Friday, October 24, 2014

Car Crashes and the Art of Green Screen

So we've got this car crash scene.

At first I was thinking of filming myself run through a red light in downtown Ithaca and see what happens, but as it turns out there are far safer and cost efficient ways to do this.

These days, you don't need to be a filmmaker to understand how a green screen works. You tell the computer to replace a certain color (in this case bright green) with another other image. The result is something like this:

Seems pretty basic. But it's time I admit the truth... I'm terrified of green screen shots. 


Call it a form of PTSD. Once upon a time I did some sub-par acting in a film that involved a car crash and the result was... less then optimal. 

To give the crew some credit, what they were trying to do was pretty complicated. Green screen shots for a moving vehicle involve light passing by from the streets, moving scenery in the background, and reflections off windows. That's a lot to think about and it's involves all three stages of production. Thankfully though, the internet has plenty of resources that list out the steps required to accomplish something like this. 

For work in postproduction, the best tutorial is by Video Copilot:

With these resources, I feel much more optimistic and prepared for this undertaking. It can be complicated, but if all steps are followed to a tee then the process should be painless. Now I just need to convince Mr. "Editing for Dummies". 

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