Recreate the PROTON BEAM from GHOSTBUSTERS (After Effects Tutorial)

Learn how to create a laser beam like the proton pack from Ghostbusters using practical and VFX techniques in this Adobe After Effects tutorial video.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife

One of the most iconic movies ever made is probably Ghostbusters. The first movie released in 1984 and it was a huge success. So good that later this movie got followed by an animated series The Real Ghostbusters, A sequel series in 1997 called Extreme Ghostbusters. A film sequel Ghostbusters 2, A female-led reboot in 2016 and to finish it off Ghostbusters: Afterlife releasing in 2021.

This new movie was set to release on July 10, 2020 but due to the pandemic they decided to delay it’s release to 19 November 2021.

Ghostbuster using their proton packs

Laser VFX

Usually when making lasers we pretend on set to be interacting with it. Doing it that way does come with some complications.

First off all your talent doesn’t have any reference points to look at. Sometimes resulting in wrong looking directions. Next to this, the lighting of the laser is not easy to nail down. If its a static laser or one that doesn’t move so much its fairly doable to paint in the light. But once the laser needs to move a lot like in Ghostbusters for example it becomes difficult to match the movement of the physical light with the acting of the talent.

So that’s why we came up with a practical solution for this! We used a LED strip as our laser reference AND light source! The LED strip gives a nice glow in the scene, constantly changing the brightness depending where it is.

And next to this it also made it WAY easier in post production. Normally as a VFX artist you would have to guess where the laser would have gone based on the talent. Well now the LED strip gives a perfect guide where the laser should be.

Storyblocks

Big thanks to Storyblocks for their support. If you ever need stock footage for your video head over to them! Next to the 4K stock clips, they also have After Effects templates, Premiere Pro presets, overlay effects and so much more. Download unlimited video assets for a single price per year.

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