Canon/Ron Howard – ‘Project Imagination’

Recently worked with Method studios to help guide the technical aspect of the filming, and also act as VFX Supervisor for the Shoot.

Overall it was a very rewarding project. Dante Arolea directed the spot, which turned out to be a huge production, which is interesting as usually shoots with the 5D are small.
There were some technical hurdles that we had to overcome. The client wanted to:
– 1 shoot on Green Screen
– 2 Shoot slow motion (on the 7D)

To help shed light on these problems we set up a test with 4 cameras. We had a subject moving in different ways to see how the slow motion worked. We also used this as a test to do some ‘optiflow’ slow motion tests.

As the video on the 5DMk2 is very compressed the idea that shooting on green screen is challenging. So, I first set up a test filming a Red Camera (as a datum) and a Canon 5D Mk2, a 7D Mk2 and a 1DsMk3. The camera’s weren’t straight out of the box, I had them set to give the most known latitudes (before the technicolor presets came out)

Each camera fared differently against the green screen subject. We tested different things:
– Edges of fast moving subjects
– Edge contrast tests (by side lighting – this gives the codec a sharper edge to a subject and can give a cleaner key)
– Skin details (Saturation, Contrast, visibility of IR impurities)
– testing ‘optiflow’ for slow motion results.
– testing the 7D’s 1280*720 slow motion against green screen.

Something that was surprising, is that I assumed that Primatte would give a better result, however I found that the IBK (Image based Keying) did a far better job in these circumstances.

The 1st shoot day was huge, and as cumbersome as a typical film shoot; with a huge technocrane, la large number of trucks with lighting and grip etc, almost all which we didn’t use.
On the second day we were inside the studio doing the green screen plates. Again, this was attacked like it was a full movie.

Dante asked me to some out with him the next weekend. Just me, my Canon 5DMk2, a tripod and a slider. Me, him, his producer, and a location manager. 4 people.

The finished commercial has 20 shots, and 7 of them were done on this guerilla shoot !

Here’s the finished spot and the behind the scenes featuring a little interview with me on it.

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