Topic: Zarban's lightsaber battle project

Inspired by the VFX reels on this forum, I’m looking for folks who are interested in doing some work on a vanity project to star my 11-year-old niece and nephew. Here’s the best part: I can pay actual human money.

I know enough about writing and photography to shoot a little adventure starring my niece and nephew that might run 2 or 3 minutes. In order to make it awesome, it would need some spaceships and light saber effects and whatnot, so here is where you come in.

The budget for effects wouldn’t be much, of course; we’re talking a few hundred dollars, but at least it's something. To minimize the work, we can build the story around whatever spaceship models and whatnot you already have and whatever effects are easiest. I know next to nothing about visual effects, but I found a number of cool things that seem to be easy/stock effects.

I figure we'd have something like this exterior spaceship flyby

...and a bit of a probe droid like the one half-way thru this

...with a green screen scene composited with something like this spaceship interior

...and a bit of this hologram effect

....leading to slightly more sophisticated version of this lightsaber duel.

My rough idea is:

  • Sith spaceship flies thru space (CG)

  • Jedi girl in woods tries to avoid a probe droid (live with CG droid)

  • Sith boy in his spaceship gets probe droid's report detecting Jedi girl (green screen + hologram effect)

  • Sith spaceship sets down on planet (CG ship disappears behind trees)

  • Jedi girl confronts Sith boy with a warning; they duel briefly; Jedi girl wins (lightsaber effects)

  • Jedi girl reports Sith boy's failure to his master and her intention to go after him (hologram effect)

If that seems too ambitious, the stuff with the droid and some of the ship could be cut. But my hope is that certain effects are pretty easy and we could incorporate them. The limiting factor here might be my skills at shooting video. I have a Canon Rebel and no experience shooting anything but stills.

Warning: I'm probably rewriting this post as you read it.

Zarban's House of Commentaries

Re: Zarban's lightsaber battle project

As stated in the other thread, putting my hand up for any roto-monkey type work (mattes, roto, etc).

So, blood spatter stock?


Last edited by Dave (2014-06-30 23:14:58)

Re: Zarban's lightsaber battle project

So of this proposal, what is the hardest part and therefore should be minimized? The lightsaber roto?

Warning: I'm probably rewriting this post as you read it.

Zarban's House of Commentaries

Re: Zarban's lightsaber battle project

The light sabers will probably be the most grunt-worky, though not particularly difficult, as I'm sure more people on this forum will know better than I. Probably the most dangerous will be anything with 3D +live plate stuff. So the probe droid and hallway interior. Depending on how "absolutely photoreal" you want to go.

EDIT:
By point of reference, this was a film I directed/corralled in my first year of film school. 100% green screen hallways, 2 man 3D team, 2 man comp team. Less than a month shoot to final. Nearly killed us.

Granted, we have a lot more talented VFX-ers in this forum than I was back then (including myself) and the time frame will probably be a lot more than ours was, but just to, idk, put it out there I guess.

Last edited by BigDamnArtist (2014-06-30 23:28:30)

ZangrethorDigital.ca

Re: Zarban's lightsaber battle project

Of the things you've listed, I would say that lightsaber roto is the easiest. Assuming you colour the blades neon awesome.

Thumbs up Thumbs down

Re: Zarban's lightsaber battle project

BDA - As long as your angles line up, it's mostly in the grading and channel matching - at least that's my experience in mixing elements in Photoshop. Everything I've played with in AE has behaved pretty similarly

Last edited by Dave (2014-06-30 23:24:37)

Re: Zarban's lightsaber battle project

Yes, lightsaber roto is the easiest thing on the list.  Time-consuming, sure, but well within the skillset of many people, doesn't require very high-end software to achieve, and requires almost no special handling while shooting. 

Greenscreen compositing - do-able, but requires proper lighting and other special considerations during shooting to achieve decent results.

Integrating CG models with live action - assuming you want it to look halfway "real" - requires the most skill and better CG tools.

So the safest path would be to only use real backgrounds, and standalone all-FX shots that can be created by someone else from scratch and then dropped in.    Any shot requiring mixture of your shots with CG (aside from saber roto) is riskier, and ideally should be discussed at length with whoever will do the fx.

Re: Zarban's lightsaber battle project

Dave wrote:

BDA - As long as your angles line up, it's mostly in the grading and channel matching - at least that's my experience in mixing elements in Photoshop. Everything I've played with in AE has behaved pretty similarly

Oh yeah, if you know what you're doing it's ultimately fairly simple. But of the things Zarb's wants to do, it's probably the one that could go south the easiest, which is what he asked. Especially like Trey mentioned, full 3D elements + live action is a slippery slope.

Oh, right....

Zarban: I'd love to say I could definitely help, but I'm pretty insane right now. Although I can probably make some room in a couple months after my 2 biggest projects have wrapped up shooting. I'm not sure what sort of time frame you're wanting to get this done though.

Last edited by BigDamnArtist (2014-06-30 23:50:32)

ZangrethorDigital.ca

Re: Zarban's lightsaber battle project

Since i have a projector, i can probably do a spaceship interior as front projection.

I can fake the ship landing with a reaction shot with a moving shadow.

How about the hologram effect? That's insanely cool.

Anything else that is easy and impressive that should be included or replace another shot?

Warning: I'm probably rewriting this post as you read it.

Zarban's House of Commentaries

Re: Zarban's lightsaber battle project

Zarban wrote:

Since i have a projector, i can probably do a spaceship interior as front projection.

I can fake the ship landing with a reaction shot with a moving shadow.

How about the hologram effect? That's insanely cool.

Anything else that is easy and impressive that should be included or replace another shot?

I...hmm... I actually don't have a lot of experience with projection stuff. I imagine though the hardest part is getting your lighting right on actors without washing out the screen. I think they did projection stuff for Tokes and Stokes... so Teague?

If you wanted actually, the ship shot could be:

Background, the actors watching the ship land, do a fake shadow on top of that and then in the extreme foreground have a really really out of focus landing leg come into frame and park itself. Just frame it so you don't actually see the ground where the leg is contacting, and boom you're good to go.

Hologram, the hardest part of that is the tracking, the rest is just lighting and motion graphics work to make something cool. I think...Owen (?) was messing around with a hologram type thing like that a while back.

ZangrethorDigital.ca

Re: Zarban's lightsaber battle project

BigDamnArtist wrote:

Hologram, the hardest part of that is the tracking, the rest is just lighting and motion graphics work to make something cool. I think...Owen (?) was messing around with a hologram type thing like that a while back.

I've done some hologram type stuff before, but I don't think it was me. But I agree, tracking would be the most difficult part - but still nothing too tricky providing there's a good track marker within the frame (like the watch in the example video).

Anyways, I'm totally down to help out with this in any way I can. I'd quite like to edit it if that's not something you're planning on doing yourself.

Thumbs up Thumbs down

Re: Zarban's lightsaber battle project

Zarban, check out this tutorial on projection stuff for some ideas on how to accomplish some of this stuff practically

Thumbs up Thumbs down

Re: Zarban's lightsaber battle project

Yeah, the hologram isn't as risky because it isn't meant to simulate a real solid object, and it's also (presumably) self-illuminating.  So you have more wiggle room there before it looks "wrong" to the audience.

And the tracking for something like that isn't TOO hard these days, as long as certain considerations are met when shooting.  In your example, that wristband is what made the shot trackable - it's got several small but clear shapes on it, which are visible to camera during the entire shot.   That's what tracking software needs to do a track most easily. 

If she wasn't wearing the band, or moved her arm more and thus obscured or blurred the trackable points at times, it would still be do-able but would take much more effort.

So if you design a shot that is more or less like the one in the example, that'd be on the "easier" side of the scale, not far above saber roto.

Re: Zarban's lightsaber battle project

The interior spaceship shot I envisioned would be done as a dark, appropriately Sith-y location, with a spaceship wall projected behind the actor, and the actor lit minimally for effect. It won't have to be especially good because we'll do the hologram effect in that scene, and that will be the focus.

Warning: I'm probably rewriting this post as you read it.

Zarban's House of Commentaries

Re: Zarban's lightsaber battle project

I volunteer as tribute.

Happy to take whatever size role you want me to take, from roto artist to coordinator-slash-supervisor-helper-person. Also, pretty much everything you want to do is within the realm of doable. (By "doable" I mean "can look awesome.")

Don't worry about the 3D stuff, we've got ya covered.

Actually, you guys just wanna say this is the new community project?

Teague Chrystie

I have a tendency to fix your typos.

Thumbs up Thumbs down

Re: Zarban's lightsaber battle project

Teague wrote:

Actually, you guys just wanna say this is the new community project?

http://thinkamingo.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/hermione-raises-her-hand.jpg

ZangrethorDigital.ca

Re: Zarban's lightsaber battle project

Question, Ms. Granger?

Teague Chrystie

I have a tendency to fix your typos.

Thumbs up Thumbs down

Re: Zarban's lightsaber battle project

Just agreeing...

Never thought about the fact raising a hand has dual meanings...

ZangrethorDigital.ca

Re: Zarban's lightsaber battle project

*says some Snape-ish thing*

Annnnnnnnnnd back to the thread.



nobutsrsly, I'd love to help you organize and execute this. Especially if it's gonna go in a community-project sort of direction. We've got bad-ass musicians here that could maybe score it for you and everything; could be a whole thing. (You'd still be writer/director/your-fault guy, of course.)

...I hope I'm not projecting my own enthusiasm onto the whole forum.

Teague Chrystie

I have a tendency to fix your typos.

Thumbs up Thumbs down

Re: Zarban's lightsaber battle project

http://s3.amazonaws.com/content.newsok.com/newsok/images/blogs/misc/Harry-Potter-Spells-app.png
Teague, sort me.

Re: Zarban's lightsaber battle project

Ravenclaw.

You just smell Ravenclawish. We go by smell.

Teague Chrystie

I have a tendency to fix your typos.

Thumbs up Thumbs down

Re: Zarban's lightsaber battle project

Yeah. Sort me like one of your French girls, Teague.

Disclaimer: if you dislike the tone of a post I make, re-read it in a North/East London accent until it sounds sufficiently playful smile

Re: Zarban's lightsaber battle project

Also Ravenclaw. Maybe Hufflepuff.




WAIT WHY ARE WE DOING THIS STAHP

Teague Chrystie

I have a tendency to fix your typos.

Thumbs up Thumbs down

Re: Zarban's lightsaber battle project

It suddenly occurs to me that the interior of a fancy RV could double as the Sith spaceship with a little set dressing. Sith boy's father has an RV painting business.

So I think the shot list is...

  • Jedi girl in woods tries to avoid a probe droid (live with prop in distance)

  • Sith spaceship flies thru space (CG)

  • Sith boy in his spaceship gets probe droid's report detecting Jedi girl (live + hologram effect)

  • Jedi girl in woods looks up (live)

  • Sith spaceship sets down on planet (live with blurry CG ship leg in foreground)

  • Sith boy exits ship (live with prop ramp, no ship)

  • Jedi girl confronts Sith boy with a warning; they duel briefly; Jedi girl wins (lightsaber effects)

  • Jedi girl uses Sith Boy's wrist hologram to report his failure to his master and her intention to go after him (live, with hologram effect)

It occurs to me that I'll need someone to edit this. It's beyond my meager skills and will also need audio effects and some music. I sort of assume you guys have that kind of stuff lying around, tho.

Warning: I'm probably rewriting this post as you read it.

Zarban's House of Commentaries

Re: Zarban's lightsaber battle project

We can work out the edit. I could make a bit of a hash of it, and Teague could come along and fix it - for example. *cough*