trick-shot, sure shot!
December 17, 2005 9:44 AM   Subscribe

We Can Remember It for You Wholesale... Montage of digital retouching techniques [note: Quicktime]
posted by crunchland (40 comments total)
That is incredible. I will never trust video again.
posted by phrontist at 9:52 AM on December 17, 2005

Thank you for this. They even lie about the twilight!
posted by Peter H at 10:09 AM on December 17, 2005

When I see stuff like this, I always wonder; when cosmetic technology eventually allows people to actually look like fashion photos, what will fashion photos look like?
posted by L. Fitzgerald Sjoberg at 10:17 AM on December 17, 2005

That was good, but too fast! Does anyone know a couple of good online articles about how these things are made?
posted by Termite at 10:44 AM on December 17, 2005

check out Visual FX Blog.

This really isn't a desktop thing. This is a 100k+ workstation thing. Not every shot works...and this sort of thing can take days/weeks of work.
posted by filmgeek at 10:48 AM on December 17, 2005

How do they do that? Yeah, I could do it in Photoshop, but they can't possibly do it frame-by-frame -- or do they?
posted by booksandlibretti at 10:51 AM on December 17, 2005

Smoke, Flame, DS, heavy compositiing tools. Yeah, much of it is hand roto work, frame by frame, and good tools.
posted by filmgeek at 10:58 AM on December 17, 2005

forgot stuff like shake, illusion and fusion.
posted by filmgeek at 10:58 AM on December 17, 2005

...and good ol' After-Effects, and Combustion and Nuke.
posted by bz at 11:01 AM on December 17, 2005

I'm amazed at how prevelent these types of computer effects can go unnoticed in films. Sure stuff like The Hulk or the Star Wars prequels look cg, but I find myself surprised by the amount of effects in indie films like Dogville and The Machinist, that I wouldn't have noticed if it wasn't for the "making of" portions of the DVD.
posted by bobo123 at 11:01 AM on December 17, 2005

For amazing retouching and invisible CG, have a look at the massively underrated Renee Zellweger/Ewan Macgregor movie Down with Love. Set in New York, it uses a lot of exterior shots of memorable skylines and buildings... but wasn't shot in New York at all.
posted by Hogshead at 11:11 AM on December 17, 2005

Goodbye cruel world.
posted by furtive at 11:18 AM on December 17, 2005

Uh... How many suns shine in front of clouds? Or swoop up into the sky at such an arc (see front window shot of sun in FIN shot).

The hair color changing? Are you kidding? Check out the masking on right side neck. Looks like they used a can of spray paint. Which one is original? Look closely at the light blonde version and you'll see individual hairs.

That said, these are slick and do serve the purpose. But I'm wondering what the new HDTV will require to keep these techniques viable for advertising.
posted by hal9k at 11:35 AM on December 17, 2005

Welcome to the world of post-production. For those interested, get a subscription to Post or just hang out at CGTalk.
posted by Gyan at 11:41 AM on December 17, 2005


By the way, what was done with the woman walking by the guys cleaning the windows? I slowed that down, watched it several times, and saw nothing.
posted by ParisParamus at 11:48 AM on December 17, 2005

Multiplicity, IIRC.
posted by Gyan at 11:50 AM on December 17, 2005

By the way, something tells me the rhinoplasty depicted in that video was in reverse: the woman had her nose "de-perfected," and then they just removed the alterations. What do you think?
posted by ParisParamus at 11:51 AM on December 17, 2005

By the way, what was done with the woman walking by the guys cleaning the windows? I slowed that down, watched it several times, and saw nothing.

I think the guys were originally cleaning non-adjacent windows.
posted by interrobang at 11:52 AM on December 17, 2005

Correct. I just noticed it. The two guys wind up looking at each other at the same time, next to each other.
posted by ParisParamus at 11:58 AM on December 17, 2005

(looking at the woman, that is...)
posted by ParisParamus at 11:59 AM on December 17, 2005

It's two shots of the same guy (in different attire) cleaning different regions of the same window. The two shots are composited for a Multiplicity effect.
posted by Gyan at 12:03 PM on December 17, 2005

does anyone know what soundtrack that is? it's awesome!
posted by Hands of Manos at 12:20 PM on December 17, 2005

I agree. Muted horn always does it for me...brings me back to Betwitched and Star Trek background music.
posted by ParisParamus at 12:25 PM on December 17, 2005

Don't worry about this video, I'm pretty sure commercials aren't lying to us.
posted by revgeorge at 2:18 PM on December 17, 2005

My girlfriend, who works at a spa, looks smooth and like a retouched photo, without makeup on. With makeup on - she would be popping out of Cosmo. It's quite distrubing, because I keep looking for flaws but can only find one - me. Tee hee.

There _are_ naturally beautiful people out there. Don't photos make people look different from real life anyway?
posted by evilelvis at 2:33 PM on December 17, 2005

This really isn't a desktop thing. This is a 100k+ workstation thing. Not every shot works...and this sort of thing can take days/weeks of work.

Mmm. Not so much anymore, I don't think. This kind of stuff can be done in AE, which I use... and I certainly don't have $100k setup.
posted by brundlefly at 3:18 PM on December 17, 2005

There's definitely something fishy about supposedly removing the mat that the boy falls onto. They bring in the mat in the middle, on a still frame, and then they remove it again before going to motion again, and the camera moves in and shows the concrete, in handheld.

Maybe they did remove the mat and only show it for a moment in still, but that whole part of the presentation could have been produced very quickly and easily if they did it the other way around: if the mat was never there and they just introduced it on a still.

That's the most obvious example but there's a lot of stuff like that, in which it's only impressive if they did what they said they did, but there's no real reason to believe that that's how it's done.
posted by George_Spiggott at 3:26 PM on December 17, 2005

Correct me if I'm wrong but- isn't that Magic Johnson in the opening sequence?!
posted by hincandenza at 5:52 PM on December 17, 2005

*head explodes*
posted by odinsdream at 6:21 PM on December 17, 2005

Could Magic Johnson fit in the little car? Also, what is done to the resume sign?
posted by ParisParamus at 6:33 PM on December 17, 2005

Maybe someone who works in post-production or retouching can explain this, since it never made sense to me...

But on some shots, it seems like it would be much, much more cost-effective to just shoot it the way you want it on the first go-round. (Example, dumping the papers on the guy) Instead of spending thousands and thousands of dollars for a boutique post-production house to composite the shot, why not just figure out what you want in the first place?

Sure, I understand that sometimes clients change their mind or whatever, and you have to figure out a solution, but some of the retouching/post-production work I've seen just seems like a lot of hassle to fix a problem that could be solved inexpensively by other means.
posted by Brian James at 8:01 PM on December 17, 2005

Brian James: I doubt actually dumping a giant dumptruck load of paper on a guy would have looked the way it did in the film. Would you volunteer to stand there?
posted by Popular Ethics at 8:22 PM on December 17, 2005

Sure I would, but that's not the point--any pro stuntman would be happy to do it, and it would probably cost less, union rate notwithstanding, than hours of post-production work.
posted by Brian James at 9:47 PM on December 17, 2005

Art directors change their minds because they can. Firms like the one that made the digital editing reel exist because they do.

It probably started off small, like "can you remove this distracting background?" or "can you remove the freckle on the end of this model's nose?" and when they saw how easy it was to do that, they probably said "oh, well, since you're removing the freckle, can you smooth out her complexion/change the color of her hair/make go from day to twighlight/pretty twilight?"

When you hear about a movie director calling everyone back to reshoot scenes months after they finished production, think big, big, big money. It's cheaper to do this sort of video editing than it is to reassemble everyone.

And I think you're mistaken. I don't think anyone would allow themselves to be buried under hundreds of pounds of paper. And even if they did find someone who would do it, the insurance companies of the ad agencies probably wouldn't allow it, when it could easily be achieved post-production ... ("Oh, and while you're at it, take out the smoke, add more paper, and fix the sign...")
posted by crunchland at 4:23 AM on December 18, 2005

The reason that this is not done in one take is because it CAN be manipulated in post. If you have one piece of film - with the set, a man and a truck on the set, and paper being dumped on them, you have 4 elements that make up the shot all tied together. If you shoot each seperatly then combine them later digitally, you can control the timing, the speed, the amount of paper, make the man bigger, the truck smaller, whatever you want. Your imagination is not limited by reality. As someone already mentioned, the cost of the production time to achieve this shot in one take would be greater, and you would have to work with what you got. Directors today plan every shot with these post processes in mind.
posted by steviewonder at 11:02 AM on December 18, 2005

What was wrong with the sign?!
posted by ParisParamus at 11:08 AM on December 18, 2005

Hands of Manos: the soundtrack is "Hey!" by Tipsy. The album is Uh-oh!
posted by poseur at 12:01 PM on December 18, 2005

Do-it-for-the-children department: The story has been going around that the latest use of this kind of technology was to make the new Superman's "package" look smaller on screen.

He must have taken being the "Man of Steel" a bit too literally.
posted by Enron Hubbard at 12:17 PM on December 18, 2005

I did a full screen freeze frame compare, Paris. The difference is subtle. In the before shot, the word "resumes" is a cyan color. In the after, the sign is about 2 shades darker.

posted by crunchland at 1:07 PM on December 18, 2005


You plan a shoot. It's Tuesday. The weather says it's going to be a good day....You have a full crew, a 35mm camera, a full contingent of people on set, the client, the ad exec....

But it turns out not to be a great day. The wind is a bit high, and the sky just isn't that great.

Which is why we do these things in post. If you absolutely can do it in camera, you can
The most dreaded words ever (in this industry) are let's fix it in post

BZ, Brundlefly...The idea here is that track based compositors don'T cut it (AE for example) - shake/fusion/nuke are node compositors and all have distributed rendering (AE has it, but it's very substandard). Shake handles 2k + 4k plates (film) without blinking (for example). AE can do it..but it chokes quite a bit.

When you're on a Flame/DS, much of this work flow is even faster (which is what the client wants.)
posted by filmgeek at 2:26 PM on December 18, 2005

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