View Full Version : Special effects question?

09-21-2010, 08:50 AM
We have finished our fist feature film and we're waiting to hear from film festival. I am writing the script for our next project and want to know if it is possible to create ghost like characters on a low budget project.

This is a family comedy type movie with two pirate ghost. I have thought of shooting through a large piece of glass at a 45 degree angle. This way the pirates would be off camera with just their reflection in the glass, and could appear to interact with my "real" actors behind the glass. I may try some practice shots with this method and see what happens. It might work great, but be a big pain in the butt, if so something else may be a better choice.

Maybe someone here can give me some better ideas to try. I plan to have actors as the pirates but want them to be kind of see through. I don't know if there is a way of shooting the pirates, then shooting the "real people" separately and putting it together in post or not. I have plenty of time to experiment.

I shot our first movie with a DVX100a and edited in Vegas pro 8. Our budget on The Old Livingston House (our first movie) was $15,000. We will have more for this project, but not a lot more, just to give you an idea of what I'm working with.

Thanks in advance, and without the people on DVXuser I would have never made it this far.

09-21-2010, 11:51 AM
Well, obviously there's the green screen/blue screen route.

This lets you isolate your ghosts from the background and fade them in/out at will, and add numerous effects to just the ghosts.

It is easier if you lock down the camera, but that quickly becomes noticeable, especially if the camera is never stationary any other times.

Tracking the background is an option, but more difficult in post.

Redoing camera moves, as on a dolly can look impressive, but you have to match the moves, as a robot motion cam would do.

You can arrange the green screen by having people hold a temporary one behind the ghost and move with him in the same location as the background. Or you can create a green screen studio to do the shots, and try to meticulously log all the camera info: height, lens, exposure, placements of lights, etc. The simpler the better in that case.

Good thing is that no one knows what ghosts look like, so you have a lot of room to fudge around.

09-23-2010, 06:44 AM
Yeah, green screen would be an option. I also saw on Youtube a way of doing it in post, by shooting the scene without the actors, then with the actors and fading one on top of the other. The technique has the same draw back as green screen. The camera has to remained locked. The same would hold true for the 45 degree glass idea (Know as Pepper's ghost) unless I had a piece of glass the size of a billboard. Ha Ha.

I guess I could fade them in and out with the camera still, and in between have them 'real' so I came pan, tilt, and dolly with them, but would love to hear other ideas.