Posts Tagged With: set extension

The Practicalities of Green Screen 2

It’s surprising how many films and TV shows use green screen to create set extensions. Some like Game of Thrones, The Hobbit and World War Z are more obvious productions in which green screen is used to add effects of explosions or distant landscape. Others like The Wolf of Wall Street,where the locations are more achievable using actual locations still use green screen in a studio. I’m not entirely sure whether I’m amazed at how real they look or whether I’m shocked at the lack of in camera effects/location work but it shows what can be done entirely on computer. Given the video that I watched from the making of Titanic in an earlier post, you can speculate that the CGI choices are made based on the cost of building a set or flying cast and crew out to appropriate locations or the preference of the Director.

This is a selection of pictures that demonstrate green screen usage.

visual_effects_hollywood_before_after_04

The Wolf of Wall Street

 

visual_effects_hollywood_before_after_05

The Great Gatsby

visual_effects_hollywood_before_after_06

Game of Thrones

visual_effects_hollywood_before_after_08

World War Z

visual_effects_hollywood_before_after_11

Boardwalk Empire

visual_effects_hollywood_before_after_14

The Avengers

visual_effects_hollywood_before_after_18

The Hobbit

visual_effects_hollywood_before_after_19

The Lord of The Rings

All available at  http://ubertoday.com/before-and-after-photos-show-how-misleading-visual-effects-can-be-in-our-favorite-movies/ [sourced on 12/07/14]

The choice of location is important for some of these productions but maybe less so for others as entire backgrounds, buildings, even windows appear to be  digitally added.  But whether there is a small amount of set build or location used, decisions are made creatively, even down to the choice of floor or lighting in The Wolf of Wall Street image that is filmed in a studio. The production designer will have to be involved in this decision-making at some point in the creative process. The use of CGI can mean more time for the production designer to oversee other aspects or so that streets don’t have to be closed. More often that not, budget controls the choice of set/CGI etc as does the script or the type of film.

I’m taking the route of “as much in camera as possible”. The street alteration that I’m designing is perfectly achievable in an actual location using set dressing with CGI doing the job it was intended for, visual effects; that of extending a location which would be difficult to achieve purely on location given the story is set  50 years in the future . CGI is a tool that can enhance a scene, make it possible to suspend belief for those few moments rather than be imposing, obvious and synthetic. Some of the films work better than others. Personally  I thought The Lord of The Rings worked better than the Hobbit; The Lord of The Rings films appearing much more organic on-screen and real.

 

References:-

Before And After Photos Show How Misleading Visual Effects Can Be In Our Favorite Movies. Available at http://ubertoday.com/before-and-after-photos-show-how-misleading-visual-effects-can-be-in-our-favorite-movies/ [sourced online on 12/7/14]

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Street Location Alteration 2: Matte CGI background

Before placing all the visual and set dressing elements into the street scene I need to portray what the overall look of the CGI back ground and sky will look like. It is night-time but there has to be some light. As there is a fair bit of pollution I’m going with an orange green cast to start with. This can be altered at a later stage.

alteration matte 1

This is a white matte to make the layering easier. Below shows the sky and the start of the background, along with a building design that is partly influenced by my interiors, partly by a gothic/art deco combination.

pen build 1     background with pen 2

The image above was created by altering a pen design that I found.  I then changed the sizes, inverted them to create a collection of buildings. This will sit at the back of the scene as a CGI matte painting. There will also be an addition of a CGI burnt out building using the existing high-rise block of flats.

alteration darkened

 

With the background near completion I can now add in some of the design elements to the foreground.

street alter with shop windows a

The next phase will include altering shop and street signs where necessary and adding in some rubbish, broken glass, maybe a burnt out car etc.

 

Categories: MA Practical Project, MA project, sketchbook and visual diary, The production designer and art department | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Street location Alteration 1: Graffiti and posters

I wanted at least one street alteration that incorporated CGI/VFX as part of the set extension. I chose Shadwell as it provided some interesting urban views that could be added to or manipulated. The main action is focused on the bridge end of the street and some shop fronts, one of which is used in the action.

I gathered some visual inspiration from my Pinterest page of urban dystopian/post apocalyptic streets and some of my own photos.

 

mood board apoc

 

A short excerpt from Chapter 3, The Huntsman in which one of the characters Switch walks the streets of London.

A couple of streets away he found a dirty fast food joint and bought a burger which he ate back out on the street. In a bin he found an old newspaper from two days ago which had little of interest, but he wasn’t much of a reader anyway. Most of the news he did glance at concerned crime within the city, murder, robbery, arson. The only mention of the world was from opinion columns that criticised the European Confederation’s trade blockades, and there was no mention of America at all. (The Tube Riders by Chris Ward)

Description here is mainly about the world around him and the character himself so it was fairly open in terms of design. Reading through other parts of the book though gave me visual ideas to work from. It had to say city, London, future, dirty, uncared for etc. Because the story revolves around a gang I wanted to make the streets have a gang-like feel with graffiti and posters. I also wanted to incorporate elements of resistance in the wall art, such as doves wings. The eye was used as a resistance poster, “they are watching you…join us…”. It adds to the sense of dystopia and being watched.

eye for poster aposter mask 2graffiti wall mask c

 

poster graffiti wall 2 final

 

Above show the visuals for one of the walls. I used some of my artwork and adapted it, combining it with some tag street art.

I worked on some visuals that could be part of a boarded up shop front. This was inspired by some of the abandoned buildings around Nottingham that were boarded up with wood panels and joined together. This would also be part graffiti’d and would fit over the front of one of the existing shops.

shop fronts boards 1        shop fronts graffiti 2       wing wall darker

The finished boarded up shop front using my building photo, artwork and graffiti wall. The image was produced in photoshop with layers and digital painting.

This image shows where it will fit.

alterations visual board

 

Categories: MA Practical Project, MA project, sketchbook and visual diary, The production designer and art department | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Green Screen and Set Extensions

As my project requires me to use green screen due to the restricted height of the sound stage, I need to look at  green screen and how it is used to create set extensions. One of the important features of the reception area of the Medical Research Centre is the creation of height and as the height of the stage is a little over 10 metres and needs to appear to be several floors below ground it needs a form of green screen/set extension to achieve this.

What is green screen?

It is a technique that was traditionally known as a travelling matte that allows actors to be shot in a studio environment and then is removed in post-production (sometimes production) and replaced with a different image. This can be anything from an external location background through to an architectural extension like my project design. Any colour can be used but blue and now green are used as they are the complement of the colours that make up the base colours of human skin tone. (Byrne, B., 2009)

What is a matte painting?

Matte paintings are usually of a location and used to extend a set, combined with live action, models or animation to create a composite image. Traditionally these were painted onto glass sheets and combined with optical techniques such as rear projection. Today they are painted digitally, then combined with the live elements of the shoot. (Rickitt, R., 2000)

I will need to create a design of a matte for my sound stage extension, so  I am now looking at examples of green screen shots before finalising any designs. I found a selection of videos to show a few ways that a green screen can be used.

 

 

 

I thought that the second video was particularly interesting in the fact that they used a green screen technique combined with a scaled model and made a composite shot to save thousands of dollars. Theoretically this could be done with my interior as the character of Clayton only walks through the space. So instead of building a full-scale set in the sound studio, a model could be used with perhaps some small elements of set to create realism.

The Walking Dead uses a combination of real sets and real falling debris and green screen/set alteration to create a scene in which a helicopter falls through the ceiling. Realism here is created by using a combination of techniques. Green screen is only one part of the sequence.

 

Green screen can be used as a small part of a scene composite to allow real people to merge seamlessly, to extend a set, to allow stunts or to create a set in its entirety. What’s important, whether green screen is used or not, is that the design or visualisation of the scene is a collaborative process between the Production Designer/art department/VFX/stunt coordinators/ the Director etc. whether it is a CGI scene, scaled model or full set.

 

 

References:-

BYRNE, B., The Visual Effects Arsenal. Oxford: Focal Press, 2009.

RICKETT, R., Special Effects:The history and technique. London: Virgin Books, 2000.

You Tube videos:- [Sourced on 15/6/14]

Categories: General research, MA Practical Project, Post Production, The production designer and art department | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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