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Still image effect seen in documentaries

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Mike JacksStill image effect seen in documentaries
by on Jan 17, 2013 at 5:18:31 pm

Hello All,


I am new to the creative cow community I am happy I joined. I have been working on a project for a while and I am trying to achieve a particular effect i have seen in some documentaries. it almost look like they actually shot video of the stills. Do anyone know how this is done check out this video 15:36- 15:46






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John CuevasRe: Still image effect seen in documentaries
by on Jan 17, 2013 at 8:23:36 pm

In those instances, I'm pretty sure they actually used something to stand the photo up, added some lights and actually shot picture.

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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John CuevasRe: Still image effect seen in documentaries
by on Jan 17, 2013 at 8:48:38 pm

FYI, you could recreate it in AE if you wanted, but it won't look as good as it would if you really did shoot it.

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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Mike JacksRe: Still image effect seen in documentaries
by on Jan 17, 2013 at 9:15:53 pm

Thanks Johnny! Can you point me in the direction on how I can do this in AE


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John CuevasRe: Still image effect seen in documentaries
by on Jan 17, 2013 at 10:04:50 pm

Are you more interested in moving the photo in AE? If that's the case you should look at this page of Tutorials and start with the one on keyframes.

If you are trying more to composite a picture into an image like that, with shadows and faux camera moves that's more complicated. You need to add the picture into scene, composite it so it looks to be a part of the scene, add shadows, add depth of field then animate the entire scene at once to look like a camera move.

If you have the photos, I would put them on a table, light them and do this with a video camera. And if you can't do that, shoot them with a still camera and animate the jpeg in AE. It will be a lot quicker than trying to create a realistic composite.

Lastly, if you don't have the photos, you could even just use a placeholder photo and then replace that with your electronic images in AE. That would still look more realistic than trying to create the scene from scratch.

If you have more specific questions, let me know and I'll see how I can help.

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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Alex SerbanRe: Still image effect seen in documentaries
by on Jan 19, 2013 at 4:25:24 am

There are two distinct "still image effects" i see in the video in the range you provided. The first one is a camera panning left, looking at a picture standing on a table. The second is a simple pan that was done in an editing program. That is easy as pie to recreate in any basic editing program and does not require after effects. You simply activate keyframes in your NLE, position where you want the photo start and add a keyframe there, move forward in the timeline, and reposition the photo where you want it to end up (the NLE should add the second keyframe for you).

The first effect I saw though probably was shot in real life. However, this effect can be done inside of After Effects as well. It's called "Camera Mapping." It involves re-creating the geometry in the photo in the 3D environment in After Effects using solids, and then using a light to project the photo onto said geometry. Very cool effects can be achieved doing this. It is an intermediate-advanced technique and I don't know where you are in your After Effects journey, but you need to at least understand 3D concepts and how AE works.

A very good video tutorial on Camera Mapping is provided by Andrew Kramer on videocopilot which can be viewed here:
http://www.videocopilot.net/tutorial/3d_camera_projection/

Also, Trish and Chris Meyer have written an illuminating (pun intended!) chapter dedicated to lights and shadows (which are what is used to create this effect) in their fantastic book "Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects." They are pretty much the go-to people in AE training.
http://www.amazon.com/Creating-Motion-Graphics-After-Effects/dp/0240814150/...

Good luck!


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