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Back to the future 3 effect

Posted: Mon, 13th Jan 2003, 6:31pm

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Animaster

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Haven't got any sleep the last few days cus i'm just thinking about how the heck they did this effect:
In the scene where Seamus McFly and Marty McFly are eating there is a shot where Seamus gives Marty a plate. Since they are both played by the same actor it must be some kind of split-screen. I saw the behind the scenes stuff on the DVD where they say they use a VistaGlide camera system to make the camera do the exact same moves multiple times. The problem is that they at one point hold in both ends of the plate at the same time while moving it.I thought it might be some kind of robot arm controling the plate, but the motion is way too smooth. I also thought of fishing wire holding the plate in place vertically but it would be nearly impossible not to rotate the plate slightly when grabbing it from the other end. If you have seen the film, have you got any idea how this might be done?
Posted: Mon, 13th Jan 2003, 6:36pm

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Sollthar

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Rating: +1

You have the same effect in Lord of the rings, where Gandalf gives his stick to bilbo at the beginning. They're not in the same room.

You just let another actor play the other part giving or taking the plat and then erase him out and replace him. The whole timing must be set to this moment.

I tried a simililar effect and it worked
Posted: Mon, 13th Jan 2003, 6:40pm

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Animaster

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but for a film it would be too obvious where the cut is if you just guess where the other actor's hand is gonna be
Posted: Mon, 13th Jan 2003, 6:41pm

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Sollthar

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There are no cuts... you change the mask while the plate changes owners.
Posted: Mon, 13th Jan 2003, 6:47pm

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Animaster

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well at one point the right image plate must change to the left image plate. And the movement of the hands must be completely the same. In the scene, they are moving exacly in sync and the plate moves completely smooth with no trace of it switching
Posted: Mon, 13th Jan 2003, 6:49pm

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Sollthar

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They will need to do a little correction on the positions of course. but nothing too difficult.

Watch the making of "Fellowship of the ring" on the SEE. You'll see that done in that filmtoo. it's the same effect.
Posted: Mon, 13th Jan 2003, 6:52pm

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Animaster

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bttf3 was made in 1990 and they say in the documentary this was made without digital technology so how could they do that kind of image
manipulation?
Posted: Mon, 13th Jan 2003, 7:57pm

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Sollthar

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They could paint over it. Like they do the particle effects or all the post-lighteffects.
It's not that it hasn't got special effects smile
Posted: Mon, 13th Jan 2003, 8:17pm

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Animaster

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they could paint over it but they would never get the plates in the exact same place. tryed it right now, it will maybe work with a stick but not with a plate
Posted: Mon, 13th Jan 2003, 8:22pm

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er-no

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It was actually a scaled replica. Including Micheal J Fox.

Yeap.
Posted: Mon, 13th Jan 2003, 10:08pm

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Ice_Man

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clever er-no ; )

sollthar, Gandalf's staff and hat were computer animated when he gave them to Bilbo, neither actor was holding anything.

as for animaster's question, I don't know. I know how I'd do it, but that involves digital technology, which you said they didn't use. which only re-opens the question.

anyway, back to what sollthar was saying about hand painting the plates. that's something they definitely could do. have you any idea how much time they spend in post production and effects on big budget movies? all it takes is perseverence and lots of patience to do a job like that.
Posted: Mon, 13th Jan 2003, 11:23pm

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Sollthar

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You're wrong Ice_Man...

If you watch the MakingOf DVDs in the LotR SEE version you'll see that shot in "natural form" smile
You'll see gandalf standing in a bluescreen room and holding his Stick and Hat. There is an assistant kneeling in front of him, catching stick and hat and running away with those. smile
Then you'll see a shot of Bilbo taking the stick and the hat from another assistant.

These shots we're put together... Trust me, I've just seen it a few days ago. smile
Posted: Mon, 13th Jan 2003, 11:29pm

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Ice_Man

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I got it for christmas, and watched it all shortly thereafter, and I don't remember that.
hmm.
I'll take your word on it for now, but I'll have to go back and watch it again.

If you're right, it kind of makes me wonder where I got that idea from. : (
Posted: Tue, 14th Jan 2003, 12:33am

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Magic_man12

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Damn you all and your 4 disc sets!
I have the plain old 2 disc set of lotr....
BAH!


-MAGIC
Posted: Tue, 14th Jan 2003, 12:39am

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Sollthar

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*cough* 5 discs... lol
Posted: Tue, 14th Jan 2003, 12:40am

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Ice_Man

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HAHAHAHAHAHA!
Magic man :
I do too! I bought the 2 disc set when it was first released, then I got the 4 disc set as a gift for christmas!

hey, if you want, you can have my old 2 disc set ; )

Last edited Tue, 14th Jan 2003, 12:43am; edited 1 times in total.

Posted: Tue, 14th Jan 2003, 12:42am

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Ice_Man

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sollthar :
Ahh, you must have gotten the UBER collection of lord of the rings. : )
I only have the 4 disc set

didn't the 5 disc set come with book ends, or something?
Posted: Tue, 14th Jan 2003, 12:49am

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Ice_Man

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hey, wait a minute!

Amazon.com doesn't list a 5 disc set. it's got a 2 disc set, 4 disc, then 4 disc with bookends, but no 5 disc set!

where in tarnation did you get a 5 disc set from? is it just not available in the U.S.? or is it just not available through amazon?

hmm, have to do some more research.
sollthar : where'd you get it from, 'cause I want one now!
Posted: Tue, 14th Jan 2003, 12:54am

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Ice_Man

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nevermind, I found it

is that national geographic thing any good? is it worth spending 90 bucks before shipping on? aside from that and some bookends, that's the only difference between that one, and the one I've already got.

Amazon.com is just gay. They should carry this.
Posted: Tue, 14th Jan 2003, 1:08am

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Sollthar

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Yeah... I have that nice collectors box with the two argonauts in it (wich will have their special place on my bookshelf). The 5th dics (national geographics) isn't really that good... but the box itself does look very nice and the two statues inside are great!

i have so few DVDs so i thought when I buy a collectors edition, I buy ALL. smile
Posted: Tue, 14th Jan 2003, 1:10am

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Ice_Man

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'kay, thanks man!

I'm gonna hold off on this for a while then. if the 5th disc isn't anything spectacular, I've no reason to get it. I don't have room on my bookshelf for bookends ; )
Posted: Tue, 14th Jan 2003, 11:11am

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Simon K Jones

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Argonath. razz

And Sollthar is right about the Gandalf/Bilbo stick exchange.


As for BttF - there are also some fantasticlly clever splits-screen shots in BttF2 which I'd never even noticed until the other day.
Posted: Tue, 14th Jan 2003, 11:20am

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Sollthar

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Arghonath! Yes... Sorry... I was two much in the part of jason... smile
Posted: Tue, 14th Jan 2003, 12:02pm

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Animaster

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it might work for a stick and an actor being shot infront of a bluescreen and all, but in bttf its just split screen and a bit of matte painting. And a plate is much harder to manipulate in post production than a stick.
Posted: Tue, 14th Jan 2003, 12:29pm

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Simon K Jones

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It wasn't shot in front of a bluescreen. And, in fact, it was shot on two entirely different sets...(I think)...
Posted: Tue, 14th Jan 2003, 2:09pm

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Animaster

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Ice_man, how would you do it digitally then anyway?
Posted: Tue, 14th Jan 2003, 2:59pm

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Ice_Man

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set up :
I'd have 'Marty' do his part, acting with a body double in seamus' costume.

I'd film 'marty-as-seamus' against a bluescreen acting his part, then use 3ds max to do a head replacement and skin blend.

I've done it before, nobody could even tell. I got the idea after watching the Kung Pow DVD. those of you who've seen it know what I'm talking about! (weee-o, weee-o, weeeee!!) ; )

anyway, I've got that clip hidden somewhere on my hard drive, I'll see if I can find it to upload to show you guys.
Posted: Tue, 14th Jan 2003, 7:25pm

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billy3d

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eh why not just to simple split screen and use a CG plate or stick confused
Posted: Tue, 14th Jan 2003, 8:40pm

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Ice_Man

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because you have greater flexibility in what you can do with head or limb replacement techniques. you don't have to worry about masking individual fingers and whatnot on your cg object.
you also couldn't do that for phyisical contact. in the shot I did, my twin and I tossed a ball back and forth, and shook hands, and hugged
we tried doing a split screen of the same thing, and it didn't work very good. the cg ball looked passable, but the handshake was all wrong in the split screen. there was good, solid contact in the head replacement version, and you could really see that on screen

also, with split screens, you're limited to staying on one side of the shot. it's a whole lot extra work to mask for crossing sides.
Posted: Wed, 15th Jan 2003, 7:21pm

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Animaster

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I would really like to see that clip! biggrin
But doesen't it look very obvious that it's a replacement head? How exacly do you do it? Do you just replace the face or the whole head? Do you use just a sphere with a texture then? And how do you make it look correct when the head moves?
Posted: Wed, 15th Jan 2003, 9:04pm

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wdy

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There's the new Back to the Future Trilogy out too!
Posted: Wed, 15th Jan 2003, 9:26pm

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Ice_Man

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still looking for it. . . I've got way too much hard drive for stuff to get lost in (two striped 200GB hard drives, and they're almost full!)

we wrapped Paul's head in an Ace bandage, and used bright red paint to mark eyes, ears, top of the head(in an 'x'), and mouth. The ace wrap was to keep all undesirable nuances out (such as hair swinging, or sticking out funny. those would've had to be painted over, otherwise) the red marks on the ace wrap allowed me to see exactly how the head was oriented, which way it was pointing, how much it was turned one way or the other, etc. etc. . . .

then, I dressed in the clothes Paul had worn, and performed the exact same actions he did. well, as close to exact as we could get. we watched paul's footage about a bajillion times, then took another bajillion takes of me doing it against the screen. once we finally got a take that looked to be close enough, we brought it all into the computer.

in premiere, we spliced the footage of me and paul together exactly how we wanted it, and then edited the footage of me against the blue screen to match the other stuff.
in 'max, I used a simple plane with a camera map material of me against the screen. using my mouth, eyes and ears, I was able to match them up with the red marks on the ace bandages to match the head motion and placement. I color corrected my head to match paul's skin, and then used a gradient opacity map to blend my neck into his.

this was a while ago, back when I was still using revision 3 of 3ds max. I haven't tried it since then, so I don't know how easy it would be now with newer, different software.

we replaced the whole head. at the time, paul had really long hair, and I didn't, so it wouldn't have been an option to do just the face, because he refused to cut his hair.
In Jet Li's movie "The One" they used these techniques, too. They did some head replacements, as well as face-only replacements. they did the face replacements with a computer generated model of Jet Li's head applied to a body double's face. the painted his face all green, and marked out points that they could match the cg face to. it worked really good. they showed which was the real and which was the fake in each of those scenes, and I couldn't tell. they did a really awesom job.
Posted: Thu, 16th Jan 2003, 1:48pm

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Animaster

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How did you check that the movement was the same?
Posted: Thu, 16th Jan 2003, 9:44pm

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Ice_Man

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we had multiple monitors set up, with a mobile production cart that allowed us to do real-time chromakeying. as I was acting against the blue screen, my buddy sat at the cart checking body placement. I had a monitor set up in the studio, so I could see what I was doing and how it matched up with paul's movement.
Posted: Thu, 16th Jan 2003, 11:24pm

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cdolsen

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try this

1 have your actor hand whatever but start to lay it down
2 after it is down have your actor move around to the other side
3 edit out the 'walkaroung' and if your camer is locked down it will appear seamless.

be carefil of action if the background though.