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-   -   Filming Submarine Kits (http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/techniques-independent-production/237854-filming-submarine-kits.html)

Jarred Capellman June 23rd, 2009 06:29 PM

Filming Submarine Kits
For one of my next projects I really want to make use of 1/72 or 1/144 scale models of submarines as opposed to doing the CGI ones. I did some screen tests of a CGI a couple years ago when I was writing the script originally, but it didn't turn out as good as I had hoped. So looking around on Amazon/eBay I found a number of large models, but I was wondering if anyone else had tried that path before? I used to have the mentality of doing everything in After Effects/3ds max, but recently I've changed my mentality to doing things live. Thanks in advance!

Ben Syverson June 25th, 2009 09:10 PM

Underwater, you're going to have to absolutely blast your miniatures with light to get close to the correct f-stop (which will be whatever your lens can go to -- f/22 or f/32). If at all possible, overcrank so you can slow the footage down a little, for example filming at 60p and playing back at 24p. That won't help the light situation, so you'll probably wind up with a high ISO/gain, but don't sweat it too much. Most importantly, use a tripod underwater. If the camera is moving around, it will be a dead giveaway. Swaying the camera side to side by even 1 inch at 1/144 is like swaying it 12 feet at full scale.

Adam Gold June 26th, 2009 02:43 PM

Boy, I must have completely misunderstood the question as I wouldn't even consider actually shooting underwater in a tank. I'd do what the Hollywood guys do these days -- use the models in a properly lit warehouse or stage with a motion-control rig on the cam and add the water effects later in post.

Ben Syverson June 26th, 2009 03:29 PM

That's called "dry for wet." It will definitely help with the lighting and camera support, but it has its own challenges. You'll have to completely saturate the room with stage smoke to get the right look, and play around with lighting until you have something plausible.

Paul R Johnson June 26th, 2009 04:51 PM

Do the Gerry Anderson thing. Get some sheets of glass, separated by just a few inches of water and put some small fish in, then put the model behind, and then another twin panel with really small fish in and there you go - Stingray and Thunderbirds. And you can get plenty of light onto the model to get decent depth of field - and nothing gets wet!

Adam Gold June 28th, 2009 11:06 AM

I know absolutely nothing about this, but I wouldn't think you'd need real smoke at all. I would bet anything all this can be done digitally and tweaked indefinitely until you're happy.

Ben Syverson June 28th, 2009 10:48 PM

You can't add digital smoke/haze to a model plate... You'd need a 3D model of the miniature, at which point, you might as well just do it CG instead of shooting a miniature at all...

Adam Gold June 28th, 2009 11:14 PM


Originally Posted by Ben Syverson (Post 1164647)
You can't add digital smoke/haze to a model ...

Again, I know nothing about this specifically and you obviously know a lot more than I do, but you can add digital smoke/haze/diffusion to anything...

I believe "Hunt for Red October" did exactly that for the "exterior" sub shots... models plus digital underwater effects.

Ben Syverson July 4th, 2009 12:34 PM

Right, but the models were filmed with practical haze... I don't have that Cinefex in front of me, but it was probably dry-for-wet with lots of smoke. In 1990 I doubt they would have done any sub effects with CG.

The reason you can't add haze to a model later is that if the sub is coming towards the camera, the front of the sub gets less haze than the rear. To simulate that, you'd have to make a 3D model of the sub and motion track it to the model, and then render just the haze. It's much easier to just shoot the model with smoke.

Jarred Capellman July 22nd, 2009 05:56 AM

Thanks guys! I hadn't subscribed to this thread so I didn't know I got responses! :( These ideas definitely open up some ideas, I don't plan on filming this movie until next year as I have 2 films right now to finish before December's Film Festival entry deadline.

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