Dan Hume's Blog

Compositing Video Footage
April 27, 2010, 8:04 pm
Filed under: Short Form Video

So far, using Keylight in After Effects proves to be a better option than Colour Key in Premier Pro. I opened up a new composition in After Effects and imported the finished edited piece along with the empty room shot we recorded at Sopley. I dragged the Sopley Footage onto the composition first, then changed the size so it fitted the composition, like I’ve done below.

Then I dragged the footage we shot in the EP Room, on top of the Sopley Footage. I made sure I selected the right scene I wanted to green screen before I went any further. As you can I also altered the size of the footage so it fits into the composition nicely.

Then when I was happy with the size, I then went to Effects, Keying and then selected Keylight. This brought up the Keylight menu on the left hand side of the screen. All I needed to do now was to select the colour of the green in footage using the eyedropper tool which removes all the green screen instantly.

This screen shot below shows the result after using the eyedropper tool. It removes the entire green screen; therefore the Sopley footage can now be seen instead. There needs to be some tweaking to make the green screen footage blend in much better with the background, such as the lighting being having a slight blue tint to give it that cold like it is in the background.

Below is a video extract of this scene…


Video backdrop
April 27, 2010, 5:41 pm
Filed under: Short Form Video

Ok so today I’ve created the final version of the backdrop for the terrorist green screen. The visual will only be shown when the terrorists make their demands.

I have used the same effect as the test version I did before. This time I changed the colour to blue because it looks futuristic and is often associated with technology so it fits well with the cyber terrorism theme.

Below is the rendered video for the backdrop…

April 26, 2010, 5:16 pm
Filed under: Personal Planning Reflection and Development 1

Digital Media Production (Year 1)

When I first started the course, I was a bit anxious and I didn’t really know what to expect from it. The only software I was familiar with on the course description was Photoshop. When I was doing my A Levels at sixth form I hardly did any practical work. The majority of the work was theory based. I did A Level Photography, Media and Film and Design Graphics. Out of all the subjects I did, Photography and Design Graphics were the most practical but they still had quite a lot of theory to them. After starting this course and seeing how much more practical it is compared to any other course I have done, I do feel I should have done my A levels somewhere else that dealt with more practical courses because that way it would have been an easier transition onto the course with previous experience.

The first set project was the Principles for Computer Graphics, where we had to try and show what it feels like to be on a night by creating a piece of motion graphics. This was my first encounter to using After Effects. The first exercise we did on After Effects was to make a mini animation using a still image we had been working on in Photoshop. I used a photograph that I took in London, overlooking the Thames. In Photoshop, I made separate layers of different objects in the image such as the clouds, boats etc. Then I exported the image with all it’s separate layers and began key framing each one. I was really pleased with the finished result and I actually felt I had achieved something new. At the beginning I was a little anxious about coming up with an idea and how I would produce any sort of motion graphics with very little experience. As well as working with still images, I was shown some you can work with video in After Effects as well. I had recorded some video footage that I took in a club and imported it into After Effects. Then I started experimenting with masking and overlaying clips on top of one another. The effects turned out really well and it gave me a clearer idea of what I could produce for this unit. While I was experimenting with some video footage I had recorded in a club it triggered off the idea about how I’d like to show what a night out feels like for me, as a personal experience. The beginning and middle section of the motion graphics piece is video orientated. The last section is a still image that I took and I created a virtual camera in a 3D space giving the illusion that the camera walking through the tunnel. I also learned how to use some plug-ins such as the 3D stroke and Shine.

While the night out project was underway, the computer graphics for animation and film was the next unit we were introduced to. For this unit I had to make some 3D animation to go with some sound. The software we used for this was, Maya. I wasn’t to nervous about using Maya at the beginning but I eventually become more intimidated by it as it’s such a huge piece of software. I have learnt about how to use Maya at a basic level. I’ve done modelling, texturing, lighting, rigging and animating. At the beginning of the year I did some Maya classes with Mauricio to bring me up to speed with the program, but I didn’t feel I was achieving much and decided I’d stop. I have to say I haven’t really enjoyed using Maya because I simply know that I don’t want to become a 3D animator, modeller or texture etc. I’m glad I’ve had the opportunity to use it and I might use it very slightly for simple tasks if I ever need to. For this unit I ended up compositing 3D into video footage of a bullet breaking through a TV screen. I have a much better understanding of what 3D is and to me this is more valuable than learning Maya because I feel I can collaborate with people who work with 3D software if I come across a project that involves some 3D elements.

The Principals of Sound and Video was the other unit I was working on at the same time as the other two units. This was a group project in which we had to make a viral video. At the beginning of the unit I learnt a lot about camera work. It was a step up from what I had learnt during sixth form. The most difficult thing about this unit was coming up with an idea. Before we discussed any ideas, we had to define what ‘viral’ actually meant. The video has to be funny and original for it to be a YouTube phenomenon. We looked at lots of examples on the web and we came across a video that had music that was put together through editing the footage. My group and myself thought this was an interesting idea and decided to work with this technique and expand upon it. My role in this group project was to do the filming (I prefer the term cinematographer).

The next unit I embarked upon was called post-production techniques. I was looking forward to this unit because after having all the first three units done and dusted, I was feeling slightly more confident. I felt there was more freedom to do whatever we wanted for this unit. At the start we looked at different types of post production, such as 3D animation composited into video, green screen and colour grading. Jason gave us a good introduction into how to use green screen effectively. I started out wanting to create a 3D character in Maya and compositing it into video footage. I really loved this video I saw of these 3D creatures walking around Paris, which was presented in black and white and they go around brightening it up. It was such a nice idea and I loved the design of the characters that it really inspired me to produce something similar… and even use Maya. My original idea was going to be a 3D character that would represent a street artist. I was going to place him in a dark alleyway environment at night putting up some street art. This idea was going well until I started having some rigging problems in Maya. I looked at many tutorials to overcome the problems I was having, but I didn’t succeed. I felt I wasn’t going to complete this project in time for the deadline, so just before Easter I changed my idea. My new idea was going to be based on Solitude. I knew I wanted to use video and photography for this idea instead of 3D. I filmed a static shot of Bournemouth beach one evening and I got my housemate to walk around and do things within that scene. I tried out a new style of video called time lapse using my DSLR camera. This technique requires taking lots of photos in one place at a specific time, like every 3 seconds. I used After Effects, once again, to composite the time-lapse videos and the beach scene together to create the finished result.

For the short form video unit, we are making a drama that consists of six different perspectives following the same narrative. So far our group has completed the filming, using green screen. We have been given the challenge of faking the location for 80% of the video as the last scene was shot on location. I have to admit that I have been confused through most of this unit in terms of the production because we had to set out to green screen pretty much everything. This has actually been a really tricky task and we don’t know how well the final result will look until we have imported the footage into After Effects. I’m starting to become more confident using the green screen and I understand how it should be lit for the technique to be really effective. I’ve found the whole concept of this unit interesting because it’s not just about having a narrative then filming the footage and editing it. It’s also about using the web to distribute content and allowing the audience to choose what they want to watch as part of new experience of watching TV dramas.

In conclusion I feel I have definitely learnt a lot this year. When I look back through to the beginning of my blog, it does make me realize how much I have achieved. Throughout the year I have been constantly thinking about what I really want to do. This course has given me a broad outlook of different areas that I could specialize in. I have definitely enjoyed working with video and taking footage into After Effects and experimenting with effects. I would like to develop my video production skills in editing and special effects. I think my next challenge would be to do some professional compositing using different software like Nuke.

(1,531 words)

Filming complete!
April 23, 2010, 11:12 pm
Filed under: Short Form Video

The terrorist group managed to film all the scenes we had planned. All the scenes we filmed were done with a green screen backdrop. The original intention of the green screen was to use it so we could apply some motion graphics in the background so for the terrorist demand video. We tried to make the look of all the shots look really amateurish… which I think we did a good job of.

Before Easter, we had the opportunity to test out the lighting with green screen but never managed to film any of the scenes. So once again, we had to replicate the lighting set up for the green screen. This was to ensure we get the lighting as identical as we could to the lighting we had on location when we filmed at Sopley. This was basically a process of trial and error.

We are now into Post production with editing and adding some special effects. Today me and Graham started the editing and re-wacthed all the footage so we can now decided how to piece the video together. After watching through all the footage, I don’t see how this video will come across as a serious drama!

Text Animation for Video Backdrop

We decided we wanted to make a simple type of motion graphic using typography to be displayed in the background of the video. I’ve just gone into after effects and experimented with the light Burst effects, applied onto some text. I basically key framed the Ray Length and Pivot Position so it creates some motion.

This is nothing extravagant, it’s just a simple and effective animation for the logo of the terrorist group. This is just a draft, so the text maybe different and I might apply some more effects on the final version.

Post Production Video Tweaked
April 19, 2010, 5:53 pm
Filed under: After Effects, Post Production Techniques

After showing my completed video to the crit last Friday, I was given some feedback on how to improve my work.

  • Tighter cuts. I have gone back and and tried to add more cuts and make the original cuts much tighter.
  • Make it seem more obvious that the main subject in the piece is listening to music. For this, I’ve now included the sound of the waves and made the music quiet to create the effect he isn’t directly listening to his iPod. Then when the music kicks in, the waves sounds disappears and the music becomes louder.

Final Version For Post Production
April 15, 2010, 8:45 pm
Filed under: After Effects, Post Production Techniques

Here is the final video I’ve done for the Post Production unit. I’ve uploaded two slightly different versions.

The version below doesn’t have the light rays shining on the beach.

I started this unit with an idea of creating some 3D animation and compositing into some video footage. I pursued this idea until I hit a brick wall with the rigging. The rigging, in my opinion, had to be spot on otherwise the animation would be hard. I have had very little experience with rigging so I didn’t really know how to achieve this properly. I had to make the decision not to continue with this idea because I wasn’t going to complete this task within the time that I had left . I have learnt that I DO NOT want to touch Maya again… and I’ve got to stick with what I enjoy working with and that is video and graphics.

I was listening to some liquid drum and bass music which was called ‘Embracing Solitude’ and it triggered off a concept of what my next idea was going to be about . The music itself had a negative perspective on Solitude and it seemed quite dark and had a sad emotional feel to it. I guess it comes from the producer of the track and how he feels about solitude. I wanted to visually show my idea of solitude by capturing video footage of a favorite place where I like to be, which is Bournemouth beach in the late evening. When it came to filming on the beach, fortunately there was no-one around, which made this the perfect oppertunity to film without having some random person in shot. I wanted to create the illusion that this particular scene is isolated from the real world.

Yet again, my flat mate agreed to once again make a cameo in this next project of mine. He is the main subject of the piece who walks around on the beach as he’s listening to his iPod. I asked him to randomly through a rock or stay still every now and then, just so I had some variation of different movements so when it comes to edit I can make the piece more visually interesting. He spontaneously did some random dancing, which was great as it worked really well when I came to editing the video with the music. The idea is to show the main subject in the video disconnecting from the real world and immersing himself in the music he’s listening to and letting his imagination run wild and feel free.

The music I have chosen for this is a liquid drum and bass track called Your Way by Netsky. This is a more uplifting song compared to the other track I got the idea for the piece from. This song will represent a more positive feeling towards solitude. I felt choosing the beach as a location fits in really well with the music.

The editing was enjoyable to do. I used iMovie to edit because video recorded on DSLR isn’t supported on Premier Pro.  I had to shorten the music which runs over 6 minutes down to 2 minutes. Once I had the music sorted, I was then able to start editing the video together. The editing consisted of using a mixture of cross fades and plain cuts. I matched all of the cuts with the audio wave length of the music at specific points so it would be accurate. Looking back at the finished video, the cuts don’t seem to be as tight as I’d wanted but they just about look spot on. I didn’t encounter any problems during this process.

When it came to importing the footage into After Effects, I was able to adjust the colour and brightness of the scene. I did a photo shoot in November last year at the beach and the lighting was brilliant. Unfortunately I didn’t have one of those amazing susnet evenings when I came to shoot the video so I’ve had to turn to AE to try and recreate that lighting. I suppose it’s all part of post production anyway.

In conclusion, I am pleased with how the final result has turned out, although I would have liked the quality to have been better since I recorded in HD. Through all the projects I’ve done on this course I always pin point the quality of the final piece. I guess this came down to lots of compressing from rendering in iMovie then rendering in After Effects. Premier Pro CS5 is now released and it now supports video formats taken on DSLR so hopefully for future projects i’ll be able  to export a HD movie file into After Effects with little compression and have a more crisp rendered video. All in all I’ve really enjoyed doing this project as I’ve combined photography and video which I’ve enjoyed working with.

Light-Paint Piano Player
April 14, 2010, 8:14 pm
Filed under: After Effects, General, Photography

I love this video. Such a nice idea! One of the best time lapse videos I’ve seen in a while.

Animated light paintings of a little piano player performing. Filmed at night with the lovely I-5 and San Diego skyline in the background. This piece was created by Ryan Cashman and Sean Fau-Burnitz. The Music was the first thing they did before they did the shoot and was recorded by themselves. The frames were photographed with a Canon Rebel using 20-30 second exposure time. They used a small green LED keychain light to draw each frame. Once all the positions were photographed they were strung together and synchronized to the music in After Effects.

%d bloggers like this: