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Old July 27th, 2006, 02:10 PM   #1
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Making people/things disappear in cool ways...

I'm in the process of changing from Premiere/After Effects over to FCP Studio. I've read up a bit on Motion, but I'm trying to get a handle on what I can and can't do, and where I might need an addtional piece of software.

If I wanted to make a person or thing disappear using flames, particles, etc. will I need something more than FCP Studio? If not, anyone aware of tutorials on achieving this effect using FCP Studio?

Thanks!

-Laudon

Last edited by Laudon Williams; July 28th, 2006 at 10:49 AM.
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Old July 27th, 2006, 08:42 PM   #2
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1. Shoot the background plate
2. Shoot the person in the same location without moving the camera (this is key) or on green screen.
3. Find your flames for the foreground

When the flames go up in front of the person, fade out track 2 to reveal the background plate (whatever it may be) then have the flames subside.
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Old July 27th, 2006, 10:55 PM   #3
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Laudon,

You may find that Apple's Shake application is more suited to this type of work. And since they just reduced the price to $499, it's within reach of most folks.

-gb-
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Old July 28th, 2006, 08:25 AM   #4
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So long as you're OK with keeping the camera locked still on a tripod during the effect, you've got everything you need in FCS.
Shake has some added tracking features that could help with a moving shot, but it's still usually pretty challenging to do well with a moving camera.

Brian's post is a good description of the overall process.
Motion would be the place to do the work. It has some really good particle tools, plus some handy fire clips too, as well as the masking and other tools you would need to achieve this effect.

I'll be tied up with SIGGRAPH this week, but if you still need a tutorial for this, please post a reminder here after Aug. 7 and I'll try to make some time to record a quick video tutorial for doing this in Motion.

Hope this helps.
Good luck.
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Old July 28th, 2006, 10:48 AM   #5
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Thanks everyone. I know how I'd go about it in Premiere/After Effects, but as I understand it the functionality is split differently around Final Cut Studio. I probably should have been more specific in asking about Shake, but it sounds like if I'm not doing motion I wouldn't need it. Then again, $499...

I'll pose one more question. If I have Final Cut Studio and Shake, is there in significant reason to get After Effects for the Mac.

If you can't tell, the Intel-based Macs have lured me back to Macs and I'm trying to figure out what all I'm going to need to get my existing editing functionality on the mac.

-Laudon
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Old July 28th, 2006, 02:30 PM   #6
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Final Cut Studio includes Motion, so with FCS, you have MOST of what is in Premiere and AE.

On an Intel Mac, Motion will do the motion graphics work of AE in realtime at high res. It's BLAZINGLY fast. However, Motion lacks 3D compositing, 2D tracking tools and robust keying functionality found in AE. To have those, you'll need to add Shake to FCS.

With Shake and FCS installed, there's no major AE features (that I can readily think of) missing.
If you aready know AE well, though, and feel that the higher price (vs Shake) is worth saving you the effort of getting over Shake's initial learning curve (which can be steap ... it's a TOTALLY different interface and working philosophy than AE) that reason alone might make AE-for-Mac worth considering.
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Old July 28th, 2006, 02:58 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laudon Williams
I'm in the process of changing from Premiere/After Effects over to FCP Studio. I've read up a bit on Motion, but I'm trying to get a handle on what I can and can't do, and where I might need an addtional piece of software.

If I wanted to make a person or thing disappear using flames, particles, etc. will I need something more than FCP Studio? If not, anyone aware of tutorials on achieving this effect using FCP Studio?

Thanks!

-Laudon
Maybe you need to explain in greater detail what kind of set, number of characters and type of "disappearing" exactly you have in mind. I tend to recommend going the simplest route, so if it can be done in-camera or with some kind of physical effect, I'd go that way. Digital effects are highly overrated, if not handled properly and if it does not enhance your story, why do it?
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Old July 28th, 2006, 05:49 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave C. Preston
Maybe you need to explain in greater detail what kind of set, number of characters and type of "disappearing" exactly you have in mind. I tend to recommend going the simplest route, so if it can be done in-camera or with some kind of physical effect, I'd go that way. Digital effects are highly overrated, if not handled properly and if it does not enhance your story, why do it?
Dave,

I just did the 48 Hour Film project and pulled SciFi. It really made me realize how much I needed to improve my ability to deal with these types of effects (useful for both SciFi and Horror). I spent the time working out a lot of effects in Premiere/After Effects, but then made a decision to move to FCP.

To Nick,

I've decided to commit to learning FCP. It will be my long term choice, so a bit of up-front pain is expected. I'm obviously still feeling out the differences in workflow and trying to understand what functionality lives where. Software should be here soon. I'm ready to dive in.

-Laudon
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Old July 28th, 2006, 08:37 PM   #9
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based on the negativity of the title, I hate to recommend, but the for dummies series is quite good..I have FCE for dummies and turn to it more than any other Final Cut book I own.
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Old July 30th, 2006, 12:06 PM   #10
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another option is split screen where camera site in one place you play one part, move to another (non-overlapping) position in the frame and play the second part...you then put the two pieces of footage on 2 separate tracks in your editor and matte out one half of the top clip...try to have the matte line fall on a solid line within the frame to hide it (see "Good Eats" with alton brown...they do this alot).

Or you can blue/green screen your self doing all of the parts you want to do and use clip scaling and placement to put each of yourselves anywhere you want with in the imaginary frame with any background you want as well.
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Old July 31st, 2006, 01:23 AM   #11
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two words...
Particle Illusion

It does everythign u want it to do without you having to think too much, and best of all, this kind of thing can be done within 3 minutes of importing your clip...

I kid u not...
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Old July 31st, 2006, 03:50 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Jefferson
two words...
Particle Illusion

It does everythign u want it to do without you having to think too much, and best of all, this kind of thing can be done within 3 minutes of importing your clip...

I kid u not...
I saw a demo of this and the effect is amazing. It is on my list of things to dig into.

-Laudon
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Old July 31st, 2006, 08:23 PM   #13
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I would get shake, it is much more advanced the AE, and created the effects for every oscar winning movie that won for special effects since its release (it swept every year it was used) It was recently price dropped from 3 thousand to 499 so I highly recommend getting it before you can't any more, they don't produce it any more.
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Old August 7th, 2006, 09:13 AM   #14
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I would get shake, it is much more advanced the AE, and created the effects for every oscar winning movie that won for special effects since its release

((As has Combustion, Particle illusion, Fusion, and almsot every other compositing/fx app out there.. theyve all been used in award winning movies and programs at some point in time.. so i fail to see how an application can be used as a means to judge ones work...

The price drop IS a bonus, however there are many tools out there which do a job as well as the other.

In most cases, irrespective of what u use... its not the tool, its the user.. and if u rely on one tool to get ur job done, then your limiting yourself.. its like trying to build a coffee table with a swiss army knife.. its not impossible to do, but there are many combinations of tools available to u which make teh job easier..

for this ONE specific task, the cheapest and easiest method is PI SE @ $99
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Old August 7th, 2006, 11:56 PM   #15
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I did an in camera edit of this type of thing (people dissappearing) and while I used no effects I did notice one thing - you can keep your camera steady as a rock but ti won't help if you are outside and have lots of light and shade elements in shot - say the shadows through a tree canopy. You need to shoot very quickly as the light can change rapidly causing a jolt in terms of changes in contrast as you fade in / out of plates.
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