Test shoots

When working on the story boards, i considered ways to showcase mainly the vfx but still tell a story.

(Insert story boards) the story boards were based on the narrative id created. Some of the scenes took some influence from other live action footage id seen such as adverts and music videos to which I captured screen shots and thought about how they could fit with the narrative. I did this in order to easily reference shots and visualize possible effects early on and to reduce time considering how the live action might look could look. A good example of this is particular eye close up shots seen in various videos. I think close shots to the eyes or eye really allow a stronger connection to a character and with a macro lens can deliver some great effects from just the eye visually on its own.

eye shot

cratos pain

Above are screens I gathered from a mixture of videos which have used eye close ups and various other perspectives.

The first test shoot was to experiment with tracking the wings onto the back of my character, id decided earlier that planar & 3D camera tracking with points placed on the back would be my only option, this is because I felt I didn’t have time to experiment with different forms of motion tracking like the IP software or other mo cap techniques and other software. I felt it would be way too time consuming because I taken on game character modeling as part of my FMP which effected the progress of my main project. I filmed the tracking points with green screen so I could play with ideas and test how the wings would like when tracked onto my actor. The tracking went really well, the tracks were solid and id basically cut out a shape from card board to represent where the wings would be and also mark it with points to track. see tests below.

setting up
The first and final test shoot was based along a story board I created in maya, which I basically used a pre rigged model to position for pre visualization. Which was then chopped into a story board.

Here are the story board changes and development below, no idea why word press thinks the second one is upside down.
The story board was revised taking elements of the slight experimentation of the first full test shoot.



final storyboard

Lauren & Chapman helped with the 2nd test shoot Lauren had kindly agreed to act for me and help with equipment whilst Chapman along with Matt Burtons help set up the lighting and screen screen. I began directing them as a DOP in order for them to capture the lighting effect I needed. We use Scims and red heads, I could it quite interesting to revisit this side of the production after not touching film since my first years though I know its not my area of focus so I didn’t get too involved in research or experimentation with lighting. The more filming we did the more I began to wish it was over so I could be sat in front of my computer ready to start working on the the VFX. I was really pleased with the filming visually and the green screen keyed out with little effort. There were some minor issues with the tracking as far as focus and quality were concerned though after this test shoot I felt confident that all issues could be improved on and made to work just fine. Because time was also an issue we never actually tested shots to which the light set up had to be swapped around because we simple didn’t have time to change the lighting around to accommodate the different shots. I noted lighting positions so that we could set up the same lighting sequence quicker when it come to the final shoot.


I began experimenting with tracking again as I had not touched it since the 2nd year, but picked up what id already learnt quite fast. here are some test results below,

First tests was to see if I could accurately track my wings onto the back of my actor using match mover. I asked the actor to moving in many different ways to see how far I could push the tracking points from this primary view. I was quite happy that my initial tracks seemed solid

I also used match mover to do a camera track for the evironment, which turned out very nice.

I also used tracking in after effects alone, the built in camera tracker gave some very nice results especially for tracking the environments surrounding my actor. In the clip below you can see the tracking points I used for both matchmover and after effects, id considered coordinates for the x,y and y axis of te shots

On the day of the final shoot Id decided to change 3 elements of the process. The first was the actual tracking markers for the actors back, I wanted something move solid an easier to detach and reattach through out the different shots. I created a new marker from wire, woods and cut out tracking markers, the idea was that the wires could be placed over the actors shoulders without having to be stuck on with tape. It seemed to do the trick and worked well whilst we filmed. Another change was to cover the floor with a blue screen as apposed to green in order to keep the shadows and reduce colour bleeding for keying. Research in a book called the green screen hand book informed me that blue screen is preferable when the actor is making contact with the screen and reduces colour bleeding, I felt this ideas would be vital because my actor had a cream color dress to which absorbed a lot of green colours from the green screen at such close contact making keying certain shots difficult, this was discovered in the first test shoot. The first change was to provide drink n snacks for the crew, which was the least i could do after the great effort they put in to the shooting. (see images below)

second shoot1

On the back of the final shoot id assumed that everything went well until I began processing the footage.


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