Seamless Transition Effect
Normally I like to word my subject lines so that, at a quick glance, one can determine the question to follow. But in this case I wasn't really sure of the name of the effect I want to create.
A client has requested that I recreate the following transition/effect. The camera dollies left to right through a scene. At the end of the dolly move the camera passes across a foreground object which obscures the lens. As the camera moves past the obscuring object it is revealed that the camera is now in a different setting. The dolly keeps moving and is again obsured only to come out in yet another setting. And so on, and so on, etc.
While I've never done this type of transition it doesn't seem to be that difficult. I am, however, only the Director/DP on this project so I thought I'd seek some editorial input before handing this off to someone else. I'm thinking all I have to do is keep the various dolly moves at a consistent speed going into and out of the scenes and be a little inventive with the objects that obscure the lens. What haven't I considered?
Sounds like you've considered about everything. I've used similar transitions, usually shot by accident. Just pick an object to shoot in the foreground that will at least cover the screen from top to bottom, but not necessarily from side to side unless the client wants it. Just be sure you continue your dolly shot so the object enters from the right and exits left entirely. Otherwise your editor (or you, if you're editing it) will have to push your outgoing shot off and the wipe won't look as clean. I prefer it when the foreground objects don't cover the entire screen. Like a car driving through a shot. It enters with the top and bottom of the car clipped offscreen, then drives itself offscreen to reveal the next shot.
By all means, try to get a constant speed into and out of every object that will be used as a wipe for consistency, but also try to get some shots at different speeds too. Gives the editor something to play with and can help with pacing. May also keep the moves from getting boring or expected if there are a lot of them. Hope this helps some. Let us know how it turns out.
I have done this using the 4-point and 8-point garbage mattes.
Layer the outgoing shot on V2, and the incoming shot on V1. Use the garbage matte to make a box or shape of the object you are using to wipe the shot. Keyframe each and every frame until the first shot is gone.
I tried to do one of these a long time ago using just a steady camera dolly move, and the results were poor, without a motion control rig of some kind it's just really hard.
Luckily, we can cheat now. Just shoot full frame wide shots of the two rooms and do a DVE move where one frame pushes the other off screen, and add an animated layer over the seam like a photoshopped image of the between-walls space (pipes, wires, stuff). This is even better if you can aquire in HD and mix down to SD, because you have more room to do other moves like zooms and re-positions to line things up yet retain much resolution.
For object wipes, it's always easiest if as already mentioned the object touches out of frame top and bottom, but if you really feather the wipe well, use fast, good timing, and trick the viewer's eye to look at the best part of the wipe, it is over before they notice any parts you don;t like.
have to remember though, that effects that call attention to themselves are usually not the best thing to do. I understand you might be going for a stylistic statement, and there are no absolutes, but do it because it's motivated, not just because it's cool.
Finally, a lot of shots like these *look* like wipes but are actually CUTS. Especially i'm talking about when people or cars "wipe" thru the frame, often, if the object is dark enough, you can do a hard cut just as thery are about to re-open the view to the scene behind. It works really well when the following scene is much tigher or much wider, but otherwise maintains some orientation or continuity witht he previous one.
First example I can think of: beach scene in JAWS, Brody (or was it the mom?) looking past bathers to try and see if some kid is getting eaten among the crowd.
And some of the reel changes in Hitch's "Rope" were like this.
my guess is you are trying to move at a constant speed and retain wall thicknesses to feel as if the camera is dollying through walls. i can always see when they have made an edge wipe or mask with an image in post to emulate this. the surest way would be to shoot it practical. obviously, $$$ and time. but way cool. so do the best you can in post. below is a link to a couple things. not exactly what you are looking for, but maybe you could suggest something similar?
use of masks to with a constant speed:
i downloaded this for you to take a look at as an example of using content and editorial to mask the walls. obviously action makes it easier, but you get the idea
(director: jonathan glazer for levi) quite a nice spot. won gold at cannes lions:
Well that was some very cool stuff indeed. I don't know where people get all that creativity. I've always admired those who break free of the confines of commercial work and spread their creative wings. I'm not sure whether that requires a certain type of client or just requires the ability to sell a client on a vision that you have. I'll have to study those videos a while to see what I can learn. Thanks for taking the time to show those two peices of work. It certainly gave me some food for thought with respect to the project on which I'm working.
"I've always admired those who break free of the confines of commercial work and spread their creative wings."
i as well. unfortunately, the american ad agencies are often attempting to sell, in veign, high concept evokative ideas to clients who live by the american protestant code ethic... and RETAIL (i.e. want fast results). which is very effective in squashing solid (more effective in the long run) ideas. euro markets are much more forward thinking. of course there are a few exceptions here in the states, but few.
If you think the dolly will end up to be too slow, and thus reveal the trick, here's a down-and-dirty cheat:
1.) Shoot the scenes
2.) take a digital photo of the object you want to use as your wipe coverer (no flash - use lighting from the shoot)
3.) in photoshop, magnify and use the eraser tool to turn it into a matte (use a 1-2 lixel soft edge)
4.) import it into the NLE and move it from RT to LT covering a wipe from one scene to the next
Yeah, it's yucky, but they used it in all Ben Affleck's action movies, so IT'S GOTTA BE GOOD! ...?
I agree with everyone here pretty much. Keeping the movement fairly consistant helps a lot, but you can get away with some differences (a small speed ramp to match them might work for example).
I've done practical and post approaches to this in the past. On one short film, for a shot that's meant to look like to goes through the ceiling to an upper apartment, we just craned the camera up to the ceiling, where there was a small black object to obscure it, and then we craned from behind a similar object on the floor up to simulate the entrance into the upstairs. It was pure black in the wipe, and I used a small push to match the speed.
For others I have extracted elements from footage to use a foregroud wipes (cars, people walking past, a fridge once) and for others we have specifically shot wipe elements against greenscreen.
It can be as simple as a straight cut in a blackframe (ala "Rope") or as complex as carefully rotoscoped foreground elements and precisely matched camera moves.
In the movie Ronin, directed by John Frankenheimer, he uses several of these transitions, not to go from scene to scene only, but also to advance the time within a scene - there is a scene at the end where DeNiro is chasing the bad guys through a crowd - if the scene went in real time, it would be like 20 seconds of moving through the crowd - but they have a person pass in front of the camera, quick dissolve to another person passing in front of the camera like 50 feet ahead, and it looks like the same long camera move.
I recently did a wipe between the last shot of my video and the credits, with the wipe following a woman who walked from left to right - this was a coincidental stroke of luck - also there is a scene in the original Star Wars where Chewbacca leads a wipe to another scene.
Sex and the City is full of these kinds of transitions and they are seemless and highly effective as they let the story progress smoothly.