Dan Hume's Blog

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.

Adding Light rays
April 9, 2010, 7:07 pm
Filed under: After Effects, Post Production Techniques

I wanted to add an extra touch to the scene. I was looking through some of the effects and I came across Light Rays. When I clicked on it a brown circular pivot appear on the time lapse composition. Every time I clicked on the pivot, it moved the light rays. This gave me more freedom to move the light rays in different directions, rather than changing the values to make the pivot move.

After I had rendered the video I was actually really pleased with final result of the rays as they lightly spill onto the top composition, which makes it look like its shining down on the beach.

Putting time lapse videos in the scene
April 5, 2010, 7:51 pm
Filed under: After Effects, Post Production Techniques

Now that the video has been edited and the colour scheme has been changed, I’m now ready to put the time lapse videos into the scene.

The first thing I did was duplicate the scene so there were two layers in one composition. I masked around the top layer going around all the hills in the distance and the pier. This then made the sky from the bottom layer appear through, so it is now separate from the top layer which shows the beach. The reason I made two separate layers was because when I come to adding the time laspe videos into the sky section, it’s to avoide the time lapse videos spilling onto the beach scene. I want to try and make it look like it’s coming from behind the hills and the pier.

Below is a screen shot of the top layer being masked around. The sky with the hat being thrown into the air is the bottom layer.

The next step was to import the the time lapse videos into AE. I created a new composition and then dragged all the three clips into the composition.

Then I pre-comped this into the beach scene composition so it looks like the image below.

The next step will be a mixture of masking, blending and other special effects to make the videos naturally fit into the scene.

Above is a screen shot of one of the time lapse videos. I’ve hidden the other two videos so I can focus on just the one video. I wanted to blur the edges around the whole of the clip. To do this I had to mask around the video, which then deletes an excess video that goes beyond the outside of the yellow shape I’ve drawn onto the video. Then I went to select the video and clicked on the arrow next to mask and then went to feather. This then created a blur effect around the edge of the mask.

I repeated this process for the other two mask videos. I even duplicated the videos and positioned them in different to try and create and abstract look.

Beach Scene Edit
March 30, 2010, 6:01 pm
Filed under: Post Production Techniques

This is a quick entry to show how far I’ve got with the editing using iMovie. Below is a small extract taken from the footage just to show what it looks like before I imported it into AE.

After Effects Experimenting

I’ve just been playing around with some of the effects in AE to add to the video.

I started with the ‘Echo‘ effect, which creates a ghost like effect if something in the scene is moving. I just experimented with different values of the time between an echo and the amount of echos produced. The decay values will increase or decrease the detail of my video. I used a little bit of that effect because I felt the video needed to have less detail, so when the person in the scene is further away from the camera you’ll be able to notice him better.  Below is screenshot of the values I’ve used for my test piece.

Next I looked at the ‘Colour Balance‘. I use colour balance a lot in photoshop because I feel it always brings a subtle colour to original image which looks really grey and dull in comparison. I felt the scene lacked colour, so instead of increasing the saturation of the what video contains, I wanted to add more of a specific colour… but subtly.  I wanted to give the scene a slight warm and cold feel.  All the dark shadow colours in the footage have been given a blue tint and all the highlight colours have been given a red tint. I felt mixing both colours together really worked really well to get that cold and warm look. Below  is a screenshot of the values I’ve used.

Lastly, I adjusted the brightness and contrast of the whole scene to darken all the dark areas and brighten up all the light areas.

Below is the video footage after I rendered it in AE.

Editing video footage & Time Lapse Video
March 28, 2010, 4:52 pm
Filed under: Post Production Techniques

Editing the Video

I’m now editing the video footage for my post production project. I am using the most basic editing software, iMovie HD. I was intending to use Premiere Pro, but when I play back the footage every time I made a change to the timeline, it would go all jerky. I think it has something to do with the format I shot the footage in, which was 720p at 50 fps. There is a setting in Premiere for working with files of that frame rate but It appears it only works with certain cameras. The footage was shot on my DSLR.

Anyway, iMovie is proving to be really perfect for editing my video as the playback runs smoothly and the software does exactly what I need it to do. Once this piece is edited I will render it into a quick time video and import it into After Effects.

At this stage I’m listening to the music and editing the footage so it all fits together. When I’m editing, I tend to play around with the footage and eventually as I get more into it I have a clearer picture of how the final product is going to look. So far I’ve used lots of cross fades and plain cuts. The cross fades are used to show a progression of time for the person walking around in the video. The plain cuts I have used to experiment with making the footage go in time with the music.

Time Lapse Video

I’ve done three time lapse videos of traffic at night. This is something I really enjoyed doing and I felt that I’d learnt something new.

I basically went out into Bournemouth one night and looked for some good locations where there was lots of teeming traffic. Once I had chosen a suitable location, I set up my tripod and mounted the camera on securely. Then it was a case of experimenting with different shutter speeds to try and see which speed gave the best effects of the movement of the cars. Once I was happy with a particular shutter speed, I then set the camera to shoot in a continuous pattern. Now, unfortunately, I was missing a very handy piece of equipment, which is known as a ‘Intervalometer‘. This is a device which you connect to your camera and you set to program the camera to take a photograph at a specific time, like a shot taken every 2 seconds. When I came to do the shoot I had to have my finger constantly pressed down on the shoot button. This was a bit annoying as when I looked back at one of the videos, although the camera was mounted securely on a tripod, my pressure on the button may have moved the position of the camera every so often during the shoot. This results in the video being quite jerky of moving up and down in different shots. An intervalometer gives you the freedom to leave the camera to capture the shots on it’s own, so it may be something for me to invest in as I really enjoyed doing the shoots.

One of the most important things you must make sure you do is set the camera to Manual settings instead of Automatic. Automatic setting will constantly change the exposure in different shots and you don’t get the proper effect of a time lapse video.

How I made the photographs into a time lapse video was very simple. I made sure all my photos were in chronological order before I opened up quick time pro. I then went to open image sequence in quick time, and went to the folder which contained the photos.

I selected the first photo in the file and clicked open. Then a window appears saying what frame I’d like to view the video with. I chose to use 15 fps. After that, an enlarged video box appeared so I adjusted the size to fit screen and behold the time lapse video was ready for viewing.

Below are three of the time lapse videos I did for this project.

Matching Lighting
March 24, 2010, 10:00 pm
Filed under: After Effects, Post Production Techniques, Short Form Video

Today we did some tests for the lighting using green screen so we could make the lighting identical to the other lighting we had when we filmed at Sopley. Below is an image of the final result we go and it actually works really well, apart from there’s no shadow from the bottom of the chair.

Composition 2 - Green screen footage.

Once we had filmed the lighting using the green screen, I then opened up After Effects. I created two new compositions and imported the footage we had shot at Sopley and dragged it onto the first composition and then Imported the footage we shot using green screen and dragged it into the second composition. On the second composition I used key light to remove the green screen from the background. I then masked around the lecturer sitting down, so that all that was on the composition was just the lecturer and a black background.

I then pre-comped (dragged) composition 2 onto composition 1, which allowed me to fit the lecturer into the empty scene of the room the we recorded at Sopley.

Composition 1 - Empty scene we filmed at Sopley.

This isn’t shot I used to place the lecturer into because there is a chair infront of the green screen but the shot I did use was exactly the same but without the chair. Below is the final result of compositing the green screen footage into the video footage we shot at Sopley, therefore; faking the location.

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