Rotoscoping – My Hell

February 19th, 2014

Category: Roadside - Short

The film industry is full of glamour. It is also full of shit.  I have worked in many roles in the film industry over my fifteen or so years and have done my fair share of painful, laborious jobs.

As I have found when making a short film with zero budget, you have to take on as many roles as you can. So far on this particular project I have assumed the roles of writer, director, producer, cameraman, VFX artist and compositor and probably some other roles I am not aware of yet.  My current job of the week is – rotoscoping.

For anyone unaware of this frequently thankless task in the world of VFX – this involves going through the footage, frame by frame and cutting out digitally – any unwanted areas film that you want to fill in the future with  CG/VFX shots or compositions.

Usually this is quite successfully achieved to some level of automation with a greenscreen but in most cases there is a certain amount of fine tuning involved in this wonderful task.  At 24fps and a meager ten minutes of footage  this equates to approximately 14,400 frames of footage to hand draw a matte over (see before and after below).

I am not complaining. I knew when I decided to have an epic backdrop to the main scene in my film that it would involve a lot of work, I am merely drawing attention to one of the commonly overlooked jobs in the film industry used on any movie involving VFX of any kind.

Just so you know, if anyone ever tells you they rotoscope on movies for a living – give them a big hug…

Roto BeforeandAfter

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