UFO sighting | Finished Animation

Hey there!

I’m Gerrit and I recently made the switch to Blender. And I have to say I am totally happy!
As a first serious project I did this animation of cellphone-footage of an UFO sighting.
It is part of a shortfilm, where this footage will play in the background on TV in a bar.
First the director wanted me to track real footage, but it was impossible to get a good track out of this highly compressed cellphone footage, filmed though a dirt-smeared window. So instead I challenged myself to create a similar shot completely in Blender.

I think the finished shot is good enough to pass as “real” if playing on TV in the background of some real-life footage. If anybody has any suggestions on improving the levele of realism, I’d be glad if you’d tell me!

Here’re some stills:

And the finished video, with some half assed breakdown :smiley:

I used 2.91 and After Effects, both with ACES (therefore also rendered in ACEScg). I find this greatly improves the colors of the textures, as they are all accurately converted into the same colorspace!



Hi, great concept of this video. What a mysterious atmosphere. :slight_smile:
For me one thing is missing - shaking camera like on amateur video. This can put here some extra drama:)


I definitely like the “amateur camera-shaking effect,” but … "where the hell is the UFO?"

cool stuff here! If someone add news things like letterings and news company logo or so - it can be on TV news, for sure)

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It’s somewhat obscured by the clouds :smiley: The Idea was that the UFO - although being quite massive - feels still out of reach, mysterious…

Also about the camera shake; I tried to match the camera-movement in the reference video. And for some reason the person taking the video had a crazy good camera stabiliser. So I kept the virtual camera relativley smooth. Maybe a bit stronger noise modifier on the roll axis (I think it’s the Y axis) would have made it feel a bit more cellphone kind-of-“floaty”?!


I featured you on BlenderNation, have a great weekend!

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Wow, thank you!

You’re #featured! :tada:

The ufo itself is very mysterious and believable. The camera movement however did not sell it for me. Somehow it seems artificial, curve driven, too slow and too tidy. No shakes, no hectic zoom in - zoom out, no panicked focusing. The heart is beating in such moments. And the ‘untidiness’ is abundant in such shots. They usually clear up their focus and exposure at the latter phase of the shot. Also, i don’t think someone would turn on their phone looking at the road and then transition to the object, not at the very moment of sighting from a moving position, it seems like a prepared presentation. The person that catches the site is usually a random phone owner, without any background in framing and action composure. Also, it seems the vantage point is a bit high on the vehicle, as seen from a truck or a double decker. That usually gives more timid impression of speed because the ground is not close and the fence appears as moving slow. Personally, i would try to lower my vantage point, increasing the impression of speed and let all the exposure mistakes, shakes and fence zipping by obstruct my subject of interest until it clears up at the end and reveals the mystery when the filming person gets a grip of the situation. Search some reference videos of hand held shots from a moving car filming something by surprise, two thirds of the cinematic experience is in the hand of the excited person filming.

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Also, i don’t know if it matters, but be aware if the person filming is the driver filming with one hand or the passenger filming over the driver. If you are going for the believability, perhaps that should have some influence on the shot. Again, real references are your best bet.

Aside from that, great talent and effort :slight_smile:

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“One handed cell phone camera shake while driving” can always be re-animated, but it simply wasn’t obvious to me – where is the UFO?

The details of this shot are really amazing, both in a completely-believable bridge, physical and electronic signage (the “DUI message” is very clever). Really, it’s all there … except the spacecraft.

…to all YouTubers accidentally landing (no pun intended) on Planet BA, here is where your UFO-sighting videos come from , haha :sunglasses:

Awesome work! Cgratulations!!!


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Very nice work! Very realistic.

How close did you get to the original footage they wanted you to track? I’d be curious to see that.

This looks great! Good job.

While there’s something slightly off with the environment it doesn’t raise that much attention as usually these kinds of videos are done compositing over real footage so creating the environment is impressive here. And the colors look convincing.

The camera has bit too responsive (too sharp sings) and has no ugly rolling shutter effect which can be very easily seen in virtually all smartphone footage filmed from moving vehicle.

Have you noticed that there’s no road on the left which means that the traffic is left sided?

But did the car on the right get abducted as it’s moving about the same speed as the truck, there are no exists and suddenly it’s gone? :smiley:

Thank you! You are very observant and your commentary brought some thoughts to my mind.
I DID have a reference shot. And now that you’ve mentioned it, it must have been filmed from a double-decker bus, from the upper deck, right above the driver’s position. And you are right, I did not take all of the realisitc factors of ther camera’s position into accout. - will do better the next time.

For the movement of the camera, I see your point, and I agree that this person seems very undisturbed by the UFO, too calm. There should be some emotion “feelable” in the way the camera is handled. BUT I disagree with making it more shaky or putting in wild zooms. Cellphone cameras have become incredibly good at stabilizing and the referencefootage was quite stable - even a little more than my animation.

In any case, thank you for the constructive critism, it brought some issues to my mind!

Well, here’s a snapshot of the footage. It’s a bit emarrasing to show the real footage, as it makes so clear that my animation lacks so much life compared to the real thing.
I took out as much from the video as I could. Like the “Don’t drink and drive” display and even more streetsigns.
In any case, I’m super happy to have been featured here and thank you all for your feedback!

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Hey that’s cool ! I think it’s working quite great ! At first I didn’t think the road was also CG,
Maybe to improve the effect you can add some erratic cam shake here and there, and maybe some kind of faked automatic exposure, but as it is I find it convincing, especially if it’s in a background in a TV.

You said you use Aces, I’m interested to know how it compares to blender’s default, all the textures are supposed to be srgb and correctly converted in linear , in aces or in blender’s default. Maybe it’s AcesCG that give a more contrasted look compared to filmic ? I’m still learning about colormanagement so don’t hesitate to correct me if I’m wrong.

Have you more insight to give or examples to share ?

Thanks, and congrats for this work, it’s great !

No problem, glad if i could help.