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What tools are at my disposal for a striking background effect?


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#1 Jake Windhurst

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 12:39 PM

I've been playing around with my hv30, and in a dark room covered with light white cloth i've been tinkering around with trying to get it look impressive set wise.
I was wondering if you guys could help me out advice wise.
I'm looking to get this place looking striking, perhaps even unnatural and I was wondering what tools are at my disposal with no budget, after effects and a few garden/house lights to play around and experiment with in this wide open task?
Is it going to come from:
A ) the set itself looking good with
lighting (what easy tricks could I use for interesting unnatural looks)
smoke
etc
or
B ) in post production with
after effects
image tinkering?


I originally posted this in the Visual Effects area but I think with the cross over to lighting it would be better here.
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#2 Scott Fritzshall

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 05:14 PM

I think it would help if you could be more specific about what you want it to look like other than "striking." There's a virtually infinite range of things that you could do on set or with compositing.
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#3 David Rakoczy

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 06:32 PM

FILM LIGHTING ;)
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#4 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 07:03 PM

As with many things it'll be a mix of what you do on set and what you have the capabilities to accomplish VFX wise (if anything is needed at all).
You need to define what you mean by unnatural. Look to other arts to get ideas of how it should look, and from there I'm sure we can all give you some steps in the right direction.
I mean do you want this unnatural:
Posted Image

Or this:
Posted Image
Posted Image
(Gregory Crewdson)

Or this:
Posted Image
Posted Image
(Leibovitz)

Posted Image(Jarsmuch)
Posted Image(Obvious choice)


So just gotta figure it out what as to what you want it to look like.
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#5 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 07:06 PM

80% - A ) the set itself looking good with lighting,

20% - B ) in post production with after effects image tinkering?

The best DP in the world can only shoot what's in front of the lens, so the set/location first of all has to look good. In addition, compositing effects look best when you plan them out ahead of time. So for example, if you know you want the image of a lighthouse on a windswept rocky coastal shore but you can't find the perfect match of real lighthouse and real shore, then you would find the shore location without a lighthouse that you like best and shoot that. You would leave room for the lighthouse to be added later and take note of the lighting conditions so you can replicate them later. Then you would shoot a model lighthouse or a create a digital model with CG and composite that in, lighting it to match with the plate that you shot. But if you shoot without planning, the composite won't be very convincing.

When putting a set together, think about the color and texture of the objects and structural elements you're using and make sure they complement each other. Think about creating a space with depth - foreground, midground, background. Think about where the windows and doors should be, if any. Think about the character(s) that is supposed to exist in that space, and how they would arrange things, what elements they would bring in to the space. Think about what kind of emotional reaction you want to create in your audience and then figure out how to create that effect with the above elements.
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#6 David Rakoczy

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 07:31 PM

The best DP in the world can only shoot what's in front of the lens...


Amen brother!
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#7 Jake Windhurst

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Posted 18 April 2009 - 12:37 PM

Thanks, especially to guys like Adrian Sierkowski
This sort of open ended response is exactly what I wanted.
I was looking for something that was costless but would stop you in your tracks with it's distinctiveness. and yet keep the talent under quite natural warm light.
It's really about playing with this white background to make it "interesting" while at the same time making the actors visually seen so as not to get in the way of a performance.

Like Satsuki Murashige typed, you're only filming whats there infront of you. The set, the lighting and post production is what's at my disposal.
Are there any websites worth checking out or any more examples, particularly concentrating on an artistic background removed from the performance foreground?
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Aerial Filmworks

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Metropolis Post

Opal

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Rig Wheels Passport

Ritter Battery

rebotnix Technologies

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Abel Cine