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DeterminedFilmmaker
01-26-2012, 11:51 AM
I was thinking of doing this type of shot. Basically, I would create a miniature of a field/trees. Then zoom the camera in slowly. There would be someone walking in the fields. This would be composited in later in post obviously. As the camera get's close to the person/field it changes to a real shot set out in the field. I was wondering how to achieve this without looking as if I've crossed it over, (so that they think it was all done in the one shot). I know it would be easier to do it using CGI but I'm no where near that skilled in Maya or anything to do anything as such. Can anyone offer a solution?

Thanks

Ken Hull
01-26-2012, 01:49 PM
Shooting miniatures often brings with it a depth-of-field problem. You wouldn't have that problem with CGI. But assuming the miniature will be big enough that you can keep everything in focus ......

Shoot the real landscape (without actor). Make a hard-copy graphic of the view at the point where you want to switch from miniature to real. Use that graphic as reference while making and shooting the miniature. You might find useful supplies in a model railroading store.

Shoot the actor walking in a green-screen environment.

In your NLE, put the miniature shot on the timeline, then put the real landscape shot after it. Dissolve from the miniature to the real landscape. I'd try a 1-second dissolve. OK, now you've got your background for the scene.

Chroma-key your actor over the background scene. The shot of the actor will be continuous, even while the background changes from miniature to real. I wouldn't hold on the latter part of the scene too long, or the audience will notice inconsistencies, like the lack of the actors shadow. Then cut to a closer shot where the actor really is in the real scene.

Sounds ambitious. :happy: Good luck!
- Ken

DeterminedFilmmaker
01-26-2012, 02:22 PM
Shooting miniatures often brings with it a depth-of-field problem. You wouldn't have that problem with CGI. But assuming the miniature will be big enough that you can keep everything in focus ......

Shoot the real landscape (without actor). Make a hard-copy graphic of the view at the point where you want to switch from miniature to real. Use that graphic as reference while making and shooting the miniature. You might find useful supplies in a model railroading store.

Shoot the actor walking in a green-screen environment.

In your NLE, put the miniature shot on the timeline, then put the real landscape shot after it. Dissolve from the miniature to the real landscape. I'd try a 1-second dissolve. OK, now you've got your background for the scene.

Chroma-key your actor over the background scene. The shot of the actor will be continuous, even while the background changes from miniature to real. I wouldn't hold on the latter part of the scene too long, or the audience will notice inconsistencies, like the lack of the actors shadow. Then cut to a closer shot where the actor really is in the real scene.

Sounds ambitious. :happy: Good luck!
- Ken

Thanks so much! Just one more thing. How will I get the angle right for keying my actor in. The camera will stop about 15 feet above ground level. Just wondering how I will get the angle right for shooting the actor on greenscreen. Should I just make a virtual set for it or what?

Ken Hull
01-26-2012, 06:02 PM
Determined,

If you have access to a green screen studio, then if the studio doesn't have a stairway, use a tall ladder and clamp a tripod head to the top of the ladder. (Browse through the B&H website for grip equipment; you should be able to find something that would work.)

Ah, but maybe you don't have access to a green screen studio. Well, there's a sneaky little trick I used once. Find someplace outside that has a large flat area of ground. Again, you'll have to use a stairway, balcony, or ladder to get the camera high enough. Photograph a long shot of the actor walking toward or away from the camera. Then use a paint program to make your own compositing mask, being sure to get proper perspective. You might feather the edges slightly, to get a nice blend between real ground and background. The finnished result should look like the actor is walking on a path. You'll have to design the mask so that the path is wide enough that no part of the actor overlaps the edge of the path.

You mentioned zooming in on the actor. It will be difficult to synchonize the zooming between the various compositting parts. You might have an alternate plan B, where you don't do zooming for that one shot.

Have fun!
- Ken

clang
01-27-2012, 01:12 PM
I'm not clear on whether the initial field/trees scene is supposed to look 'real' - frankly, to build such a miniature would be a massive amount of work, miniatures nearly always look slightly fake. This isn't necessarily a problem, you can even take advantage of it, zooming in on an artificial establishing shot to reveal a real actor, at some point transitioning so the whole scene is now real - the audience realises the overall shot is not supposed to be real and so don't mentally look for 'unrealness'. But that depends on the type of story you're telling, it probably wouldn't suit a naturalistic film.

swopiv
01-27-2012, 03:07 PM
Or you could do it for real...shoot from the air. I can help with aerial shots if you need. Where about in Scotland are you? I'm a Cinematographer based in Edinburgh.

swopiv
01-28-2012, 03:07 AM
Hmm, thinking about it I'm not sure that would work. You could get a establishing shot that way, but it would be very difficult to smoothly transition from that to a ground level shot and keep the appearance of a single shot. If you do go with a miniature, don't use a DSLR or large sensor cam to shoot it, or it will look like a miniature. Use something wide angle with a small sensor, like a Go-Pro or small consumer HD camera or something.

DeterminedFilmmaker
01-28-2012, 09:40 AM
Ok, that's cleared it up for me a lot. I'll try a few of the techniques you have mentioned.

Thanks for the offer sopiv, but I'm ok just now. I'll get back to you though if I'm ever in need of a hand or anything

Michael Carter
01-29-2012, 08:36 PM
I'd slap a lot of money on the table betting you can't pull this off without match moving software, high-end 3D programs that ingest that data, and likely motorized camera rigs that can repeat takes frame-by-frame.

You could composite talent into a model/comp shot as you move in - and then cut to a real shot. Doing it seamlessly - I bet you tear half your hair out and still toss it all. Just keying talent onto any sort of surface is tough. (Hint - make the floors of your sets match your plates vs. shooting on a green floor).

Not trying to sound dismissive, but... it takes a lot of specialized people to do this right.

Regarding floors - note the painted "runway" on the "before" side of this grab:

47047

When we shot this, I had already created the BG plate in Photoshop; I had clear plastic static cling line art of the PS files sized to the production monitor, so we could match the perspective of the floor to the photoshop art. That was a cool (and dirt cheap) trick that made a lot of shots come out very nice.

Inprogress
01-31-2012, 04:47 AM
This might be a stupid idea which could cause additional headaches, like how to control the lens....but I would've played with the concept of using one of those aerial video choppers (chopper....duh, they fly....in the air) and using a tilt-shift lens.....if you want the actual look of a miniture forest that looks like a model. If you just want to start high and end low, obviously don't use the tilt-shift.

If however you do not have access to a forest and only something that could be made to look like a forest as long as you stay at ground level, ignore my idea.

Hope you get what you are looking for.

Gregg Juke
02-06-2012, 12:06 PM
I was going to suggest tilt-shift too. And, you could make an inexpensive DIY version to try the idea out before spending a lot of money on rental or purchase (Google or Youtube it; it's out there).

GJ