Visual Effects Shoot – Runner

Our Visual Effects Sequence

As discussed in the link above, our visual effects sequence consists of a student who is late to class, whilst also forgetting his lanyard to grant him permission within college.  After the realization,the student then runs through the scene at superhuman speed across numerous shots taken throughout the college site, also running through wall/s as they progress.  The sequence finishes when the protagonist reaches  his / her lanyard which is lying on the floor after falling out their pocket, raising it up to the sky in triumph.

Positives taken from the Shoot

There were a number of positives taken from our VFX Shoot:

  • Good variety of shot angles / locations to help portray the character moving quickly across the college environment.
  • Our team member John, who kindly volunteered to be the Actor throughout the sequence, allowing us to produce good shots of him running throughout the scenes.
  • An opportunity to again work with new members of the course that I have not necessarily worked with in the past, allowing myself to witness how they work and determine their strengths and weaknesses if I were to work with them in the future.
  • Opportunity to familiarize myself with the equipment available to us within the college, including a chance to use the camera (Canon EOS 700D) and tripod to capture all the footage.
  • Using the storyboard and shot lists I created earlier in the project, allowed us to quickly organize and capture the shots we required to complete the sequence.  Megan used my list to tick off each shot captured once it was completed.

Negatives taken from the Shoot

There was a number of negatives which appeared throughout the shoot, with a issues coming to realization when analyzing the footage captured.

  • The day of the shoot contained high winds, making capturing steady footage extremely difficult as this was affecting the tripod.
  • There was a number of situations where shots had to be re-taken due to the public walking into shots at busier times throughout the day.  This also occurred with traffic entering the footage located at the rear of the college.
  • For the final shots of the sequence, we required footage including the whole of the class which was difficult to organise as they were also working on projects of their own.
  • After analysing the footage, we began to notice a few shot coming in and out of focus which will be unusable.  This may have been down to the wind moving the camera, making it re-focus.  Also, the camera had been set to an auto-focus preset, which made the camera focus on the object in the foreground, resulting in the rest of the scene being out of focus and blurred.
  • With having to re-take a number of shot due to the above issues, the shoot took longer than expected. This meant we ran out of time, not allowing us to complete our dailies / rushes.

Footage Captured during the Shoot

The first footage we captured was a wide shot of the protagonist running the entire span of the scene, weaving between the columns as we desired.


We then captured two additional closer up shots of the scene, with the camera positioned square on to the wall.  This would provide us with extra footage to cut into the sequence, using short and snappy shots to create the illusion of speed.


I also made sure to get an alternative shot of the scene from a front on angle, to provide additional options when editing the final footage and extra interest to the sequence.


As a team, we also came up with a create way to position the camera to give the effect of John running through the wall.  This will allow us to add effects such as smoke and debris upon the footage, without having the model a hole in the wall.


Whilst we were outdoors, we decided to prioritise all external footage.  As a result, we began to capture the flashback scene, where the actor first loses his lanyard and setting the scene for the rest of the sequence.  John and Keiron were to “accidentally” bump into each other, causing John to drop the lanyard without noticing.  We also wanted the lanyard to drop central as possible to the camera to draw attention to it.  Unfortunately, the spot we chose was a busy section of the college meaning many takes were needed to capture the required footage without any interruption.


This also provided the perfect opportunity to record the closing shot of the sequence, where the actor then returns the the scene to collect the lanyard, hold it in the air triumphantly.  The lanyard is not in the precise same position where it was dropped, however this will not be noticeable as they are at separate sections of the sequence.


From here we moved indoors, capturing the opening scenes of the sequence.  The footage was to set the scene with a number of students displaying their lanyards to Matty, our tutor.


The is where our main character is confronted and begins to realise that he has lost his lanyard en route to the college classroom.  The camera then switches to a close up shot of his face, with a look of shock as the situation dawns on him.


The main character then runs towards the camera and beyond, where the camera then switches to a view behind him, where he continues to run towards a wall as if he were to run through it.  This would then switch to the external footage of him exiting the hole in the wall, as recorded earlier.


As you can see, the footage achieved was extremely poor quality as the camera was out of focus.  This leads nicely on to the next section of this post.


After analysing the footage collected, I was particularly happy with the shots captured for the running scenes of the sequence.  They provided crisp and clear footage with plenty of potential for editing.  However, the majority of interior shots that were recorded were very dimly lit which caused a lower quality image.  Also, a number of shots appeared blurry as the cameras auto-focus option actually sent the camera out of focus.  In hindsight, we should have focused the camera manually to our desired amount.  Finally,  the close up shot was actually recorded in the wrong location meaning the sequence will not appear continuous as the background will not match the rest of the footage.  This may potentially require a re-shoot to capture the desired shot, or we may edit the background in at a later stage. However, the footage which is out of focus will probably need to be captured again as much of this is unusable.


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