Make my movie weiiiiird, maaaaannn.
February 17, 2010 5:07 PM   Subscribe

What film editing techniques can I use to create a "psychedelic" or just plain unusual look. (There are a few caveats.)

I am going to be shooting something where I want it to have kind of a magical/fantastic/just odd look.

My handicaps:
I can't use slo-mo, because I won't have variable frame rates available.

I need to be able to do it easily in Final Cut, or *maybe* After Effects. I have both programs, but I am not much of a VFX guy, and can't afford to hire one.

A few ideas I have:

Filming people moving backwards, then reversing it so they move forward, but in an odd way. (I know this has been done before and is not *my* idea, but I want to try it.)

Creating some kind of strobe effect, where every other, or maybe 3 out of every 4 frames, is replaced with black. Does this make sense and if so, what is the best way to implement that?

Using jump cuts to kind of "stutter" movement in weird ways.

Using sporadic fast motion, switching to normal speed, as kind of a "pseudo slo-mo."

That's all I got so far. So anything else cool I can do, lay it on me, and I will try it. Thanks!
posted by drjimmy11 to Media & Arts (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Oh, I also have a "lensbaby" lens available, so I can use tilt-shift to make things look miniature.
posted by drjimmy11 at 5:08 PM on February 17, 2010

Splice in static or contracting/unrelated images, or mess around with the contrast and color intensity.
posted by applemeat at 5:18 PM on February 17, 2010

Sound manipulation can help. A delay filter, putting the sound intentionally out of synch, panning sound from side to side when there is no visible reason it should etc.
posted by juv3nal at 5:40 PM on February 17, 2010

Slit Scan
posted by phrontist at 6:01 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

Depending on what you consider "easy," you could create a chroma key (also called a "bluescreen" or "green screen") based on colors the performers are wearing. So if everyone's wearing blue shirts or blue pants or whatever, set the chroma key to blue and put a background, and you'll be able to "see through" the blue clothes. There are a few tutorials for setting chroma keys out there.
posted by lore at 6:03 PM on February 17, 2010

More examples.
posted by phrontist at 6:20 PM on February 17, 2010

This is a bit heavy on the rendering side but with After Effects the "TimeWarp" effect can do some interesting things.

If you have the CC effects installed (which is standard with CS3 and Cs4 I believe) try the CC Time Blend effect.

Set Accumulation to "95%" and Clear To to "Transparent." You may have to tweak this settings but this will make your movie weiiiiird!
posted by jeremias at 7:30 PM on February 17, 2010

I think you are on the right track with trying to produce the effect during photography and in the design, rather than creating the look in post with filters.

Paint the room bright red and have the actors all wear bright blue.

Visual non sequiturs can be psychedelic too. For example, if the scene takes place in an apartment, have a prop in the room that is an object not normally found in an apartment.

If you have the time to experiment, I once saw work that had been filmed, then that footage was projected onto a billowing fabric and re-shot. The final look was very dreamy.
posted by archivist at 7:42 PM on February 17, 2010

posted by slimepuppy at 1:44 AM on February 18, 2010

A constant, slow, reverse tracking shot. Even though it's EXTREMELY overused, if you use it right it is excellently unsettling, and there is nothing to it but to do it.
posted by dirtdirt at 7:05 AM on February 18, 2010

As audio effects go, I highly spectral delay, with slightly different curves for each stereo channel. This produces a highly unnatural sense of space.
posted by phrontist at 11:28 AM on February 18, 2010

Editing error: I highly recommend spectral delay.
posted by phrontist at 11:29 AM on February 18, 2010

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