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Thread: Time Freeze Tutorial

  1. #1

    Default Time Freeze Tutorial

    This was what happened after we watched a great vid, based on a very long time freeze sequence. We rushed out and gave it a shot... It was not supposed to be released but actually it shows how the camera movement plays an essential role in the whole process of time freezing and what it adds to the result...

    So I got a few emails asking how we did this effect and since we are not into making on screen tutorials I will try to give you a little step by step guide:

    1. You shoot your footage while you try to move your camera as steady as possible (If you can use a dolly or Glide/Steady cam).
    What is important is that your actor has to try to stand as still as possible (try to use a position which already looks freezed like shooting a gun and having your mouth wide open as if you shout).
    What you do now is try to make the pan as quick as possible so you can later slow it down so you wonīt see the movement of you actor. (slow it down to 50-60 percent)

    2. You import your footage into AE and track your shot with the inbuilt motion tracker (if you have bojou or any other tracking software use it, its way better), but for a shot like this the AE tracker does the job.

    3. After having tracked you shot you will see that you have to adjust some of your frames, since the tracker is not 100% accurate. Now you slow down your shot about 60-70%.

    4. Now you have a steady shot of the camera panning and your actor being kind of freezed. What you need to do next is to give whole shot a mood.

    5. To give the shot the right mood you need to add some nice colors etc to give it the right touch.

    6. Now comes the part where you make your shot look "real" again. You create a new camera and depending on your shot (we did 24mm) you adjust the settings of your camera. now you go into the position settings and add a "wiggle" to your camera which adds a fake camera movement and makes your shot look hand held and more realistic.

    7. Now you might think your done, but the most important thing has been left out: The Sound...
    Many people tend to ignore or just add a song from Hans Zimmer and think "wow that's so cool" but no... itīs not.
    Every shot needs to have itīs individually designed sound effect and music. In a shot like this we should focus on the sound effects. the best thing to do it to use some kind of build-up sound in the beginning. When it freezes you simply add a "swoosh" sound ( we use Pro Scores from Video Copilot) and reverse the sound you used before and slow it down. In that way you keep the same atmosphere when it freezes and when it is in regular motion.

    8. Now that you have done this you can add muzzle-flares or what ever fits your shot and needs to be added to make it fit your scene. This was only a simple test to try out a freeze. We did a full freeze-motion scene in one of our movies. you can find it here:


    This clip is nothing special but we think it illustrates how the basic time freeze has to look like

  2. #2


    I am confused.
    If the camera had been correctly connected to a proper tipod/gig/whatever in the first place, and if the talents could be asked to pose motionless for a few seconds; then would there be any purpose in using AE speed and tracking effects?

  3. #3


    Quote Originally Posted by TimAndrews View Post
    I am confused.
    If the camera had been correctly connected to a proper tipod/gig/whatever in the first place, and if the talents could be asked to pose motionless for a few seconds; then would there be any purpose in using AE speed and tracking effects?
    Hey man,

    Well it depends on what you have. If you have a proper rig or an actor who can act extremely still, yes you can just do the shot " real". But I wanted to try something. It's a principle you can use as a basis for many freeze motion scenes.


  4. #4


    Thank you. I was not quite sure I had understood. I don't want to appear critical because I am not an expert in these areas; but I am unconvinced. I did not think the 'effect' (at 1:47) looked very good.
    You move the camera fast to avoid unwanted movements from the actor. Then you use tracking in AE to allow for the unwanted movements of the camera. Is this really how many slow motion scenes are done?

  5. #5



    I donīt believe so. Many freeze motions are simply done by using a try pot or dolly and getting your actors to hold still. Then you can cut out our actor and use him as a separate layer and put his still frame on top of the background. You know there are a lot of methods to create a proper Freeze motion and I am trying to experience most of them and try all sorts of different techniques until I find the one, I find the most suitable. But sure the one I used in (1.47) is not the best one . But it was interested in trying out a time freeze that way. And even though it did not work out perfectly, it did work out somehow. But I will try to make a tutorial on one of my new Freeze shots I am doing at the moment. Itīs mire advanced and maybe i can explain it better then.

    Last edited by Hakan Zscherpe; 03-03-2011 at 09:44 AM.

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