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How to best use twixtor for extreme slow motion

Written by Philip Bloom 29 responses Posted in: Editing, Guest blog, Post tutorials

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I have used twixtor myself for a few projects but I have never had terrific success with it. One of the best filmmakers I know who uses Twixtor really well is my friend Salomon Ligthelm, whom I met when he lived in Dubai back in January last year. He put up a new video a couple of days ago, Gravity, and he was kind enough to write this guest blog post on how to get the best out of it. Twixtor will not give you as good results as a dedicated high speed camera of course. They do that job incredibly well. You need to light a lot to make them work but as you will read below you need to do the same with twixtor to get the high shutter speeds needed. But for those whose budget means renting a Phantom Flex or something similar is out of the question Salomon guides you through the best ways to make the most out this powerful, but tricky plug-in.

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Gravity Directors Cut from Salomon on Vimeo. Let me quickly explain how Twixtor works: It takes your footage [generally your transcoded 50fps, or 60fps footage and "guesses/interpolates" your missing/in-between frames I guess with every project the approach is somewhat different. When Twixtor becomes a part of my workflow I need to become increasingly more aware of the way I am shooting so that I have workable footage in post. I wanted to shoot something different to all the other Twixtor stuff I've been seeing - which have all been shot outside. I wanted to try shooting super slomo using the Canon 7D and Twixtor in interiors. Here are a few key things to consider when working with Twixtor: Shooting Workflow: 1. Shoot at a fast shutter: anything 1/2000 - 1/4000s. [so your lighting needs to be good]

2. Shoot against a plain/solid colored background sky/wall etc etc. 3. Shoot at the highest point of action. The law of nature is that what must goes up, must come down. Its the movement at the top of an arc/trajectory that works best for Twixtor because thats when things generally move the slowest, more frames of the relevant action for Twixtor to work with. 4. When you shoot really close/tight, slow the action down manually ie move slower and fake slow motion [all the tight sequences in 'Gravity' was done this way and then slowed down a little more with the tools]. Its easier to get good results with Twixtor when the action is shot from a distance, because of the fact that the action will happen across more frames ie Imagine moving your arms up and down a distance 50 centimeters right in front of the camera the camera will only catch SOME of that action as your arms pass by the front of the lens, for maybe 1-3 frames. However if you move away from the camera and shoot say 10-15 meters away from the lens, you would catch the ENTIRE action across say 7-10 frames giving Twixtor more information to work with 5. Shoot at 50 or 60fps. When you shoot high-speed you give Twixtor more info to work with it is a shame that you have to forgo resolution 6. Shoot as much as you can try to get the action from different angles reshoot stuff if wasnt working, or if your settings werent correct. SHOOT MUCH! Post Workflow: 1. Use Twixtor in After Effects for some reason Twixtor works best in After Effects for me at least. Probably because After Effects ability to manipulate time is so effective. So heres what I do in a typical scenario. - Edit the entire piece in an NLE [Non-linear Editor - like Final Cut] and then Id leave sections in the timeline open, or maybe reference clips that I want to work with eventually in After Effects using Twixtor you cant do too much in FCP at this stage because were going to be playing with time-changes which can screw up things if you dont work carefully] - Move the whole piece over to After Effects via an XML script called Popcorn Island FCPtoAE. You need to export an XML from FCP by going to File > Export > XML [ for FORMAT click Apple XML Interchange Format, Version 5] - Open AE and go to scripts look for FCPtoAE and then pull up the exported XML - Now click on the clip you want to use Twixtor on: from the MENU go to LAYER
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> TIME > ENABLE TIME REMAPPING. This allows you to extend a clip our for longer because when you start slowing stuff down, the clip needs to become longer, which you can now easily do by enabling time remapping just pull out the edges using the drag function on the clip 2. Check that your Twixtor settings match your footage ie Make sure your frame rate is correct when you set up Twixtors settings. If its not correct then Twixtor will stutter across your footage - I typically shoot and edit in 23.976fps because I like the film aesthetic. DSLR News Shooter Dan Chung - I generally find that manipulating the image to a slower speed say anything between 2-5% yields better results than trying to get something workable at 30%. I dont know why that is, but I reckon it has something to do with the fact that with many more frames created it uses those created frames to reference Kessler Crane Park Cameras The Lens Doctor Tom Guilmette

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from in order to create more interpolated/guessed frames. 3. Consider using an aspect matte to hide warping. I often use an aspect ratio of 2.4:1 in my work as a lot of my warping happens at the edges of my shots, thus a matte will hide the really bad sections. One instance of this was a shot in the short of mine called [Fo'tis'ma], where my good friend Franzwa is taking off from a ledge [Its the tight - slightly angled down shot at 34s]. The warping on his hand was REALLY bad especially because the shot was rather tight and he was coming down at such a pace. It was because of that shot not working at 16:9 that I decided to make the whole piece 2.4:1 [IMAGE 1 & 2] 4. Avoid warping by editing well. Many times Twixtor works for only a few frames if thats the case Ill only use it for a few frames and will cut to the next image to avoid things looking crappy [obviously this must be done tastefully]. Dont hang on too long on a shot that was good to start with but warped into mush at the end EDIT WELL. I trust this helps some of you out. For more info on other parts of the creative process [color, editing, sound design] check out my blog www.salomonligthelm.blogspot.com

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Comments
ELLIOTT.G.MONTELLO 2 YEARS AGO

Thats a cool vid, My friend Danny and I attempted to twixtor fire and water for a challenge, as its difficult to predict, I dont think its been done in the same video before so its worth a look: http://www.vimeo.com/21919856 I also posted up a tutorial here: http://vimeo.com/23151793 Log in to Reply

PAUL WOOD 2 YEARS AGO

Philip, thanks for posting this. I am currently in the process of learning twixtor, so this is great information. nice one. And thanks to Salomon too or course. Log in to Reply

CLINT 2 YEARS AGO

This is a great guest blog post, the video is great too. I love when you post tutorial stuff up here it is awesome to see something done but even more awesome to see how. Thank yous all around. Log in to Reply

CLINT 2 YEARS AGO

I would also love to hear about the color grading you did on this project and the other one those are also very very nice. Log in to Reply

PETTER MISJE 2 YEARS AGO

Im gonna learn how to use Twixtor! On a different note I have some footage shot indoors in the wrong shutter speed. The result; wavy lines moving across the picture. Does anybody know if there is a fix for this??? Log in to Reply
PRESTON KANAK 2 YEARS AGO

Are they rolling bands? If so, here is one video tutorial on how to make it less noticeable. http://vimeo.com/13717050 Log in to Reply
PETTER MISJE 2 YEARS AGO

Gonna check this out straight away thank you so much! Log in to Reply

TIMOTHY BATES 2 YEARS AGO

Looks great. With slo-mo in mind, not sure whether to buy the Canon XF105 or the Sony NX70. The Canon cant do slow-mo like the Sony and 200 fps looks pretty good even without Twixtor. http://vimeo.com/26495111 Log in to Reply

TREVOR MACDONALD 2 YEARS AGO

Ive had luck using the Time Warp feature in After Effects in place of Twixtor. I dont have the cash for Twixtor, and Time Warp is already part of AE. It delivers decent results, as well! Check it out:

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QUIM BEL 2 YEARS AGO

All of your post are helpful, but this one its really helpful to me! Ive been playing around with optical flow and Twixtor a lot with different results. Ill try this tips for sure next time! Log in to Reply

DOWIE 2 YEARS AGO

Salomon you are a guru. If anyone has Apple Motion, you can use Optical Flow to get the same results as Twixtor. Check this super slow longboard sliding vid out.. http://www.vimeo.com/13359521 its all done with Optical Flow. Log in to Reply

CONRAD 2 YEARS AGO

thank you both for that post, was very helpful. and salomons vids are great Log in to Reply

DEREK HILLIER 2 YEARS AGO

I agree the new Motion or FCPX has the optical flow that shake had very cheap and easier way to do it, at AE hates you making clips longer so you have to do a bit of a work around

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ARON ANDERSON 2 YEARS AGO

I like you Philip never got the best results. I am so glad you posted this It helps out a lot. Thank you. Log in to Reply

MIKE 2 YEARS AGO

Hi, I used twixtor with FCP and I think it worked just fine, you really need solid background as it was said before, fast shutter of course helps as well. Check this out: http://vimeo.com/21024158 Log in to Reply

AMILA C KUMARASINGHE 2 YEARS AGO

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BERNARD 2 YEARS AGO

Amazing film and a great write up. I hope to be able to test twixtor myself one day Just need to get more lights Log in to Reply

ART BELL 2 YEARS AGO

This is so interesting. We go back and forth between Twixtor and Optical image flow in Motion a lot and i have learned similar and a few different things coming from DSLR in my case. Love the highest point of action thought thats brilliant as the slo mo just increases the tension already here. Thanks. 1.Most importantly as Salomon infers jello happens. To minimize it high contrast, simple backgrounds and get close. 2. In our tests i have found no algorithmic difference between the two jello in one jello in the other its how you shot not the math that is doing you in. 3. for the 7D any shutter over 800 seems to degrade the quality of the image. Dont ask me why but there just seems to be less info there. If its a good hi con, close shot let the math do the work take it to 1% as above it will hold. 4. We found the roundtripping in FCP and Motion to be easier ( less tech) so thats where we have

ended up. We have our workflow here http://vimeo.com/22811341 if you want to see the Apple centric step by step workflow. Thanks, LOVE slo mos! Log in to Reply

DRAZEN 2 YEARS AGO

love this video and I cant wait to apply some of this twixtor wisdom to one of my next projects Log in to Reply

ROB KACZMARK 2 YEARS AGO

Wow, this is a great tutorial. Thx so much Phillip Log in to Reply


PHILIP BLOOM 2 YEARS AGO

thanks Salomon. Not me! Log in to Reply

KYM FIELKE 2 YEARS AGO

This incredible BASE jumping piece has gone viral in the past several days good Twixtoring and colour grading of GoPro-only footage: http://vimeo.com/29017795 Log in to Reply

MATT POPAY 2 YEARS AGO

Salomons work is incredible. Ive already played around with Twixtor ( http://www.vimeo.com/17811423 ) but can never get the same results. Will be following these tips to the letter! Log in to Reply

LANCE 2 YEARS AGO

Can someone please explain to me why one needs to have Twixtor for super slo-mo as a plug in to Adobe After Effects when said effect already exists in Adobe After Effects? Macdonalds video proves the point to me. After Effects alone is pretty good and I can see just as many artifacts in AE as I do in Twixtor vids. Also if I MUST get Twixtor (and Im not yet convinced) do I need to have AE or will it work as a plug-in for CS5.5 alone? Twixtors website is not very helpful for these questions. Log in to Reply

BERNHARD B. 2 YEARS AGO

Philip, Im struggling to get decent lighting indoors when using such shutter speeds, may I ask what you used? Im trying to capture some scenes shot at night time with no outloor light pouring in, so its all some 500W lights filling the room. Even though I have to compensate by boosting the ISO a lot the images are still too dark at say anything faster than 1/800

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PHILIP BLOOM 2 YEARS AGO

Am afraid for shutter speeds that high you need big strong lights. 1kw and upwards! Log in to Reply
BERNHARD B. 2 YEARS AGO

Figured youd say that, ah well, obvious I guess Cheers! Log in to Reply

PARIS 2 YEARS AGO

Philip, Shoot at a fast shutter: anything 1/2000 1/4000s how about GoPro? Ive been shooting a lot of videos by using 60D/550D/GoPro & im trying to use Twixtor..its work but my video still have a smart blur/melt blur(i dont know how to called it,sorry)Can you help me how to clean the smart blur/melt blur after using Twixtor.. Thank you Sorry for my english. Log in to Reply

ALEXEY PRAPRIN 2 YEARS AGO

So, guys, if i use 5DmkII with native full HD + 24 fps, if i use good settings for shutter speed (1/1000 1/4000) and ISOcan i reach good results using Twixtor or not? Because till this moment i only had weird results with many many big blending ghostsit looks like kinda morphing)) but not a slowmo) thanx Log in to Reply

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