Shermco Industries 3D Animation for their corporate video
This project called for showing showing the company's wide service offerings in the power industry, from the different sources of power generation, to transmission and then finally to the industrial end user.
Frame grab above shows the scene of the energy line going over a fossil fuel power plant.
Below shows the nuclear power plant.
Working with Silverhorn Enterainment, which is producing the video, we used the concept based on the company's slogan, "One Line. One Company." We implemented it using 3D animation, showing a graphical representation of "Energy" coming out from each of the power sources, ie: hydro, nuclear, solar, etc. to form the "LINE" eventually flying into an industrial factory.
The "Energy Line" goes through all the structures representing the scope of the company's maintenance services.
With the "energy line" going into the factory, it heads for an electric motor which disassembles to show its innards, the pov camera goes through the stator with the rotor pulling away reminiscent of old vintage footage of an apollo rocket breaking away from its booster stage, the "energy line" then turns the gear which becomes part of the company logo.
3D logo animations for Dallas Marathon live broadcast
For a fast turn around, scanline rendering was used instead of photorealistic ray trace rendering solutions available.
A selection from the rendered sequence is shown below from the first, middle and static part of the animation.
To further speed up the process without sacrificing visual impact, multi/sub material type was used for face maps, the logo will have shiny and "reflective" extruded sides using reflection maps while its front faces maintains the prescribed brand colors, though its glossiness qualities was animated through time and eventually brought down to zero upon nearing the static phase This gave us speed than if we used ray traced reflections.
Final delivery has in HD 1920 X 1080 still frames with alpha channel to give the producers flexibility in compositing it over any part of the footage of the live event.
Experiments with a DIY variable ND filter
One of the popular filter accessory nowadays is the variable ND filter. It's purpose is to provide more control over your exposure by controlling the amount of light going into your lens then to the sensor. Instead of having several ND filters in different strengths, with the vari-ND, you simply dial in the strength you want in one filter.
Variable-ND filters, sometimes called fader ND filters, are especially handy for video use since the cinematographer is sometimes bound by shutter speed, frame rate or sometimes ISO. For instance, the scene might be bright outdoors with a shallow DOF treatment, but the iso is already at the lowest and shutter speed must be at 48 or 50 when at a 24 frame rate. Being able to dial in the specific exposure with a vari-nd would be the fastest way to achieve this than fiddling around with several ND filters. The example screen grab from my tests show this scenario, shot in bright mid-day sun at f2 with a shutter of 47. This was with a Nikkor 50mm f1.4.
Variable NDs vary in price, from 100 to more than 500 US depending on ring size and brands. Some are better than others.
To those who want to experiment with its benefits without spending, and if you got old polarizing filters lying around, you can make a DIY "Vari-ND" filter, note the quotes, by stacking a linear pola over a circular pola filter. Or, if you like its effect and find it useful, you can rehouse the circular pola in another filter ring that does not rotate to make it convenient to use.
So, does it work? Well, if mated to the "right" lens, it does.
I tested several lenses, I used the following, Nikkor 50mm f1.4, Nikkor 105mm f2.8, Nikkor af 80-200mm f2.8. The wide lenses I have would vignette so I did not include them. Draw your own conclusions after watching the tests I did using color and resolution charts.
Sample images taken with a DIY pinhole "lens" cap
Click the image to enlarge.
Creating a 3D "Chocolate Hills".
The unique geological formation called Chocolate hills is found in the island of Bohol in the Philippines. Its composed of around 1,700 cone shaped mounds scattered over several towns. The hills got their name when the grass covering them turns brown during summer. I often shot these hills for several years and often wondered what its like to fly between them. This gave me an idea of why not do a 3D animation of a fly-through!
After modeling the land mass and hills, the next step was to create the foliage that covers the landscape.
To create a natural looking grass cover, I modeled 4 blades of grass in varying form and curvature. With these "master clumps of grass" I used a proxy method to create instances of the grass blades to cover the hills. This method prevents the computer system from crashing due to lack of memory.
Also, I modeled a coconut tree complete with the cocofruits and also created instanced proxies.
All in all, I had a whooping 14,940,000 blades of grass, 1,000 coconuts and 8,099 broad leafed trees to populate the landscape for the chocolate hills 3D animation.
Here is a frame grab from the animation.
View the animated scene included in the 3D animation reel.
Magic Lantern for 5D Mark II does HDR Video
I have done some tests on this feature and this seems ideal when there is no fast movements happening on a large portion of the screen. Otherwise, there would be some stuttering of the moving object/s.
The 60D and 600D can provide smoother HDR video images due to its 60P option.
I am currently fine tuning my own post workflow on this using After Effects with Photomatix and Twixtor. Other workflows can be found here in the vimeo magic lantern group discussions.Click image to go to video.
Click image to go to video.
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