Starym

Naxxramas Trailer Creator Interview

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We've recently seen the amazing Naxxramas trailer from Hurricane and were so impressed we thought we just had to talk to the man. It's a bit of a long interview, but you're not gonna want to miss it as he not only shares his thoughts and opinions, but also some production stills and before/after pics from in-game and the trailers. He's been at it for quite a while and his latest took him over 6 months to make, but it really shows, so let's take another look at his current masterpiece and then we can get into the interview itself.


Let's get started with basics - who are you and what is your background in video making?

My name is Radim Zeifart. I'm 24 years old and I live in Prague. I'm a motion designer in the advertisement business by trade, which means I create animated characters and make them talk about the great taste of this brand new orange juice or anything else in the world. Despite how it sounds, it's actually a really fun line of work.
 

A lot of the responses to your videos are basically "Blizzard, hire this man!" and you yourself have talked about Blizzard actually approaching you in the past. Is there anything else you can tell us about your situation with Blizzard?

Unfortunately not. That's why I'm happy I can still make my own trailers, which don't belong under any kind of supervision, and are mine own and mine alone.
 

So, just to be clear, you're not currently working at or with Blizzard?

No.
 

What made you get started with this old-school trailer making business?

I was just a kid when retail vanilla was played, but even then I was able to get a glimpse of what was going on. As the years passed I felt the original WoW, or even TBC, was THE content I wanted to be a part of. I managed to make that happen through private servers. Even though it wasn't 100% as it was back then I felt what many before me did.

Kx1rFzE.jpg   Ua1Z04w.jpg


A lot of your earlier videos were done for private servers but you stopped doing that, was the initial reason for doing these oldschool trailers from that or something else? And why did you stop making them for private servers?

Being young and not really well known made me think that private servers were a good platform to make my vision happen - they published my work on their sites and in return I received exposure and publicity. After I learned that the amount of retail fans is so many times bigger I decided to target my work at them as well. Furthermore, Blizzard Entertainment approached me so that was another reason to leave the private server scene and make content for everyone to enjoy.


The Naxxramas trailer really blew a lot of people away, and despite how great your previous work (especially the T5 video) was, this most recent video was far above it. How do you push yourself to put more and more into the videos to get them better and better?

Despite the scale of the project it's quite simple - me and my very good friend Nuke are people of hard logic (maybe because we've been taught a lot about machines and programming languages). It's only logical that there should be some measurable progress when it comes to my videos. Reason number two is just... I love this content.

ql4wOuV.jpg
This poster was supposed to announce the Naxx trailer,
but in the end he went with a teaser video instead.

What exactly is your process for making these? You obviously use in-game assets, but you then add in your own animations?

The one word you need to know is "datamining". I extract every single 3D model/texture and body rig animation from the game. Once that's done I assemble these pieces into a complete scene which is then heavily color graded and tweaked to look cinematic.
 

A lot of people have mentioned that you still use the older game-models in your videos, is that a stylistic choice or a mechanical one?

The old, original content consists of these (currently old) models. They may not be as visually appealing as the new ones, but... I feel I should use them anyway. Another reason (as you mentioned) is a mechanical one - using old models works just fine when it comes to body rigs/bone structure and the export process overall.

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One of the big things with these trailers is that they evoke a lot of memories for players of those eras and they hold a lot of emotion. How do you go about doing that?

I never experienced that, at least not when it was on retail servers. Most of my feelings originate from stories, pictures and videos one can find on the internet. I'd like to thank to french movie maker Jack, who's Ahn'Qiraj movie (which I've seen like 100 times) helped me understand the values on which I built my work on.


What was the very first video you made (as in with editing music etc) and do you think it still holds up today? Was it the DarkRuby one or was there something before it?

You nailed it. Don't know how you got that right, but this was the first project I strongly believed in and gave it all I had (at the time).


All of the voice lines from your trailers are from actual game characters themselves, how far back do you go to get them and how log and involved of a process is it? Do you just listen to thousands upon thousands of lines and then have the "right" one basically pick you or do you write something in advance and then look for the perfect fit?

I've had an extensive library of all WoW sounds and voice lines in the form of .ogg or .wav files for many years now (that's datamining all over again). Let's say you're working on a Tempest Keep trailer - you won't look into... I don't know...  Ragnaros voice lines. You can ignore ALMOST EVERY BOSS and go straight for the folders named "Al'ar" or "Void Reaver". And there you go. That's when you start to put all these quotes together in all sorts of ways and voila - you have your voice-over track.


Also, crucial question: is this you in the video?

Uhm. Yes. The first day (or one of the very first ones) I learned how to key out the background from the WoW Model Viewer footage.


How long does it usually take you for one of these videos, including the concepting stage and then the actual video work?

My limit was about a month or two. I managed to respect that until the Naxxramas Trailer. It wasn't possible to make something like that so quickly so I adjusted my daily life accordingly and stretched the process to six months. Plus I had to raise the bar once again so... take that T5 trailer!
 

Which video was the first where you really thought "Ok this is good, I can do this really well"?

Had to think about that for a moment, since I really wanna give you the right answer. This trailer was created because I just learned how to use After Effects (advanced post-production software). The program is insanely good when it comes to visual effects and that was the exact moment when I said to myself "okay let's do this". The trailer itself is stupid, colorful and over the top, but hey... that's After Effects in the hand of the beginner.


At this point I'm just going to geek-out and go through my favorite moments from the trailers themselves, feel free to comment on any behind the scenes details for them.

Starting with the Naxx trailer, there are so many little details like the animals fleeing, the actual massive size of the floating citadel compared to the heroes and more.

I believe in... how should I put this... Peripheral vision (I guess it's not exactly that but I'm gonna try to explain it). When you're looking at the video your eyes are locked in a certain place. That happens in every single shot. It's important to have a lot of detail in that particular place BUT it's also important to have something going on on the rest of the screen. That's when our little details come into play.
As for the size of the Naxxramas - the inside of the raid is HUGE. I'm talking the size of a couple of football fields. That's why I made it look much bigger than we're used to.


And then my favorite shot of the entire video - the heroes getting ported to the citadel above, shrouded in darkness as the villagers look on.

This shot was intended to make an impact on the viewers. The music in the background helped me to establish the feeling for this scene. It took a bit longer to create it since I had to put together this random village that's not even in the game. I'm really happy it made such an impact since it's difficult to nail a feeling/emotion just right. You never know if you made it until it's out there.

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Then there's the the one that will ring true for all raiders ever - "No one goes home until our job here is done" with the ghosts at the graveyard.

I found this voice line during the first days of production (that's January 2017). It made the final cut four months after that. I've waited four months till that specific moment of the trailer set foot into the production process so I could use it. The wait was worth it. That part is funny and represents the countless amount of wipes which is a "feature" that's well associated with this raid instance.

drNKm76.jpg


And from the BC video, the warp-in effect for Tempest Keep and then at the very end, the explosion in BT, which we actually never get to see in the game itself. Amazing stuff.

Warp-in of TK: In my eyes it's this super-modern ship (sorry, I'm not familiar with the lore) so it it felt appropriate to make it do something cool. And for the BT explosion, there is this breach in the outer wall of the Black Temple's facade. I figured I can build upon that fact. Back then there was this idea to make some crazy gnome rig tons of explosives to make it blow up but I had to finish the trailer very quickly so... no gnomes, just this that simple shot.


You're still working on these trailers, with your next project being Black Temple, what motivates you to continue, since it takes you so long to get these done?

I'm severely demotivated because the Naxx trailer was a bit too much even for me, but I'm extremely overmotivated (if that's an expression) because of the WoW community. Their support and appreciation for the Naxx trailer showed me that the effort is worth it.


Do you have a dream project? Something that's perhaps a little too big for you to handle right now but that you'd just love to do?

Believe it or not - I'm actually doing that right now. With steady job in the field of motion design I can spend my spare time working on machinima videos while being able to cover all my expenses. I'm living the life I wanted since I was a kid and I'm not planning to waste such an opportunity.

But if I had to pick one thing I'd really like to do it's a series of videos (up to 1 minute) which would showcase what each class represents.... For example a Warrior's showcase would demonstrate some of his abilities, gear and the mighty weapons he uses - all of that using very advanced 3D machinima, to make it look epic.

FOR THE HORDE!

 

A big thanks to Hurricane for the interview. You should also check out more of his videos on his youtube channel and we have a few production process before and after sliding images you should check out here from the Naxx video:

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      In this first of a two part interview, the champs go into class balance, how to get better at M+, their thoughts on the affixes, the dungeons and much more.
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      You mostly use the same setup for your runs, could you talk about the choices there and why your class/spec is the best for this type of play? 
      Darkee: Windwalker brings high damage and “good enough” survivability. It really shines in mass aoe pulls due to our exponential scaling with Spinning Crane Kick. This allows the other 2 dps to bring more single target focused builds. We also have exceptional burst damage for high priority short lived adds (one example being the adds that shield the third boss in Seat).
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      Upper Karazhan - Each boss has their own element making them difficult, however Shade and Mana Devourer can get messy and require extra coordination to kill.
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      The Arcway - Getting left side at the beginning of they key makes the timer much more relaxed and makes it the easiest key, unfortunately we did not get left side on our timed 27. What makes this key particularly difficult is Ivanyr, Nal’tira, and the large amount of time that Advisor Vandros takes up.
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      Shakib: Lower-arcway-vault-court-upper-eye of azshara-blackrook hold-cathedral-darkheart-neltharion-halls of valor-maw-seat.
       
      If you could change a few dungeons which would they be and how would you change them?
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      Marvink: I’d remove the very far back Warden spawn in Seat, and add a profession to the Starlight Rose Brew in Court of Stars. I’d also make Hyrja only able to cast the ability she’s currently linked to, not if she just has stacks.
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      Which is your favorite and least favorite dungeon to run?
      Darkee: My favorite is Upper with Court being a close second. Least favorite is easily Blackrook.
      Marvink: My favorite dungeon by far is Court of Stars. I despise Halls of Valor (I’m look at you Hyrja).
      Mittbitt : My favorite dungeon to run is currently Vault of the Wardens. I enjoy the layout of the dungeon and how it allows me to optimize my cooldowns. My least favorite dungeon to run is Upper Karazhan, I do not enjoy the bosses, nor the tuning for the dot on Mana Devourer.
      Shakib: Favorite dungeon is hands down Lower Kharazan. There’s nothing I love more than pulling big and lower is a goldmine of huge trash packs. Turns out dh’s are also quite strong at doing exactly what I love :). (Seat is really close behind.) My least favorite dungeon has to be Neltharion’s lair. Even though it is a pretty straight forward dungeon there’s something about the environment and the mob type that just gets to me.
       
      What are the easiest affixes and do they vary from dungeon to dungeon?
      Shakib: I would say that the Sanguine, Volcanic, Fortified set of affixes is the easiest for 12 out of the 13 available dungeons. The one that stands out as not a “harder” dungeon but just much slower. A LOT of time gets wasted during the scavenger hallway. I would say that the easiest set of affixes for Blackrook Hold is Teeming, Quaking, Fortified, the pulls are usually really big pulls so adding a couple mobs here and there doesn’t slow you down as much as people may think in there, at least not as much as Sanguine.
       
      Are there some affix combos you just will not get out of bed in the morning for?
      Darkee: Teeming Explosive is a bad joke. Explosive in general is just not fun. It doesn’t help that monks deal 50% less damage to them during our main cd, and our main cd is up at the start of every big pull. I just don’t play unless I have to during Explosive.
      Jdotb: Obviously some of the affix combinations are particularly disgusting, but we’ll run keys most every day regardless. We’re fiends. At the very least, affixes like Bolstering and Tyrannical make you appreciate the Volcanics and Fortifieds.
      Marvink: Bolstering, Explosive, Tyrannical. Not my cup of tea for that amount of trash management, and marathon boss fights are never fun.
      Mittbitt : I will always get out of bed for some mythic plus regardless of the affix combos, however the affix combo that least excites me is Bolstering, Grievous, Tyrannical.
       
      What do you think of the current affixes as they are now? Which should be changed or even removed completely and are there any you’d like to see added in BfA?
      Jdotb: Tyrannical is the big offender at the moment. You don’t have to dive very deep into the analytics to see that all the highest keys are on Fortified weeks. The 40% hp on Tyrannical is the problem - it just makes the bosses take waaaaay too long. The damage bump is fine where it’s at, but the hp buff needs to be cut to at most 25%, maybe even 20%. Bosses are already the hardest parts of high keys because of scaling; making them do more damage AND live almost half again as long is insurmountable.
      Bolstering is probably a bit too punishing. If you screw up, you can’t really undo it without wiping. If the Bolstering buff had a duration (maybe 10-15s) or a cap (maybe 10 stacks) it would be a lot more palatable.
      Explosive starts to feel a little overwhelming on high keys because the orb health scales with the key level so instead of just requiring a global cooldown, the orbs now need people to focus them for several casts.
      Volcanic is a joke now that probably needs to be reworked. It isn’t threatening and half the time it doesn’t even require you to move.
      Quaking for the most part is ok but can be devastating on boss fights where you absolutely need your Prydaz, Xavaric's Magnum Opus shield up to live through certain mechanics. There isn’t a way to play around that currently. If Quaking always did damage to your hp pool directly instead of eating shields, I think it would improve the affix a lot.
      Mittbitt : I feel that Tyrannical needs some tuning, possibly by dropping the hp that bosses receive and beefing up trash more. However, Tyrannical boss hp and abilities get out of control much sooner, and honestly are the least enjoyable mythic plus weeks where we typically farm 20-24 keys.
       
      What’s your favorite, least favorite and funniest “trick” you’ve used in the past to get that tier done in time?
      Jdotb: My favorite trick would have to be keeping the cats in the front of DHT from jumping. That made the instance so much less frustrating.
      Least favorite trick is delaying on the second platform of Viz’aduum. He always targets me with the disintegrate so I have to spend a minute or two running back and forth between two spots.
      Funniest trick was probably taunting Ularogg to keep him from going underground (has since been fixed) - if you were successful, he would instantly punch you really hard and probably kill you on higher keys, so the taunt “winner” would usually be the dead guy.
       
      That's it for the first part of this interview, we had to cut it up into two for, well, obvious reasons! Huge thanks to the Mythic + crew for the insightful answers and you check back in a few days when we finish this up with their thoughts on addons, raiding and its impact on M+,  the Mythic Dungeon Invitational, their suggestions for the future of M+ and much more!
    • By Stan

      Call of the Scarab micro-holiday is back with new temporary faction mounts. The event is active through January 23, 2018 and the mounts last for 7 days.
      2018 Updates
      Players who have completed Antorus, the Burning Throne raid need to talk to Rhonormu near the gong to enter the correct event phase of Silithus. The Scarab Lord Black Qiraji Resonating Crystal mount received a brand new model this year. You can find more information here. Two new mounts can be purchased for 1 Abyssal Crest during the event. Ruby Qiraji Resonating Crystal can be purchased from Warlord Gorchuk. Sapphire Qiraji Resonating Crystal can be purchased from Field Marshal Snowfall. The mounts are not permanent and last for 7 days. Blizzard (Source)
      *1/21- The Call of the Scarab Micro-Holiday is now live. Players who have completed Antorus , the Burning Throne and who are in a different phase can speak to Rhonormu near the gong to enter the correct event phase.
      On January 23, 2006, a bloody war was triggered by a simple sound: the banging of a gong. No rallying fanfare, no bloodthirsty yell; just an eerie silence. Those long, uneasy seconds of dread. The calm before the storm.
      Standing shoulder-to-shoulder before the Scarab Wall, no one could have predicted what would happen—an epic ten-hour battle that claimed the lives of thousands of Azeroth’s bravest—or fully comprehended the effect it would have.
      ACTION FIRST, FACTION SECOND
      That’s not to say the battle at the gates of Ahn’Qiraj came as a surprise. When the menace of C’Thun turned into an urgent threat, leaders across the world pored over plans and forged unlikely connections as pressure mounted. Both factions knew war was coming and personal glory was a hubris no-one could risk. Any notion that one army could defeat General Rajaxx and his colossal battalion was soon abandoned as fantasy.
      It was a unique time: scattered armies with varying allegiances were thrown together and faction pride was put aside. Let’s be clear: the battle at Ahn’Qiraj was won purely on the principle “united we stand, divided we fall.”
      WARMONGERING VS. GOLD HUNGERING
      This uneasy alliance was not without its critics. Some showed their disapproval by shunning the war effort altogether, but others expressed opposition through acts of aggression. Rogue elements on both sides, unwilling to stomach this perceived betrayal of their faction, did not sit idle. Just as neutral auction houses became a tool for factions to share resources, they also became virtual battlegrounds. Crucial resources were picked up for next-to-nothing and sold on for personal gain. As with all wars, those who profit aren’t always the brave.
      The sheer scale of that war effort is almost unimaginable when we live in a time of extended storage and fast mail. But back then, backpacks and cloth stacks were smaller. Getting precious resources gathered, sorted, and sent took many hours. And it took several weeks to source bandages, food, and equipment—resources that were in high demand and would soon dwindle.
      THE IMPORTANCE OF REMEMBRANCE
      There are parallels with current events that are impossible to ignore: once more, we Azerothians stand united against the Burning Legion as they wreak havoc across the Broken Isles. We attempt to put aside a complex, bitter history in order to defeat a common enemy. We eye each other suspiciously, even as we fight side by side.
      We would do well, in these dark times, to remember the courage and spirit of those who were there at the Gates of Ahn’Qiraj. We must have long memories if we’re to make quick work of the demon forces we now face.
      From January 21–23 we ask that you join us as we remember the fallen and celebrate the victory. All of Azeroth are invited to a special holiday, ‘Call of the Scarab,’ where we will gather to perform acts of remembrance and share our factions’ pride.
    • By Jovovich
      World of Warcraft - [Horde][US-Arthas]Unhuman - Francais - 2/11M - www.unhuman.ca
      Unhuman est à la recherche de nouveaux visages qui seraient intéressés à joindre ses rangs!
      Forum: http://forum.unhuman.ca/forum/7-recrutement/
      Raiding:
      - [Raid] Undying AtBT: 2/11M, 11/11H, 2soir, Mardi et Mercredi 7hpm à 10h30hpm  (EST)
      - [Raid] Baguettes & Squareheads AtBT: 1/11M, 11/11H, 2soir, Mardi et Jeudi 7h30pm à 10h30hpm (EST)
      - [Raid] Casual as Fuck AtBT: 9/11H, 1soir, Mercredi 7hpm à 10h30hpm  (EST)
      PvP:
      - [PvP] Unhuman RBG: 1800 rating, 1soir Dimanche des 9hpm (EST)
      Communauté:
      - Plus de  450 accounts
      Unhuman est plus qu'une guilde de raiding performante, c'est aussi la plus grosse communauté Francophone sur World of Warcraft US. Depuis sa création en 2006, Unhuman cherche à offrir à ses raiders un environnement de jeu qui favorise la progression et ce avec des joueurs d'excellent calibre. Nous sommes constamment à la recherche de nouveaux joueurs que ce soit PVE ou PVP, mais aussi des masters du Pet Battles, des champions de l'Archéologie ou peu importe ce qui vous branche ingame. Vous êtes donc assuré de trouver ce que vous cherchez chez nous peu importe votre style de jeu.
      Pour toutes questions...
      - http://unhuman.ca/
      - Jovovich-Arthas, Guild Master
      - Falfuris-Arthas, Officier
      - Shockadins-Arthas, Officier
    • By Jovovich
      World of Warcraft - [Horde][US-Arthas]Unhuman - French - 2/11M - www.unhuman.ca
      Unhuman is RECRUITING!
      Forum: http://forum.unhuman.ca/forum/7-recrutement/
      Raiding:
      - [Raid] Undying AtBT: 2/11M,11/11H, 2day, Tuesday and Wednesday 7hpm to 10h30hpm  (EAST)
      - [Raid] Baguettes & Squareheads AtBT:1/11M, 11/11H, 2day, Tuesday and Thursday 7h30pm to 10h30hpm (EAST)
      - [Raid] Casual as Fuck AtBT: 9/11H, 1day, Wednesday 7hpm to 10h30hpm (EAST)
      PvP:
      - [PvP] Unhuman RBG: 1800 rating, 1day Sunday starting at 9hpm (EAST)
       
      Community:
      - More than 450 account
      Unhuman is a performing raiding guild with multiple raid groups, it's one of the biggest, for not saying the biggest one, french community on World of Warcraft US. Unhuman has been created in December 2006 and will continue to live for a long time, Unhuman is trying to give to our raiders everything they need to be focus only on good progression!. Unhuman is always looking for new players of all kind, PvE or PvP, even with Battle pets or Archeologists or anything else you can do in the game....You will be sure to find your way with Unhuman!
      For any question...
      - http://unhuman.ca/
      - Jovovich-Arthas, Guild Master
      - Falfuris-Arthas, Officier
      - Shockadins-Arthas, Officier