The virtual Erwin was also swapped for the real Erwin just
as the huge gator chomped and began to thrash him about.
effect was accomplished by first filming the scene with
the actor, Darrell, entering and taunting the gator.
At this point, there was nothing there except a marker
on the ground to signify where the gator would be.
the same scene was shot without Darrell (the camera tripod
was anchored with sandbags so it would not move between shots).
post production, the two shots had to be combined so that
Darrell would vanish within a frame. This way the virtual
Erwin could assume his place. Sound easy? Not really.
Conventional wisdom would say to edit the empty scene
in following the last frame in which Darrell was supposed
to be in.
would work fine if the scene was shot indoors or in a sound
stage where all elements were controlled. Doing this here
would cause an obvious jump-cut because the moss in the trees
and the grass were moving from wind, not to mention that the
lighting was constantly changing as clouds passed over the
sun. The time between scenes was more than enough for the
lighting to change dramatically.
we rolled the entire footage containing Darrell on an upper
layer and punched a hole through the scene where he stood
with a garbage matte when he was to disappear. The empty scene
was run on the lower layer to fill the matte with the identical
foliage. This way the change in motion and lighting would
not be nearly as obvious as overtaking the entire scene.
this footage was imported into Lightwave as the background
composite and was projected on a 3D ground plane so the gator
and virtual Erwin would cast ground shadows on the video footage.
virtual gator was added and animated. As he lunged for
Erwin (the frame where Darrell vanishes), the virtual
Erwin was placed in the scene and his first pose was
matched to the last frame of Darrell's pose. From there
the gator and Erwin were animated to appear that the
reptile was thrashing Erwin from side to side like a
side of hog.
the final stages, the texture, bumps, transparency maps were
added to both the gator and Erwin and a motion blur filter
was applied. The final step was to make the gator apear to
be lying in the grass on the video footage. This was done
by using the Sasquach plugin by Worely. This plugin, which
creates 3D hair and fur on 3D objects, helped us to grow tall
grass sparsely from the ground plane giving the illusion the
gator is buried in the grass.
same effect was used to make the gator appear to stand
up and charge Erwin. This too was the virtual Erwin placed
close to the virtual camera and applying a depth of field
filter to dither him out of focus.