Perth visual effects company Double Barrel has created SLASHER SQUAD, a five minute, animated horror short. Written, produced and directed by company directors Nathan Stone and Stuart Campbell, it was the product of eighteen months work, mostly on weekends and around vfx jobs.
The short was made with Unreal Engine and features US-based Perth actress Adelaide Kane as the main motion capture performer.
“The short is a love letter to the horror films we grew up with and our twist on the slasher genre.” Says Campbell. “It’s also a teaser for a live-action feature we’ve written. We decided to do the short animated so we could learn Unreal Engine and have greater control over storytelling elements such as the camera, lighting and staging.”
Most of Double Barrel’s work is visual effects for film and television, but the WA-born directors started as 3D animators, cutting their teeth on the east coast and overseas before returning to Perth to do their own thing.
SLASHER SQUAD was full of challenges. It was the first time they had used motion capture or worked with Unreal Engine.
“There were many technical obstacles, including the clothing and water simulations, multiple levels of transparency and hair.” Says Stone. “Unreal Engine released Metahumans half-way through production, but we were too far down the track to incorporate it. Many of the assets that fill the house are from marketplace, which is basically an online shop of 3D assets that can be used in the engine. Others, such as the lovely trees, are from Megascans, which was acquired by Unreal.”
“The real-time rendering made a huge difference to our pipeline. No long waits to see updated renders.” Stone continues. “Now we’re always looking for ways to use Unreal on projects.”
The short has screened in several film festivals including Screamfest LA and has just been released on YouTube in time for Halloween!
The synopsis reads: Home alone with a killer on the loose, a young woman must test her limits to the survive the night.