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Need Help and Tips for Setting a Head on Fire [ANSWER]

Posted: Mon, 4th Sep 2006, 12:19pm

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FXhomer4609

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I am currently trying to complete a 7 second piece of footage for my horror film. The killer thrusts the victims head onto the grill of an oven and sets it on fire. I want the effects to look as realistic as possible. There are two shots, a long shot of the killer and the victim in pain and a close up of the victims face in the flames. I have attempted the effects my self, but they don't look great. I was wondering if anyone had any tips or ideas or techniques I could use to provide the best effects possible.

This is my first ever post on this site btw, so I may have done this wrong.

Thnx 4 any help and ideas guys.
Posted: Mon, 4th Sep 2006, 12:57pm

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petet2

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Have you used some of the fire presets? It would be useful if you could post some examples of your composited files.

You might find that stock footage would give you a more realistic look for a close up than particle generated fire. I don't know if there are any old Alam DV plug ins you could use but Detonation FIlms produce high quality stock fooage and have a number of free clips as well.

http://www.detonationfilms.com/free_stuff.htm
Posted: Mon, 4th Sep 2006, 1:21pm

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Multiwagon

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Overlay some stock foortage of fire that is not much bigger than the head on to the video, place the fire over the head and then lower the opacity of the fire so you can see both the head and the fire.
Posted: Mon, 4th Sep 2006, 2:42pm

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FXhomer4609

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Tnx a lot 4 your comments guys. I've already tried experimenting with some of the old Alam DV plugins, but it doesn't look that good at the moment, my masking isn't great and I'm having difficulty creating a depth of field and it still just looks painted on and I know that it could probably look better. I'd like to try and post an example of my compositing, but I'm not sure how. Do i have to put it on my own website and do a link or something?
Posted: Mon, 4th Sep 2006, 3:13pm

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Multiwagon

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You need to use a free hosting website such as putfile and then link to it here.
Posted: Mon, 4th Sep 2006, 4:45pm

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B3N

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erm do you want the hair on fire or the whole head on fire
Posted: Mon, 4th Sep 2006, 5:40pm

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FXhomer4609

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Right, I've posted a sample of my video so far.

http://media.putfile.com/FireSample

You have to wait about 5 mins for the video to load and flow properly on my computer btw. Please can you guys be as harsh and critical as possible and any advice or tips that you may have for improvements will be very helpful. Tnx.
Posted: Mon, 4th Sep 2006, 11:09pm

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Multiwagon

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Nice job. At the begining though I would try to mask out the dish holder thing because it looks like its on fire too.
Posted: Tue, 5th Sep 2006, 7:35am

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Wizard

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FXhomer4609 wrote:

Please can you guys be as harsh and critical as possible and any advice or tips that you may have for improvements will be very helpful. Tnx.
Well, I do not intend to be harsh, but I do have a few words of advice that may help. Parts of this effect are turning out satisfactory. You have used the stock footage rather well so far, but there are still aspects of this effect that could be improved upon.

To begin, the beginning of the effect seems fairly unstable, and changes position quite a bit. You may want to consider filming with a stationary camera for shots like this. If the camera is in motion, it is important to put more attention towards motion tracking, or the effect will lose authenticity.

To add to the suggestion of masking the tray in the beginning, there are other areas where more scrupulous masking would help to improve the effect as well.

While the individual is being held in the fire, the mask is currently far to rigged, and not tracked as well as it could be. Spending more time trying to closely mask around the actor, and smoothing out the look of the mask, will allow for the end result to be much more seamless.

Once you have drawn your mask shape, before selecting "Animate", try adjusting the "Smooth points" slider. This prevents the mask from appearing sharp, and rigged. Additionally, adding a slight feather to the mask will create a softer edge around the masked area, allowing for a more immaculate effect.

For even greater realism, you could try adding a particle effect with a displacement map on it, to emulate the appearance of a heat haze, normally seen in high temperatures. As an alternative to creating your own heat haze effect, there is a heat haze preset already in the library, which may be suitable for this.

I hope it turns out.
Wizard.
Posted: Tue, 5th Sep 2006, 8:40am

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FXhomer4609

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Tnx so much guys for all of your help so far. I'm going to redo the effects now and I will make use of all of the tips and advice you have given me. Tnx again for your help guys.

Btw "Wizard", you mentioned something about "motion tracking" for when the cameras in motion. Have you got any tips for how to keep the fire in the same place when the camera is moving and also there is a part in the sequence when the camera zooms in slightly so the fire needs to get bigger, but when i try to adjust the size of the fire it just goes up from say "27" to "36" and the fire seems to enlarge too much. It doesn't allow me to just adjust the size from say "26" to "27" or "28".
Posted: Tue, 5th Sep 2006, 10:48am

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Wizard

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FXhomer4609 wrote:

Have you got any tips for how to keep the fire in the same place when the camera is moving...
For this type of work, I suggest using a point of reference from your video as a rough guide, which indicates where the effect should be placed. If the footage has any movement, align the effect so that it is relative to the point of reference that you would have chosen when you first placed the effect.

Obviously this would not be an effective method for all of your tracking needs, but it will certainly help for less involved tracking tasks, such as this.

FXhomer4609 wrote:

...when i try to adjust the size of the fire it just goes up from say "27" to "36" and the fire seems to enlarge too much. It doesn't allow me to just adjust the size from say "26" to "27" or "28".
You can alter the scale of an object to a precise value by entering the numerical value into the value dialog box, as apposed to altering the scale slider.

If you have not already, now would be an appropriate time to view the video tutorials supplied by FXhome. For this particular instance, the animation tutorial may prove useful. I look forward to seeing your next attempt.

Take care.
Wizard.
Posted: Wed, 6th Sep 2006, 11:27am

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FXhomer4609

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Right, I've finished the final video clip and used the advice you guys have given me. Thnx a lot Wizard for the tips about adjusting the feather and adding the heat haze. That really helped to improve the overall effect.

http://media.putfile.com/FireFinal

Here is the link to the final sequence. However, it doesn't seem to be working right now, I may have to reload the video again. If the link changes then I'll post a new one as soon as possible. Tnx again guys for all of your help.

Edit: Link does work. You just have to wait for a little while.
Posted: Thu, 7th Sep 2006, 1:20am

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petet2

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Second version looks much better, well done!

Often effects look better the less you see of them. Watch horror or action films and often you will see that effects shots are composed of several very short clips from different angle etc rather than one single longer camera angle. Maybe you could re-edit your sequence, cutting between the shots more often?

As well as increasing the pace of a dramatic sequence this also gives the viewer less time to spot flaws in an effect and their imagination often creates an image much worse than that they have been actually shown.

[Contrastingly Lucio Fulci's Zombie/Zombie Flesh Eaters has long lingering shots of all the gore etc and much as I love the film so much it does show up the quaint rubbery inadequacy of many of the effects]