Emmy-Nominated Short ‘Little Bird’ Makes Online Debut

On the heels of its recent nomination in the first annual Children & Family Emmy Awards race, writer/director Chris Perry’s stylized science-fiction short Little Bird is now available to watch online. The film is up for Outstanding Short Form Program, with the kids’ Emmy winners to be announced December 11.

Little Bird tells the story of a young astronaut trying to rescue her father. Featuring the voices of animation icons Phil LaMarr (Samurai Jack, Futurama, MADtv) and Cree Summer (Rugrats, Inspector Gadget), the short was produced using Epic Games’ Unreal Engine and with the support of an Epic MegaGrant.

Little Bird
Little Bird

“Short films are incredibly important incubators for film. Because they’re small in scope, and generally non-commercial, they offer a unique opportunity to try new things,” says Perry. “It’s wonderful that the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences has a short form category to help encourage this kind of experimentation — and of course it’s an amazing tribute to our cast and crew that we earned a nomination!”

Led by tools developer Raf Anzovin, the Little Bird team created two Unreal Engine plugins to enable their stylized linear production pipeline. The first of these, which shares the name of the short, is now available on github.

Little Bird
Little Bird

“Little Bird (the plugin) enables real-time multi-pass rendering and compositing in-engine,” says Anzovin. “Built on top of Unreal’s compositing plugin Composure, LB is what allowed us to break free from the default photorealism of Unreal and use our own custom lighting and compositing strategies per shot. It includes a robust paint projection system and a custom rim light implementation that helps maintain a graphic look. We’re excited to get other creators using the system and are actively in the process of documenting it as we speak.”

Little Bird
Little Bird

Learn more about the making of the film and track its progress on Instagram. You can also find behind-the-scenes R&D insights on Anzovin’s personal blog.

Little Bird is now available to watch in full for free on Vimeo.

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