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Ideas to Make Boring Street Scenes Energetic

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Steve Crow
Ideas to Make Boring Street Scenes Energetic
on Mar 11, 2010 at 10:59:52 pm

I am doing some work for a city government. We needed some shots of the downtown shopping area in order to portray the city as energetic, alive, happening, etc.

Unfortunately, not a lot was going on the two days I went there to film. Just a few people walking around, not a lot of energy that day. I got what I could but I think you get the picture.

Can you share any favorite editing techniques for making boring street footage move alive and energetic?


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Chris Borjis
Re: Ideas to Make Boring Street Scenes Energetic
on Mar 11, 2010 at 11:13:34 pm


lots of cutting, not holding on a shot too long

a good music track can go a long way in helping too.



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Michael Gissing
Re: Ideas to Make Boring Street Scenes Energetic
on Mar 11, 2010 at 11:14:28 pm


Music & a good busy atmos. The rest is editing. Try and avoid fancy transitions, and crass video effects like speed ramping and flash frames. It can be done with editing alone as the sound track is actually doing the hard yards for you.


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Steve Crow
Re: Ideas to Make Boring Street Scenes Energetic
on Mar 11, 2010 at 11:47:04 pm

Thanks for all the advice....it was really too bad but the streets weren't busy at all which is what really concerned me to begin with - that essentially was the whole problem.

I totally agree with the music and fast cuts but I didn't realize that flash frames and speed ramping had become crass or cliche but I know they are used a tremendous amount and so could have easily fallen out of favor.

To be honest I was thinking about using both of those and maybe creating some in-editing digital zooms...too tacky?


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Stephen Smith
Re: Ideas to Make Boring Street Scenes Energetic
on Mar 11, 2010 at 11:50:04 pm

Will they be holding any events soon that will draw in a crowd?




Stephen Smith
Utah Video Productions

Check out my Motion Training DVD

Check out my Motion Tutorials


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Steve Crow
Re: Ideas to Make Boring Street Scenes Energetic
on Mar 11, 2010 at 11:53:24 pm

I will ask them (good thought!) but because of the production schedule I may just have to work with what I have already captured.


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Michael Gissing
Re: Ideas to Make Boring Street Scenes Energetic
on Mar 11, 2010 at 11:59:26 pm

[Steve Crow] "didn't realize that flash frames and speed ramping had become crass or cliche"

For me they always have been cliche and when I see them, first reaction what are they trying to hide? Lack of content is the usual answer. But they really don't work as well as just good editing. Also it must be said that good camerawork is also critical. I hope they had a good tripod and long lens.


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Sam Ellens
Re: Ideas to Make Boring Street Scenes Energetic
on Mar 12, 2010 at 3:55:52 pm

I agree wholeheartedly. I hate most video effects that people use these days, and reserve a special hatred for white flashes and speed ramps. And then there are films like Standard Operating Procedure that use black so often that it completely loses its effectiveness. People trying to be fancy instead of letting the material tell the story...though for the OP's problem it might be the only solution.


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J. Tad Newberry
Re: Ideas to Make Boring Street Scenes Energetic
on Mar 12, 2010 at 12:18:17 am

You've obviously already shot your footage, but for future reference you might want to buy/rent "Powaqqatsi". Ya, it's 22 years old now, but it still had some pretty neat visuals. One thing in particular was the use of a locked off shot in a downtown situation. Let it run for quite awhile, then they would dissolve in a few people walking by in slo-mo, dissolve in others in super fast mo, etc. In short, buildings remain "solid", while ghostly people fly through the scene in fast or slow speeds depending on your preference. Anyway, always depending on your music track, it gives quite a different feel to a city scene.

If you happened to grab any long static shots, you might be able to play around with that a bit. Other than that, maybe you got some really long/compressed shots? That would usually hide the fact that there weren't tons of people there, and would compress whomever was there to appear much closer together. Close-ups of feet walking, close-ups of cars driving by, street lights changing color, etc. Let us know how it came out!

Thanks again!

J. Tad Newberry
Big Ya Productions
Mac Pro 2.66 GHz Quad-Core
3 GB RAM
http://www.bigya.tv


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Martin Jordan
Re: Ideas to Make Boring Street Scenes Energetic
on Mar 12, 2010 at 2:20:19 am

Maybe throwing in some stock footage or photography.

Digitaljuice.com comes to mind. For a couple hundred bucks you could by a lot.

Quad-Core, 2.93GHz, OS 10.6.2, 32GB Ram, 4TB RAID Externaal, 4TB Internal, ATI Radeon HD 4870 graphics card, FCP Studio 7, AE 9.0.2, Boris BCC, FEC, CoreMelt 2, FxFactory Pro 2, idustrial revolution Volumetrix, Yanobox Motype, Squeeze for the Web, MacBook Pro (MBP) 2.6 GHz, Panasonic HPX300 Video Camera.
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anthony Faulkner
Re: Ideas to Make Boring Street Scenes Energetic
on Mar 12, 2010 at 3:03:38 am

I know you have already shot but...

Messing with the frame rate and focussing on fixed subjects can add a good contrast to the movement within the frame, allowing still subjects to be surrounded by fake business. Particularly if you can shoot at dusk and can use city lights to your advantage.



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Harry Bromley-Davenport
Re: Ideas to Make Boring Street Scenes Energetic
on Mar 12, 2010 at 5:52:36 am

I strongly suggest Graeme Nattress' "Earthquake" plugin with appropriate rumbling sound FX. Used with discretion, this should result in the interesting effect of the few pedestrians remaining oblivious to the onset of their doom.

Hope this helps.

Harry.



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Scott Sheriff
Re: Ideas to Make Boring Street Scenes Energetic
on Mar 12, 2010 at 6:06:09 am

FYI
I know you already shot your footage, but the standard trick to make city streets crowded is to use a long lens. Telephoto compression and shallow DOF will ad some zip to crowd shots.


Scott Sheriff
Director
SST Digital Media
http://www.sstdigitalmedia.com


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Mark Suszko
Re: Ideas to Make Boring Street Scenes Energetic
on Mar 12, 2010 at 2:33:22 pm

Time lapse never goes out of style, it just isn't always used artfully or with purpose.

Think about dividing up the screen into a grid and then using an odd number of randomly proportioned rectangles and squares as PIP boxes, some showing the same scene in different scales, some tinted in a monochromatic shade, others showing some detail of the scene in tightly cropped detail.

Another way to go could be to give it the hand-drawn colored pencil or watercolor animation look. There are some new and improved toon shader plug-ins now available. Or you could use Synthetik StudioArtist to interactively paint with the footage.

Repost questions like these in the Art of Editing forum for more perspectives from people who have already seen that issue.


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Steve Crow
Re: Ideas to Make Boring Street Scenes Energetic
on Mar 12, 2010 at 3:19:18 pm

Thanks everyone for all the suggestions and I will indeed check out the Art of Editing forum, didn't know it existed! :-)


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Arnie Schlissel
Re: Ideas to Make Boring Street Scenes Energetic
on Mar 12, 2010 at 3:26:17 pm

[Harry Bromley-Davenport] "I strongly suggest Graeme Nattress' "Earthquake" plugin with appropriate rumbling sound FX. "

Or some CG meteors! Volcano! gunfight! Lingerie sale!

Arnie

Post production is not an afterthought!
http://www.arniepix.com/


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Nicholas Bierzonski
Re: Ideas to Make Boring Street Scenes Energetic
on Mar 12, 2010 at 7:59:51 pm

Hi Steve!

If you are familiar with After Effects you could use Time Displacement.

-Nicholas Bierzonski
Senior Editor/DVD Author/Java Boy
http://www.finalfocusvideo.com




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KeeTat Tan
Re: Ideas to Make Boring Street Scenes Energetic
on Mar 18, 2010 at 7:04:06 am

I would try to use tighter shots of people that will fill up the screen, (you might even be able to get away with people from different location) some quick cuts of interesting shops and interesting features along the street.


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