How to create magic cuts


For our third task we decided to realize some vines inspire by Zach King, famous youtuber good at combine illusion to this kind of video.

boh, foto da mettere nel blog dopo l'intro. 1

Vines are recreational videos in square format that last 6 seconds max and they can be filmed thanks to the mobile app of the same name. However, since we wanted to film vines that once edit give the idea that the actors perform some magic tricks, we had to use semi-professional video gear. In this “How to” we’re going to illustrate in detail “the jump on the bed” vine, whereas we’ll give some piece of advice to realize other of these “magic vines”.

Step 1 – Set up the gear

First of all, to realize this kind of video is necessary to pay close attention to some details during the shot. The goal is to get a cut between the two clip the less evident possible. Here’s some hints to avoid discontinuity. The camera must be very stable: we used a tripod and we have ensured that it was always in the same position, exploiting some adhesive tape to mark the position of the tripod legs.

tape cavalletto

Moreover, we set the lights that we had at our disposal in the most appropriate manner considering the room structure and the ambient light. Focus, camera exposition and white balance have to be set up manually in order to avoid automatic changes made by the camera.

Step 2 – The shot

We put the actress on the bed in front of the camera and she performed several attempts for the jump. So we realized a take for the jump and,paying attention that the actress stands still in the same position of the landing, we pasted some pieces of adhesive tape on the bedsptape piedi di fraread near some keypoint of her body (e.g. hands, chest, leg etc.), essential to the correct dress location for the second take.

We put the actress under the bedspread and her dresses over it exploiting the tape.

posizione pantaloni su tape

During the second take the actress simulated the recoil of the bed, giving the idea that she had passed through the bedspread, unclothing herself.

Step 3 – Video post-production

After all, the post-production phase is easy if you’ve been precised and careful during the shots. In this case, the only thing to do is dragging the two clips into the timeline, cutting the first one when the actress touches the bed and linking it to the second one. It is likely that you’ll have to adjust the linking point several times in order to get a realistic and flowing movement.


To make the video even more realistic and to simulate the vine effect, we cropped the video in a square format; then, to convey the idea we were shooting with a smartphone we used a wiggle expression with the following parameters (1, 10, 3).


Regarding the audio, even though we recorded it by means of a good microphone, we decided to use the camera one as we didn’t need a too much clear sound, like it was an audio recorded by a smartphone. In the same way you don’t have to necessary apply a color correction to your clip. In our case we were already satisfied by the performance of the lights and we didn’t apply any curves effect.

Additional suggestions:

  1.  To create this kind of video, the only critical aspect is to guarantee that nothing changes its position during the takes (lights/shadows, props, actors). Of course it’s almost impossible that the actors could stay completely static, but the margin within wich they can move is really small (we’re speaking about less than one centimeter) if you want to avoid unpleasant surprise during the post-production when you’re looking for the linking points.
  2.  In order to be even more precise you can use a specific app designed especially to the stopmotion, where the props stilness is essential for the properly success of the video. Indeed, the app’s name is Stopmotion and it is available as free version in the App Store. It is very easy to use: you tap over the touchscreen to store a frame of the scene which is overlapped on the screen while the camera goes on shooting. fantasmi In this way you can easily arrange the props and the actors in the same position of that frame. We exploited this app only in the cases in which the linking point had to be done when the actor was completely static (“the shoes vine” and the teleportation one). The app is obviously less useful if the linking point occurs while the actor is moving (as happens in the bed vine) because in that case it is easer to mislead the eye and to hide the cut during the post-production phase.
  3.  In some cases, according to the actors position in the scene, it is probably not necessary making a linking point bewteen the two entire takes, but creating a mask on the clip and overlap on it another part of the clip (the vine about the ping pong ball).
  4.  As we said previously, vines are in a square format, but you have to shot them in the traditional format, so you don’t have to worry about possible unpleasant movements near the image edges because these will be cut off during the post-production.
  5.  In order to simulate the camera movement you can definitely use a wiggle expression as we illustrated before. But there’s also an alternative that we adopted: by means of a smartphone we filmed a wall, on which we placed some suitable markers, trying to be not so much stable. Then thanks to the 3D Camera Tracking option of After Effect, we created a new 3D Camera level and we copied it into the composition, adjusting it based on the video made by the 20150514_130147-2stable camera.
  6.  In addition, to simulate a camera movement, a short pan in particular, we created a new 3D videocamera layer on which we applied a wiggle expression onto the position and orientation parameters (to get more realism). Eventually, a null object that moves horizontally was set as parent for the camera.
  7.  Pay close attention when you link the audio of the two clips because someone could easily hear that moment. To deal with this problem you can conveniently mix sounds from the two clips and record some support sound, if necessary.

microfonoscolaposateChroma Chi? Alessandra Caretto Nicola Falomi Enrica Maggiora Francesca Milani Federico Montemurro


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