Backyard: Come Night Fall – Natron & Lightworks production journey

I am creating a 3 minute short for an iPhone Film Festival that would like to enter. I am using Filmic Pro film/video recording app.  It is one of the best if not the best filmmakers app for the iPhone. I am using Editshares Lightworks to ingest and editing my own personal short films. I own FCPx and Avid Media Composer, but Lightworks has certain effects built-in that I find conducive to my abstract film work.

The image below is an incomplete assembly edit and more footage & audio/sound-bytes will be added.  The main point of this blog is that I wanted to show how you can use free and open source software together to get a project done.

Lightworks

The image below is Natron Digital Compositor. It is a very powerful open source app that provides features that are in commercial digital vfx compositing software. I am using Natron to do all of my 2D tracking and visual effect overlays and then render them out to ingest in to Lightworks for final grading.

Natron-BackYard_Track_Composite

Lightworks can use Natron as a helper app like it was a plugin but there are other issues of roundtrip processing that is not implemented as of now.  Your work around is to create a edit or sub-clip for each shot that needs vfx and render them out. Import them into Natron, process the shot & render, then ingest back into Lightworks for finishing. It is a symbiotic relationship between the two apps.

The video below is a 2D track using two trackers. One tracker was for XY Translation and the second tracker used was for scale and rotation. The wind was blowing a tree in my backyard for the initial opening effect. I use those flower buds to match move my overlaid text.  Natron TrackPM node has gotten better since V2.0 snapshot development. I was able to just use the SAD score tracking algorithm instead of the NCC or ZNCC. Lighting variations didn’t break the 2D solves.

BackYard_Track

More footage will need to be captured and more out door sound bytes will need to be recorded. Natron can handle larger project and effects than this short I am doing. It is nice to see that the tracker is much more production ready.

The video below is a screen capture of Natron’s TrackerPM node in progress.