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Remove/Rotoscope character/actor/object from moving camera shot

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Ryan StubbsRemove/Rotoscope character/actor/object from moving camera shot
by on Oct 30, 2012 at 11:53:26 pm

I'm in the pre-production stages of a film I would like to shoot with some friends. A few scenes involve a Disrict 9-ish weapon that explodes/disintegrates the people it hits. I can do this effect fairly easily when the shot is not moving (on a tripod) and I have a clean background slate. However, I would like to do this effect with a moving camera shot. I did some searches and couldn't find any tutorials, probably because I don't know exactly what this technique is called. I have a base understanding of how I think one would go about doing this, but it would be great if someone could confirm how it's done, or just link me to a tutorial.

Thanks,
Ryan Stubbs


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Dave LaRondeRe: Remove/Rotoscope character/actor/object from moving camera shot
by on Oct 31, 2012 at 3:12:31 pm

Depending on the precise nature of the background, you may have to shoot the clean plates using Motion Control. That's the term you seek, and doing it ain't cheap.

For example: a person gets zapped with an alley in the background as the camera pans. A static clean plate won't have the perspective change necessary to match up with the background once the person is removed.

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


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Joseph W. BourkeRe: Remove/Rotoscope character/actor/object from moving camera shot
by on Oct 31, 2012 at 11:05:18 pm

Dave's right -

Short of a motion control rig, you're going to have to do a lot of rotoscoping and tracking, and you still won't get perfection. Here's a rundown on what Dave's talking about:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motion_control_photography

It's basically a camera mount (they're now making them for DSLRs by the way, so the cost is coming down for small mounts) that allows you to program a move, or series or moves with linear motion, tilts and pans, and such, and then allows the move to be duplicated perfectly. So you can do a pass with a clean background, a pass with flat lighting, a pass with hero lighting, you get the idea...

Joe Bourke
Owner/Creative Director
Bourke Media
http://www.bourkemedia.com


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Ryan StubbsRe: Remove/Rotoscope character/actor/object from moving camera shot
by on Oct 31, 2012 at 11:40:47 pm

Wow. I had no idea it was that complicated. As you can probably tell, I'm fairly new to this field. What about is movies like, for instance, District 9 and Transformers 3 (just 2 examples off the top of my head). Those two both involve weapons that disintegrate a character when they are shot. Now that I think of it, the people in Transformers who got shot were probably CGI, while in District 9 they were either using still shots or CGI, right?


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Dave LaRondeRe: Remove/Rotoscope character/actor/object from moving camera shot
by on Nov 1, 2012 at 3:48:50 pm

I haven't seen either movie, so I couldn't comment. But this special effects stuff can get extremely complicated, as you're now beginning to learn.

By the way: congratulations on thinking about these things BEFORE you shoot!
All too often, people just shoot and trust that a miracle will happen. You're aware that people can make their own luck through a little extra work.... okay a LOT of extra work, but you get the idea.

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


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