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Techniques for Independent Production
The challenges of creating Digital Cinema and other narrative forms.


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Old March 17th, 2005, 12:43 PM   #16
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I couldn't find the software... I'll try to google it, if I could find the right words...

Have you seen this (althought it is not done in post):
http://www.indietoolbox.com/

(it has been posted here before, and someone sugested silk instead of.. that)
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Old March 17th, 2005, 02:48 PM   #17
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here is something some may find interesting:
http://borg.cc.gatech.edu/Software/bsubtract/
It seems so complicated to use (for me) that I can't follow the entire explanation... although, the pics at the end are very suggestive!
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Old March 18th, 2005, 02:37 PM   #18
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Perhaps?...

1. Make a "depth map" with varying shades for background objects depending on how far away they are supposed to be (this is the hard-work part).

2. Apply a Z-Blur or lens blur filter (with true lens blur characteristics) to each depth/layer (you can also set this over time using keyframes for rack-focus) using filters designed for this:

Image Lounge (http://www.redgiantsoftware.com/imagelounge.html)

CinemaFocus / IrisFilter5.6 / FinalFocus2.0 (http://www.reiji.net/op-e/index.html)

Lenscare
(http://www.frischluft.com/lenscare/introduction.php)

BCC Z-Blur Filter
(Boris Continuum Complete - http://www.borisfx.com/download_files/bccfilters/BCC_Z-Blur.pdf)

Defocus and Seelctive Soft Focus
(Digital Film Tools 55mm and Composite Suite)

S_ZDepthCueBlur, S_RackDfComp, S_RackDefocus
(Genarts Sapphire)

The Depth of Field effect
(After Effects 6.5 Pro)

There are others...


(Matthew, I was actually surprised that you are using a gaussian blur; I gathered from other posts that you have 55mm and Composite Suite)

John



Another method tutorial here (with sample movie):

http://fxhome.com/support/tutorials/view.php?i=8

sample movie: http://tarn.fxhome.com/tutorials/fakedof.mov
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Old March 20th, 2005, 01:52 PM   #19
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John, great post, will continue to experiment with what you are saying, although it may take a bit to digest what you have just spelled out.

Yes, I have all of DFT products, but I only have them for Final Cut Pro and After Effects (although I have used the AE plugs for Apple's Motion. I don't have the plugs for photoshop. and I did this effect in photoshop. Also I just purchased them and am really just learning how to use all of them now.

I don't know how to make a "depth map". I mean I think that's what I did in photoshop, by slicing the image into layers and then applying a varying amount of blue the further away you went.

If you would be so kind, I think there are more than a few here who are interested, could you explain what you're suggesting in a bit more detail when you get a chance?

Best,

Matt
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Old March 21st, 2005, 11:15 AM   #20
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My initial thought was:

1. Bring the footage into After Effects
2. Create a composition based on the footage
3. Create a solid (with black as the color)
4. Set the opacity of the solid to zero, mode to darken
5. Create masks on the solid for the different "depths" of the footage
6. Keyframe the masks
7. Set the solid opacity back to 100%
8. Change the opacities of each mask based on the depth
9. Output the solid as a "depth" mask (with white beneath the transparent areas which are meant to be the background, or farthest away)

(This was the easiest way I could think of to create an accurate depth mask)


But, after some testing Sunday night, I think that in most cases it is easier to rotoscope the footage (unless you need to do something based on depth in other applications - then a depth mask is probably best). I did the following with pretty good results:

1. Bring the footage into After Effects.

2. Create a composition from the footage.

*Deinterlaced footage is best (and besides, this is the "Towards a Film Look Using DV" forum). Higher resolution is best. And obviously, footage with minimal motion would be best --- having the camera locked down (tripod) will make things easier. And obviously, long clips will take a lot of work --- probably best for short clips.

3. Determine the "depths" for objects (including people) or areas... I just drew an overhead map on some paper showing what needed to be in what focal position.

4. Create duplicates of the footage on the timeline --- one for the background and one for each "depth".

5. Scrub the footage and locate the extreme points of motion. Place a marker on the timeline for each of these points (for each layer).

6. Using the mask (pen) tool, create masks for each set of objects in each layer. For now, change each mask's mode to "none" so that you can see the entire frame while working.

***It is easier to create multiple overlapping masks for a single object if that object will be moving and changing shape (for example, a turning head may cause the nose to disappear and reappear--- so I would create a head mask and a nose mask on the same layer). Using multiple masks even for a single object (like the head) allows you to apply different characteristics, such as feathering, to one edge of an object so that you can realistically blur the far side of a face, for instance (You can also apply motion blur individually to a mask if necessary). --- Separate masks also have the benefit of faster rendering, because certain effects, such as motion blur, only apply to them, not to all masks or a larger area.

7. When all the masks are created, begin adjusting / keyframing the mask (or set of masks) one at a time. This will be the most time consuming part. Complex objects (people) will require finer point adjustments while simpler objects (such as a book) may just require moving the mask. To be safe - Select the masks and right click - "Hide locked masks", then open the layer properties on the timeline and turn on the lock for all of them. Then just unlock the one (or group, such as head and nose) being adjusted.

8. Begin with the first mask by selecting it in the timeline (be sure timeline is at the right point), adjusting the mask shape (point by point) and then clicking the stopwatch to create a keyframe. Now move to the next marker (the extremes you marked) and adjust the mask again for another keyframe. After Effects should interpolate in between pretty well (though you have to go back and adjust these later). Work through all the markers for that set of masks, then scrub and repeat for the in-between frames, until you are satisfied with the result. Now lock the mask and unlock the next one on the next layer for adjustment.

9. When all masks are adjusted and keyframed to your liking, unlock all the masks, and change their modes back to “Add”.

10. Now apply lens blur (with a lens blur filter that provides accurate characteristics) in different strengths to each layer as needed.

11. Adjust the feather (and other properties) for each mask as needed.

12. Render your beautiful rotoscoped footage with Depth of Field. :-)
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Old March 23rd, 2005, 07:47 PM   #21
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Matthew,

I've gathered better information over the last couple of days and will be posting a much more accurate and detailed post soon on depth masks and dof (after a few tests).

John
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Old March 23rd, 2005, 07:50 PM   #22
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Excellent. Hey, do me a favor. Go to the filmlook section and check out the grabs I posted. I would be interested in your opinion if you have a moment.

Thanks

Matt
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Old March 26th, 2005, 10:49 AM   #23
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Im confused....sort of!! I didn't think depth of field had so much to do with film or the medium, as it did the lenses. Can anyone help?
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Old March 26th, 2005, 03:16 PM   #24
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It isn't that Depth of Field (DOF) is something that is a characteristic of film; it is that the abilty to truly control DOF is something that is seen as an intrinsic part of professional movies --- the abilty to control DOF (specifically shallow DOF) is thus seen by many as part of the "film look". Most consumer (and prosumer) camcorders lack sufficient long-focal-length lenses to achieve adequate shallow DOF (in my opinion). A movie doesn't need shallow DOF --- but it is a tool that many of us often lack. Besides, the ability to add the shallow DOF effect (realistically) in post can be useful if the scene was shot without it.

John
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Old March 29th, 2005, 05:11 PM   #25
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nice try!! it looks all right! I think the background needs a little more softening/more blurr. FOr the rest, nice work!
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