Can someone explain how this video was made?
January 10, 2014 5:32 PM   Subscribe

Hi everyone. You may or may not have seen this popular "vine," called Turning Juice Into Candy. Here are a few more short clips by the same guy, using the same method: Time Change, Throwing Things Through Computers, Making Real Goldfish. I'm basically familiar with video editing software (I assume these were edited with Final Cut Pro or After Effects), but I can't quite figure out how the guy did this. He obviously filmed each shot twice (at least) and blended them together somehow, but the camera *seems* to be both moving and handheld in each shot, which *should* make the shots "unmatchable." But even when I slow them down and watch them frame-by-frame, the match seems exact and I can't figure out precisely how he did it. Can anyone who's familiar with video editing explain this? Thanks!
posted by priskyprisky to Technology (12 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
PS - Here's a compilation of a number of these shorts by the same guy (Zach King).
posted by priskyprisky at 5:36 PM on January 10, 2014

He also posts longer videos on YouTube under the name FinalCutKing.
posted by Ian A.T. at 5:52 PM on January 10, 2014

Most of these are CGI assisted. Especially stuff like the wrapping paper flying on the truck.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:53 PM on January 10, 2014

Have you tried asking him? He seems pretty approachable.
posted by John Cohen at 5:56 PM on January 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm no expert, or even a hamfisted amateur but my impression was that motion tracking techniques are pretty accessible these days.

A few things to think of in your own interpretation:
1) The shots aren't really handheld and are instead done with a motion control rig.
2) The shots are handheld, but were motion-compensated in post production before compositing.
3) The "handheld" motion was added to the combined smooth footage (however it was obtained) after compositing.
4) The effects layers, whether created from real footage, or CGI, could have been isolated from the background before being composited.
posted by Good Brain at 6:26 PM on January 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

I edit and do vfx for TV. This is pretty simple.

Two videos.

1) the camera pans left as he dumps out the juice.
2) static shot of dumping out candy from a container

You could do shot #2 moving but it's not neccesary.

Motion track shot #1. You can track the window with a planar tracker like Mocha that comes with After Effects, this can literally be done in seconds.

Stick the candy layer (shot 2) on top and attach it to the shot via the motion track data.

Crop the liquid and candy videos and blend the seam.

posted by hamsterdam at 7:35 PM on January 10, 2014 [3 favorites]

I only watched the first one, but I'm pretty sure I know how he did it.

In Adobe After Effects you can track motion and create layers where one will cover the other. The Juice-->Candy video is two layers, one with the juice, and one with candy falling. You can see the juice layer starts to become opaque right around where the candy is falling. Then it's just masked.
posted by guster4lovers at 7:36 PM on January 10, 2014

Looking at the other videos, the clock one he added the camera movement in post, it's kind of sloppy. Simple composite. Same thing with the goldfish. The money thru the computer has a very obvious edit seam if you pause the video.
posted by hamsterdam at 7:39 PM on January 10, 2014

hamsteradam, can you explain the clock and the goldfish technique in more detail?
posted by jack.brodey at 8:17 PM on January 10, 2014

Yes, the software is getting that good. "Smart" editing can be used to arbitrarily map video onto foam core even with a handheld, shaky camphone -- see the Pomplamoose cover of Royals (with some Beck mashup). I use this not so much because it's actually that close of an effects match, but because of the (essentially) fourth-wall integration that allows you to see how it's done. It comes across as real time, but of course it's really all in post. The fact that this is all reaching down into and even past the prosumer level makes a lot of old, expensive, practical special effects work in film -- like carefully matched mattes, green screens, and partial sets -- seem like an incredibly ridiculous amount of work. The assembly used to be the hard part -- matching color, lighting, focus -- and now it's practically push-button.
posted by dhartung at 2:07 PM on January 11, 2014

It comes across as real time, but of course it's really all in post.
You think they're really motion tracking from multiple cameras? They explicitly say in the description that they're using the projector to put images on the foam core.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 2:22 PM on January 11, 2014

and now it's practically push-button.

ahh! I wish! I do visual effects for a living, and it's still a lot of work - the compositing programs we have to work with now are fantastic, (I use flame and fusion) but since every film shoot is unique, every effects shot is going to have it's own challenges and need to be carefully put together by a trained artist.

priskyprisky, the more exact term for what is being done in the vines you linked to is compositing - the layering of multiple filmed images and elements into a cohesive whole. it's a lot like photoshop at 24 frames a second.

to do the clock video, here's the steps.

- shoot a background plate of the guy throwing the clock, with the camera moving how you want the shot to look

- shoot an element plate of the change hitting the floor, this is simplest if the camera is still

- use motion tracking to match the camera motion of your background plate. Motion tracking is really useful - basically, you select a reference point in the scene you want to track, like a spot on the floor, and then the software identifies exactly where that same spot moves to in each subsequent frame of the video.

- using these co-ordinates, you can then take the still video of the change hitting the floor, and replace that part of your background with it. You need to make a black-and-white image called a matte to define what parts of the finished video will be showing the foreground (the change) and what parts show the background (the clock plate) since you have the tracking information, the foreground plate moves with the background, and it looks like it's all happening at the same time.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 6:38 PM on January 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

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