Ultimatte: Shooting Foregrounds on Film

Ultimatte is the ultimate compositing plug-in that can be used for several post production details, along with several compositing and digital motion graphics softwares like After Effects, Auto desk, Final Cut Pro, Photoshop and several others. Ultimatte AdvantEdge works best on foreground shots on film rather than on video. This tutorial will take you through how to shoot foreground on film for Ultimatte.

Step 1: Get the Basic Materials in Place

To shoot foreground that can be used on Ultimatte, you need to decide on the backdrop color, the quality of the material, lighting and the clothing of the principal subject. These are of paramount importance, as without these you will not be able to photograph the image that you require which can be composited using AdvantEdge. Ensure that the color of clothing of the principal subject and that of the backdrop are not the same unless you want to create some special effects.

Step 2: Understand Why You Should Use Film to Shoot Foreground

While shooting the foreground, it is better if you shoot the foreground on film than choosing to shoot using video. This is because the film offers greater flexibility for stop motion, motion control, high speed/slow motion and animation photography. The other reasons why you should use film over video is because of the wide angle lenses that offer better clarity with the images for compositing. Also, the images that are received from the digital cameras are usually in a compressed format, which can pose a challenge for keying.

When shooting with film, you have more latitude as compared to using video. If you are shooting on a blue foreground using video, you are bound to have a lot of noise and grains. However, the only disadvantage that you may have to cope with while using a film for shooting is the noise that is added in the image due to the film grain and the processing of signal in the telecine. You might also have to deal with problems of image instability.

Step 3: Use the Right Film Stock and Exposure

Choosing the type of film stock for shooting is purely dependent on the amount of light that can be used on the set. A 16mm film stock is not recommended for shooting due to problems of image instability and the higher levels of film grains which are very noticeable. Eastman Stocks of 5295 or 5247 would give you better results. You can also use Agfa or Fuji stocks, which also offer better results while compositing with Ultimatte in the post production stages.

Do keep in mind that for Ultimatte Bluescreen compositing, the Eastman 5294 is not a great option due to technical issues. To minimize the noise in your final composite, it is essential to set the exposure level at the optimum for backing when the foreground is being shot. Thus, by using the right materials, film stock and exposure limits, you can shoot your images on film to produce the best results when you use Ultimatte for post production activities.