View Full Version : Using DVD movie footage for showreels?

Dan Wade
07 July 2005, 02:08 PM
Im putting together a new VFX reel. I dont currently have a digital cam-corder. I was planning on extracting sections from dvd movie footage and using that. Now, i dont mean LOTR, lol...just general footage from a film, tracking it and using it, and ofcourse crediting it.

Ive seen a few threads about this. I was wondering what people thought about the moral/legal issues with this? Im not showing it commercialy, its just for my private showreel. I know i can do quite alot with stills, but i really need some animation shots in there too.

What do people think?

07 July 2005, 02:32 PM
Legally, I don't think you would be breaking any laws but no one in their right mind would put that in a reel. What's the point? You are supposed to be showing your own stuff. Unless you worked on the movie you are going to confuse people who are going to watch it. What are you going to? "I did this one, but not that part"?

Maybe if you described how you were planning on using it, I would have a better idea how you intend on using it. Just use your common sense.

Dr. Ira Kane
07 July 2005, 02:47 PM
What about showing the clean - right from the movie shot and then your own composition, let's say calm city footage and than that same clip with your CG destruction added to this later ? Is this illegal ? I mean it's hard to get some good shot angles or image quality using a cheap camera without any crew, using some ready high quality background with your stuff will definatelly look more pro (if properly done) than some your crappy home video + some fx. I hope it makes any sense, cheers!

Dan Wade
07 July 2005, 04:44 PM
Metroeast, i think Dr. Ira Kane saw what i was trying to comment on. I think using crappy digi-cam footage of your back yard isn't exactly a great starting point to put your vfx into. I want to develop my CG lighting and compositing skills, so if you state this clearly, and focus on this then it shouldn't be a problem should it?

Like i stated before, im not thinking of using one of the massive crowd scene from lord of the rings, im talking about a very bland shot from a film. Its just this way the film footage will be of good quality, and will have decent camera moves in, as apposed to a student balancing the cam on his shoulder like most reels out there. My goals are still the same, and are no easier. I still have to track the shot, match and the lighting/grading of the film. I will state very clearly what i did in the shot, ie, all CG elements.

Dr. Ira Kane
07 July 2005, 05:07 PM
I'm also interested in this - I was thinking of using some movie frames to composite with my cg, so we ask, is this illegal or 'not welcomed' when building a reel ?

07 July 2005, 05:35 PM
I would say it depends on the footage used...

If you find a nice scene with not much going on that someone won`t recognize easily then sure why not

But if you have a random Droid or alien comped into a big Star Wars scene, I think people will turn off and your reel with be tossed.

07 July 2005, 07:08 PM
You are supposed to be showing your own stuff. Unless you worked on the movie you are going to confuse people who are going to watch it. What are you going to? "I did this one, but not that part"?

Thats the EXACT point of having a showreel and making sure you have a complete breakdown. I dont think animators at Pixar send a reel with just there char cropped out of the film just to show their animations? they just send a breakdown stating clearly they animated XYZ.. people looking at reels will look and judge you on what you state is yours. Its your moral responsibility if you claim other peoples work and get hired to do it.

07 July 2005, 03:22 PM
Legally speaking you can't do what you are asking. Well it's not in Canada I guess it's pretty the same in the USA.

Why don't you purchase royalty free footage and add your composition. Google this and you will find a lot a nice stuff. That's legal and that'a a great option if you don't want to have crappy footage for your reel. Otherwise, it's not a bad idea to rent a crew and equipent to shoot some great footage. Od course it's more expensive but, hey nothing is free in this world. Ask to a small production company, it's cheaper and they are often really freakin' motivated to help other artist.


07 July 2005, 12:55 AM
It would look better (and make you look better) if you shot the background yourself. You could also get a chrome sphere image and maybe shots at different angles from the location to help with reflections and lighting reference.


07 July 2005, 10:33 PM
If you are really into this idea, just get some royalty free stock footage. You'll have to pay for it but it won't have any legal issues.

07 July 2005, 10:46 PM
If you are trying to be a VFX artist and do compositing well you might want to try to match the film grain and blend the cg elements to your poor camera footage. I think that is more difficult to get the correct light and blur to integrate the cg objects. Yeah it won't look as clean, but it shows you are competent enough that you can work with what you got and not just work with clean footage.

07 July 2005, 11:00 PM
there was an fx wars challenge a while back to do a volcano in downtown

the video is no longer posted but maybe Roberto could help you out.

As I recall they were fairly high quality both movig and locked down.

Dan Wade
07 July 2005, 01:05 PM
Thanks, ive posted Roberto.

It seems like using dvd footage is a very grey area.

Does anyone know anywhere else i might look for video footage. I think past VFX competitions might be a good place to look.


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