How'd They Do This Illusion?

edited December 2011 in Everything Else
A couple weeks ago on a show called "The Big Bang Theory", one of the characters, Sheldon- who is afraid of birds, tries to chase a bird off his window ledge by building a sonic device. This led to a really neat effect when he turned it on at 1:35 into this clip (although the whole clip is funny and short). I'm guessing this was a CG effect and I was wondering if you think they needed to mask all the panes of the glass and add a broken glass effect across the entire window area or did they add the effect to each pane of glass? Either way- I thought this was pretty brilliant.
What say you?
http://youtu.be/xZv8c7VREPY

Comments

  • It might be possible to create a cracked glass image in photoshop and then apply that to the scene masking out the borders of the windows so the new layer is only on top of the glass sections. Or as you said, there could be a few cracked glass images and each pane uses a different one.
    The scene happens so fast it looks as if the entire area becomes cracked at the same time so you could just keyframe the opacity of the layer 0-100% in however many frames it takes to simulate the effect.
    I'm sure there are much better ways of doing it, just thought I'd throw in my two cents on how I'd make a first attempt at it.
  • Either way, there is very little masking to do here, so whether you do it for each pane as a separate layer, or for all the panes on one layer, it should go pretty quickly. The only potential issue with using a single layer is that you could conceivably see the pattern continuing through from one pane to the next, where the glass in reality wouldn't be a single piece. However, with this particular pattern, that is not going to happen, so its irrelevant.
  • Then what about the bird? How do you get him in front of the window in the outside shot? Would green screening work? :huh:
  • Green screening would work fine, or just mask him out.
  • had to watch it twice, the first time i was laughing to hard at the line "hurry up before George Lucas changes it again"
  • Love this show. While it wasn't the best episode of the season by any measure, there were several awesome moments including the "George Lucas is going to change it again" line.
    Anyways... since you usually don't many vfx shots in multi-camera sitcoms... could this possibly be a practical effect? As in... they film the take with the normal window, and then the actors froze while the crew put up a "broken glass" insert? Is it just me... or watching the clip back... does the "jump" between the "regular" and "shattered" glass seem a tiny bit unnatural? Thoughts?
    It might very well be VFX (and like you guys mentioned... a pretty simple effect), but I thought I'd offer my two cents. My main reasoning being that... since the show is filmed in front of a live audience, wouldn't they need some sort of visual cue on set for the audience to react to?
  • its possible it wasn't a digital effect, it could have been done practically in camera. If this was something like a sheet of sugar glass and it was hit or pressure applied to it just right it might produce this effect. I am not sure if this is how its done, i'm just saying, don't rule it out.
  • It was most likely a practical effect. But still would not be hard to recreate in Hitfilm as Axel already described.
  • edited December 2011
    If it was practical, then I'm guessing they just placed the breakaway panes against the outside of the real panes, so they didn't have to replace the windows entirely. Even so, for this particular effect, its so fast and easy to do it digitally that I can't say for certain. The only advantage in this case would be to elicit reaction from the live audience. But the laugh tracks get a huge amount of editing anyway, so even that wouldn't be necessary.
  • I imagine it's digital - the show already has a ton of a greenscreen work for vehicle scenes etc so it's not like it's massively outside their remit. As it's a static shot it'd be a really easy job to composite on a shattered glass version.
    As for the live audience - sitcom shows always have a ton of non-live stuff, whether it's exteriors or more complex sequences that require particular edits/effects to work. Those sections are often shot and edited in advance and played to the audience, in sequence, on a cinema-style screen in front of the main live sets.
  • This is a digital effect that pops on.
    To keep it short and simple - there are 2 layers/effects which switch on. One is the texture of the broken glass and the other is a displacement map powered by the broken glass texture which affects the background as well as a little bit of blur. This is all laid over the original plate, and then the window frames and seagull are rotoscoped (masked) out accordingly.
    Top Layer : Window frame and seagull roto'd out.
    Middle Layer : Broken glass texture.
    Bottom Layer : Original Plate of characters etc which is displaced/blurred based on the broken glass texture.
    If you would like, I could create a tutorial project when I have a little time*
    -Matt
    * Warning - I still haven't finished the tracking tutorials I promised months ago.

  • I imagine it's digital - the show already has a ton of a greenscreen work for vehicle scenes etc so it's not like it's massively outside their remit. As it's a static shot it'd be a really easy job to composite on a shattered glass version.

    Simon, on a scale of one to ten- ten being best- what would you rate their green screen work? Personally, I think their car sequences are pretty darn good- I'd give them a 7 or 8.
    Anyone else want to rate their work? Please do!

  • This is a digital effect that pops on.
    To keep it short and simple - there are 2 layers/effects which switch on. One is the texture of the broken glass and the other is a displacement map powered by the broken glass texture which affects the background as well as a little bit of blur. This is all laid over the original plate, and then the window frames and seagull are rotoscoped (masked) out accordingly.
    Top Layer : Window frame and seagull roto'd out.
    Middle Layer : Broken glass texture.
    Bottom Layer : Original Plate of characters etc which is displaced/blurred based on the broken glass texture.
    If you would like, I could create a tutorial project when I have a little time*
    -Matt
    * Warning - I still haven't finished the tracking tutorials I promised months ago.

    A tutorial wouldn't be necessary unless someone else would like one. I get what you're saying. It seems pretty straight forward.

    Thanks for all the great replies!
  • the thing that impresses me in the driving sequences is the reflections on the car. You can see reflections of lamp post and street signs going by on the metal and glass on the car when ever they are suppose to be driving. Its just one of those little details you don't expect to see in a process shot.

  • the thing that impresses me in the driving sequences is the reflections on the car. You can see reflections of lamp post and street signs going by on the metal and glass on the car when ever they are suppose to be driving. Its just one of those little details you don't expect to see in a process shot.

    Agreed. I learned to do that in VisionLab. I took some video of myself pretending to drive my car [green screened in my garage] and took some video out the back window of my car to put behind the driving vid. When I did the street video I made a second pass down the road with my camera on the dashboard pointing up. I then had the tops of buildings and lamp posts going by just like BBT. I manipulated the footage to match the shape of my windshield and changed the opacity to look like a reflection. BAM! It was surprisingly simple to do AND very effective as you say....one of those little details.
  • I haven't seen the show for a while, but I remember thinking it was nicely done. Certainly come a long way since Frasier started doing it 10 years ago!
  • edited December 2011
    Here's a couple of examples for you, Simon. What do you think?
    Click on the "Watch on YouTube" message in the player- it'll go right to the video. Evidently, CBS doesn't want these embedded.
    Night driving:
    http://youtu.be/EEYiDfx9838
    Day driving:
    http://youtu.be/KMhp2ShPVQw
    They must use more than one camera to film the background. I tried watching the trees outside the car and their reflections on the hood and windshield and to me, they looked like they line up really well.
  • Likely a practical effect. Easily done with candy glass and piston solenoids built into the frame and fired at same time to crack the glass. Could also be a cg effect. :)

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