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Wild Bears on Bluescreen


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#1 Frank Cook

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Posted 30 October 2008 - 01:26 AM

I came up with the crazy idea that I can film wild animals on a bluescreen set. This fall I tested the idea in the Alaska wilderness.

I took my trusty Arri IIC, Angenieux 25~250, and a few hundred feet of short-ends (5205) out to the middle of nowhere. Some "friendly" bears helped me get test footage. The only real technical issues were a tripod that is too light (not sturdy with zoom lens set at more than 150mm), and camera batteries that died. Also, the bluescreen backdrop was damaged by the bears making it very hard to stretch smooth. I can fix this in the future by using a painted plywood set next time.

Let me know what you think. Future shoots will be on a full bluescreen stage to allow better integration with other footage. Could you use this type of footage in your productions?

Ideas and suggestions are welcome.

Icicle Imaging
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#2 Bob Hayes

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Posted 30 October 2008 - 08:04 AM

I?ve done my share of green screen animal work. I think plywood is the best solution although you have the cost of building the plywood and painting it with expensive green screen paint. In this case I used ?Student? green screens. These are green screens that have been trashed already on underwater shoots. The tigers did slip and slide a bit on the fabric which was a pain in the ass.

Below is a VERY COOL 360 degree view of how I shoot green screen animal scenes. It was shot by my assistant Pat Swovelin. I usually silk the set so I can maintain consistent lighting on the green screen and talent.

http://www.lookineve...s/tigers_1.html

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#3 Frank Cook

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Posted 30 October 2008 - 03:23 PM

Have you ever done a greenscreen animal shoot in the wilds? Have you ever heard of anyone trying?

The bluescreen is just regular blue tarp. I think the longest any bear was close to it before ripping the fabric was about 30 seconds. I'm really glad I didn't try to use "store bought" bluescreen. The bears don't act aggressive, but rather curious. More of a "what is this," then they touch the bluescreen with their paws, and it gets holes and rips. Maybe I yell, "No! Bad bear!" :P No wait, maybe I should get a PA to walk out and talk to the bears... ha ha. I get very nervous just trying to get slates (I have to sneak between the bears and the camera).

I think the plywood set will help, and I have to build a stage for the full animal shots anyway. The cost of the paint is less than the cost of shipping it to the location.
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