Jump to content


Photo

Shooting through a clear glass for superimposition effect


  • Please log in to reply
9 replies to this topic

#1 alex volkov

alex volkov

    New

  • Basic Members
  • Pip
  • 9 posts
  • Student
  • Brooklyn, NY

Posted 02 February 2008 - 02:43 PM

Hello all,
Need an advice.
I'm shooting a short project that involves a lot of reflections from different surfaces glass/tableware. In one of the shots I want to do a superimposition effect shooting through clear glass. Say the shot is of a stove and there's a window behind the camera. The clear glass is in front of the lens reflecting the light from the window, and the silhouetted figure of a woman. (The camera and camop are not reflected of course)

Couple of questions: How do I make it look organic (not to show that it is an actual glass)? Is it the angle of the glass? What about DoF? Should the reflection be in focus, or is it better to have it slightly out, to soften the surface (from the technical standpoint not esthetically)?

Don't have the time to shoot a test.
The project is in s16 with XTR.
Film stock most likely 7218. I might also go with 250D.

Thank you,

Alex Volkov
  • 0

#2 Bob Hayes

Bob Hayes
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1087 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Culver City, California

Posted 02 February 2008 - 05:12 PM

This is a very cool effect that was originally called ?Pepper?s Ghost?.

In 1862, inventor Henry Dircks developed the Dircksian Phantasmagoria, a technique used to make a ghost appear onstage. John Pepper was the first guy to employ the technique on stage and from then on it has been known as ?Pepper?s Ghost?. Remember the early bird gets the work but it is often the second mouse that gets the cheese. The technique was quickly used in early film making and occasionally goofy guys like me employ it out of nostalgia.

It simply involves placing a sheet of glass in front of the camera at a 45 degree angle. Your primary set is in front of the camera and the ghost addition is place to the side of the camera surrounded by black. The intensity of the light on the subject determines it?s visibility on the real set. It will always be somewhat transparent and reversed. If you want the subject to move behind objects on the real set you need to create black cut out on the ghost set much as you would do a green screen.

If you live in Los Angeles Knott?s Berry Farm has an amazing show call the ?Mystery Lodge? that is driven by terrific Pepper?s Ghost techniques. http://www.brcweb.co...stery-lodge.htm

Peppers_Ghost_2_small.jpg

Peppers_ghost_small.jpg
  • 0

#3 alex volkov

alex volkov

    New

  • Basic Members
  • Pip
  • 9 posts
  • Student
  • Brooklyn, NY

Posted 02 February 2008 - 05:39 PM

Thank you for clearing it out, Bob. It seems to be fairly simple, and the history is great. I thought those theatrical illusions were done mostly with mirrors somehow, but it is much simpler trick of an eye.


Alex Volkov

Edited by alex volkov, 02 February 2008 - 05:42 PM.

  • 0

#4 Chris Keth

Chris Keth
  • Sustaining Members
  • 4427 posts
  • 1st Assistant Camera
  • Los Angeles

Posted 02 February 2008 - 05:50 PM

So here's the question that I immediately thought of: How do you figure out how bright to light the reflected subject to get the brightness on film that you want? I imagine you could just meter the reflected subject by spotmetering the reflection on the glass and then set up the composition, but is there an easier way?
  • 0

#5 Bob Hayes

Bob Hayes
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1087 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Culver City, California

Posted 02 February 2008 - 05:57 PM

Exposure is actually pretty easy. Because you are seeing the image super imposed over your "real" set you can see the relative balance pretty well. Is it brighter then you main subject? The tricky part is getting the size right and the eye lines correct. The light levels need to be pretty high on the ghost because the refelcetion is on clear glass. If you notice my actress is wearing sunglasses in the still photos.

Also they made a device called a Ghost Matte Box in the 40's that has all the lements you need built together. Some of the older retal house may have one.
  • 0

#6 Chris Keth

Chris Keth
  • Sustaining Members
  • 4427 posts
  • 1st Assistant Camera
  • Los Angeles

Posted 02 February 2008 - 06:25 PM

OK, so you light the main set first and then just eyeball the ghost. Thanks!
  • 0

#7 Jonathan Bowerbank

Jonathan Bowerbank
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 2815 posts
  • 1st Assistant Camera
  • San Francisco, CA

Posted 02 February 2008 - 09:22 PM

***********POTENTIAL SPOILER*************

If you haven't seen "The Illusionist", see it. But part of the plot of the story is an illusion similar to "Pepper's Ghost". I always thought it would have been cool, had they done it in camera using the aforementioned technique. It's so obviously CGI that I got a little distracted at times.
  • 0

#8 Tim O'Connor

Tim O'Connor
  • Sustaining Members
  • 860 posts
  • Other
  • Boston, Massachusetts

Posted 02 February 2008 - 09:40 PM

Thanks Bob for posting all those pictures. That's great.

One of the first books I read about cinematography was a dusty library book that talked about
this technique, although you have much more historical information about the inventor and actor.

In that book, I remember them also describing so called glass shots in which mountains or whatever would be
painted on glass and the glass positioned in frame for an in camera effect of shooting a scene with the
desired landscape.
  • 0

#9 Chris Keth

Chris Keth
  • Sustaining Members
  • 4427 posts
  • 1st Assistant Camera
  • Los Angeles

Posted 02 February 2008 - 11:11 PM

In that book, I remember them also describing so called glass shots in which mountains or whatever would be
painted on glass and the glass positioned in frame for an in camera effect of shooting a scene with the
desired landscape.


There is a very good shot like this in "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid." Look closely at the very wide shot when they jump off the cliff. That was shot somewhere in Malibu rather than Utah. The cliff they are facing when they jump is really a painting on glass in front of the camera.

Edited by Chris Keth, 02 February 2008 - 11:12 PM.

  • 0

#10 James Steven Beverly

James Steven Beverly
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 4199 posts
  • Director
  • El Paso, Texas

Posted 03 February 2008 - 04:14 AM

If you wanna see some REALLY cool work done using this technique check out a few Mario Bava movies including Black Sabbath and you'll be amaze by these terrific films. He had NO budget for special effects, elaborate sets ect, so he had to use style and technique and he was a MASTER at it, a true genius.
  • 0


Metropolis Post

Willys Widgets

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

rebotnix Technologies

Glidecam

Visual Products

CineLab

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Aerial Filmworks

Ritter Battery

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Technodolly

Rig Wheels Passport

Opal

FJS International, LLC

Tai Audio

The Slider

CineTape

Abel Cine

Wooden Camera

Paralinx LLC

Ritter Battery

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Technodolly

CineTape

The Slider

Wooden Camera

Tai Audio

Metropolis Post

rebotnix Technologies

FJS International, LLC

Visual Products

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Willys Widgets

Abel Cine

Rig Wheels Passport

CineLab

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Aerial Filmworks

Paralinx LLC

Opal

Glidecam