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#1 John Young

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Posted 06 August 2008 - 10:18 AM

1. What is the best way to re-create the hologram effect from Star Wars?
- Projection on a semi-opaque piece of glass
- Projection on a very clean piece of glass
How was the effect created in the first place?


2. The space scenes in BattleStar Galactica: were they all done in the computer? Specifically the "zoom in close" camera movement. I thought those space scenes were some of the best I have ever seen. Could the effect be done without the computer? Could you build a scale model of everything and zoom pan/tilt?


Thanks,


JRY
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#2 Steve Winters

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Posted 07 August 2008 - 12:45 AM

Holograms can be done fairly easily in AE (try Creative Cow). BSG is modeled/animated in Lightwave 3D with some Maya elements (particles) by Zoic Studios. The cameras in Lightwave, Maya, 3DS, Blender and just about any other package all have controls and attributes that enable zooms, pans, tilts, dolly/crane movement replication, DOF, shutter angle, aperture, focal length, etc.
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#3 John Young

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Posted 07 August 2008 - 02:06 PM

Holograms can be done fairly easily in AE (try Creative Cow). BSG is modeled/animated in Lightwave 3D with some Maya elements (particles) by Zoic Studios. The cameras in Lightwave, Maya, 3DS, Blender and just about any other package all have controls and attributes that enable zooms, pans, tilts, dolly/crane movement replication, DOF, shutter angle, aperture, focal length, etc.


Lightwave 3D... You know, I think that space stuff is some of the most exciting looking space ever. However I have my reservations about computers. Is there a way to do something even close to that optically?

Sort of like:

Build the models
Build the set
Multiple passes for lighting
Lots of rotoscope
composite


Is that about right? Would the cost of doing it "old-school" be that much different than getting a digital efx house to do it?

And about the hologram, how was it done 30 years ago. Did ILM use computers? After Effects didn't exist back then did it? I would prefer not to use CGI.

Edited by John Young, 07 August 2008 - 02:08 PM.

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#4 nick lines

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Posted 20 August 2008 - 01:18 AM

However I have my reservations about computers.
[quote]

how do you do color grading and composting if you dont use computers? :)

I think for the hologram stuff, they would have comped it in.

As for space ships, you could get them done so much faster and have more freedom doing them on the computer. I think it would be cheaper to use cg than real models.

Computers aren't scary, if you don't know how to use them, do a short course or something. You will be surprised how useful they are.

Coming from a digital effects background im probably very biased :)

good luck

Edited by nick lines, 20 August 2008 - 01:22 AM.

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#5 David Auner aac

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Posted 20 August 2008 - 02:20 AM

how do you do color grading and composting if you dont use computers? :)


The old way? As it has been done for decades before the advent of computers?

front projection, rear projection, traveling mattes, blue/green screen?
color correction by variable printer lights and/or filtering on set or on an optical printer?

Cheers, Dave
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#6 Scott Fritzshall

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Posted 20 August 2008 - 03:53 AM

Would the cost of doing it "old-school" be that much different than getting a digital efx house to do it?

And about the hologram, how was it done 30 years ago. Did ILM use computers? After Effects didn't exist back then did it? I would prefer not to use CGI.

I admit that I don't have a ton of knowledge about optical compositing, but I do know that it requires an optical printer, which I'm pretty sure you don't have. The cost is likely to be far more than what it would be to buy a computer and the software and to pay your fulltime salary while you set it all up and learn very painstakingly to do it old-school. I'm actually a really big fan of doing stuff the old-fashioned way, but digital compositing is superior to optical in basically every way. If you want to learn to do it as a hobby or something, that's awesome, but it's going to be expensive and you shouldn't expect to get results you can use for a while.

And no, ILM didn't use computers for that.
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#7 Paul Bruening

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Posted 20 August 2008 - 12:58 PM

The "old way" was a remarkable pain in the ass. It took a lot of equipment and gave results that, while amazing in their day, stink by modern computer standards.
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#8 David Auner aac

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Posted 20 August 2008 - 01:50 PM

The "old way" was a remarkable pain in the ass. It took a lot of equipment and gave results that, while amazing in their day, stink by modern computer standards.


Hi Paul,

well IMO that depends. Because if you look at nicely done stuff like 2001, it really holds up well, at least for me. Same goes for Blade Runner. OTOH "modern" computer stuff stinks even today, if done sloppily as is most B-picture stuff of, say, the late 90s.

Cheers, Dave

Edited by David Auner, 20 August 2008 - 01:52 PM.

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#9 Stuart McCammon

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 05:19 PM

To answer the original question, while I don't have a clue how they did the original hologram, the difference in brightness between the hologram and the background may give a clue. I'm thinking green screen for the hologram image and then a composite in post, which would indeed be expensive and a pain. You are feeling sleepy, sleeepy . . . take a computer class, taake a computer claaasss . . .
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#10 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 12:45 AM

The holograms were sometimes live action (Princess Leia) or stop-motion puppets (the chess game) and then rephotographed off of a cheap b&w monitor so they got bad scan lines. Then they rotoscoped around the figures (frame-by-frame hand-drawn animated silhouettes from which you create hi-con hold-out mattes) and optically printed the figures into the scene.

You could project an image onto the set live, basically your hologram footage would have to be back-projected onto a rear-projection screen and then that screen image reflected onto a clear sheet of glass in the shot so as to create an in-camera double-exposure. That was how the black hole hologram in the beginning of "The Black Hole" was done on the set.

It's very tricky to do this though.

The new Battlestar Galatica uses CGI animation for the space shots and the zooms are simulated digitally.
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#11 Chris Keth

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 02:49 AM

If you didn't care about the scan lines and wanted to do it very simply, you could do it with pretty simple double exposure and some good solid planning. It would require a locked off shot, though.
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#12 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 03:57 PM

If you didn't care about the scan lines and wanted to do it very simply, you could do it with pretty simple double exposure and some good solid planning. It would require a locked off shot, though.


It could also be done in a single pass using a 50/50 mirror.

Hologram in 'The Black Hole' used that technique.
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