Chicago, 1930. The crises gets birth to gangs and chaos…

I really enjoy to work on this project with Manuel Greffier (even if we work an entire night without sleeping to finish it !). We needed to use green screen integration and learn keying and tracking tools so we imagine a short story with to characters during the crises of 1929. This project toke a bit more than 3 weeks to be done.

We used plenty of softwares :

  • 3D creation (sets, objects) : Maya 2011 and Blender 2.5
  • Tracking & Keying : NukeX 6
  • Compositing & Filtering : Blender 2.5 and Gimp 2.6
  • Video editing : Premiere CS4 and Blender 2.5
  • Sound creation : Audacity 1.3
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After drawing the story board, we shoot the videos in a gymnasium in front of blue background. Unfortunately, we could not use a professional full HD video camera so we use my own HD camera which has no image stabilization and a not good enough image quality for this type of job. Each character has been filmed alone for a better keying later. An other problem was that our blue background was sometime not high enough for what we wanted to do. So we have to cheat lots of time like moving the camera in stead of moving the character.


The Set

The second stage when we work on integration is to create the set. All of it has been created in 3D. At the beginning, we wanted to make a very simple street, but finally, we made a huge set, with a car, an animated metro, big buildings. As we worked in black and white, it as been easier for texture creation, material edit and lighting.

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Keying & Tracking

At this point, we start to subtract the blue background from the initial rushes. Because of the bad quality of my camera, it has been very difficult to get a very nice keying and we add lots of manual correction to make it better.

Tracking has also been difficult for the same reason of video quality. Most of the shots have not been tracked so the 3D camera has been animated manually. We mainly use tracking tool to stabilize a scene.

Compositing and filtering

To have a good integration, we needed to adjust contrasts, value, saturation of the initial rushes. Secondly, we added some 2D filters on our set to make it more “video-like”. The difficult thing on that stage is to have the same contrast and tone-map on the rushes and on the 3D set.

Once we did it, we just have to integrate the initial video in the rush and add FX like shadows, gunshots.