VAS

House of Cards - Season 3

97 posts in this topic

Hi Everyone,

I am shooting a studio movie at the moment and based on this thread I negotiated a Boom paint out workflow for a weeks worth of scenes shooting actresses in a water tank.

We are shooting two cameras and after talking to the Director,Producer,DP,VFX Supervisor and Camera Operators it was decided we would put the booms into the wide shots but not encroach into the tighter camera.

The wide shot is generally running super wide architectural type shots as the tight camera is doing mids and closes on the dialogue.

We allow a few seconds to frame grab after the clapper board exits frame before our two booms enter the frame.

We then also shoot a "clean pass" at the end of each set up.

Due to the inability to use lavs for the swimming actresses this workflow has certainly allowed the director to get usable dialogue in a group of scenes that would certainly have had to be looped otherwise.

This workflow is gaining traction and I am finding Directors and Producers understanding of what is possible in VFX is growing every year and if an original performance can be saved by using a VFX fix they are very open to considering their options.

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I think something else that should be mentioned is having a sound friendly place to shoot. Quiet sets, quiet stages allow for the boom to not have to be right on top of the actor for wider shots. Also actors who speak and don't mime their dialougue.

Lorenzo

Ps never have to worry about mr. Spacey. His whispers are louder than most people's dialougue

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I agree Lorenzo. The ironic thing about my shoot was even though we got the booms close, the DP insisted on using the practical chandelier above the actors. We didn't have shadow problems but it was on a cheap dimmer and was giving me a ton of Buzz. One problem solved, creating a new one.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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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

Going with this, how about variations in the focal plane? Should they shoot plates for each focal point and a clean plate slowly panning through different positions?

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That is another consideration, dramatic changes in focus. I would watch on my monitors and when the focus had landed I would tell the boom op to come in. It's another consideration that needs to be made.

Lorenzo

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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

 

As long as the camera is only slightly re-framing while on a TRIPOD (not moving around in a 3D space, but fixed to the head of a motionless tripod), then a little bit of movement is fine and almost guaranteed even if it's a lock-down (someone, somewhere always manages to bump the camera somehow).  haha.  First and foremost when I composite the clean plate into the shot, I have to first track and stabilize both the shot and the clean plate (remove ALL movement from both).  It's possible to get a bit more complicated than that and add a larger move (again, only a pan or tilt on a tripod), IF your clean plate still covers all the applicable space it needs to cover throughout the duration of the shot.  Any good compositor should know how to apply the clean plate, so that the shot and the clean plate move in sync with each other.

 

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.

 

Yes.  This.  If you have a motion control camera, then you can absolutely have a camera move in 3D space w/ a boom, as long as you're able to get a clean plate.  The compositing process will be moderately more difficult, but shouldn't be too terrible, if shot correctly.

 

Going with this, how about variations in the focal plane? Should they shoot plates for each focal point and a clean plate slowly panning through different positions?

 

Yeah, what Lorenzo said.  It's not uncommon that the plate and the shot are focused a bit differently, so I'll usually have to add blur (and re-grain) to the clean plate.  The only place a compositor would have problems, is if the clean plate is out of focus, but the shot is not.

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Yeah, what Lorenzo said. It's not uncommon that the plate and the shot are focused a bit differently, so I'll usually have to add blur (and re-grain) to the clean plate. The only place a compositor would have problems, is if the clean plate is out of focus, but the shot is not.

But what about a focus shift within a shot, on purpose? Like when an actor comes closer to the camera or whatever?

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If travelling shots/camera movement is repeatable (i.e. motion control), we can do the travelling clean first for easy VFX boom removal.

The motion control systems I have seen so far (and it's only been a handful) don't allow for dialogue to be recorded anywhere near them anyway, so the issue of removing a boom may not be that relevant

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But what about a focus shift within a shot, on purpose? Like when an actor comes closer to the camera or whatever?

 

That shouldn't be an issue, unless it's an older lens that "breathes" or distorts heavily when racking.  The compositor will have to keyframe a fake blur a bit and have it match the look of the camera blur on the main take.  I suppose a bad compositor could screw this up, but... yeah.   ;)

 

In any case, it's never a bad thing to capture a clean plate for both 'in focus' and 'out of focus', just to give the compositor options.

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Hi Lorenzo,

Watching the youtube video..

Just wondering what mics you use for the car sim trav?

I notice mkh50 mostly in rycote invision mounts and 8060 in house (window scene).

Great thread, fabulous sound on my favourite show...

Great work and it sounds like a great crew to work with.

Congrats

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Ps never have to worry about mr. Spacey. His whispers are louder than most people's dialougue

 

Mr. Spacey is a stage-trained actor, so I think he gets the need for stage whispers when necessary, and he's definitely not a low talker (from what I hear on the show). I wish more TV & film actors understood that.

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Hey Gavin, you are right we use 50's 60's and occasionally a 70!!! We also use the 40 on some podiums. As far as the car we use sanken Cubs.

Lorenzo

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I just binged Season One from Netflix over Chromecast to my TV and was stunned by the production and performances. Thanks so much for the backstory.

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 I like how when they call cut, the ambient noise comes up and you can't tell if it's the air handler, or the red camera.

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#: 93   Posted (edited)

Yeah, I don't recall any HOC shots where there's a boom in frame WHILE the shot is moving.  I think there were one or two in all of Gone Girl, but typically, I recall only a handful of the following: A camera move completes, camera stops, boom flies in after camera has settled - sometimes in the opposite order.  We do this not only to remove Booms, but sometimes a B Cam, too.  This, of course, wouldn't be as easy with a handheld camera (unless the camera operator sits still and doesn't introduce any parallax (side to side) or front-to-back motion).  Handheld isn't impossible, but it could take several hours of compositing work.

 

Edit: On "Gone Girl" we had a few dolly-in shots where the boom was in shot for the duration of the actual move.  The camera team then had to go back and shoot a clean plate - exact same set up and camera move were recreated, this time without the boom in shot.  In post, we had to match up the two shots and "lock" the two moves together so that we could do a simple paint out.  Easier said than done, but certainly possible and not as difficult as going full CGI and modelling some new 3D element for a clean plate.  I doubt any TV productions would allow the time/money to do this.  lol.  And I'm pretty sure the example I just gave involved removing a B-Cam from the shot as well, which is probably why they chose to attempt it in the first place.  

If you don't mind sharing, is there a good resource to watch on the process for painting out the boom? I feel comfortable cutting in the plate but how do you fix shadows and more complicated problems? This is a fascinating topic and one I will be discussing on future productions when I can.

 

 

Edited by MorganC

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Morgan, apologies for the long delay.  I haven't been on the site in a little bit.

Unfortunately, the more complicated stuff (shadows, etc) is just that - complicated.  Unless you're fairly well off with Adobe After Effects or some other compositing software, it'd be hard to draw up a step-by-step process - since everything is different from shot to shot... and there's not always an easy answer.

In the most simplified of steps, this is usually what I'll do on any given boom-removal shot:

1.) prep the after effects project and import the clean and dirty plates (usually each DPX or EXR image sequences for us on "House of Cards")

2.) "pin down" each plate.  "Pinning down" is another way of saying "stabilize" the shot, where we simply remove all forms of movement.  Even if a camera is locked-off, you'd be surprised how much extraneous little bumps, etc, seem to make their way to the camera.  If you don't do this, occasionally you'll get a shot that has, say, a bumpy clean plate, but a stable dirty plate.  You'll see the two plates moving in opposite directions (it ain't pretty).  

3.) Place the clean plate in the upper layer and use the pen tool to draw out a matte area (the "clean" area).  (Technical speak: we actually create a solid layer and draw our mask shapes on that, and then use the solid layer as an alpha layer over the clean plate).  In after effects, I'll typically blur the matte lines about 50 pixels or more, unless the line is close to either the boom or the actor(s).

Usually that's all that needs to be done.  Sometimes a shot will come in without a clean plate and I'll have to go into photoshop to create my own by painting out the boom.  

Hopefully that helps a little?

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