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CSI Season 7, Episode 17 (Fallen Idols) camera effect

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Juan Pizarro
CSI Season 7, Episode 17 (Fallen Idols) camera effect
on May 28, 2009 at 1:10:38 am

Hi Guys,

I'm so curious on how to replicate this camera effect that appears on CSI season 7, episode 17 at the very beginning.

I found the clip on the

If you watch it at the end from 2:00-2:30 you'll see what I'm taking about.

Is this done with still photography in After Effects? is it a camera trick?

Any insight will be greatly appreciated.


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Paul Crowe
Re: CSI Season 7, Episode 17 (Fallen Idols) camera effect
on May 28, 2009 at 4:49:53 am

Hi Juan

this tutoria is pretty close to what you're looking for I think.

I've used this effect, it works pretty well. You just need to insert a still frame under the flash and extend it out a litle to get that frozen feel.

Hope this helps

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Alan Tonn
Re: CSI Season 7, Episode 17 (Fallen Idols) camera effect
on May 28, 2009 at 6:30:10 am

Paul, i dont think he was talking about the camera flashes. the end of the clip does a Hiro manuver... from the TV show Heroes. stopping of time.

this is something that can be done in after effects, but the scene is probably filmed and then they choose a point where they want to freeze everything, then they get everyone into position and they all stop moving and the camera is moved through the crowd.

some of the stuff that is floating has either got wires, stands or something holding it up that is tracked and screened out after the scene is filmed. something that AE and Mocha do well together.

then it also looks like some objects were created either in a 3d program or could be after effects faking 3d.

all in all i think a scene like this can be pulled off without going to a total computer created scene, but it would take a lot of time and effort to do this good a job.

there are a few tutorials i have scene which would help create some of the effects that are scene here. check these out:

shows how to do a freeze time effect

i think this would work for the floating basketball, or any other "roundish" objects.

some of this would be able to create the flash of the photographers camera

i dont know if this helps, but i know that between creative cow and andrew kramer over at video copilot i have been able to extend my abilities in creating interesting effects far beyond what i thought i would ever be able to do.

sometimes it is worth it to sit down and just watch a tutorial for the heck of it. after watching your mind starts thinking, "hmmm. i could use that for..." and before you know it you are doing something that a few minutes ago you would have said "yeah, right..."

good luck with your project. let us know how it turns out.

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Juan Pizarro
Re: CSI Season 7, Episode 17 (Fallen Idols) camera effect
on May 28, 2009 at 3:39:22 pm

Thanks for the responds. I'm a huge fan of Andrew Kramer's tutorial. Almost everything I know about AE is thanks to him.

He has a tutorial "#46 Virtual 3D photos" Which I have done many times and has a very similar effect to the one I'm trying to get from the CSI episode.

The thing is the CSI episode the movement is much broader and longer than anything I've done before.

I can certainly take a whole bunch of people and cut them up in Photoshop and place them on a background in After effects. What I'm having problems is how to use a real background, either from a still picture or video, and move around my still characters in 3D.

Anybody has any other ideas?

Thanks in advanced!


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Kevin Camp
Re: CSI Season 7, Episode 17 (Fallen Idols) camera effect
on May 28, 2009 at 4:35:44 pm

i think the initial freeze was done using a bullet-time rig (where a hundred or so still cameras take shot at the same time from different angles) and sequenced together.

that initial sequence may have been shot on a green screen, allowing the gym walls and background crowd to be placed in a 3d scene, making it easier to expand the scene for the continuation of the shot.

after the referee, though, i think the other characters could all be stills placed in the 3d scene (as you are suggesting), then you'd move a camera through them.

instead of incorporating the still characters into a real shot, try using real stills to create the 3d environment (2 stills for walls, maybe a still for the floor) so the whole scene will move correctly with the 3d camera.

Kevin Camp
Senior Designer

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