Sunday, September 30, 2012

It's not easy being green screened

My Empire Uncut chunk includes a scene in the Millennium Falcon cockpit, with asteroids and laser blasts moving past outside the windows. If it's worth doing, it's worth overcomplicating, I say, so I decided to recreate it in a composite shot, using a green screen and a cockpit miniature.

I have an alcove in my bedroom that's just about the right size for the cockpit, so all I need to do is turn the end of it green. Fluorescent posterboard from CVS, taped together and supported with foam core struts, makes a dandy green screen:

Or possibly a hang glider. Unless I've reinvented baseball.

Then I sketched out the cockpit window struts on graph paper, pinned it to foam core, and began cutting out window panels:

Once I had my cockpit miniature, I set it up with my camera and a black background and shot a few seconds of footage to test the concept:

Finally, I shot the back of my head against the green screen, and combined the footage in iMovie:

And there I am in the cockpit, with Tom Servo (actual height: 4") saying hi from outside! For the scene itself, I'm going to have to pay more attention to relative scale and lining up the footage — my head's too big, and in the wrong place. But for a ten-minute test shot, I'm pretty pleased with how well it worked.

That was all last night. This afternoon I took another trip to Blick to get materials for the Boba Fett costume, which is already coming together. His dented helmet is staring at me from the coffee table, waiting for the weather to brighten up so I can give it a coat of paint.

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