How did they film the Sl65 Black intro in Top Gear 13x03

AshDav

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[YOUTUBE]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1r5tbudeww[/YOUTUBE]

I'm talking about the video-light-graffiti at the start.
It fascinates me.
If you were to move a light source around the car then you'd normally just see a moving light with no trail.

I know you can create this same effect in photography using light graffiti, but that's only in a still frame and the shutter remains open while you paint the light which causes the trail.

Can any of the photographers/cinematographers here shed some light on how they've made this?
Is there a certain camera setting that causes light to ghost?

And there is actually a purpose for me wanting to know this. I'll be starting to create a car documentary in a few weeks and I'm looking for cinematography ideas. I'll be using a Sony HD camera and that's fairly customizable too.

Thanks
 

Werner

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maybe they have layered all the frames on top of each other to get to this effect?

i don't know really, but i think it would be possible.
 

HotCooler

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IMO it's a combination of real filming (car) and 3D (light trails, reflections, lightning and probably a car in some shots..). Or it's a weird animation of still light graffiti... So I'd bet it's digital effect.
 
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LeVeL

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Im guessing they dragged a torch around and used a long exposure for each frame. Kinda like people did in that LED-drawing thread
 

AshDav

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Well i've been looking into it further and i've still no definite solution
but they've used the same or a very similar method to the 2g iPod Nano commercial

[YOUTUBE]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VfBo0IzbgX4[/YOUTUBE]
 

HotCooler

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That seems to be a result of filming a Ipod (probably special colored one or even a placeholder box or something) and then using some professional FX software they've tracked movements of that object and placed a glowing semi transparent particle trace.

So I bet you it's all 3D and FX. I watched some Science of the Movies from Science channel, there was shown some stuff like that (they've tracked and object and placed a smoke trail and a heat haze trail behind it with proper lightning and other stuff).
 

Ramseus

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Sorry, HotCooler, but you don't know what you're talking about.

You know what I just noticed? The camera never moves. The pans and zooms aren't physical pans and zooms - the close up of the wheels seems improbable to be a stationary camera zoomed in, but the show's not in HD so that gives them much more room to play around in.

The light source is obviously a fluorescent light (like they used in some other intro a while ago, except the lights were all laying on the ground, if you know what I'm talking about). The sort of gap in the middle of the light at some times is probably from someone's hand obfuscating the light. I have no clue how they actually produced the end result, but I'm fairly certain that they filmed it in HD and did some kind of funky compositing. I really don't know anything about compositing, not my area of expertise, but I do know that this is definitely doable if you know what you're doing.

Also, 13x03 had two blokes credited for graphics. I don't think that's a regular credit.
 

Blayde

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From looking at it, seems to me they used two sequences, one totally black, one lit as needed, layered one on top of the other and slowly progressed the transition with the effects, hiding the lights by using the dark shoot's background. The perfect reflection of the shape lights was probably artificial but the glow is real and the bulb/light source's reflection is nicely removed by overlapping the shape light or otherwise.
 

Ramseus

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You're over thinking it too. They couldn't possibly have done that because of the way the car reacts to the light. When the reflection on the car is in front of where the light currently is and that part is going to get covered by the light when it advances, that would take waaaaaaaaaaaay too much work to get right using your method for a 30 second intro. One shot composited, man, I'll eat my hat* if I'm wrong about that.


*I really like my hat, please don't make me eat it
 

Alok

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You know in photoshop you can have two layers and change the opacity settings of the layer on top to different modes, like Hard light, Darken, etc..

Premiere Pro can do that, and I bet finalcut can do it too with videos.

I think they layered a pure black clip over the SL's footage and snip snapped around.
 

Blayde

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^ Almost what I said, those who've used photoshop and other products of Adobe know the way you can do this. If you look at the all dark image of the SL, it does look a bit flat to be a proper shot
 

JScullin

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It's painting with light in photography.

What they did was a long exposure where someone walked around with a light quick enough for the car & light to be picked up, but no them (probably wore black). They then took an under exposed shot of the car as an empty "plate".

In a program like After Effects they selectively began to erase the black layer with the layer that had the light painted across the car. In AE you can make a path that will reveal an object as it goes over it. Think of it as someone "writing" on the screen.

So, in reality that shot of the SI65 is a fully exposed shot that was painted w/the light that was made to look like someone was "writing" with the light.
 

HotCooler

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Hmm.. I have another idea as a 3D theory is not welcomed.. Since camera never moves. It probably can be done through filming it as normal - moving a light and filming as it goes and then - Blending all the frames in a sequence of a certain time together to create a steady trace. And as the time moves on, remove old frames from the picture though creating a moving trace of light. Effectively creating result like long exposure in normal cameras and though not overexposing a car. That is strange I've never thought of it before....
 
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Top Geek

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^ That sounds to me like that most brilliant-but-simple solution to me ... probably the most likely.
 

AshDav

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Next chance i get I'm going to try it out for myself.
I'll take a normal underexposed photo, then try some light graffiti with a torch, put the photos onto final cut or after effects and then bring the light graffiti one in over the normal one, following the path with feathering.
Hopefully that'll work.
 

camsinny

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You know what they say about skinning cats...

But yeah, I was intrigued by the effect when I saw it too.

I'd say probably the easiest way would be to use still photography and use layer masks like Jscullin said.

The 3d approach would be FAR too time consuming, but hey, it's a method.

It's great how they always come up with new ways to show off cars. I absolutely love the cinematography in TG.

Great effect.
 

Dr_Grip

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I think it's long exposure for video. you can change the shutter speed of high end vid cams.
But by doing this, you create slow motion/high speed effects as the number of fps changes - that's not what's asked for here, you're much better off by using a still photo camera, i guess.
 
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