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How can I add a static crackle around my actor

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Brian HigginsHow can I add a static crackle around my actor
by on Apr 10, 2013 at 12:23:13 am

Looking to add a static crackle effect surrounding my actor. anyone with some ideas?

I am creating sort of a hologram effect, but want to add some static, crackle or distortion around the edges of the hologram.

Thanks for any suggestions


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Paul StevensonRe: How can I add a static crackle around my actor
by on Apr 10, 2013 at 11:23:55 am

Is your actor in the scene or is he green screened?

If he is in the scene how easy would it be to key him out/mask him etc?

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Dave LaRondeRe: How can I add a static crackle around my actor
by on Apr 10, 2013 at 3:06:26 pm

Here's how I'd do it:
  • Plan out how to shoot both the background and the subject as two separate layers: both locked-down, matching camera angles, height, lens focal length and lighting conditions.
  • Shoot the background plate.
  • Shoot the subject on a chroma key, matching the lighting on the subject as planned previously. The background should be FEATURELESS -- no wrinkles, cracks, etc. -- and lit separately from the subject. There should be good separation between subject and background to minimize color spill, no hot spots on the background... and about two stops darker than the highlights on the subject.
  • Use a camera with at least 4-2-2 color resolution (aka 4-2-2 color sampling).
  • After ingesting the video into the video editing application, IMMEDIATELY export both shots in a lossless video codec (I like quicktime movies in the PNG codec) for use in AE.
  • In AE, pull the chroma key. If you followed the steps above it should be very easy.
  • Follow the Aharon Rabinowitz tutorial on creating Super-Tight Junk Mattes here on the COW to create a border around the subject, which can then be used to create an alpha channel for the Advanced Lightning effect or even a particle effect.
  • In the main AE comp, stack everything up: background, subject, and static layers.
There will doubtlessly be some nested comps and much painstaking tweaking used in this process, but that's to be expected.

Dave LaRonde
Former Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA

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