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Creating a crowd running about, interweaving and all

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Steve RobertsCreating a crowd running about, interweaving and all
by on Oct 20, 2011 at 1:00:48 am

Hi all, long time ...

I've been asked if I can facilitate the following in post: the shot is from a rooftop, looking straight down onto a city street T-intersection, maybe ten stories up. In the street are, say, a hundred people running in six directions (straight through, turning left/right, both directions). Each person will be running with a large flag on a pole.

Here's the thing: we will only have twenty extras, to make sixty to a hundred people.

The producer suggested shooting (yes, we're in preproduction, Dave ...) locked-off, clean plate, plus multiple shots of the twenty extras running, all choreographed. Naturally, I'm concerned about the possibility of people from different takes blending into each other in the composite, and the impossibility of keying or masking in such an interwoven situation, not to mention the impossibility of achieving precise choreography. And no, we don't have a British Airways budget, as far as I know. :)

I expect to suggest finding a person who's good with Massive to just do the crowd simulation.

... or am I missing something?

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Tudor "Ted" JelescuRe: Creating a crowd running about, interweaving and all
by on Oct 20, 2011 at 8:13:38 am

I was able to do something similar with a few extras. It can be done with multiple passes- where you have groups of people running in different parts of the shot. The key is to have them run in a few directions and not just one- this way you can deal with close interactions of people with flags passing by each other. It would be beneficial having cars or some other objects to separate the paths on different takes.
A different idea I had is to shoot individuals from top running on thread mills painted with chroma paint and then use Particular to create paths of people running or animate by hand...

Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Senior VFX Artist

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Steve RobertsRe: Creating a crowd running about, interweaving and all
by on Oct 21, 2011 at 1:45:17 pm

Thanks, Ted. I'll look into both ideas. Maybe fewer extras, more passes might be appropriate.


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