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Special Effect - Never Ending White Board / Wall

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Steve Crow
Special Effect - Never Ending White Board / Wall
on Dec 21, 2009 at 3:20:17 am

A client wanted to have two people standing in front of a white board, have them talk to each other, draw some things on the white board and then exit frame left as if walking towards another section of white board. In the next scene they would enter frame right -with the idea being to create the impression of a never-ending white board in the background.

Well, the way we shot it didn't work. What it ended up looking like was after the talent exited on frame left they would simply appear again entering on frame right - the impression was that the camera didn't move that it was the same spot - which it was. In hindsight I can't believe I didn't anticipate this being the result.

How could I have gotten a better result? Would this effect require a green-screen stage to chromakey in a whiteboard background? But then we would have to fake the talent drawing on the whiteboard which would be virtual, of course. I hope I haven't confused anyone. Ideas?


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Mark Suszko
Re: Special Effect - Never Ending White Board / Wall
on Dec 21, 2009 at 2:32:47 pm

Yes, a green screen shot would have been what you wanted here, and preferably, you would have them on a treadmill or conveyor belt, so they could stay in one place while walking, makes the set smaller and easier to light.

The other way to do it, and probaly easier, is to not make them walk, but to have one of them act like they are pushing the wall with their palm and the WALL keeps scrolling past. This is WAY easier.


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Christopher Targia
Re: Special Effect - Never Ending White Board / Wall
on Dec 21, 2009 at 7:26:52 pm

mark had exactly what i was thinking, treadmill would really be the only way to make them walk nonstop. Moving the "virtual screen" with their hands is a great idea!


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Steve Crow
Re: Special Effect - Never Ending White Board / Wall
on Dec 21, 2009 at 7:39:33 pm

Yes, excellent ideas including the "push the wall" concept which reminded me of the flicking hand gestures used on the iphone.

The hosts are only walking between segments, the rest of the time they are stationary - they are basically walking from one scene or "set" to the next but the majority of the time they are standing there talking to each other, drawing on the whiteboard and watching videos that appear on the whiteboard wall.

I think what I needed to do was, in part, to "zoom out" in the opening scene to first establish the size of the "world" in which they are standing - which would mean using a large green screen to build a virtual set behind them showing a huge whiteboard wall fading off into the distance.

Each time they moved from set to set it would be in this zoomed out view with them shrunk down in size to give a sense of proportion. Once they stopped at a new part of the whiteboard (the next "set") then I could zoom back in to a normal view.

In any case none of this was going to happen filming in front of a long conference room whiteboard which is what we did...the effect I wanted wasn't pulled off but it for sure was a learning experience.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Special Effect - Never Ending White Board / Wall
on Dec 21, 2009 at 9:52:55 pm

Don't forget, you don't need the green to be as huge as the replacement scene; only large enough to surround the actors and where they will be standing with s little margin of edge. The rest is keyed out using masks and mattes.

For some nice behind the scenes shots of green screen rigs, rent Roberto Rodriguez' "Spy Kids" 1 and 2, look in the "bonus features" section. He cut his teeth on the Spy Kids movies, learning the techniques later applied to "Sin City".



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