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Old July 12th, 2002, 07:18 AM   #1
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Question about a particular shot

Guys looking for a bit of advice, I'm wanting to do a shot where the focus person is walking through a crowd at normal speed, but the crowd speeded up if you know what I mean :-). Does anyone have any ideas on the best way to achieve this.


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Old July 12th, 2002, 07:55 AM   #2
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I've tried doing this but have unsuccessfully done it.

Would the camera be moving or static?

As far as I can work out there is a lot of composing involved. If we find out how I would be most interested.

All the best,

Ed Smith
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Old July 12th, 2002, 08:23 AM   #3
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Man, I swear I've read something about this before. Its like deja vu. I'm pretty sure it has to do with altering how the people walk WHILE you shoot. I've never done it myself, but here's what I remember:

+ Have you camera settings to shoot just like you would normally. Don't alter the fps or anything. You'll change the film playing speed in post.

MAIN IDEA: Have you actors walk as normal-looking as possible. You want the shot to look natural. Just people walking at significantly different speeds, right?

+ Light your focus actor a lot more than the extras.
+ Have your main actor walk at half his normal walking speed. A comfortable gait.
+ Have your extras walk "slightly" faster than normal. If you have them speed walking, it looks goofy. Unnatural.
+ Artistically, you can have a telephoto shot where it compresses the image. Have some people from your crowd walk closer to the camera, out of focus, and not well lit. These people walking by will temporarily block your actor, and since they're closer to the camera (which is zoomed in), they'll look like they're whizzing by. Of course have these actors walk laterally across the image. Know what I mean?

After you shoot: Just speed up the footage in post to where your main actor is walking at a normal-looking speed. People tend to look a little more natural when they're walking a tad slower than normal and you speed up the film (they look more natural slower than if they're walking faster than normal - thats known as running. A speed walker slowed down on film still looks like they're speed walking. Its all in body mechanics).

I'm pretty sure this is how it was recommended to shoot this type of sequence. Remember, lighting is still important in this scenario. The more the audience is focused on the main actor, the more their perception is altered on the surroundings. In other words, the extras will look "even faster" if the audience is looking at the normal speed main actor because the eyes do comparisons, even though the extras are walking only "slightly" faster. We do it all the time on while driving.

I'm not sure if this will work, considering I've never done it myself. I'll try to do a search of where I found this information. But, experimenting is probably your best bet!!!


Kyle "Doc" Mitchell
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Old July 12th, 2002, 08:49 AM   #4
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Thanks Kyle, The only other idea I had did involve a bit of comping and rotoscoping, I'll try out both and see what comes out best. I'll report back once I've tried it.

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Old July 12th, 2002, 08:51 AM   #5
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Well... one of the two extras discs of the Matrix describes the
process.... it is usually shot with a locked down (ie, not moving)
camera for ease.... I think the big studio used some crowd
replication technology on the matrix to fill in gaps. But basically
you shoot the thing twice (MAKE SURE THE CAMERA DOES NOT
MOVES AT ALL DURING THE TAKES!!). One time you shoot the
large crowd. Make sure these people do NOT walk where your
character(s) are supposed to be. Mark there position on the
floor (doesn't matter since the character will be standing on this

In the second shoot you only shoot your character(s). When in
editing you "overlay" these two shots. Only pulling the piece
you need in both. They did a similar trick on the short 405 to
make an empty freeway for their characters. See this url for
more info on that shot in the short:

If you want to have a crowd and waterfall like the matrix you
can even use a still photograph for the crowd. It might be handy
if you have the crowd all around the character to shoot more than
two takes and create planes... Back plane are people behind the
character(s)... middle & front plane are to the side and in front
of the character(s).

Rob Lohman,
DV Info Wrangler & RED Code Chef

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