This article is also available in French and English PDF version.
Versus: The Way to Shadow
"The Man in the shadow"
Only 2 shots were impossible to matchmove because of noobie errors: high motion blurred shots, actors covering all the frame...
I manually animated a camera that tried to match the motion of the camera on set, then I filled the shot with 3D debris, CG grass and clone troopers.
As these shots were full of action with tons of lasers, it worked pretty well.
That's what I did for the teaser. Nicolas (the director) and I played the troopers with 2 cameras shooting us from front and side view and I used these references to animate the troopers. It looked terrible.
Nicolas entered the play area and we could record each animation one by one.
When that phase was done I exported the animated 3D point cloud to 3ds max as a maxscript and linked the clone trooper rig controllers to these points.
Shooting video based motion capture to be processed in Movimento was very time consuming. In the end of the post-production I used iPisoft Desktop Motion capture (Thanks to Danse Kabyle project) and created some animations with the help of 1 to 2 kinects to fill the Darius vs clones sequence with even more troopers. In approximately 1 hour sessions, I could record different animations in a small room and directly watch them in action in 3ds Max. A huge thank to iPisoft developers team for helping us to complete our fighting sequences quickly.
For specific animations like clones being killed and falling on the ground I couldn't ask Nicolas to perform these stunts anymore (we needed him to finish the edit and release the film!) so I used Endorphin to simulate hits and dying troopers animations, it was a funny process.
I used the solution of shooting a panoramic version of the shot, then in post I could easily mask out vegetation to hide troopers behind and add out of focus bushes in front of the camera in 3D space. All I needed to add at the end was a CG camera that moves from left to right with a little handshake animation.
Guillaume Depestèle created some magic with his maxscripts that really sped up the workflow.
Ben McEwan and Riccardo Elliott II worked on additional roto at the end of the post production when I started to have nightmares full of clone troopers waiting for me on set for shooting even more Versus shots.
I'm a constantly striving to be better.
I am thankful to Nicolas Santini for trusting in my skills.
VFX and 3D sorcery www.moonday.fr
firstname.lastname@example.orgWritten by Nicolas Brunet - March 6th 2014
Proof reading : Nick Tregenza