Homemade VFX: Create and Film a DIY Meteor Strike

first_imgComputer-generated visual effects are useful, but they aren’t perfect for every shot. Learn how models and good cinematography can create great visuals.With a decent camera, some elbow grease, and ingenuity, you can create a wonderful photographic illusion. Take my word for it – I just built my first miniature, and I think the shot works well. Let’s take a look at how you can rely on models and solid filmmaking to get the effects you want — without relying completely on your computer. The inspiration for this occurred to me recently as I was looking through a book by L.B. Abbott called Special Effects – Wire, Tape and Rubber Band Style and saw a couple examples of in-camera effects shots. One was a “glass painting” and the other a “hanging miniature.” These were nifty “trick shot” techniques that filmmakers used prior to the advent of the optical printer. These shots involved creating composites with separate elements in post production.Image: Ted Withers working on a “glass painting.”A glass shot is an outdoor technique using a large pane of glass between the camera and the background — the glass serves as the painter’s “canvas.” Filmmakers align the glass with some topographical element that needs enhancement: a sky replacement, a distant city, or (in this case) an Italian villa.The Germans were especially adept at in-camera effects shots, Fritz Lang’s incredible Metropolis is a monumental photographic achievement. In addition to glass paintings and hanging miniatures, Metropolis made extensive use of the Schüfftan process, a technique that involves a front surface mirror placed at a 45-degree angle to the camera. The mirror reflects a miniature or a painting with an area scraped clean to reveal the live action. Pretty heady stuff for 1927.A hanging miniature is a model suspended between the camera and the background to pull off a big-time illusion without a big-time build. A hanging miniature gives the director more time in the day for the shot because the light and shadow will correspond to the live-action background.I’m building a hybrid hanging miniature. Instead of hanging it with the pick points out of the camera’s view, I’m mounting the lightweight miniature on a blue rod I can key out.The blue patches on the face of the miniature will allow the real roof to “print through” and help the blend. You’ll need to shoot the shot without the model first. You will use this clean shot later to fill in the blue patches and replace the mounting rod.My loadout for this project: LUMIX GH4, 25mm lens, f 14, ISO 800 = 96fpsI needed less than fifty dollars of craft supplies to construct this 1/16th scale (3/4″ to 12″) miniature.In the old days, this model would have hung from thin wires or adhered to a large pane of glass.Adding patina to the miniature. Finessing the miniature so that it blends with the background can be the most important and time-consuming part of the entire process.Here’s the finished product after three test shots and many rounds of supplemental degradation of the miniature. It started to look pretty good after the failed fire test almost destroyed the model.Mark Vargo, ASC started his career in VFX, with his first credit going to The Empire Strikes Back. He joined the team at ILM to work on the films Raiders of the Lost Ark, Dragonslayer, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, and Return of the Jedi. He continued working in VFX, earning an Oscar nomination for his work on Ghostbusters.In the late 1990s and early 2000s, he shifted focus to working as a director of photography, leading the Second Unit on films like The Green Mile, The Patriot, 3:10 to Yuma, and Rise of the Planet of the Apes.last_img read more

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Samsung Galaxy A80 quick review: Rises to the challenge with a rotating camera and New Infinity display

first_imgThe Galaxy A-series has been a kind of experimental lineup for Samsung over the past couple of years. In order to bolster sales of its mid-range line to take on the likes of OnePlus, Samsung has been introducing new technologies to Galaxy A phones before bringing it to its flagship Galaxy S line. That’s never been more true than with the Galaxy A80, which is Samsung’s newest premium mid-range phone that packs a few new technologies that includes a pop-up rotating camera.Samsung has launched a handful of Galaxy A-series phones this year already that includes the Galaxy A10, Galaxy A20, Galaxy A30, Galaxy A50, Galaxy A70 and now the Galaxy A80. With these phones, Samsung wants to provide a Galaxy A device in ever price range from entry-level to premium mid-range. The Galaxy A80 is the cream of the crop as it touts a pop-up rotating camera, a notch-less, hole-less display, a premium glass body and a brand new Snapdragon mid-range chipset, among other things.I spent a brief time with the Galaxy A80 at the sidelines of the launch and here are my first impressions.There is no doubt that the Galaxy A80 is a premium phone the moment you look at it. On the front, you see a display with practically no bezels or notch, and on the back, you get a reflective 3D curved glass panel that is offered in black, pink and blue colours. It’s unclear whether Samsung is using Gorilla Glass 6 here, but the glass feels solid and the rounded corners make it easy to grip what is a pretty large phone.advertisement But the most striking part about the Galaxy A80 is the top of the rear panel. There is a visible slit that separates the top strip from the rest of the panel. Even the colour shade is a touch darker on the top to make the distinction more visible. Right on the top is a wide, band-aid-shaped module that houses a triple camera setup. It does give the device a unique look, but we will have to wait and see how consumers react to the design.The top part of the panel rises up only when using the selfie mode in the camera app. The mechanism automatically slides up and the entire camera module sitting within rotates or flips to the front simultaneously. Both the sliding and rotating mechanisms work seamlessly to make sure the camera module doesn’t scrape against the panel as it rises. Once you exit the selfie mode, the slider will retreat while the camera module flips to the back.As there are more moving parts than usual, it does take over a second for the mechanism to rise up, rotate the cameras and get into position for selfies. It is slower compared to typical pop-up cameras of say an Oppo or Vivo phone, but it will unlikely bother you as it won’t be required for face unlock. The A80 does not offer face unlock at all, but you do get an optical in-display fingerprint sensor.The rotating camera design does have its advantages as well. Firstly, it removes the need for Samsung to add a notch or a punch-hole on the display for a dedicated selfie camera. Secondly, with the ability of the camera to rotate, you can use the powerful primary cameras for high-quality selfies.And the camera setup on the Galaxy A80 sounds powerful indeed. The phone gets a 48MP f/2.0 primary camera for crisp and detailed high-res photos. Samsung hasn’t mentioned whether it’s using a Sony IMX586 sensor or its own GM1 sensor. The other two cameras include an 8MP f/2.2 ultra wide-angle camera and a ToF (Time of Flight) camera for depth mapping. Thanks to the rotatory design, all three rear cameras can be used for high quality selfies. The camera also supports Super Steady video mode, Scene Optimiser and Flaw Detection, among other things.The pop-up camera is certainly going to be the most analysed part of the Galaxy A80. It’s too soon to tell how the system will hold up over time compared to phones with just a pop-up camera, especially considering the possibility of dust and minute particles seeping in and getting lodged in the rotating mechanism.The Galaxy A80 is also Samsung’s first phone to come with the New Infinity display. This is Samsung’s proprietary display that offers no notch or hole punch, allowing for an immersive multimedia experience. The 6.7-inch FHD+ (2400×1080) Super AMOLED display is all-screen with a large screen-to-body ratio.advertisement At first sight, the display looks great with vibrant and punchy colours and a large, distraction-free screen that would make watching videos and playing games a delight. Because of the size of the display, the phone itself is quite large and unwieldy. One-handed use will be a difficult task despite working with Samsung’s redesign One UI software. The phone is also fairly thick at 9.3mm, which is probably due to the sliding camera mechanism.Notably, the Galaxy A80 is also the first phone to come with Qualcomm’s newest mid-range processor, the Snapdragon 730G. Qualcomm announced the Snapdragon 730 and 730G just a few hours ahead of the launch of the Galaxy A80. It is an octa-core processor built on an 8nm process. The basic difference between the SD730 and SD730G is that the latter is a gaming-focused chipset with a slightly faster GPU clock speed.This also means that Samsung is pushing the Galaxy A80 as a gaming phone. The new Snapdragon 730G chipset coupled with a large bezel-less display should make for an exciting gaming phone, but I couldn’t test any games in my brief hands-on time with the device. In my brief time with the device, apps opened swiftly with fast animations and no visible lag.Samsung’s latest Galaxy A phones run on One UI based on Android Pie, which is especially useful for the Galaxy A80. One UI offers a redesign UI that brings the interactive elements to the bottom half of the display for easier accessibility. One UI also brings a system-wide Night mode, which looks great on the Galaxy A80’s all-screen display.The Galaxy A80 houses a 3,700mAh battery, which is smaller compared to most Galaxy A devices launched this year. However, the A80 does come with an intelligent battery that will learn your daily routine and app usage to optimise the phone’s power consumption. Additionally, the device supports 25W fast charging, so charging up the device should be happen quickly.Lastly, the Galaxy A80 does not come with a headphone jack or an earpiece. Instead, Samsung is using an acoustic sound system that will emit sound through the display. The A80 offers a single speaker grille on the bottom and Type-C port for charging or for wired headphones.Overall, the Galaxy A80 looks like an intriguing smartphone from Samsung. It certainly brings a lot of innovative elements like a pop-up rotating camera and full-screen display. The Galaxy A80 looks and feels like a flagship phone that is being offered at a mid-range price. Samsung is yet to announce when the Galaxy A80 will come to India, but it will most certainly launch in the country soon enough.The reporter’s travel and stay in Bangkok has been arranged by Samsung<br />last_img read more

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‘PARTY HEADQUARTERS FOR THE NTL’

first_imgFlying outside the Greenhouse Tavern is a giant sign; `Australian Touch, Party Headquarters’, is what it reads. The Greenhouse Tavern is one of Coffs Harbour’s major sponsors for the NTL’s, being held in Coffs Harbour until Sunday the 21st. The Greenhouse has been supporting the NTL tournament since it first began at Coffs Harbour in 1997. For owner Tony Haslam and his staff, the support is not just financial but the provision of a well-run, safe, convenient and quality venue for the tournament. This includes the parties, functions, dinners for referees and officials and general facilities for the participants to use. “The very first function we held for touch was pretty disappointing, only about 30 or 40 people showed up”, he says. “But at the second function that year, we were absolutely inundated with about 500 people, since then it’s been great every year.” With recent exploits of sporting teams well publicised in our local and national media, Tony is quick to praise the behaviour of the touch players visiting Coffs Harbour. “The touch people have always been great, they’ve never given us any problems”, he says. “If they had brought us grief in any way, we would not have continued our support of them.” The site for the next three NTL’s is currently being considered, with Coffs Harbour one of five applicants to host the tournament. Tony admits that losing the NTL tournament would be very disappointing for the Coffs Community. “Not only would we be losing a great sporting event, but we would also lose a big two weeks of business”, he says. “It’s not just us, but also our suppliers and companies that provide us with stock, as well as the resorts, motels, local shops and restaurants.” Tony believes it is important for local businesses to support sporting events that visit Coffs Harbour, so when other events consider Coffs as a venue, they know they will be well received and local business will continue to grow. “We want to be seen as pro-active in looking after sporting events, so when new ones come we will be approached to also support them”, he says. The NTL tournament is in its second phase, with the Open and 20 years divisions already completed. The Senior divisions are well underway and will conclude with the play-offs and grand finals on Sunday 21st at Coffs Harbour International Sports Stadium. With grand finals to be contested in eight divisions, they begin at 11:00am and conclude at 6:00pm on Sunday. Rachel Moylelast_img
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3 hours agoGenk striker Samatta: Facing Liverpool a dream come true

first_imgAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Genk striker Samatta: Facing Liverpool a dream come trueby Paul Vegas3 hours agoSend to a friendShare the loveRacingGenk striker Mbwana Ally Samatta admits facing Liverpool was a “dream come true”.Liverpool were comfortable 4-1 winners for Wednesday night’s Champions League encounter.And Tanzania international Samatta said: “As a child I was not a fan of Liverpool, but of the arch rival: Manchester United. “I’m not going to say that I get goose bumps, but it’s so special. “A game like this and to be allowed to play is like a dream, the dream of every boy watching football on television.” last_img read more

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SLĀV DIRECTOR ROBERT LEPAGE CALLS SHOWS CANCELLATION A BLOW TO ARTISTIC FREEDOM

first_img LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment After criticism led to its cancellation, SLĀV’s famed director Robert Lepage says the scrapping of the Montreal International Jazz Festival show is a “direct blow to artistic freedom.”The show, performed by lead singer Betty Bonifassi, is described as “a theatrical odyssey based on slave songs,” but critics are calling it cultural appropriation.In a statement released Friday on the Facebook page for Ex Machina, Lepage’s production company, the director said that if it were up to him, the show would still be running. Login/Register With: Facebook Advertisement Advertisement In many of his other shows that addressed injustices involving “specific cultural groups,” Lepage says he was never accused of cultural appropriation or racism. (Christian Côté/Radio-Canada) Twitter Advertisementlast_img read more

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ICBC launches telematics pilot for new drivers

first_imgVANCOUVER, B.C. – ICBC is launching into telematics research with a new pilot, this time inviting as many as 7,000 drivers with less than five years of experience to see how telematics technology can improve their driving and make B.C. roads safer.ICBC says its rates are under considerable pressure in part from a significant increase in crashes.According to the Provincial Insurance Company, new drivers are 5.6 times more at risk of getting into a crash and for that crash to be severe than those with 20 years of driving experience. “Starting September 2019, inexperienced drivers will be paying more to better reflect this risk as part of the recent changes to rate fairness. This pilot is an opportunity to assess if telematics can measurably improve driver behaviour and help offset that impact in the future by decreasing the demographic’s risk of being in a crash.”ICBC says results from the first telematics pilot earlier this year that focused on the technology’s usability found that over 40 percent of participants saw improvements in their driving by using the technology, and nearly three-quarters recommended that ICBC explore its use further, particularly for inexperienced drivers.In early 2019, ICBC will confirm a vendor that will provide the technology for the pilot through a Negotiated Request for Proposal process, and participant sign-up will begin in the spring. The pilot will launch in the summer with incentives for drivers while collecting driver feedback and driving behaviour data for one year.ICBC is looking for participants in the Novice Stage of the Graduated Licensing Program or with less than five years of experience as a fully licensed driver from across B.C.If you are interested in participating in this pilot program, you can visit icbc.com/driverpilotlast_img read more

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Cross Canada corridor concept getting dusted off ahead of election

first_img“Those regulations are definitely there for a reason, but we were trying to come up with a better model,” he said.Dedicated infrastructure corridors have had success in other jurisdictions, including Europe and Australia, Fellows said.Pipelines are very good at generating economic benefits at both ends of the line, and not so much in the middle _ but roads, rail, electricity and telecom can help people all along the route, Fellows said.“You might not make everyone 100-per-cent happy, but the goal is to try to make everyone a little bit happier than they are now,” said Fellows, who co-wrote the paper with Andrei Sulzenko. OTTAWA, O.N. – The notion of a pan-Canadian corridor dedicated to rail, power lines and pipelines has been around for at least half a century but it looks like it’s about to get a big publicity boost.Last week, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer used a major pre-election policy speech to dust off a similar idea. Scheer promised, if he wins October’s election, that he would to work towards establishing a cross-country “energy corridor.”He said planning for the route would be done up front, in consultation with provinces and Indigenous communities. A right-of-way would make it easier to lower environmental assessment costs, improve certainty for investors and increase the chances more projects will be built, Scheer said. Interest in a coast-to-coast corridor has picked up in recent years. Energy infrastructure proposals have failed to secure approval due to tough regulatory processes and community concerns over environmental impacts.For instance, the shortage of pipeline capacity out of oil-rich Alberta has created a bottleneck that’s harmed both the provincial and national economies. Sellers have had to sell at deep discounts because there simply isn’t the transportation capacity to get oil to willing buyers.In the last few years, a few academics and senators have recommended the federal government give the corridor concept a serious look, even though making it happen would be a big, multi-jurisdictional undertaking.Scheer’s pitch appears to have drawn inspiration from a 2016 University of Calgary paper that offered possible solutions through a northern corridor for transportation and infrastructure.G. Kent Fellows, who co-authored the report, said the right-of-way could be used for roads, rail, pipelines, electricity transmission lines and telecommunications. The study’s proposed 7,000-kilometre corridor would also serve communities well north of the existing east-west routes that run closer to the U.S. border. In concept, a main line and offshoots would connect ports in northern British Columbia and the Northwest Territories to Churchill, Man., eastern Quebec and Labrador.The hurdles of consultations and regulatory oversight for new projects are significant, Fellows said.center_img The creation of a corridor could take decades, or even half a century, and a “back of the envelope” calculation estimates it could cost something like $100 billion, Fellows said.The study caught the attention of a Senate committee, which took a closer look at the concept in 2016 and 2017.In a 2017 report of its own, the committee called the corridor idea a “visionary, future-oriented infrastructure initiative” that would create significant economic opportunities for Canada and help develop northern regions.“Because an initiative of this scale and scope would likely take decades to complete, the federal government _ on a priority basis _ should ensure that a feasibility study on the proposed northern corridor is undertaken,” said the committee report.Senators recommended the government dedicate up to $5 million to the University of Calgary to support further research into the corridor.The committee report noted how a 1971 report by Richard Rohmer _ an air-force veteran of D-Day who became a prominent land-use lawyer with the ear of governor general Roland Michener _ proposed the development of a “mid-Canada” corridor, recommending federal, provincial and territorial governments make it an urgent priority. Rohmer imagined a massive transportation network for goods and people could turn communities such as Flin Flon, Whitehorse and High Level into major new urban centres.The report was presented then-prime minister Pierre Trudeau but the committee said his government never moved forward on the idea.Christopher Ragan, a McGill University professor, said he recalls the University of Calgary corridor study and he thinks it’s “quite a striking idea” that makes a lot of sense.Ragan, who served on federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s economic advisory panel, said he’s glad Scheer has taken up the concept of a corridor and bringing it to the public’s attention as a serious idea.On climate change, Ragan said the country will want to find ways to get through tough approval processes to run more east-west energy grids. For example, he said clean electricity could move from British Columbia, Quebec and Manitoba into Alberta, Saskatchewan and parts of Ontario to help displace fossil-fuel generation.Ragan is also head of the Ecofiscal Commission, a group of academics focused on economic and environmental solutions.“I don’t frankly care whether it’s an old idea or a new idea _ but it is a new idea in terms of a real-world, policy practical discussion … It’s good that you actually have politicians starting to talk about this.”last_img read more

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Chetwynd and Tumbler Ridge RCMP looking to locate man wanted on outstanding

first_imgLindstrom is being described as:Indigenous male6′ / 194 lbs.Brown hairBrown eyesAthletic BuildFair ComplexionIf seen, the RCMP advise that Linstrom should not be confronted and that you should call 9-1-1 immediately.If you have any information regarding Lindstrom’s whereabouts, you are being asked to call Chetwynd RCMP at 250-788-9221 or CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS. CHETWYND, B.C. – Chetwynd and Tumbler Ridge RCMP are asking for the public’s assistance in locating a man wanted on multiple outstanding arrest warrants.According to RCMP, 24-year-old Devon Lindstrom has warrants issued against him for assault causing bodily harm, numerous firearms-related offences, prohibited driving and breach of an undertaking.Police say Lindstrom is also wanted in Alberta for theft and failure to attend court.last_img read more

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Federer back to third after Zverevs Munich knockout

first_imgParis: Former world number one Roger Federer has returned to third in the ATP rankings released Monday, replacing Alexander Zverev after the reigning champion was knocked out of the Munich Open at the quarter-finals stage. Federer, who has won a record 20 Grand Slams, is making his return to clay at the Madrid Open this week after three years’ absence. Elsewhere Stefanos Tsitsipas takes ninth spot from American John Isner following the Greek’s victory at the Estoril Open. Novak Djokovic remains first ahead of Rafael Nadal to mark the Serb’s 250th week as world number one, a record only bettered on four occasions in the past.last_img read more

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Tottenham reportedly set sights on Porto captain

first_imgThe Portuguese news outlet A Bola have reported that Tottenham Hotspur plot a January swoop for Porto captain Hector Herrera, whose market value stands at around €8 million.According to the same source, the Spurs would like to beat the competition from Barcelona, Inter Milan, Roma, and Arsenal, and grab the 28-year-old midfielder as early as next winter.With Mousa Dembele’s contract set to expire at the end of the ongoing season, and with Victor Wanyama and Moussa Sissoko’s struggle to live up to expectations, Mauricio Pochettino is forced to rush into the market to keep his side competitive on multiple fronts.Roberto Firmino, LiverpoolVirgil van Dijk praises Roberto Firmino after Liverpool’s win Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Virgil van Dijk hailed team-mate Roberto Firmino after coming off the bench to inspire Liverpool to a 3-1 comeback win against Newcastle United.Meanwhile, Herrera’s contract is also about to run down in less than a year, and in case Azuis e brancos opt to refuse eventual offers in January, he might leave Estadio do Dragao without a compensation fee next summer.Already established as one of the most solid midfielders in the Portuguese Primeira Liga, the former Pachuca man is known for his pinpoint passing and vision, which is the main reason Pochettino would like to see him in the Premier League.However, considering the fierce competition and Porto’s stubbornness when it comes to negotiations, the north London outfit will have to put maximum effort to close the deal.last_img read more

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