I think we should just go ahead and pronounce the word “meme” the way we all read it in our heads: “meh-meh” Because “meme” already means “mime” in French, So the viral trend we call that should at least involve some actual miming skills, Like for instance, the Invisible Box Challenge. You know, the thing that was a thing for a while where you try to convincingly step over nothing? It truly took off when someone actually managed to do it well. And that “someone” was… let’s see… ah yes, Texas varcity cheerleader Ariel Olivar. Here she is on NBC’s Today Show Explaining how to perform the move in a series of shots that break every possible rule of composition. Let’s watch. Okay, first you to show them there’s nothing there Like a magic trick, and then you lift your leg or no you have to Pat it Pat it And then you put your foot on top of the box, and this leg has to stay exactly where it is the whole time so When you jump this leg, that’s jumping And so when you jump This leg stays in the s… My God, you put one foot up and try to keep it in the same spot while jumping really high with the other foot Anyone can do it. Well, anyone who is strong, lightweight and extremely coordinated like Ariel and me. Watch this: Okay, here we go ooh O God, I broke every bone in my body! But for the rest of you indoor types I’m afraid the only way to meet this challenge is with the help of special effect digital visual effects graphics. Check out this guy: At first he really struggles but then suddenly a Double invisible step! How? Well, we’ve cooked this recipe many times before… Shoot your scene with a static camera capture, a blank background plate, step on a real box Then use some manual masking to replace the box with the empty background, and add some camera shake to the whole thing. Simple in theory, but if you try it, watch out for potential problems: The slightest shift of the camera can ruin the entire shot Changes in the background make it difficult to patch, and hard shadows falling where they’re not supposed to will cause all sorts of headaches So film on a tripod, under soft lighting And you’ll end up with a nice safe fake video that looks as good, and… bland as a million other trick videos out there. Only that doesn’t feel like much of a challenge. How about this? My totally fake invisible box video breaks all those rules The camera is handheld and moving, a clear shadow shows my foot not touching anything, and this alternate angle shows I wasn’t Suspended from above. Can you tell how I did it? I’ll reveal the answer on this day in 10 years. So stay subscribed and click that Bell Ahh Can’t wait that long. I’ll just tell you. Okay, after finding just the right location on the mean streets of Las Casas I filmed the shot with a real box, dotted with tracking markers. I also put a dense grid of markers on the ground in front of the box Knowing the exact distance between all these markers helped me Extract a camera solve and recreate the move in 3D much more precisely than could be done with auto tracking Armed with this 3D animated recreation I was able to freeze one frame of the pavement without the box which I made sure to capture right after filming the move and projected back onto the virtual ground surface making the box literally invisible throughout the moving shot. Of course it also made everything else that entered the area disappear, and while the green on the box helped a Little I ended up manually rotoscoping my hand and foot and their respective shadows to appear on top of the box invisibility patch Ironically, the biggest challenge was removing the markers that made the effect possible in the first place. Painting them away in one frame and using the same Projection method as the box wasn’t enough because my shadow moved across them so I picked individual frames where various markers are in shadow Painted each one out and combined a series of projections until I had a version of the entire grid in shadow I then used the tracking data to stabilize a 2D projection of my shadow and rotoscoped it to create a matte that controlled when and how the shadow marker patches were revealed. After some final tweaks and color adjustments I ended up with a pretty convincing take on a meme that Was already extremely out of date when I started, but I’m not interested in being trendy.