Create Star Trek "Beam Me Up" Effects with Overlays, Dissolves

We show you how to pull off two basic special effects using cross dissolves, overlays, cropping and layers. Both the Star Trek effect and the Multiplicity effect use these techniques to create very impressive looking tricks for your videos.

Video Transcript

Cross-fades, layering and cropping go a long way in terms of some of the more basic effects commonly used in movies today. This time we’re gonna take a look at the Star Trek effect and also we’re gonna take a look at how to add multiple versions of yourself on camera or the cloning effect. I’m Tom Skowronski and this is Basic Movie Special Effects.

Now the first step to this process is to make sure you have a reliable and sturdy tripod that you can lock down. You’re gonna need to make sure it stays in the same place because you’re gonna be taking two separate shots and layering them or compositing them together.

Now after you’ve locked down your tripod it’s time to move on to the next step in this process which is gonna be grabbing two separate shots. Now a couple of things you’re gonna need to keep in mind; number one, you’re gonna want to make sure that the background of whatever is happening in your shot doesn’t have moving elements. If it does, it’s gonna break your effect.

Also you’re gonna want to make sure you hold those shots for about 10 to 15 seconds. Therefore, when we overlay our effect it’s going to work and we have enough time to transition from either a subject beaming into frame or beaming out of frame. Now when it comes to actually grabbing your shots first you’re gonna need to grab an establishing shot without a character involved. This is going to work later in your post-production process after you overlay the shot of your character. The second shot, obviously, is going to be a shot of your character reacting accordingly to what’s happening in the scene.

Now that we have our two shots in our timeline the next step is gonna be to first take our establishing shot, let it play out for two or three seconds and then overlay the shot of our subject reacting, and how we’re gonna do this is by simply raising our opacity or using a cross dissolve because they virtually do the same thing.

When working with a cross-dissolve or adjusting the opacity we can actually change the amount of time it takes for a subject to appear on camera. Once we add some sort of audio behind this to sell the effect it appears as if our subject is slowly fading into frame or being beamed into the set.

Now if we’re only working with one video track another way to pull off this effect is to insert first the establishing shot then make a cut at the point in which our subject appears into the frame or when we want them to and simply use a cross-fade, then again, add audio underneath that to sell our effect.

Now one way we could go about this effect is to add a noise filter which most non-linear editors have nowadays on top of both of our video tracks, and when it comes to the actual cross-fade process or when our opacity goes up, is to make sure that we raise the grain or noise on that filter.

Now any type of design element that feels right can be used for this effect. The idea is to add more realism and more grain to that process so that when people are transferring from frame to frame it actually looks like physically their body is being transferred. Now let’s take a look at a couple of examples of this effect.

Now when it comes to the cloning effect or the multiplicity effect we’re gonna need to make sure that, again, the first step we use is setting up our tripod and locking it down. It needs to be sturdy and, again, you need to make sure that none of the background has elements that are gonna be able to move.

Now the second step of this process is where things tend to get a bit complicated. Now you’re gonna need to make sure that you make a reference point to where each subject in your frame happens to be. Now you do this by using markers or by the elbow room of both subjects that are gonna be included into the shot.

Now the reason you do this is so later in the post-production process you have a reference point for where you need to crop your video to. If you don’t follow this process you can end up with your arm being cut out of a frame. Now this effect is gonna take a great deal of planning that’s gonna have to happen ahead of time in order to pull this off. That’s a real good point, Tom, listen to this guy, he knows what he’s talking about.

Now the last step for this process it taking the shots, putting them into you non-linear editor, getting them on the timeline and cropping your shots together. Sometimes some of the more basic elements can help create a more advanced-looking production.

When it comes to special effects, nothing is more commonplace than fake blood. Now there are a lot of different techniques to pull off this effect but we’re gonna take a look at the variation which we feel is the most realistic.

Now the first thing we’re gonna need to look at is the actual materials in order to create our fake blood. After that we’re gonna go over an overview of some of the measurements and then we’re gonna take a look at the adjustments. Finally we’re gonna take a look at some of the effects we can pull off when using this type of fake blood effect.

The first step in creating fake blood is having the right materials. Now there’s a lot of different ways that you can pull off this effect but, for us, what we did is we used a measuring cup and measuring spoon so we could actually make sure we get a cup of blood which is gonna be more than enough then we also used red and blue dye. Now the blue dye is gonna add a little bit more depth and darkness to our blood.

Now a very important supply that you should always use which is gonna help with the consistency of the blood which is gonna add more thickness and make that blood feel more real is corn syrup and corn starch.

Now the problem when creating fake blood is that it’s very hard to get it to feel very dark or look very dark like it’s a nice, deep, nasty wound, and how we’re gonna do that is with the use of cocoa powder and also blue dye or blue food coloring.

When it comes to step number two we need to keep one thing in mind and that’s that fake blood looks thin and transparent. We need to make sure it looks more like real blood. It needs to feel dark and very thick, so this is why the first thing that we’re gonna put into our measuring jar is gonna be our corn syrup. We’re gonna need about eight tablespoons of corn syrup.

The next thing that we’re gonna use to help add to our color and thickness is gonna be our cocoa powder. We’re gonna use about one teaspoon. You can also use a quarter of a teaspoon of corn starch which is gonna help take away some of that color if it’s a little bit too dark after the use of the cocoa powder.

Now the next thing you’re gonna wanna use is the blue dye. We used about a drop and a half because the blue dye tends to overpower the red dye and it comes across as a little bit stronger. The last step to the measuring process is to add about one full teaspoon of red dye to our mixture.

Step number three to creating fake blood is making the necessary adjustments after you’ve already measured everything out. So what we’re gonna go ahead and do is add a little bit more of our red dye, probably about another half of a teaspoon to give it a little bit more brightness because it seems a little bit too dark right now.

Now when it comes to the type of effects you could use when you have fake blood the first thing that comes to mind is actually a straight cut. Let’s say you have two characters and one is fighting with another. Now the simple reaction shot, all we need to do is use a toothpick or the edge of a pin and you could apply the blood exactly where that subject or the impact happened.

So if I were to hit a subject in his jaw the next shot you would see would be the reaction shot of the subject turning and looking towards the camera. Now another effect that we can all do is create a blood pump. Now how we’re gonna do this is with the use of some aquarium tubing.

Now imagine you have a straw. What you’re gonna do is suck in the blood from one end, then you’re gonna seal off that end, and from there you’re gonna blow it out whenever you’re ready to use that blood. So this is gonna be great for an effect in a film where you want the blood to splatter out from a certain cut or wound, or to create extra drama or impact on a scene.

Now you can also use this blood to help add to an effect you already have created, so in our case we used this artificial scar tissue and we simply added by creating some blotches around the skin with the use of some simple make-up. The big part of special effects is the ability to be creative and the best way to pull off those special effects is to understand what your guidelines are and then how to work within them to get them to work best for you.

Design elements help improve your text or graphic by adding creativity and style, and we’re gonna show you how to make your very own unique design elements. Now there’s four things you need to know in order to pull off this effect. The first thing is what materials you’re gonna need to gather. The second thing is how to set up those materials so that your camera can record it perfectly.

The third thing is some techniques you can use to make better design elements and the fourth thing is how to implement those design elements into your project. I’m Dan Bruns and this is Design Elements.

Now the two different design elements we’re gonna be taking a look at are the ink spread and the ink drop, and the materials you’re gonna need for the ink spread is a fish tank, some filter paper in order to drop your ink onto and watch it spread, your dropper to drop the actual ink onto the filter paper, some black ink, some water and a bowl to put your filter paper in and let it soak.

Finally, another great material to have for both effects is a white foam core board to use as a background behind your fish tank. Next up is the set-up for both of these design elements. The first one we’re gonna take a look at is our ink drop. What you’re gonna need for this is a tank and you’re gonna want it placed on a flat table just like we’ve done here and then fill up your tank almost all the way to the top with some water.

Once you’ve done that you’re gonna wanna take your foam core board and place it behind the tank either on a wall with some tape or on a post. Now in our case we use a C-stand. After that you’re gonna want to take two very bright lights and light your foam core board in order to over-expose it. This is going to help you to composite in your editing software.

Now you’re gonna want to make sure you zoom in all the way with your camera until the white foam core board fills the entire frame. Now the last part of this process is to take your dropper and fill it up completely with black ink in order to put into your tank.

When it comes to the ink spread effect you’re gonna wanna take the tank and place it on its side between two objects of the same height. Now in our case we used six shipping boxes. When it comes to lighting, unlike our ink drop effect we want the ink spread to look like a silhouette. Now in order to do this we’re gonna take two strong lights and put them directly over the top of our tank to make them shine straight down through the paper and make it look over-exposed.

The next thing that you’re gonna wanna do is take your filter paper and put it into a bowl filled with water so that you soak the filter paper completely, then you’re gonna want to take that filter paper and place it on top of the tank and flatten it out so that there’s no air bubbles.

Similar to our ink drop design element we’re gonna want to take our dropper and fill it with black ink. Now the next thing we’re gonna look at is some techniques to pull off this effect. The first one we’re gonna look at is the ink drop effect. Now with the ink drop effect the first thing you’re gonna want to make sure is that the water stays even the entire time in your tank. Otherwise your ink might actually have a zig-zag design to it.

Another great idea is to link your camera to a video monitor so you can actually see what you’re doing and exactly where you should place that ink drop.

And the last thing you’re gonna want to look at doing is instead of just dropping one drop at a time into your water is actually shooting the drops into your water and this adds a lot of variety to your effect. Now some great techniques you can use to pull off the ink spread effect is to make sure you have a tripod that can get low to the ground so that you can point it straight up through the tank.

Something else to consider when pulling off this effect is to use different types of filter paper which will allow you to get a variety of ink spreads. The last thing you can do is instead of just dropping single drops of ink on your filter paper you can squeeze out the ink to make designs. Now using this technique you can actually spell a person’s name out and watch it spread naturally afterwards.

The last step we’re gonna take a look at is how to implement these elements into your design. Now you’re gonna wanna take these elements into your favorite editing application and make sure that the background, the white background from the foam core board is completely blown-out or completely white by using things like contrast and brightness. That will help you when you use your composite mode such as overlay to get rid of the background and make it completely transparent.

Now once you have composited your elements into your design you may want to look at making your design even better by speeding up your ink drops and also by taking multiple ink drops and putting them together in one title design.

Making great video doesn’t always involve huge explosions and special effects. Instead, by using the techniques we’ve showed you today, you can make your titles and graphics equally as impressive.

As you may know video is comprised of 30 frames per second and when you break down those frames you can get some really cool special effects using stop motion animation. So let’s take a look at light paint animation. Now this effect can be achieved in four simple steps and the first step we’re gonna take a look at is how to set up our actual scene.

Next we’re gonna want to take a look at our camera setting, then we’re gonna show you how to actually shoot the scene and, lastly, we’re gonna drop it into our non-linear editor. I’m Dan Bruns and this is Light Paint Animation.

The type of set-up you’re gonna need to pull off this effect is (a) to shoot in a very dark room or (b) to shoot at night time outdoors. Now the reason you want to do this is because you’re gonna have you shutter open on your camera for a long period of time and you don’t want to over-expose your image or see the people that are gonna be doing the light effect.

Just remember for this effect you’re gonna wanna use a still camera that can open its shutter for long periods of time for two to three seconds so you can capture that light streak effect. Now you don’t necessarily need to use an SLR camera where you detach the lens. You can use your camera from home.

The next thing you’re going to want to do is to grab a tripod and lock your camera down. Now this is helpful because you don’t want your scene to have any motion blurring. At this point you’re gonna want to take a look at getting some light into your scene.

Now for us we took a ruler and taped an LED light and a battery to it with electrical tape, then through the center we drilled a hole that we could put a handle in so we could get accurate circles when we spun our ruler. Now for you, you could use a flashlight or an LED panel.

Okay, now take a look at this piece of footage and tell me what’s wrong with this scene. Now although the effect looked good the problem with our effect is we had too small of a room and too much shiny objects in our scene that light could bounce off of and kind of break our illusion.

After taking a look at this you could probably tell that it’s best not to be in a small room --

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