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"Ghost" Character

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Jennifer Adams
"Ghost" Character
on Apr 13, 2014 at 8:02:37 am
Last Edited By Jennifer Adams on Apr 13, 2014 at 10:31:00 pm

Hi guys,

I'm looking for advice on an effect for a to-be-filmed project.
There's a character in the film that cannot affect changes on the world around him. The problem is that I want him to be able to come in physical contact with the world, but not to be able to affect it.

In the scene I'm specifically having issues with, he should pull on a car door handle in full force, trying to open it, without it budging even a little. His hand is eventually thrown back forcefully when he lets go due to the extreme resistance. He then also tries to rock the entire car with his whole body's strength, but the car remains completely unresponsive.

I'm not sure how this stuff can be achieved. Filming the character without the car and then pasting it keyed out as another layer seems like a bad strategy, because they would be pretty impossible to match realistically (especially in a close up shot like the one with the door handle).

I'd be grateful if anyone has a suggestion he could share.


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Michael Szalapski
Re: "Ghost" Character
on Apr 14, 2014 at 1:19:36 pm

These two effects sound like something that the actor could do on their own. A good actor should be able to fake this sort of thing.

That being said, you could do the shots the way you were originally thinking with a bit of good planning.

Say you want him to try pulling the car door open by the handle. You have a wide shot of him walking up to the car, cut to a close-up of him reaching for the handle, then you cut to a wide or medium shot over the car towards him. His hands are now no longer in the shot. Thus, in this third shot, you can shoot the car, them remove it and replace it with something for the actor to pull on.
So long as you have him grabbing at where the door handle originally was, all you'll have to do is cut the car out. If you're smart on the camera angle, you won't have to deal with reflections either.

Alternatively, leave the car there and just put something on the other side of the car for him to tug on.

Either way, you can cut once or twice to a close-up of his hands on a door handle where he's faking pulling on it to really help sell it.

- The Great Szalam
(The 'Great' stands for 'Not So Great, in fact, Extremely Humble')

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