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Post-Production Report:
Visual Effects Revealed




 S o m e    E x a m p l e s    o f    D i g i t a l    E n h a n c e m e n t s 


Thorn's Bar: Matte Painting Enhancements and a 3D Synthetic Hand-Held Shot

This proved to be one of the more ambitious digital shots in the film. In retrospect, I probably wouldn't do it again because it was a little too difficult, and ultimately just not important enough. Still, in the finished film it works and it works pretty well. It definitely helps the edit and pacing, and it avoids confusion. (But it still wasn't worth the effort.)

The scenario was this: we needed a bar adjacent to the abandoned gas station. There was a perfect building for it -- only no door. In the original cut, my actor rounded the building corner, then we cut to an interior of him entering the bar (interior shot elsewhere). By not seeing the entrance from the outside, the cut was a little strange. It also took way too long for him to round the corner. Any drastic editing seemed like it was missing information. I should have found a clever editorial solution, but instead I came up with a digital one.

A digital door.

Two of the three digital door matte paintings.

In three long/medium shots, this was a piece of cake. Painted door dropped in with a soft-edged matte. I had to roto my actor for something like seven frames, to hold him in front of the door before he walks onward. While I was at it, I even decided to augment the old paint on the building and make it say "BAR," just for clarity. These three shots came together pretty quickly.

Unfortunately, they didn't get my actor through the door. For that, I had the big idea that we could camera project a still plate of the bar on some rough 3D geometry, build a quality door, and then build a synthetic "hand-held" camera move, a la actor's POV. This shot was not so easy.

Luckily, I had the assistance of one Greg Gladstone, animator extraordinaire at Western Images. (Larry Chandler painted the door texture.) Greg did most of the work modeling and animating the scene; the "Steadicam" camera move and the lighting and mapping were all about 92% there when I took over and finished it. I think I only got it about another 4%. It's about a 96% quality shot as finished. Good enough that 9 out of 10 people won't comment. One might. Still something just a little bit "off." But it's pretty convincing.

Five frames from the synthetic "Steadicam" POV shot.

And there were plenty more shots to spend time on....

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