The ability for folks of all different production experiences and skill levels to be creative has never been more powerful. UAV's (unmanned aerial vehicles) allow anyone from a major motion picture director to a realtor grab footage that showcases their content in an amazing new light. Green screens allow for adding incredible elements to a production, and those two elements can all be pulled together in post to achieve something really spectacular.
Figuring out how all these pieces fit together can be a challenge though. Jeff Foster, the featured speaker during our recent PVC Experts & Answers webinar, has been producing and providing training for traditional and digital images, photography, illustration, motion graphics and special effects for over 20 years. During our live webinar he talked through how these pieces can and do fit together.
The webinar is available now, and answers to some of the questions Jeff was not able to get to during the live webinar are below.
Q: I am interested in videoing pianists in my green screen studio. the piano would be in the center with all walls and floor green-screen. the camera would circle them in a 360 degree arc. This Yamaha Disklavier C7 Pro Series piano can record and play back later for the audio recording, so no mics need be present while the performer is being videoed. later I want to ad outdoor background video of exotic locations, say edge of Grand Canyon. I could use uav to video both inside and out if I can program it to repeat the exact flight. Is that possible? The other problem would be if there is wind outside can the uav be programmed to compensate for that? If not now I am sure it will be possible soon, maybe using something as a reference point. The ideal result for me would be if both flights were a perfect circle, and if course at the same angle and relative altitude. If the uav is programmable and could sense if it detoured from the programmed flight and know the details of the variation then that could be reproduced in the studio shoot if not to objectionable a variation. What other precautions would I need to take re matching lighting conditions, etc!
A: These would not be possible to get an exact match between flights both inside and out for two reasons: (1) you can't get GPS location lock inside the building, and (2) yes, wind will also play a part in tacking the outside flight off track. You could possibly accomplish this with a complex static waypoint triangulation that I've seen demo'd at a TED talk last year, but I haven't seen any real commercial application of this technology to date.
Q: What is the delay between what the camera senses and when you see it (how many seconds, or is it real-time)?
A: With the current FPV setup on most commercial drones, including the GoPro, DJI Vision+ and DSLR solutions, the delay is nearly non-existent to the monitor. We're talking milliseconds here, not seconds.
Q: Could you talk about your post workflow a bit. What do you do as far as stabilization. What tools do use? Thanks!
A: I use the Warp Stabilizer in Adobe Premiere Pro/After Effects CC. You can learn more about how this is achieved in the article I wrote for ProVideo Coalition last winter: https://www.provideocoalition.com/jfoster/story/pov-cam-footage-adobe-cc
Q: Are there any professionally orienteated user groups?
A: Facebook has some great user groups with a lot of user-suppleid information, ideas and upgrades/hacks for getting the best from your experience. You can follow my “Drone Workshop” page on Facebook that I keep updated with links, news and shared posts with readers. You can also follow my channel “The PixelPainter” here on ProVideo Coalition.
Q: What about amazon delivering packages?
A: Not going to happen any time soon. What started out as a publicity stunt, they've considered that there may actually be option in the future. Way, way into the future, no doubt.
Q: Would you recommend a insurance policy for drones?
A: Yes – but it's going to cost you if you're flying commercially. If you are only flying at AMA approved airfields or in safe-fly locations as a hobbyist flyer, then joining the AMA (American Modelers Association) will provide you with a good basic liability policy. But currently there are only a few underwriters for liability insurance for commercial drones (a Google search will guide you) but look to spend a couple thousand/year right now.
Q: I am going to be shooting interviews for my doc. These will be in many different locations and I want background continuity. These are simple sitdown, talking shots. What size green screen do you recommend
A: A portable pop-up (6×7) should do you well. Lastolite makes a decent one, but I'd suggest for various interviews with a quick/easy setup, you might want to consider using the Reflecmedia front-projection system. Much more portable and you only need a couple lights for your talent on site.
Q: Ever used different colors matts on a set to composite different elements into your scene?
A: Yes – often times if you have a background digital green and your talent has to interact behind/around another object and they're not wearing any blue, you can use digital blue on those objects. Doing a two-pass keying process on your footage will allow you to eliminate the green background and still retain shadows on the blue foreground elements.