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How he do that...?

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Jamie WorsfoldHow he do that...?
by on Jan 17, 2011 at 10:49:39 am

Hi all

A friend of mine is going to be producing a music video for absolutely no money and I've said I'll help him out with the post.

There's a few different effects that he's after - several of which are digital picture break ups which is relatively straightforward. However, another effect he's asking about is like in the following examples:

It's not a locked off camera, so is this just a case of good rotoscoping and a lot of motion tracking? And is there a chance that it's going to be a massive headache? (Keeping in mind I'm doing this as a freebie)

Thanks in advance!

Jambon Films

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Cory PetkovsekRe: How he do that...?
by on Jan 17, 2011 at 11:58:25 am

If you don't know how, and you're doing it for someone else for free, then yes it is going to be a massive headache.

Next, MysteryGuitarMan is a fun motion graphics artist and musician. He uses Apple Motion, not that it matters. What is important is that if you look at all of his videos, you'll see he continually pushes himself to do new things. Copying him is a worthy challenge, but also won't get you far in creating your own path.

Now for the effect. You shouldn't need much rotoscoping, and only a nominal amount of motion tracking. Everything you need for the first video is in here, plus some nominal planning and scripting of the camera work:

The second video won't require much more post work, but it may need rotoscoping. It will require careful planning and practice of the camera work and scripting to get it right.

As a producer and motion graphics artist myself, I would not do it unless your producer is heavily invested in figuring out how to make it work. It will require coordination of the camera, talent and post, and probably a couple practice runs. If he just wants you to figure it out, then don't waste your life energy, even for a friend.


Cory Petkovsek
Corporate Video

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Simon BonnerRe: How he do that...?
by on Jan 17, 2011 at 12:01:17 pm


Looks to me like you're right: rotoscoping and camera tracking. I've not done this effect myself, but it occurs to me there are a couple of ways to achieve it more easily. First way would be to film the talent on greenscreen. That way you're not having to roto them at all. And if you have to do the effect in real locations, lock off the camera and recreate the shake artificially using a wiggle expression. That will remove the need for motion tracking and make rotoscoping much easier.

I think the most important thing is to maintain good communication with your friend. I have done so much free work for friends that, frankly, they haven't appreciated. This is mainly because they haven't understood how much work certain projects demand (particularly roto-work) and assume that there must be 'plug-ins' that can produce everything from a sepia tint to the aliens from Avatar with the push of a button. It's nice to be altruistic, but it's also good to be able to call in a favour from someone who knows exactly how much they owe you.

Simon Bonner

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Jamie WorsfoldRe: How he do that...?
by on Jan 17, 2011 at 12:17:00 pm

Yeah, I had considered about locking off the camera and then applying some wiggle and shake afterwards.

The guy's pretty clued-up, which is why he was asking me beforehand. And which is precisely why I thought I'd do some research beforehand as I tend to be pretty busy and never like doing freebies which I then can't finish for people.


Jambon Films

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Tudor "Ted" JelescuRe: How he do that...?
by on Jan 17, 2011 at 1:01:16 pm

You may want to consider shooting with a 2k or even 4k camera like RED. This will give you the extra pixles you need for camera shake and moves. At least for the first example I can say that the effect can be achieved by cutting out one frame of the same clip (let's say when he jumps- take the frame when he's in the air) and then comping that back in as soon as the area where he will jump appears in the frame (tracking the move if there is one). Of course you need to have everything pretty close so that the perspective changes will be minor. Being in the shade, with no harsh shadows will help also.
Shooting at a higher frame rate will help- this way you can get a clean frame in the middle of a jump to roto out the character.

Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Senior VFX Artist

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Steve BrameRe: How he do that...?
by on Jan 17, 2011 at 10:08:47 pm

"It's not a locked off camera"

Actually, it is locked off at the point each clone 'emerges'.

Steve Brame
creative illusions Productions

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Jamie WorsfoldRe: How he do that...?
by on Jan 17, 2011 at 10:19:43 pm

Y'know, Steve: You might be right.
So, you're thinking there's movement, then locked off, a clone emerges then there's the next move... and so on...? With a bit of shake and wobble added afterwards to give the appearance of being completely handheld. Could well be right there...

Jambon Films

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Steve BrameRe: How he do that...?
by on Jan 17, 2011 at 10:34:06 pm

Yep...could be something as simple as a small platform (plywood board)or something set at a strategic point at at a specific angle to allow the operator to simply move to the spot, set the camera on the board, shoot a clean plate, then at the moment he clones, quickly pick up the camera and start moving to the next platform. Of course you'd have to also rotoscope out the platform and whatever it's mounted to, or more efficiently, have it out of frame so that it isn't included in the shot, then have someone quickly set it in it's spot as you approach with the camera.

Suffice to say, it requires some fairly serious pre-planning. If you watch these over and over, you start to see some flaws. But you REALLY have to be looking for them.

Steve Brame
creative illusions Productions

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