About That Tracking Matte in Timeslides…

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  • #239404

    Katydid

    This is 1989. There is no computer motion tracking, and I can’t imagine they had a motion control rig on set with the old tube camera.

    Do we know how this shot was accomplished? It’s always stood out to me as one of the most impressively made effects in Red Dwarf, and probably the only one I don’t know how they created.

    #239405

    Pete Part Three

    Ed Bye constructed a time machine and travelled to the year 2019 and bought a new white iPad. It was tricky, but easier than the alternative of doing a tracking matte.

    #239407

    Ben Saunders

    I don’t know if this is exactly the same, but Meglos was an episode of Doctor Who in 1980, and:

    “This story features the only use in Doctor Who of a camera-linking system known as Scene-Sync that allowed the use of non-static shots of characters superimposed onto a miniature set. As the cameras on the actors were moved, the cameras on the miniature set moved the equivalent scaled amount automatically. The exact scale motion was achieved by trial and error, involving minute adjustments to the voltage delivered to the slave camera’s motors.”

    So perhaps they did/had something similar to that

    #239519

    Katydid

    That system involves linking multiple cameras, and the effect was filmed live. This is an effect made after the fact.

    #239523

    Dax101

    Its something they couldn’t do with the remastered apparently.

    #239524

    Katydid

    It honestly feels _too_ good to be an effect in 1989 Red Dwarf.

    #239533

    Ben Saunders

    They must have actually just created timeslides for real

    #239535

    Berlin

    Perhaps a scaled panning shot. The party scene is shot from a wider angle so you pan faster to compensate for the closer panning shot onboard Red Dwarf where the pan is slower but when composited together, run at the same panning speed if that makes sense.

    #239538

    Katydid

    Those are clearly video elements composited as an overlay like they did with screens in Series I. They’ve somehow managed to get those to move exactly with the camera movement, looking for all the world like motion tracking.

    #239567

    Berlin

    Maybe it was sheer coincidence.

    #239611

    Mr-Stabby

    Looking at the edges of the moving photos, my guess would be the photos had a blue or green square on them, they keyed that out, placed the shots in them, and scaled them up slightly, and then using a paddle on whatever vision mixer they had at the time, they moved the shot manually from right to left. If it was slightly scaled larger than the size of the blue/green box, that would allow room for error. As there are several photos, they probably had to redo that shot a few times to get the final version.

    #239613

    Mr-Stabby

    Actually do you know what, i’ve just watched that shot back, and i think theres got to be something else. I’m looking at the edges of the moving photo to see if there’s ANY sign of manual movement on the shot, and there doesn’t appear to be any. It’s not a simple camera move either, the shot does an abrupt change right at the end, so if it was done manually, it was done by someone who really knew how to work a vision mixer paddle!

    #239628

    Katydid

    It’s also worth noting that the photos aren’t just flatly pasted on top, the pictures are warped in a very subtle and sophisticated way to exactly match the perspective and bend of the polaroid. You can see this on the righthand polaroid in my still. That’s an incredibly sophisticated detail for a non-digital compositing job.

    The camera movement isn’t just a simple left to right pan, so you couldn’t use the paddle a la the moving split screen in Stasis Leak. The added elements would fall off the top of the polaroid as the shot progressed.

    It’d be a pretty simple list of steps to accomplish this effect in your higher end VFX software of choice, but I haven’t the slightest clue how those steps would be replicated with analog effects.

    #239721

    Darrell

    Sorry, I have to break silence (and I’m still annoyed about that Goodall thread) because I know this and it’s annoying me.

    As mentioned in a TV Zone preview from 1989, the Red Dwarf III edit included a single day’s access to a Quantel HARRY suite. Vastly more powerful than Paintbox (which was used on Dwarf a lot), this was the first ever digital effects and compositing system available to TV, which could hold 80 seconds of inputted, lossless, full PAL source video in its memory bank at a time, and render the finished results back to tape. It could indeed do frame by frame effects work and what we would now refer to as motion tracking. That bit in Timeslides was their money shot.

    The other main use of it on the series was Cat running away from the lightning bolts in Polymorph which required dynamic compositing of an animation sprite and complicated frame by frame masking. Not sure they actually used it on anything else, nor on IV.

    I’ll shut up again now because you don’t want to read my rant about the Bluray box set.

    #239723

    bloodteller

    Oh wow, that’s some excellent trivia there, thanks for clearing it up!

    (also I would be interested to read that rant about the Blu-ray box set tbh)

    #239724

    Darrell

    One of the reasons I imagine they contracted SVC for series VI is that they had HARRY in-house and it was the most cost effective way of getting that advanced stuff.

    #239725

    Berlin

    It’s Ganymede & Titan, withholding a rant is against the rules.

    #239730

    si

    I’ll shut up again now because you don’t want to read my rant about the Bluray box set.

    Aw, go on.

    #239734

    Berlin

    I miss the ’70s and ’80s tradition of giving propriety electronics equipment an acronym.

    #239737

    GlenTokyo

    https://vimeo.com/146640097

    A demo reel of the Quantel Harry.

    #239739

    Dave

    Glad to see you back posting again Darrell.

    #239742

    Berlin

    After watching that demo reel, I can now sense every big ’90s retailer tapping the HARRY for their Autumn advert pushes.

    #239797

    Ian Symes

    G&T Admin

    Please come back, Darrell, you’re one of the non-idiots.

    #239799

    si

    What he said. Not many of them left.

    #239800

    Berlin

    Who are the idiots?

    #239802

    si

    YOU ARE HAR HAR

    #239804

    Jawscvmcdia

    >YOU ARE HAR HAR

    Yeah and who else?

    #239806

    Berlin

    Anyone who asks is an idiot.

    #239807

    Jawscvmcdia

    >Anyone who asks is an idiot.

    I retract my previous comment.

    #239810

    Berlin

    I nominate this thread for hall of fame status

    #239817

    GlenTokyo

    I wonder if Quantum Leap used a Quantel HARRY… That bit where she goes all blue and weird in the shower had a hint of leaping.

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