VFX – Final Project (part 2)

I think I’ve finally pinned down what I would like to try for my project in VFX. Since this will be the final project for the year, I wanted to make sure it’s something I’m enthusiastic about and could do a lot of referencing/research to see how other people have done it. I plan on combining a couple of different things to accomplish a pretty good 8 – 13 second long clip; the 5 second discrepancy is merely down to certain effects might need to be longer/shorter to get it all looking right.

There are a number of YouTube how-to videos on how to accomplish the Harry Potter (or Fantastic Beasts now that it’s how) apparition effect. I have a long-standing affinity for the world o Harry Potter, having been 12 years old when the first novel came out and growing up with each subsequent book. Sometimes I find it hard to believe that was 20 years ago – longer than some of the kids on the course have been alive! Of course, magic is and always will be something I wish I could do, so why not get the opportunity to do it via VFX!


I also hate travelling and would love to be able to apparate anywhere… if only!

Of course, there would also be nothing better than be able to cast spells and have a magic wand, so I’d found another YouTube tutorial for creating a magic barrier. The actual process seemed extremely straight-forward and, while the steps were simple, the effect looked so good I really wanted to try it myself. So I’ve decided I’ll actually combine the two into one scene. I wanted to get a shimmery and/or ethereal look instead of something that could actually look really out of place in a world that has magic:

After deciding on these two major elements, I had to think about where I would like to film and Herrington County Park feels like a good location. I’m not too bothered about the time of day, although I perhaps an overcast day would be best since I’d like to manipulate and colour-correct the scene via After Effects. I sat down with the storyboard pages we were given and tried to draw out the scene… which, MANY apologies for such crude drawings, but hopefully they get the point across.


From the first frame:

  1. Still scene in forest or woody area with a path – aprx. 1 sec long
  2. Apparition effect coming through, takes aprx 3 – 4 seconds
  3. Apparate into scene, moving from R – L – aprx 1 sec in length
  4. Stop and look around for aprx 1 – 2 seconds
  5. Walk a bit further then quickly turn around – aprx 1 – 3 seconds – camera can pan if needed so person is towards left frame
  6. Take out wand and prep shield spell – aprx 1/2 – 1 sec
  7. Shield appears and rest of footage last about 1 – 2 seconds

The approximate lengths (min and max) seem to come out to about 8 1/2 – 13 seconds long, as I mentioned above, and I would really like to keep it around the 10 second mark because otherwise it will likely just drag on. I want the movements to be quick and furtive, to add a sense that there is danger afoot. I’m not too sure if I’ll be in the footage myself or if I’ll use someone else. I don’t feel too comfortable being in front of the camera, but it is for a project and I know how I want it to look in my head and on paper, so it may be better if I just do it myself.

I’m looking forward to getting started on the footage throughout the Easter break and putting all of this together in the best way possible, using everything I have learned and will continue to learn through tutorials.

Posted in VFX

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