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Old March 22nd, 2005, 08:45 PM   #1
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Green Screen Vs. Location for snow storm

I'm writing a movie right now that I've been trying to keep low budget. The problem that I realized 2/3 through the script is that a lotof the movie takes place in a blizzard and I'm not sure of the dollar value for something like that. Has anybody done anything likethis before and if you have I'm wondering which would be the best combination of affordable/do-able/visual, shooting in the winter and adding snow to the shot or green screening and adding it all in later.
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Old March 22nd, 2005, 08:52 PM   #2
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Keep your writer's hat on!
If you need to, make a note (as the writer) to the director and producer about how you're going to do this (even if you are also the producer and director).

i.e. separate the hyphenate!

When writing, write the best story you can.
When producing, figure how you're going to get there with what you have.
When directing, figure out what you're going to shoot when you get there.

There are many ways of doing snow, both mechanical and visual effects wise, that can work. Only after you figure out what you're saying in your story and what your story's trying to say will you know for sure which of the various methods available will be the right one for you to use, both creatively and financially speaking.

In the meantime, concentrate on the story and get that the best you know how.

HTH
Cheers
Chris
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Old March 22nd, 2005, 10:00 PM   #3
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I agree. It was just a concern I had today. The answer doesn't effect what I'm writing at all. My real concern is that I want to write and direct the movie but not produce. I want my script to be a great story first and foremost. I'm writing a horror film and I don't know of anyone else in Nova Scotia who have done this with much success. I'm worried if I don't know how to do the snow stuff I'll scare off people who might otherwise back my project. You're still right though and I should just worry about the story for now. Back to writing.
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Old March 22nd, 2005, 10:07 PM   #4
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You're right.
You can shoot it on a white cyc set and then add background in post
You can shoot it all blue screen and then do it all in post (Sky Captain)
You can do it all on set (use all fake snowflakes)
You can wait until it snows (all real snowflakes)
You can go up into a snowy area (real backgrounds, fake snowflakes)
You can combine all those techniques
Enough options?
Back to the story!!!
Cheers
Chris
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Old March 22nd, 2005, 10:16 PM   #5
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John,

Being only a hobbyist, I can't add too much to the discussion. However, having also grown up in a cold place with blizzards (Northern Minnesota), if I had to weigh the difficulty of actually shooting in a blizzard vs adding CG wind-whipped snowfall and making sure the fake wind and snowdrifts didn't look fake, I'd probably still go for doing much of the work in post.

Maybe the best balance would be to shoot on location on cloudy (NONblizzard) winter days to get fairly flat lighting and then add the flying snow in post?

Best o' luck!
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Old March 23rd, 2005, 12:47 AM   #6
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that's the ticket.
A mildly windy day with snow, but not flying, add some household fans or blowers, add flakes in post.
Something like that, depending, of course, on the story.
Cheers
Chris
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Old March 23rd, 2005, 04:57 AM   #7
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If done in post don't forget to have the actors "fake" it, put fake
snow on them and have them walk as if a strong wind is blowing
(or bring big fans etc.).

Nothing yells "fake" more than having clean and prestine actors
in a full on blizzard <g>
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Old June 18th, 2005, 01:28 PM   #8
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This is a slightly old thread, but its funny that I found it and I have some simular questions that relate to the snow storm idea.

Does anyone have a good idea of a way to add frosted look to windows? (must be easily removable)

Also, can anyone think of a good way to get that 'ice breath' look, either in post (CG is my last option though), or during the shoot? (My current idea is to do it only in the close up and actually try and find a walk in freezer to do that one shot in.)

Basically all of my shoots the actor never goes out into the snowstorm...but it must look like a snowstorm is setting in, and its getting rediculously cold (apocolyptic cold)

Also I shoot in Louisiana....its 100 degrees here right now lol.
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Old June 19th, 2005, 05:38 AM   #9
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Perhaps some wax / vaseline / snow spray might help with the Windows?
Color correcting in post to create a harsh cold look might futher help things
along as well?

That's the best I can come up with for now...
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Old July 5th, 2005, 09:15 PM   #10
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Snow storm

I think testing the effects in luminance keying, subdued color (except for garbage matte spots, yellow air tank, oil slick looking sunglasses) and keyframe blowing flakes (altering their direction, size, sharpness and speed) indoors for CU.

Oooppps!

How about airbrushing white shoe polish onto windows? Steel wool scraping on the inner edges.
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Old August 8th, 2005, 10:16 AM   #11
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Rent John Carpenter's "The THING". They have a few tips and techniques they used to make it look cold on the set. Some parts they had actors take a drag off a cigarette before talking. Nothing says cold like being able to see someone's breath and if you can get a makeup person to give people a ruddy complexion, red cheeks and drippy noses. Have someone wipe their nose on their sleeve periodically.

In "The THING", they also brought up the humidity on the set, so they could see their breath without it having to be freezing but I doubt you will have access to such a device. Plus it would be hell on your camera, if you did not let it "get used to" the environment before filming. Condensation could occur.
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Old August 8th, 2005, 03:12 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Champagne
Also, can anyone think of a good way to get that 'ice breath' look, either in post (CG is my last option though), or during the shoot? (My current idea is to do it only in the close up and actually try and find a walk in freezer to do that one shot in.)
I needed something similar in my indy feature. For the primary shot needing the actor's cold breath, I got permission to shoot in the walk-in freezer of a local restaurant. I built a small "flat" (set wall) to place behind the actor to match the interior location where the rest of the scene was shot.
In another scene, outdoors, I added cold breath in post using After Effects. The cold-breath was real, shot in my backyard on a very cold clear night, with the "breather" (me) just off camera, and the camera pointed up at the black night sky, and the breath side-illuminated with a hard halogen source. Worked really well and was easy to pull the image off the "matte." If you do it too much, of course, it can start to look fake, so I used it very sparingly.
BTW, I wouldn't recommend the cigarette-smoke idea. Smoke looks and behaves totally differently than the water vapor of cold breath and, in my opinion, looks totally fake.
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Old August 8th, 2005, 07:20 PM   #13
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Thanks everyone, you've given me some good ideas to work with. I'll probably do the walk in freezer with either a chroma background or a flat black background. If I don't end up starting production on the short before winter (I have so many others in the works right now), I will definately give the exterior shot against the sky a go. Unfortunately, down here in south louisiana...it takes quite a while before it gets nearly that cold.

For everything else I'll probably just have to matte paint the heck out of it until everything looks all snowy. The point is its supposed to be set here in the south, and the cold is bizzare and based on science fiction type principles...so I don't have to worry about painting in different varieties of trees and such...just the snow.
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