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Making something out of nothing - Just wrapped

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Todd Terry
Making something out of nothing - Just wrapped
on Mar 14, 2013 at 8:14:15 pm

Just did a shoot on stage here about an hour ago and it went pretty well... so thought I'd mention it in case something similar comes up for anyone else.

This was a shoot for one of our regular big commercial clients, a large financial institution. These are talking head TV commercials, and our only mandate from the client was that they wanted a white studio. I'm sure they were thinking a pure white limbo environment, but I didn't wanna be quite that boring... since these were straight talking-head-to-camera thirty-second spots. I wanted to jazz it up a little bit.

BUT... I had no money for a set, literally a few hundred bucks, max. So I spent a little bit of that (probably less than $75) buying a few sheets of white foamcore, a chair from a used furniture store (which we painted white), white contact paper that we used to cover a little table we already had in our lobby, and a couple of glass vases (that I also painted white). We ended up mostly with just big hunks of foamcore in various layers... some suspended from the grid, others propped up, and some used to hide stands and lighting instruments as well as being set elements.

We threw it together, the client signed off on it, and have to say it looked pretty decent, for quick work and almost no budget.



T2

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



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Rick Wise
Re: Making something out of nothing - Just wrapped
on Mar 14, 2013 at 9:10:35 pm

Really nicely done!

Rick Wise
Cinematographer
San Francisco Bay Area
http://www.RickWiseDP.com


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Mark Suszko
Re: Making something out of nothing - Just wrapped
on Mar 15, 2013 at 2:13:59 pm

When does the projection of Jor-El appear? :-)

Just kidding, it's freaking gorgeous, this is the kind of thing I used to have to do all the time on our low budgets, but I didn't do it on your scale. These days, I'd probably green screen in a CGI backdrop like yours, built in Motion. But there's nothing like the quality of a real standing practical set, well-lit, and the photos show it.

What's also fun about your set is you could re-color it and do several more versions without too much drama.


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Todd Terry
Re: Making something out of nothing - Just wrapped
on Mar 15, 2013 at 2:43:52 pm

[Mark Suszko] "When does the projection of Jor-El appear? :-)"

HAA!!! That made me snort, Mark...

Yeah, I just like real practical environments whenever possible. My better half is fond of watching the show "Once Upon a Time" (which I dismissively refer to as "one of her little fairy-tale shows") and a lot of that show (since half of it takes place in an alternate fantasy universe) is on CGI sets. For some reason, even though the CGI is flawless and the motion tracking and matchmoving is absolutely spot-on perfect, I still just don't believe they're really in there.

In this case, too, I had a constantly moving camera... I was on a slider and either continuously dollying in and out or trucking back and forth because I wanted the environment to look dynamic, various layers and objects moving at different rates etc. It would have taken a fair little bit of work making the 3D moves within a CGI set... and building the CGI model, too. And I'm lazy.

Thanks for kind words, Mark and Rick...

T2

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



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Mark Suszko
Re: Making something out of nothing - Just wrapped
on Mar 15, 2013 at 3:32:45 pm

Where did you find foam core that large, BTW?


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Todd Terry
Re: Making something out of nothing - Just wrapped
on Mar 15, 2013 at 4:23:19 pm

Mark none of those sheets were too big... they were just the largest ones they sell at Hobby Lobby... probably about 30"x40". The big main white backdrop was seamless background paper that was rolled down... it usually lives up on a backdrop roller. There was a long vertical element in front of it that was a pre-primed white MDF board from Home Depot, hung from the grid with just a grip clamp. So I didn't need or use any really ginormous pieces of foamcore.

However, when we do need big pieces there's a place here in town where we buy it. This mom-and-pop store here sells things like art supplies, craft and hobby stuff, drafting supplies (does anybody do drafting anymore?), model train stuff, kites, puppets... it's a very weird and eclectic (but cool) place... sort of a cross between an art supply store and a toy shop.

http://www.southerlandstation.com/

We get full 4'x8' sheets of foamcore from them, and then usually cut them in half to make 4x4 bounce cards.

T2

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



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Emre Tufekcioglu
Re: Making something out of nothing - Just wrapped
on Mar 17, 2013 at 5:46:21 pm

Todd,

Very beautiful, I am going to show this around the office. Great example.

Cheers,



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Todd Terry
Re: Making something out of nothing - Just wrapped
on Mar 17, 2013 at 6:15:21 pm

Thanks much Emre...

The edit turned out pretty well, especially for a quickie down-n-dirty shoot.

I can't show it yet because the client hasn't seen it... but when they do I'll post it to show the real deal.

T2

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



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Todd Terry
Re: Making something out of nothing - Just wrapped
on Mar 19, 2013 at 3:27:45 pm

Client's happy, so I can post the finished results. For some reason I was having trouble uploading a full-res version to the COW, so this is a smaller one.

Redstone Federal - White Set



Not the greatest thing in the world, but I think decent for no money. Actually we didn't strike this set yet. Because we didn't have another shoot on stage this week I'm keeping it up to use for another project next week (non-broadcast in a different market). I'm gonna take Mark's advice and "paint" it with different colored light to reuse for this next project. Thanks for tip, and kind words from all.

T2

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



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Rick Wise
Re: Making something out of nothing - Just wrapped
on Mar 19, 2013 at 5:25:37 pm

Nice work! One thought: I've found that bald and semi-bald guys really can't handle much back light. A large, soft one scrimmed way down seems to take off the curse of that shiny dome. I know: I have one. (With some good grip work it's possible to treat the dome and the shoulders separately.)

Rick Wise
Cinematographer
San Francisco Bay Area
http://www.RickWiseDP.com


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Todd Terry
Re: Making something out of nothing - Just wrapped
on Mar 19, 2013 at 5:48:02 pm

Yeah Rick, I totally hear ya.

We did have that backlight scrimmed waaaaay down on him, and the makeup artist kept powdering him like crazy... but yeah he still got a little shine. It wasn't enough that I minded it too much, though. Sometimes I think that looks more natural.

Converserly, the gal had the exact opposite problem. I've NEVER seen hair that was such a complete and total black hole, sucking every photon in and letting nary a one escape. I had about five times as much backlight on her, a fresnel spotted down right on her noggin, and it still didn't read as much of a hair light as I would have liked. By that point I was ready to pull trigger and move on, both actors had been brought in from out of state and I had a limited time with them for dinking around with the lighting design any more.

Ya do what you can!

T2

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



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Rick Wise
Re: Making something out of nothing - Just wrapped
on Mar 19, 2013 at 5:59:29 pm

Ya do what you can!


Sooooooo true! Broad strokes first, then finesse the details until, "time's up!"

Rick Wise
Cinematographer
San Francisco Bay Area
http://www.RickWiseDP.com


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Mark Suszko
Re: Making something out of nothing - Just wrapped
on Mar 19, 2013 at 6:05:08 pm

"FIRST you make it work; THEN you make it pretty"- Mark Suszko


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Jason Jenkins
Re: Making something out of nothing - Just wrapped
on Mar 15, 2013 at 6:47:35 pm

Wow! Looks fantastic!

Jason Jenkins
Flowmotion Media
Video production... with style!

Check out my Mormon.org profile.


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Dylan Hargreaves
Re: Making something out of nothing - Just wrapped
on Mar 22, 2013 at 4:00:49 pm

Really, really great job Todd. Inspirational in the truest sense of the word.

Will be nicking that for our little studio set up, I'm sure!


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