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How to achieve some in-camera effects (16mm)??


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#1 Joe Lotuaco

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Posted 09 September 2006 - 09:24 AM

I did some searching through these forums, but couldn't find the info I was particularly looking for. Basically, I'm a film student and I have a concept for my final project, but right now I'm trying to look into just how possible it is. It will be a short 3-4 minute piece shot on 16mm b&w reversal film on a Bolex 16mm and/or my K3 and there's a couple particular effects I'm after that I think I know how to do, but would like to get some experienced advice on. The film will be transferred to tape to be edited in an NLE.

The story is about a woman who is in love, but the man she's in love with has either passed away or is someone she can never be with (this ambiguity is deliberate), but in either case she can't let go and still believes she is with him. Throughout the piece we will see objects and possibly a figure of a man "disappearing" from the frame. For example, a shot of a flower on a table where just the flower fades away leaving everything else where it is. For something like that I know I could lock the camera on sticks, shoot the table with the flower, then without the flower, and then just cut the two shots with a dissolve in post. I'm wondering if it's possible to do the same sort of effect, but moving? For example if the two people are dancing and while they're dancing, the man fades away while the woman continues dancing.

Another effect I'm looking to try is to show my character move from one room to the next, but the two rooms are obviously in locations that wouldn't logically be connected. The best example of this would be in Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind where Jim Carey's character moves from inside the bookstore to the living room of his friend's house as if the two locations were attached during the scene where he first finds out Clementine erased him from her memory. I was hoping they would talk about how they did that in the special features, but they only talked about the forced perspectives. I can see that scene being done in two ways, one would be to build a set where there were two physically different sets built connected to each other. The other would be to shoot at the two locations and cut the two together in post. I would like to try the second option, but how to make it look seamless so that it doesn't look like there's a cut when the character moves from one room to the next and make it look like one smooth take?

I've been looking at a lot of George Melies work and what he did seems to be the fundamentals of the in camera stuff I am trying to do, but I can't find any information on exactly how he achieved his effects. Any advice would be appreciated as always.
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#2 Joe Lotuaco

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Posted 11 September 2006 - 05:25 PM

bump...Anyone?
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#3 Eric Dinger

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Posted 11 September 2006 - 08:01 PM

For the walking between two entirely different locals I would have a bit of something that looks like a wall and just dolly till the shot is hidden by it. Move to the new location set the fake wall piece up and just dolly out from behind it. I'll try to do an ascii diagram so you get an idea. 1 and 2 are locations = is the fake wall.

111111=11111
222222=22222
111111=22222

It may not work for you script, but it is an idea. As for the other I don't know.
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#4 Thomas Tamura

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Posted 12 September 2006 - 12:18 AM

Are you sure you're not born to be a writer? just kidding -- where to start: 1) Eternal Sunshine scene was done by building connecting sets. You'll notice as he walks toward the door they kill banks of light behind him when he walks in to the "home" set the book store has fallen out of exposure.

2) The flower vase idea will work -- cross dissolve to achieve the desired fade out -- some advice on that one use a remote control -- DO NOT TOUCH THE CAMERA -- if it moves the slightest amount it won't match.

3) as for doing it in motion -- can do -- got a motion control head? Just kidding again, but again, go for a tracking shot of some kind. You'll want to lock the camera off on the dolly (and tracks) this way the path will be the same for both takes. practice it -- or better yet have your dolly grip practice it (with the operator riding - for weight). A little variance in speed ought to be corrected in post with time re-mapping. If you pan while tracking you risk that the pans won't match. Basically you want have the same angle, height, speed (and character position - more marks) for it to cut. I do a limited amount of visual FX, mostly force perceptive. The cutting on the wipe works as described above -- great example of this is in the a library scene in Shawshank Redemption. Later this month I'm shooting an exploding Zombie head (cast) that will cut into the scenes shot on location -- good times!!
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#5 Joe Lotuaco

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Posted 12 September 2006 - 11:23 PM

Are you sure you're not born to be a writer? just kidding -- where to start: 1) Eternal Sunshine scene was done by building connecting sets. You'll notice as he walks toward the door they kill banks of light behind him when he walks in to the "home" set the book store has fallen out of exposure.

2) The flower vase idea will work -- cross dissolve to achieve the desired fade out -- some advice on that one use a remote control -- DO NOT TOUCH THE CAMERA -- if it moves the slightest amount it won't match.

3) as for doing it in motion -- can do -- got a motion control head? Just kidding again, but again, go for a tracking shot of some kind. You'll want to lock the camera off on the dolly (and tracks) this way the path will be the same for both takes. practice it -- or better yet have your dolly grip practice it (with the operator riding - for weight). A little variance in speed ought to be corrected in post with time re-mapping. If you pan while tracking you risk that the pans won't match. Basically you want have the same angle, height, speed (and character position - more marks) for it to cut. I do a limited amount of visual FX, mostly force perceptive. The cutting on the wipe works as described above -- great example of this is in the a library scene in Shawshank Redemption. Later this month I'm shooting an exploding Zombie head (cast) that will cut into the scenes shot on location -- good times!!



Thanks for the suggestions guys.

The moving from room to room idea is definately much clearer in my mind now. I had originally pictured the actress walking towards camera (I guess the shot from ESOTSM was just stuck in my head), but now I can see shooting her from a more profile angle and tracking with her then cutting once she walks "through" the doorway.

As for the dissolves, I will be using a K3 with a cable release, though I'm not 100% positive if the cable release only works in single frame mode only (have to pick up a cable release from B&H sometime this week). If it works in 24fps mode, then I'll be good to go. Regarding the shots in motion...I would certainly be going for tracking shots, unfortunately I don't have a motion control head ;) nor will I have the resources to afford a proper riding dolly or even a dolly grip lol. This is just for my final project for school and I'm just getting a little ambitious for what was actually called for in the assignment. I do however have a tracking dolly that worked really well on my last shoot, but it's definately not strong enough to ride on. I can add a couple sand bags on it, but that's about it.

Thanks again for the tips.

BTW, for this class, the assigned textbook was co-written by some guy named M. David Mullen, ASC, how about that?
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