VFX – Final Idea Pt.1

Gary has now delivered the brief that will make up our end of year project for VFX. The goal is to shoot our own footage (around 5-10 seconds) that will be altered using After Effects using all the tools we’ve learnt about thus far. The higher grades will come from making a piece good enough to convince an audience that your edits are seamless with the original footage. That…is a tall order for how inexperienced we all are and more of a worry that I want to attempt something bordering on magical/sci-fi effects.

There is no theme for the brief and we’re completely open to do anything we use, so nailing down an idea is going to take some time and research. Next week we’ll be looking at some magical effects as a class tutorial so I’ll be waiting to take that into account before fully finishing this post.

As a sideline, there are some things to accomplish before shooting even takes place:

  • A synopsis of the project
  • Storyboards based on the synopsis
  • Use correct terminology for your camera shots
  • Consider what VFX you want to achieve, do your research
  • Search for reference material to help with the above

Since I don’t have a formed idea yet, here is a list of the shot terminologies given to us by Gary:

  • Long shot – this is sometimes called a full shot or a wide shot – it will show the “entire object or human figure and is usually intended to place it in relation to its surroundings”
    • Wide shot (WS) – subject is comfortably in the frame
    • Very wide shot (VWS) – subject is just visible in the location
    • Extreme wide shot (EWS) – shot is so far the subject is no longer visible
    • Establishing shot (ES) – used to display the location and is usually the first shot of a new scene
    • Master shot (MS) – similar to ES, but all relevant characters are in frame (usually for the duration of the scene)


  • Medium shot – this is usually used when there is dialogue in the scene or a smaller group of people as the focus – gives a partial view of the background, but focuses on the actors, their expressions and body language, etc.
    • Singles – this medium shot would be waist-high of one actor
    • Group shots – would consist of three or more actors
    • Over-the-shoulders – taken from the perspective of the shoulder of a person in the scene, with the back of the head and shoulder still visible in frame
    • Two-shots – this would feature two people; a good example of this would be an on-air interview with the two people facing one another sitting in chairs


  • Close-up shot – this will tightly frame a person or object and show the most detail, but don’t show the broader scene – the subject shouldn’t actually be in the exact middle of the frame, but rather use the “law of golden section” to be placed
    • Medium close-up (MCU) – halfway between a mid-shot and a close-up, including the subject’s head and shoulders
    • Close-up (CU) – a certain part of the subject (such as a person’s head) takes up the entirety of the frame
    • Extreme close-up (ECU or XCU) – a very tight shot that focuses on an extreme detail of the subject (such as a person’s eyes)

Also mentioned were:

  • Panning – this is when the camera is rotating or pivoting horizontally from a fixed position – it’s actually short for panorama, which would mean it’s an expansive view that goes beyond the viewer’s gaze and they would have to turn their head to take it all in, this shouldn’t be confused with tracking, where the camera pivots as well as follows the subject, so it’s physically moved in relation to the subject’s position
  • Tilting – very similar to panning, except the camera is moved vertically from a fixed position
  • Zoom in/out – this is pretty self-explanatory, but it’s when a camera lens is used to magnify or de-magnify the center of the shot – it could make the subject more or less prominent in the frame

To end this week I began digging through videocopilot, productioncrate and youtube to look at tutorials for inspiration.




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