Artist Spotlight: How to Level Up with Shutter Authority
Shutter Authority is headed up by Indian filmmaker and VFX artist Raghav. He works with a team to create spinoff videos that pay homage to popular movies, TV shows, and games. He’s amassed a raving fan base of 4.4 million subscribers on YouTube and has almost hit two billion views in total! Raghav’s shorts range from live-action and CG composites to fully 3D-generated characters and environments. His storylines are fast-paced and often end with a genuinely unexpected twist! To add to the engaging nature of his content, you can expect to see plenty of action shots, fight scenes, camera-shaking explosions, and all-around cool VFX. Rokoko frequently collaborates with Shutter Authority to provide motion capture animation tools for their productions. In this interview, we chat about Raghav’s source of inspiration and how he grew Shutter Authority to such success.
You’ve grown your YouTube channel to a staggering 4.4M+ subscribers. What’s the best thing about your journey?
One of the best things is the cool folk that we get to collaborate with so often. For example, they may be a company that makes some cutting-edge filmmaking/VFX tech or a movie/game that I'm really excited about. It also adds a lot of pressure because we have to make sure our videos not only stay 'good' but also keep getting better. But I definitely see that as a positive thing :)
Where does your inspiration come from? And how do you decide which projects to work on?
I find inspiration in a lot of different places — movies/TV shows, games, and all the cool stuff independent creators have been putting out on the internet in recent years.
It's about finding balance between brand projects and personal projects. Still, I always try to think of ideas around stuff I've been eager to experiment with, which makes sure there's always something exciting to learn on every project.
How long do you generally work on a project before it is published?
Usually a month, but some projects have taken us two to three months to make. Thanks to modern tools like motion capture, real-time rendering, and advancements in 3D software, we're able to make cool stuff without sacrificing quality in shorter turnaround times.
→ Read more: How to do motion capture at home
How did you get into filmmaking and 3D? Would you have started if you knew how much work was ahead?
Growing up, I was always into drawing and making flipbook animations. I got into 'filmmaking' when my parents got me a VHS camcorder in 2004. I made lots of stop-motion animations and action short films with my friends, and there was zero post-production involved because there was no way to transfer the footage from my camcorder to my computer. It was all in-camera editing, so I'd hit stop, rewind to the correct point and start recording again. Fun times!
“I wasn't really thinking so much about the long run back then. It was always about trying to get this one effect to work for a short film we were working on at the time.” I got into 3D sometime around 2006 with this free 3D program called Anim8or. I couldn't figure out how to model anything with it, so I'd just make a bunch of primitive objects and stack them to make my shapes. I also didn't know how to render anything, so I used to 'Print Screen' my screen and cut out the objects in MS Paint. To answer your second question, I wasn't really thinking so much about the long run back then. It was always about trying to get this one effect to work for a short film we were working on at the time. It was just little baby steps like that. But looking back at it now, I can surely say it has definitely been well worth it. I can't imagine doing something else now :)
Many of your YouTube videos are inspired by pop culture and classic films — which films are your own favorites?
Some of the movies I loved growing up were Jurassic Park, Mummy, The Mask, Raimi Spiderman, and Rush Hour, all movies by Bruce Lee.
And do you have any “guilty pleasure” films or shows?
Guilty pleasures? It would have to be Godzilla 1998.
My all-time favorites are 1917, Gravity, Edge of Tomorrow, Mission Impossible series, anything by Sacha Baron Cohen, Stranger Things, etc. The list goes on…
Are there any other CG and VFX artists you’d still like to work with on projects?
Yes! This list of amazing VFX/CG artists who inspire me is growing faster than ever before.
Here are some awesome artists I'm lucky to call friends that I'd love to work with on projects in the future:
- Corridor Crew
- Andrew Kramer
- Production Crate
- And many more
You have a bachelors in polymer/plastics engineering — when did you realize that filmmaking was your true calling?
I got into filmmaking long before I got into engineering, and it stayed a hobby all along. The true calling realization part happened when my YouTube channel started to grow faster around 2016 (literally ten years after I started the channel), which was when I decided I would pursue it full-time.
Do you ever wish you had more time for personal projects?
I certainly wish I had more time to work on my personal projects, but luckily I've been able to incorporate some of my personal project ideas into the brand work I do on my channel. Most brands offer a lot of creative freedom, so it ends up feeling like personal projects.
“Most brands offer a lot of creative freedom, so it ends up feeling like personal projects.”
Do you ever see yourself transitioning into a director/storyteller role for feature-length projects?
That's definitely one of my goals for the future. I have a couple of original ideas for a feature film/longer form series, and I'm planning on experimenting with it through my short films in the coming months. Hopefully, it gets bigger over time into something mainstream :)
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Rokoko’s motion capture tools are used by studios worldwide to record fast, quality mocap animation. Want to know more about how Rokoko can speed up the production workflow of your short films? Click here to book a demo.
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