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Guest-Blogging: 3 CGI Techniques Even Indie Filmmakers Can Use

I was very flattered recently when Elliot Grove, founder of the UK’s Raindance film festival and general indie filmmaking legend, asked me to guest-blog over on the Raindance site.

And it’s now up! I’m looking at the same tipping point for filmmaking technology that I’ve been discussing recently on here, but this time with a very practical slant toward fellow indie filmmakers:

It’s tremendously easy these days to composite elements of stock footage into your shots. And this can be astonishingly powerful.

The best use of stock footage compositing I’ve seen recently was in the TV show Orphan Black. At one point, a character’s attempting to flee another character who has a gun, into a cornfield. Firing guns on set is expensive, as we all know; and in this case it wouldn’t have served the scene. Instead, they simply cut to a wide shot, then had a gunshot go off – and some birds fly up, startled by the shot.

Now, it’s possible that those were real birds. But if it was me shooting that scene, I’d definitely have just composited in the bird footage. It completes the shot, and turns a static video of a cornfield into a moment of high drama.

Here are a few ways you can use this technique, which takes minutes, to add production value or allow you to shoot scenes that otherwise wouldn’t be possible…

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