Skydiving vfx sequence

I’m trying to make a skydiving shot for an upcoming short film. The main subject jumps out of a plane and falls all the way to the ground. I’m not quite sure how I should go about creating this sequence, any tips would be helpful!

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This sounds like a tough sequence to create from scratch. The easiest part would be the subject falling. You can fake this on a green screen fairly easily. The hard part is if you’re wanting to include the subject actually jumping out and all the way down to the landing. Of course you could go full Tom Cruise and film it for real with some action cams…

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What would be the easiest way to make the falling look realistic. I planned to film on a green screen, but I don’t want it to look fake.

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I think, if you are shooting a plate, make sure to get the a good lighting on your green screen plate! I think it’s a good idea to shoot outdoor, since the background will be outdoor. You could check out some real life videos of people doing skydiving as a reference of what the lighting may look like.
and then you want to use leaf blower or a fan to simulate wind blowing on your actor.

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Film Riot has a couple of videos on skydiving VFX. To a certain extent its going to start with planning the sequence. If you’re trying for a single take from jumping out of the plane all the way to the ground… Well, that’s a nightmare, so don’t do that!

Otherwise you’ll certainly be doing chroma key work, so make sure you match the lighting. @danasa raises a good point about maybe shooting outside, but, if you use some of the tips below (turning the camera) you’ll need reflectors and flags to get the angles correct, or use studio lighting.

To steal a couple of the Film Riot tips they suggested filming standing with the camera tilted on its side. A leaf blower was used for wind (lines had to be overdubbed). This footage was then rotated in post. A little puppet pinning can push the feet from flat on the ground to pointed. This is useful if your setup doesn’t allow for proper and SAFE wire work.

You’ll want multiple cloud cards to get some background parallax and a particle sim can add in some foreground haze/cloudlets streaking by.

Once the chute is deployed your actor can stand while a “marionette rig” manipulates the straps extending up. Again turn your camera sideways to capture more of your actor. Then you can “sway” them with a little animation in the edit.

Don’t forget stock footage. You might find suitable footage on YouTube, pexels, pond5 or storyblocks. If you happen to have Mocha Pro 2021 a little PowerMesh would let you alter different stock footage clip’s chutes to match each other. Cutaway looking at the ground from above can work, too.

If considering stock footage try to find footage BEFORE you shoot. That way if you find (say) an awesome POV shot of a diver’s feet nearing the ground you can try to match your actor’s costume to the stock element for continuity.

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When it comes to the comping and how to shoot your green screen plates, most of the tutorials on this search result should be able to give you some great ideas. I especially like FXhome’s video.

The hardest part to make realistic will be the sky/aerial view itself. Unless you’re extremely skilled, I’d advise against trying to build that with full CG as it won’t look real. Instead, search for aerial stock images and footage and use that as your starting point. You can then add in elements (like clouds) to bring it all together.

When we shot the Foreground Smoke & Fog collection, we actually had aerial shots in mind for some of them. Clips Close Fog 13 to 17 could be sped up/reversed to simulate clouds passing by the camera.

If you have access to a drone, you could even grab your own aerial plates and have more control over the motion and angles.

Lastly, you’ll need a lot of wind when you shoot. Depending on your angles, most decently powerful fans or even a leaf blower should be able to get you enough if used cleverly. Of course, the bigger the better.

Thank you all!


it will always look fake as people are so used to seeing the real thing, Just go to your local club and you will find experienced jumpers willing to film it for you.

In one of the new star trek films they actually used big mirrors to reflect the sky to do the close up shots. Always thought that was a clever idea.