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The making of Remote Control

It was really just a 'test' video
Meet ... Mike Shaw
his
Remote Control won the Minute Movie Contest and a Motcombe-Relf Music Sponsored prize at BIAFF 2007

and represented the British Isles at UNICA 2007

Still from 'Remote Control'. One of the features that required checking out and testing whilst Beta testing an earlier version of Liquid Edition (now known as Avid Liquid) was a new and sophisticated Colour Correction capability. Amongst other things it has the ability to select and change up to 15 individual colours to new colours. Wanting to put this to the test, and wearing a blue shirt at the time, I had the idea to change the colour of that.

But how? A remote control seemed the answer, so I quickly set the scene, set up the camera, and began pointing the remote control.

Remote controls don't click. I needed some reference points for facial reaction and colour changes, so at the appropriate moments I made clicks with my mouth - a kind of 'tut' sound without moving the lips.

I also felt - before shooting - that a good 'wheeze' would be to have the shirt vanish altogether as an end to the colour changing sequence.

That simply required the 'empty scene' be shot first, using that shot as an underlay and chroma-keying out the shirt at the right moment.

In the edit, making the shirt totally vanish didn't quite look right, so I reduced the gain of the alpha channel so that shadows of the shirt are still visible - making it more realistic and 'glass' like.

Still from 'Remote Control'.
Still from 'Remote Control'. The colour changes were OK - but if I were to make this into a viewable movie, it needed an 'end'. At the time, the simplest (?) thing that came to mind was to actually end up in the TV myself. That element of the movie of course was created using a controlled 2D picture-in-picture filter, with a slight edge softening, over a zoom out video of the TV.

I grabbed my wife to record "Is there anything good on TV - Oh! It's you! …." And dubbed her voice over me apparently beating the TV screen from the inside.

A 'real' clicking sound replaced my 'tuts', and the film was made - total filming and editing time, about 3-4 hours. It was really just a 'test' video, but after showing it at the club (and hearing the response), I entered for a competition. One of the judges suggested that it would be funnier if, realising who was on the TV, 'the lady' switched the TV off.

A great improvement which appealed to my own sense of humour! So, a quick video of her hand holding the remote against a chroma-green cloth was soon layered over the original edit, with the picture-in-picture over the TV screen image now dissolving back to reveal the original screen. It felt a bit empty at the end, so I created the 'Help' handwriting (using a very inexpensive and powerful program called BluffTitler and its plug-in, BixelAngelo), and superimposed that onto the screen.

Job done.

Happily, it has won a number of trophies and, hopefully, has brought 60 seconds of amusement to all who watch.

- Mike Shaw

Still from 'Remote Control'.

Editor's notes:

BluffTitler website (£29.74)
BixelAngelo website (£14.85 - 20% off if ordered with BluffTitler)
Avid Liquid website (prices start about £320)


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Page updated on 09 October 2011
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