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Advice on practical wipe key

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Andy Seifried
Advice on practical wipe key
on Jul 25, 2011 at 3:24:44 pm

Hey Guys,

I'm getting ready to do a shoot for a client that needs some FX work. I have a shot where I have a "dirty screen" and our actor wipes the screen with a cloth to reveal "clean" footage under the previous shot. I want to shoot the actor wiping solid color off a dry erase board and possibly pull a luma or chroma key from that footage, depending on the color choice.

Have any of you done anything similar to this? Do you have any better suggestions to create the key?

Thanks for the feedback.


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Walter Soyka
Re: Advice on practical wipe key
on Jul 25, 2011 at 5:23:09 pm

I think getting a solid color good enough to pull a key from on a dry erase board will be a lot harder than it may sound. For this specific case, I'd actually plan on keying out the screen entirely, then rotoscoping your wipe matte underneath the talent's cloth wipes. This will give you the ability to composite in both the before and after versions.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Re: Advice on practical wipe key
on Jul 25, 2011 at 5:37:52 pm

You may be able to shoot the actor wiping off colored paint (dried off, thin, with a highly abrasive dry sponge) from a glass sheet in front of a chroma screen. You will need a polarized filter and pretty good lighting that will not give you reflections.

Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Senior VFX Artist


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Andy Seifried
Re: Advice on practical wipe key
on Jul 25, 2011 at 6:12:47 pm

Thanks Ted,

I'll probably give this a shot first. Any suggestion on paint? The abrasive sponge will take off just about anything, but I want to avoid the "pencil eraser" effect of latex based paints. Maybe acrylic?


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Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Re: Advice on practical wipe key
on Jul 25, 2011 at 6:16:41 pm

I would do a few tests first, with several kinds of paints. There's probably pros and cons for any kind, so I would test to see what looks best.

Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Senior VFX Artist


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Andy Seifried
Re: Advice on practical wipe key
on Jul 25, 2011 at 6:10:47 pm

Thanks, I'll make that plan B. Rotoscoping and I don't get along that well. Its always a fight. haha


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Walter Soyka
Re: Advice on practical wipe key
on Jul 25, 2011 at 6:21:49 pm

[Andy Seifried] "Thanks, I'll make that plan B. Rotoscoping and I don't get along that well. Its always a fight. haha"

Understood. The good news here is that you'd be painting the wipes under the edges of the screen itself and under the cloth that your talent would be holding, so there's much less need for precision. It wouldn't be as bad as it may sound.

Sounds like you're getting some good practical tips. No matter what direction you end up going, I'll add another piece of advice: build time into your production schedule for testing. It's risky to stake your entire shoot on one untested effect.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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