Seeing Double

(This post references iSundae II: Attack of the Cones, part 8. You may want to view the movie before reading this post.)

One of the trials of being an aspiring filmmaker is the small amount of people you have available to work with. We watch movies with casts that seem to rival the population of a small country and sigh. These big productions can put more people in the line behind a main character waiting to buy a box of Tic-Tacs than we have in our entire cast and crew combined!

Maybe our budget doesn’t allow for more people, or we simply can’t find anyone willing to help out. But however it comes about, we find ourselves faced with a dilemma. How can we make the best out of a bad situation?

The trick we’re most fond of here at Phantom Moose is not the most professional, or best alternative, but it works. We reuse people at any opportunity. If you’re ever filming with us, don’t ask for a stunt double because we will probably ask you to be the stunt double. (Except for the time when Stelen stood in for Malfhok, but that’s another story.)

And now, for a practical demonstration of our doubling efficiency, let me refer to the “Cauldron number” scene. Anybody notice that Marelac and Stelen are in there twice? Once as themselves and once as Norse guys. We worked the shots and angles so they would never show Marelac with Marelac Norse, or Stelen with Stelen Norse. It’s easier than blue-screening anyone in and out of the scene.

And, as I’ve mentioned before, Alyah and the Badgal are played by the same actress. Didn’t notice? Blessings upon you. You’ve just encouraged some filmmakers.

The important thing to keep in mind is the realism. Think to yourself, “How would I convince myself that these are two separate characters and two separate actors?” Use establishing shots, good fakery, some slick special effects—whatever you can pull off well—and go with it.

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One comment on “Seeing Double

  1. Didn’t notice? Blessings upon you. You’ve just encouraged some filmmakers.

    Be inspired, because I certainly did not notice.

    It is true that large film companies have huge amounts of resources. It’s times like this that clever planning and camera work can really pay off.

    I saw a behind-the-scenes video of some crowd duplication used in an entry to a commercial contest. It’s probably a little bit too complex for most small-budget films, but it definitely looks convincing.

    The Disappearing Act VFX Breakdown

    – Jordan Harris, who hopes that the [url] tags work.

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