View Full Version : a movie mural...do it for real OR do it in post?

07-23-2009, 09:33 AM
My script calls for a huge mural on the side of a wall. I guess I could get the business owner's permission, the proper city permits, a few gallons of paint and a ladder and do it myself. If they like it, they could keep it...or I could just paint over it when I'm done.

Before I get paint all over myself and a sunburned neck, I was wondering if there's a way to do it in post. CGI, green/blue screen, matte painting, etc.?

If it is done in post, does the camera have to remain still? Can someone walk in front of it?

Any information, movie references, links, or advice would be greatly appreciated.


Huy Vu
07-23-2009, 01:03 PM
The moment the camera moves, you're talking motion tracking. If someone walks in front of it, then you have to chromakey. Both are possible but it would probably take a moderate to high level of compositing skill and considerably setup time on set.

07-23-2009, 01:33 PM
Paint a small version, scaled down and place points outside the mural (outside where you mask) to help the tracking.

Adjust FOV and DOF to match by scaling down distances and all. It's meticulous but it sounds like it can be done.

Don't think it's worth painting the actual mural.

07-28-2009, 06:01 AM
Personally, on low budget films I always suggest trying to do everything practical whenever possible. Sure, ILM or Weta might be able to do such a good job on effects that you don't notice some of them, but actually painting would be much, much cheaper than highering either of them for the job.

It's extremely rare for amateur / low budget vfx to blend in like practical effects do, despite many people's love for them.

Sad Max
07-28-2009, 08:52 AM
We go practical whenever and wherever possible. It comes down to the skills and resources available to you: are you better-positioned to paint it for real and deal with the follow-up, or to insert it in post?

J.R. Hudson
07-28-2009, 09:13 AM
Is the Mural specific ? Are there exisiting Murals you can use ?

07-28-2009, 10:39 AM
Depending on how closely it is seen on-screen and how much effort you're willing to put in, I would consider The Rasterbator - http://homokaasu.org/rasterbator/.

Here is a really good example of it in action:

Of course, you'd still have to paint/draw the image in Photoshop or something beforehand.

-- Artman009

08-03-2009, 10:05 PM
I'll side with Bill O'Reilly and say you should "DO IT LIVE!!"

Whenever possible, practical works best. The balance is where do you're skill sets lie. Are you a better mural painter than composite editor? If you can afford it, the (arguably) extra effort is well worth it.

02-10-2010, 10:19 AM
Thanks. The project is still morphing uncontrollably. I'll probably end up using a combination of real and fake murals.

Brickhouse Media
02-17-2010, 10:51 AM
Any chance of finding an art class or scout troop to do your dirty work? This would probably count toward some type of merit badge or class credit if you framed it right.

Sad Max
02-17-2010, 11:54 AM
States are looking for ways to defray incarceration costs. Might find a good deal on a team of work-release types to get it done...

Tommy K
02-21-2010, 09:20 AM
If I was doing this. I would shoot locked down shots of building sides. Just shoot and leave enough room above head view of a person standing in front or walking by. Have them look up at the mural or have cars passing by. Place the painting onto the wall using a 3D Picture in Picture type filter. The tricky part is making it look blended to the background and getting the perspective believable. The smoother the surface the easier it is. You can use blend modes in certain NLE's to accomplish this. This can be done relatively easy with some planning and location scouting.

I recently did this same process with all types of City landmarks that I wanted to put text, pictures etc on. For example, I used building sides, billboards, a 45' white cargo trailer that was parked on a street and had cars speeding by. I just made sure I had enough head room above the car roof tops to put my message and graffiti. I imported PSD's into Edius and placed them on my landmarks. Don't leave the shots on screen to long so people can study the flaws if any.