How to optimize a shoot for VFX

by birtanpublished on September 3, 2020

Hey guys, today we're going to be looking at the VFX Supervisor and how you can prepare for visual effects. When producing visual effects it’s never as simple as point, shoot & pray that things can be ‘fixed in post’. There are elements during capture that need to be considered to keep everything as flawless as possible & Artist as happy as can be. And believe me, you don’t want to upset them. In the industry, this role is known as the VFX Supervisor. Acting as a bridge between production & post, it’s their job to work closely with the production crew, on set,

To make sure these things are considered. Now, we’re mainly going to be focusing on the in-camera techniques. As greenscreen is so broad we already have another video for it. You can find that on the card on-screen now or the link below. Before the camera is even set up, communication between every department is vital. Poor communication could result in a few mishaps leading to unprepared turn arounds or reshoots, costing the production more time & money. To avoid this, go through the storyboard and

Highlight any visual effect. Consider every element that needs to be taken and break that down into smaller chunks. In doing this you’re actually providing all the key points to your artist, allowing everything to be customized and altered if needed. And if in doubt, I always recommend taking a clean plate. This is when you remove your subject or talent out of frame and just take one still of the background. You never know if you're going to need it and it always helps.

During tasks like motion tracking, it’s always best to keep things as clear as possible to secure the data is maintained. When in production, it’s important to work alongside the DP and Camera crew to monitor the Shutter Speed and Depth of Field. Shutter speed is primarily the thing you’d want to focus on. The higher the shutter speed, the crisper your tracking results are going to become. A low shutter is manageable but will make for a longer time in rotoscoping and tracking as the motion blur elongates

The original marker, forcing your artist to do the job manually and that can lead to some very wobbly results. The other factor is the depth of field- and yes, we all love a shallow depth, but have your ruined your markers in doing so? Have they become blobs? This doesn’t just affect markers though- say you need a sky replaced, but the branches or sky itself is out of focus. This will once again cause issues leading to some heavy removals or replacements. It’s best to look out for these small things as

They can lead to bigger problems down the line. Never be afraid to voice your concerns when on set. It's best to say it right then and there rather than when you're in post. When also considering motion tracking, you need to consider the moving elements. Going handheld, with a moving subject, while tracking something in the distance causes three sets of parallax. That's workable, but it's very difficult, so instead, we’ll lock the camera down with a tripod & if camera-shake is needed, we can simply apply some using ‘Shake’

From HitFilm’s Grunge effects. The last point may seem obvious, but tracking points need to be as clear as possible or at least have a backup if someone is going to cross the flame. Flame? Frame. Crossing the marker over on multiple occasions will leave you stuck having to do the job manually- and in 3d, this is particularly difficult. In visual effects, you’ll be required to digitally remove, add or replace certain elements within the scene & to do this efficiently it’s highly recommended that you provide

& gather reference photos while on set. When compositing 3d elements especially, it’s best to take a lighting reference In doing this you’ll be able to recreate the set digitally for a better result. Most phones have the option for a panoramic photo, so jump into where your subject is sitting, take a photo of the entire scene and this will give you all the data that you need to recreate your lighting setup in HitFilm. It’s best to take as many photos as you can of sets, props and even actors to work

As references. It's always going to be that one thing that was thrown away that you're going to need to digitally re-create. Finally, let's not forget the actors. Imagination is a big part of production but to secure consistency, it’s helpful to provide a reference for where a visual effect is taking place. This can be a light source, a prop to hold, or simply just an eye-line for where the visual effect is going to take place. Hey. It's these things that are considered on-set

That will drastically improve your visual effects. I hope that this has been helpful for your next production and that maybe you'll be aware of these for next time you're wanting a visual effect. Until next time, leave any questions down below, don't forget to subscribe and ring the bell for notifications for when we next upload.

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