Teaser frames: Guardians of the Galaxy recreated scene. (Full scene complete in last post.)

Xhan47Xhan47 Website User Posts: 148
edited January 2019 in Show off

Hi everyone, I'm Dustin Johnson, an original Cinematic storyteller, and Filmmaker.

 I've been using Hitfilm for a few months now, so I figured it's time to post something on the forums. 

Two teaser frames form my upcoming big project:  A Recreation of the opening scene of Gotg.

Below is the first shot that I'm just finishing up now, with a comparison to the original, and underneath that is a Starlord eye glow test I did for the in production scene. 

I hope you all enjoy, and I would welcome any feedback from them.

I'll try and post more Teaser frames as the scene comes together more.

Here are the images and thanks for checking them out:











  • tddavistddavis Moderator, Website User Posts: 4,184 Moderator

     @Xhan47 The stills look really nice too me.  Hard to say anything constructive in the feedback area from still shots.  Moving effects are much less forgiving and the real test :)  Myself, I am terrible at tracking for some reason, so linking effects to layers eludes me.  You get that whooped and you are a 100 times better than I.

  • Xhan47Xhan47 Website User Posts: 148

      tddavis, Thank you!! Sorry for the late reply,  I really a appreciate you commenting, Hitfilm told me they were reviewing my post, and I never got an email telling me my post went through So I assumed it never did. Glad I checked though.

    Yeah, I figured there wouldn't be much criticism from a still shot but I did want to get it out there.

    Since it's been so long, however, I do  have the first three shots complete in moving form that you can see here:

    (Note that these three shots are in slightly less quality than then the rest of the scene will be as I sm now  complete the shots in two exports rather than multiple which I did with these.)

    Personally, I have not tried tracking yet: I have mostly been using keyframes to get away with it, but when I get to Starlord's glowing eye plates I will definitely be using Mocha. I hear it's a beast to tackle but I'm up for the challenge.

    Thanks again for the comment and patience.



  • Xhan47Xhan47 Website User Posts: 148

    New update: I have completed the first three shots which you guys can see here: 

    Thanks for all the views and patience. 

  • PalaconoPalacono Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 3,442 Enthusiast

    Change the blend mode of the explody bit to Add or Screen, or something. The grey shadowy outline at the edge sticks out quite a lot.

  • tddavistddavis Moderator, Website User Posts: 4,184 Moderator

    @Xhan47 +1 to Palacono's comment above.  I haven't much experience with changing Blend modes, but how I would approach it is I would lower the Opacity just a tad on the blue glowy cloud to settle into the scene more and soften those edges.  Blend modes would be best bet though.  I also try to find a way to use the mask feather edges if I can to help, but that's not always possible.  I wonder if FxHome could add an effect to let you feather edges of a layer especially like a PNG sequence with transparency??? 

  • CleverTaglineCleverTagline Moderator Las Vegas, NVModerator, Website User, Ambassador, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 3,039 Ambassador

    @tddavis You can do this with the Matte Cleaner effect and its Feather property.

  • tddavistddavis Moderator, Website User Posts: 4,184 Moderator
  • Xhan47Xhan47 Website User Posts: 148
    edited November 2018

    Thank you @Palacono @tddavis  @jsbarrett for all the comments and suggestions!! I will get to work on that and return with a much more polished cut. 

    Also: Does anybody know how to Hd upgrade footage? And if so, can Hitfilm do it?

    I saw Peter Jackson talking about it in the Lord of the Rings extended cut special features how they were able to upgrade it to a higher quality after they finished editing/filming it, and was wondering if I could somehow pull that off so I could get the shots back at least to their original quality, before the effects and exports brought it down more. Does anybody know about that?

    Thanks in advance.

  • CleverTaglineCleverTagline Moderator Las Vegas, NVModerator, Website User, Ambassador, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 3,039 Ambassador

    @Xhan47 I'm not aware of any tool that can add quality back to a piece of footage. I'm not familiar with the Peter Jackson clip you reference, but my gut says he's talking about increasing resolution, not quality, but even that has its limitations and problems.

  • Xhan47Xhan47 Website User Posts: 148
  • Xhan47Xhan47 Website User Posts: 148

    I'm back!! Happy December everybody. 

    It's been a little while, but I took everything you guys said and applied it to those first three shots.

    Also, I decided to re-edit the scene from the beginning so I could get the fewer exports quality look I was after. 

    Things improved upon include:

    1.  A New and updated Forcefield effect.

    2. Improved Green screen background.

    3. Forcefield inner effects Blend mode moved to add and feathered.

    4. Better export quality.

    Thanks again for all the help last time, I'm at that place again, where I'm not sure how to make the sequence better and want to see what you guys think before I check them off as finished and move onto the next shots.

    Here's the video: 

    Look forward to hearing your guy's feedback again. 



  • PalaconoPalacono Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 3,442 Enthusiast

    Hadn't really noticed the 'story' points before, but what are we looking at now? Where does the boy go in shot 2? It looks like it's just a bit closer than shot 1, but he's gone. The planet(?) is going in the same direction, so it's not a POV shot. Then it's back out to the wider shot again.

    Other than that; it all looks a lot cleaner than before, but less visually interesting and the purple is a bit too...purpley?

    Edit: OK, I compared it to the first version and shot 2 is supposed to be a POV shot, but it doesn't look like one to me.

  • Xhan47Xhan47 Website User Posts: 148
    edited December 2018

    Thank you @Palacono!!

    Never thought about the shot like that before. The second shot is not necessarily a Pov shot but  actually trying to recreate the camera angle at 0:05 in this clip: 

    With a close-up and sort of a downward angle to it.

    (The Sphere is not a planet but actually, an Orb, floating in a forcefield, kind of like a  sci-fi version of the opening of Raiders of the Lost Ark. )

    I compared the two versions as you said and see what you mean by the Orb's positioning.

    I thought that to keep continuity I would put the Orb in the same position in the next shot, so it would flow nicely.

    But it looks like instead, it made the Audience confused, as to where the camera was stationed and made it look like it was from the same angle, hence giving the audience to ask,  where did the boy go?

    I will definitely be fixing this and put the orb in the right position like it was in the first reel.

    The new Forcefield looks less visually interesting, I think because there is nothing moving.

     I'll see about adding more particle effects like the white arcs that go across the Orb at the very beginning in version 2. Also, I'll try experimenting with the leaving element around the orb in the final shot and maybe turn it, blue or Red to make it more interesting, and have less Purple.

    Thanks again for the comments, (and for even comparing the two versions against each other.)




  • DafterThingsDafterThings Website User Posts: 882 Enthusiast

    It's looking good.

    Couple of things.
    1) The orb appears outside the force field in a grey colour. It just seems in the wrong place.
    2) As Palacono says the POV of the two shots is too similar. If you're not going to have the boy in the shot then the orb needs to come towards the camera (scale) and drag the force field along with it. 
    3) I am wondering whether something like 'bulge' might work to show the force field distorting?

  • JMcAllisterJMcAllister Website User Posts: 599 Just Starting Out

     Ok sorry in advance because this might seem harsh, but:

    -the background elements seem to be showing through the foreground elements, check your mattes and if necessary use "crush black and white alpha" effect to fix them

    -if you're trying to match the look of the original, your whole shot is too purple. Go watch the original again - the forcefield is mostly blue. The background is actually slightly yellow, where your background is slightly purple.

    -try to match the lighting on (I assume your?) face. In the original shot, Chris Pratt's face is being lit by a kind of flickering blue light that looks like it is coming from the forcefield - If you're serious about matching the look of this shot then the simplest thing to do would be to re-shoot your footage, and get a friend to stand off-camera with a blue light and wave something in front of it to get that flickering effect. As it is, your footage has obviously been shot under completely different lighting conditions and so the final shot looks completely fake.

    -it will also help if you add some glows and flares to your forcefield layer(s?) and composite those over the footage using e.g. add or screen blend mode.

    -the orb is behind the forcefield, which is... behind the pedestal that the orb is supposed to be above?
    The shot is supposed to give the impression that the orb is floating above a pedestal, and surrounded by a forcefield. So for the perspective in shots 1 and 3, the orb layer should be above the pedestal layer. For the forcefield, the simplest thing is to have it on two different layers: one for the "behind" forcefield, which will be a layer underneath the pedestal and underneath the orb, then another layer for the "in front" forcefield which will be on top of layer stack, in front of both the pedestal and the orb.

    -For shot 2 the perspective should be different so you'll have to set it up differently. Also the animation on the orb should be different. Notice in the original version, the orb doesn't actually move in this shot, it just kinda vibrates on the spot, to give the impression that the forcefield has some wight to it

    -If I was being picky I would also point out that the forcefield should be rotating, but that makes it a bit trickier to do and it's not that important. So ignore this one.

    -Your backgrounds aren't really adding anything to your shots, and are in some ways detrimental because they don't seem like they're integrated with the rest of the footage. It might actually look better if you remove them completely for now and just have a plain black background. Again, go back to the original clip and try to ignore everything except the backgrounds, you will notice that the backgrounds are actually helping tell the story by giving context to the foreground elements. For example in your shots there is no obvious difference in perspective between shots 1 and 2, so as previously mentioned it's confusing when you cut between them. Compare that to the original, where you can tell just from looking at the backgrounds that it is the same room, but a different angle.

    Other than that it looks alright

  • Xhan47Xhan47 Website User Posts: 148

    No problem @JMcAlister. I've gotten some pretty rough comments in the past and I'm okay with them.

    I appreciate the in-depth response, very valuable critique,  and you taking the time to write a very lengthy comment.

    You are absolutely right.  Nobody else brought it up, and I have told so many other people that it just slipped my mind. So I'll clear it up here: (Maybe this post should be pinned to the top.)

     The Forcefield is obviously blue in the video. (I know that.) For this whole scene, however, I decided to treat it like animation.  I understand that at my level of experience, and my age, that to make it just like theirs would be next to impossible right now. 

    So I settled for the middle. Here's what I mean: In an animation show like say Star wars the clone wars, if you compare the Yoda in that to the one in the movies their's a vast difference. His eyes are bigger, his face is different, but when people see him on the show, they don't think: he looks different then in the movies, they think: Oh, that's Yoda. And that's what I am going for in all throughout the scene.

    Like in the photos that I shared at the beginning of the Forum when people saw Starlord's helmet in this scene  (PhotoI'll link it here:) https://drive.google.com/file/d/1tRWp6xSBiF0C7pAvLB_pYgDpgvEFgbWg/view?usp=sharing

    Nobody said that's not him, but everybody could recognize that though the helmet wasn't perfect, it looked like Starlord.  And that's what I'm going for: Recognizability. 

    If you can see the similarities, and if I get it close enough: Then your mind will shut out all the differences and see them as the scenes they are meant to be. Just like animation. And that's what I am going for.

    I'm recreating this scene, the best I can, and as I recreate more scenes, the better I'll get at the effects, the better I'll get at the lighting, the better I'll get at the backgrounds.

    But please understand if I stick with getting this scene 100% perfect, I won't make it any farther than I am now, No more scenes will keep coming out, so I can continue to learn, and my Filmmaking will stop in Its Tracks.

    (I'm sorry if I didn't bring this up earlier, but I forgot, nobody, brought it up when they saw the scene, hopefully meaning that I have achieved my goal of Recognizability. 

    I'm not gonna lie to you, I'm just an 18-year-old kid who's still learning the ropes, working my way up to the professional look, and using this scene so I can continue to learn and grow while giving my YouTube audience something they've never seen before, in this big, ambitious project. 

    I was never going for Picture Perfect.  I could never do it at this stage in my life.

    - Actually in the beginning, if you look at the first version I posted earlier in the forums, I tried to make the background more like the way it was in the movie: There is the yellow your talking about, the forcefield is blue, but the whole shot seemed bland. 

    The background was much blurrier due to the way I cut it out each individual piece, and the Forcefield is much less HD, and the scene is, in my opinion much less interesting. 

    But in the new version, the forcefield and background are much more HD, bright, and interesting, even if it varies from the Movie version a little bit, it looks much better, someone will actually watch it, and your mind will still tell you this is the scene.

    The rest of your comments though they stung, I think my above statement answers them in the right manner.

    I apologize for any misunderstandings and would love to keep getting feedback from you as this scenes develops into the next batch of shots.

    PS: Yes, that is my face.


  • Xhan47Xhan47 Website User Posts: 148

    @JMcAlister Oh yeah: You are right about the top part of the Container being behind the field not making any sense. I do plan on fixing that.

  • Xhan47Xhan47 Website User Posts: 148
    edited December 2018


    Thanks, man. That means a lot.  I really enjoy your animations, so that's great to hear.

    1. Ahh, that would be a Blend mode issue, I will get to work on that. thanks.

    2.  I'll try that.

    3. I don't know, I'll look into it. 


  • DafterThingsDafterThings Website User Posts: 882 Enthusiast

    No problem and thanks for the compliment.
    A reason I value this community is the great advice and honest critique. I've had my fair share 
    I've used it to improve an effect until I thought "That's good enough".  We'll each have our own cut-off point.
    Fix what's obviously wrong, improve what you can and return for more critique. It doesn't take long until you'll have the effect much closer to how you'd imagined it.

    p.s. Yes it does need some glow as well.


  • PalaconoPalacono Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 3,442 Enthusiast
    edited December 2018

    @Xhan47 Have you heard? VFX are really, really easy to do. It takes almost no effort to get spectacular results.

    No? Me neither. ;)

    I can't agree with the sentiment of this comment: "But please understand if I stick with getting this scene 100% perfect, I won't make it any farther than I am now, No more scenes will keep coming out, so I can continue to learn, and my Filmmaking will stop in Its Tracks."

    What you seem to be saying there is: "I can do several shots badly or one shot well".

    Yes, you can do either of those things, but 100% perfect isn't necessary. 90% or 80%, or even 50% is fine. 20% isn't worth your time or your audience's. Also: guess which one potential employers prefer?

    If you don't improve this, will you also expect people to spend time on feedback for future shots? There is always "the next one", but you'll learn more and get better results fixing the one in front of you now by following the advice you've already been given. Those skills will then be applicable to your future shots, so they will naturally also improve. It's a win-win. :)

  • Xhan47Xhan47 Website User Posts: 148

    I can see what you mean from your perspective. If someone wanted advice for me on a certain but then said they were just making crap anyway I wouldn't want to help them.

    Perhaps you misunderstood: I'll trying to be as polite as I can.

    You seem to be saying I am making these shots crap, just so I can make more crap, and somehow that crap will turn good?

    If that were the case I wouldn't have come to the forums, I wouldn't have built Starlord's helmet twice, I wouldn't have gone through six months of scheduling with Actors and crew members so that I could shoot the scene, I wouldn't of completely cut out the first two times we shot, because they didn't turn out right, and least  of all I wouldn't have spent the first 3 months learning the basics of Hitfilm, while everyone around me thought I was crazy. 

    If I wanted to shoot crap, I could of just waved my camera back in fourth at the sky, green-screened my dog into the shot, eating hot dogs on a poorly masked out submarine, flying to Middle Earth.

    I have put my whole heart and soul into this scene, while basically having worked on it for two years now.

    It would be nice if everyone stopped treating me like I am completely oblivious to how things work,  I've been making films for four years now, and I am not dumb.

    There. I didn't want to bring that up, I'm trying to be as nice as I can, and I'm a bit tired of people crapping on my content for the past three years, and everyone acting like I don't know which end of a camera lens you use to shoot with!!

    If I wanted crap, I wouldn't have gone through all that.  That's not what I am saying. 

    I completely agree with you about the 80% bit. That's what I am doing. That's why I've worked on this scene so long, that's why I'm here on the forums, and that's what I mean in that statement and by the Recognizability.  

    I have been following and using everyone's suggestions but JMcAliater's. 

    To get everybody back together, start this scene back from the beginning, and reshoot is not possible.

    So I am finishing up this scene, making it the best I possibly can, with that 80% you mentioned. Going big and high.

    And when that's finished. And we move onto the next scene, I've already got some things I want to fix, try on it.

    Better lighting, better Green screen set up, camera choreography, all that.

    And that's what I am saying and mean in that statement. 




  • Xhan47Xhan47 Website User Posts: 148


    Welcome. Keep up the good work.

    I'm already implementing the Bulge effect and It's looking much better :)

    I agree these Forums are great, and I'm loving the advice I am given.

    Thanks for understanding man.

    I'll add the glow effect onto the list.


  • PalaconoPalacono Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 3,442 Enthusiast
    edited December 2018

    No, I'm not quite saying that. What I'm saying is the shots are currently looking a little unrefined and rather than attempt more unrefined shots, fix this one to make it less unrefined. Then apply what you learned to make future shots less unrefined as well, rather than moving on and seeing if the next one will be less unrefined by pure chance.

    Or swap 'unrefined' for 'crap' if it'll help?  ;)

    But, you say you're doing that, so I look forward to the next iteration and/or shots. :)

  • Xhan47Xhan47 Website User Posts: 148
    edited December 2018

    @Palacono Yup that's what I'm doing, thanks.

    It just seemed like a lot of people thought I only worked on this thing for like a week, when in reality we finished filming this thing in June, and It's been in post-production for months.  So I wanted to make that clear.

    I apologize if my if my reply seemed harsh, (I tried to say it as nice as I could.)  but It's been a difficult last few years and your comment stirred up some old wounds.

    I'm glad we understand each other now though, as I was afraid I almost lost your support.

    Great to hear your back on board.

    In other news, I was thinking last night that it was a bit unfair for you guys to only see a few shots at a time and try to grasp the big picture of what I am creating.

     So here is what I call the Functional Cut of the Gotg Recreation scene. It's basically the entire edit of what we shot, with the Green screen removed, edited just like the scene so everyone can see the Big picture and how this scene is actually gonna turn out when it has all the effects in place.

    It's what I use when I edit the vfx in the editor.

    I have edited the cut to start right after the vfx shots We are currently on. 

    (Note:It has been filled with a couple of temp effects just to make it more entertaining, and most of the shots have feathering issues, but that's just cause I hav'nt gotten to that scene yet in the vfx process.

    (I paid an Animator, and have a 3d replica model of Starlord's ship that I am going to be animating into the scene when we get to the spaceship part.)

    There are also some scenes where characters will be at a different place or a shot where there won't be just a vfx element, but you get the idea. This is a basic, of a basic cut.

    So without further a du, This is the basic Gotg cut I use when I edit, and I hope it will help you guys understand how this scene is going to turn out more, rather than me giving you just a couple of 3-second shots at a time. 


    Ps: Thanks for taking that comment so gracefully.

    I think I'm going to have a camera waving up at the sky, with a dog green-screened into it eating hot dogs on a poorly masked submarine, flying to Middle Earth as my personal definition for crap.  Lol.

     Great to see you're looking forward to them. I'm just finishing up the last of the fx people mentioned on the current shots and should have that up in a little while.



  • Xhan47Xhan47 Website User Posts: 148
    edited December 2018

    Alright, version 3 of the first three shots is here!! 

    Thanks to @Palacono, @DafterThings and for the great advice. This sequence just keeps turning out better and better thanks to your help.

    Things improved include: 

    -Orb moved to the middle and increases in scale as it comes toward camera + Bulge/ Diffusion of Forcefield effect.

    - Forcefield grabbing effect reduced to a lighter shade of color to ensure the scene is not too Purply.

    -More particle effects and light flares added, giving the Forcefield a  better, visually interesting look.

    -Top Light table moved in front of  Forcefield.

    -Extra glow for the Forcefield.


    (Not quite sure how to fix the Orb blend mode problem, but now that the Sphere has been moved to the middle you don't see the odd grayness as much anymore, so I think it works.) I'll let you guys be the judge of that though.

    Here is the new and improved video:  

    Looking forward to hearing your guy's comments.




  • rovenroven Website User Posts: 14

    Great progress man! Can't wait to learn and use some of those tools.

  • Xhan47Xhan47 Website User Posts: 148
  • Xhan47Xhan47 Website User Posts: 148

    Alright, I have successfully completed the rest of the orb shots and dialogue sequence:

    Very curious to see what you guys think of the geography of the backgrounds and how they transition into each other, as I have never done that kind of thing before.

    Anyway, been working long and hard on this, hope you enjoy: 


    Looking forward to your comments.




  • Xhan47Xhan47 Website User Posts: 148

    Does anybody know how to do the Starlord helmet effect in Hitfilm express?

    Showing in this clip here from 1:31 - 1:34

    I already know how to do the helmet dissolve effect, (Thanks to Footage crate's tutorial.) and the jet boots I'm just wondering about the bluish/white things that go across his face in the clip.

     Can this be done in Express, and if so, how?



  • DataDesignDataDesign Website User Posts: 440 Enthusiast
    edited December 2018

    Use Lightning/Electricity effect. Also, look for the Flash (TV show) lightning tutorials. You should be able to scale it down or up to fit your actors face/helmet.

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