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Shadow Effect

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Mark Crews
Shadow Effect
on Sep 25, 2015 at 12:01:52 pm

Can anyone share the technique for creating this effect on the Walking Dead promo?







Thank you!
Mark


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Todd Terry
Re: Shadow Effect
on Sep 25, 2015 at 2:40:52 pm

VERY cool effect... I so seriously wish I'd thought of that.

Obviously a moving light... a spotlight-type instrument (Maybe a Source Four or something like that) that is continuously arcing around the subject from above.

How exactly that is physically accomplished, we can't be sure. It could be as complicated as some kind of track in the grid that drives the lighting instrument around in a circle... or as simple as an instrument mounted on a counterweighted pole that is suspended from above from the balance point and allowed to spin around the subject. That's probably the way I would try to do it.

Again, the results there are just flawless (there was probably a good bit of clean-up work in post) and the effect is really really cool.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Mark Suszko
Re: Shadow Effect
on Sep 28, 2015 at 3:26:49 pm

Light on a rotating arm. This was the principle gag in an early 80's music video, if memory serves. It may have been The Police/Sting, or Hall and Oates, is what the dusty neurons tell me. Basically a bilb on the end of a two-by-four, or gobo arm, attached to a drill motor mounted to a frame, and enough spare lamp cord wire to wrap around a number of times before having to cut away. You could skip the wires and put a battery on the light these days, as they've become compact and powerful enough.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Shadow Effect
on Sep 28, 2015 at 3:30:02 pm

If you look at the BTS docs on the making of "gravity", there's examples of how they made a booth of LED lights that could be dimmed and sequenced to make light seem to soin around the character int he space suit, which,in the finished film, makes it look like the suit is spinning in space and the light is correctly tracking across it as it "rotates". The Walking Dead people have the budget to put the light on a programmable techno crane for the effect, but yeah, I think you can still get away with a spinning gobo arm or 2x4 with a bulb on the end; the effect just won;t be repeatable or as precicse.


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Todd Terry
Re: Shadow Effect
on Sep 28, 2015 at 3:46:25 pm

Rotating the light is the easy part.

It's the timing that's the hard part.

Remember, the light is not just rotating around the subjects at random, it is timed with the dolly move so that the rotation of the light is at the same point for each corresponding point of the dolly position. There was probably some motion-control coordination of both the lighting instrument and the camera position. This was also probably shot at 4K to give the compositor flexibility in positioning and cutting to make sure all the subjects were at the appropriate size and frame positions when the transitions happened.

Even though we see some "natural" environment (i.e., grass) in the wider beginning shots as the spotlight passes through, I strongly suspect this was shot on stage... not a location exterior. It would just be much easier that way.

Also... although the rotating instrument is definitely the key light, it is not the only light. With the last three actors the shot is finally close enough that you can see the reflections in their eyes, which shows that there was at least one fill light. If done practically it might have been dimmed up and down in time with the rotating light... or it might have been controlled in post.

As Mark said, this is a bit of a throwback technique... but I've never seen it used to transition between subjects like that, or done so well.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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