Cinematography Mailing List - CML

Dissolve Effect Suggestions

19th April 2006

I am shooting a commercial, super16. I am looking for suggestions on the best way or other ways of reaching my goal. The goal is to change vehicles and locations without looking like I changed the shot. I will establish the subject, a farmer, in a field on a tractor, and move the camera closer until close-up on his face . . . THEN MAGICALLY change the background to a city and farmer driving a truck. ( Its the magical part that I need help with.)

Suggestions are appreciated.

Sean Harris
Harris Television Productions

Depending on how close up you go on the farmer in the tractor, and let's suppose you go to ECU, then it surely requires nothing other than a match frame between the two halves?

With video assist matching the face/position of the farmer in the field to that of him in the van in the city should be pretty straightforward. However, this easy option relies on you going in very tight.

Ben Bannister
Director / DP

>[...] let's suppose you go to ECU, then it surely requires nothing other >than a match frame between the two halves?

To make this device invisible wouldn't it still take some fancy morphing/'jiggling' to hide the join?

I always remember a particularly nice 'tractor transition' from The Colour Purple where a move in to fill the frame with the tread on a tractors wheel cuts to a pull out from strobing railway sleepers shot from a moving train.

Using the body of the tractors cab/rear wheel you could effect a clean matte edge for a wipe from one location to the other. Otherwise you could design your shot to fill the frame with rumbling tractor (a gib down from the farmer) and cut/dissolve to the same set up after the location switch. As long as the light matched and the motion was blurry enough at the cut point you could probably flub the join. A pan could re-reveal the tractor, crane up a la The Straight Story, etc, etc, etc

Tom Townend,

Shoot the final shot green screen.

Come in really close, and fill the frame with his face.


Swing in a translight behind him on the last shot.

Use the saran wrap filter and do a wacky dissolve.

Build a rig to lock his head in relation to the camera, and shoot lots of hold, then move to the next location and repeat.

Steven Gladstone
CML East Coast List Administrator
Gladstone Films

> Use the saran wrap filter and do a wacky dissolve.

What's the saran wrap filter?

Matthew Woolf

Matthew Woolf wrote :

>"What's the saran wrap filter?"

Oh, just a product packaging proposal that never went anywhere...Probably thought it would be too much of a "stretch"

Ira Tiffen

Oh dear Ira - it seems that my lack of US terminology has embarrassed me!

Matthew Woolf

Matthew Woolf wrote :

"- it seems that my lack of US terminology has embarrassed me!"

Not at all, Matthew - yours is a valid query - I was just in a silly fact I suspect that the Saran Wrap filter is actually made using that clear plastic food packaging material as an optical element by stretching it in front of the lens, making sure that it has been properly manipulated by folding and layering to produce a unique distorting effect, when such an effect is useful . . . Think Cling Wrap . . . as in obscuring certain details from appearing inconsistent as in the situation that started this thread...

Ira Tiffen

Hi Sean,

It depends whether he is moving or static, but that can be got around by some 'acting' from the driver. I would shoot it so that you only ended up with sky behind the drivers face when tight in. When you are close in to the face then pan off the face, as if you were panning onto something else leaving just sky behind.

In the 'City' sequence, pan from the sky in the same direction as the original pan, across to an office block etc. as if it was a continuation of the pan, then fairly soon pull out again revealing the driver looking in the same direction as the previous shot but now visible in his cab. The only matching you should need to do is that of the sky colour.

Might be simpler if the farmer on tractor stops for an animal and looks up to take in his surroundings, the truck driver could have stopped for a pedestrian as the shots widens out, then continues on his way.

Just my thoughts on the matter.


John Samuels DP

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