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Community Coffee “Worth Sharing”

Posted in All, Color, Compositing, Editing, Motion Design, Visual Effects

In this whimsical pop-up world that completely takes place on a coffee cup, live action elements are combined with motion graphics and matte paintings.

This is a great example of a Pop-Up idea… but it takes it a step further, with a very unique look as it’s on a coffee cup instead of a book.

After careful planning of what we were going to shoot live, we used a motion control camera to shoot different passes of the cup. This allowed us to “program” a smooth repeatable motion into the camera. We shot high resolution so that we could zoom into the live action plates.

Other live action plates that we shot were people performing different actions, these we shot over greenscreen so we could easily cut them out and reposition them.

We also used CG trees and plants that were animated to ‘grow on’ instead of pop up, and we had other CG elements like a CG animated city skyline.

Here’s a before / after edit of the spot showing how it was made:

Here are some challenges we had to overcome and problems we had to solve to make this spot work:

– We had to combine lots of different elements and make them work together including tracking/stabilizing/combining multiple live action cameras.

– Leading the eye around the journey around the cup, knowing which actions to choreograph properly so the viewer isn’t confused where to look. We used all the tricks in the book, for instance depth of field, to help with this.

– The ‘edit’ had to be a living, breathing entity, has to remain flexible through CG animation stage … the initial edit helped to nail down live action people performances, but those performances had to slide a bit as the motion was being finalized.

– We had to discover the rules of this unique coffee cup “world” and know which ones to break … live action plates had to be extensively warped and re-created to fit this unique circular world. We used forced perspective on the real shot plates, we had to do some back and forth / experimentation to nail the look and make it look whimsical without being too weird. (the real people, though, while they are repositioned in space and pop up in places, they are not warped).

Some of my favorite things are little touches like the lamp light coming on, and steam from the coffee cup. I was glad we had time to do these things, usually we don’t.