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Unnoticed Moms, LLC: The Theory Behind a Warehouse

by Trent Armstrong on May 11, 2012

Environments and compositing can take a video a long way toward it’s believability as well as setting a tone for the viewer.  In our new Mother’s Day mini movie, Unnoticed Moms, LLC we were tasked with creating a large warehouse behind the green screen window that would, of course, seem believable.

My first attempt at creating the warehouse was, in my mind, an effort to bring a large amount of mystery to the scene– creating a space that is more like a dark hole.  However, as you can see, (Figure 1) it made it more depressing than anything.  The windows didn’t really look like they were on an outside wall or maybe it seemed that it was a dreary, rainy day.  There is a little bit of texture on the far wall, but it seemed to be more confusing than anything.

The next iteration (Figure 2) was to take what I had done and brighten it up.  We added some curves, a glow, and some lens flares to bring more of an afternoon feel to the look– golden hour.  The thing we weren’t really happy with was that this still looked more like a dark hole than a warehouse.  It wasn’t quite as depressing anymore, but the textures were still ambiguous enough for it to potentially cause confusion in the audience and take their focus away from the video.

The third attempt (Figure 3) was created by David Chapman (@DaveChap) over at Graceway Media.  He made a really nice matte painting from warehouse texture reference images to give the back wall of the warehouse more realism.  Then we just put some off-white shape layers and a glow over the texture to get the windows.

The warehouse and the interior of the clerk’s office are about the same brightness with a little shading for separation.  This causes both areas to look like they are part of the same scene, and the brightness of the warehouse keeps the mood neutral instead of depressing.

The recognizable texture for the warehouse wall registers quickly and keeps confusion down for the audience.  They notice it’s a big warehouse-like room behind the window and move on to paying attention to the actors.

Once again, it is good to see our process at work here turning this video into something we are proud to release into the wild.

Below are some other images from production to post!

On set getting the actors ready.

Raw footage from the Canon 7D.

Final composite with background elements and color-correction.

3 Comments
  1. Adam Oas permalink

    Did you try adding a little blur to the warehouse background to give it a sens that it was outside the hyper-focal for the lens, which it realistically should, unless you were using a very small aperture?

    • Yes. We made the effort to match the blur to where the wall would be in space. The smaller imagery here causes the blur to sharpen up a litte.

  2. Adam Oas permalink

    Just re-watched… looks like you got the DOF pretty well figured out.

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