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‘They’ is an exploration of race and identity in modern society. It was written and performed by rapper @jafarismusic and poet @felispeaks, and we collaborated with an amazing team of diverse Irish artists to create this film — a safe space and an illustration of these powerful and important words.

— Ellius Grace, Director

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Mocha Pro rotoscope in AE2019

My small contribution was to the final shot in which Jafaris floats above the city and the sea. I was brought in early on to chat about the shot and how we might pull it off. We decided to take a simple, quick approach in which we try to use the sky as a sort of blue screen from which I could pull a key. The idea was easy; Jafaris would be framed on a rock/boulder against the blue sky and he would jump in a floating pose while the camera is rolling at 120fps. I pull the key to seperate him from the background and then we use whack this on top of a clean plate captured right after the main action.

On the day, the shot turned out to be a background of water, land and sky. Pulling a nice easy key wasn’t an option now but thankfully it was a simple enough roto. Once I had a clean roto, I motion tracked his head and stabilized the shot around that point. This gave me a stationary, roto’d subject which I can use on top of my clean plate and keyframe some upwards motion on.

In order to extend the shot a bit (120fps in a 25p timeline just wasn’t enough hangtime for us) I used Twixtor Pro to slow the motion down even more. Thankfully due to the 120fps and 1/240th shutterspeed the source material was nice and sharp and the ‘Twixtor’ effect of interpolated frames actually added to the effect of slow motion movement of his cloths and helped sell the ‘floating-in-slow-motion’ effect.

I wish I had more BTS or content to share but that’s really all it was! Planned well, shot well, and a bit of messing in post but we got the job done!

Check it the full video below.

Written by

VFX Artist & Video Editor from Dublin, Ireland with a background in photography // www.colmmoore.com //

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