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Morphing in motion

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Julius Smith
Morphing in motion
on Aug 5, 2011 at 3:39:12 am

Hi All,

I'm at the planning stages for a 30 sec commercial shoot of men's wear (suits). I have this scene that I would like to do and need some recommendations.

In one of the scenes, a normal guy is wearing jeans and t-shirt is walking past a store, as he walks I want to morph him into wearing a suit and jacket. The background scene is static with no moving motion (maybe I'll change my mind later but for now no background motion). The guy will be walking as the morphing occurs.

I have the adobe CS4 suite (AE, FCP, Premiere, etc) and also Sony Vegas 10. The editing needs to be done in 2 days, so I need to find a quick way to do this when editing.

What can you guys recommend?

Thank you.


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Chris Tompkins
Re: Morphing in motion
on Aug 5, 2011 at 7:22:35 pm

Is the camera panning? or lock down?
You'd have to get the guy to walk across the scene @ the exact same pace both times, same steps. Could make steps on the ground. Have someone with a stop watch.

Then, morphing software would be the best choice here.

Could pull something off in AE.
Could shoot a rough no thrills test anyway.

A side view my yield less then dramatic results.
Walking towards the camera will make more impact.

Chris Tompkins
Video Atlanta LLC


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Julius Smith
Re: Morphing in motion
on Aug 5, 2011 at 11:16:04 pm

The camera will be locked down.
Good advice on walking towards the camera.

Do you know which software is best suited for this effect?

Thanks


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Chris Tompkins
Re: Morphing in motion
on Aug 6, 2011 at 11:41:52 pm

http://www.creaceed.com/morphage/

I'm sure there are others.

You could do some neat effects/transitions in AE too.

Chris Tompkins
Video Atlanta LLC


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Mark Suszko
Re: Morphing in motion
on Aug 8, 2011 at 3:33:28 am

Your easiest "morph" here isn't a morph at all.... but a cut. Placed in just the right place, with the right timing, posing, music/ sfx cues and perhaps using a camera angle change, but maybe not.

You didn't fully describe the scene or show a sketch, so I'm going to assume we see the guy side-on, walking left to right, and the shop window is a flat plane directly behind him and 90 degrees to the locked-off camera wide shot. The cut could happen with a matching wide shot or a cut to a tighter shot in the hero duds from the same position... or a reversal looking out at the guy the the shop window, into the street, seeing the hero clothes. You can frame the window with a seamless matte cut out so the effect is restricted to the actual window space.

This last option sets up the artistic conceit that he looks like a shlub from the outside view and his reflection in the shop window, but the reversal view shows him in the cool duds and maybe also is hinting at an expression of his "inner self" with that change in POV. See the movie "Shallow Hal". You can also add some fun by having shop staff seeing one thing while the audience sees another.

This won't take two days of heavy compositing to achieve, but only about three well-placed cuts. You'd also have time to let the effect happen to more than one person and set of clothes, or the same guy, walking back and forth a time or two more, each time with a different suit, to really sell the idea. Maybe one time, he's only peeking around the edge of the window.

Another alternative would be to keep everything on the same outside shot, but it's the reflection of the guy in the mirror that changes. This also doesn't require a morph but only maybe some roto and blend modes. I'd maybe shoot some passes with mylar film on the window to make the reflections pop, then blend back into the plate shot of the normal window.

Your actor(s) need to have good mime skills, basically they are doing the Harpo Marx or Chaplin/ Keaton/Curly Howard/Stan Laure/Lucille Ball "opening-in-wall -is-not-really-a-mirror" gag. An audio playback in the field of a "click track" during the shoot may help the actor keep the pacing and movements in synch.


This concept isn't new. Some investment company did a similar technique in a series of commercials where their customers were reflected in various surfaces in the garb of whatever they wanted to be doing later in life: scuba gear, painter's smock, fishing duds, etc. But you could still make this fresh looking with the right execution.


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Chris Tompkins
Re: Morphing in motion
on Aug 8, 2011 at 10:36:30 am

Nice ideas Mark. I agree that this would be a better approach then low budget morphing.

Chris Tompkins
Video Atlanta LLC


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Mark Suszko
Re: Morphing in motion
on Aug 8, 2011 at 2:15:28 pm

You sell it with the right kind of tag line, something like:

"Frank's Fine Fashions: We see what you CAN be".


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Julius Smith
Re: Morphing in motion
on Aug 8, 2011 at 5:14:13 pm

lol...I like that motto.

Thanks Mark, I like your suggestions and it's easier on the editing..I could show the guy walking and have a soft blur while the reflection shows a sharp dress man (...zztop anyone?). Nice.
Totally agree, if I can't do the morphing right, don't do it at all..

Thanks for the help


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Mark Suszko
Re: Morphing in motion
on Aug 8, 2011 at 7:49:37 pm

The first one's free:-)

As to your statement about better not to do it at all, rather than badly, regarding morphing, I would say that it goes deeper than that: not just specifically the use of morphing effects, but better to use whatever most effectively communicates the idea, rather than fixating on a particular approach or technology as the way to do it. And as a corollary, better an effect that nobody notices, and just accepts as normal or real, than one that steals all the attention away from what you were trying to communicate.

These things come and go in waves of fashion: someone does a cool and *appropriate* application of a morph, then everybody wants to do morphs, whether they really add to communicating the story idea or not. For a while it was fake 2-d cel animation. And then extreme DOF tricks. Or particle effects like card flips. You get the drift.


Effects must always serve the needs of the story. Otherwise, they are just self-indulgent cries for attention without meaning.


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grinner hester
Re: Morphing in motion
on Aug 11, 2011 at 10:22:01 pm

I still use Elastic Reality for morphing. You can find it on ebay ont he cheap.



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