Green Screen & Composting

The masterclass regarding green-screen and composting helped me greatly with my post work as I already had some knowledge of composting and green-screen but over the time forgot the fundamental rules of green screen marking and also the reasons behind the traditional way of marking and composting because before this class I only knew what the standard distance and colour of markers are but never really knew the reason why they are there.

MARKERS

First of all for any green screen object to be tracked during the post work it needs to be perfectly marked and for that following factors are to be kept in mind. First is what color of the markers should be used. Steve told us that why it is always better to use black and white markers as the softwares that we use to track markers find it easier to find these colours due to the contrast but sometimes even this can get tricky as if we are using the black colour it might be hard to extract it when their are hair involved in a shot. Like in our exercise Steve put a marker right behind our actors hair which in a real world scenario you would try to avoid as it can be tedious and time consuming to extract the marker behind the hair due to the same colour but keeping that in mind color markers can also be a problem if the circumstances are not correct for example using a blue marker will require two keys which can be a problem for the wardrobe and props and also some cameras dont work well with such colour transitions and leave behind a visible difference in the keying of the shots.

Another key factor that I learnt was how many markers should be used for example in a moving shot Steve advised to have at least 3 markers making a triangle reason behind this is that even if we move if one of the markers move out of the filming frame another is added and having a triangle shape or a rectangular one allows the camera tracker to track points horizontally and vertically.

Also while putting the markers make sure you have a good knowledge about the positioning cause in our case we were given the challenge to remove the markers from behind the gnome’s head which in an ideal situation should-be been avoided because if you are putting a marker behind an object you will need to rotoscope it and mask it out step by step.

With markers being set the other key factors are the lighting, the camera that is being used and also the distance between the green screen and the object being filmed.

LIGHTING & DISTANCE

First we come to the lighting of the green screen for that we need to make sure that we use to lights to light the green screen at equal distances and get them centered so they can light the green screen evenly because if the light is not being emitted evenly on the green screen it will leave behind shadows which will appear in your backdrop making it difficult to key.

It’s always a good idea to have some distance from the actor and the green screen preferably around 2 meters as this allows you to leave more space for you to set up the light and evenly disturbute it  as this will help you avoid any shadow being cast by the actors and also assisting in easier access to setting the green screen lights.

Most importantly once you have eliminated all the shadows and evenly lit the green screen you need to make sure your primary light is in the same direction as the plate that you are going to apply, in our case our primary light for the plate was the sun in a diagnoal direction coming from the window. So we had to replicate it in a way that it matches our plate if we fail to do that you will have lights coming from a direction which might not look natural taking away the realistic feel you are going for.
green-screen-setup

 

CAMERA SETTING & Distance of Camera from Green Screen

The other important thing that needs to be considered while filming something on a green screen is the camera. The camera that is being used should either film on 4k or ultra HD reason for this is that any camera that is having a codec that is compressing the footage will cause your green screen footage to have pixellated results which will be shown in the form of small boxes i.e pixels that will make your shot look unappealing to the eye another factor is that filming in 4k allows the post-production process easy as they have more room to play with effects resizing and also framing repositioning after we track the camera.

We need to make sure that the markers are in focus and are easy to track for that we adjust our depth of field and usually use an f-stop of 2.3 with a low gain setting as we don’t want to overexpose our footage or clip anything. We are also required to note down the lens we use for filming as it should be the same when you create a camera in After Effects otherwise your plate would not match your footage.

Secondly, we are also required to measure the distance of the camera and the end of the set and to the end of the green screen, and also the measurement of the camera lens from the ground. So when we get to the Post-production and are setting up the plate we have a reference point which matches your measurement.

POST PRODUCTION PHASE

After you have filmed the shot we take our footage into the software to key out the green screen and mask out the markers and use our desired backdrop, but for that, we need to have a proper understanding on which software can be used usually its one of the following

– Nuke
– Fuse
– Sony Vegas
– After Effects

In our case, we used After Effects, now before we get into the procedure on how to apply the backdrop and removing the green screen I’d like to address the problems that I faced while filming and working on the post with this particular scene. First of all was the distance between the green screen and our set up was not sufficient which caused us some trouble while lighting the set up as it is always safe to have some distance which can help when it comes to the Z axis of the tracking and giving depth to your shot, but more importantly giving you enough room to light your shot.

The other challenging task set by Steve to have a marker right behind the gnomes head now it isn’t a big problem in this case as the shot was fairly simple but having a complicated shot could’ve made this task fairly difficult and time-consuming as it takes time to extract a frame by masking out each frame. So going forward we were told to always make sure of where we position our markers.

On the minor difficulties was while filming the shot we had issues with the dolly which made the shot a bit shaky which going forward is something I would keep in mind as during post work it caused some issues when we applied the backdrop as it made it hard to track the shot and make the background more believable due to an unstable shot

Now when it comes to having your greenscreen removed we use a keying tool which is built in. In all the software that is mentioned above what that does is it extract the color that you choose from the shot and make it transparent. In our case its the color green, We usually extract color blue and green because these two colors are not found in our pigment and can be extracted completely.

Once you apply the keying plug in you have to play around with the whites and blacks on the shot with black showing the parts that are being shown in the color and white as the ones that have been extracted we need to mask out the tracking points while masking them out adjust the feather and the expansion of the mask in a way that it looks as natural as possible after the masking is done for the markers you need to remove any chatter or spill of the greenscreen to give your footage that clean natural look.

For that what i usually do is duplicate the keyed layer  and use key cleaner and further using an advanced spill suppressor to get rid of any additional noise by now your footage should have most of the spill and noise removed the next step would be to track the camera what that does is that it track down all the motion analyse it and extract all the 3d movement in the form of keypoints. This 3d data helps you to put a 3d object or a background layer in 3d space over your 2d footage.

In our case we are applying a background to our green plate so by using the data collected by our camera tracker we can create a 3d Camera that allows us to track and parent our background layer to the exact position in 3d space by copying the position values and applying it on our background layer what this does is it creates a movement that is being generated by our tracking camera and apply the metadata on the background to make it move seemlessly with our camera.

Once the plate has been set on to the trackers we need to adjust the size to a place where it pleases the eyes and looks natural once we are happy with the position we can use different effects and fake lights and lens flares to make the added background look more natural in our case we used an adjustment layer and diffused it to give that dreamy look but we can also use optical flares and give that sunshining look and we can also change the blur level of the background for it to blend in with the footage finally once we are happy with the look and have applied a grade to our footage we can add a grain on to our footage and change the blending mood to give our footage that film look.

 

Advertisements

Experimental Film- Brain Dead Blog #1

Its been a long time since I have updated my blogs since I was busy with other modules but now that I am in studio 3. I am happy to get back to writing blogs and reflect on my progression this trimester. Today I will be talking about the experience I gained from the experimental film.

Experimental Films VS  Traditional Filmmaking

For me, personally Experimental films are a form of expanded cinema as it not only breaks the traditional barriers of filmmaking but also leaves us to derive our own interpretation. It makes the audience engage in the film and look beyond what is visually scene this is a good way to enters the director vision and see how closely can you understand the meaning behind the film that is being shown.

Most of the films that are experimental are independent and breaks the convention of the normal standardised films and rather then having to much dialogues it rely more on the visual aspects of the films which can be a challenge for filmmakers who are more focused on the script then to drive the story just by visuals.

An experimental film can either be abstract with the story driven from arts music colors or it can even be surreal and break the 4th wall which is widely used in  the music videos and having a keen interest in making music videos I really wanted to explore experimental film.

The Concept 
The idea that I came up with for this experimental film was to show how mass media is brainwashing the consumer it was influenced by one of the music video by Vinnie Paz called the end of days. Link below.

As seen in the video the starting bit how it shows stock footages and voice over that drives the story with having trippy visuals and as you can see how media is brainwashing us this is the type of feel we wanted to give that conspiracy theory vibes with the help of the TV effects and random stock footages that leads to an organised story that gives you the idea of brainwashing. Which we used in our experimental film.

Now the challenging part was that this idea has been out there alot of time but we wanted it to look visually appealing by using color to show the climate control and also breaking the forth wall and giving the TV a life of its own another influence for this film was VIDEODROME  as you can see in the poster how the human is being faded away and in to the static TV.

 

images (1)

None the less apart from having a very basic concept we went for a contrasty look and did some research on how to light it in a neo noir manner and reflect the climate control through the use of Lighting.

Now the risky part of experimental films is how it is received by the viewer and do you get your ideas across, In our case the idea was pretty simple and easy to understand so we wanted to use some technical use of the lights and visuals like how there was a POV shot of the TV looking at him and having a time lapse and also the color changing mid-scene from blue to red showing cold to hot weather.

But we were not quite successful in doing this as our guest lecturer Heidi did not get that idea across this was the valuable lesson for us which later on was even more clear with our major project when some of the ideas could not be clear to the panel and that is the risk involved with experimental film whether the audience interpret the message or not.

 

 

 

IMG_20171006_221030_342.jpg

Unlike our class other group who had an artistic piece which involved colours dissolving and gave freedom to the viewer to come up with there own narrative we wanted to get our idea across and had a very solid concept behind it. Cause with Experimental films usually it allows the audience to come up with their own conclusion and then tally it with the director’s vision to see if the ideology matched or not.

In this regard, we were successful to get our idea across of having a desensitisation of the human brain due to high consumption of media.

 

IMG_20171011_190228_300.jpg

 

Apart from having a fresh thought-provoking idea we need to realise the audience that we are targetting for because most of the time your experimental film would be only targetting a certain audience and not the mainstream and if you are in to traditional filmmaking it can be hard to attract a huge audience and not everyone would appretiate or understand the concept so in order to have an experimental film being understood in my opinion you as a director need to have a good background and hold of the concept you came up with which can be challenging as this was the first feedback from the lecturers that we had to learn the hard way was that the idea was too obvious and going forward we will always keep this in consideration although one good thing came out for having an idea that have been tried and filmed before is that we had a clear vision and we came up with a quality product and with having a good strong visual concept it was easy for us to put that idea to be technically laid out on the screen.

IMG_20171009_125501_082.jpg

How can I use Experimental Films in the future

 

I think for me this whole assignment made me look at experimental films differently because not only its just visual art blasted at you that goes on top of your head they actually are very deep and meaningful before this experimental film and without any prior research I used to always avoid these films as they just went over the top for me.

This whole assignment made me respect the filmmakers who make such films as its not easy because first of all you are working with an audience who will critically analyse your work and unlike traditional films they will come up with there analysis and interpretation so not only do you have to work countless hours coming up with an artist piece you have to be ready for some really harsh reviews if you are unable to get your message across.

People might appreciate it or hate it and if you are not clear of your own story or have not done a proper check on it and fail to explain it then chances are you wont be successful in your experimental film.

This whole idea of getting on top of your story and when having little to no dialogues makes everything to be reliable on the sound design and the visuals this is what really helped me on how to break the conventions use negative spacing while filming the shoot and using inconsistent lighting and not the conventional editing style broadened my cinematography skills as  I was given the freedom to film it and edit it without following the normal conventions.

Which further helped me when I was making my music video in which I used all these filming techniques from having to show surrealism through our cinematography and abstract forms from using different color schemes and driving a story with nothing but visuals.

This is something  I noticed in most of the experimental film that how random these shots look like and if you don’t follow them you might not get the idea across but most of the times it is leading to a conclusion. Which is something that can help you in your traditional filmmaking by using these techniques to enhance your subtextual context.

It also helped me to derive a meaning from every visual not just with our own experimental film but other music videos that often seem to be random but if you look into the directors treatment you realise they do have a meaning behind it and that’s what makes it unique otherwise if it really was random and on your face it would be just bad filming in my opinion.

 
IMG_20171011_154901_470.jpg

 

LEARNING OUTCOME

As a post-grad student, I found it easy to drive the story more by the edit and spend less time on the visual effects or colour grading. It was easier for me to follow the conventions of having a basic consistent colour grade throughout the film and the edit should be consistent and organised. But this was not the case with the Experimental film as this helped me open up my horizon as an editor with having random cuts, even having loose shots to register and using stock footages with glitch effects to give that surreal trippy feeling this is something I would not have done usually and it got me out of my comfort zone.

For example while filming brain dead we decided to show the two worlds that our protagonist had to witness. The real world and the surreal one. The illusion and the reality. Which was achieved by using two schemes of light the blue ambient room with the TV on showed that it was the real world on which the whole video starts and then using the red light to show his state of mind and to show how mass media control is working over  his mind as seen on the last shot where you could see his head turn into a TV and the red shade implying that he has completely been hypnotised with the effect of TV and his life has become an illusion on its own and this whole lighting idea was influenced by the music video STARBOY as in that music clip the video starts off from a wide shot of weeknd being killed by the new more determined and reckless alter ego.

 

IMG_20171007_121206_484.jpg

Overall we were quite satisfied with the final product but going forward I think we can do a lot more improvement when it comes to our time management although we did everything that we have learnt from the previous trimesters which meant coming a day earliet to set up the lighting that we had to use and to make sure how the props are going to be handelled. Having a script ready and not using unwanted equipment or gears but going forward what I would definitely recommend is to make sure that if we are using heavy props and gear we need an extra pair of hands to vacate the location without being late and to make sure that everyone in the team is fit and able to help pack up so that at the end we dont face any issues and more importantly will always come with ideas that are achievable with minimum props as we are having a small group this trimester so would look forward to have ideas that are easy to make and yet effective.

Video link :

 

Flm 210 Blog #3 Is technology replacing good narritive?

As a post student myself I have always been very defensive about CGI and Post VFX until recently when I enrolled into SAE and came to know about the world of production and how much of a difference it can make to fix it on the set rather than in the post.

During the 80’s and 90’s era, the movies were based on the practical effects that the audience could relate to more as it got the actors involved and bring that real feel to it which the CGI often lacks. But the reason people are often skeptical and dislike CGI is that they are able to differentiate between practical effects and computer generated one which deviates them from the story.  Like in the video below you can see some terrible CGI which causes the audience to lose track of the story.

But if you ask that is Technology replacing good narrative. I don’t think so as one of the best cgi immersed films like the Marvel universe have come up with amazing story arcs and a massive story world with good script writing back stories and character development, but at the same time have used CGI in such a manner that it is believable and engage the audience for e.g in the picture below you can see how Hulk has transitioned from practical costume to CGI to a point where the character is merged practically with the movements of the actor and then been converted into a CGI character making it more flawless and believable in its world.

 

hqdefault

So the reason of having good VFX in your film is by having a strong script cause no matter how good your film is if it doesn’t have a good storyline the VFX won’t save it and also to engage the audience by using VFX in such a manner that it is not identifiable cause good VFX is one that can not be identified.

So, in conclusion, I would say that narrative and the use of technology go hand in hand as you can have films like ‘Star Wars IV’ in 1977 gained the highest amount of gross for that year introducing cgi and leaving the audience awestruck with great visual effects and narrative or you can have films like Green Lantern that heavily relied on unwanted VFX but did not put a lot of effort on the story which made it a flop.

Bibliography
A Brief History of Movie Special Effects – Photo Essays. (2017). TIME.com. Retrieved 26 August 2017, from http://content.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,2055255_2247284,00.html

The Advancement Of Cgi Replacing Narrative Film Studies Essay. (2017). Uniassignment.com. Retrieved 26 August 2017, from https://www.uniassignment.com/essay-samples/film-studies/the-advancement-of-cgi-replacing-narrative-film-studies-essay.php

Blog #8 CIU 111 Inclusive Design

Universal design (close relation to inclusive design) refers to broad-spectrum ideas meant to produce buildings, products and environments that are inherently accessible to older people, people without disabilities, and people with disabilities as mentioned on Wikipedia.

what-is-inclusive-design.png

 
Now that is just a vague meaning to a very broad topic as inclusive design for what i think is a way to help you get your product or your message across a wider audience which needs to be authentic and understandable.

For the physical aspects of this we have the

Accessibility

Vision

Hearing

Mobility

 

e429c296-5346-46de-86a4-814114c5c5e7.jpg


But I’d like to mention the other key factors that make an inclusive design more accessible and more acceptable to a wider audience. First of all is to get your facts right if you are going to add race make sure you don’t stereotype it get to know the culture before implementing it in your product. If you absolutely have to use symbols be it religious or cultural make sure you dont offend someone by stating the wrong fact or making it seem like its primitive or backward cause even for you it might not carry sentimental value but for the people who follow a certain belief might get offended and hurt.

 

Secondly its about having a more diverse set of people to work with you this will not only help you know about their culture but will broaden the ways of problem-solving and also with new ideologies which can help get your audience to relate more to a more global approach.

Blog#4 I survived the interviews!

95dbe4f0a0294f07226aceab0737bab4

Well as having a good bit of years in the industry I have come across some interesting interviews and how I was lucky enough to nail every one of them well I wont get in to the nitty gritty details but what I did everytime I was called for an interview was the following.

– Get a trim yes you need to look sharp and for that make sure you look tidy
– Get to know the dresscode cause first impression is the bloody last impression
– Know where you are going to work you just dont want to shop to an interview without any background knowledge of what your company has achieved.
– Always keep your answer concise remember the kiss rule Keep it short and simple
– Keep your portfolio examples with you or better yet come up with a showreel with a working link as it leaves a good impression on the employer as it just summaries your whole work

download

Now these are some of the main factors i keep in mind when i go to a job interview but one thing that have always helped me in an interview is to “BE YOURSELF” unless you are obnoxious then be someone else.

Blog#2 CIU 111 Importance of Social Media

Well as the heading suggest I will be discussing the importance of social media. Be it facebook, youtube, tumbler or instagram as a growing artist you need to know the ins and outs of these platform as they have made the life of an artist so much easier.

social-media-mobile-icons-snapchat-facebook-instagram-ss-800x450-3-800x450
Imagine yourself two decades back how hard it would be for you to showcase your art would you be outside doing free gigs, distributing your mixtapes or just looking for your big break by getting in to exhibition just to have a chance to show your work. With the modern age and technology you dont have to worry about that all you need to do is upload your content and the world can see it. Weather they like it or not is completely different.

1f3fdec198e104c6fad21efff4a6ea30.jpg

Secondly with the help of social media not only can you promote your content but also earn through ads and also by attracting clients who can seek your help for work. Now its easier said then done. But its still not impossible if I had to give an example would be my own as I used social media to promote my music and my films. How i did that was by firstly asking my friends and family to like my page and share the content I released. Which helped me expand my reach by getting known through mutual.

After that I used viral pages and also facebook ads to further my reach which at that time was an investment that paid off and it helped me get paid gigs and also client work. So personally for me this is the most important factor of social media.

Apart from this once you have got some recognition people who follow you can keep track of your new content and the daily activities or upcoming projects through this platform and stay updated.

FLM 110 Blog#2 Inglorious Basterds Opening Scene subtext

I will be giving a brief analysis on the scene of Inglorious Basterds pipe scene where Col. Hans Landa is trying to intimidate the Dreyfus family. I find this a great example of subtextual content as Tarantino plays beautifully with the expectation of the audience and get them at the edge of their seats.

Now before this scene I would like to add that Tarantino leads up to the suspense-filled scene by using the anticipation and control of Landa’s character over the farmer family which we see as he enters the house with a superficial smile and asking for permission in the dialogues as he asks the farmer to switch from french to english and when Landa mentions that its house now in the literal sense the audience is not sure the true intentions but subtextually we are told that Landa is showing that even though he is asking for permission he is the actual one in control.

There are certain symbols that catch the eye in the opening scenes, As Dreyfus takes out his pipe to smoke Landa seeks permission to take out his pipe although he doesnt need to ask and when its revealed the pipe is a sherlock homes type pipe implying the character of intense interrogation skills but in a subtextual symbolic way it says “my pipe is bigger than yours” the rather playful act by Landa shows of his cunning nature.

The conversation goes forward the thing that has a lot of subtextual meaning is when Landa describes himself and the Nazi’s as the hawk and the Jews as the rat now in the literal sense it implies that they consider themselves a superior more powerful race while Jews as inferiors and have alienated them but more importantly when you go in the depth of this conversation you are revealed of the hiding of the Jews beneath the floor which shows that rats are usually hiding in hard to find places but upon finding them the outcome is always death.

This scene was 17 pages long and had only conversation but what makes this such an interesting scene is the narrative and how the director choose to play with tension and anticipation of the crowd by using metaphorical subtext and symbolism.