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Scaling down in AE for 3d Set

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Chris PowersScaling down in AE for 3d Set
by on Oct 20, 2009 at 2:34:21 pm

So, I am making a 3d set with a live action actor shot on GS composed in. Its not too complicated, but the set is a LARGE scale building that the camera pushes in toward. I'm hoping to push right up to the front door of the building that is VERY small compared to the overal scale. (I really want to hit that this is a massive building you wouldn't find normally).

The problem is, i'm hoping to have a live action actor waiting for us at that entrace (a 3d layer of a pre-shot actor with camera moves etc. to coordinate with the 3d space.)

Here's were I get confused. In order to make my Actor the right scale it needs to be at about 8 to 10% scale, and by that time it's lost ALL sharpness and is just a ball of pixels.

Can anyone think of a work around for this? Is there a way to scale footage down without loosing quality? Any little tricks you might be able to think of? (I tried a slow scale up as the camera zooms in, but that really throws off the look). Or is this just past AE's limitations and I need to tweak my vision for this shot?

Thanks for any help/suggestions!

-Chris


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Tony SilvaRe: Scaling down in AE for 3d Set
by on Oct 20, 2009 at 4:19:08 pm

what are you using for your building? An image? stock footage?
No, there isn't a way to scale footage and not lose quality, I don't care how much CSI you watch, it's not possible.

Sounds like you need multiple shots of the building where you can comp them together to get good enough resolution at the end. It's the same technique as VideoCopilot's Earth Zoom tutorial.


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Dave LaRondeRe: Scaling down in AE for 3d Set
by on Oct 20, 2009 at 6:24:16 pm

Here's the first and most important question that anyone can ask:
Have you ever done anything remotely like this, using both the techniques of 3D set building and convincing chroma keying?

Here's the second-most important question that anyone can ask:
Do you have a good HD camera (NOT HDV), a 12x18 foot chroma key screen plus extra chroma key fabric for the floor, and a LOT of good lighting instruments... or the budget to rent the equipment and studio space to secure yourself all these things?

Here's the third-most important question that anyone can ask:
Will you have the opportunities to run tests until you KNOW you'll get it right on the day of the big shoot?

If the answer to ANY of the above is "No", it's time to start thinking about Plan B.

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


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Chris PowersRe: Scaling down in AE for 3d Set
by on Oct 20, 2009 at 7:24:07 pm

Ahh, all good questions!

1) No, I really haven't ever done anything like this. but, hopefully, if you ask me that question in a weeks time, my answer will be yes! What I want to create needs a CG set and since I don't know any 3d programs, I'm hoping to build it in AE. The video will require 5 3d sets with camera moving through them tracking the actor.

I've already built and tested 3 of them and it's going pretty well. Sure its all VERY new, but I've got to forge ahead and do something totally new or else I'll get pretty stale pretty quick.

2)No, I only have an HDV camera sadly and there's no budget to get anything more. I know, it won't be hollywood quality, but the actors are pretty small on screen so I should be safe. (And I do have all the Chroma equiptment. I blew a bulb last week but should have that back soon)

3) Yes, I've shot some test footage with myself as the actor and its worked pretty well so far.

And, I think I've found a work around for the problem. The issue was my actor being fuzzy by the time the camera has moved up to them, well, I think I'll just fade to the next shot before the audience can really notice the fuzz. Pluss, its all glowing and ethereal anyway, it should fit in with the other distortion...I hope.

Plus, my test footage is SD, hopefully when I use HD it will increase the sharpness a bit.

Thanks for your input guys!


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Dave LaRondeRe: Scaling down in AE for 3d Set
by on Oct 20, 2009 at 9:04:09 pm

[Chris Powers] "...I only have an HDV camera sadly and there's no budget to get anything more.... Plus, my test footage is SD, hopefully when I use HD it will increase the sharpness a bit..."

HD? SD? Which will be the resolution of your COMP? If it's SD, you should be good to go, even with HDV... just don't forget to convert it to a non-temporally-compressed codec before you use it in AE.

And don't forget: you have a 16x9 image to use to the max. You can mount the camera sideways, shooting the actor head-to-toe using the long part of the aspect ratio. It's been done before. Check this out...

http://magazine.creativecow.net/article/building-a-3d-world-in-after-effect...




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


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Chris PowersRe: Scaling down in AE for 3d Set
by on Oct 21, 2009 at 2:15:17 pm

My final comp will be SD so I was hoping HDV would end up looking ok. I'm not familiar with "convert[ing] it to a non-temporally-compressed codec" How exactly do I do that and what is it? Sounds like something I should do though.

And thanks for the link, that is actually the first place I went when I knew I wanted to do something like this. There's lots of good tips in there.

Thanks for your help,

-Chris


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Dave LaRondeRe: Scaling down in AE for 3d Set
by on Oct 21, 2009 at 3:18:57 pm

[Chris Powers] "...How exactly do I do that and what is it?"

Since I'm a Mac guy, I'd use Quicktime Pro to export the footage, using the PNG Codec. This is NOT a PNG sequence, but a QT Movie using PNG compression. Set to best quality, it's lossless.

On a Windows box? You're on your own...

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


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