up the cliff to the castle at the top.

8: Paul’s Filmbook:
Make the screen larger and also recreate the same shots but with the new 3D planets and animation of Carryall and Harvesters.

9: Shield Fight:
Fix that weird shot of Paul that actually seems to be his stunt double.

10: Wierding Module (ALL SHOTS!):
Create new “sonic blast” effect.

11: Robot Fight:
Possibly add some more blades to the robot and make the fight seem more deadly?

12: The Duke & Paul:
Fix bluescreen shot of The Duke and Paul looking out to sea to match with opening Caladan shot and color correct.

13: Burning Hand Shot:
Is it possible to make this more realistic and match the Reverand Mother’s description?

14: The Duke in his study:
“Fix” the “lightning window” – I feel something could be done here.

15: Geidi Prime Establishing Scene:
New effects shot following tram past a line of the cherub faced oil burners as it heads towards Harko city. Fix bluescreen shots of Piter in tram to match new effects.

16: Atreides Departure From Caladan:
New FX shot based on concept art of Caladan “Crystal Palace” airfield. Shot starts as effect but ends with the footage of Paul, Leto & Jessica walking up the steps to their frigate and turning to face their troops. Possible reverse shot of what they see? (Lush greenness, water, their loyal troops)

17: Frigate Takeoff:
New FX shot of frigate taking off and entering space… Currently there is that weird “window” shot. Possibly continue from previous shot once the Atreides are onboard.

18: Frigates Dock With Heighliner:
New FX shots recreate old model shots but in a more spectacular fashion and can do a continuous shot all the way into the Heighliner and docking – then intercut with actors as per original.

19: Folding Space:
Redo all of this sequence. Same thing but different! LOL. Have the 3rd Stage Navigator creating the vision of the planets with his mind rather than the beam out of the mouth. Keep blue rings and oddness of whole sequence. Use the new transition of Heighliner at Caladan to Heighliner at Arrakis FX instead of that annoying cross-fade of Heighliner model.

20: New Atreides ship arrival on Dune and flying into Arrakeen shots.

21: DUNE (All Shots!):
Heatwaves on FX/model/studio shots where appropriate to match Paul, Leto and Jessica disembarking on Arrakis shot. Need to show how hot this planet is! REMOVE orange filter from ALL shots. Sky needs to read as sky!!!

22: Spice Mining Inspection:
Replace all model and thopter FX shots. Replace bluescreen elements in interior cockpit shots with new FX. Keep worm swallowing Spice Harvester shot but match colors.

23: Harkonnen Surprise Attack:
All new FX sequence. Harkonnen Thopters launch from Harkonnen “Hammer” ships and attack Arrakeen palace wall and airfield. “Hammer” ships land amongst wreckage and disgorge troops who enter palace through breach in the wall from the airfield. Use “Masssive” or similar to create Sardaukar and Atreides armies clashing. Refilm some more vicious hand to hand combat scenes that look more like soldiers fighting rather than stunt men bouncing on trampolines. Fix ground moving under stunt men.

24: Duncan Idaho:
Fix “shot” FX of Sardaukar shooting Atreides troopers in hall then Duncan shooting him. Create model of actor Richard Jordan for head replacement of stunt man (Or use entirely synthetic actor) to extend Duncan’s fight by a couple of shots and make his death more heroic. One of the most important characters in the whole series gets short changed in the original!

25: Harkonnen Thopter:
Redo all external Harkonnen thopter shots with new FX. Replace all interior bluescreen elements to match new FX. Possibly keep original model crashing in sand shots.

26: Worm Chase:
Fix blue screen shots and get rid of the awful “green night” sky color (IN ALL NIGHT SHOTS). Add in a wide shot showing ACTUAL relationship of worm to Paul and Jessica as they are running. FIX paul falling down cliff shot… possibly just remove awful bluescreen shot of Paul.

27: Hall of Holy Warriors:
Use CG characters to bring the crowd to life a bit more or something… especially the Sayyadinas along the side of the shot. 3D the environment or something.

28: Riding The Sandworm:
Fix ALL bluescreen shots here and remove awful orange filter.

29: Eyes Of The Ibad:
Make sure everyone who is supposed to have blue eyes has them in every shot!

30: Emperor’s Arrival/Landsraad Blockade:
All new FX shots showing size of Blockade, Sardaukar landing ships in formation and the Emperor’s ship heading down to Arrakis.

31: Fremen Army:
All new “Massive/Crowd Simulation” shots of Fremen army.

32: Baron’s Arrival in Arrakeen.
New FX shot of the Baron’s frigate flying towards Arrakeen while he listens to the news of Raban’s arrest.

33: Paul’s Binoculars:
New FX shots of Arrakeen, the Emperor’s Steel Tent and the relationship to the city, the palace and the shield wall to match all previous new FX shots.

34: Worm Riders:
Fix bluescreen shots of Fremen running along worm’s back.

35: Sandstorm:
New shots of gathering storm that actually look like a sandstorm! Shots of Steel Tent and Airfield being effected by storm – REALLY need to play up this effect and how it reduces visibility so the aircraft can’t take off.

36: Final Battle:
Needs a lot of work. New Massive FX of clashing armies that make the Sardaukar look like a trained fighting force rather than a bunch of extras. New “shot” FX for all weapons. Blue eyes on all Fremen. Add some hand to hand combat shots? Fix all worm/sand/Sardaukar interactions!

37: Do something with that rather odd “Rain on Arrakis” ending!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

What I'm Aiming For

(Click on images to enlarge!)

Today I thought I'd post a couple of screenshots... the first is the raw render, the second is after I've processed it in photoshop - it's more the look I am going for - though there are of little details that need to be added... in particular sand interaction... especially between the wheels of the harvester and the sand and the 'thopter's landing gear and the sand. All want to sort of have the sand blow around in the downdraft from the 'thopter's wings.

Friday, October 16, 2009

"It is by will alone I set my mind in motion..."

(Click on images to see larger version)

The introduction to Giedi Prime is another example of a scene where I think it could work just a bit better composition wise... I love the design of everything - very gothic/industrial, but the shots as edited in the theatrical edition are somewhat confusing and it really is incredibly dark... So I've built a model of the Harkonnen tram and have started work on the enormous "oil burners" - the giant cherub faces that spew black smoke, though I only have a few reference photos of them. Going to have to make up some of the detail there. The script describes this part of the surface of the planet as an ocean of black oil, so I think My general intention is just to set the scene a little better and give the audience a real sense of what this place is like. Eventually, I hope to make a lo-res Piter De Vries model to go in the tram, so you can see him in there.
Also need to model Harko City and possibly the landing pad from where Piter is coming (I imagine that the landing pads are far away across the ocean of oil to prevent the escape of an of the slave labor).

Friday, October 9, 2009

DVD Packaging

Here's something amusing... found this old paper mock up I made for a 4-disc DUNE special edition DVD case.
It's closely based on the 4-disc Lord Of The Rings DVD packaging which I liked at the time.
Disc 1 was to contain the Special Edition.
Disc 2 would have the theatrical cut and possibly the extended edition - though I loathe that version.
Disc 3 would have behind the scenes documentaries and so forth
Disc 4 would contain updated versions of Cryo's DUNE and Westwood's DUNE 2 (Dune 2000)
and there was to be a booklet with "pop-up" elements!

It's all a bit out of date now, so have started revamping the design for Blu-Ray!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Duke's Inspection

(Click images to enlarge. Click Thread Title For youTube Video.)
With a little bit of help in the rendering department, I've finally finished the first version of this shot as Duke Leto pilots his ornithopter (followed by escort) over the city of Arrakeen and past the spice refinery before heading out over the shield wall.
There's still many things I'd like to do to this shot so hopefully it will continue to improve over time.
Any suggestions would be welcome!