Back to the Future part 3: The Dinner Table Scene!?


Author Topic: Back to the Future part 3: The Dinner Table Scene!?  (Read 2620 times)

steinmansbrain

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Back to the Future part 3: The Dinner Table Scene!?
« on: February 19, 2008, 08:46:27 AM »
This has been bugging me for 5-6 years. It's not a time paradox problem, I've made my piece with those  :-\. This is regarding visual effects...

When Marty goes back to 1885 he meets one of his ancestors 'Seamus Mcfly'.

Both Marty and Seamus are played by Michael J. Fox.

They have a meal together, and Seamus is seen handing Marty a plate of rabbit meat.

I don't understand how this was achieved... ('Cos Fox can obviously only be playing 1 of the characters at the time (that character is Marty, Seamus's footage was shot first)) 

I have studied the shot and found a number of, erm, 'things' that I can point out to help discover how it was done, but I won't waste time pointing them out just yet incase someone already knows how.


I strongly advise you to check this out because it really is a fantastic shot. Zemeckis (the Director) teases you by showing what's behind the plate, and showing Seamus removing food from it, before passing it on.

Unfortunetly there are a few visible mistakes which just stop it from being the best thing ever created by humans...


 Cheers

Dr Malcolm Crowe

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Re: Back to the Future part 3: The Dinner Table Scene!?
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2008, 12:20:35 PM »
I assume they used a system that tracks the computers exact position during a take and is able to make an exact replicate for following takes. Then it's a pretty simple composition issue.

This is pretty simple procedure nowadays, but fairly advanced for the time.

steinmansbrain

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Re: Back to the Future part 3: The Dinner Table Scene!?
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2008, 01:47:50 PM »
Thanks for the reply  :).

But I don't exactly understand what your saying...

This can never be a simple procedure. The plate is in the air while both Marty and Seamus have a hold of it!

The thing is they couldn't have just shot Seamus raising a plate, then cut, then shot Marty receiving a hanging plate because it wouldn't have synchronised correctly. It might have looked acceptable (Like when Pheobe receives a gift from Ursula (both played by Lisa Kudrow) in Friends) but it certainly wouldn't have looked as seemless as it does.

If you zoom in to the plate when both Mcfly's have a hold of it, you can see some weird silhouette thing briefly appear as Seamus lets go of it. This silhouette is the exact shape of the back of the plate, which leads me to believe that they have disguised/removed the plate Seamus held up and replaced it with the 1 Marty eventually receives. This lead me to believe that the plate you see leave the table, move through the air and into Marty's hands is never actually held by Seamus.

This creates 2 problems:

1: Seamus' left hand definetly looks like it is grasping the plate.
2: What makes the plate move to Marty's hands?
3: How has Seamus copied the exact movement (or almost exact, until the silhouette at the end reveals he's just slightly lower and behind the position of the 'Marty' plate as its handed over) that the plate will make when it's shot in Marty's scene later?

I wonder if this makes sense to anyone but me...

MrStone

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Re: Back to the Future part 3: The Dinner Table Scene!?
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2008, 10:43:03 PM »
wow....and i thought i was obsessed with movie problems.

i'm guessing they used ghost imaging.  At the time CGI was really expensive, but not Ghost Imaging.  You can overlay the images after several exact takes...and which ever character is not played by fox- then is filled by a double to basically hand the plate to fox or vice versa.  I believe you can actually achieve this on very cheap movie editing software and a regular digital video camera.  most of the skill is in setting up the shot - i would think.

Another movie that did something like this was Jet Li's The One....he actually had to fight himself...pretty neat.

steinmansbrain

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Re: Back to the Future part 3: The Dinner Table Scene!?
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2008, 05:02:43 PM »
Cool man thanks for the reply. Had never heard of 'Ghost Imaging'  ;D.

If they did in fact use this technique my next question would be how the bloody hell they got the movements so damn precise!?

Will defo check out 'The One' haha but I don't think I will ever try to watch 'Multiplicity'...I fear I will just pass out before the end.