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Adding fireworks footage to a scene

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Andrew Johnson
Adding fireworks footage to a scene
on Sep 14, 2015 at 4:20:55 pm

Hello everyone.

I've filmed a local festival where they had a fireworks show and I shot all the fireworks at the top of a building in order to capture the entire blast of the fireworks. However I would love to know if it is possible to combine the footage of the fireworks with footage of someone pointing their hand into the sky and place the fireworks into the sky. Is this possible with masking and tracking in After Effects? How could I achieve this kind of effect?

Thanks in advance!


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Adding fireworks footage to a scene
on Sep 14, 2015 at 10:54:33 pm

Yeah, it's possible, but without seeing a shot of scene where you'll put the fireworks, it's tough to get any more specific than that.

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Andrew Johnson
Re: Adding fireworks footage to a scene
on Sep 15, 2015 at 2:48:26 pm

Hello Dave! Thanks for your response!

This is a screenshot of the scene where a girl raises her hand in the air in slow motion and her hand moves to the right.



Would an animated mask solve the issue here? or is there an easier way?


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Adding fireworks footage to a scene
on Sep 15, 2015 at 4:13:16 pm
Last Edited By Dave LaRonde on Sep 15, 2015 at 5:15:18 pm

Wow, that's dark... and sure, you can take care of the arm by using AE's VERY non-inuitive (i.e. you have to read up on it) Rotobrush, but that solves just one part of a list of issues:

The girl's head is also in the shot. You'll have to separate it from the background, too... and hair is darned near impossible to mask. You may also have to mask other portions of the head, like the top, and you might have to guess at it. Not good.

Is this an urban environment? In that darkness, are there buildings that might be revealed by the flash of fireworks and that may also block parts of the sky where they're going off? Is this a forest environment with trees and leaves posing even worse problems?

Where sort of things lie just beyond that pool of light? Would they be revealed by aerial explosions, too?

Does the camera move in this shot? Will you have to track motion, involving another measure of difficulty?

If I was thinking long & hard about faking a fireworks shot, I could probably come up with other items, but that's not a bad list just off the top of my head.

So to answer your question, an animated mask MIGHT solve the problem, but I don't think you considered all the other visual changes involved in sticking fireworks into a black sky. They all must be planned for, your shooting must accommodate them, and you must have an answer for all of them when you begin post.

But don't get rid of the fireworks footage -- that'll come in handy later. You just have to plan the foreground shot more thoroughly.... okay, it's not just "just", there's a lot of thinking and previsualizing involved.

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Kalle Kannisto
Re: Adding fireworks footage to a scene
on Sep 15, 2015 at 5:39:01 pm

You will have a much better time of it if you reshoot the person on green screen.


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