Monday, 1 October 2012

Lights, Camera, Stop..!

Pixilation is a key technique used to breathe life into a music video for the Singing Loins.  In pixilation, actors are used instead of or in combination with puppets and photographed frame-by-frame to build an animated sequence.  I'd decided I'd like to combine pixilation with timelapse and CGI to create a montage style in certain sequences.  So, in order to place the band and supporting actors into these animated collages, we shot the pixilated sequences against a green screen, so we could later remove the key provided by the backdrop and position the foreground subjects against another location/medium.

Adding a garbage matte in After Effects in green screen removal.

We arrived at the location around lunchtime the day before the shoot to set-up the screen and lights.  We also gave the screen a quick test in front of the camera and happy with the results, planned to set up the lights for shooting the foreground subjects when everyone arrived the following morning.  

Armed with a shooting schedule and having set-up the previous day, the shooting day ran fairly smoothly. Some intricate make-up for one actress meant that the band were first up in the morning, which also suited as it placed the less complex sequences at the end of the day.  We were the able to pack up and give plenty of time for lights to cool and for volunteers to eat throughout the shoot.  

Lighting is the key ingredient for successful green screening and we found the following advice invaluable:  Light the green screen separately from the subjects and place subjects at an adequate distance from the screen to reduce colour bleed onto skin, clothing or other reflective surfaces.  You can also enhance the colour uniformity in the glow from the screen in camera with a slightly slower shutter and opening the aperture a little, although this does increase the risk of motion blur/colour bleed and is therefore far better suited for pixilated sequences than video, for example.

Many thanks to:

Patric Murphy for the technical and all other support, Fola Akinsola for her time and patience, Seth Woolf and Jay Allen for the lights, Katie Broderick for her artistic talents and the Singing Loins for the loan of their bodies ;) x

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