Busby Berkeley Effect?
May 10, 2008 10:23 AM   Subscribe

I want to recreate, as closely as possible, the Busby Berkeley effect where the faces go all kaleidoscopic and hazy, like in 42nd street. Here is a still. Does anyone have any ideas on how to do this, via plugin, or motion paths? Also, for extra credit, how did they do this in the 1930's? I use After Effects and Premiere.
posted by idledebonair to Media & Arts (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
multivision filters (not endorsing this merchant, just one site where I found example images)

And don't you dare recreate this effect using a computer -- it's patented. (not that this stopped those scoundrels from releasing photoimpact pro 8.5 about two months before the patent filing--whoops)
posted by jepler at 11:53 AM on May 10, 2008

First off, let's get the terminology straight. This NOT a kaleidoscopic effect, it's a multi-image effect, easily achieved with lens attachments. (You can do this on the cheap by peering through faceted lead crystals.) Of course, you're not alone in confusing the terms, so it'd be worth searching with both terms. Who knows what these guys mean by "kaleidoscope" without seeing an example?

Kaleidoscopes are made using mirrors and invariably involve reflections and symmetry, plus a general absence of soft-focus edges. This class of effect is easy to achieve with plugins, at least on a Mac, since it's built into the Core Image library as a bunch of different "tile" effects; scroll down through these examples and you'll find some under Reflected Tile. Can't imagine it's hard to find on the PC...

Multi-image effects are apparently not so easy to do digitally. This book claims a plugin to do it doesn't exist, but that's probably not true. Perhaps you've already rummaged around in here? I didn't find anything in a quick search...

The long way around might be to use some kind of particle effect in which you put your image into each particle then design how you want the particles to arrange themselves...?
posted by dpcoffin at 12:26 PM on May 10, 2008

Response by poster: Yes, strictly speaking, it is not kaleidoscopic. I understand that, but it is indeed reminiscent of a kaleidescope. Of course, it does not have reflected images, but for the purposes of this discussion, and using the still as reference, I see that people understood what I meant. So, I guess I'm just going to have to build a filter!
posted by idledebonair at 12:42 PM on May 10, 2008

Best answer: You can buy Sapphire Plug-Ins Box 2 for $600 and use their FlysEyeHex effect in AE.
posted by dpcoffin at 1:14 PM on May 10, 2008

Multi-image effects are apparently not so easy to do digitally.

Then I must be missing something. Looking at the still, it seems like I could re-create in After Effects by duplicating the footage-layer over and over and offsetting each dupe in time and space, so that they're laid out in a grid and they start and end at different times. That would take about three minutes to do.

I'd adjust opacity so that you could see all the layers at once. Then I'd apply some sort of blur or motion blur effect.

What am I missing?
posted by grumblebee at 6:44 AM on May 11, 2008

Response by poster: @Grumblebee: Yes, of course, that's what I started with. You aren't missing anything as far as I'm concerned, I just wanted to see if there was a quick and dirty solution.
posted by idledebonair at 10:34 AM on May 12, 2008

« Older Number Sense   |   Entropy and Software Projects Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.