I filmed this at home in my living room, i did want to film my children outside running and dodging around things but unfortunately thanks to the all the bad weather we’ve had i was unable to get outside. So i had to make do inside and i struggled with the light because our living room is quite dark so that wasn’t ideal.
It took several takes, i handheld the camera to film because it needed to be shaky footage and we set up an island in the middle of the sofas originally because i wanted them to jump onto that and have the lava bubbling around them but trying to convince my 5 year old that he had to jump straight from the sofa onto the island without touching the carpet (lava) proved an impossible feat so instead they just jumped from sofa to sofa. I also had to keep re-shooting because he kept looking at the camera….and no matter how many times i told him not to he did so for that reason and that he kept standing in the lava the clip ended up being only 8 seconds long because i had to cut it in between him doing those things.
I put the footage together in After Effects, using green screen footage of lava and explosions that i used from Youtube and used the track camera footage, masking, levels and colour correction adjustments.
I knew i wanted to include my kids in this project somehow, i thought it would be fun to do with them. So i chose my location which is the field next to where i lived, i knew i wanted something with dinosaurs in so i went onto youtube and searched for dinosaur green (blue) screen and chose Brachiosaurus ones because i thought the size of it would work well in the field.
Once i had chosen the clips i liked i made a note the details – how far away was the camera from the dinosaur, which direction the light was landing on it etc and i used this info to decide where i was going to film from and what time of day so that when i put the dino clips into my real footage they would match up as best as i could.
I wrote a brief little plan of what the film was:
-Peaceful day on Brachiosaurus Farm, My Daughter was going to be the Expert doing a health check, and then gets rudely disturbed by a wild t-rex on a rampage.
I made a Brachio Health Check sheet and printed that off for my daughter to use with a clip board.
We spent about half an hour shooting, i took the youtube clips of the dino out with me on my phone so i could keep referring to them when i was directing my daughter on where to stand / look etc.
Once we were finished, i spent about 2 days on After Effects putting it all together. I used scale, position, rotation, opacity, puppet tool, rotation, exposure adjustments, chroma key, and lots of other tweaks with the settings to match the colour balance between the real footage and green screen footage. I also found all sound effects – Birds singing, footsteps & roars etc on Youtube.
I was really pleased with the end result, if i had more time i would of tried to find a better green screen clip of the t-rex running towards the camera at the end.
Approaching this assignment i think i spent almost 2 hours just aimlessly sifting through film clips not knowing what to throw together and then when i did find clips that i thought would work together i couldn’t cut the figures out neat enough because they were moving too fast or the person blended in with the background too much so when i used the Roto Brush Tool it wasn’t neat enough.
I was determined to use a Will Ferrell film (just because i think he’s great) and when i tried to pair Land Of The Lost and Elf it just didn’t work so i used Clint Eastwood from The Good, The Bad and the Ugly instead of Elf. This worked quite well because they were both in desert scenes, Clint was however very much in shadow, less saturated and not as orange:
So i used a mixture of curves, exposure & the brightness & contrast to match him to the background.
Using the Roto Brush i was able to cut around Clint, it wasn’t easy and i found that i needed to make the brush tool smaller to get much more accurate areas selected but i couldn’t see a way of doing this. I refined the edges of him in the Roto Brush Matte options by changing the Feather, Contrast & Shift Edge levels and this tidied it up a bit. I also added a blur effect to the background as Clint is walking towards the camera to add some depth of field.
And then for a bit of fun i threw in Woody (Green Screen) getting crushed by a falling ice cream van at the end, using rectangular mask to move over Woody as the van fell on him.
He also needed colour correction and the levels changing to suit the change of light as the van came from above.
I actually really enjoyed this once i had the material to use, most of my time was spent wandering aimlessly through youtube just looking, i think if someone had given me the footage from the beginning i could of really spent some time and gone to town with it.
My Project – WILD WANGDANGLED