View Full Version : Shaky Camera Effect
August 18th, 2003, 01:14 PM
Okay guys, got a little challenge for you:
While watching TV i saw a chocolate milk commercial where a teenager placed his milk on top of a speaker in an electronics store, then blasts the music to shake his milk up. As the sales associate makes his way over to the racket the whole frame shakes/vibrates whilst the camera dollies with the walking sales associate. This effect was probably pioneered in "Saving Private Ryan" and the "Band of Brothers" series, at least that's where I first saw it.
Anyways, I'd like to test the effect myself using my GL1, and have an inkling about how they did it: Since film is a lot higher res than DV they can prob crop in a bit, then shake it in post without worrying about riding over their frame edges or a loss of res. Could the same thing be done with DV? I can't imagine they did it in production, I think it'd be a bit cumbersome and dangerous to shake a multi-thousand dollar film cam around that much! I'll be using After Effects for the post work in my little test. Thanks!
August 18th, 2003, 04:59 PM
Devin: You could zoom in a bit giving you some room to shake the frame around (but not too much). Like you said, you'll sacrifice a bit of resolution, and since you're shaking a 2D image, the depth realism won't be there. (ie, background objects shake less than foreground objects)
I imagine if you're proficient with After Effect's expressions, you could code a realistic camera shake. (Still, minus the depth.)
However you go about animating it, consider switching the animated layer to utilize motion blur.
Hope this helps!
Robert Knecht Schmidt
August 18th, 2003, 09:23 PM
Joe Johnston's The Rocketeer built a shakycam for the zeppelin scenes, but actually had to painstakingly undo the effect in post for the video release because the shakiness did not transfer well through the 3:2 pulldown process used for the 24p -> 60i frame rate conversion.
So, be careful with in-camera shake. Doing it in post is much more preferable, especially if you choose to do frame rate conversions on the footage.
August 18th, 2003, 10:45 PM
Frank and Robert - Thanks! You guys solidified my theory and now I'm ready to move on to production. The shake will be limited due to the loss of res as you move in, but I'll do my best to preserve as much res as possible.
BTW Frank, I've perused those tutorials before and thought about doing this, but thanks again for the links, and thank you both for taking the time to respond!
August 19th, 2003, 02:30 AM
Not that you would probably want to spring for this rental item, but as an FYI on how this effect (http://www.clairmont.com/cci/2001/spec_items/spec_pages/image_shaker_btm.html) is sometimes achieved with film cameras.
Robert Knecht Schmidt
August 19th, 2003, 02:35 AM
Since its range of motion is limited to the X and Y axis of the frame, the Clairmont system Charles kindly links to above can do no more than what is for the most part more easily accomplished in post. If you're going for in-camera shake, why not demand all six degrees of freedom?: make it handheld and let Mom be the operator.
August 19th, 2003, 06:33 AM
I found I way to do some shake effects for a musicvideo once. I placed a mirror on a subwoofer that played the music, and placed the camera so that I filmed the band indirectly thru the reflection in the mirror. It's more of a vibration effect rather than shaking, but it can probably be adapted for that use.
August 19th, 2003, 09:13 AM
Nils: That's pretty creative!
One thing you can try, if you have a 3D package, is to use camera mapping. (Not to be confused with 'camera tracking'.)
I hope I don't over-complicate this, but here goes.
- load up your 3D app. (I use trueSpace 5, and if trueSpace can do this, I'm sure Maya, Max, Lightwave, etc can.)
- set up a projector light with the footage as the image to be
projected (making sure it is animated).
- Point this to fill a 720x480 plane.
- Add 3D primitives such as boxes (if you're doing buildings and such), or organicly shaped objects in front of the plane, with their distances being approximately how they appear in the frame.
- Add a camera (approximately the distance from the objects at where the real camera would have been) pointing it at the 720x480 plane, but zooming in a bit, to give you room on the sides
- Now you can animate the camera to jitter, wobble, etc. I find the best way to record small vibrations is to set a key, move forward 2 keyframes, set the key (or duplicate), move back to the middle, move the camera, and set another key.
Of course, this will only work with the footage having been captured with a locked-down camera to begin with.
Let me know if this sounds crazy.
August 19th, 2003, 09:45 AM
Robert, although the "unsteady hand" shake would seem like a natural choice, I'm going for a much more violent, sort of vibrational shock to the frame that one would associate with, for instance, a canon going off (as in Band of Brothers). It'd be quite hard to replicate this with your hand!
Charles, nice link, although I wouldn't have the cash to rent one tf those things!
Nils, quite creative with the sub and the mirror.
Frank, I'm not into 3d as much, but I'll point my 3D guru friend towards your post and see what he thinks. I'd be doing practically the same thing in AE, except no z-axis movement.
Thanks everyone for your posts!
August 19th, 2003, 12:20 PM
Your reference to "Saving Private Ryan" makes me think that part of what you are referring to as the look you desire may be due to the "skinny shutter" look used in the opening sequence of that movie. Try setting the shutter on your GL1 to 1/250th or higher, and shoot some violent hand shaking footage--see if that is along the lines of what you are looking for.
August 19th, 2003, 09:40 PM
Charles, thanks for the advice! I do like to dink around a lot with fast shutter speeds, especially in rain and water (28 Days Later strobing of the rain). I've done several tests with it and am very pleased. I posted a link to one of these tests below.
I did run a test just this afternoon of the shaking frame, I've posted a link below. Keep in mind that I shot this at random with my mother lol. I had to edit quick before work, so it's very shottily done (and w/o a tripod! I'm saving up for one...) A friend and I are going to get together and string together a semi-decent plot just to test all of these effects with. Then we'll make a post with a link to the short. Hopefully then these effects will be polished!
http://www.par-t-com.net/shake_test.mov (about 3mb)
http://www.par-t-com.net/rain_test.avi (about 13mb, requires the xvid codec from http://www.xvid.org/)
Questions and comments are welcome. Thanks!
August 20th, 2003, 10:19 AM
I liked the rain one!
August 20th, 2003, 10:29 AM
Thanks Rob! I kind of want to do another one, that was before I was fully versed in how much resolution can be lost using some functions on the GL1. I had frame mode on, sharpness maxed out (which is terrible, dunno why i did that), and the in cam 16:9 enabled. Lost a lot of resolution there, but it isn't too bad on the computer.