Sunday, 13 March 2011

Green screening the Ring Master

Early practices at animating our master puppet were very successful but posed the problem of how would our shadow puppet projection be seen?

After much deliberation and consultation we decided to give green screening a try.  This would enable us to place our puppet directly into the footage we had already made and avoid any continuity problems with the song jumping as we edited our action.

We stretched green felt over a wooden frame and stapled this into place.  The frame needs to be wider than the puppet and also taller than his hat! We had to add green card to the top of the frame to ensure his hat would not pop out of shot.

Once this was done we created a booth at a height that was comfortable for us to operate the puppet.  Extensive use of gaffer tape ensured the frame remained rigid, held by bamboo struts against the wooden sides.

We cut three holes into the felt, one for the back and one for each arm.  The video camera was set up on a tripod infront of the booth ensuring the whole of the booth was visible.

   Our curtain made by Lauren Potter was suspended on wire between the wooden struts and she threaded string through rings to enable them to open and close.

The curtains looked fantastic however when it came to editing the movie they proved too difficult to mask into the final production.

We made several mistakes in this first shoot so a complete reshoot was required the next day.  The booth was not lit sufficiently which meant that Final Cut Pro (the program we used for editing) could not differentiate between the darker green created by shadows and the black of the puppets trousers. Most hand action went beyond the screen which meant his hands dissappeared!!!

Once we had the replacement footage we reduced it to only the action we might use with imovie and then imported this into Final Cut Pro. 

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