Earthquake - VFX Challenge - Arioch

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Old 11 November 2002   #1
Earthquake - VFX Challenge - Arioch

Alright, a challenge that requires us to go out and spend some time in the real world! I'm in. If I can manage to borrow a friends camera and weather permits I hope to be shooting some footage this weekend. Until then here's a quick storyboard, basically I'd like to simulate a little chaos on Long Beach's Metro blue line.
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File Type: jpg arioch_quake_board.jpg (38.2 KB, 1399 views)
Mike Johnson
Old 11 November 2002   #2
Cool idea!!!
Can't wait to see that train.

Best of luck man

Sounds like an helicopter underwater.
Old 11 November 2002   #3
Yess! This will be great!

THe only issue that I can see upfront is the CG train which you're going to have to painstakingly model, match the lighting and well....make it look photo-real and actually comped in the scene.

Great start!


Old 11 November 2002   #4
Yeah the train is going to be the make it or break it part of the shot. I toyed with the idea of shooting 2 versions, the second one with a real train almost hitting the crack right at the end of the clip but if I'm going to put in the time might as well go all the way.

I was planning on scouting locations early Saturday but the web has been a tremendous help already. If anyone is ever looking for locations to film in California take a look at

After that site and some other places I think I'll probably shoot at a location where the train turns while crossing the street like this:
Attached Images
File Type: jpg turn.jpg (6.1 KB, 1319 views)
Mike Johnson
Old 11 November 2002   #5
hey that pick looks like I pass through there on my way home to HP
Old 11 November 2002   #6
Shooting the plate

So the plan was to shoot Saturday but since it rained the whole day I just ended up following the railís path and noting good locations to set up the tripod. Sunday was nice and clear so I headed out early to beat the downtown crowds but the tall buildings made the shoot too dark until about 11:00.

I ended up shooting footage from 4 intersections and still havenít decided which one to use yet. Everybody was very interested in what I was doing including a cop who watched me from his squad car. I noticed that one of the buildings in the shot was the Long Beach Police Dept. so when the first metro train came by I made a big deal of panning along to follow the train. The cop got the idea and left but then all sorts of other people wanted to ask questions or walk back and forth in the background. I told most people I was doing a study of the effects of an earthquake on public transportation.

Even shooting for minutes on end none of the shots were perfectly clean so Iíll have to paint out a bus here or a person there from the cleanest 5 seconds. I also took some still shots of the train for reference but the thing only stands still for a minute so I had to work fast. Oh yeah, the total expense for the shot was 75cents for parking. Iíll post some screen grabs after the footage is captured.
Mike Johnson
Old 11 November 2002   #7
So here are the 4 angles I shot. I'm leaning towards either #1 or #3 but I'm curious what you guys think. To me the ground looks better in 1 and the city more interesting in 3. I'll probably be re-creating the entire street surface in Max anyway so maybe I'll try to mix the best of both.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg which_angle.jpg (48.6 KB, 1155 views)
Mike Johnson
Old 11 November 2002   #8
Just a quick update.

The reference photos of the train have now been stitched together after removing some barrel distortion from the images with Icarus. Thanks to MrWyatt for the heads up on that App. Here is an image of the first car of the 2 car train. The actual stitched image is 13000 x 1500 , way more than enough to serve as a modeling template and texture map.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg metro_car.jpg (19.8 KB, 1099 views)
Mike Johnson

Last edited by Arioch : 11 November 2002 at 07:12 PM.
Old 11 November 2002   #9
This is going to be nice!


I like location #1 best. It's very clean and have focus on the track.

Very nice train texture. Just enough pixles for a tv effect . I'm planning to do one of those one time. Would be nice to se a large tram crash into som familliar locations, buts thats for another time.

Looking forward to see a massive earthqauke and a runaway train!

Old 11 November 2002   #10
Hey is that Oakland?


Old 11 November 2002   #11
Nope, it's downtown Long Beach. I'll probably be headed back this weekend to get a few more measurements from the locations, having a bit of a challenge getting the camera match to look right in either shot.
Mike Johnson
Old 11 November 2002   #12
Starting to model the train.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg train_start.jpg (11.9 KB, 995 views)
Mike Johnson
Old 11 November 2002   #13
Looking good!
Old 11 November 2002   #14
Old 11 November 2002   #15
hey, I'm very curious, cuz I don't have much experience with 3d, what the quality of these homeprojects can be. Looks promising!

I'd go with location 1. I like the difference of height in the street. Looks like a dangerous speedy curve for a train to loose track...

good luck!
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