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Simulating reflection on fighet pilot helmet visor.

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colourblind
Simulating reflection on fighet pilot helmet visor.
on Jul 22, 2005 at 11:19:22 am



I'm currently preparing to shoot a short movie just for flexing my muscle and keeping my neurons in shape. I will not insist too much on the idea but basically I've got a character wearing a fighter pilot helmet (took me some effort to obtain it but right now I have it on my desk) that sees some things, basically fallout / apocalyptic landscapes. 80% of the short will containt face closeups, lips, reactions etc. while the character is describing what she sees. Secondly, I also want to have reflections of those landscapes in the helmet's visor. The thing is that landscapes will mostly be mattepaitings affter effects and 3D stuff that I will make *after* the shooting. Initially I considered making those before and projecting them from a screen on the helmet's visor but as I calculated (and confirmed just a few minutes ago) even a 24 inch monitor is not enough to cover the reflection surface due to the convexity of the visor. I think I would need a screen of about 3 or 4 meters.

Anyway, perhaps this topic would fit better in the aftereffects forum (I'll also post a copy there). My intention is to simulate the reflections on the visor in post by precomosing the digital landscapes, bring them as a separate layer into a composition containing the footage with the "pilot" and the helmet and then somehow distort them and blend them over the visor.

I would very much like to know (if this is not too much to ask) what approaches would you guys use. I'm pretty much into doing this myself (along with some friends) but at the same time I'm interested in different opinions.

Thanks,
CB


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Mark Suszko
Re: Simulating reflection on fighet pilot helmet visor.
on Jul 22, 2005 at 4:39:45 pm

Maybe one way to cheat this is to project a green gelled light at the helmet, and then any spots reflecting the green will accept the matte paintings in those spots. Most of that would not need to be motion-tracked, I reckon.

For the actual visor, you might try a transparent green filter gel applied to the inside surface. The green lets you do a translucent chromakey, but still lets you see the facial and eye expressions beneath.

Depending on how you stage the cockpit set, I don't see why you can't video project your matte paintings on a screen in front of the helmeted actor's face and pick up natural reflections. From a directorial perspective, this has lots going for it as well, because the actor has real imagery to react to, so his/her performance will look better. A large screen TV would do as well for the source. Frame it right, you only need 2-3 feet of 'real' cockpit seat area behind the head, the rest can be comped in later.


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colourblind
Re: Simulating reflection on fighet pilot helmet visor.
on Jul 22, 2005 at 5:13:34 pm



Ok.

1. There will be no cockpit at all. The character will sit in some sort of undefined space although it will be sugested to the viewer that it's some kind of module / capsule we're talking about.
2. As I said, visor curvature is enormouse and it catches reflections from all around. I would need a really big screen for that. :)
3. That transparent green gel thing might be interesting although I think I would prefer a plain mask afterall. Worth to give it a try thoug.


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Mark Baird
Re: Simulating reflection on fighet pilot helmet visor.
on Jul 26, 2005 at 7:29:31 pm

This sounds pretty straight forward, I think you are on the right track.

I use digital fusion for this type of shot, but I think borris/AE/etc can probably do the same thing...

Just make sure you can motion track the corners of the visor, then you can warp the scene and insert it in the space. fortunatly, because it is both warped and only simi-reflective you can probably get away with a lot.

BTW you are doing the motion tracking to adjust your matt, not to move the image being reflected.

MB


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colourblind
Re: Simulating reflection on fighet pilot helmet visor.
on Jul 27, 2005 at 12:26:47 pm



Well, the shots that will have reflections don't have excesive motion so I think, I bigger render of the frame to be reflected would be enough the warp it, mask it and animate de mask according to the motion of the head.


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Rick Sebeck
Re: Simulating reflection on fighet pilot helmet visor.
on Aug 4, 2005 at 9:06:43 pm

FWY My friend worked on Stealth, which comes out this weekend... and one of his main jobs was to put the reflections back in ALL of thee helmets, and the glass of the cockpit. When they shot, they shot without any glass.

Now go watch the movie and see how impressive that feat was!

P.S. This was done at Digital Domain... they used Lightwave, Maya, and their proprietary node based composting system to pull it off. It took him months and he bitched every day! But, if you can pull it off a little simpler, and still as effective... you can hope to someday make a feature blockbuster too!

P.P.S. The matrix also does a similar effect with sunglasses. I once mimmicd that by hand rotoscoping the lenses.


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