Slow motion (with the new Sony fs700) is likely to become the new shallow depth of field, we are probably going to be seeing it everywhere. I love slow motion and I used it in my own short film Solvo Curso just a couple of months ago so (after a lot of asking) I though I would go through the entire workflow of how I achieved this, from the canon 550d shooting modes to the post production and how to best use Twixtor. It’s easier than you think and obviously you’re not going to be able to compete with real 2000fps but you’re definitely going to get that vital few seconds of super slow motion footage to create a really cool sequence. Here’s a nice example of what I mean:<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/28885242″>Gravity – Director’s Cut</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/ligthelm”>Salomon</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>
To start off with you will need to acknowledge the strengths and weaknesses of Twixtor for creating slow motion. Firstly, shoot against a blank background because Twixtor is easily confused by moving backgrounds. Secondly, always use editing techniques to cover up inevitable motion blur, i.e cut to another shot or make the object that is in slow motion jump forward in time. Finally, use Twixtor at the most pinnacle point of the object’s trajectory, (by this is mean when the action is moving slowest, for a free runner this would be right at the top of the jump after they have taken off).
- You need to shoot at as higher shutter speed as possible to reduce any motion blur, Twixor hates motion blur and the effect will not work if you’re shooting at a typical 1/100 shutter speed, (twice that of frame rate). I recommend at least 1/2000 sec shutter speeds but Salomon Lighthelm used 1/4000sec in the video above.
- Here’s the obvious one, Frame rate – shoot as higher frame rates as possible, I used the canon 550d so I got 50fps(PAL) at 720p.
- LIGHT – you need lots and lots of light so shooting outdoors is your best option, otherwise 800W red heads are definitely needed.
- Remember, shoot against a blank non moving background i.e the sky!
Post Production Workflow:
This is my process which I find works easiest for me:
- Offline edit – create a rough edit and plan where you want your slow motion sequences to be.
- Export the shots you want to be in slow motion to After Effects and make sure you tell AE your footage is 50fps because its likely to default it to 25fps.
- Create slow motion using Twixor (see tutorial below).
- Use editing techniques to cover up the Motion blur (jump the speed of the subject, use white flashes to compliment the jumps).
- Export at highest quality into non linear editor (I used premier).
- Level all the clips tonality (make sure the slow motion sequences fits the timing of the music e.t.c)
- Send the entire sequence into AE for grading.
- Grade using Magic bullet looks and colorista.
- Add crop marks.
- Export and send to Soundtrack Pro (or other sound design software) and add sounds, (Salomon uses sound to compliment the slow motion sequences).
- Export for last time and upload!
THIS IS THE TWIXTOR TUTORIAL I USED:<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/23151793″>Twixtor Tutorial Part One : Incendium</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/elliottmontello”>Elliott.G.Montello</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>
If you find you’re still getting motion blur follow the second tutorial of the one above here, though for me it actually made the problem worse after hours of pain staking pixle masking:
I also used advanced sky replacement in my footage to compliment the slow motion. The time-lapse sky moves with the slow motion, speeding up when the subject speeds up and vice versa, this is the tutorial used to replace my sky. FOR THIS YOU HAVE TO HAVE A BLOWN OUT SKY AND MAKE SURE YOU’RE SUBJECT IS A BOLD COLOUR -NOT GREY OR BLUE- IT CAUSED ME A WORLD OF PAIN:
- Level all the clips tonally to give yourself a flat starting point.
- Play around with some grades, adding the generic film like curve and mixing up some saturation with diffusion, play with colour schemes.
- Try and stick with two main colours for your grade i.e grey and green and base all the footage on these colours (if needs be use Colorista to change an annoying yellow jack to green using the tutorial below.
- Once you have a rough grade match all the clips, put a reference preview up on your screen to work from.
- Add your vignettes and tilt shift effects for selected clips (don’t over do it).
- Add a final adjustment layer to give the image its final POP. I usually add a slight film curve and a little noise but play around with what works best for your footage.
- Export it and watch it on different screens to make sure you’re not getting it blown out or to dark. Your’e monitor may not be correctly calibrated so it will look different on other screens.
<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/40768657″>Canon 550d 2000fps slow motion</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user8658248″>Lewis Rennison</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>