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"Scrubs" -how did they do intro.?


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#1 Jim Feldspar

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Posted 01 February 2007 - 11:55 PM

On the beginning of "Scrubs", the title song plays as the various characters dissolve into
each other until the last one hangs up an x-ray. During this the camera is dollying left.

I've been wondering how they achieve the smooth dissolves (so that the characters don't
'jump' in space) with the dollying. Would this be
done with repeated dollies or lateral moves with a motion control system?
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#2 Michael Most

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Posted 02 February 2007 - 01:19 AM

On the beginning of "Scrubs", the title song plays as the various characters dissolve into
each other until the last one hangs up an x-ray. During this the camera is dollying left.

I've been wondering how they achieve the smooth dissolves (so that the characters don't
'jump' in space) with the dollying. Would this be
done with repeated dollies or lateral moves with a motion control system?


Motion control.

Dolly grips can be pretty good. But nobody's that good.
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#3 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 02 February 2007 - 02:14 AM

Motion control.

Dolly grips can be pretty good. But nobody's that good.

Actually, I believe it was done on Steadicam by Charles Papert. I don't know all of the details, but I remember him saying that he did the opening shot. For more info, post the same question on the steadicam forum and I'm sure Charles will answer in great detail. I'll let him know about this post and hopefully he'll post over here.
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#4 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 02 February 2007 - 07:18 AM

Hi,

I've never freeze-framed through it, but I have a feeling you could fiddle around and matte the individual characters from a rough repeat into an empty master - it's so fast.

Phil
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#5 Charles Papert

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Posted 02 February 2007 - 10:40 AM

Actually, I believe it was done on Steadicam by Charles Papert. I don't know all of the details, but I remember him saying that he did the opening shot. For more info, post the same question on the steadicam forum and I'm sure Charles will answer in great detail.



Only time for a little detail...yes, it was full-on motion control with multiple passes. If you have the DVDs of second season, there was another longer version of the opening that was only used for a couple of episodes, but it took up too much airtime and the fans didn't like it.

My favorite thing about the opening is not that the x-ray is actually upside down, which triggered tons of emails, but that as the camera pushes in to the x-ray you can make out the red camera tape on the end of the magazine (or is it yellow, I forgot). Subtle, but once you see it...
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#6 Jim Feldspar

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Posted 02 February 2007 - 10:56 AM

Actually, I believe it was done on Steadicam by Charles Papert. I don't know all of the details, but I remember him saying that he did the opening shot. For more info, post the same question on the steadicam forum and I'm sure Charles will answer in great detail. I'll let him know about this post and hopefully he'll post over here.


Wow, talk about finding out through the grapevine. Thanks!

Only time for a little detail...yes, it was full-on motion control with multiple passes. If you have the DVDs of second season, there was another longer version of the opening that was only used for a couple of episodes, but it took up too much airtime and the fans didn't like it.

My favorite thing about the opening is not that the x-ray is actually upside down, which triggered tons of emails, but that as the camera pushes in to the x-ray you can make out the red camera tape on the end of the magazine (or is it yellow, I forgot). Subtle, but once you see it...


Thanks!

Do they do lots of Steadicam shots on "Scrubs"? I know they do lots of long moving takes but
I figured with those smooth hallways they could probably dolly a lot of the time without tracks.

You might enjoy (although as a Steadicam guy you may know) that on the specil edition of
the "Rocky" DVD, Garret Brown is on the commentary track and among other things he talks
about doing the famous shot up the stairs of the Philadelphia Art Museum.

That's hilarious about the tape. I thought I had a sharp eye but I've never noticed that.
Going to check it out.


Motion control.

Dolly grips can be pretty good. But nobody's that good.


Okay, now for fun I'm going to see if I can put together a short dolly shot and see
how close I can come to make such an effect work.



Hi,

I've never freeze-framed through it, but I have a feeling you could fiddle around and matte the individual characters from a rough repeat into an empty master - it's so fast.

Phil

I've been wanting to work on my matting skills (I'm fairly good with Final Cut Pro in
many areas but not so much with mattes) so this might be a fun exercise too in
conjunction with my human motion control experiment.
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#7 Michael Louis Hill

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Posted 02 February 2007 - 03:15 PM

i was an intern on the show and i remember seeing a lot of steadicam.
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#8 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 02 February 2007 - 06:32 PM

You could probably assume that the shot for the show's intro was achieved with motion control...otherwise the background wouldn't be as consistent as it is.

I see A LOT of steadicam on "Scrubs", just watching the show you can kinda tell that they really punch those episodes out quick, and with a steadicam you can do that easier.
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#9 Michael Most

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Posted 02 February 2007 - 09:13 PM

Okay, now for fun I'm going to see if I can put together a short dolly shot and see
how close I can come to make such an effect work.


It would be almost impossible to do that shot any other way than by using motion control. It involves dollying, panning, tilting, and zooming. I wasn't guessing as to how it was done, I worked on a few episodes back in the first season and asked about it then.

I have done shots using "poor man's motion control," but most of the time to do that, you simplify the number of axes involved. In other words, you can do a dolly move (having specific marks and a click track for the dolly grip to maintain timing helps, as does being on track), but you would probably want to eliminate multiple camera head moves and/or lens zooms, because it's just too involved to try and repeat them with near perfect timing.
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#10 Jim Feldspar

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Posted 02 February 2007 - 10:17 PM

It would be almost impossible to do that shot any other way than by using motion control. It involves dollying, panning, tilting, and zooming. I wasn't guessing as to how it was done, I worked on a few episodes back in the first season and asked about it then.

I have done shots using "poor man's motion control," but most of the time to do that, you simplify the number of axes involved. In other words, you can do a dolly move (having specific marks and a click track for the dolly grip to maintain timing helps, as does being on track), but you would probably want to eliminate multiple camera head moves and/or lens zooms, because it's just too involved to try and repeat them with near perfect timing.



Absolutely. Makes sense. I was thinking of maybe a five foot dolly move, no booming or anything
(not that I have a dolly that booms)
and see if I can even make that work. Thanks!
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#11 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 06 February 2007 - 04:43 PM

Only time for a little detail...yes, it was full-on motion control with multiple passes.

Well, I guess I was wrong!
Thanks for posting and clearing that up Charles.

I wasn't guessing as to how it was done, I worked on a few episodes back in the first season and asked about it then.

Sorry to second guess you Michael. I didn't realize you'd worked on the show.
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#12 Ken Minehan

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Posted 07 February 2007 - 09:52 PM

I think the scrubs intro is very well done. It introduces the characters and the show very quickly and gets you back in the show before you lose your attention. Great concept.

One question though about motion control. I understand the purpose of motion control is so you can have a camera movement from point A to point B exactly the same for every take. But when you start doing multiple passes, (shooting each take with a different actor), how do you get the actors in exactly the right position so it looks seemless once it is strung together in a sequence.

In this case, is close enough good enough, or must the action be choreographed to perfection.?

Ken Minehan

Edited by Ken Minehan, 07 February 2007 - 09:52 PM.

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#13 Michael Most

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Posted 08 February 2007 - 09:35 AM

I think the scrubs intro is very well done. It introduces the characters and the show very quickly and gets you back in the show before you lose your attention. Great concept.

One question though about motion control. I understand the purpose of motion control is so you can have a camera movement from point A to point B exactly the same for every take. But when you start doing multiple passes, (shooting each take with a different actor), how do you get the actors in exactly the right position so it looks seemless once it is strung together in a sequence.

In this case, is close enough good enough, or must the action be choreographed to perfection.?


You use a bloop light to mark the start of the move, standard marks (and rehearsals) for the actors, video playback (synched to the start mark) with an overlay of the playback and the live shot, audible cues (if it involves dialogue), body doubles (for eyelines, especially when an actor is playing multiple roles), and any combination thereof. You can sometimes use some type of crude on-set compositing system to check already recorded takes, if you have the time.

You also use an experienced visual effects supervisor who has done this kind of thing before, has a concept of what the final result is going to look like and how to get there, and knows by eye whether it's going to work or not.
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#14 Charles Papert

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Posted 10 February 2007 - 06:44 AM

A person on set called out a count from a stopwatch, which helped the actors find their cues and hit specific marks at specific times.
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