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How to make a pyroclastic surge?

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Claude RozsaHow to make a pyroclastic surge?
by on Apr 26, 2015 at 7:53:34 am

Hi everybody;
I'm making a video of my travels of the past 15 visits to the sites of Pompeii and Herculaneum . At the beginning of the movie with different effects and sets I've done with AE and Element 3d, I remake the Vesuvius fatal explosion and prelude to a sort of fantastic story with visitors from the unknown meet a roman which comes back to life and will serve as guide to the visit of the sites. Each time they arrive to a famous place the set goes back to its ancient beauty. For the prelude I want to reconstruct the pyroclastic flow that engulfed the cities and their inhabitants below 6 or 30+ meters of lava and burning ashes and gases. I thought of using with their permission some 12 seconds of the Melbourne Museum animation which can be seen on youtube. They asked me the extravagant fee of 6000 AU$! I'm just an amateur and do this for my own pleasure and with no commercial purposes as I told them.

So if anyone here has an idea to realize the flow I would be very grateful. I thought of rotoscoping one on youtube but none are either of good quality and moreover on a creative cloud license enabling me to use them. Here's the link to what I'd wish to re-enact; the effects are made by Jordan Walsh: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Jw2qukhhBc see at 5'50"

I know it's quite presumptuous, but who doesn't try gets nothing, isn't it ?

Claude


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Tudor "Ted" JelescuRe: How to make a pyroclastic surge?
by on Apr 26, 2015 at 8:45:19 am

The example you gave is actually pretty simple. All they have in there is a still layer with artwork that depicts the city and several layers of smoke/ash cloud footage that are animated to look like they are moving towards the camera. If you gather these elements the animation is not that complex. You could get fancy and layer the city artwork to have a 3d space and then use a particle generator to create the ash clouds.
For free smoke or even time lapse footage search youtube- plenty of free stuff posted on there that you can download.
Good tutorials on smoke/clouds with particles are only one google search away.

Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Senior VFX Artist


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Claude RozsaRe: How to make a pyroclastic surge?
by on Apr 26, 2015 at 9:20:40 am

Thanks Ted,
yes I thought of that. I have Videocopilot essentials and some 10+ smoke effects. I began yesterday to make some tests with my clip of the forum I've posted on Vimeo. Have a look and tell me what you think of it, there are most probably things I can better still; I'm not a professional just an amateur learning as much as I can to make that ambitious project. So any tips or counsels are most welcome. Here is the link to the clip:
https://vimeo.com/124404134


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Tudor "Ted" JelescuRe: How to make a pyroclastic surge?
by on Apr 26, 2015 at 2:38:51 pm

You're aiming high, which is always good! Shorten the dolly shot, get some angles that help perspective and trick the eye where you have flat cards like the statues. Bring some lights in the scene to have a bit more modeling. Shorter shots and more cuts will make for a more interesting viewing experience. Vary the shots (wide, medium, closeup). Above all add color grading to blend in the various elements and give it a feel - that helps the viewer forgive many errors and buy into the shot. It is more important to create a feeling that is acceptable and interesting than accurate historical representation. Try even a Roto Toon look - this will help create a uniform look to a shot that is composed with many unlike elements.

Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Senior VFX Artist


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Claude RozsaRe: How to make a pyroclastic surge?
by on Apr 26, 2015 at 3:24:14 pm

Hi Ted,
Thanks for your advices. Just a silly question what is " a Roto Toon look "???? Don't know the expression. Don't forget I'm an old 73 years old froggy!lol!


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Tudor "Ted" JelescuRe: How to make a pyroclastic surge?
by on Apr 27, 2015 at 11:31:34 am

There are no silly questions- here are a few links that will explain the terms and give you an idea on what plugins you could use to get that look:

https://www.redgiant.com/products/toonit/

http://stop-smoking-store.com/images/Do_Not_Touch/Adobe_CS5_OSX/CS5_PLUGZ/R...













Oh, yeah, and 73 is like the new 53 I hear...

Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Senior VFX Artist


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Claude RozsaRe: How to make a pyroclastic surge?
by on Apr 27, 2015 at 12:35:18 pm

Hi Ted;

Thanks for the links I've found one. I now understand the meaning of it. I don't think I'll use this effect. It wouldn't be in line with my script.

For instance in the case of the Forum, my guide will arrive there; we'll see the actual state of the forum totally ruined; only a few column remain standing from the 212 which were surrounding the square in 79AD. Progressively the picture will crossfade with the view of my model which has been designed conforming to the exact scale of the original and the colors are also a precise copy of what can be seen either on the remaining ones e.g. the red of the temple ones, or on fresco which were found in nearby houses.

So I really want to give this a kind of realism. I'm also studying how to incorporate in the set people. I will rotorshop crowds taken from movies like Imperium/Augustus or Beh Hur seen behind them and also use some of my DAZ 3D characters for which I have also the appropriate dress and will try to animate.

I really try to give the viewer the impression he travels back in time to see the splendor of these two towns which are probably the most astounding archaeological sites in Europe. It is a must see for someone either living in Europe or on another continent visiting Italy. At each street corner you feel as if you're going to meet a Roman or a Centurion on duty. I have traveled a lot around the world and I can tell you nothing can compare to this.

But for your other remarks yes you're quite right. This is just an exercise to see if I have well understood how to move the camera. The exterior lighting is dreadful but I needed also to see how I could do not to influence the interior of the temple which will be part of the visit in this shot. I think the 55 seconds in the temple are not too bad lightwise. I wanted to give it some kind of mystery although for some reason my heat distortion effect on the basin's fire has not done what I expected. I will also use the same set for the eruption in the prelude trying to use the shatter effect to destroy the temple and its surroundings. For the statues I've found with google free 3d models of roman statues and I'll try to use them and incorporate if possible the textures of the actual ones. When I'll be at the Museum in Naples next June I'll try to take pictures of the back of Augustus statue and two others to recreate a full 3d model instead of those awful ones I have for the moment! So you see I'm a perfectionist and quite aware of the things I should do and will follow many of your recommendations.

I really want to make a video no longer than 60 minutes which will give the viewer the wish to go there before it's too late. Degradation is going fast due to the negligence of the Italian government and the ever presence of the Camora mafia. Recently 200 persons were arrested in possession of some 2000 objects stolen on the site. Not to mention the destruction by water infiltration due to heavy rains especially in the fall and winter. And who knows probably a huge new catastrophe far worse than 79 AD is brewing under the towns Naples included! Vulcanologists are pretty scared about this eventuality.It seems to happen every 2000 years or so...


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Tudor "Ted" JelescuRe: How to make a pyroclastic surge?
by on Apr 27, 2015 at 7:33:19 pm

Well, it sounds like you're having fun with the project and that's what matters. I am quite familiar with Pompeii, as I just visited the site last November. 60 minutes is a lot of work, and I think you'll loose a lot of younger viewers on the way. Most folks now a days are used to short attention span and fast cuts. My recommendation to use a "look" like roto toon or similar comes from mainly two directions:
1- You can't fight big budget visual effects- now a days with all the fx movies coming out, anything that does not fit that kind of quality visually is immediately categorized as "low budget", old and cheesy. So you either go for the big production look, which involves lots of money or lots of time and expertise, or you go for the artistic expression, which is another way to say you find a gimmick to make your low resources look interesting enough that the viewer will buy it and find it interesting enough to be patient and follow the idea behind it.
2- Everyone can do a movie at home right now- the technology is available and every 10 year old is able to shoot some great looking footage on his GoPro in full HD or even 4k, use a few graphics templates, a edit template and pump out a great looking movie in hours. The point is to go for a different look, something that is your personal interpretation of the way things are supposed to look. Weather it is a cartoon, pastel painting, graphic novel or super saturated look that depends on you. When you work with different elements that come from various sources you will run into a clear issue: your compositions will look like various elements put together. What you need is a unifying element that can rick the mind into thinking that all that is in the frame belongs in the frame.
So my final 2 cents: if you're going for realism then it will be impossible to achieve as a beginner one man band. Go for an achievable goal, something that will enable you to be creative and not get frustrated with details. After all, you want to continue to have fun in what you're doing and you want to finish what you started.

Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Senior VFX Artist


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Claude RozsaRe: How to make a pyroclastic surge?
by on Apr 27, 2015 at 9:32:31 pm

Ted, you're reasoning as if I wanted to present this video to the public whatever the media. This is for my own personal video library and no one else. I'm not so pretentious, so bold not to say mad as to even imagine a slightest moment to put this even online. If I uploaded a few of my shots it was because I asked some help to achieve some vfx I had not succeeded to do.

As for the way the young generation appreciate history whatever it is, it's been years since I've understood the poor level of historical knowledge of the actual generation worldwide and even of directors of international fame. I will give two examples.

The famous appraised "Marie Antoinette" production of Mrs Coppola had the help of one of France's renowned specialist on the subject. I happened to attend a conference of Mrs Évelyne Lever. She told the public at the conference that all the advice she gave were listened carefully and totally ignored and that the whole film contains numerous major historical errors.

Worse, just a few minutes ago on one of the French television channels was broadcast one of the episodes of the series Nicolas Le Floch adapted from Jean François Parot's books, a French ambassador and writer who has made bestsellers worldwide of his Nicholas Le Floch crime stories taking place during the reigns of Louis XV and Louis XVI. At the end of the presentation a journalist interviewed one of the producers and both clearly set the reign of Louis XV in the 17th century. Unfortunately for them Louis XIV died in 1715 and there was an interim reign by the Regent Philippe d'Orléans between 1715 and 1723 ! As you know very well this is 18th century! this could be thought as a slip of the tongue, but when you repeat such a stupidity several times during a 10 minutes interview it's difficult to think it is.

This is the cultural level in the world. We've seen the stupidity of the last film based on the Pompeii catastrophe which did not last more than a few weeks in Paris and which is typical of the frightful situation of the movie industry today. If you use 3D and special effects you get nomination and prizes, whatever void story you tell. Today's level of scripts is representative of the level of cultural level of those who write the scripts which is more or less aiming to zero. We are at light years today of the talent of directors and their script writers of the level of David Lean and other great names of the cinema of my generation. I love cinema, but I'm completely fed up with special effects, violence and sex on the screen and speakers of the theaters that makes me deaf!


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Tudor "Ted" JelescuRe: How to make a pyroclastic surge?
by on Apr 29, 2015 at 6:46:07 pm

Yeah, I hear you. You'll definetly get a kick out of this article:
http://www.techtimes.com/articles/42028/20150325/joss-whedon-vs-akira-kuros...

I learned my editing on a kem six plate flat bed film editor, and looking ad films like "Pas de deux". Growing up in a communist country with just 2 tv channels I got to see most of the black and white films of the past. The cinema's where full of french productions- Delon, Belmondo, Defunes... fun times.
History - that's another sad situation.
Don't think though that you should not put your final product on YouTube - even if one person benefits from your research and effort I think it's worth it.
You may enjoy this (done by my dad and his wife a while ago, with some help from me):






Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Senior VFX Artist


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Claude RozsaRe: How to make a pyroclastic surge?
by on Apr 30, 2015 at 6:02:40 am

Hi Ted, I have not seen Pas de deux; I suppose it is the McLaren one you're mentioning. There are other shorts mentioned in IMDB but that would be the one for the mix with special effects. As for your dad's film unfortunately it tackles a subject which I do not fancy, no offence meant and I do not judge the quality of the movie by itself, it's just religion matters have a tendency to exasperate me because of the shortsightedness of all of them more inclined to create tensions and intolerance than anything else the Catholic one being probably ahead of all others. We've seen recently in Paris the result of centuries of contempt and intolerance between Christians and Muslim, we see everyday the intolerance of Israel with the Palestinians and the scandalous attitude of Israel which has quite a short memory 70 years after the end of the war! I can'b accused of antisemitism as my father's parents were murdered by the Nazis in Budapest in 1944. As you may have noticed I have a famous name; although I have no proof of it I might be a distant cousin of the great composer; my father was Hungarian born on the border of the country which became attached to Yugoslavia. He came to Paris at 18 to study medicine and became a cardiologist who created the cardiology department of the Cairo French hospital. I have multi-ethnic blood in my veins -Hungarian-French and Turkish! I'm a man of the world, to me nationalism as well as religion bring more distress and harm than anything else.
To go back to movies and this might interest you although I do not know where you live and if you"ll be able to see it, I've seen yesterday a very good French movie:"Nos femmes" directed by the french actor Richard Berry and starring himself and Daniel Auteuil and Thierry Lhermitte. 3 friends meet for a poker one evening and one of them says he's just strangled his unfaithful wife! What will do the two others, protect him or go to the police? It's superbly acted by three great actors Berry being a former member of the Comédie Française ant had won the 1rst prize when he finished the National school for the performing arts in the early 60s. A time when it was mandatory to have such a prize to enter the national theater founded during the late 17th century by Louis XIV after Moliere's death. Today the level of this company is at its lowest. Poor country put to shreds by incompetent idiots...Being of Romanian origins I suppose you must be fluent in French this is more or less a trademark of your native country!Lol! Tonite will be ballet evening at the old Paris Opera house with a friend to see a McMillan ballet "the story of Manon". as you see I'm eclectic in my ventures from cinema to music and opera to hiking in Grand Canyon my favorite place in the world in the loneliness of this incredible nature. I'm scheduled for an 18 days raft trip in April 2017. I hope to be still alive and in shape for that.


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Tudor "Ted" JelescuRe: How to make a pyroclastic surge?
by on Apr 30, 2015 at 7:41:17 am

Lot's of topics there- maybe not for this forum. E mail may be more appropriate for this discussion - a interesting one.

Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Senior VFX Artist


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Claude RozsaRe: How to make a pyroclastic surge?
by on Apr 30, 2015 at 9:32:50 am

you're quite right; you can email me at jvdesuit1@free.fr


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