5 Replies Latest reply on Jan 28, 2017 10:52 AM by Rick Gerard

    After Effects - Sober / filming


      Hey there,


      soon I'll film for a short film.

      In postproduction I want to add a light atmosphere in small glasses with the sober-plugin.

      Now my question: what should I consider at making the footage. Should I light the glass indrectly? Add a green screen?

      Here 2 images with and without indirect (real) light.


      Thanks for your tips!

      Untitled 1.jpg



      Untitled 2.jpg

        • 1. Re: After Effects - Sober / filming
          Dave LaRonde Level 6

          Never heard of a "sober" plugin.


          I've heard of Video Copilot's free Saber plugin.  Is that what you mean?

          • 2. Re: After Effects - Sober / filming
            Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

            I am sorry but I am not sure what you are trying to accomplish. If you are trying to put light in a bottle then filming your glasses on a green screen is going to be pretty much a waste of time unless you have a camera that shoots 4:4:4 color and uncompressed (We're talking a professional camera here) and you are absolutely great at lighting and pulling keys.


            If it were me and I had limited resources I would:

            1. Lock down the camera so that it does not move
            2. Shoot the shot of the glasses lit the way I want them to appear in the final scene
            3. Without moving anything put a dark black matte board behind the glasses and shoot another plate to use as a procedural matte plate for the existing reflections in the glass
            4. Composite in AE using the original footage on the bottom, a solid layer for the SABER effect from Red Giant or any other lighting effect plug-in, an additional colored solid layer, masked and blurred to add light to the area around the lighting effect using blend modes like add or screen and opacity, and the shot with the black background on top adjusted and added to the scene using the Add or Screen mode to bring back or intensify the highlights and reflections in the glass.

            Then depending on the shot, you may also want to add other layers to mimic light and shadow from the glasses in the surrounding ares using blend modes, blurs, masks or other lighting effects. Depending on the effect you want to create this could take anywhere from 3 to 40 or 50 layers. It all depends...


            A little better description of your final effect or even an example would give us a better chance at answering your question.

            • 3. Re: After Effects - Sober / filming
              elew Level 1

              Ah yes, I mean saber.


              Thank you for your description in detail.

              I see my post is very unspecific.


              This is the light effect I consider: Light in the glasses while someone move the glasses and act with them.

              At this video (0:40-046) you can see what I mean: OFFF 2013: Mr. Emilton's Cabinet of Curiosities on Vimeo

              But I want the whole film with this. And the lights go on and out. And should reflect in the eyes of my actor.


              The main question is what I should consider before/while filming that it later works with AE-postproduction.

              So I don't want to film with actor, crew, organisational effort etc. and then see at postproduction that it doesn't work.


              Oh and it will be more a low light scene like this: Lighthouse Keeper - Short Film - Teaser on Vimeo

              • 4. Re: After Effects - Sober / filming
                Dave LaRonde Level 6

                How do you measure your experience working with After Effects?


                Years?  Months?  Weeks?  Days?  Hours?

                • 5. Re: After Effects - Sober / filming
                  Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                  Creating multiple light sources inside multiple bottles in multiple planes when some of the objects are in focus and others are out not included in depth of field and others are really soft as in your sample image, with a moving camera like you have in your sample videos is going to require:

                  1. A thorough knowledge of tracking rotation, position, scale and camera tracking, AE's 3D space just to line up the light effects in the space.
                  2. A separate layer for each light source
                  3. A knowledge of rotoscope and masking to separate the light sources from objects that may pass between the light source and the camera
                  4. A knowledge of the various techniques required to create reflections in shiny objects in the scene
                  5. A great deal of skill in lighting and a knowledge of color grading to the extent that you can get enough information in the original footage to allow you to
                    1. Darken the scene to simulate low light
                    2. Add exposure compensation to bring up areas in the scene to simulate the light cast by your light effects generated with Saber
                    3. A camera move that is properly designed and executed so that you can derive the necessary tracking information to successfully add your simulated light sources to the scene so they look like they are actually there
                  6. At least one mask or matte for each foreground element in the scene that is between a simulated light source
                  7. At least one "reflection" layer to interact with each reflective object in the scene
                  8. Lens blur effects to match the depth of field on each layer with a simulated light source
                  9. A really good eye for color grading and a bunch of time.

                  I would strongly suggest that you start by running a test with a locked down camera and a single bottle. Put some kind of light source, even a candle, in the bottle and take a photo for reference. Then carefully photograph the scene so that it is a little darker than normal exposure but not as dark as you want the final scene. Put something in the scene between the bottle and the camera to give the scene depth and learn how to create the mask and layers required to block the simulated light source. Now start playing with the scene using multiple copies of your original footage, masks and multiple layers until you get a look that you like. Then repeat the test with a simple smooth camera move, then repeat with 2 or 3 bottles and a camera move. When you have figured out what it takes technically to get the effect and the look you like it's time to plan and block the shot for your film.


                  This is how all visual effects shots that contain more complexity than a simple matte or overlay are designed by folks that have to consider the time it will take to produce the effect. Planning, experimentation and more planning are required.


                  Your original sample image, even without a camera move would require a bunch of work and a bunch or layers to look like the light sources were really in the bottles. To be really convincing you would even have to add a layer that simulates the table top the bottles are sitting on that would catch the light cast by your simulated light sources. I count about 7 bottles in your shot which tells me you need 7 layers for the bottles, 1 for the table top, 7 layers for the blurs, at least 5 or 6 layers for masks and then two or 3 layers for reflections and shadows. If you are new to AE, by the time you get through this process you will be fairly well qualified in four or five of the about 10,000 different techniques used in visual effects. Good luck with your journey. Let us know how things are going.


                  Just to give you a frame of reference I have a good friend that did a 7 second shot for a feature film not too long ago, and he and his team are among the best in the business, and it took them 3 weeks to complete the animation and the composite. To show you how things have improved about 20 years ago another friend of mine was given 4 months to do a shot that lasted less than 3 seconds for the movie Twister so things have improved dramatically. The 3 week shot was vastly more complicated than the 3 second shot with about twice the number of elements, but you get the idea. This kind of work takes time, planning and more time.