Motion Graphics 3 course motion tracking project
Graphic Stories in the Real World
Tell a story through a distinctive set of graphics and track them to video footage. Use this technique to tell a compelling story. The graphics must be tracked to objects that are moving, or objects that move relative to the frame because of camera movement, or all of the above. Tracking must be convincing, and graphics must be composited realistically into the video environment.
- Your piece must be at least 10 seconds long, and conform to all standard formats for this class.
- Your piece must either be a commercial, a public service announcement (PSA), a title sequence, or a logo ID.
- All names/subjects/logos must be fictional, you must own the rights to them, or have a signed release from the owners.
- You must submit copies of any necessary release forms for both audio and visual content.
Every time I walk pass Greenwich Substation (13th St & 8th Ave) I am always convinced that someday when I least expect it, those doors will slide open. Instead of waiting around for something to happen I decided to take matters into my own hand (wait, what?) and let this imagination come true. Though I had a few other ideas, I just couldn't pass up incorporating this spot when it came to motion tracking.
In New York, it is fairly common for pedestrians to cross on red lights or jaywalk sometimes even without looking. In order to address this situation, I decided to use a public service announcement to illustrate the risk and danger with a little exaggeration.
Initially, I was going for a more comical surreal approach rather than realistic carnage, some of the sketches even included a cat waiting for the light while human figures get run over crossing on reds.
In this storyboard, the main character had a tracked mannequin bobble-head look.
However, some of feedback I got from Ken (Tanabe, MG3 instructor) and fellow classmates was that the piece would be a lot more powerful if it were aimed to be "real," also the overall language didn't feel coherent. Although I agree with the comments, I wasn't actually committed to idea at that time and I wasn't sure if my actors were on board with the idea. After some consideration I felt it was the best option to go with the realistic path, given that half of the piece would be in live action, in order to pull off a comical piece the comped footage may need to be more graphical or drawn.
I wanted the overall look to feel as if it were "accidentally" shot on a handheld camera by a tourist (after all they are the ones who pays the most attention to the walk signs), also where would the fun be in tracking a stable shot?
It was slightly tricky to get a decent angle not to mention all the people walking by.
In order to get better ambient lighting, since the Substation was a day shot, I went out to Queensboro to shoot. It was pretty convenient that the trains where coming from the same direction on both sides of the platforms, which meant I could get a left and right angled shot at the same place. The timing was horrible though, after I set up my flimsy tripod and the angle I wanted, I had to wait 30 minutes for a train to arrive while the other side of platform had at least six trains pass by. After I switched sides on the platform, the same exact thing happened. At least I got my footage and a few retakes just in case.
With some tips from fellow classmates to film someone spitting fake blood, I did just that. I bought some fake blood from a costume store and spat on Plexiglas on my first attempt, it didn't work that well with a ghost double image because of the thickness and reflection.
It was also tricky to avoid reflection in general so my second attempt, I tried cardboard. Cardboard overcame the reflection problem but the downside was that I couldn't wash it off and shoot again.
Third attempt I used a white plastic bag and taped it onto my wall, it was nice that I didn't have to deal with reflection because the bag was more matte than glossy. Being plastic, it really repelled the fake blood which really made it trickle. Neat stuff.
By the way... although the fake blood was mint-flavored, it had an awful aftertaste and I had brush my teeth for a while to get it out, not to mention my gums and tongue stayed red for a while.
I also had to do a little bit of floor and wall scrubbing which wasn't too fun.
Motion tracking part was pretty quick and easy with Mocha, the more time-consuming part was the masking and rotoscoping, and then applying other effects (such as color correction and blur).
After keying out the white for the blood footage, it looked a whole lot better than the original footage. I actually ended up using most of the shots laying them on top of each other.
I'm glad my actor was fine with being run over by a subway train... wait, that didn't come out right, there would've been a lot less editing for me to do if that were true. Seriously, I'm thankful that he was cool with the whole piece.
The voices were recorded with my digital camera, rather than faking noise to degrade the quality making it sound like it was from a camera, it was from a camera. I asked my fellow classmates to do the voice acting, I wanted the New Yorker to not have an accent and the tourist with. They were nice about it, doing retakes on the sidewalk in the rain and I must mention my fellow Turk who was fine screaming on the streets of New York.
So... the best reaction I got during a screening was when a stranger sitting behind me said to her friend, "Holy fuck!!!(shock) ...how did they do that?" Pardon the language but it felt really rewarding to hear.
The not so good reaction...
was from my other instructor, "Yeeeeeah... I don't like it, it's not funny. It could happen to anyone." Yeah, but... that's the whole point. Though I didn't get any more comments beyond that, but it was exactly what I was hesitant about before committing to it.
But... yeah, that was the whole point.
Send me back up plz...