Posts tagged After Effects
I’ve been a big fan of HDR photography since I first discovered it three years ago. While it can be overdone, or applied without motivation, it can produce some amazing results under the right circumstances. Capturing detail in the highest of highs and lowest of lows results in an effect that I like to think of as “hyper-real.”
As a videographer, I scrambled to apply the technique to video. The obvious approach (considering my lack of a degree in optical engineering) was to apply HDR technology to timelapse videography. There are some great creatives out there that have been perfecting the craft, with lots of great advice, but here is my personal approach:
- Choose your subject wisely - you’ll be combining bracketed exposures, so no (or very little) movement can be in the shot. Unfortunately, that means no people, traffic, etc. You’ll also want a subject with a wide range of luminance, in order to maximize the exposure latitude HDR will give you.
- A camera with automatic bracketing is necessary, as you’ll be manipulating exposure by bracketing shutter speed. I use a Nikon D200 (until I get my 5D MKII, that is), which allows for 5 stops in either direction (more than enough range).
- Set the intervalometer accordingly (there is no magic formula that I’m aware of… this really depends on the situation). Luckily, the D200 has a built-in intervalometer.
- I use Photomatix Pro to batch-process the series of shots into HDR images.
- If needed, you can further tweak the HDR set via Lightroom or Photoshop.
- Open an image sequence in Quicktime and export the movie. I like waiting until I pull the clip into FCP before I crop to the correct dimensions, but you can easily do this in step 5 as well.
I’ve been waiting for someone unleash full HDR video, though I honestly thought it would be a few more years before a feasible arrangement was discovered. Soviet Montage Productions solved the problem by using a beam splitter and two 5D Mark IIs. I have yet to find a detailed explanation of the technique, but am eager to see the rig. You can view the video above. Engadget has a brief review, as does the caption in the original Vimeo post. Wow.
For Arev Manoukian, capturing the live action for his elegant short film Nuit Blanche came easy: He filmed two principal actors in four days on a green-screen soundstage in Toronto.
The hard part happened over the next eight months, as the 28-year-old Canadian filmmaker hammered out densely layered digital effects shots culminating in a crushingly effective slow-motion car crash lavished with beautiful breaking glass.
That attention to detail paid off. Within days of posting the four-minute, 41-second romantic drama on the Spy Films website, Manoukian says he got calls from Hollywood agents and managers. He signed with talent agency William Morris Endeavor last month and went on a two-week spree of meetings with studios and producers. “Needless to say, it’s very exciting,” Manoukian told Wired.com in an e-mail interview.
In March, he brainstormed with Wanted director Timur Bekmambetov and 9 producer Jim Lemley. “I just came back from some very promising meetings,” Manoukian says. “They are interested in producing my first feature!”
In this tutorial I show you how to create the so-called “The Kid Stays in the Picture” effect (sometimes referred to as the 2.5D effect). The idea is to separate a still image into distinct layers, move those layers in respect to the Z-axis, then animate movement on those layers to give the impression of 3 dimensions. The effect is a refreshing (though admittedly similar) alternative to the omnipresent Ken Burns effect. Like the Ken Burns effect, it lends itself nicely to documentary films which tend to rely heavily on using stills or photos as illustrative B-Roll.
The effect is named after the documentary, The Kid Stays in the Picture, which uses the technique extensively and in many creative ways. If you have not seen this film, I highly recommend checking it out.