Sunday, January 10, 2021

Jason Cuadrado's "Reap What You Sow"



Congratulations to our pal Jason Cuadrado, who's released his painstaking creation of a "new" vintage Twilight Zone episode to YouTube. "Reap What You Sow" replicates the look, sound, and feel of a vintage TZ episode more closely—more perfectly—than any other tribute I've seen. It's a remarkable achievement. But let us allow Jason to speak for himself:

I've been obsessed with The Twilight Zone ever since I was a kid. No other show sparked my imagination and horror like Rod Serling's original anthology opus. I've had to live with the crushing disappointment of missing an opportunity to be part of that seminal moment in television history.  

Thanks to Unreal Engine, I was able to enter The Twilight Zone myself by going back in time to write and direct an episode of the original series.

This is that episode as it premiered in 1964 for season 5.

The film was written and completed in about a month using Unreal Engine 4.25 as the main creative hub (and time machine). Characters were designed in Daz Studio, imported into Reallusion's Character Creator 3 for mesh refinement, and finally iClone 7 as the main bridge to UE via Auto Setup and LiveLink.

Motion capture was recorded using the Perception Neuron Pro system. Facial capture and finger animation were achieved with iClone's Motion Live (plus an iPhone X and Leap Motion controller).

Props and locations from Daz would go through Maya for smoothing before being exported to Unreal. The wonderful Unreal Marketplace supplied the rest.

Audio was recorded with the Rode Wireless Go and a Maono AU-A04H.
The opening credits were done in Unreal and After Effects. The final edit was completed in Premiere.

Although I did most of the performance capture myself, I didn't do it alone. I had to rope in my dad and aunt since, during a pandemic, you work with what you've got. Thankfully my aunt is a professional and my dad is a trooper. Just goes to show what you can create with the resources around you on a single computer in your living room.

This short film was made with love for fans of the series (and just in time for the traditional New Year's Day marathon). And if you haven't seen the show, please check it out in all its incarnations (available on CBS All Access) to truly appreciate Rod Serling's legacy.  

Disclaimer: The Twilight Zone, logo, and its music are the property of CBS Television Distribution. This is a not-for-profit fan production and is not affiliated with the rights owners. This is not for commercial use. It's for the love of the show.

This has been The Twilight Zone...

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