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How to get Flawless Transition from Shot to Shot

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Jack Sammanson
How to get Flawless Transition from Shot to Shot
on Jan 8, 2009 at 7:15:11 pm

Lately, I've seen a number of films where the cinematographer made an extremely smooth transition from one shot to another. For instance, a character would be walking on a sidewalk and the camera following him/her from the side (so the audience is obviously viewing the side profile of the character). As he/she is walking, they pass behind a tree as the camera passes in front of it. In what looks like one completely smooth shot, the character is still walking, but has now entirely changed wardrobe (hair, makeup, clothing, etc.). How is this accomplished? Obviously it would consist of two shots, but how is it that the finished product looks so smooth and like one continuous shot?

Also, what would be the simplest, guerrilla-like way to accomplish this?


Thanks,
Jack


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Mark Suszko
Re: How to get Flawless Transition from Shot to Shot
on Jan 9, 2009 at 12:25:01 am

Editing:-)


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Jack Sammanson
Re: How to get Flawless Transition from Shot to Shot
on Jan 9, 2009 at 12:55:22 am

Obviously a majority of it would have to do with editing. But my question is to how the camera work must be done in order for the editor to achieve this effect.


Another example of what I am talking about is when the camera starts, for instance, inside one room and then moves "through the wall" to view another room. The trick to this is that at a point in time, both rooms must be in view with the wall between them. An example of this can be found in the beginning of V for Vendetta, where V and Evey are getting dressed.

I cannot seem to find a clip of what I am talking about, so I hope I've explained it well enough.


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Mark Suszko
Re: How to get Flawless Transition from Shot to Shot
on Jan 9, 2009 at 1:08:21 am

"The trick to this is that at a point in time, both rooms must be in view with the wall between them. An example of this can be found in the beginning of V for Vendetta, where V and Evey are getting dressed."

In Hitchcock's day, shooting that on a practical stage with the actual half-wall was about the only way, advanced opticals couldn't track well enough in the printer. And Coppola I think actually did it the old fashioned way on purpose in "Tucker", to get an authentic period look in his film.

But today, you have options, and most of those "thru-the-wall" shots are done digitally in a compositor now, using footage shot on motion-controlled cameras, where the speeds of the pans and their positions on the screen are all keyframeable. The wall in between is a digital matte painting and warping/mesh tools ease the transitions and matching of perspective between the rooms. There actually does not *need* to be any wall in between, it is as easy now for talented folks to comp in the wall to cover the transition.



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Richard Herd
Re: How to get Flawless Transition from Shot to Shot
on Jan 9, 2009 at 1:16:24 am

This is a good example of where your cinematographer, editor, and fx guru need to have a conversation. If you're wearing all three hats, you'll need access to something like After Effects. You should also ask in the After Effects forum because rotoscoping is its own sweet science.

Also there's a recent Cow magazine on digital effects, which I've found very helpful.

Rotoscoping is when you draw a mask around an image to delete the stuff you don't want, and then very meticulously frame by frame, you adjust the mask. Man, what a pain.

You might consider doing this in two steps. Step 1, go shoot the footage you want without an actor. Step 2, shoot the actor against a green screen.





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Mark Suszko
Re: How to get Flawless Transition from Shot to Shot
on Jan 9, 2009 at 1:28:12 am

Here's how I would do it on my super-low budgets:

Shoot each room by itself in HD, as big and high-rez as possible. The camera for each room is static and positioned close to the "wall" in relatively wide shots, wider in fact than the final desired result. The final comp will be SD 3x4, maybe letterboxed, maybe not, as needed. This lets me zoom in and warp the frames and get away with it pretty much.

Using just the FCP timeline keyframing controls or Apple Motion, apply the same pan move to each with the same speed, so they pass thru the screen visual center as a pair.

Photoshop the "inside" wall bit with as much or as little detail as needed and save with alpha channel. This may also contain the left and right actual walls, grabbed from a sample frame of the HD video, with the left and right edges blended in opacity.

Stack this above the previous tracks, position it, and give it the same speed as the rooms. It wipes across and hides the seam.






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Jack Sammanson
Re: How to get Flawless Transition from Shot to Shot
on Jan 9, 2009 at 3:27:04 am

Aha! That is exactly what I was looking for! It's truly amazing how what looks to be something so elaborate can be achieved with the simplest of methods.



Thank you to everyone who helped out.


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Luke Childers
Re: How to get Flawless Transition from Shot to Shot
on Jan 14, 2009 at 6:54:17 am

Hello,
One possible way to achieve this type of shot transition that I have used is to film/video the sequence timeline edit points before and after the transition/cut without anyone in it (this is to be used as a composite track in post).
Next, with care and accurate timing reflim/video the exact time line involving the transition/cut sequence again with the actor(s) present.
Then when editing you can blend the composite(s) any way you see fit. If done with great precision (on behalf of your camera work and the actors ability to recreate the motion path) you can even make people change outfits while in mid-stride. Thus, if you and your actor(s) timing are on you don't even need to have a wall cutout or tree to hide the edit. Not the easiest thing to do, but I have achieved great results from this method in budget film/video shoots. Hope this is of some use.

Thanks so much.

Luke Childers
Capture Videography
childers.luke@yahoo.com
303-995-1608


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Jack Sammanson
Re: How to get Flawless Transition from Shot to Shot
on Jan 26, 2009 at 3:00:45 am

Luke,

That sounds like a great way to do it. Do you have any advice on how to keep the timing as perfect as possible with the camera movement/actor movement? Can this be done with the camera manually (without the use of automated equipment, as suggested before)?


Thanks!


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