3D Camera technique seen on Hotel Babylon

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parkers1
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Joined: Mar 3 2008

Can anyone advise me on the camera technique seen on any episode of Hotel Babylon (I've also seen it on a promo for BBC NEWS). The actors appear frozen and the camera moves into the scene around the actors to create an amazing 3d effect before the action starts. I've paused and played frame by frame to try and work it out. Does anyone know how this is achieved???

fuddam
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Joined: Nov 19 2005

go to videocopilot.net and you'll find a tutorial on exactly that effect - forget the name offhand.
The site uses After Effects but suppose it could be done in any good compositing software.

basically requires a scene to be shot at least twice, once with and once without the actors. I haven't seen Hotel Babylon, so all of this is assumption that I'm understanding you correctly

8-)

EDIT: I'm SO kind I just had to find it for you: http://www.videocopilot.net/tutorials.html?id=23 no 36. ;)

tom hardwick
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Joined: Apr 8 1999

I'm convinced there's no trickery involved. The actors simply keep still (not quite still enough sometimes) then all start moving on command, soon as the tracking camera comes to a standstill.

DAVE M
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Joined: May 17 1999

I've not seen the shot in question but what Tom suggests is what they did in "Heroes" - a few special props and everybody stood still. Lots of takes but cheap.

The alternative is the "Martrix" revolve where you surround the actors with cameras and edit the same frame while changing angles around an arc.

I did a rough version once to see if I could.

infocus
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Joined: Jul 18 2003

I can't recall the reference, but there certainly existed a technique using a lot (over 100) of basic linked 35mm cameras, whose shutters could all be centrally programmed.

Typically they would be arranged in an arc around a central subject, and the effect as described for Hotel Babylon would be achieved by simply firing the shutters all at once, then using the frames as video frames, so a result of a 4 second (if 100 cameras) track around a frozen object.

The effect can be much more versatile though - fire the first 50 at 1/25 sec intervals around the central object, then the next 50 simultaneously, and you get a 4 second track around an object where the motion freezes half way round. That could include pouring water, say, which couldn't be achieved by simply getting actors to stand still.

Needless to say, it tends to be applicable more for those with big budgets..... :)

Alan Roberts
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I'd be a bit amazed if it used the multi-cam trick, that costs a lot. Babylon is shot on HDW790 this series, and I guess it's a rehearsed "STAND STILL", camera move, "ACTION" shot. I have ways of finding out though. I'll see what I can do.

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

Dave R Smith
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Joined: May 10 2005
infocus wrote:
Needless to say, it tends to be applicable more for those with big budgets..... :)

Or maybe not?

Weddings often have disposable cameras allocated to tables/guests, which are collated at the end.
During the first dance, guests typically form a circle.
Ok OK, you're ahead of me now..
Yes that's right, B&G hold a dynamic posture - maybe the bride hanging backward over the grooms arm at the dance end, then the 'primed' onlookers each take a photo simulataeously for afreeze frame effect.
A variation would be for the b&g not to 'hold still' and the 'primed' onlookers each take a photo simulataeously - this time 'simulataeously' is a little more critical.

The downside of the above 2 is that for 360 degrees the flash would spoil each others pics.

Now the advanced version.
B&G in action (I'm referring to the dancing:rolleyes: ) and like a mexican wave each onlooker fires, shouting their pre-allocated number, 1,2,3,..
So the action continues for a 360 degree arc and the flash wouldn't be problem.

Well the theory sounds good - just needs the opportunity!

P.S. In the Matrix, the extreme slo mo was referred to as 'Bullet time'.
Does that make my example a Shotgun Wedding?

Bob Aldis
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Slightly different, I used to take 3D 35mm slides years ago by clicking rocking to the right about 3inches and click again and most of them were quite impressive and you get to know what you can and can't take.

There was an article on the TV a couple/few years ago about the making of a film about tennis. They showed how they did a shot of a player diving for a ball and it consisted of a spiral of still cameras which he dived through and it played as a slow motion with a 360 camera spin. I don't know why the cameras didn't show on each others shots, presuming they didn't. They didn't show the end result and I never saw the film.

BobA

Bob Aldis

infocus
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infocus wrote:
I can't recall the reference, but there certainly existed a technique ......

Since the above, I've managed to find the following: http://www.csc.ca/news/default.asp?aID=858 and that seems to indicate over 200 cameras as more the norm (and Nikon F60s at that).

Dave - your idea is intriguing, and certainly worth a try. I doubt it would give a "polished" result owing to alignment problems (from the link above: "We’ll line up the cameras, targeted to a central point. ........ we’ll shoot a target ball first as a reference for stabilization. Even though we do our best to line them all up by eye, there is stabilization that takes place in post.") but as a quirky effect, maybe dissolving from one to the other.........? And maybe getting the guests in a semi-circle would avoid the flash interference problems?

parkers1
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Joined: Mar 3 2008

Thanks for this everyone. I do know that it's not bullet time and it's not quite like the videocopilot tutorial that Fuddam so kindly posted (although thats something I'd like to try as well). If anyones got any other theories I'd love to hear them. :-)

Alan Roberts
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Just got word from my inside source*, Hotel Babylon's got a very persuasive first AD. He shouts "STAND STILL" and.....

* the DoP, Sean van Hales

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

tom hardwick
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Joined: Apr 8 1999

Thought so. Look carefully and you can watch some of the extras in the background not paying attention. They'll be sacked.

stuart621
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Joined: Oct 24 2001

Can anyone say when in the programme this occurs? I'm sure it'll be on iPlayer so we could all have a look.

parkers1
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Joined: Mar 3 2008

Many thanks for that Alan, I very much appreciate it. A simple yet very effective technique that some of my production students might want to try. If you want to see it Stuart it occurs 2 or 3 times on every episode (it's on tonight I think) usually at the start of a new scene. Thanks again I'm impressed with your contacts!

Alan Roberts
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I watched a bit of it, there was quite a lot of speeding up but little of the static stuff. And I've got quite a lot of contacts like that, because I've trained quite a lot of people :)

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

tom hardwick
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Joined: Apr 8 1999

The prog was on again last night. I had to sit through a lot of tosh and over-acting in the hope they's use the same technique again. They didn't.

Wicked
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Joined: May 9 2005

They did use it at least once when the camera zoomed across the room to look back at a couple - one of them was Alan..?? Can't remember his surname. It was good but quite easy to replicate I think.

Incidentally, to pre-empt the comments, it wasn't Alan Roberts.

James lundy
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Joined: Dec 14 2006

I wondered this myself, and you may be able to do the following:

- Shoot the scene twice with the camera on a track & dolly. The first scene will have all the actors on it, where as the second scene will only have the final actors on it or nobody.

- Play with the tutorial on videocopilot.net until you get it right.

Might work, and I'll certainly give it a go. :D

WIRED - HAVEYOUBEENWIRED.COM & also a blatant cheap promotional link. :D

Runaround Who
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Joined: Jul 3 2007

The photographer last Saturday could barely get the couple to kiss never mind organise the whole room - boy are you lot in control if you can plan all this stuff ... whilst remaining 'discreet and unobtrusive' as per all our web descriptions!

www.electrafilms.co.uk Watching life and filming the best bits ...

James lundy
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I'd never do that at a wedding. :(

WIRED - HAVEYOUBEENWIRED.COM & also a blatant cheap promotional link. :D

Runaround Who
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Remain 'discreet and unobtrusive' James, or all the fancy stuff ?! ;) :)

www.electrafilms.co.uk Watching life and filming the best bits ...

Windex
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Joined: Apr 5 2008

this might sound basic (but it is harder for me to understand)

how about the shots where you see the camera "travel" through a Crowd (ex. GOD OF WAR INTRO -hope some people play games here...) or just ESPN PROMOS (I think) where the camera moves (track arond NOT just that ONE subject but a larger Arc , or straight even)
and all the subjects are Still (SEEM like Photographs) but when you move/perspective changes, you see AROUND the subject (their sides...etc.)

I'm REALLY hopping it is not possible ONLY by CG. does anyone know what i'm talking about or am i crazy.

tnx

branny
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Joined: Nov 6 2001

We understand windex. We all worship at the alter of the moving image. :)

Do not follow, I may not lead. Do not lead . . . I may not follow.