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Fan Productions Creating our own Trek canon!

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Old July 15 2012, 08:39 PM   #211
Maurice
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

JarodRussell wrote: View Post
Another thing here is that everyone is visible in the frame at all times. Here you could even cross the line without causing too much confusion, as the people facing each other would still all be visible in the frame.



But when you film dialogue in a way where you see only one character at a time inside the frame, then the line becomes even more important.



And notice how they lead you from one character to the next by letting the characters turn their eyes to them before they make the cut.
A good example. And you'll notice they never cross The Lines between Sly and Ahnuld and Ahnuld and Bruce. So what you're seeing here is a great example of The Line in action. You always know who is looking at whom.
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Old August 22 2012, 09:22 PM   #212
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

I posted this over in another topic, but it seemed applicable here since it's about how I shot a recent music video which used greenscreen. There are a few photos that show a simple greenscreen setup, etc. I'm reposting here, with a few modifications, but SPOILER CODING it so it won't clutter up the thread here if you've read it in the other thread.

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Old August 23 2012, 03:44 AM   #213
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

Thanks, Maurice. You answered a lot of questions I had about "how it was done."

One of the things that amazes me is the sheer number of times that performers repeat things, yet still manage to make it seem fresh. I'm not cut out for that, for sure.
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Old August 23 2012, 04:33 AM   #214
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
Thanks, Maurice. You answered a lot of questions I had about "how it was done."

One of the things that amazes me is the sheer number of times that performers repeat things, yet still manage to make it seem fresh. I'm not cut out for that, for sure.
Some performers can grind out nearly identical performances take after take, and others change it every single time. Even shooting this, I was amazed by all the little differences in terms of gestures and facial expressions. There's a terrific expression on Trampolina's face on the line "It has allure" that happened only in that one take I used. You have to keep your eyes out for that!"
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Old August 23 2012, 09:19 PM   #215
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

New topic:
SHOOTING GREENSCREEN

There are a few tricks about setting up a greenscreen that fan filmmakers should be aware of.

1. You want to keep the greenscreen as far away from the talent/objects in front of it because it:
  • prevents the latter from casting shadows on the green
  • helps minimize the chance of green "spill" onto them
  • allows you more latitude in positioning lights to hit only the former or latter
2. Take the time to minimize wrinkles and folds in the greenscreen. The smoother and flatter it is, the easier it is to get a clean matte.

3. Put tracking markers on the green even if you're not planning to move the camera. Two or three small X's of tape will do, placed where that the actors/props won't pass over, or done with green tape of a different shade. Easy to crop out, but handy to have if you decide you DO want to pan or tilt or dolly, as it will help keep the background aligned.

4. You want to try to light the screen so that it appears a relatively even green without hotspots or dark spots, because the amount of color information in the extremes is lower and ergo harder to key out.

5. While keying software typically lets you key out virtually any color, the reasons green is the most common keying color are:
  • on most digital video cameras the information in the green channel is typically the sharpest
  • there's very little green in most flesh tones
6. To minimize green spill on hair or other shiny parts of a costume, use a top or backlight with a MAGENTA gel on it. Magenta is the opposite color from green, and will tend to neutralize green reflections. Just make sure such lights are flagged so as not to hit the greenscreen. (You can easily eliminate any magenta tint on the actors in a color corrector, assuming you don't overdo it).

7. LOCK THE EXPOSURE. If you're using autoexposure (I recommend not), once you have the shot looking right switch the autoexposure OFF, otherwise the camera will keep adjusting the exposure because your actors are moving and this will make keying messier.

8. CHECK THE FOCUS. The mushier the focus, the harder a time you'll have getting a good matte. As with autoexposure, don't use autofocus.

9. Watch the shot on a monitor. Most small cameras screens are small enough where you might not notice if the focus is slightly soft, etc.

10. Don't worry about anything part of the greenscreen that nothing passes in front of. Cropping and garbage mattes are used to get rid of any parts of the frame where foreground objects don't cross.

11. SHOOT A CLEAN PLATE for every setup. Meaning, shoot the greenscreen without anything is front of it for a couple of seconds. Why? Some keying software has the option of allowing you to use a "clean" frame" as a reference, and it compares each frame of the shot to the clean frame to look for differences, sometimes making for sharper mattes because there's more info to work from.

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Last edited by Maurice; August 24 2012 at 05:24 AM. Reason: corrected typos
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Old August 24 2012, 01:12 AM   #216
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

I don't understand what you mean by this:
Maurice wrote: View Post
The smoother and flatter it is, the harder it is to get a clean matte.
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Old August 24 2012, 02:47 AM   #217
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
I don't understand what you mean by this:
Maurice wrote: View Post
The smoother and flatter it is, the harder it is to get a clean matte.
Editing error. Fixed. Now reads "The smoother and flatter it is, the easier it is to get a clean matte."
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Old August 24 2012, 02:51 AM   #218
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

k. Thanks; what I thought you meant.

allows you more latitude in positioning lights to hit only the former or latter
I believe you also added that text, and that makes that point much more immediately understandable, too.
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Old August 24 2012, 04:28 AM   #219
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

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k. Thanks; what I thought you meant.

allows you more latitude in positioning lights to hit only the former or latter
I believe you also added that text, and that makes that point much more immediately understandable, too.
Yeah, I made a few additions, including point 11. Hope that helps.
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Last edited by Maurice; August 24 2012 at 05:22 AM.
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Old August 24 2012, 04:31 AM   #220
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

Oh, yeah, I had missed that. Point 11 is awesome.
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Old August 26 2012, 10:37 PM   #221
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

Outstanding, Maurice! Thank you. A lot of this I'd already worked out through trial and error, but some bits completely took me by surprise.

I had a film professor at a local college criticize my use of a magenta backlight as "amateurish", but he had no answer to my request for a better color to neutralize bounce from the green screen. Perhaps I simply laid it on too strong.

Which leads me to my next question ... what do you suggest we use for a green screen? I have a simple, folded sheet of green fabric. When needed, I unfold it, steam out the wrinkles, and [try to] tack it up smoothly. I use a fluorescent light fixture at the floor level to illuminate it, then a magenta backlight on the talent. The trouble with this is that the sheet isn't very wide, so when I have talent far enough in front to avoid spilling shadows on the screen, they have to minimize their movement or they wander off the sides. I'd like to have something big, easily lit, easily transported, and easily stored ... preferably eliminating the steam-before-use step.

Your tips have made this the most interesting thread on TrekBBS ... thanks again!
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Old August 26 2012, 10:53 PM   #222
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

Well, the magenta is basically to counter the spill, and you don't use much of it.

You should look into multiple sheets of green fabric if the one you have is too narrow. You can also get a roll of 9' x 36' greenscreen paper for about $50, roll it out, use it, and roll it back up. There's also greenscreen foam which doesn't crease the way paper or cloth can.

I'd suggest multiple light sources to get the green even, ideally one below, one above, and one to either side.

If you want easy to transport and set up lights, try china ball lanterns, as they collapse flat.

And thanks!
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Old August 28 2012, 09:38 AM   #223
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

For our project, we were able to borrow some sheets of special reflective material, designed to be illuminated by a ring of LEDs that sit around the camera lens. I don't know how much these cost, but I suspect they're quite expensive, so we were lucky to know someone who could let us use it. They pretty much eliminate the need to light the back screen, because it's self-luminescent. We just had to make sure the subjects were well-lit, otherwise it gets a bit contrasty.

We're still using it now. It's been very handy.

I think it's this stuff, or something very similar to it.

EDIT: This is the one we're using.
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Old August 28 2012, 11:10 AM   #224
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

^^^That's sort of like scotchlite material adapted for chromakey use, much like front projection works.
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Old August 28 2012, 12:01 PM   #225
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

I tried to find the behind the scenes video about greenscreening in Star Wars - Episode III, but sadly no luck with that so far. There's a poor guy who has to mask/rotoscope everyone's feet for thousands of frames even though they are standing on green. I guess there is no such thing as a perfect greenscreen even in a multi million dollar production.
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