6 Visually Outstanding Short Films which Easily Rival Triple-A Blockbusters / by Andreas Kopriva

Hello everyone! 

Today we're focusing on pure eye candy. That is not to say that the following shorts lack anything in terms of story or character development, but simply that they've been chosen primarily because they are paragons of excellence in visual effects and cinematography. 

The reason such shorts are worth sharing and important is primarily due to the fact that their visual fidelity is not necessarily correlated with high budgets and huge teams, but usually revolves around the tireless work of much smaller teams, focusing on getting the best results they can with what they have. 

Without further ado, here are 6 gorgeous shorts that you should definitely watch : 

6. SUNDAYS - MISCHA ROZEMA AND POSTPANIC PICTURES

As soon as the introductory sequence had started, I knew I was in for something special, but I truly wasn't expecting this. Scene by scene, the visual complexity increases to the point where you can't help but be in awe at just how much work went into this production. Gorgeous CGI, excellent composition, a colour pallette to die for and a dystopian world which reminds of Gilliam's Brazil and the best of Kafka complete a very compelling package. 

The team behind it is trying to develop the script to a feature length film, and I sincerely wish them all the best, because this would make for an awesome sci-fi epic. 

5. FUGU AND TAKO - BEN WEST

Directed by award winning filmmaker Ben West, this short is pretty, fantastically weird but absolutely heart warming in its candid depiction of friendship. Bizarre story aside, the visual effects are what absolutely elevate it above and beyond most shorts. The life-like nature and animation of the puffer fish head is right up there with the best creature effects I have seen in a film. You can read more about the effects pipeline here; it's a pretty interesting read (well it was for me ;)). 

The team behind is trying to get a graphic novel up and running based on Fugu and Tako. Check it out and show your support here

4. MONSTER ROLL - Dan Blank

This is what Pacific Rim would look like if it really did not take itself quite so seriously (and yes, I am aware that this pre-dates PR ;)). The whole short acts as a pseudo-trailer to a fictional future movie (which really needs to be made ASAP) which acts as an homage to older Japanese monster movies. You have your Giant Octopi, Massive Crabs and team of elite misfits acting as the hope of mankind. 

The effects in general are great and the humour is spot-on. Check out the behind-the-scenes here and cross your fingers that this develops into a franchise!

3. SOLIPSIST - ANDREW THOMAS HUANG

Andrew Huang's Solipsist is probably the most experimental short on this list, in that it's more of a Tool videoclip via way of Bjork than a narrative short. Actually, comparing Solipsist to pre-existing media does it a huge injustice, as the creative prowess of the team behind this mini-masterpiece is truly awe-inspiring. 

This sensation of awe is further amplified when you find out that it's pretty much all practical effects. Honestly, I can't really think of more words to throw at this so just watch it already and share it with everyone you know. This is must-watch material. 

2. ENVOY - David Weinstein

Envoy, along with Sundays at the top of this list, is another proof-of-concept short with aspirations of being turned to a full-length feature in the, hopefully near, future. It plays out as a loving homage to the high-budget sci-fi films of the 80s and 90s, particular those by Steven Spielberg. In fact, I could have been fooled that this actually WAS a Spielberg short as all the boxes are ticked : 

  1. Troubled young boy trying to show something to a skeptical family member - check! 
  2. Threatening looking creature which appears to have a heart of gold and which creates a connection with aforementioned boy - check! 
  3. Evil military commander which just doesn't get it - check! 
  4. A daring rescue - check!

All in all, Envoy is a masterfully filmed short which could easily become a summer blockbuster. The Protoss meets Predator aesthete behind the creature design is just the cherry on gorgeous cake!

1. L3.0 - Alex DECELLE 

From what I gather, this was a student project with a pretty minimal crew. It's an amazing, Pixar-esque short which hits all the right emotional notes as a little robot is shown trying to keep itself occupied after an apparently apocalyptic event. 

The character design is elegantly simple and the environments oscillate between photorealism and a more stylized, cartoonish approach. Actually I'm not 100% sure if the environments are filmed backplates with the character composited on or if they're fully CG, which speaks volumes to the technical expertise exhibited here. 

Hope you enjoyed the above collection and, if you can spare the time, check out these artist's facebook pages and give them your support. They definitely deserve it. 

Till next time, take care and have a good one!