17 Replies Latest reply on Nov 12, 2010 1:16 PM by cknr1

    Color correction, muzzle flares and smoke questions

    cknr1 Level 1

      A couple of days ago I directed an action sequence called 'Silent takedown' using Premiere CS5 and After Effects. The goal was to do a very fast paced editing style but still within the realm of 'classic' action films from '90 like Face/Off and Mission Impossible 2. I've got some question regarding visual effects done in After effects. Tell me if you thought they were good or bad. Also the color correction was done in AE and PP. Does the overall movie look good?

       

       

      Here's a full link again: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O62_hYOmlaY

       

      Thanks for watchin'

        • 1. Re: Color correction, muzzle flares and smoke questions
          Todd_Kopriva Level 8

          The blood mist/splatter effects seem misplaced and unrealistic. The blood seems to go in random directions or just instantaneously materialize in a cloud.

           

          The colors of the movie as a whole looked good in an interesting way; they deviate from reality in a way that seems like a deliberate aesthetic choice, and they color grading isn't so extreme that it detracts from what's going on.

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Color correction, muzzle flares and smoke questions
            cknr1 Level 1

            Yes, we also did anamorphic cropping in some shots. We thought that a healthy balance between 1,78:1 and 2,35:1 shots would improve the movie. We are currently working on making beter blood effects

            • 3. Re: Color correction, muzzle flares and smoke questions
              mike_mike_motorbike Level 1

              Well, aside from it being quite disturbing to have a team of 14 year olds turning everyone to blood soup it's got some great camera work.

               

              Your first mistake might have been thinking there's anything worth copying in mission impossible 2.  Sorry, had to be said.

               

              Todd's right.  The clouds of blood is comical.  Maybe tone that down?  Right now it just looks like a string of video copilot tutorials one after another.  You need to hide effects, and make them feel seamless.

               

              Ask yourselves what are you trying to showcase.  If it's post production, you have to tweak those effects and make them look classy.  There are shots where bullet holes are appearing in glass and there's little breakage, and no reaction from the actors.  You can't just glue in effects.  If the actors don't react, you can't use the shot, or it should be changed so you don't notice.  Add a shake etc.

               

              If it's editing, then that has to be solid too.

               

              You've got time shifting all over the place without it being stylistic.  For example, the guys who walk up off the top are shown in a wide shot that you re-use for the security cam.  They enter, put their masks on, walks softly up to the guards and take them out, but then we are inside and the scarface guy is watching action that happened minutes ago on the monitor.  If you're going to jump around in time, you need to find a stylistic way to do that.  Why not bring the scarface guy's scenes into the lead up, show the monitor, (drop that long shot at the top) to introduce the guys sneaking up.  This introduced tension (will scarface notice???) gives you an idea of who the guards are watching out for and drops that opening super wide of the two kids going up against the wall.  That shot doesn't work because when you show them super-wide, you get a feeling for how exposed they are and what a terrible job they're doing of "sneaking" up.  But it works as security cam footage...

               

              Another example is when you have one of your agents say "good morning gentlemen.  He says something strange to men who are in masks and they give him enough time to put a gun to his head and pull the trigger in spite of the face that they're holding their own guns.  Then you have the camera exposure flash cuts to the other agent sneaking up... 

               

              If you want to make this effect work, you need to use editing to explain why the second guard didn't reflexively shoot the first agent.  have the agent say, "good morning gentleman" and start the action of raising the gun.  Then flash cut to the other agent sneaking up, then back the the first agent shooting, then back to the second guard being shot.  Then all of a sudden you have a frenetic action scene.  Right now the pacing feels slow and unrealistic.

               

              The effects go off the rails a bit at the end.  The muzzle flashes don't aim in the right direction, and the particle smoke becomes very obviously added in post.  One shot in particular is a dude walking through a black smoke cloud from behind a van.  Loose that smoke in the second to jump cuts.  And if oyu're going to have a smoky enclosed space. you have to add atmosphere in other shots.

               

              If you're not going to use practical effects for the gunshots, you need to cut away. Having a guy explode with particles and stock footage will always be "funny" without having some squibs on set.  I know it makes it harder and more complicated, but you have to have the whole package, or it'll always just look like kids messing around and...

               

              ... oop, my render is done.

              1 person found this helpful
              • 4. Re: Color correction, muzzle flares and smoke questions
                cknr1 Level 1

                Thank you but I have to say that agent blue is 21, and agent 'good morning gentlemen' is 17. I've also heard criticism on the blood. No squibs and only blood smoke is indeed a bad decision. We'll try to fix that for the next movie. I would love it if you would find a great tutorial somewhere on how to do good blood effects.

                 

                When editing the opening scene with the guards, I thought it was pretty solid. However you fired some pretty good points at me regarding the bad pacing. I won't make such a mistake again. However, When agent 2 shoots the second guard, the guard points his gun at agent 1.

                 

                I'll try to find better security cam shots in future shorts.

                 

                What do you mean with 'If you're not going to use practical effects for the gunshots, you need to cut away' Do you mean that I should show more of the environment being destroyed by the gunshots?

                • 5. Re: Color correction, muzzle flares and smoke questions
                  mike_mike_motorbike Level 1

                  Hey I was just playing, i know you guys are older than 14, it was just the gory violence seemed extra twisted with the young age of the players.


                  I actually meant that the security footage worked in the long shot, but the actual untreated long shot off the top should be dropped.  It makes them seem exposed.  Only show that angle on the monitor. 

                   

                  What i meant about cutting away was that if you use a shot where, say an actor or scenery doesn't react to the action (gunshots etc) then you shouldn't linger on the shot.  So in the shot where the window is being shot right beside the character, if you only have one shot break the glass then cut away quickly, you didn't give the veiwer enough time to be like "waaait a sec, that's an effect."  Don't linger, cut to the next shot.

                   

                  Anyway, it's good stuff guys.  Sorry if I seemed to hard on you.

                   

                  As far as tutorials go, i'm assuming you've seen it, but www.videocopilot.com is the standard place to start.  Though much more helpful than tutuorials is once you've got the basic skills look at actual reference from TV or film.

                   

                  Mike

                  • 6. Re: Color correction, muzzle flares and smoke questions
                    cknr1 Level 1

                    Its good to be hard on me, I have to learn how to make better movies. The security shot is indeed a major flaw in the movie. I should o've filmed it from another angle. I try to minimize Video copilot because everyone knows it and i want to avoid people saying 'hey thats a tut from Video copilot'.

                    • 7. Re: Color correction, muzzle flares and smoke questions
                      mike_mike_motorbike Level 1

                      Thing is, as long as you do a good job, no one will know it's from a tutorial.  Videocopilot is so popular because they show you neat tricks that are handy to know.  But also, they show you muzzle flashes and explosions that are the mainstay for people learning effects and film making.  There's no secret tutorial that you can learn that no one will notice, you have to incorporate that knowledge into your own style...  For example, off the top you have the JJ Abrams lens flares... why not make your own up?  That strange anamorphic look they got was very deliberate and usually only ever happens if you're shooting into the kinds of lights that only exist on a film set, which is almost always a no-no.  That's why Star Trek looks so cool, and it's also why it's a cliche now, like doing the strobing walk from Reservoir Dogs. 

                       

                      You'll learn a ton from videocopilot, or any tutorial place, but the secret is to be confident and learn how to make them your own.

                      • 8. Re: Color correction, muzzle flares and smoke questions
                        cknr1 Level 1

                        If i would o've added lens flares all over this short movie, would you think that this is positive or negative? Because I have optical flares installed but i didn't used it in the movie.

                        • 9. Re: Color correction, muzzle flares and smoke questions
                          mike_mike_motorbike Level 1

                          negative... firstly, there isn't a single lighting setup that needs a lens flare... you're shooting DV with no big lights.  Camera flares look silly unless there's a reason.  I was talking about your opening credits.  You've got the anamorphic lens flares across the titles to a film with no anamorphic shots.  That's not necessarily a bad thing, except that they're the stock optical flares, and people will see that.  Why not create your own flare?  Or better yet, do what Tarrintino does and keep it simple.

                          • 10. Re: Color correction, muzzle flares and smoke questions
                            cknr1 Level 1

                            And what does Tarantino does exactly?

                            • 11. Re: Color correction, muzzle flares and smoke questions
                              Todd_Kopriva Level 8

                              > And what does Tarantino does exactly?

                               

                              Less.

                               

                              And that is more.

                               

                              He doesn't fill his movies with gratuitous post-production gimmickry. What he does use is simple, and it serves the purpose of his story and characters.

                              • 12. Re: Color correction, muzzle flares and smoke questions
                                mike_mike_motorbike Level 1

                                Exactly.  Post is the easy stuff.  Anyone can overlay a matted muzzle flash.  The STORY/EDITING are most important.   Look at the credits for kill bill or inglorious basterds.  They're single cards to great music and they're perfect.  They set the tone perfectly.  Your title looks like it could be from the Asylum's Transformers.  Why don't you take a couple of shots and ad your titles into them.  You have so little time to tell your story in a short film, why not integrate your titles into the shots.  Keep them simple, or get complicated and add them into the shots cleverly. 

                                 

                                You'll learn more from Tarantino than you will from Woo.  I keep referencing him because he's got a timeless style, where as Woo's american stuff has quickly dated.

                                 

                                3 movies that might inspire you without ANY digital post.

                                 

                                Reservoir Dogs (you shouldn't be making a film like you're making without having seen this)

                                Casino (story AND gory)

                                El Mariachi (made for no money)

                                 

                                movies to throw away right now


                                Anything by John Woo in english

                                Anything by Guy Richie until you've watched everything by Tarantino

                                • 13. Re: Color correction, muzzle flares and smoke questions
                                  cknr1 Level 1

                                  Off to the video store to rent them ASAP.

                                   

                                  oh, and how i wish that i could make an action movie without a single digital effect. But to do this you need to have a budget. but trust me, I hate digital muzzles. I'll try to minimize it in the next movie by clever edits and cutaways. Im planning to shoot something in april. I'll let you know by then.

                                  • 14. Re: Color correction, muzzle flares and smoke questions
                                    mike_mike_motorbike Level 1

                                    sounds good.  Keep it up.  You're off to a great start.

                                    • 15. Re: Color correction, muzzle flares and smoke questions
                                      Todd_Kopriva Level 8

                                      > oh, and how i wish that i could make an action movie without a single digital effect. But to do this you need to have a budget.

                                       

                                       

                                      Thousands of movies featuring gunfire have been made that don't include a single blood mist or blood hit/splat.

                                       

                                      Your muzzle effects weren't bad. The fake blood effects would have been better replaced by no blood effects at all.

                                      • 17. Re: Color correction, muzzle flares and smoke questions
                                        cknr1 Level 1

                                        Well, in september I also made an action scene called 'Police Assault 3'. At minute 1.00 to 1.10 there are two bad guys being killed. There is no blood at all visible. Should I make from now on all my death scenes without blood like these two?

                                         

                                        Warning: This movie is two months old and is terribly dated in terms of editing, audio, acting performances and effects. The only good thing about it are those two death scenes at 1.00 - 1.10