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Old October 12th, 2005, 10:35 AM   #1
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Adding Special Effects: Snow

Hey,
I've been given some footage of a musician performing Christmas songs outside. I'll be syncing tapes from two cameras (close-ups and far shots). We live in Georgia, so it doesn't snow much here. They guy wants some snow to fall on him. That's my main problem/question. Where do I get snow and how do I put it in? He also wouldn't mind a few Christmas type animations popping in on the screen while he's performing. Maybe a reindeer walks across the screen.

I'm using FCP3, and I'm just beginning to understand a little bit about what this program can do and I'm sure its miles behind the newest version.

I've worked with a little bit with compositing layers, so I think I could I could draw a Luma or RGB mask in photoshop and lay it down under him. I could then maybe put a snow scene around him. But that's still not very good.

I saw something that had snow but it just worked with Adobe After Effects.

So the basic question is if there is anything out there I can get that will add snow on top of the footage. And are there animations I can get that will work on top of the footage?

Thanks,
Scott
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Old October 13th, 2005, 08:20 PM   #2
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Hey Scott, why don't you just type "FCP Special Effects" into a search engine and see what happens. Maybe you'll get to a page that will let you down load some trial files so you'll know.
-Scott
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Old October 13th, 2005, 08:21 PM   #3
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Great idea. Yeah, now I know they're filters.
-Scott
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Old October 13th, 2005, 08:24 PM   #4
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Did you find your answer to the animation pieces yet?
-Scott
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Old October 13th, 2005, 08:27 PM   #5
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No, maybe I'll see if I get lucky with the yahoo search engine again. But I sure love talking to my self.
-Scott
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Old October 13th, 2005, 08:47 PM   #6
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Trapcode's Particular plugin works excellent for this, and yes, it is a plugin for After Effects.
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Old October 17th, 2005, 09:22 AM   #7
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Thanks for popping up Wade. I looked at Trapcode and it was basically warning that it was built for After Effects and probably wouldn't work for anything else. Since I have FCP, I left the site dejected because their stuff looked great.
-Scott
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Old October 17th, 2005, 09:53 AM   #8
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This is the sort of thing you can do with particle emitters in Motion. I know there's a preset for rain, not sure about snow, but with a little experimentation it should be possible.

However, you really need to upgrade from FCP 3. What hardware are you running on? Aside from all the new bells and whistles, FCP 3 is really a MacOS 9 program that was adapted to OSX - it doesn't run native to take full advantage of the G4, let alone a G5. Realtime Extreme was introduced with FCP 4 and is a huge productivity boost. Under FCP 3 virtually everything needs to be rendered. The only realtime capabilities are in the canvas window. FCP 4 and beyond provided realtime previews over firewire or on a second computer monitor using "digital cinema desktop."

Do you have the opportunity re-shoot any of this? If so then you might want to use fake snow like we do onstage! The shredded plastic stuff which is available from theatrical suppliers looks pretty good. They also make snow machines now that spew something pretty convincing which I think is made from a soap-like product. And that stuff "melts" and disappears just like the real thing.
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Old October 17th, 2005, 01:58 PM   #9
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Overlays

Hey Boyd,
No job, no money so no new toys. FCP 4 does sound fun, and so does a G5, but I'm on a G4 (OS10.39) that is starting to make some very funky sounds near the fans.

I can't re-shoot the footage. It was done by another guy a couple years ago and the entertainer gave me the mini tapes to edit. I'm Ok with the Virtix snow. Its not great but it will make him happy.

My real problem now is animated overlays. I just want to put some hokey animated Christmas stuff on top of track one. I finally figured that I can use Animated gifs, but they're low res and small and when I try to get the white box out, it takes too much white out of the animation. The last FCP filter I tried for removing the background was Color Key.

I can't help but think there are animations with transparent background that can be overlayed on top of a video one track. But I haven't found any so far.

Has anyone found something like that?

Thanks,
Scott
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Old October 17th, 2005, 02:07 PM   #10
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re-overlay

Do you have photoshop? If not I suggest you get your hands on a copy. You can then make your backgrounds transparent. Good Luck...
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Old October 17th, 2005, 02:40 PM   #11
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Hey James, I do have Photoshop, but I've never worked with animaed gifs. Are you saying I can keep lose the background and keep the animation? When I save it back gif, wouldn't it flatten on a white background?
-Scott
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Old October 17th, 2005, 02:49 PM   #12
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Well, I just tried and I was wrong. Here is a suggestion though. Key it out like you were talking about before, but in photoshop make your background one solid green color. It will make things a lot easier. I think you can use Adobe Image Ready though and it will export your animation with a transparent background. I'm pretty sure anyway. Good Luck...
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Old October 18th, 2005, 10:33 PM   #13
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Thanks for In-Design suggestion. I was able to make my own Animated Gifs using Photoshop and In-Design. They were a lot better resolution and larger. They worked great.
Thanks,
Scott
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