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Old October 26th, 2005, 02:59 PM   #1
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Best NLE for this Special Effect...

So I want to do this special effect. Basically, it is a building standing in the background that isn't actually there. I can do this with Photoshop and any NLE pretty realistically, but I need the character to MOVE IN FRONT of it.

This is the core element of realism for digital special effects, but I don't know which NLE or program would be best. I do know that Vegas is no good for it.

Also, there should be some flying ships that will pass behind characters well in the background.

Thanks,

DJ
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Old October 26th, 2005, 04:32 PM   #2
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Take a look at these 3 compositing programs:
Adobe After Effects
Apple Shake
Discreet Combustion

What's the reason for nixing Vegas? It can do what you described if the green screen/keying is done properly.
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Old October 26th, 2005, 05:13 PM   #3
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It is too difficult to cut out the necessary segments of the background as the foreground moves. The only tool, I believe, for this is the bezier masking, and that just isn't precise enough. Frame-by-frame with that method wouldn't look right.

If you know something else about it, though, let me know.

Thanks for the info,

DJ
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Old October 26th, 2005, 06:16 PM   #4
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Can you not shoot it as a greenscreen?
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Old October 26th, 2005, 07:52 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DJ Kinney
It is too difficult to cut out the necessary segments of the background as the foreground moves. The only tool, I believe, for this is the bezier masking, and that just isn't precise enough. Frame-by-frame with that method wouldn't look right.DJ
If you're going to do this shot correctly, you MUST greenscreen it. Vegas's chromakey is actually quite superb, and easy to use.

The hardest part is setting up the greenscreen properly, but even then, tweaking in Vegas will get you a surprisingly good key from sub-par greenscreen work.
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Old October 26th, 2005, 09:28 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Jimerson
If you're going to do this shot correctly, you MUST greenscreen it.
I totally disagree.

I just watched the short "Day:11" which was mentioned on this board somewhere, and there is a specific shot it that film in which a soldier walks across the frame, IN FRONT of a CGI pillar of smoke in the far distance.

This was all shot on location, and the smoke was added ex post facto. The shot looked great.

So that's the kind of thing I'm going for. You can imagine it.

The building is not the set, it's just a little element in the background.
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Old October 26th, 2005, 09:38 PM   #7
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Maybe, but what was it shot on? You're working with DV, right? DV is low-resolution both absolutely and in color space. People working in HD or film have a lot more resolution and probably a lot more color information (HDV doesn't) to work with. Separating a character from a background in DV -- especially in areas where it's hard to tell them apart because of shadows, etc. -- is usually a pretty miserable experience with imperfect results at best.
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Old October 27th, 2005, 09:43 AM   #8
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I'm surprised no one mentioned rotoscoping it...
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Old October 27th, 2005, 09:46 AM   #9
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That's what a frame-by-frame bezier mask would be.
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Old October 28th, 2005, 04:00 AM   #10
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The short I was talking about was shot with an XL2. So that's not only DV, but a common camera with common res.

Rotoscoping...nice! Good idea. Basically, I use the Adobe NLE to output it to a filmstrip and then do it in Photoshop? I am unfamiliar with Premier. Is that basically the deal?

I have a thousand ideas now because I know Photoshop so well. It would be easy to do a frame-by-frame edit with an eraser to brush out the foreground.
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Old October 28th, 2005, 10:48 AM   #11
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There are LOTS of ways to do this.
Greenscreen and roto are two options.
There are several other masking/keying methods available as well.

Most NLE's have fairly basic compositing functions.
Premiere is rather notorious for having weak compositing functionality. Perhaps this encourages AE sales?

If this is a single isolated shot (or groupd of shots) and not something you typically do, your best bet is not to look for a technique or software package, but instead, seek out someone that already has the skills and tools to help.

If you intend to focus on compositing and visual effects, then you're probably better to get a genuine compositing tool as mentioned in Michael's post, but keep in mind that it take quite a bit of practice and study to learn these tools effectively.

Good luck.
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