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Should I be using Motion for a time-lapse morph edit?

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Julie Steele
Should I be using Motion for a time-lapse morph edit?
on Nov 22, 2009 at 5:23:15 am

Hi,

I am really hoping you guys can help me find a technique to do this idea. What do you professionals recommend?

I am trying to video myself running on the treadmill everyday in the same outfit for three months and edit together for about 7-10 seconds of video to show rapid weight-loss, as if I got on the treadmill and only needed to run for 10 seconds to magically loose fat and gain muscle.

In my test edit, it didn't work out so well, when I tried to edit the frames together it was quite jerky and didn't match up perfectly. I need it to be super smooth. I want it to look like one continuos shot.

Your assistance would be greatly appreciated! You guys would be my hero if you could help. What do you recommend? Also, This scene has not been shot yet, so if you have ideas on camera settings (using AVCHD) that would be helpful too!

Thanks, Julie

p.s. what would you call this? It's not exactly a traditional time lapse nor is it a traditional morph.


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david bogie
Re: You should use good makeup
on Nov 22, 2009 at 7:09:41 pm

shoot the actor against a blue or green screen and drop him into the treadmill shot. If you must have the machine in the shot, you've got to go way beyond the normal stabilization and totally nail it to the floor. Study the manual for the thing carefully so you can figure out how to make the speed exactly the same for every shot. Mark the edges of the platform so you can establish a constant stride length.

Your effect should be faked with makeup and costumes. Trying to do this by compressing real time is a dangerously uncontrollable situation. It's performance art, maybe, but you'd never be able to use it sell a product.

Let's go one more step. How much fat do you think you can lose in three months? How much muscle do you think you can gain? If you change your nutritional practices dramatically, you should only lose about a pound of body fat in a week. More than that can be dangerous. Muscle weighs more than fat but gains in muscle mass are only made with recovery diets, not weight loss diets. and running is only one facet of muscle mass manipulation. If you weight 250 pounds at this moment, at the ned of three months you can weigh about 220. If you are able to pay a trainer to keep you focused and a dietitian to monitor your caloric input, you can probably get that to 195-210 but that is a full time job for you and the other two humans.

Sorry, umm, got off on a rant there.

bogiesan





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Julie Steele
Not Helpful Re: Any other ideas?
on Nov 22, 2009 at 10:29:38 pm

David,

Thank-you for your response. But, I was looking for help in creating a visual effect not advice on how to lose weight.

Please if you or someone knows a way in which to match up frames so there is no obvious cut. I am only using about 2-4 frames from each days shoot at 24p to total 7-10 seconds.

If motion won't work for this effect please let me know. I need to find something that WILL work.

Thanks, Julie


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Mikey Bouchereau
Re: Not Helpful Any other ideas?
on Nov 23, 2009 at 1:58:24 am

You can do this in shake very easily. What you need to do is shoot 2 actors or yourself twice. Then you can use the morph node to have the body shape, face anything else morph (warp) with a subtle crossfade. You can also do this a bit if after effects but its a lot more work. To get it done in shake there is a great tutorial on how to do this in the cow tutorials. the Tutorial is a bit simple he uses a still image. I did this exact effect for my senior effects project, It did take me a lot of shots and a lot of retiming of edits. The difference for me was I had 2 different actors running around a corner and the hardest part was getting their body movements to match.

Typically for this type of action you would use a CG body until you can sync it up with the separate body type.

But really you are looking for a warping/morphing tool. Motion just doesn't have it sorry. (well none that I know of)

You might be better off using photos instead.

Good luck to you.

Mikey B!

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Check Out My Sky Replace Tutorial


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Julie Steele
Re: Not Helpful Any other ideas?
on Nov 23, 2009 at 2:04:19 am

HI three things.

1. Can you tell me what this tutorial is called? I can't seem to find it on this site.
2. Do you have a link to your senior project? I'd love to see it.
3. Did the new motion take over the shake effects? Or do I have to find some old copy of shake? And will it integrate into Final Cut 7.


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Mikey Bouchereau
Re: Not Helpful Any other ideas?
on Nov 23, 2009 at 2:15:43 am

Sadly I dont have any of my work when I was in College, I had a really bad hard drive crash. At least since thing I have learned to use only raided drives and to back up any critical work.

Here is the shake tutorial. Remember this is a simple tutorial showing on a still image but it will teach you the basics.

http://library.creativecow.net/articles/mench_michael/morph.php

What you will need to do is use FCP or your NLE of choice to get the clips to be as close as possible, and as you do the morph you animate the control points to move with the person. IE as a person runs you track their head, torso, legs, arms, etc and keyframe the morph control points so that warps properly. Hopefully that is a push in the right direction.

Mikey B!

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Scott Sheriff
Re: Not Helpful Any other ideas?
on Nov 23, 2009 at 4:09:48 am

If you are going to pull this off it has to be planned very well, and the runner has to be willing to put in the practice to pull this off. The more you can do in camera, the easier the post will be. If you can successfully run consistent each day,you may be able to pull this off with nothing more than 5 frm dissolves.
Camera
Even if you think you can keep the camera still for that long, something will happen. You need to find a subtle reference in the BG so that the framing can be checked each time.
The machine and the tripod locations have to be marked.
Even better if you can build a stage and bolt them to it. Use a Hi Hat instead of a tripod. Either use a fixed lens (best), use a zoom at the full wide(OK), or turn off the servo and tape the zoom ring to keep it from getting bumped.
The camera iris has to be the same every time. Tape it.
The less of the treadmill and the more bland the BG is, the easier it will be to slightly alter the framing in post to help line up the shots.
Treadmill
Mark the entire belt with footmark targets where your running stride lands. You may have to compromise your stride so that the marks are symmetrically placed along the tread. The left-right pattern has to work out seamlessly on the belt.
Mark the treadmill frame so that you are running in the same spot.
Practice running on the targets, and staying between the frame marks. While shooting use a spotter to coach your foot and arm placement.
Have a mirror off camera you can see, with marks you want to keep yourself in.
Use a treadmill with a digital speed readout, and use the exact same speed.
Make sure the belt is at the proper tension throughout the sequence. They stretch over time and might gradually slip, slowing your stride.
Arm placement has to be consistent also. Practice keeping the sync between your legs and arms, and the amount your arm swings consistent.
Set up a monitor with targets marking your placement on the belt, and arm swing distance so an off camera coach can guide you.
Mark you lights, and flood settings so they can be duplicated in case you loose a lamp.
Don't skimp on the amount you record each day.
Record a click track on CD, and play it while you run to help you with your pace.
Make sure you have at least two of everything you wear on camera, if you don't Murphy will have his way.
Instead of using a treadmill, use a bike. It might be easier to keep in the same place.
Third idea. Do the whole thing as a chromakey, even get a used treadmill and paint it green too. Add a nice looking treadmill and BG in post. Then the only thing you have to worry about is the stride length and pace.
Have fun and good luck.


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Julie Steele
Re: Not Helpful Any other ideas?
on Nov 23, 2009 at 4:56:09 am

Hi Scott!

That idea with the metronome is brilliant! I set it at quarter notes 160bpm. The metronome as audio will make lining up the audio for matching the visual much easier. Again brilliant! All of your ideas are helpful.

What program do you recommend doing the cross fades in? Do you really think I can pull this off without a morph or some post effect between cuts?


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Scott Sheriff
Re: Not Helpful Any other ideas?
on Nov 23, 2009 at 6:17:54 am

Julie,
I would try the post in FCP and work with the timing and alignment of the scenes using cuts. Once your as good as it gets, start working with dissolves, adjusting the length as needed. You might find a 'happy accident' by trying different rates, lengths or type of dissolve. If you still don't have what you want, then look for someone to morph what you have. At least at that point you will have the best material isolated to build the effect from.
But first, I would do a proof of concept test and run 10 jog sessions separated by a few minutes off the mill between recordings. Use these to work out the click track pace, critique' your running and ability to duplicate the motion, and to have some footage to play with before investing all the time.
Glad I could throw you a couple of good ideas. I learned TV in the old school analog days, when we had to figure out how to do things in camera, or what could be done with a 3 bank switcher and a few tape machines.
Best of luck!


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david bogie
Re: Not Helpful Any other ideas?
on Nov 23, 2009 at 3:38:55 pm

Besides the metronome and a decision to do this with keying, this is pretty much what I suggested. Stabilization and matching the pace are critical. Too bad you only decided to see the part of my post you felt personal about.

> shoot the actor against a blue or green screen and drop him into the treadmill shot. If you must have the machine in the shot, you've got to go way beyond the normal stabilization and totally nail it to the floor. Study the manual for the thing carefully so you can figure out how to make the speed exactly the same for every shot. Mark the edges of the platform so you can establish a constant stride length. <

bogiesan



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david bogie
You need a differnt kind of help
on Nov 23, 2009 at 4:29:28 pm

> What do you professionals recommend? I am trying to video myself running on the treadmill everyday in the same outfit for three months and edit together for about 7-10 seconds of video to show rapid weight-loss, as if I got on the treadmill and only needed to run for 10 seconds to magically loose fat and gain muscle. <

Let's do some math.
10 seconds of video is 300 frames, is that correct? 30 frames per second times 10 seconds. yes. Three hundred frames. Divide that by three months or 90 days, oh, heck, let's just round it off to 100 days, what do you say? That's three or four frames a day.
You shoot a minute of footage each day, taking a few seconds to come up to speed and to orient yourself on the platform.
You pull out one second of footage from each day's shooting and then trim out the four frames you need. To shoot a person running, you must use a fast shutter speed or the moving parts are just a blur. If the feet and arms are a blur, your weight-loss effect must concentrate on the torso, breasts, neck, and face. What is your costume? Huge difference in this effect being a waste of time between you wearing a jogging suit, a body 'tard, or being naked. Which is it?

In the visual effect you are planning, perhaps without thinking it through very carefully, which is why you have prefaced your inquiry with "What would you professionals recommend?" and that, for better or worse, is what we're here for, your 100 separate sequences of three or four frames are not only going to be difficult to assemble, they allow no time for transitions; these are all hard edits. However, while the opportunity exits that the process of linking those 300 individual frames together will result in a completely magical visual sequence, if you carefully deconstruct similar effects shots, you will notice it is the acting, lighting, and camera angles that help sell the shot and make it watchable. Effects rarely sell a shot all by themselves.

If this were a commercial, the story would be propelled along by a sequence of edits, not a concentration on an effect. There might be a cutaway to the actor's face to show their concentration, wind propelled pixy dust on the wide shots to emphasize the dripping away of fat with a motivating lighting effect on the set to give the impression the pixy dust gives off light, a change in lighting from flat and dull to a heavy backlight with a lovely amber filter, a subtle change in shutter speed from slow to fast to make the shift from lethargy and apathy to engagement and the enthusiasm of seeing positive results. Another cutaway to the closeup that clearly shows the pleasure and satisfaction of having lost 200 pounds in 3 months. A costurem change may have happened along the way, moving from a baggy jogging suit to the disclosure of a leotard or running shorts and sports bra.

Morphing and dissolves require time, 15 to 60 frames for each transition. The new Disney version of Dickens' "Christmas Carol" features a great morphing shot at the end of the Ghost of Christmas Past episode. About 20 faces morph in a shot that is no more than 15 seconds long. The first face and the last face are up much longer than all of the others so, if you do the math, no single face ever really has time be stabilized; they just keep changing. And that means the shot is all about the effect, not being able to recognize all of the faces.

If you are going to compress three months of real time into 10 seconds of screen time, you can do it by shooting only four or five separate setups. If you are going to pursue acquiring and learning a morphing program or filter, you don't need to do any of this stuff at all since you will simply modify the person on the treadmill and that can be done with only two shots, before and after. But to do serious morphing, you must be able to isolate the character and that requires keying or rotoscoping.

bogiesan





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Julie Steele
Re: You need a differnt kind of help
on Nov 23, 2009 at 7:49:58 pm

Hi David,

Thank you for taking so much time in thinking this through. And you are right in the reason I am here, for professional like you who have been down this road before give advice.

Perhaps, I should explain the shot a little better. This is for a short moment in a documentary. What I am trying to do is make it look real, and perhaps instead of "magical" it's more demonstrating someone having to do "little to no effort" to achieve results that normally take a ton of dedication and time for everyone else.

The weight loss is only about 25lbs. From 140-115lbs. The outfit is small sports bra and very short tight shorts. Going from flab to firm. So, it isn't biggest loser style weight loss. But, it needs to be noticeable.

Do you really think this should be shot on a blue screen or green screen for to work?

Thank you again. - Julie


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Scott Sheriff
Re: You need a differnt kind of help
on Nov 23, 2009 at 8:45:05 pm

"Morphing and dissolves require time, 15 to 60 frames for each transition."


Morphing yes, but dissolves can be 2 frames. It's done all the time. Old school guy's used to call these 'soft cuts'.
If this was done well it might look like stop frame animation.



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Scott Sheriff
Re: You need a differnt kind of help
on Nov 24, 2009 at 3:22:54 am

What was I thinking.
I meant you can have a 1 frame dissolve. AKA the 'Soft Cut'.


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Julie Steele
Re: You need a differnt kind of help
on Nov 25, 2009 at 7:05:02 am

How do you do a 1 frame dissolve?


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Scott Sheriff
Re: You need a differnt kind of help
on Nov 25, 2009 at 7:42:00 am

A 1 frame dissolve gives one frame that is a 50-50 overlap between the two adjoining shots. It is most often used to soften the look of a cut edit, when it just needs 'a little something' to make the cut look smoother, while still retaining the look of a cut.
Sure, not a dissolve in the traditional sense, but just another tool in the bag.
Check out the opening montage' of the MGM film 'Grand Prix' sometime. There are a lot of these 'soft cuts' in there.
You can also use these to simulate a camera flash in a shot. Do a cut to a solid frame of white, then a 1 frame (or 2) dissolve back to the original shot. Add a camera or flash S/FX to help sell it, works great.
As a transition between two different shots you can go for 5 or so frame dissolve.


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Scott Sheriff
Re: You need a differnt kind of help
on Nov 25, 2009 at 8:44:41 am

[Julie Steele] "How do you do a 1 frame dissolve?"

BTW my other post I was assuming you meant 'how do you use' or 'is that really a dissolve', which I may have read completely wrong.
In a literal way, to do a 1 frame dissolve, you just need to set the FX duration for 1, but this would be in FCP, not Motion, as this thread might be OT in the Motion forum.


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Randy Little
Re: Should I be using Motion for a time-lapse morph edit?
on Dec 3, 2009 at 5:31:02 am

This is at worst (unless just shot horrible) a day or 2 of work. You need RE:FLEX or other morpher (shake Nuke what ever that has a morpher) I can do one for you if you want to send me once transition. This is simple simple stuff if just you have to know how to do it. Once you see it done you will go OH THAT'S IT?



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