AT-AT day afternoon creator Patrick Boivin on making his masterpiece

AT-AT Day Afternoon is one of our favourite Web videos ever, so we asked its creator Patrick Boivin all about making it and the equipment he used

You have to respect the sort of creative talent that can not only come up with an idea like AT-AT day afternoon, but shoot it, edit it and create all the special effects -- as a hobby. We asked its creator, Canadian film-maker Patrick Boivin, a few questions about his awesome short films and how he goes about putting them together.

CNET UK: How long have you been making short films?
Patrick: I've been doing short films for the past 15 years. Before that I was doing comic books, so I was already in the business of telling stories. I learned everything by myself, from lighting to SFX and, of course, directing.

What's your day job?
I make a living from directing and producing TV and Web commercials. Lately I've been doing viral clips for companies like Google.

What camera are you using at the moment, and what do you edit on?
I've been using the Canon 5D Mark II for the last year and I'm quite happy with it, this baby is changing everything. As for editing, For the most part, I work with Final Cut Pro and Adobe After Effects. The real reason I work with those on a Mac is that I'm too lazy to learn some other software on PC that I'm sure are way more advanced.

What made you choose the AT-AT as a subject for a film?
Most of the time, there is no reason for me to choose between one subject and another. As soon as I'm done with a project, I need to start another one and the first idea I have is usually the one I choose.

There's been a massive argument in our office about how to pronounce AT-AT. Is it ATT-ATT or AY-TEE, AY-TEE?
I really don't know! I've never been a Star Wars fan. As a kid, my parents never took me to see the movies and they never bought any of the Star Wars toys. Some of my friends had many of them though, and my favourite was the giant dog!

How long did it take to make AT-AT day afternoon?
Fifteen regular days!

How is the AT-AT animated?
It's a combination of stop-motion animation and puppetry. I'm pretty good at special FX, so I can manage to use those two techniques in a new way that produces the effects you see.

What's your next project?
I'm working on several feature film projects, so I might try to concentrate on that for a while. But I never know what idea might surprise me and haunt me in the next weeks, asking me for life!

What do you think George Lucas would say about AT-AT day afternoon?
I like to think that he is still young-at-heart enough to be connected with today's reality. So, hopefully he saw it and it made him laugh. I had that feeling two months ago with Iron Baby. I secretly hoped that Stan Lee (creator of Iron Man) saw it, saying to himself, "I never would have thought it possible!"

What are the nicest and nastiest comments you've had about your work?
Most of the time I do have a couple of bad comments on my videos. A lot of stupid kids tell me that I'm "gay", like it was an insult. But surprisingly, AT-AT day afternoon didn't get bad comments. And the best comments are always those from people telling me that I've influenced them to create their own stuff.

  • Patrick has produced several other short films too, which you can -- and should -- check out on his Vimeo and YouTube channels.
 

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