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House of Cards - Season 3

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Thank you all for sharing!

I have gained a lot of new knowledge that I hope I might be able to help put to use in the future somehow. The sooner the better.

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Yes, what an excellent thread! Thanks to all the HoC participants.

Man, sometimes I am not even allowed to break the frame in a green screen setup! This is brilliant, though. A lot of food for thought for dop's, directors, producers...

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Thank you all for sharing!

I have gained a lot of new knowledge that I hope I might be able to help put to use in the future somehow. The sooner the better.

I think everybody in the business is inspired by this. I'll be booming on a show that's already been rolling a few months, so I probably won't be able to put this to good use, but for future jobs this is great.

Thanks!

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Here is the award winning sound team of House of Cards season 3, hard at work
Myself, Randy Pease and Chris Jones
 

As we can see, Lorenzo is really good at some things:

post-1223-0-23606100-1426947265_thumb.jp

To be fair, the photo was taken right around the birth of one of his kids.

Best regards,

Jim

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I really watch little tv, but this conversation got me curious so my wife and I watched the first two shows from season 1. I plan on watching more until I catch up or bail out for some reason. The sound is very good. The look is typical Fincher. The structure and breaking of the 4th wall will either become great or an annoyance, hard to tell at this point. My 2 cents.

CrewC

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Fantastic thread.

Might be nothing less than a paradigm change in movie production.

The key now is making this workflow known to as many "image" people, from camera to color, as possible.

 

Man, sometimes I am not even allowed to break the frame in a green screen setup!

Usually happens when the picture folks don't know about post capabilities.

Often these same folks ask, "don't you have a plugin to make the boom sound closer?"

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Usually happens when the picture folks don't know about post capabilities.

Absolutely. Especially strange as with green screen it can be useful to have some basic understanding of Post production capabilities. Otherwise that green screen will in the end just be a very green picture

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Hey guys, back again... Lemme see if I can answer those questions...

 

Hey Chad, thanks for the info. Nice of you to join in this topic. I've got a question. Is a 6K workflow mandatory for painting stuff out? Or is it any easier? Can you do the same if it's a 4K work flow? Is it unwise to try this with a 2K Alexis workflow? I know we do 2K green screen all the time very effectively but obviously GS is easier by it's nature. Thanks.

CrewC

 

6k is no more necessary than even 1k to "paint" out a boom from a static shot.  Alexa, Red, film, etc.  As long as there's a few usable seconds of a clean take without a boom pole, shot on the same camera, at the same resolution, then it won't matter the frame resolution.  Resolution really only matters when it comes to something like green screen work - like dealing with someone's hair on a green screen.  At 1k, there'd be hardly any detail in the hair.  At 6k, you could see every strand, and thusly make a better green screen composite.  For something like replacing a boom pole with a "clean" plate, though, your "clean" and "dirty" elements are both the same resolution.

 

Chad, is wire removal (or boom) on moving shots still a frame by frame process or

as tracking software gets better and better has the process changed to a different technique?

 

It's a lot easier opening the discussion with clients if we have a better idea of the process in 2015.

Thanks

 

Moving shots are tricky.  Worst case scenarios involve frame-by-frame removal of a boom or wire.  I imagine the sound equivalent would be something like using the pen tool to draw a new wave line.  (Please forgive me if that's not even remotely comparable.)  haha.  There are much better options, typically, but doing something like this on a moving shot would not be advisable unless you have a very talented VFX guy/team who wants to spend a day *attempting* to make the shot usable.  And it may not work, depending on the complexity.  Of course, damn near anything can be accomplished with VFX/CGI, but the costs get out of hand quickly.  A post supervisor would likely scoff at something like this, for better or worse, if they knew they could ADR the scene or moment instead.

 

Some things to keep in mind when shooting scenes in this manner:

 

Be sure the lighting hasn't changed between the filming of the scene and the "clean" plate.  The background behind your boom can't have fluctuating light.  Things like actors' shadows crossing over the background, etc, etc, will all make the composite that much harder. Any VFX compositor worth their salt will usually figure out a solution to remove possible boom shadows, actors' shadows, etc, but obviously it's not a guarantee.  If the background behind your boom is something that moves, like an ocean of water, or a tree in the wind - your "clean" plate certainly won't match the original image.  The "clean" plate needs to be the exact same as the original background.

 

Edited by Chad Peter

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Chad, this is why you are much much smarter than I. I want to add on the production side, we are lucky to have two fantastic operators who watch for everything. So if we cross a shadow with the boom, or cross an actor, it's all collaborative. We discuss it all and make sure we are in the clear with the booms and if it is problematic we just try and find another solution. It's a matter of what it's worth. If we have to do a ballet act to put the boom in the shot for one line is it worth it or maybe use a plant mic or a lav. It is a tool, a fantastic one, but one of many tools to use.

Lorenzo

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Absolutely. Especially strange as with green screen it can be useful to have some basic understanding of Post production capabilities. Otherwise that green screen will in the end just be a very green picture

To make a green screen work in post, post must just be done by someone who knows their job (as long as that green screen is lighted decently).

To allow a boom in shot in front of a green screen, a few non-post people need to know about the post workflow too.

 

I should probably jump in now and say that the majority of productions you might be requesting this new workflow from, probably won't have the resources or willingness to follow through -- or you'll run into some obstacles with the post supervisor not understanding why this is necessary.  I say that only because, since I'm technically an "in-house" employee of Fincher, they have me on board specifically to handle smaller VFX tasks just like this.  Most productions around town don't have a single "in-house" VFX artist on hand, and usually only hire out vendors like Digital Domain, Ollin, etc, etc, etc.  The vendors cost and arm and a leg by comparison, so most post supervisors typically scoff at the idea of sending something like this out.  You'd need the director or producer breathing down the necks of the post supervisor, probably, to get it approved.  The idea of having an "in-house" VFX person is spreading, however, and more post workflows are starting to include one around town.  

 

(...)

 

2.) If you're trying to convince a smaller indie production to do this, make sure they understand what exactly will need to happen to complete the shot in post.  I can imagine inexperienced productions coming to a stand-still in post, not having the budget or knowhow to find someone who knows how to remove the boom.  I'm guessing most of you won't be on these kinds of productions, but yeah.....

 

In your experience, do they rather listen to cost arguments or to workflow arguments? Especially in a situation where cost of removing a boom is significantly lower than ADR, but needs the whole post workflow to accomodate?

Does it differ with younger teams that have known digital workflows from the beginnings of their careers vs old school teams used to shoot on film?

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Information from the guy doing the work.....priceless.

 

Chad thanks for posting and clearing up some facts regarding the need for more resolution. 1k VS  6k.

 

 

I should probably jump in now and say that the majority of productions you might be requesting this new workflow from, probably won't have the resources or willingness to follow through

 

 

This will be the biggest stumbling block to over come. Maybe as things progress the onset DMT will be able to handle some of the easily accomplished VFX work for the dailies.

 

 It's a matter of what it's worth. If we have to do a ballet act to put the boom in the shot for one line is it worth it or maybe use a plant mic or a lav. It is a tool, a fantastic one, but one of many tools to use.

Lorenzo

 

And that is precisely what this site that Jeff has provided for us is. A means of spreading information to give us the tools to do our job better.

 

Bill

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To make a green screen work in post, post must just be done by someone who knows their job (as long as that green screen is lighted decently).

To allow a boom in shot in front of a green screen, a few non-post people need to know about the post workflow too.

This is so blindingly obvious, it's nearly a tautology.

I'm sorry for this short green screen excursion. I meant my original comment only as an example to highlight the stark differences between the House of Cards world where they have established such a great workflow and my, sometimes frustrating world, where even the most basic things still need to be explained and discussed ad nauseum. The comment wasn't really meant to invite explanatory comments.

Now back to HoC.

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Two more thumbs up for this thread and especially the HOC folks' excellent informative contributions. As much as we'd all love the boom paint out "game change" to be adapted into our productions, I think it is important to be aware of some things, like what Chad wrote in his last post. I'd like to add that many DOPs I have worked with rarely shoot a (even partly, even wides) locked down shot. If they have a shooting style that involves almost constant movement of the camera (dolly, pans) a lot of the time, albeit barely noticable, then the boom paint out method won't be applicable a lot, unless you can convince the DP to change their shooting style (good luck with that). As Chad has stated, paint outs with moving cameras are not as quick and easy as in locked down shots.

So that is something that one might want to find out before approaching production with such a proposal.

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Join everyone else in celebrating this thread.

 

Wowza.

 

Surprised about moving cameras being such a deal, but then, I'm a neophyte at this. It was a deal until this show when our Post Producer allowed as how the moving camera wasn't such a deal this gig. They must have access to a latest-greatest motion tracking program. Wish I felt I could ask him about it, but he's up to his hairline keeping up. His big request was for a heads up so that it didn't land last minute.

 

More later.

 

Who needs sleep? I need sleep.

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Great thread,

 

I was discussing the idea of boom removal with two post production producers this morning. While being fairly relaxed about the concept, they were concerned about the subtleties of camera operating.  A static shot is relative in that a camera operator will commonly be making framing variations as each take settles in and then progresses. Can the clean plate and the shot itself have camera "operating" variations and still be efficient for boom removal?

 

David

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I'm on a pilot for HBO where my post-producer has given their blessing over painting out booms. She told me while on the tech scout that it's a thirty minute fix with VFX and they typically have it budgeted to fix that sort of stuff, along with the grip, lighting, and camera gack that unfortunately find their ways into shots on a fast paced show.

We are on day 6 of 8 and I finally had to cash that chip over a shot that required the boom to be seen in a mirror's reflection. I went to the DP, who is aware of what HOC has accomplished, and he had no problem with it. He just asked me to run it by our producer who also gave it her blessing. We got a couple seconds of "plate" without the boom and once that was done put it in place and got nice clean sound. I think more and more people in episodic are hip to what is available in post and want to move in this direction.

The hardest part was to get everyone on the same page because the camera operators were still hollering about seeing the boom. A protocol has to be established on how to do this and I think that's still being worked out.

Post producers don't want to do ADR because sound got 'wide tighted' out of shots, directors want their show to sound the best they can, and producers don't want it costing extra money. This can be common place if there's a budget for it and done intelligently and it helps that we as sound mixers are aware of what is achievable and keep asking for it from our DPs, directors, and producers.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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To me the missing point is the "wide" shot's value, whether it moves&pans or is locked off, what is its usefulness in a scene other than for a tableau or outro shot?  99% of all film scenes move in and in. You'll seldom see an energy depleting wide shot in the middle of a scene. Yet too many productions continue to shoot them because they can and not for their value. What does it wipe out?  A lot of good sounding performances. With today technologize and craft workers skills, we could have both with a little discipline and planing.

CrewC

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Great thread, been doing that for years now, but that is sit-com, so formulated. There is at least 3 people at the village who all know when they need the wide shot, or if there is VFX, the vfx guy is on the stage and can tell you what you can get away with. How may times have we said "dam that wide shot". I think good communaction goes a long way in getting what you need, education among those who do not understand the process fully whoul help. And give me a director who knows what the hell they are doing.

 

"You don't leave the theater humming a wide shot"

 

Phil

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Great information here!

THX everybody

If travelling shots/camera movement is repeatable (i.e. motion control), we can do the travelling clean first for easy VFX boom removal. If the travelling is not repeatable exactly the VFX will have a much harder time...

It's time to have this kind of booming for wide shots being known to production/camera departments.

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Have been increasingly often approaching the director on the advent of the wide/tight gee-whiz-the-little-kid's-got-15-minutes-before-he's-wrapped shot to ask they drop the wide when they've got it and leave the tight. Takes a while, but they soon get it. First time's the most difficult. Then there's the, "Let us break frame once you've got the first few seconds you know you'll use," question I also keep in my pocket. Helps to have a direct line to the operators/DP to include them in the loop for sure. I adore my boom op for many things, not least of which his ability to get to those people quickly.

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