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Old April 12th, 2005, 01:47 PM   #1
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Sahara Title Sequence

I was apparently one of the few this weekend who went to see the movie Sahara. It has a credit sequence that was very interesting - a very long and very precise pan around a room - showing photos, articles on the wall, objects on the table, one amazing shot through a magnifying glass and then on to the globe where it tracked in on -- you guessed it -- the Sahara.

At the start I was just watching, not paying attention... as the movement went on without a cut, though, I started thinking this must be a steadicam shot... when it kept going more, and flew over tables, I starting thinking it was something else. Probably a motion-controlled camera hanging down on to the set, but I'm not sure.

Did anyone else see this? Any guesses on what it was? Custom or off-the-shelf?

The shot then dissolved to another absurdly long shot - this one seemed to be a helicopter zooming in to the coast and then tracking with a close-up on Penelope Cruz in the passenger seat of a moving truck. Very impressive, I thought.

Anyway... let me know if anyone else saw these and has thoughts on them...

(btw, the movie was enjoyable enough... some decent action in a movie that didn't take itself too seriously. Weekend entertainment.)
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Old April 12th, 2005, 06:12 PM   #2
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Good eye my fella

Some secuence shots are made by complicated and choreographed crane shots, or as you say steadycam work, but I can guess that in that open secuence was used a compositing trick called Camera projection or camera mapping.

CP/CM is just a projection of the film in a 3D environment like Maya or Lightwave or any other and you just apply 3D objects matching the perspective of everything on screen (buildings, cars, etc), the idea is to create from a flat projection a 3D version of it.Then you just travel around it with the software's virtual camera.

Is quite cool,

cheers!

PS: If you like secuence plane shots watch "THE RUSSIAN ARC", was filmed on a single plane-sequence, without cuts, 97 minutes longwhole feature film in one shot.
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Old April 13th, 2005, 12:01 PM   #3
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Joan,

That's very interesting... I hadn't heard of that technique. Can you point me to examples of that being used in other films? What about that sequence in particular makes you think it is CP?

It seems an unlikely candidate for that because we see that set throughout the movie and it looks exactly the same, and because of the shot where the camera moves by the magnifying glass and looks through it... the lens action looked very realistic.

They had $130M to make the movie, so certainly whatever yielded the best results it what they would go with. Certainly CP would give the smoothest movement.
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Old April 18th, 2005, 04:25 PM   #4
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camera mapping

Hi there Barry,

I'm don't know about actual films using this technique, but you can see a tutorial of it here:

http://www.3dfluff.com/cameramapping...mappingtut.htm

and a really good example of its use here:

http://typocraft.com/motion/index.ph...=03_cities.mov

With that said, I disagree. I was also one of those few who went and saw the movie, and I don't think the opening was done with camera mapping. I'm not really sure what kind of computer controlled monstrosity they used, but it must be a very slick setup.

Anyone else seen the movie and have any ideas?
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Old April 18th, 2005, 06:49 PM   #5
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I've not seen Sahara but that typocraft piece is way cool.
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Old April 18th, 2005, 09:01 PM   #6
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Ok, Ok I will go to watch it this weekend

Hey guys, It's fine.

When I wrote "I GUESS" I mean it.
It was a kind of a disclaimer if my guess was not right, and I see wasn't eh?

From today´s forward I´ll keep my fingers out my keyboard till I watch the movie.

But I insist, I wrote "I Guess! " HA!

later

The best tutorial on the net for MAYA artists
and have a laugh with the final render of that cow!

http://www.a3d.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/...rojection.html
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Old April 19th, 2005, 06:05 AM   #7
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Adam,

Thanks for the examples... yeah, that is really cool stuff but I am pretty sure it was a camera moving in Sahara. Joan, let us know what you think.
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Old April 19th, 2005, 09:34 PM   #8
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no harm meant

Hey Joan,

Just to clear things up, I didn't mean any offense. I could easily understand why you would think the technique was camera mapping from the description. Just wanted to make sure things were copacetic.

By the way, what sort of visual effects do you do, and what software do you use? This may be a conversation for some other thread, so i'm sure i'll be moderated if necessary. :)

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Old April 21st, 2005, 11:38 AM   #9
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similar sequence in the 'Gone in 60 seconds' remake.
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