Juan Carlos Oganes' film-making and work blog.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Morro de Arica digital composite


Editing days -as many in the field would know- are quite time-demanding and concentration-packed. It even gets to a point where I lose track of time and space and without noticing, it is already evening. Pulling aproximately 14 hours non-stop (only to eat and stretch) is rewarding when results start to pay off. Difficult scenes like the Heroes Oath or Bolognesi's Answer are past now and the inmiment ending battle scenes for "Gloria del Pacifico" are closer.

Sometimes, even though it is a post-production job (I'm in the editing stage yet), one day or two I devote to some elaborate digital montage or compositions to know if the things filmed prior-hand will look as planned, like this one here for example.

Chilean Sargeant Major De la Cruz Salvo was ordered by general Baquedano to blast peruvian fortresses far away at the morro with his artillery from a hill afar. The original footage (shot back in December 2011...wow, almost 2 years from now!) was filmed at the top of the Morro Solar facing the sea toward the Chira beach. Waited for the time that would somewhat match the correct time this event happened for real. As you can see from a still capture of the orginal footage, far below theres a long strip of beachland and a flat surface inland and a small strip of hills that enter a bit into the sea. That natural beach curve resembles nicely the real Arica bay and that hill afar is where the actual Morro de Arica would be, so the task was to put behind the actors and far away, the morro, the town-city of Arica, the train station and railroad track near the beach and the Manco Capac monitor ship floating in the bay with natural reflections in the water.

Being a moving shot, the camera rises to reveal more of the city below and see an actor enter the frame obscuring the morro afar. Got myself some pictures of the morro I had taken last year when in Arica from atypical angles I'd need for the film scenes, the rest would need to be taken from pics found online of other mountanius formation and shape them/blend them in Photoshop and import them into my digital video compositor. Some frame-by-frame rotoscopy had to be made in order to separate the actors and soldiers into layers from far away objects. The Manco Capac ship is a picture taken of the miniature I had made some time ago for other scenes near the end. Being a far away object and in the sea, motion was not needed so just a picture would do the job. Only thing was to just match the angle of view and lighting. Far below, the city was made in a 3D program and the peruvian fortresses of Ciudadela and Este were also done with some sand-bag trench pictures together with pics of my cannons and put together afar with the flag and pole. At the top of the morro afar, the big Vavasseur and More's battery together with the big peruvian flag. Motion track the footage, color correct it and apply some digital fog in the background and the shot is ready to rock n' roll!!

The original footage shot at the Morro Solar here back in 2011. Lots to rotoscopy and form the layers.
Layer compositing.
Peruvian flags composited to be placed atop the morro.
Pictures of the cannons made for the film.
3D city of old Arica to be placed below.
Final touches and color correction.
The final shot: screen capture of the final digital composite 2 days later.

 Now....off to sleep and continue editing the film tomorrow. Just a happy moment of a task achieved. :)