How this was made? (Harry Potter VI)

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How this was made? (Harry Potter VI)

Postby MiltonKeynes on 04/28/2015, 8:35 am

From 1:48 to 2:01.

Since this movie came out, I've been amazed with its opening sequence. Could you guess how they did it? I know it's not easy to explain in a few sentences, but I want to know a bit more about it. Did they model EVERYTHING? It is just a kind of camera projection? A mix of both?

Thanks in advance! :)
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Re: How this was made? (Harry Potter VI)

Postby Farmfield on 04/28/2015, 8:59 am

Well, I would say all of the above, a shot like this will likely use all the tricks in the book, because some parts of it is really simple and some are really hard to do. But what parts are one thing or another is pretty hard to tell since it's a pretty quick fly-through with lots of motion blur to obscure the edges between pure CG, models from photogrammetry, traditional reprojections and/or actual footage...
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Re: How this was made? (Harry Potter VI)

Postby ReplayDesign on 08/14/2015, 4:40 pm

Hiya, first time poster and recent Copilot buyer, but child of a Hollywood family here!

We all love shots like that! That being said, you're looking at a sequence impossible for one person alone to make at that quality. :=~ My guess is that a boatload of people worked on that one flythrough sequence you're asking about alone. I do not mean "a boatload" as a euphemism for a smaller load of people, either; I mean a quantity of people you'd want a good-sized yacht to house. The full effects team for the film would need a cruise liner - Half-Blood Prince had 700 effects artists JUST on CGI! For some perspective check out the credits on IMDB! That one shot could have easily cost six figures.

That seamless cut actually starts in the restaurant, and like Farmfield said - it uses every trick known to CGI and cinematography both. I see a boatload of CGI combined flawlessly with what I'm guessing is street boom footage; possible greenscreening as well. Multiple shots, many camera paths, a lot of photogrammetry to tie it all together. You could generally divide it into the dementors flying through the clouds, then zooming over the city, then flying through the major streets, then turning onto the side streets. The dementors are the same all the way through, probably - a nice smoke particle system, you could get very close to that quality in Copilot with Element's great particle engine with a lot of work. But the background for each flyover section differs.

    * The clouds flyover is clearly traditional cloud CGI - easy to do in AE alone with the right plugins or knack.
    * The early city-flyover stuff looks very CGI to me, plugin-based - the kind of thing Metropolitan would excel at.
    * When you start to see a lot of streets the first time, that looks like street boom footage, and not cheap at that, requiring permits to film a boom crane on major city streets...slowly giving way to more CGI as it gets closer. But I can't be sure; it could easily be done with CGI with enough patience in this era.
    * I start to see obvious CGI again past the bus and into the tunnel, and it looks like all CGI to me through the smaller streets (something just slightly mechanical in the gait of one walking man). That would be done in a package with more human animation support than Copilot.

If you'll notice, the dementors zoom very close to the camera for just fractions of a second as each major transition happens. This reduces the difficulty of the transition but enough of the background is visible that clearly a LOT of effort went into each microsecond transition...they may have had a team of people just on every set of those crucial frames.

Expensive stuff all over. Probably thousands of keyframes throughout all the elements in multiple packages, easily. Not feasible for a single person to do, won't be for years to come yet - but trying to master individual elements or replicate even a few seconds of it would seriously sharpen your skillset if you can do it!

Someday...the technology really will make one-man shots like that possible...I myself want to get more involved in the Copilot community; I'm a programmer myself and want to learn how to develop for Copilot! Imagine if Metropolitan added street, car, and pedestrian support by inches! :D Then you really could think about doing a shot like that at home!

If you want to know what you could do yourself in Element right now - a very long flythrough *above* street level is very very possible with Metropolitan and would be exciting; and could be cleverly combined with your own live footage of offices. And if you have access to street or street boom footage- Andrew Kramer has posted a very good tutorial about doing a transition from Metropolitan flyovers to actual street-level stuff.

Hope that helps!

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