VFX breakdown of 'Before Love Ends': A drama short film edited with HitFilm Pro

edited October 2019 in HitFilm User Gallery

I had the opportunity to work on a drama short film which is also a music video for a local singer. It's called "Before Love Ends," performed by Lyubena Ninova:


Due to production difficulties we had to do some of the scenes as VFX shots and here is the breakdown:


I did the environments in Blender and composited it in HitFilm. Color grading is also done in HitFilm.


  • @Lazarov ; Ok, I cheated and just watched the breakdown first, but very impressive work there!  Had I watched the actual cut first, I'm not certain that I would have seen the digital backgrounds for what they are.  The people really sit well in the environments.  Excellent.

  • edited October 2019

    Hey, thanks. There is a spot where it's clearly visible and it's not in the breakdown for that reason :)

  • @Lazarov ; Ah, incentive to watch the actual video! :) 

  • Spoilers are allowed though :)

  • tddavis : spoilers are allowed though :)

  • @Lazarov ; Ok, I put aside the shots I now knew were digital and watched trying to spot the one you mentioned and to be honest nothing jumped out at me.  It looked really solid all the way through in my opinion, but then, as I have said elsewhere before, I have old eyes so I'm not the sharpest viewer.  I'll let others weigh in before you post the shot you're talking about so don't say yet.

  • Some shots were obvious as VFX but it didn't seem 'wrong'. Instead it seemed more of the style of the video.
    The opening scene I even wondered if it was a 3D model.... which wasn't a negative.

    I think I struggled most when  the 'dream like' VFX world became more real. I don't know if that was intentional but once I was invested in a style it was difficult to be taken into another one.

    Hope that makes sense.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    Excellent video. It's a good song, the storytelling is clear, and I felt bad for the couple when things didn't work out as hoped. 

    Great VFX work. If I hadn't been warned ahead of time, I just would have accepted the sets. Even with the foreknowledge there were environments I thought were sets, so you really nailed the render and composite work. 

  • tddavis Thanks for the feedback, indeed. I'm glad the VFX are not that obvious. They are there just for budget reasons and don't mean to steal the show


  • DafterThings You are correct about the "dream like" style and the transition to the real world. I think the color grading is responsible for that.

  • edited October 2019

    Triem23 Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the story. Yes, the idea was to be a drama, which in the original idea had to be a period story during WW II, ending with the death of the officer, but I wanted to change the script with something on a positive note. At the end he holds the brooch pin she weared on her performance which kind of leaves the ending open for an interpretation. And thank you for the feedback on the VFX. I'm glad it's transparent for most of the eyes. We had to film in a real ballroom, but there was a last minute change and the producer didn't find anything similar within their budget, while the official announcement date of the video was already set. I took the risk to film the ballroom scenes on a green screen, although I recorded in ProRes 422 at only 8 bit, which is not ideal for VFX. But I am happy it's not that obvious (or at least nobody complained so far).

  • Very cool stuff @Lazarov , thank you for sharing. learned a lot just by watching. :)

  • spydurhank thanks. An article showing more of the behind the scenes of that project is pending for publishing at Fstoppers. You can probably find more interesting details there like lighting diagrams and such.

  • Thank you, I love breakdown videos. They are one of the coolest things ever. Cool song by the way. :)

  • edited October 2019

    spydurhank Thanks. I'll tell the singer.

  • @Lazarov Awesome job!  I watched the final video first and was very surprised at the amount of compositing when I watched the breakdown.  The only shot in the final that looked like a comp was the shot of the singer alone in the ballroom.   The medium shot of her looked good, but the wide shot at 1:11 is somewhat obvious that it's a composite.  Hindsight is 20/20, but maybe some foreground objects in the wide shot might have sold it more.  Minor detail, though.  Excellent work!

  • Stargazer54 It's another shot of her alone that I didn't like how turned out. I think it was the closest one, that you thought looked good :) Thanks for the detailed feedback. I really appreciate when filmmakers and editors share their honest opinion.

  • In two words: Great job!

  • Gelqone Thank you very much.

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