A large portion of the work on any video project is never seen on-screen. This section features some of the actual footage we used to test techniques and demonstrate proof of concept. Technical details are found at the bottom of the page. Note: videos require a fast connection.


Scene Replace

In this clip Michael provides a working example of the "scene replace" technique. Notice the extension of Michael's kitchen to include a medieval hallway. In post production a certain area of the video was selected and replaced with a still frame. As long as the camera remained steady, such a replacement provided a convincing background. As shown by the animation below Boris's dining room door was transformed into an extension of the Harvard Museum of Natural History.


General Zaroff's house was a collection of five different locations. Quite often, as characters moved from room to room they would in reality be jumping between states. In an effort to mend the differences between these locations the filmmakers relied on several video editing techniques. The animation to the right demonstrates the transition between pre-production and post-production still-frames in the "dinner scene."



The "blue-screen" effect was a much sought-after maneuver. However in the absence of a blue or green screen, the directors had to improvise. In this clip Boris shows an early blue-screen adaptation using his blue shades to mimic a mono-color screen. In the final production a  "luminance key" was used to distinguish behind the foreground footage, and the replaced background footage. Darker areas of the shot remained, while lighter areas were replaced with an entirely different video layer. The final result was quite fluid, and virtually seamless. See if you can spot the shot using the luminance key in the film.

Transparency is fun :)

Michael presents: Hand-Boiled           Boris presents: his eye     

Other Footage

In the planning days of the project the directors used video to communicate and to demo concepts. Michael sent the following two videos to Boris. Both are filmed in his bedroom where the film was edited. The first video showcases Michael's costume selection for his character. The second demos using a lens flare to mimic muzzle flare. Although the technique was not used in the final production, it is a viable and easy method.



Technical Details

Video Format: Digital8 (DV) Widescreen 16:9 720x480
Video Cameras: Sony DCR TRV 120, 320, 520
Editing Platform: Windows 2000 (NTFS)
Editing Software: Adobe Premiere 6.0
Computer Hardware: Celeron 633@800mhz, 384mb ram, 60gb, DLink DFW-500 Firewire, ATi Radeon VE, Dual 19" monitors
Teleprompter: Netpliance IOpener 200mhz :)
Post Production Formats: DivX 720x405 6000kbit, WMV 512x288 350kbit, VHS

A couple of notes here. We were very pleased with the Sony TRV line of cameras, and with the Digital8 format on the whole. The cameras had some finicky features, but nothing that you can't get used to. Digital8 is the cheapest version of DV available and provides quality which equals its MiniDV competitor. The video is recorded on standard hi8 tapes and thus tapes for Digital8 are considerably cheaper. We used the Sony TRV 120, 320, and 520 models depending on which one was available. Luckily for us all these cameras have virtually the same internals. The 320 is the 120 with still-picture recording, and the 520 is the 320 with a larger LCD screen. We would advocate the use of the 120 for its agility, cheaper price, and longer battery life. We did not test the still-picture recording, however it is relatively useless at the low resolution provided.

Windows 2000 is a good video editing platform. The NTFS file system allowed for file sizes greater than 2gb. However Adobe Premiere was really a disappointment. We are still unconvinced that anyone has ever tried using Premiere for a serious project. The program buckled under the weight of a large project file. It was buggy, slow, crash-prone, and generally presented problems whenever possible. We really hope that Adobe can get its act together. At this point there are no viable alternatives on the pc platform. It makes these editors interested in trying out what the mac has to offer.


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