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Old February 3rd, 2008, 11:59 AM   #1
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Prius commercial

Hello everyone,

As I was searching for resources for my Japanese Business class presentation, I came across a Toyota Prius commercial on youtube that needless to say caught my attention. The commercial has nothing to do with my presentation due this Wednesday but for a film I have been slowing working toward creating. For the film, I had it in mind to show a "sped up" construction of a Mississippian period home (A.D. 900-1600 Eastern North America, Thatch roof, wattle and daub construction). What I had in mind was quite like what is depicted in this commercial. The look, the feel, everything was right.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQsNs8SWCkU

Now, I know ( or at least as far as I know) I can't do this sort of thing with the little knowledge of film that I have, armed with the latest version of Sony Vegas. But what do I know? I post this thread to attract people who may have experience with this exact...thing, I'm not really sure what its called. Time lapse maybe? It looks very tedious, but to my unskilled eye it might be very simple. If perhaps anyone has any experience with doing this sort of thing or insightful knowledge, I would love to discuss what it would take to pull something like this off.

Sorry if my question isn't entirely clear. Basically I am just trying to strike up conversation about this story telling technique, as that is essentially what it is, and discuss how I can apply it to my needs.

Thanks!
Terry.
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Old February 3rd, 2008, 01:33 PM   #2
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With the things you can do with software nowadays, especially with Shake and the like, I bet the rotating field camera was simply an empty shot and the time-lapse car-building sequence was done in a studio somewhere and dumped in. A good Shake artist can recreate that entire environment from his local baseball field if he knows what he's doing. But thatís the opinion of a newbie Shake-In-Training person. With the right footage pieces, I think I could pull it off.
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Old February 3rd, 2008, 01:48 PM   #3
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Initially, I was thinking like Brian, shoot the landscape empty, and shoot the car/people in studio w/green screen.

But with a house, maybe CG or a small miniature might be the way to go. You could also create a house-sized green screen wall and then move it as you shot. Unless you're willing and able to re-construct the house in a large studio.
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Old February 3rd, 2008, 03:14 PM   #4
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I would think that this spot could be produced either way- with tedious compositing and FX work or with carefully planned and tedious camera work!

From a production standpoint, I would think it might be at the very minimum slightly less expensive to just set up everything on location and shoot time-lapse video. Not that cost has too much to do with it, being Toyota and all! I think it wouldn't be too difficult to set up some dolly tracks in the grass. Have all the actors rehearse until they can get it right, and then spend a single day shooting. Edit and do your time-ramping in post, and I think you'd have your spot.

It reminds me of an ad that Honda produced a year or two ago where a ball-bearing rolled through an array of Honda Civic parts in a sort of cause and effect type of scenario. Lots of people thought it was CG, but it turned out to be one single shot with the camera. Quite impressive...
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Old February 3rd, 2008, 05:51 PM   #5
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Well as far as I can see, the tracking shot is a single movement around what appears to be a sped up time lapse of actors building the car. Everything, the sky, the lake, the overcast from the mountains, seams to be a time lapse which confuses me because from what I understand, In order to get a time lapse shot, it needs to be a single shot. I hope that makes sense.

It honestly just blows my mind. I cannot comprehend how this 30 second commercial was made...
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Old February 3rd, 2008, 06:04 PM   #6
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That's because its possible to do it all in a single shot- maybe 2 separate passes composited on top of each other. It is possible to record time-lapse footage while the camera is moving. I believe it's called a motion control rig or something to that effect. Check out some of the footage from the BBC's Planet Earth series. There are several examples in a film called "Baraka", where they show time-lapse sequences tracking stars across a night sky and traffic moving through a city. There's also an interesting shot in the film "Requiem for a Dream" where Ellen Burstyn's character is shown cleaning her apartment. That was a shot that took something like 4 hours, but they compressed it down to a around a minute. There's a pretty good "making of" segment on the Requiem for a Dream DVD where they go behind the scenes for that shot, explaining the mechanics and all the work involved. I'd recommend for you to check it out sometime.

It is possible, but it takes a tremendous amount of planning. The actor's movements were most likely rehearsed to the point of exhaustion, and each take may have lasted upwards of several hours or more.
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Old February 4th, 2008, 10:08 AM   #7
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It just seams that the tracking shot is seperate from whats being shown. It looks like the rotation around the car is one single fluid motion seperate from the time lapse because the shot is not all choppy like the car being built/sky/lake etc.. But again I have no experience with this at all.

Shawn - You mention some special equipment. Is there special equipment that is commonly used for time lapse? (camera etc..)

And thank you for the recomendations. Is it the requiem for a dream special features?
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Old February 4th, 2008, 10:30 AM   #8
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Quote:
Check out some of the footage from the BBC's Planet Earth series.
That's exactly what I was thinking of when I saw the spot. I remember in the feature about forests they had these great timelapse shots with camera movement that went through a whole year. The camera movement was perfectly smooth while the trees went brown, lost their leaves, got covered in snow, then went green again.
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Old February 4th, 2008, 12:53 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry Lee View Post
Shawn - You mention some special equipment. Is there special equipment that is commonly used for time lapse? (camera etc..)

And thank you for the recomendations. Is it the requiem for a dream special features?
Yes, it's in the special features section. I can't remember which one off hand, but if I'm not mistaken, there are quite a few optical effects in that film that get some explanation.

Many professional-grade video cameras have interval recording, which in essence, is time-lapse racording. You can also achieve the same thing with a digital SLR still camera. I remember reading about some software you can load onto a Palm Pilot or laptop which hooks into your DSLR through it's USB cable. You instruct the software on things like how often to snap off a shot and basic camera settings and such, and then walk away. Provided you don't have a power outage, the software will control the camera, so you don't have to sit there all day or night with a stopwatch.

For the motion, I've seen pictures of these rigs that look kind of like a dolly on a track, but there's a motor, some gears, and a bicycle chain that can pull your camera along. Think of that chain that pulls a roller coaster up the hill, but a bit more refined and exact. Depending on how you set it up, you should be able to get very slow- but very smooth motion out of it. Hopefully this makes sense!
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Old February 4th, 2008, 12:56 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Heiko Saele View Post
That's exactly what I was thinking of when I saw the spot. I remember in the feature about forests they had these great timelapse shots with camera movement that went through a whole year. The camera movement was perfectly smooth while the trees went brown, lost their leaves, got covered in snow, then went green again.
Most of those shots just blow me away. Some of the seasonal change sequences look like they used a gradient wipe or some kind of dithering dissolve, but it's still very impressive. I especially enjoyed the episode where they went into a jungle. There was a time-lapse sequence where a tree had fallen over, and they showed something like 3 or 4 months compressed into just a couple of minutes. It was amazing to see how the jungle grew around and over the fallen tree!
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Old February 4th, 2008, 03:52 PM   #11
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i would be willing to bet that it is 90% CG. as the camera rotates, its such a wide shot, you would be able to see the tracks if it was all shot in one shot (I would assume at least, then again, the only CG could have been to cover up the tracks). That honda commercial that was talked about was awesome though, I heard it took like 300 takes or something crazy like that, and the only part that was "set up" was where the muffler rolls across the floor, I heard they put weights in it to help it roll.

so in short, I would have to agree, the assembly shot was in a studio, and the timelapse out door shot was done with a motorized dolly and then cg'd out, then it was all put together in post.

on a side note, here is the "cog" video:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...84025483872237
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