Have you ever dreamed of passing, in the blink of an eye, from your kitchen to your office without dealing with traffic or crowed public transportation options ? No ??
Well, from time to time I have. And thanks to a Compositing exercise, that dream is closer to becoming a reality !
At the end of their 2012-13 school year, the 4th year students at ArtFx had to reconstruct and put into practice all that they had learned about Compositing, and especially about Nuke !
No better way to do just that than with an exercise aimed at mixing all the techniques (sometimes arduous, other times simpler and revealing simple ‘visual cheats’). So, we had to work on one of the most popular special effects in cinema history : teleportation!
Our key reference was the film Jumpers (Doug Liman, 2008), where certain characters have a gift that allows them to teleport anywhere on earth. This exercise required us to create one or two scenes of movement where one or more characters disappeared then reappeared. The disappearance was made believable by different procedures (interactions with the environment, the appearance of a ‘jumpmark,’ edited effects, or in-camera effects like camera shake, etc….)
The preproduction is indispensable for creating this effect. Everything has to planned so post-production will have the easiest time possible. But also, in order to make the shot interesting, one must do several trial runs in order to achieve the most visually pleasing final result.
The filming process itself was passionate, the shots had to be relatively dynamic, it required a certain amount of resourcefullness and ‘malleable’ hardware. So, a number of the shots used cranes, travelling, mini-steadycam (or glidecam) or even shoulder rigs in order to operate the aesthetic camera movements. Safety measures had to be in place for the character who had to disappear and reappear and the actors had to be in good physical shape : jumping on mattresses, using secure lifting systems to take them up in the air, etc.
All of the assistance for the post-production had to prepared during the filming process: using distortion grids, repeated tracks, measuring the location in order to create a 3D layout….in short, all the information tools that a VFX supervisor must know how to gather during a film shoot.
And finally the post-production stage, the largest chunk of this exercise….while the filming process was done as a team in order to maximize the usage of manpower and materials, the manipulation of the images is done individually. In fact, each person was able to amuser him or herself and create the effects that he or she wanted.
Making a character completely disappear requires many procedures to be in place :
.Projection of reconstructed images via 3D space in Nuke, very close to Camera Mapping.
.Often a little rotoscope
.Filming or creation of stockshots
.Creation of a « jumpmark » directly in 2D via Nuke, After Effects,…or by passing through 3D dynamic softwares ( Realflow, Ncloth in Maya,…)
.Camera dressing : camerashake or blurred effects on the image
.Lighting adjustments to make the shot as beautiful as possible and especially so all the added elements have the same light and color intensity, also for the depth or field, motion blur and perspective….
A passionate exercise that concluded our year of VFX studies with revision around all the technical aspects, and that required us to create a workflow for the entire production (pre-production, filming, post-production) and all of this within a limited timeframe, of course!
Since the completion of this exercise, we have had the time to ‘direct’ different techniques, and now that we are in the middle of creating the films for our 5th Year, we are once again deeply entrenched in a number of shots.
Here are the videos for the teleportation exercise (below), but you’ll have to wait until June for the 5th year graduation films.
Here is a selection of the video exercises that were created by our graduation class. (The selection was made by the referential Compositing teacher, Aurélyen Daudet, who assigned this exercise)
Olivier Raveneau, video :
Joceran Compoint, video :
Léonard Mercier, video :
Etienne Gaulupeau, video and shot Breakdown :