Old 10-13-2007, 10:25 PM   #1
QuantumMatt
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Default The Holographic Special Effect

This is not so much a question about Quantum Leap in particular but about a special effect employed in movies and TV shows like Quantum Leap. The question concerns about how the "holographic effects" are done. Al is a hologram and can walk through walls, people, moving and stationary objects. Yet this same kind of special effect is done for movies involving ghost stories, holograms, or what-not. Does anyone have any information as to how this "hologram" effect is accomplished in movies?

Matthew

p.s. If this thread is not appropriate here, my apologies: I wasn't sure where to put it.
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Old 10-14-2007, 12:19 AM   #2
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Just a guess here but I'd venture to say that in those instances Dean's portion was probably shot on a blue screen or green screen and then that film and the film of whatever he was walking through (ex. the plane in Genesis) is brought together in a composite with some editing done to "erase" a portion of the film to make it look like he's walking through the object.
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Old 10-14-2007, 09:33 AM   #3
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Yeah, that's how it was done; I believe it was in some of the blooper vids that we see Dean as Al with a blue screen.

It's amazing that the general idea of the technology is still pretty much the same, and yet they would be able to pull off the compositing so much better these days (depending on a show's budget).

Man, that makes me really interested in seeing a movie and/or series made; I just wanna see how awesome and realistic the Observer will look nowadays!

Joy
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Old 10-20-2007, 01:56 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmoniz
Just a guess here but I'd venture to say that in those instances Dean's portion was probably shot on a blue screen or green screen and then that film and the film of whatever he was walking through (ex. the plane in Genesis) is brought together in a composite with some editing done to "erase" a portion of the film to make it look like he's walking through the object.
That's interesting! I would guess that the "erasing" has to be done precisely to achieve the right affect.

Matthew
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Old 10-20-2007, 10:58 AM   #5
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To make it look good, yeah, the erasing does take a bit of work and you have to be careful about what colors you wear. Our local meteorologist once showed us that they use a green screen, and that's why they never wear anything green. He came to work with a green tie to show everyone how if he wore a green tie, the weather image behind him showed where the tie is.

Here's a good example:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y0CghAKgY4E (not the same guy I mentioned above, but shows how chromakey can be tricky to use)

So, the costume designer for QL had to make sure not to put any colors on Al's colorful costumes that would get detected as part of the chromakey (ie blue/green) screen.

Joy
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Old 10-20-2007, 07:16 PM   #6
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That's pretty funny in the case with the weatherman. I think they should all actually purposely wear green/blue clothes. This way, they won't have to constantly be stepping to the side of the screen all the time because we'll see only a floating head and hands, lol.
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Old 10-20-2007, 07:22 PM   #7
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LOL. Great idea!!!

Joy
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Old 10-21-2007, 01:22 AM   #8
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I would venture to guess that they used a blue chromakey set. (Al wore several green outfits.) At the time Quantum Leap was being filmed, blue was the color of choice for most chromakey sets. Most are now a really bright green, since blue is a fairly popular color in clothing. I've toured quite a few local and national television weather centers, and in the 80s and early 90s, the chromakey was generally an odd bright blue. These days it's generally an odd bright green.

As for the floating head, the creators of Red Dwarf did a cheap version of chromakey to create the floating head that is Holly (later Hollie): The actor (later actress) wore a black turtleneck and stood (or sat) in front of a black background.
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Old 10-21-2007, 09:39 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Al The Observer
I would venture to guess that they used a blue chromakey set. (Al wore several green outfits.) At the time Quantum Leap was being filmed, blue was the color of choice for most chromakey sets.
Oh, that's funny. I was going to say, "Al sometimes wore blue, but rarely green." So we just noticed different outfits. I think he wore every color under the sun over the 5 years of the show.

So when he wore blue, it would just have to be a different shade than the blue screen itself?

I've always thought that the blue screen they used to film the hologram shots was also used to make the set for the Waiting Room.
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Old 10-21-2007, 07:06 PM   #10
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I do know they used a blue screen during the production of QL.
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Old 10-21-2007, 08:38 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alsplacebartender
I do know they used a blue screen during the production of QL.
I saw a behind-the-scenes special on QL and it was explained that the later "holographic" effects of Al was done using a camcorder in which the image was superimposed into the film and edited in a certain way. It was explained as being less expensive than the previous method of doing the "holographic" effect. Still, I am very curious as to how it's done-both ways that is.

Matthew
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Old 10-22-2007, 03:58 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snish
So when he wore blue, it would just have to be a different shade than the blue screen itself?
That is correct.
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Old 10-22-2007, 03:16 PM   #13
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This is a very interesting topic. I love watching the behind the scenes featurettes on DVDs to see how they did certain effects.
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Old 10-22-2007, 06:43 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sherlock's Sparrow
This is a very interesting topic. I love watching the behind the scenes featurettes on DVDs to see how they did certain effects.
As do I. When I was a kid I was so fascinated with how cartoons and special effects were made. I wanted so much to make my own movies, cartoons, and, in effect, be the next Walt Disney. I even met a fellow who worked in movies and gave me a book on special effects.

Matthew
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