It’s fun to add some special effects to videos and applicable in many ways even to corporate videos. Imagine an ad for a product where a spokesperson walks toward the Camera. They present the product. Then an identical spokesperson arrives alongside and presents an improved version of the product. The same person can even have a conversation between themselves and not look crazy. We have all seen this effect in advertising and movies and now it is incredibly easy to do in all video productions.
To make cloning effects it is necessary to build layers. One for each clone you intend to use. Two is not the limit but each clone must be shot individually. This seems like more work. However, the initial setup to do the first two is where the majority of the work lies so consider buying clones in bulk if it works organically with the script.
Lock It Down
The first and most important thing to do is to lock down the tripod. It is crucial that the camera angles are the same for the entirety of the shot. Bolting the tripod to the floor would be ideal but sandbags to keep it in place with bright tape as a visual barrier so no unauthorized persons trample into it would do in most cases. Locking the camera into the right angle in the tripod is also part of this task but decent equipment makes that quite possible with a simple switch.
Next, calibrate the camera to auto white balance. Since white contains all colors in the visible spectrum, the camera will pick these up more quickly despite which lights you use in the shot. This video will explain more about white balance.
Lights, Camera, what’s that third thing…
Now comes the action. Film the first individual you want to appear from beginning to end. Then repeat with the second and third, etc. It is crucial to work quickly in this manner as small changes in the environment will create more drastic changes in lighting as time passes. Shoot all the intended footage giving yourself two takes of each for safety.
Then it is on to post where there are a number of editing software programs that allow layers of video to be manipulated. I’m going to stick with Final Cut Pro as it is the most commonly used editing program. The process begins in a similar way to layering music but adding the trimmed shots on top of each other rather than various instruments. Next, you must crop the subject so the many clones are visible within the final shot.
Beyond being a fun effect, cloning creates a lot of symbolism in how you say your message. Something that was once long and tedious to do in production has become a realistic possibility so taking advantage of this feature is a nice addition to many corporate videos.
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