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Workflow input for implementation of 3D model in aerial footage

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Lars Kristian Flemmen
Workflow input for implementation of 3D model in aerial footage
on Dec 17, 2016 at 12:00:01 pm

Greetings, experts.

I am about to embark on a project where I'll be composting a 3D hotel into a series of aerial shots of snowy mountains.
The footage has not yet been shot and the model has not been made/bought, so I am interested in all kinds of tips and input for the best process and workflow.

About the footage:
We will shoot a series of flybys, circling, in/out-flight of the same "spot" on a remote mountain, from a helicopter. Shots will primarily be wide. Lighting will be overcast, midday, and movement quite slow and smooth.
The mountains are covered in snow, but with a series of bare spots and rocks that will make nice track marks I think.

About the 3D model:
The model is supposed to be of a big mountain hotel/lodge/mansion (imagine the grand Budapest hotel in winter). I was planning on buying a nice looking model and tweaking it to fit in C4D, as I am no 3D artist myself. But I was also looking into creating a model from photos as there is a very nice building just 30 mins away from here, that would fit perfectly. Any experience on this subject is much appreciated.

About the final shots:
The final shots will all be from a distance, quite wide shots. No close ups, but distant shots that emphasize how remote and lonely the hotel is located.

I will also build a snow storm and fog system that engulfs the mountains and hotel, which might disguise certain simplicities in the model I reckon.


I think I've got the AE side of things covered, but I'm not especially skilled or experienced in the 3D part of the job. So I'm curious about what you think of the following:

- [ ] What are your thoughts on the level of detail in the model? The hotel doesn't need to be too detailed as the shots will be quite wide and snow/fog will cloud the scene. What's the best process and choices to ensure nice speed and workflow between AE and C4D? And of course working with the comp within AE?

- [ ] What's the correct/best process to simplify a model in C4D? Is it necessary?

- [ ] I imagine that a 3D model created from photos will be considerably easier to work with inside AE, but of course not very detailed, and how does such models respond to lighting etc? Is this even a path to consider?

- [ ] Is element 3D to crude for such an implementation job? Is cineware the way to go? Any other thoughts or ideas?

Any ideas on workflow and technique are much appreciated!

Best regards,

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Daniel Waldron
Re: Workflow input for implementation of 3D model in aerial footage
on Dec 17, 2016 at 4:13:46 pm

Sounds like you're on the right track. I would buy a 3D model, that way it will interact with the camera movement and lighting you build in After Effects. I personally would use Element 3D because that is what I am more comfortable with and it can certainly handle a shot like this. If you have more experience in C4D, by all means use that.

I recommend purchasing a cheap stock footage shot and doing a quick test to make sure you think if everything when it comes time to shoot. I take it the helicopter isn't cheap!

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