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Man in hourglass composite in Motion 5. Any pointers?

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Diego Barraza
Man in hourglass composite in Motion 5. Any pointers?
on Jul 9, 2015 at 11:47:51 am

Hello,

I am directing a low budget music video, and the concept calls for a man inside a hour glass. I am planning on shooting a man under a stream of sand in a theater black background with stark lighting. Then shooting a hour glass (sand clock) under the same stage lights. Then composite them in apple motion with a Luma key. Any suggestions how I can best do this considering my limitations? We are filming in the Arri Amira, but we have not much budget for anything else. I will do the composite myself hence Apple Motion as the composting choice.

filmmaking-editing-dop-dad


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Robin S. Kurz
Re: Man in hourglass composite in Motion 5. Any pointers?
on Jul 10, 2015 at 11:10:35 am

I most definitely would not go with a luma-key for something like that.

- RK

____________________________________________________
Deutsch? Hier gibt es ein umfassendes FCP X Training für dich!


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Diego Barraza
Re: Man in hourglass composite in Motion 5. Any pointers?
on Jul 12, 2015 at 6:50:24 pm

Thanks for the input Robin. I hear you. I was not so convinced myself on luma keying, might have to get some green screen background. The hour glass is easy for I can do it with a small cardboard, need a bigger green screen for the man though, time to pull some favors.

filmmaking-editing-dop-dad


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Mark Suszko
Re: Man in hourglass composite in Motion 5. Any pointers?
on Jul 20, 2015 at 10:04:49 pm
Last Edited By Mark Suszko on Jul 20, 2015 at 10:06:06 pm

Depends a lot on the "sand" you use in the closeup layer of the guy: if it's high-contrast and light in color, shooting against flat black and changing your composite mode can indeed work just fine.

Think about all the FX stock footage of dust and smoke out on the market: it's shot back-lit and high-con against black, and you are expected to change your blending mode to use it... the smoke and dust FX against green or blue are relatively scarce when I look around. You'll want to consider the wardrobe carefully in advance and look at it in a monochrome situation to check the relative contrast of the clothing vs. any background, regardless of luma or chroma key.

To sell the finished effect, add glass distortion bulging of the image, and some fake specular highlights and perhaps even a faint background reflection to the "glass" layer in front of your unfortunate star.


One fun shot you should get is to put a cardboard "collar" layer around his neck, a sheet of stiff cardboard or foam core resting on his shoulders about three feet wide, and pile sand around it up against his neck, to get a realistic look of being buried up to his neck. Then matte the head shot into the overall comp. Same shot with just a hand poking out, if you need it.


All by way of saying there's more to consider than just going ahead and green screening a shot.


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Robin S. Kurz
Re: Man in hourglass composite in Motion 5. Any pointers?
on Jul 21, 2015 at 8:55:20 am
Last Edited By Robin S. Kurz on Jul 21, 2015 at 8:57:11 am

The SAND is the last thing I'd be worried about. Flesh tones i.e. humans in general are highly unsuited for luma keys, no matter how much you prep.

- RK

____________________________________________________
Deutsch? Hier gibt es ein umfassendes FCP X Training für dich!


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Diego Barraza
Re: Man in hourglass composite in Motion 5. Any pointers?
on Jul 26, 2015 at 12:12:37 pm

Hi Mark,

This community is the best and most pro out there. Love it.

In the end I shot two versions one in black, (easy because it was shot in my village theater that already has a blackout wall)and then one in green. I propped up a 20 quid ebay green screen lit with two red heads. Footage was shot a 200fps in Amira at 2k ProresHQ. We used kiln dry sand to poor on top of the actor, he told us he actually liked the sensation and found it relaxing :)

I am going to post some stills for people to take a look. I have played with both versions and I have to say that luma has better separation than the green screen footage. As you pointed out Mark, with a simple layer adjustment you get very decent results.

Too bad I read your collar idea after the shoot Mark. Very good and fun idea to try out but did not manage to get around to it.

Thanks for the input guys.

Best.

filmmaking-editing-dop-dad


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Diego Barraza
Re: Man in hourglass composite in Motion 5. Any pointers?
on Nov 6, 2015 at 2:57:23 pm

Here is the finished video with the VFX if anybody interested in the finished result:







filmmaking-editing-dop-dad


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Robin S. Kurz
Re: Man in hourglass composite in Motion 5. Any pointers?
on Nov 6, 2015 at 3:06:56 pm

Definitely very nice work overall and nice song! The only thing I would say that could be mildly improved is the spill on sand of the green-screen shot. It's noticeable, but admittedly probably in part because I know that it is in fact a keyed shot. :)

Congrats!
- RK

____________________________________________________
Deutsch? Hier gibt es ein umfassendes FCP X Training für dich!


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Mark Suszko
Re: Man in hourglass composite in Motion 5. Any pointers?
on Nov 6, 2015 at 7:30:10 pm

Doesn't the shot at 2:14 need sand falling on the guy to be consistent with the first and last shot we see in that context?

I thought we'd see more of this effect than your final edit shows. The composite looks pretty good overall. More bulge and some simulated specular highlights would sell it even better. A shot of the hourglass rotating slowly would be nice as well, but more complicated.


Now that I see what you're going for, I can imagine a lot more ways to convey that shot. What would have been fun would be to get a 3-D miniature of him 3-D printed by Shapeways in several versions with more and more of the sculpture "eroded" away, then just replace the sculptures and stage scenes pouring the sand onto it, stage by stage, depending on the shot order, making the illusion of either building him up out of the sand, or eroding him away, like the fading memory of a lost love. Which seems a little more the narrative point of your video.
I can imagine making a matte of his outline and eroding that, as well, so you lose bits of the key with the departing pieces of matte.


So, what would you do differently, now that this is all over? Go back to green screen, or stay with luma key? And what else>


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Diego Barraza
Re: Man in hourglass composite in Motion 5. Any pointers?
on Nov 7, 2015 at 6:30:17 pm

Thanks for the observations Robin and Mark.

Mark, the first thing I would do differently is ask for more budget! :)

The budget was very limited, but its an artist that is independently starting up and I was wanting to support.

First shot of "sandman" was with a dark background so no green screen. Most shots you see with sand pouring are black backgrounds with luma key. The shot you mention at 2:14 I did not want to include it myself so glad to hear you agree with me on that as inconsistent, but I had to accommodate backseat directors (the client) :( My lesson is press for directorial final cut. Many other shots were changed by the client, my cut included a gardener in the greenhouse shot, suggesting a classic love triangle that gave the video a bit more edge.

Most of the skies were replaced, this is the Uk even in summer. They did not want to pay up for time so it got a bit sloppy.

The sand pouring gets lost in green screen in medium shot, if you want to get the particles shoot it back-lit and pull a luma key most definitely. Also, youtube encoding looses a lot of detail.

Overall positive experience, could have been improved with more time and money as always.

filmmaking-editing-dop-dad


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