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dtzfilms
03-14-2013, 08:28 PM
Hi!
I'm trying to shoot a scene where my character looks up at the camera pulls up into the clouds and out to a satellite. I've got the satellite stock footage but need to insert my character so it makes sense. Do I shoot him on a green screen? Or is there some software that does all the magical zooming?

danjenkins
03-15-2013, 12:09 AM
The stock footage you have, is it a still or is it a video zooming out all the way?

dtzfilms
03-15-2013, 12:29 AM
video

atarijedi
03-15-2013, 05:40 AM
Lots of tutorials on how to do this on Youtube, just search for Satellite Zoom tutorial. Seems to be one of the more simple VFX you can do.

Most of them are zooming in though, so you would just do it in reverse, and add in a clip of your subject in the end.

dtzfilms
03-15-2013, 06:25 AM
Lots of tutorials on how to do this on Youtube, just search for Satellite Zoom tutorial. Seems to be one of the more simple VFX you can do.

Most of them are zooming in though, so you would just do it in reverse, and add in a clip of your subject in the end.
Thank you but you misunderstand. I don't want to do the zoom effect. I already have stock footage of a satellite zoom. I'm just wondering how to insert my actors at the beginning. I'm a writer-director, not an effects person at all so I'm wondering if I'm shooting a plate shot of green screen so I can drop the subjects into the shot. The stock footage shot starts on a coin and pulls out to the clouds and beyond, somewhere in there I'll have to insert my actors.

If no one here knows what plate shots I'll need, I might just consult a post house in town. Thanks all the same.

danjenkins
03-15-2013, 08:26 AM
Wow, you kinda gave up on the community here awful quick, didn't you? We hardly understand the shot you are trying to create. In order for us to assist you we need to know these kind of details.

The processes you will need to do are isolating your actors with a matte (be that via keying or rotoscoping) then track the satellite footage so you can pin the actor plate to it. If you have a green screen stage with a clean green floor and know how to properly light it then great, that will probably be the way to go for your plate.

dtzfilms
03-15-2013, 08:46 AM
Wow, you kinda gave up on the community here awful quick, didn't you? We hardly understand the shot you are trying to create. In order for us to assist you we need to know these kind of details.
Yes, I think I did, didn't I? Sorry, and thanks. I'm very familiar with keying and rotoscoping, which is to say I know how they're spelt and can use them in a sentence! I might be able to find a green screen stage, but rotoscoping, what software does that? And what does the zooming? Is that the program? I ask because I don't have any zoom lens. Thanks much.

Sorry about the haste. I'm usually in the AF100 section and replies fly out there. With all the views and few responses, I thought no one knew or no one cared.

dtzfilms
03-15-2013, 09:54 AM
I'm a writer-director, I also shoot, edit and color correct enough for my own needs, but rotoscoping that's going to take a while especially if it's a new software. What I'm going to do is possible pay someone here in the community who can do this, but I need to know what plate to supply them. If there's anyone out there who is a rotorscoping genius, please. Say hello.

danjenkins
03-15-2013, 10:33 AM
Yes, it does sound like you need to find a VFX artist for this. After Effects can do what you are talking about, but just about any compositing package can do this.
Here is a list of questions to find out exactly how difficult this shot might be:

1: Does the camera rotate as it zooms out, or is it a straight zoom?
2: Are the actors moving much or mostly standing still?
3: Do you have a jib or crane available for the shoot?
4: How fast is the zoom and how long are the actors in the shot (at any appreciable size)?
5: How well are you going to be able to match the lighting on the actors to the zoom footage you already have? Is it Day or Night?

dtzfilms
03-15-2013, 10:49 AM
Thanks Dan.

1: Does the camera rotate as it zooms out, or is it a straight zoom?
STRAIGHT ZOOM.

2: Are the actors moving much or mostly standing still?
DEAD STILL, THEY LOOK UP AND FREEZE. Shot starts with them already looking up as if they sense the satellite.

3: Do you have a jib or crane available for the shoot? NO.

4: How fast is the zoom and how long are the actors in the shot (at any appreciable size)?
SUPER FAST, 2 SECs and they're indiscernable after that.

5: How well are you going to be able to match the lighting on the actors to the zoom footage you already have? Is it Day or Night?
DUNNO, it's day. I don't think matching the lighting is going to be a problem, worst case scenario I'll throw some color correction on there to mask this.

danjenkins
03-15-2013, 11:15 AM
So, this does not sound like that difficult of a shot. If it's that fast you probably don't need to worry about a crane anyway. You can probably get away with a static camera overhead. Shooting on green is probably your best bet. If it's a day shot then shoot the plate outside. Let the sun work in your favor. Pick up a cheap green screen fabric on Amazon (less than $30 usually) and lay it out on the ground. The only trick will be arranging the shot so the shadow direction matches, or if it's overcast even better, you can fake the shadows in post (often dangerous words but on a quick zoom like this fake shadows should be just fine). Also, pick a frame of your background plate where the actors mostly fill the frame and set up your camera to match that angle. Since it's a fast shot any other distortion should be fine to take care of in post.

Then in post you just need to key the footage, track the background plate's motion and parent the foreground plate to it and Robert's your father's brother.

dtzfilms
03-15-2013, 11:20 AM
Robert's your father's brother! LOL! OMG! I've never quite heard it put like that!
I have a 24' by 24' green screen sheet. I was thinking I could grab one of those hexacopter boys and have the bloody thing go straight up. That should work, right? But from what I'm gathering, I might not even need that!

danjenkins
03-15-2013, 11:33 AM
I would guess that you don't need a moving camera. Once the background footage is tracked you can make it work really well with just a static camera. In fact, moving the camera might make it harder since you'd need to match the background camera move as close to exact as possible.

dtzfilms
03-15-2013, 11:41 AM
Mr. Dan Jenkins I think your parents lied to you. They're not your real parents, they can't be. You're a god!
Cheers!!

danjenkins
03-15-2013, 11:45 AM
Before you go deifying me, make sure you talk to your VFX artist before you shoot. It's always best to make sure everyone in the pipeline is on board with the plan for the shot. This is just the way I would do this type of shot, but not every VFX artist would use the same process for the same shot.

Chris Adler
03-15-2013, 11:51 AM
I know this is off topic, but personally if this was my movie I'd find a less overused method for conveying the same information. I roll my eyes when I see the space zoom effect. Very overused.

dtzfilms
03-15-2013, 11:59 AM
I know this is off topic, but personally if this was my movie I'd find a less overused method for conveying the same information. I roll my eyes when I see the space zoom effect. Very overused.
Forgive me, I may need to get out more because I haven't seen it used yet, and I'm putting together a fund-raising sizzle reel for the project. There is no other way that I know of to convey my bionic agents detecting a sub-orbital spy satellite locating them.

Chris Adler
03-15-2013, 12:08 PM
I've seen the effect at least a dozen times in feature films. Even more in short films, since Andrew Kramer shows how to do it on his site. 1/2 the effects in short films come from his samples. I'm not telling you what to do with your film. I'm just saying I wouldn't use it. If this goes to a festival screener I guarantee the screener will have seen it 100 times already.

dtzfilms
03-15-2013, 12:17 PM
Good looking out. Thanks a lot. I think we're misunderstanding each other.

This isn't going to a festival. It's a kickstarter sizzle reel for a Spy-Fi Sci-Fi film with bionic super agents, and the shot isn't relevant to the feature film so it won't make it to the end. I saw a bunch of these static zoom effects, this is an actual satellite spy feed. The shot ends in outer space. Does Andrew Kramer do that? Dunno who that is, sorry. I'm only a writer-director.

I would be interested in seeing if you can please link me to so I can see what has been done. Much appreciated.

Chris Adler
03-15-2013, 12:36 PM
Here's Andrew's tutorial. http://www.videocopilot.net/tutorials/earth_zoom/

I've seen a ton of variations of it, and some blatant rip-offs. There are lots of ways you can show that your bionic hero somehow detects he's being monitored by a satellite but the approach you use is up to you.

dtzfilms
03-15-2013, 01:09 PM
Here's Andrew's tutorial. http://www.videocopilot.net/tutorials/earth_zoom/

I've seen a ton of variations of it, and some blatant rip-offs. There are lots of ways you can show that your bionic hero somehow detects he's being monitored by a satellite but the approach you use is up to you.

Thanks, I see what you mean. Overused huh? Okay. Well the footage I have isn't a product of this guy, if it is it's great, much much better. It starts on the ground with great detail, on a live insect, zooms up to moving traffic and so on and so forth. So it's not pictures layered, and blended, but it's the same principle, and if it's over-used, maybe I won't use it. Thing is this - the shots of London's Big Ben and Tower Bridge are used over and over, as long as they make sense to the story, who cares... food for thought.

Chris Adler
03-15-2013, 01:21 PM
Like I said, if it serves your story then use it. I don't know your story. I was simply stating that I've seen this effect used frequently.

danjenkins
03-15-2013, 04:47 PM
Yeah, I see close-ups in so many movies. Gettin kind of old.

The reason you see so many of Andrew Kramer's tutorial effects in shorts from people just starting out is because they are just starting out and his tutorials are fantastic. Gotta learn somehow. I've watched pretty much all of his videos and learned quite a lot from him. I've actually used his technique on this topic for a video with a rocket launch.