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Old October 12th, 2004, 02:11 PM   #1
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iPod Commercials

I was wondering if anyone could tell me how they did that silhouette look with the iPod commercials on a PC. Preferably Vegas 5. Or just fill me in as to how it was done in the first place.

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Old October 12th, 2004, 02:19 PM   #2
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This is just a guess, but I assume they shot in front of a green screen and then tweaked the person to make them all black (via contrast controls, hue/saturation, levels, or some more refined method)

That, or I guess you could shoot in front of a white backdrop and then try to tweak the contrast (assuming white would stay white).

But I'd say your best bet in recreating the look would be to shoot in front of a keyable color (doesn't have to be green, but that shade of green is considered best), then tweak the contrast as mentioned above in Vegas. (I don't use Vegas, but it should have such controls).

(You may also want to try the Vegas forums here at dvinfo for specific Vegas-related techniques)
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Old October 12th, 2004, 02:51 PM   #3
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Oh, come on. Everyone knows you can't make an iPod commercial on a PC.
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Old October 12th, 2004, 03:50 PM   #4
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You just shoot in front of a green or blue screen and us the resulting mask on a black solid layer. The white headphone wires are rotoscoped (drawn frame-by-frame).

Yeah, given that it's an iPod, the work is likely done in Shake and FCP.
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Old October 12th, 2004, 03:55 PM   #5
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One of the first tools available to make this look was from Wildform, long before Apple started making those commercials.

http://www.wildform.com/flix/

Look on their video samples page. It can be tweaked to get the exact look they use - it was a method first used in Flash files, which Apple copied and implemented in a very fashionable way for their video spots.
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Old October 12th, 2004, 03:55 PM   #6
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There's white headphone wires? Wow, the things I overlook...

Mask over black layer sounds good.
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Old October 12th, 2004, 05:10 PM   #7
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There was an article about this on another site, I forget which. The dancers were shot in front of a green screen and keyed out, then the headphone wires were painted in by hand, frame by frame.
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Old October 12th, 2004, 06:41 PM   #8
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Frame by frame?? you're saying that they roto'd every single headphone wire?? holy camoly! that's... just insane... would anyone have an idea of how else to do it besides rotoscoping the headphone wires?
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Old October 12th, 2004, 10:42 PM   #9
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Yeah, it's pretty gnarly. If I remember right, they did try other methods which produced ok results, but not as good as the hand painted ones.

Most of the other methods would produce a more blurred line because of the motion. But if you look at the iPod commercials frame by frame, you can see the sharp line that was painted. I think that's the look they were going for, a real crisp, sharp line.

There's other ways you could probably do it. Maybe do a double key -- have a green screen background to key out the person, and paint the headphone wires a bright blue and key them out in a second pass. You'd still have some difficult problems to overcome because of the motion blur.
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Old October 13th, 2004, 09:09 AM   #10
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Since the wires can pretty much bounce around freely, it's not all that hard to roto them convincingly.
Remember that these are mostly 30-60 videos and that most shots last for under 1 second.
By traditional rotoscoping standards, this is not a big deal.

Consider the roto work needed at feature film resolution when each lightsaber in the arena scene at the end of Star Wars EPII was rotoscoped frame by frame.

Even that is a simple roto task compared to hand-drawing a mask around characters and objects in a moving camera shot ... at 2K film resolution. (Which isn't an entirely uncommon task in feature film work)
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Old October 13th, 2004, 01:55 PM   #11
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<<<-- Originally posted by Vishal Gurung : Frame by frame?? you're saying that they roto'd every single headphone wire?? holy camoly! that's... just insane... would anyone have an idea of how else to do it besides rotoscoping the headphone wires? -->>>

You could do a real simple dynamics calculation in 3d. Motion track some points of the dancer footage from beginning to end and add a wire object w/ correct 'start' and 'end' point for where the wires 'attach' to the dancer. If I was doing the commercial, that's how I'd do it instead of handrawing each frame ;)
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Old October 14th, 2004, 12:10 PM   #12
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Paid attention to the iPod commercial I saw last night. There was more subtlety to the effect that I originally remember -- figures were not pure black sillouettes (there were some details, like facial features or t-shirt patterns, showing), and there were definitely the white wires. The wires looked drawn -- probably not too difficult to animate the wires; that is, the wires are just bouncing while the people jump around, so there's no specific reference point for the viewer's brain to expect, it can just be kind of random -- like Nik said, that sort of thing is probably a cakewalk for most professional composite/animation artists.
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Old October 15th, 2004, 04:31 PM   #13
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Here's a link to an article about creating the vfx for the commercial. John's right: there are more subtle things in there than you might notice right off the bat.

http://www.pluginz.com/news/1429

--R
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