Dan Ulv | Mount Floret

Dan Ulv

Mount Floret came about after spending years focused on live-action work and reserving 3D projects exclusively for clients, so I felt it was time to undertake an ambitious short film to showcase my current skills while making something that fully departed from reality.

As someone with a tendency towards desaturated, abstract spaces, I decided to do a one-eighty and immerse myself in vivid, natural landscapes this time. The idea of the fictional Mount Floret – a volcano on a distant land that erupts a gigantic, blooming flower in an annual spectacle came to mind, and was set in motion.

I reached out to Chris Harkin, who I had worked with on client projects in the past, and asked if he wanted to bring his magical Houdini skills to the table, and over the course of the next 6-7 months, inbetween stints of client work and travels, this project became a staple of our free time.

My love for storytelling in filmmaking drove this project. I focused on staging action, camera work, sound design, and pacing to create an immersive, cinematic experience that transcends render porn. Contrast became a crucial element in the narrative: from small flowers to a gigantic bloom, a dim, misty cave to a bright, open landscape, and the deeper cave palette to the vivid colors at the climax.

About halfway through the project, having all the shots laid out, something felt missing. Dropping the viewer directly into the cave felt abrupt and lacking context for what unfolds. I dabbled with a few ideas, and landed on introducing a haiku poem written on a sci-fi screen device, adding a human presence and inviting broader interpretations.Initially, I considered using Unreal Engine to explore the exciting world of realtime rendering. However, after several tests, the limitations, such as rough depth of field, became apparent

Ultimately, i reverted my realible C$D+Octane combination where I built outage world with Forester and Quixel and corporation the FX sims Chris so elegantly made. Toward the end of project, sound designer and motion designer Chris Anderson and I spent many evening in this studio, meticulously crafting the audio. Our goal was to create a soundscape that felt real and tangible, while also adding a cinematic touch.

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