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Police Lights on Character

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Jennifer Adams
Police Lights on Character
on Dec 31, 2012 at 9:33:22 am

Hey everyone!

I'm trying to add an effect of red-blue police lights being cast on a scene from off-screen, and can't seem to find any plug-ins or tutorials on this one. Does anyone have any advice for an After Effects beginner on how this can be achieved?

Appreciate any help, guys!
Jen


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Stefan Hinze
Re: Police Lights on Character
on Dec 31, 2012 at 12:15:46 pm

Is it only one clip or multiple cuts?
Without any image, i would first think that this is a job you need to do with maks and more or less frame by frame.

Can you post a image?


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Jennifer Adams
Re: Police Lights on Character
on Dec 31, 2012 at 2:28:40 pm

I didn't shoot the film yet, so I don't have an image, but there would be 3 different shots where this needs to happen, and I want to have the light reflect on two character's skin, and the surroundings.

Any ideas?


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John Cuevas
Re: Police Lights on Character
on Dec 31, 2012 at 2:35:57 pm

My advice is if you haven't shot, figure out a way to do this in the field. Call some rental places, larger ones will have rotating lights that you can use pretty cheap. Locally I rent a police light for 8 bucks a day/16 bucks for the week, so look around.

If you try this in post, you will be trying to add a 3D element to 2D video, it can be done, but not as easily as just shooting it with the lights to start.

Johnny Cuevas, Editor
Thinkck.com

"I have not failed 700 times. I have succeeded in proving that those 700 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work."
---THOMAS EDISON on inventing the light bulb.


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Jennifer Adams
Re: Police Lights on Character
on Dec 31, 2012 at 2:43:40 pm

Yeah, I figured it would be much easier to do this on the set itself, but those things don't come cheap at all here... Can anyone offer some general directions on how this is done in post-production?


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Stefan Hinze
Re: Police Lights on Character
on Dec 31, 2012 at 3:29:25 pm

I would try to make a mask on my caracters and the needed surrounding.
--> sinde of the head/face, on the edges of objects that are visible, walls... what have you...
and then take the mask, feader it realy hard (if needet!) and use it to make the "police light comp" (this one you need to make also) visible.

but if you can --> MAKE IT ON SET!
Take 2 flashlights and red´n´blue gel, use the "best boy", your little brother, A DOG... and let them wiggle the light arround!
eaven if you need to buy the flashlights... it should not get over 15bugs!


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John Cuevas
Re: Police Lights on Character
on Dec 31, 2012 at 3:39:11 pm

Another option would be to duplicate your footage, make it a 3D layer, change the transfer mode to Hard light and lower the opacity. Add an ambient light to and adjust it's intensity to get the footage looking like it did originally.

Now just add some red and blue lights to your scene and rotate them. In the my example project I added 4 lights(2 for red, 2 for blue) and added some expressions to spin them on the y axis. Here's my project for you can use as a starting point. 5140_policelightsfolder.zip

By using the transfer mode, you create simulate the fall off(as the darker areas won't pick up the lights much). Again I stress it will look better if you can come up with a practical solution you will be better served. For instance I took a look at the local craigslistings and found actual police lights for sale for 75 bucks. Also you if you know any DJ's they might be able to loan you some lights...

Good luck with your project.

Johnny Cuevas, Editor
Thinkck.com

"I have not failed 700 times. I have succeeded in proving that those 700 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work."
---THOMAS EDISON on inventing the light bulb.


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Todd Kopriva
Re: Police Lights on Character
on Dec 31, 2012 at 6:14:37 pm

Don't think that you need to rent the exact gear. A grip (i.e., a person) with a flashlight and a blue and red gel mounted side bu side can give you what you need.

In cases like this, a little bit of practical lighting and cleverness can save a lot of tedium in post-production, and the result will be more realistic, giving you real shadows, etc.

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Todd Kopriva, Adobe Systems Incorporated
After Effects quality engineering
After Effects team blog
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