An Alien Autopsy Part I
I recently watched
a television special called Hoaxs Revealed. In one segment
they showed a supposed alien autopsy being filmed in an army
tent in Roswell, New Mexico in 1947. They then went on to prove
it a hoax. This got me thinking that I might have some old alien
footage the Fox Network might want to buy for their next special.
In order to create
our own cheesy alien autopsy footage, well be using two
plugins from DigiEffects; Aurorix 2 AVX for the Avid Xpress
and Composer 1000, as well as Cinemotion for After Effects 3.1
(see sidebar on how Cinemotion can be used
to clear up digital video grain).
The first thing
I did to create our fake autopsy footage was to shoot our "investigator"
examining an empty table (Image 1). I shot this footage with
a minimum of lights and a black backdrop to give us the feeling
that we were inside a dark tent made of heavy military material.
The footage was shot on SVHS videotape using the Panasonic AG-DP800P
in a small television studio. The footage was then brought into
the AVID Xpress and digitized at AVR77. The footage has a high
contrast ratio but when we start adding filters and effects
to the piece, we should achieve the desired effect.
The next step was
to composite our little alien gray into the footage. The alien
was created a year or so ago for an ongoing project (Image 2).
Considering the state of the project, this little guy was perfect
for our dead subject.
In order to make
our footage look like it had been shot on film and had gone
through the 3:2 pull down process, we need to export the footage
as a QuickTime movie and import it into After Effects 3.1 so
we can apply Cinemotion to it. Cinemotion is ideally intended
to be used as an enhancing tool with DigiEffects Cinelook to
supply a little extra "oomph". However, as I played
around with the plugin, I discovered the plugin can be utilized
in projects without needing Cinelook. Cinemotion is an easy
install, simply click, point it to the correct directory and
voila! There are 10 plugins that come with Cinemotion including
Grain reducer (to reduce/remove grain from footage), Adaptive
noise (adds noise to area of minimal detail), Letterbox (creates
cropping for film-aspect ratios), and the one we will be using,
Film motion is
used to simulate the 3:2 pull down process and give the illusion
that the image was transferred from film. Film Motion allows
you to control the 3:2 pull down process with more options than
those under the After Effects 3:2 option in the render panel.
Under the preferences adjust the settings for your appropriate
system. For the Avid systems running on MacOS, set field rendering
to Upper. If you are running MCXpress on a NT system the field
needs to be set to Lower, and on the Media100 set the field
to Upper. One thing I did like about the settings, is the major
editing systems are all listed. For this piece I chose Avid
Xpress Film1. These default settings will work for most projects,
but I made a few adjustments for my own aesthetic likes. I lowered
the blend with original down to 10%, and increased the shutter
blur to 15 pixels instead of the default 4. I also increased
the blur strength to 75% and the gain amount to 50% to add more
artifacts into the image.
Render the movie
out as a QuickTime movie using the current settings under the
composition panel, and make sure the QuickTime compressor is
set to your system (in this case media composer). As expected,
the render time was about 1 minute for every second of video.
I also rendered the comp out using the standard AE defaults
but used the 3:2 pull down in AE with the WSSWW settings. You
can compare the two below (Movie 1 with Cinemotion, Movie 2
Cinemotion is an
easy install, the plugin is easy to figure out with minimal
manual referencing, and it can easily produce the results you
desire. One drawback you might find is it will be nearly impossible
to view the effects in real-time at full resolution unless your
computer has fast update abilities. By lowering the image to
1:2 or smaller, you can get faster updates.
Quicktime movies of our Alien Autopsy movie
In Part 2 well
take our footage back into the Avid Xpress system and give it
that old film look using Aurorix 2.
Ease of Use: 10
Overall Rating: 8.75
1 is horrible, 10 is perfect.
World Wide Web address is http://www.digieffects.com