Posts Tagged ‘Blackhawk’


Hey there and welcome to my mission troops.

At ease. Today we’ll be looking at Image 235 – a simple yet fortuitous combination of photos which created a striking scene. Much like Image 164 this one basically came together on its own. Though I must admit, both of these photos were part of my collection for quite some time before the visual connection was made. One day I was browsing through my Defender folder and my eye happened to pause on this incredible perspective.

Don’t get me wrong, I’d seen this image in my Defender folder a hundred times before; the thing is I never really knew what to do with it. However, this time the finished result flashed before my eyes. I immediately opened my Blackhawk folder and plucked out this one.

Much like the Defender, I had also seen this image many times, but I guess some time had to elapse before my subconscious mind was able to piece together and perceive the two images as one.

Having two perfectly matched images, the rest was fairly simple. Although I did have to remove the roof-rack and other minor details from the Defender and add some dust and a slight blur to the tires to create a sense of motion.

Don’t you just love the powerful viewpoint?

For those of you, who missed the first post to this ‘Show Reel Ingenuity’ Photoshop segment, hit the following link: https://thestufflegendsaremadeof.wordpress.com/2011/02/03/143/

It will bring you up to speed with the idea behind the film trailer project.


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Greetings and Salutations, to all my Brethren, Adepts and Novices of the sacred PS Order, as well as any Followers, Groupies and casual Tag Surfers…

In this section I’ll guide you along the sacred and often arduous path to Photoshop enlightenment, illustrating how I created every image for my film trailer. You’ll get to see all the original j-peg materials, read my clever commentary and then view the end result.

The point of this exercise is, so you can understand; there is more than one way to accomplish any undertaking, as long as you keep your mind focused on achieving the desired goal.

My goal was – I needed a film trailer to help promote my film project. Something that would help prompt an investor to read the script.

This is opposed to simply handing the script to a prospective investor and saying – “This is the next great film project, bla, bla, bla, the usual film industry spiel”.

Now, no mater how great your speech, the guy isn’t stupid, he understands that in order to ascertain for himself, if the project has any merit, he’ll have to read the script, which will take a day or two of his precious time.

The old adage “A picture tells a thousand words” couldn’t be more apt right here (especially if they were moving pictures). If the investor could sit down and view a trailer, in my case a 15 minute trailer, he would immediately be able to say one of two things – “Yes! Now I have some idea of what the story is about and I’ll be happy to read the script”. Or he can simply say – “Thank you, but this is not the project we had in mind”. Either way the guy says, “Thanks” for respecting his time by aiding him in simplifying the choice making process.

Now where was I? Oh yeah! My film trailer. All it took was a bit of patience, a bit of time, some super-human effort and 250 high quality images later, I now have a 15 minute film trailer. Which incidentally, for reasons only known to the gods, I will not be able to upload to this blog, as much as I would REALLY, REALLY LOVE TOO. (Because it just, Arrhhhh! IT ROCKS!)

When I initially set out to make my film trailer, I knew that I had two options. The first was to raise enough capital to shoot a promo reel, depicting the Australian landscape, certain action sequences with the possible involvement of the desired stars. It didn’t take a “Fields medal” for me to figure out that the budget for such a thing would be a financial burden.

So with the first option out the window, I pondered my second option…

The second option, as I saw it, was financially less burdensome, yet more time consuming and labor intensive. (this was going to be a solo act) All that was required of me was to learn Photoshop and shop me some action sequences from the script, after which, using a simple program like Photo Story 3, I make a trailer on my PC, add some music tracks and that’s it a 15 minute trailer.

“Well that sounds pretty easy”. I hear some of you saying, out there in the back rows… Well, at first, that’s exactly what I thought. After which I thought some more, had a coffee and thought some more again. Then I said to myself, “Self! I don’t think the coffee is working. I feel we need a plan – A Big Plan. – A PLAN OF GALACTIC PROPORTIONS”. (Oh yeah! That’s more my size)

I sat myself down and figured out the specific scenes and action sequences that would be required to convey the spirit and the dynamics of my film. I then compiled a list of scenic backdrops, (deserts, forests, rivers, townships, sunsets, aerial views etc.) machinery such as, (Blackhawk helicopters, Hummers, Landrover Defenders, police cars and choppers, light planes etc.) the chosen Stars in action, people in action, animals and other miscellaneous stuff. (camp fires, explosions, weapons etc.) The list went on and on and on. You would simply not believe the sort of stuff I was looking for.

Lucky for me the Defender (Protagonist vehicle) has a big following; there were tons of pictures on the net. The U.S. military offered heaps of Blackhawks and Hummers, (Antagonist vehicles) which I guess was good. The Australian police force did their bit with cars and choppers. Don’t get me wrong, there are lots of photos out there, the question is – are they usable? Sometimes the angle and lighting were perfect but the image was so light (small) that when I enlarged it to the needed proportions it became so grainy, it detracted from the overall composition. Other times the contrary.

It became such a habit that every time I was on the net, I would always have my eyes peeled for any usable j-peg images. After a couple of years of working on the said trailer I accumulated approx. 30-40 Gb worth of j-pegs. Granted I didn’t use them all, but when working on this type of project any picture can come in handy, sometimes in the most unexpected way. Especially, if you’re making the scenes up as you go. You can say, they were my artist’s palette from which I chose the look and feel for a particular scene. Some images were better than others, as far as being a complete scene; all I had to do was add a few details here, delete some details there, tweak the contrast or the saturation and it was done, while other scenes had to be constructed entirely from scratch.

So whats the moral to this long winded story? Well, let me see. Yes, it took me almost 2 years to complete my film trailer, however, it’s now done and it didn’t cost me anything but time, a bit more time and some super-human effort. At the end of the day – I have what I set out to achieve.

On the other hand, had I chosen my first option, I can’t in all honestly say that today I would have had a trailer on my hands. Yet, the super-human effort, I would have had to apply, nonetheless… All those with a “Fields medal” can now do the math. The rest of you can have a coffee and look at the pictures.

Anyhow, in relation to Image 71, (that’s its number in the universal order of things) I chose this rally scene for my backdrop because of its dynamic action. It makes more sense to use an existing dust trail for authentic dispersion, than create it. This also allows for seamless vehicle insertion and to flawlessly incorporate the Blackhawk.

I managed to find this Blackhawk, what a fantastic angle! It too was dust shrouded, which helped create the overall illusion of being there. However, the image itself was a bit light and when I enlarged it, the Blackhawk acquired a bit of noise around its edges. At closer scrutiny you’ll see the flaw. I tried to find a larger copy but to no avail. Frustrated as I was, I accepted this minor imperfection, after I reviewed the image in the trailer sequence. The motion that was created with the 3 second pass over, totally eliminated the noise and the picture looked perfect.

Having an authentic dust trail to work with, I was free to use any Defender, even a stationary one as long as the angle was correct.

As you can see I got the hang of Photoshop…  Although, looking at the trees, I forgot where I got them from.

I hope you have all learnt something today…

Stuff like coffee doesn’t always help and… (Does this fool ever shut up)…

Till we meet again,

Your Guru.


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