Imagined Environments

Overview

Visual effects and digital compositing is not a new phenomenon – Georges Méliès, A Trip to the Moon (1902), integrates images from multiple sources into a single seamless whole. Even if the elements in the scene are not real, the viewer must be able to believe that everything in the scene was photographed at the same time. By far the most difficult part of this process is producing the integrated result, an image that doesn’t betray that its creation was owed to multiple source elements.
The role of this project is to help you tell stories about something that doesn’t exist and by using multiple sources, 2d and/or 3d, making the final outcome as convincing as possible. The starting point can be something you’ve done before, ie from a previous project that you place into a different context.

Assignment

The role of this project is how to tell stories about something that doesn’t exist – the key thing is you have to make it as convincing as possible. The start point can be something you’ve done before, ie from a previous project that you place into a different context.

Create either one 15-20sec video or two shorter clips; (1920×1080), 25 FPS at highest quality MP4. The final submission will be supported by well-considered documentation of the process and should clearly represent the project’s development.

First Insights

After the introduction for imagined environments I want to look at some of the inspiration/sources that Gillian has posted on canvas to grasp a better understanding of what is required for this project. Straight away I was drawn to the idea that after effects where used in the past even in photographs that where painted over. I am hoping to maybe work with my digital camera to record some footage however I also want to look at my instant camera and my digital polaroid and experiment with the analogue before I try experimenting with what can be achieved on a laptop screen – which obviously is limitless.

I imagine double exposure and collage are things I could experiment with on paper as well as on the screen for example a scene from the ‘Metropolis’ trailer:

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A couple of years ago I created a lot of work which explored identity and multiple personalities/moods and I created this by painting a face coming out from another, drawing one things over another and creating a sense of double exposure.

This particular piece of work is a Lino Cut print which is stamped twice but the second time the Lino Cut was intentionally moved an inch down and the second piece to the side:

doubleexposure

I made a lot of work with similar techniques as well as exploring my other ones. I also own a polaroid like camera which is also digital giving an option of double exposure and a lot more choice/control than a normal polaroid. Original polaroids print out the picture as soon as it is taken but this camera takes the photo displays it on the screen display and allows you to choose whether you want to print it or not.

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Double exposure feature shown on official instax website:

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source: https://www.instax.co.uk/seeing-double-the-instax-sq10-way/


Sketchbook notes from the first workshop:


I really liked this clip with the time flowing by and being in total control over how fast we want time to pass.

Idea 1 & Idea 2 & Idea 3

Currently, I have two ideas but I’m already leading closer to one more than the other. Considering the time machine clip from above and the last scene In ‘T2 Trainspotting’  where mark stands in his room and it gets longer and longer I was considering a tunnel like effect:

On the other hand I would really like to look more into the idea of double exposures and over layering for a subtle gentle effect as a lot of the time after effects in movies are pretty drastic I would like to explore a more subtle alternative.

Update: I have another idea involving subtitles in real life. Many people watch Netflix with subtitles, especially if English isn’t their first language, which is why I was thinking of creating a short film where a person can put on glasses which add subtitles to real life.

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The storyboard above portrays the idea of how I would film the footage. Firstly, I would record a pair of glasses from the first perspective so that the viewer could see the glasses as if they are putting them on, then the viewer would witness an interaction/conversation between two people speaking to each other with the subtitle glasses in effect. Then the video could move to a third perspective where we see the person with the glasses and them spinning and the conversations around them changing.

 

Netflix subtitles write text which is spoken by the actors as well as adding interpretation of what the sounds the characters are making are. Many of these become comedic depending on the type of film or series one is watching. The subtitles come in different languages the viewer can choose from.

Workshop 02

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Stabilizing footage which is shaky.

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Adding a perspective 4 point track.

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Tracking created after analysing.

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Adding footage. Important to stabilise if not stabilised it will not work as well.

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Start “Track Camera”. working with 3D tracking.

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If you make a pre composition from a solid you can drag footage onto the square to make a moving image on your original compilation.

This workshop is making me realise I can definitely achieve my subtitle glasses idea and make to look nice and sophisticated.

Using the fountain pen on the top left of the screen you can make a mask on a duplicated video, you can then move this duplicated layer on top of anything that you want the character to walk over rather than through. When analysing the mask through you can analyse different things in this one we done position & rotation. MAKE SURE MASK IS ABOVE THE PRE COMPS IN THE BOTTOM LEFT MENU. You can fix the mask by pausing during the video and pressing analyse again to make sure it is correct.

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To make a solid- text or anything else really. MAKE PRE COMP, delete the background colour with the delete button and make the background toggle transparent so you can visibly see what you’re creating.

Notes taken during the workshop:

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Thursday 25th January

        To do today:

  • Create storyboard
  • Try to record some experimental footage

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Storyboard portraying the visualisation of the idea. First frame is a laptop (Can be any other technology with access to internet) playing Netflix with subtitles. Second and third frame in first person perspective putting on glasses. Fourth and fifth frame after glasses are on the person can see subtitles for the conversation happening in front of them. Sixth frame of the person turning their head to witness another conversation with subtitles real life, moving away from the screen.

Explanation

Subtitles are usually formed of [reading] and [sounds]. Subtitles are usually used by people who are watching a movie in a language they aren’t confident in or don’t fully understand. Subtitles can also be used for people who or deaf or have a sound impairment. However, it has become more common for people to have subtitles on even when they understand the language and don’t have serious hearing problems as they sometimes miss certain words if actors are quiet or use slang. I personally do this myself. I do think it does take away from good footage as reading subtitles can distract away from watts happening on the screen, also subtitles cover some of the footage since they are displayed over movies and tv shows. For me it has become a habit as missing a word or two can really change the meaning of a scene and can display a different atmosphere than intended. If real life had subtitles than along with the visual face expressions and bodily gestures misunderstandings would possibly be minimal especially if the transaction was translated for two people speaking a different language.

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With the advanced technology of google translate reacting to voice these interactions could be possible, however it is not likely that text will appear in mid air which is why this will be my imagined environment.

As seen in this video it is obvious that google translate has it’s fault and isn’t perfect.

Again an example or testing however these technologies are far from being perfect and it may be centuries before these products are working and available therefore editing this project seems like something current and possibly a ‘possible fantasy future’.

Workshop 03

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Create plane from the track camera 3D points and create camera.

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Open MAXON CINEMA.

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Make sure linear workflow is on and input colour profile is sRGB.

Tip: when editing in cinema 4d you must save the file in both windows for it to update.

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To make duck appear open new layer name it something and ‘MERGE’ the 3D object you want to insert. To make the duck show on the plane click comp camera (this didn’t work for me as my duck is suspended in air.

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You can change colour, scale etc but always remember to save after each change.

You can add animation and key frames in Cinema 4D just like in Maya.

Reasoning behind concept

What if your words were seen not heard? Would they have a bigger impact and would you consider what you say more? Especially if the people around you could visibly see you words.

Right now I am editing my footage and realising that my video will be very simplistic but I think that for this project simplicity can be effective especially since we have access to crazy effects. I am hoping that this project encourages people to analyse and question the situation they are shown just like I am doing right now. Are these people present in the video aware of the fact their words are displayed in mid air? Is the person wearing the glasses used to this or is this something new they noticed? Is it something they bought?

What I mean is that this is meant to be a provoking video hopefully affecting each person who sees it. It is obviously set in an environment which everyone in the studio is used to, working on projects and having casual conversation when we take breaks. For many subtitles are also something they are used to therefore will this video seem natural or strange to the viewer?

While writing about this Bekah was trying to find a tutorial online and was getting frustrated: “I hate when they don’t speak in tutorials because I can’t get the subtitles on. I always have subtitles on, I can’t hear anything”

Some screenshots from the video so far. A conversation between Innes and Bekah in the studio with subtitles. I researched what type of font Netflix subtitles use and found that they use drop shadow which made a big difference in my opinion which made the subtitles look much better and believable.

Even though I want to keep my final video simple I did want to at least try and do some more complicated effects so I tried the 4 point track on the laptop in the video and added footage of jelly I had from last year.

Here I added A clip of a concert to the laptop in the front view.

29/01/2019

Experimenting with curves. I was considering having a colour change after the glasses are put on and maybe masking the effect when the glasses are moving up toward the face. The experiment above is obviously very extreme but I wanted to figure out key frames before deciding exactly which effect I want to use in the final video. I am also considering how I will need to mask track the glasses for the effect to work.

I’ve been editing the glasses footage frame by frame to make the mask accurate as the mask track wasn’t working very well because the footage of the glasses moves and scales a lot which the tracker had a hard time picking up. Hopefully when I mask it as accurately as possible I will be able to ad an effect that will add to the scene and make it more enticing.

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Here I used a more appropriate filter using curves I tried to make the colours look a little like what is playing on the laptop which is an episode of black mirror that, in this scene, had yellow/orange undertones.

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Final

The final video is set in the studio starting with a conversation between two people and black mirror playing on the screen then the first person character puts on a pair of glasses through which they witness the world with subtitles.

Once the glasses are on I applied colour correction using curves I wanted to show the colour tint that was used in the black mirror episode which was an orange kind of hue, this way it’s like once the glasses are on you’re in an augmented reality just like the black mirror episodes.

These are some scenes from the black mirror episode which show a dimmed warm tone scale.

These are screenshots from the final video I crated which are slightly different to the Netflix ones as my video had a lot of bright natural lighting and I didn’t mute it like the above. Also a lot of the furniture in the black mirror screen grabs is made of warm wood and the walls are mostly beige whereas the studio is white with bright yellow accents therefore I decided to add orang/warm/red tones into my already existing footage to coney this episode however It was more like taking inspiration from the series rather than recreating their colour pallet.

I am happy with the new knowledge I acquired throughout this project and there are parts of the video I am happy with. On the other hand, for the future, I would like to get better at filming understanding angles and lighting better as I feel that the video would have been much more visually appealing if the original footage was filmed correctly. I am happy with the techniques I applied to the final I had created a tracking mask for the glasses which I then had to correct frame by frame to make sure it had the impact I intended it to have. I also learned how to track motion which gave me the ability to set the subtitles in the desired places and for them to be attached to ‘characters’ in the video as they moved to give the sense of subtitles hovering around conversations as you look around in real life. I also experimented with other techniques that I mentioned in the blog which I didn’t add to the final as I felt it wouldn’t benefit from them like the four point track on the laptop screen and using very extreme colour effects.

Overall for the future if I was to continue and develop this project further I would be looking at filming in ver busy places like the train station or busy allay to show the subtitles on a much larger scale which I wasn’t able to do this time around. I would like to film from one non moving position in the train station and motion tack people walking in pairs and then add subtitles to their conversations and I’d like to record a moving camera through an allay and attach subtitles as I walk past people.

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