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Advice for set extending/Adding close Buildings

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Tyle RenakeAdvice for set extending/Adding close Buildings
by on Sep 8, 2010 at 2:37:02 pm

Hello,

For a film im making, i have to add a few buildings to Actors and live footage. Essentially, i have to create an Edo period japanese village that my actors can be part of. (We'll have some PA's follow the actors around with a small Green screen to allow easy placement of buildings and less rotoscoping)

I've seen a LOT of set extending tutorials, from videocopilot, aetuts, creativecow, you name it. Problem is, they are all adding the
location in the distance. I need to add the location around the actor, to make it look like hes actually standing inside.

Has anyone seen any tutorials on how to do this? Or does anyone have any advice, or seen a reel that i can try to learn from? Maybe this shouldnt even be called set extension, maybe its like set addition or something, but...just curious.

Thanks so much


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Michael SzalapskiRe: Advice for virtual set
by on Sep 8, 2010 at 2:58:11 pm

Not set extension, it sounds like you're looking for a virtual set.
To be honest, the principles of motion tracking are the same, but you will also have to focus on lots of good keying and rotoscoping. Check out the links in those pages and the comments at the bottom. There are lots of good resources there.
Don't forget light wrapping!

- The Great Szalam
(The 'Great' stands for 'Not So Great, in fact, Extremely Humble')

No trees were harmed in the creation of this message, but several thousand electrons were mildly inconvenienced.


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Dave LaRondeRe: Advice for set extending/Adding close Buildings
by on Sep 8, 2010 at 2:58:44 pm

[Tyle Renake] "...i have to create an Edo period japanese village that my actors can be part of. (We'll have some PA's follow the actors around with a small Green screen to allow easy placement of buildings and less rotoscoping)... I need to add the location around the actor, to make it look like hes actually standing inside...."

Well, then! You're not asking how to EXTEND a set, you're actually asking how to create a VIRTUAL set. Look at your challenge in terms of the movies "300" or "Sin City".

Think about it: set extensions are used to limit the amount of set construction. They allow actors to be behind the parts that are actually built.

Apparently you want to build NO sets, which is different kettle of fish entirely. Thus, I strongly recommend -- as I'm sure Michael Szalapski would also recommend -- that you accumulate every bit of information on how they made those two virtual set movies as you can.

You will learn very quickly that they require intense planning and storyboarding, literally on a shot-by-shot basis. Not to mention the services of an experienced effects artist. Not to mention weeks or months in a studio.

Yes, a real studio with lights and a roof and everything. If you're going to build virtual sets, you don't want the light changing as lighting conditions change throughout the day when you shoot outdoors.

This ain't no stroll through the park where the director can indulge his or her whims in the instant. Such behavior courts disaster.

And please say you weren't intending on shooting this opus on an HDV camera.

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


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Tyle RenakeRe: Advice for set extending/Adding close Buildings
by on Sep 8, 2010 at 3:36:42 pm

Haha, thanks guys. Yeah, Virtual Set seems more like it, however, i will be adding the fake material to a real (empty field) location, so i honestly wasnt sure what it would be called.

I'll check out those links, and defiently look into 300 and sin city. This wont shot on a complete green screen set as those movies were, but it should defiently help to know what they had to do.

The bummer is since im shooting this outside there will be changing light conditions, haha, and all i have for post work is myself and good old trusty after effects. Oh, how i love to give myself thy challenging assignments!

Would you guys recomend using 3d structures for the buildings, or stock photography brought from iphoto? My only problem with 3d composites is it might not blend in with the live elements of the shot, but stock photography...well...it completly limits the angle of the shot...

Thanks you guys!


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Dave LaRondeRe: Advice for set extending/Adding close Buildings
by on Sep 8, 2010 at 4:26:05 pm

[Tyle Renake] "...im shooting this outside there will be changing light conditions, haha, and all i have for post work is myself and good old trusty after effects. Oh, how i love to give myself thy challenging assignments!"

Um, this is more like jumping into the deep end of the pool wearing lead weights on your ankles.
You ain't coming up from this one with that kind of attitude and flat-out ignorance, buddy. Here are a some examples:

• You want to use primary camera motion during shots? Okay, then how do you propose to 1) give yourself visible, yet keyable markers for 3D matchmove software and 2) use the resulting data in an a 3D application?

• Speaking of 3D applications, I hope you know ALL ABOUT a good one, because that's where you'll have to make your sets. Stock photography is woefully inadequate for your purposes. Oh, and don't forget: you have to match the lighting conditions in your 3D application to those of your footage: you shot outside under varying lighting conditions, remember? So you could get it shot? Remember that? So give yourself an extra 3-6 months or so.

• Got a good camera? I mean, a REALLY good camera with 4-4-4 color resolution, to help you pull good keys? I'm talkin' a camera that you could swap for a brand-new Corvette. Cripes, have you ever even DONE chroma key work on this scale? Got the horsepower and storage in your computer to accommodate the mind-numbingly large files created by a good camera?

Unless you know precisely what you're doing IN ADVANCE and have a plan IN PLACE and have run tests to reassure yourself that you can handle key technical problems BEFORE they happen, you're not going to be making a photorealistic film about Feudal Japan.
You'll be lucky to salvage the footage you have to make an adult CARTOON about Feudal Japan.

And them's the facts. Proceed at your own risk.

Of course, you could always be one of these dream world kind of guys who says to himself, "I've got a laptop, I've got a tripod, I've got an HDV camera, I've got After Effects... by God, I've got the WORLD!"

In which case, forget everything I've written. Knock yourself out. Enjoy the experience. Seek truth. Capture that muse, by golly!

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


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Tudor "Ted" JelescuRe: Advice for set extending/Adding close Buildings
by on Sep 8, 2010 at 7:09:07 pm

All of the above posts being said, all truth and true, here's a bit of encouragement- it is possible to do effects for a movie with AE and PSD:
http://www.fxguide.com/article463.html
Good luck!

Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Senior Compositor/VFX Artist
Bucharest, Romania


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Tyle RenakeRe: Advice for set extending/Adding close Buildings
by on Sep 8, 2010 at 7:33:21 pm

Hey Dave,

I completly agree with you. I know this will look like crap unless i know what im doing, and that i have to know EVERYTHING before i go into this. Theres no point in spending a few thousand on armor and props if its gonna end up looking like a saturday morning cartoon.

We'll be shooting with a 4-4-2 camera, so i wont have the full color field to choose from. I'm just wondering at this point if it would be easier to do a complete green screen set, that way at least things will blend together a lot better.

Oh, learning experiences! The more advice the merrier though, keep it coming!

Thanks guys.


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Tyle RenakeRe: Advice for set extending/Adding close Buildings
by on Sep 8, 2010 at 7:47:31 pm

Sorry, meant 4:2:2 camera, the Panasonic AG HPX170. Would it make the shoot a lot simpler to use a RED or something instead?


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Tudor "Ted" JelescuRe: Advice for set extending/Adding close Buildings
by on Sep 8, 2010 at 8:28:56 pm

RED will give you a lot more to work with- so if you can, use that instead. Shoot at 4K all effects shots, even if your final will be 2k or HD. And get ready to upgrade the RAM on your AE workstation...

Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Senior Compositor/VFX Artist
Bucharest, Romania


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Tyle RenakeRe: Advice for set extending/Adding close Buildings
by on Sep 8, 2010 at 9:14:22 pm

Yeah, i'll pretty much need a new station in order to edit uncompressed Red (Currently using CS4, 8 gigs ram, Nvdia Geforce 9800 GT)

Just out of curiousity, why is it essential to not shoot on HDV, but better? I know 4 K resolution will be awesome in order to have control over the shot, and be able to scale as much as needed, but why is 4:4:4 so essential? I really need to read up on this...


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Michael SzalapskiRe: Advice for set extending/Adding close Buildings
by on Sep 8, 2010 at 9:24:51 pm

If you get CS5 with a graphics card that can handle the Mercury Playback engine, I hear that you will adore working with RED footage.

As far as why color resolution matters for keying. Think about it this way: the less color resolution you have, the less color information there is. What does a keying effect or plugin do? It looks at colors to determine what's background and what's foreground. If you throw away ANY color information, you make the key worse.
This link may help.

- The Great Szalam
(The 'Great' stands for 'Not So Great, in fact, Extremely Humble')

No trees were harmed in the creation of this message, but several thousand electrons were mildly inconvenienced.


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Tyle RenakeRe: Advice for set extending/Adding close Buildings
by on Sep 8, 2010 at 9:37:17 pm

Oh, thats right! I remember hearing about that a while back, the information just didnt stick. Thanks Mike, that makes complete sense!


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Shawn MillerRe: Advice for set extending/Adding close Buildings
by on Sep 8, 2010 at 10:59:10 pm

As others have said, this 'can' be done with virtual 3D sets... but it doesn't mean that you can't do this with 2D graphics in 3D space... you just have to be really careful in your shot selection and camera movement. The bottom line is that you have to be somewhat knowlegeble about the subject. You have to know when, why and how you can get away with 2D (or 3D) tracking and 2D graphics vs a 3D tracking and integration workflow. I also (repectively) disagree with some folks regarding camera choice. You can pull good and believable keys with a 4:2:2 camera @ 720p or 1080p... you just have to be good at keying AND compositing.

In order to do this work you'll have to be comfortable with the following subjects:

2D tracking
3D tracking/matchmoving
3D modeling
3D Painting/Texturing
3D Lighting
HDR Photography (including shooting mulit-exposure panoramas and creating sperical maps from those panoramas)
Compositing
Keying
Rotoscoping



Here are links to some resources that can lead you down the road of understand what you're trying to do.

http://www.cmivfx.com/productpages/product.aspx?name=C4D_Matte_Paint_Extrac...

http://www.cmivfx.com/productpages/product.aspx?name=Syntheyes_Complete_Tra...

http://videocopilot.net/tutorial/3d_crater_p1/

http://ssontech.com/content/pertute.htm

http://www.amazon.com/Effects-Visual-Compositing-Studio-Techniques/dp/03215...



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Tyle RenakeRe: Advice for set extending/Adding close Buildings
by on Sep 8, 2010 at 11:50:49 pm

Wow,

Thanks Shawn, I'll check out those links. I'm comfterable with everything 2d, I really have to brush up on 3d material from modeling, texturing, lighting, you name it. I'll have to use Blender due to our remaining budget....

Yeah, Keylight has done amazing things for me in the past with 4:2:2 cameras. I dont doubt its power. Compositing has never been my strong suite, but no way to get better than without some practice. Time to level up.


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Michael SzalapskiRe: Advice for set extending/Adding close Buildings
by on Sep 9, 2010 at 1:04:12 am

I've actually gotten decent results out of HDV with a lot of attention paid to lighting, but it wasn't easy. 4:2:2 will be worlds better than that, but imagine the fun of a Red. :)

- The Great Szalam
(The 'Great' stands for 'Not So Great, in fact, Extremely Humble')

No trees were harmed in the creation of this message, but several thousand electrons were mildly inconvenienced.


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Tyle RenakeRe: Advice for set extending/Adding close Buildings
by on Sep 9, 2010 at 1:17:54 am

Hey, we may have it in budget to get a red, I would love the option...

Quick question, Is Mocha good for the kind of tracking needed for this? I havent used it, yet all the tutorials seem to be about screen replacing and exporting the data as corner pin data, but can the data actually be exported as position, rotation, and scale data that after effects can attach to a null object?


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Tudor "Ted" JelescuRe: Advice for set extending/Adding close Buildings
by on Sep 9, 2010 at 7:30:53 am

Yes- Mocha is designed to work with AE. The new version is best, of course and CS5 works with it.

Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Senior Compositor/VFX Artist
Bucharest, Romania


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Mike ZimbardRe: Advice for set extending/Adding close Buildings
by on Sep 9, 2010 at 2:55:40 pm

Mocha is a terrific package, but just keep in mind that it's not match-moving software. It can track perspective, scale, and rotation, but will not solve for a camera. So if you're looking for true 3D tracking on a budget you're better off going with Syntheyes, PfHoe or The Foundry's new CameraTracker which plugs right into CS5!



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