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Shooting for Screen Replacement (Compositing in Post)

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Chris Uy
Shooting for Screen Replacement (Compositing in Post)
on Mar 18, 2013 at 7:58:59 pm

Hey all,

I've got a project that's got a couple of tricky guidelines/caveats to it. The basic gist is - we need to shoot a large touchscreen monitor with talent interacting with it. Obviously the moire/glare would be horrible if we just shoot the screen while it's actually running. So this is our concern:

*The best way to match footage from specific software programs with the actions of talent in post (e.g. a finger touch or handswipe would match up with a program). The problem here is the software might be prerecorded and matched up later.

Anyone have any experience with this or have any ideas? Our idea was to have the talent touching the screen while watching the prerecorded footage of the software to know where and when to touch. Or are we going about this backwards? The main problem seems to be that the software included with the touchscreen is very specific and variable.

Thanks in advance!


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David Eaks
Re: Shooting for Compositing in Post
on Mar 18, 2013 at 8:37:07 pm

Some questions. What is the framing of the shot going to be? Close up of the screen with only the talents hands in the shot? Talent head to toe while they interact with the screen? Single/multicam setup? Have you shot test footage of someone interacting with the screen?

The main problem is the software is both vary specific and variable? I don't follow.


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Chris Uy
Re: Shooting for Compositing in Post
on Mar 19, 2013 at 2:12:21 am

Hey David,

Thanks for the reply. Reading back I can see how I was a bit vague there. By the "specific/variable" comment, I meant that the software(s) being featured with the touchscreen can't be replaced with built, general graphics later. It's being featured along with the touchscreen.

The widest shot would be a medium shot with the touchscreen at waist level lying flat in front of the talent. Many of the shots, however, would be primarily close ups of the touchscreen with multiple talents hands on the screen (maybe 4 people at the most).

We shot a test shot without screen replacement. Goes without saying that it didn't turn out well.

So we're thinking of either:

a) going with prerecorded screen cap footage of the software, which we would allow the talent to watch. allowing them to match up with the action onscreen.

or

b) doing it maybe 3 times. one with talent interacting directly with the SCREEN ON, capturing the footage. have them do it the same speed and actions in the same spots on the screen with the SCREEN OFF. Then finally, repeating the 3rd time, attempting to recreate the first 2 takes but with a GREEN SCREEN. Replace screen in post.

We're looking at a multi-cam set up. Probably 3 at the most, more likely 2.

Sound like viable ideas? Have anything else in mind?


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Bill Davis
Re: Shooting for Compositing in Post
on Mar 19, 2013 at 4:30:10 am

Here's a few tips. I'm not an expert at this, but I've done similar shoots about half a dozen times.

If you're going to shoot a plate for screen replacement - whether that screen is "live" or not - one small helpful thing is to have targets affixed to the screen so that you can match the screen frame geometry in post.

This often takes the form of sticky "crosshair" targets that you'd affix to the screen. This way, when the shot is brought into post, you can simply pin the screen corners to the targets to establish the BASIC geometry of the screen angle. Small circular white sticky "dots" crossed with a fine pencil and ruler work fine.

You do NOT need to put these targets in the absolute corners of the screen. The point is to get the skew and perspective matched, and pinning a replacement screen to the targets serves this function. After the geometry is right, you can scale and position the shot.

I'd rehearse the talent using "live" screens until you're happy. This helps the talent understand where to touch and when. Then do each replacement shot - one by one - concentrating on the close up angles you'll be cutting to with the replacement screens in place.

With three cameras, you'll have the luxury of being able to do cutaways which will help a LOT in camera timing and matching action. Just make sure you know when important screen actions will take place so that you can coordinate the replacement shots over time. I find a stopwatch is handy for this. (OK Bob, I'll countdown the seconds starting at 10. You bring your finger to position 1 to land at my count of 7 and do the swipe by 8.)

To do the replacement, it sometimes helps to cut a piece of greenscreen fabric as close to the screen size as is possible so that you have something to easily key out that won't be as reflective or as dark as a screen turned off. It's easier to follow a green rectangle than a dark one, IME.

The final challenge is to "sell" the light being generated from the screen on the fingers. This is where people sometimes get into trouble, thinking that they can just "display green" on a screen and use that for the key. The problem is that the screen will cast green light on the fingers as they get close causing them to key out. Not a good idea.

Just a few ideas. Good luck and let us know how things work out.

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


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Bill Davis
Re: Shooting for Compositing in Post
on Mar 19, 2013 at 5:30:10 am


Oops double post


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Chris Tompkins
Re: Shooting for Compositing in Post
on Mar 19, 2013 at 12:20:51 pm

Shoot it live, save the hassle. We have shot touch screens up close for "how to" videos. Adjust the lighting to minimize glare. Hand comes in and selects a button, looks fine.

Chris


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Chris Uy
Re: Shooting for Screen Replacement (Compositing in Post)
on Mar 19, 2013 at 12:48:03 pm

Good suggestions Bill. Pretty thorough and in-depth too. We were thinking about the target idea. Hopefully the test shots work out.

Chris - the screens ended up looking alright? Ours were all moire-d out and just didn't seem too appealing to us.


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Chris Tompkins
Re: Shooting for Screen Replacement (Compositing in Post)
on Mar 19, 2013 at 2:09:01 pm

I guess it depends on the content, here is a sample of what we just shot last month:

TouchScreenSample



Chris


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Mark Suszko
Re: Shooting for Screen Replacement (Compositing in Post)
on Mar 19, 2013 at 3:38:50 pm

Just an idea...

If you can run a scan converter or screen capture program while shooting the live demo, you could then take the higher-rez captured footage and re-composite it back over the screen, corner-pinned. Then your only issue is getting the hand and fingers to be matted in, which might just work okay using blend modes, or you may have to do roto work on the hand.

But you won't have timing issues because the two performances would be identical, one would just have higher rez than the stuff captured thru the lens, and you'd have independent control of the colors and levels, etc.


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Chris Uy
Re: Shooting for Screen Replacement (Compositing in Post)
on Mar 20, 2013 at 5:13:53 pm

Chris - The screen we're trying to capture is meant to be a bit more high-res. More like we're featuring a tablet, than doing a how-to video. I still appreciate the thought, though. We'll probably should it live for one go round at least.

Mark - A scan converter might be a good idea. I'm not too familiar with them, though. Are you suggesting we run the display out from the touchscreen to another tv/screen/etc then capture that footage with screen cap footage?


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Chris Tompkins
Re: Shooting for Screen Replacement (Compositing in Post)
on Mar 20, 2013 at 5:16:01 pm

Scan converter: runs from the computer out to a record video in to a deck.

Chris


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Mark Suszko
Re: Shooting for Screen Replacement (Compositing in Post)
on Mar 20, 2013 at 9:32:44 pm

What Chris said: the scan converter outputs to a stand-alone recorder.


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Chris Uy
Re: Shooting for Screen Replacement (Compositing in Post)
on Mar 20, 2013 at 5:16:25 pm

Whoops - meant to say *screen cap software*, not *screen cap footage*


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