Filming with the 7D, Compositing and After Effects…

Posted by Rick Burnett on January 4th, 2010 filed in General News

As it has been quite quiet on here lately, that is because most free time has been spent outdoors shooting video or indoors playing with it.  The 7D is truly a camera to behold.  As I have mentioned before, it certainly has its limitations, but which camera system doesn’t?  Knowing them, working around them, and avoiding them is your only choice.

A few words before I get into too much detail.  First, shooting in 1080p or 720p with a very deep focus WILL cause aliasing/moire patterns in locations where there are lots of straight lines, like buildings, power lines, stripes on cars.  I shot a lot of footage with deep focus and didn’t realize I was having the problem until I got home.  I am planning on ordering the Caprock 2.0 filter to see if I can minimize this.  Micah Moore, from MediaTribe, also has a 7D and shared a little trick with me.  Before starting a shot, use the zoom buttons on the top left to not only get critical focus, but to also check anything in the scene to see if you are getting these problems.  Since I use the Sigma 30mm F1.4 lens, which in combination with the 7D has horrible night time auto focus, I manual focus everything.  Most of the shots in the next few videos are either the 30mm F1.4 or the stock lens (for the day shots in the snow).

Also, if your lens does not have image stabilization, you should tripod as much as possible.  The more narrow the lens, the more this gets worse and worse for jello or skew.  It’s manageable, but be aware of this.  I picked up a Velbon DV-7000 tripod and have been extremely happy with it.  The fluidness of the head works well with the 7D.

I also bought an adjustable ND filter for the F1.4, and it seems to work real well for static shots.  I have not spent a lot of time doing pans or tilts with it yet, but that is coming.  I am worried that since it is made with two circular polarized filters that if there is glass or water in a shot, it’s going to cause problems.  More info to come after testing.  It may be better to just buy a good set.  The 7D is extremely sensitive to light (which is good), so if you want to use the F1.4 during the day with a very shallow DoF, you are going to need to ND filter it.

Here are two test videos we shot, one during the day and one at night.  Both were just run on the fly with whatever was around.  We have shot more test video as well and will be putting that together as we continue to test out more scenarios.  We want to get more daytime shots as well.

Untitled from Media Tribe on Vimeo.

7d Night Tests – Available light from Media Tribe on Vimeo.

Given the fact we used NO lights and NO reflectors, and also did NO post work on the second video, I am just floored at the quality.

Outside of this I have been working on some compositing.  I am doing a very intricate promo video for Relativity in the essence of the movie.  In doing that, I wanted to force myself to get into the finer details of compositing.  I’ve done A LOT of 3D work in the past with 3D Studio and Maya, but have not spent enough time in After Effects honing the quality of results.  I have used quite a bit of Motion as well (and am using it in this project), but I will be honest, AE is better in my opinion.  It’s just more powerful for anything detailed.  Sure, you can pull off some quick stuff with Motion, and it looks great, but you start trying to push into it and it will bring your computer crying to its knees!

Here is a frame from downtown Raleigh of a pan shot that I took.  I am creating a composite of downtown Raleigh that will eventually have a Dark City / Bladerunner feel to it.  I did this with a pan on the Boylan St bridge:

There was a little stuff below, but in this shot I had already created a clip mask to just get rid of it.  There is train tracks below, but it was REALLY dark and didn’t pick up a lot of light.  Given this was when I first got the camera, I think I could get a bit better video quality, but I was happy enough with it for what I was doing.  Without the Caprock, and clearer focus would have caused aliasing/moire.

Now, here is a frame with composited buildings from a multitude of public domain sources that I just roughed in the color correcting for now.  In addition, I created a cloud map for the sky which is also not colored.  The water at this point is Psunami which a professional plugin from Red Giant that is used in MANY film productions.

Psunami generates some AMAZING waves, but the one problem I have with them is the texture mapping of images to the surface makes no sense.  I have it off here, but what happens is that it perspectively alters the image and reflections from buildings are a mirror image in water and NOT perspectively drawn.  To me, this makes absolutely no sense that the plugin does not allow for rotation of a texture into the water, but, because of this, it made it useless for me.  I tried a million different combinations and tests but nothing ever felt right.  Then, using some water tutorials online, I used my own methods with fractal noise, which produced this:

And there you have it, which I am absolutely amazed with the outcome of.  And all of this is animated, so it looks even more breathtaking than what you see here.  For you AE heads reading this, I pre-composed the city, flipped it over, then used a mask to remove some of the bottom from it.  I then used a solid layer with a gradient above it and used this to fade out the layer using the alpha matte from luminance of layer above. Next, I created a gaussian blur on the flipped image and only allowed it vertically so the lights spread into the water more.  Next I created a 3D solid layer and put the fractal noise effect on it.  Again, I pre-composed this because the displacement mapping layer will only use original layer content and no effects.  The fractal noise I set up to look like waves (there are good tutorials for this online).  I added displacement mapping to the flipped image, using the lighteness of the pre-composed fractal noise, added some gaussian blur to match the rest of the footage and used the film grain to give it a bit of noise as well.

This is still very early in the stages, but wanted to provide some examples of using the 7D with compositing and such.  Hopefully the whole video will be done before too long.

In addition to these tests, I am in the process of building a slider AND a dolly and I’ll have more information on that soon as well.

I know I say it a lot, but I have to say it again, these are exciting times for the film industry.


36 Responses to “Filming with the 7D, Compositing and After Effects…”

  1. Jorge Says:

    .

    good!…

  2. derek Says:

    .

    tnx!!…

  3. julio Says:

    .

    сэнкс за инфу….

  4. Keith Says:

    .

    tnx!!…

  5. Roberto Says:

    .

    thank you….

  6. jeff Says:

    .

    спс за инфу!…

  7. Dennis Says:

    .

    good!!…

  8. enrique Says:

    .

    спс!…

  9. timothy Says:

    .

    сэнкс за инфу!…

  10. jerome Says:

    .

    thanks for information!…

  11. Louis Says:

    .

    ñïàñèáî!!…

  12. curtis Says:

    .

    ñïàñèáî çà èíôó!…

  13. shaun Says:

    .

    thanks!!…

  14. gene Says:

    .

    ñýíêñ çà èíôó….

  15. cody Says:

    .

    tnx for info!…

  16. ernesto Says:

    .

    áëàãîäàðåí….

  17. michael Says:

    .

    áëàãîäàðþ!…

  18. Paul Says:

    .

    tnx!…

  19. vernon Says:

    .

    áëàãîäàðþ!…

  20. darryl Says:

    .

    áëàãîäàðñòâóþ!!…

  21. Oscar Says:

    .

    thank you!…

  22. armando Says:

    .

    ñïàñèáî çà èíôó….

  23. Brandon Says:

    .

    ñïàñèáî!…

  24. Rick Says:

    .

    ñïàñèáî çà èíôó!…

  25. doug Says:

    .

    ñïñ çà èíôó!!…

  26. Francisco Says:

    .

    ñïñ çà èíôó….

  27. Marc Says:

    .

    ñïñ!…

  28. harold Says:

    .

    ñïàñèáî çà èíôó!!…

  29. Fernando Says:

    .

    ñýíêñ çà èíôó!!…

  30. albert Says:

    .

    ñýíêñ çà èíôó….

  31. Gary Says:

    .

    ñýíêñ çà èíôó!!…

  32. bradley Says:

    .

    thanks for information!…

  33. Roger Says:

    .

    áëàãîäàðåí!…

  34. ricky Says:

    .

    ñïñ çà èíôó!!…

  35. ben Says:

    .

    good info!!…

  36. randy Says:

    .

    ñïñ çà èíôó!…

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.