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Making a crowd look a lot bigger


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#1 Tyler Poppe

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Posted 25 September 2008 - 06:57 PM

I am shooting a short where a guy is dreaming of rocking out in front of a concert and then as the song ends he realizes it is just the dive bar he began in.

I have a few ideas of how to make the crowd seem a lot bigger, but does anyone have any idea or thoughts of how to make the crowd seem more something like a concert?
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#2 Garrett Shannon

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Posted 26 September 2008 - 01:30 AM

Try stacking the crowd members. Put some very close to the camera, some in the middle, some far away. Creating many layers of people and shooting on a longer lens will give the feeling that the crowd is bigger than it is. Also, sacrifice any hopes of a wide shot. Best of luck.
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#3 Michael Collier

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Posted 26 September 2008 - 08:41 PM

In addition to that, you might also want to consider letting the light fall off the back layer. If it falls to black and you leave negative space in the back, then the brain can fill in and assume there are people there too. You can modivate the light fall off by assuming the light that hits the crowd is coming from the stage and would naturally fall off quickly
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#4 F. Felix

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Posted 09 October 2008 - 04:27 PM

Stock crowd footage? Internet Archive has some old stuff that might be funny if that's what you need.
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#5 David Rakoczy

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Posted 09 October 2008 - 04:53 PM

Garret is right on.

Might I add a very Important note... use a very LONG lens.. like in S16 use a 135mm.. stack the limited amount of people for DEPTH.. you'll find the field of view on a Long Lens is very narrow so you can use the Extras that you have to build 'DEPTH'. Just did this. it worked great. It sure looks weird when everyone is in their places but when you look through Lens... the illusion works fantastic.. a little foreground action goes a long way and be sure you are cutting bodies on the right and left side of frame to give the illusion there are many more out of the frame ;)

Take a Bull Horn to tell people where to move to..

Edited by David Rakoczy, 09 October 2008 - 04:57 PM.

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#6 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 09 October 2008 - 06:23 PM

I think what David did on Aleeya and the Bee was to put dummies in among the extras. You might try putting rubber Halloween masks of celebrities modified with beards paint latex on Styrofoam wig heads and build some bodies out of pvc and newspaper or just rent a sh*tload of mannequins, maybe blow up dolls would even work and they're cheaper than extras. put 'em in the background among some live people and keep you DOF a it shallow so they're soft focus and they should pass. You could also composite in a crowd, shoot several shots of the extras you have in different cloths and wigs and in different positions then bring them into the computer and and layer the various shots together and boom, your guy is freakin' Steven Tyler at an Areosmith concert :D

Edited by James Steven Beverly, 09 October 2008 - 06:24 PM.

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#7 Michael Belanger

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Posted 09 October 2008 - 08:13 PM

I think what David did on Aleeya and the Bee was to put dummies in among the extras.


Along those lines for the far distance you can do black cardboard cutouts of 3 heads and shoulders side-by-side. Have an extra hold one on either side and you have 7 apparent extras. I think that trick was used for army scenes in one of the biblical epics back in the day.
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#8 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 09 October 2008 - 08:27 PM

Put some trust in sound as well. If you trick the audience enough visually so they don't know they're in a bar, then the sound of music playing in an arena of cheering fans will seal the deal.
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#9 Doug Palmer

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Posted 12 October 2008 - 01:09 PM

Along those lines for the far distance you can do black cardboard cutouts of 3 heads and shoulders side-by-side. Have an extra hold one on either side and you have 7 apparent extras. I think that trick was used for army scenes in one of the biblical epics back in the day.



Maybe have one or two very blurry extras (real or not) big in the foreground at side ? Then the camera can do a quick pan which should help to further the illusion there's much more outside the frame... assuming it's kept brief.

I think I read they used plenty of dummies in Gone With the Wind as the extras didn't show up !
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#10 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 13 October 2008 - 04:50 AM

I think I read they used plenty of dummies in Gone With the Wind as the extras didn't show up !


Yeah, what you're talking about was that incredible crane shot of the train yard with the huge number of wounded Confederate soldiers lying on the ground as Scarlett walks among them, one of the greatest shots in film history. They couldn't find enough extras to make the scene of carnage look devastating enough so they mixed in dummies dressed in Confederate uniforms to fill it out so at the top of the high wide crane shot it looked like half the Confederate army were casualties. It's an amazing shot if you've never seen it, just superbly done. B)
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#11 Doug Palmer

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Posted 13 October 2008 - 05:14 AM

Yeah, what you're talking about was that incredible crane shot of the train yard with the huge number of wounded Confederate soldiers lying on the ground as Scarlett walks among them, one of the greatest shots in film history. They couldn't find enough extras to make the scene of carnage look devastating enough so they mixed in dummies dressed in Confederate uniforms to fill it out so at the top of the high wide crane shot it looked like half the Confederate army were casualties. It's an amazing shot if you've never seen it, just superbly done. B)


Certainly was...
And I think they got some of the sitting extras to move the dummies around with strings or something ?!! But what does it matter how you do these effects if it looks great on the screen. I suppose it would be all done digitally if shot today but I wonder if the audience would be so amazed. I seem to remember it looked awesome in the 70mm version, if rather grainy...
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