Saturday, May 16, 2009

How is it done?

I was asked this in comments for Novy MIRror episode #1, but I thought the answer might be of interest to more than the person who asked.

The question asked how I did this (I assume the video effects) and what I am using for equipment, so here is my answer.


I assume you mean the effects, particularly in the opening sequence. That gets a double dose of chroma key. The "mirror" is really a picture frame with a green folder inside. I suspended the frame with wire using my boom microphone stands and my light stands and placed the camera low to use the blue sky as background.

It was a windy day and cloudy behind the camera. The wind caused the suspended frame to move around. The clouds behind my back caused that smoky look inside the "mirror." That part was unintentional but works well in the end.

I did the blue screen chroma key first to get the background, then compressed the video and imported it back into my editing program. I then used the green screen chroma key to put images into the frame.

The beginning sequence uses sepia effects to make it look like old film. The galaxy inside the mirror rotates because I continuously rotate the entire image. You can see some bleed through if you look closely. That bleed through was the main reason I used sepia in that sequence, it is better at hiding it.

The theme music is original. I actually wrote it as the base part for an audio project I have been working on, but probably won't be seen publicly due to licensing issues. However, the keyboard bass riff is completely original.

For equipment, I'm using a JVC hard drive camcorder with AVCHD high definition record capability. I'm using Sony WSC-999 wireless microphones. (The offending microphone has been fired and replaced, I might add.) For software, I am using Pinnacle Studio Ultimate 12. The theme music was played on a Casio WK-200 keyboard set to slow saw lead. I also transpose the keyboard into a Bb instrument. This is due to the fact that most of my sheet music is written for clarinet. The audio project uses a Bb fake book, so I transpose the keyboard and capo the guitar...but I digress. It was recoded on my Fostex 16-track hard drive recorder then imported into the video.

All of those tools have limitations, but you can still get some pretty incredible results with them. I haven't even scratched the surface of the potential. Still, some day I'll produce a "making of" episode whenever I'm thin on interview material.

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