It rains a fair bit in Vancouver. We had a late start to the month of January, and we quickly realized that a lot of our potential video ideas hinged on the weather actually being nice. So we had to come up with a quick plan for a video that could take advantage of the rain.
Naturally, after we had settled on an idea and decided to start filming, the rain stopped.
Here’s the video:
So we had to fake it a bit. Using creative placement of sprinklers/hoses, and a bit of vfx magic, we were able to make it seem rainy. I guess… Also it was sunny at the same time. Try not to focus on that. In fact, try not to focus on a lot of the inconsistencies.
Let’s talk about a couple of the shots.
The intro shot took a fair bit of work – going through the glass door. We built a DIY steadicam – the Silver Flyer – and gave it a try. Unfortunately it wasn’t balanced too well because we were missing a few critical pieces. While it absorbed the shock of footsteps, it was still swinging around a fair bit. After Effects was able to help though. The warp stabilization tool is pretty amazing if used sparingly, and we were able to get a decently smooth shot with limited distortion of the background (these two trade off with eachother – ever see those videos on YouTube where they steady a cell phone video, but it’s all warbly and warping in the background? Same idea).
However, the next tough part was recreating the glass. There’s a great tutorial on the Video Copilot website for this effect. Unfortunately, their technique seems to work best if you have a perfectly straight and steady shot to begin with. We didn’t have that luxury. I was able to resort to having a mask simply track the edges of the door, while scaling the size of the flat backyard image as we got closer. It worked out alright, but there’s a lot of room for improvement. I threw the title on top of it to take the attention away =)
Next, the lightning and body explosion. Again, thanks to Video Copilot for the great tutorials. This time I was able to follow it pretty closely to recreate the effect. The lightning was pretty straight forward and I played around with it popping through different parts of the body. Might have spent too much time making some fun individual frames considering how fast they flash by (there may even be a couple of juvenile secrets hidden if you take a close look).
The body explosion wasn’t too bad either. I ran into some trouble making the background without me look normal after the explosion. I forgot that the camera changes focus when it zooms in on the foreground. Luckily we can distract the viewer from that with a nice big blood splat on the lens (Yes I know if it actually hit the lens then it would be much larger, in this case it appears to be hitting a pane of glass in front of the camera – but I felt it had greater comedic effect that way. Also that splat sound, oh man). I was also pretty happy with the focus shifting on all objects in the shot together. It helped it look consistent and somewhat believable.
Finally we had a number of shots that we slowed down considerably – the dramatic reveals of “Thor”. We don’t have a slow motion camera, but After Effects has some great tools to do this for us – namely time remapping using the powerful pixel motion setting. Other than that, there was a lot of playing with colours, levels, and curves. It turned out okay.
There was a lot learned from working on this video. The punch-line may not be incredibly effective, but it was a lot of fun putting it all together. I hope you all enjoy it.