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Well, gaming fans, it turns out the live action promos for Halo 3 are everything you hoped—they are indeed the way the movie looks. Trouble is, according to RSA's Neill Blomkamp, the movie is stuck in a locker somewhere. Read on for details on the shorts and what goes into Blomkamp's brain before rendering into his style, just how dead the Halo movie project is and the secret mission he's on in Wellington, New Zealand, where he's remained ever since.
Where, in the grand scheme of what you had done so far on the Halo film, did these shorts stack up? Where did they come from?
This is the first I've really spoken about those pieces. There's such a massive misconception about what those are. In essence, those pieces have zero to do with the film. Like less than zero. I worked on the film for a few months and we developed a lot of things during that time, and none of that has anything to do with the shorts. Long, long long after the film died, Bungie and Microsoft asked me if I wanted to be involved in the Halo 3 promotional stuff, just because I knew all of the guys at Bungie, and I was like Yeah, sure, that sounds like fun. I went about starting to make those three pieces back with a lot of the guys from Weta who had made the original film. All of the design and everything that we'd made for the film is just locked up in some locker somewhere, so all of the stuff for the shorts is specifically for the short films, from scratch. It's basically, I guess, viral advertising for Halo 3, it's one of the many different promotional pieces you find out there.
Where were those shot? Someone said they were shot in a dump?
Yeah, that's true, it's a landfill, in Wellington. Wellington has a very mountainous terrain, it's difficult to find open space here. There's a lot of films happening right here so a lot of the studios and the areas that people usually use for filming have been taken up. So I just needed a chunk of land with some architecture that we could film a miniature action sequence in. So it ended up being the most open land, this chunk of landfill, which is what it was. We were standing on top of a landfill.
Are there any more components?
There are three, one quick promotional piece for E3 and two pieces that are like little action sequences, that's it.
We've seen a lot of your work before that features shots with different types of vision, like CCTV and grainy readouts. This sequence was great in part because of the mix of different feeds, it's like that's become your style.
I have an interest in degraded, screwed-up looking footage as opposed to beautiful, well set up picturesque imagery. So, and I think, once you resign yourself to being OK with lo-fi, degraded images, then you can start to pull imagery from a lot of different places. Like that overhead infra-red photography, that idea just came from looking at military footage that you see where they're dealing with quite chunky, compressed 640x480 video that's coming off the battlefield, and unmanned aerial vehicles that photograph that stuff in infra-red. I just wanted to mimic that. But you have to be OK with saying I'm not going to go out there and make something that looks like a Darius Khondji, kind of lit, beautiful piece. You have to be OK with saying "Yeah, it's going to look like shit, but it's going to feel a little bit more real."