Sermon Graphics: Life According To Monopoly

Last weekend we kicked off a new sermon series called Life According To Monopoly. There is a strong tie in to the classic board game. I’m happy with how my print pieces came out but I wasn’t thrilled with how these GFX looked on the projectors. Are walls are a light tan so the screens matched a little too well. I’m going to rework them this week to add some more color.

Title Slide:
Monopoly Title

Sermon Slide:
Monopoly Sermon Slide

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March 31, 2008. Graphic Design. 7 comments.

New Shoes…

Paolo Nutini sang in his song “New Shoes”…

Hey, I put some new shoes on,
and suddenly everything is right,
I said, hey, I put some new shoes on and everybody’s smiling,
it so inviting,
Oh, short on money,
but long on time,
slowly strolling in the sweet sunshine,
and i’m running late,
and i don’t need an excuse,
’cause i’m wearing my brand new shoes.

I’ve been getting back in the gym and running. But my shoes have been killing me. I haven’t found a good pair of shoes in awhile. Seems like every pair end up hurting my feet or cramping my calf muscle or a muscle by my shin about 15 minutes into a workout.

I did some searching online for how to pick the right running shoes. Seems the way your foot and arch is shaped as well as how you run/walk is an important part in finding the right shoes.

I found out about Run On in Richardson. So I went down there. It was kind of funny. They watched me walk around barefoot. Talked to me about the type of running I do. Then brought out 3 shoes for me to try. I ended up with some New Balance 768.

Run On wants you to be happy with your shoes. They told me to hit the treadmill at the gym. If I’m not happy with the fit, bring them back and we’ll try another pair. I feel like a little kid. I’m looking forward to hitting the gym tomorrow morning. I bet I can run faster and jump higher in my “New Shoes”…

March 30, 2008. Random. Leave a comment.

ProPresenter 3.3.2

Got an email about a new update to ProPresenter. I was on 3.3 guess I missed 3.3.1. But it adds a feature I’ve been wanting, slide timer now accepts 0 as a value. You can read about the rest of the improvements at the link above.

I really enjoy the constant improvement the Renewed Vision team puts into their products.

March 28, 2008. Tech Stuff, Video. 1 comment.

Wii For Me!!!

For my birthday last week my wife bought me a Wii. We’ll she tried to buy a Wii but they can be tricky to find. So I should say for my birthday my wife let me find a Wii. It took my brother about a month to find his. He made daily journeys to Best Buy and Circuit City until he finally scored one.

I found this out last Thursday. That night I got online and did a little searching. I found WiiAllerts. It’s a site that tracks the status of Wiis and will email you, text you or if you follow wheels64 on twitter will alert you when Wiis are available online. The next day I was working, got a twitter alert on my phone. Logged on and ordered me a Wii. It got here Wed and has been a blast.

The graphics can’t compete with PS3 or XBox360 but the game play is so fun for the whole family. We’ve been playing Wii Sports and Wii Play. My wife kills me at bowling, both in real life and on the wii. But I enjoy Tennis the most.

Anyone have any good games to recommend?

March 28, 2008. Random, Tech Stuff. 1 comment.

Dallas AE User Group: March Meeting

Last night was the March AE user group meeting. Trent asked me to make a presentation about the free ways I’ve found to move between FCP and AE. I learned some new things preparing for last night so I thought I’d post my notes here.

1. FCPtoAE (creative-workflow-hacks.com)
This was the first tool I found. The webpage is a little confusing. The script is a work in progress and has evolved from a standalone application. You can download it and then install it into your scripts folder (on mac: applications/After Effects CS3/ Scripts sorry PC users you’ll have to Google your own answer). The script started out as an expiring file that you would have to go back to creative-workflow-hacks.com each month and download the newest version. From my understanding it is now free from expiring.

Now that the script in installed lets move to your FCP project. With FCP selected you Export an XML file (It’s under your export options). This produces a file with metadata about your media that this script can read.

In AE we need to make a couple of preference changes. In the general tab make sure “Allow Scripts to Write Files and Access Network” is checked and “Enable Javascript Debugger” is unchecked. Now select the script (File/Scripts/db_FCPtoAE.jsxbin). The ExtendSkript Toolkit2 will open with a blank window. Don’t worry it’s supposed to do this. If the script ran into problems debugging info will be here.

Here’s what I’ve found this script will do:
-Translate edits from FCP to AE with handles on your footage
-Translate basic motion changes (Scale, Rotation, Position, Anchor Point)
-Translate cross dissolves

Some limitations of things not translated:
-FX
-Time remapping
-Nested Sequences
-Multicam clips
-Only Audio originally captured with the clip is translated (easy fix is to export an AIFF file from FCP)
-Content created in FCP (titles, slugs, etc..) not translated
-Transitions besides cross disolve
-There maybe more but I haven’t tried it or found it online

While researching for last night’s meeting I came across another solution…

2. Final Cut to After Effects (popcornisland.com). This script is only CS3 as far as I can tell. The script runs similar to the first one I listed but adds these features:

-Basic Editing Translation
-Segmented Clips
-Basic Keyframes
-Time Remapping
-Nested Sequences
-Multiple Frame Rates and Aspect Ratios
-Audio Channels
-Name Length Error Checking
-Support for PAL25 and 60

While these scripts pale to what Automatic Duck can do. For a simple job it should work for you. I can see these scripts being great time savers for editing your green screen footage the use this script to get your edited footage to AE to key.

Here’s the last way that I talked about.

3. Magnum the Edit Detector. This script auto detects scene changes from a video layer in AE. The script gives you a sensitivity fader then it goes to work. It will either split your layer up or leave markers. If you don’t like it’s results you just undo, adjust the sensitivity fader and try again. Depending on the format and speed of your computer it may or may not be quick. But if you don’t have a FCP file to work from this script can save you some work.

Well there it is. The brief rundown of my presentation last night. I’ve enjoyed my experience with the Dallas AE user group. It’s great to get around others who are using the same tools and see what they are doing and how they are using the tools. We will meet again the 4th Thursday of April.

March 28, 2008. Video. 3 comments.

Dallas After Effects User Group Meeting Tonight

If you’re in the Dallas area and want to improve your After Effects skills. The Dallas AE Group meets the 4th Thursday of the month. You can find out more here. Hope to see you there.

March 27, 2008. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Mmmmm Good…

Last week I celebrated my 31 birthday. One of my presents was a burr coffee grinder. I’ve been a coffee connoisseur for awhile now. A few months ago I picked up a discontinued espresso machinet that was $400 from Starbucks for $90! Score!

The machine is great but I haven’t been able to get the right shot of espresso out of it. Enter the burr grinder. Instead of a blade to grind the beans like my cheap grinder I’ve had. A burr grinder allows you to adjust how fine the beans will be ground.

I picked up some beans from Central Market and ground them espresso fine. This resulted in amazing lattes! With not only more flavor but I think more caffeine because they sure wake me up in the morning!!!

March 26, 2008. Random. 2 comments.

Easter 2008 Overflow/ Tech Stuff

For overflow and other events we’ve gathered a decent portable setup. In fact most startup churches I think would love to have it. We have a live band lead worship in the gym. And then switch over to a video feed of the specials and the sermon from the sanctuary.

Here’s a quick run down of our portable gear:
-Portable stage from Intellistage
– 2 Mackie SRM450 Mains
– 1 Mackie Sub SWA1501 Sub
– Driverack PA for main DSP
– 16×4 Snake in a Bag
– 2 Dell 3000 ANSI lumen Projectors
– 2 Rear projection screens
– ProPresenter running on my MacBook Pro
– Video/ CPU signals were sent over Cat5 via Magenta Research boxes

We rented a 24 channel Midas Venice, a FOH stage rack with comps, gates and FX units. We also rented a 4 Meyer monitors from Gemin Stage and Lighting

To capture the specials and sermon in the sanctuary we use the cameras we have: Sony PDX-10, Sony DSR-200 and an old Pannasonic SVideo camera. The Pannasonic actually has the best lens out of the 3 but I think it’s dying a slow death. It’s all mixed at s-video using a Datavideo SE-500 mixer.

In the past we’ve worked real hard to get a live video signal down to the gym. It has been the biggest struggle to get good video and audio down to the gym. During setup on Sat I had a critical box fail to make this happen. So I had the idea why don’t I record Sat service and play that back?

So I used a Sony A/D box we have to record the feed from the switcher into iMovie. FCP was giving my a mismatched audio resolution error with the box. But iMovie worked great. I used QuickTime Pro to trim the movie. I then played the movie back out of ProPresenter.

The video still didn’t look great on the big screens since I’m mixing at S-Video resolution and trying to match multiple cameras.

But I had a great idea for next year. If we don’t buy a new camera this year I’m renting a camera or two like the HVX200 that records into a solid state format. Import into FCP. Edit my sermon points in or create lower thirds in advance. Render out and I’m done. I know it’ll be a lot of work that night. But I think it will give us a great experience in the overflow room. The HVX will even sync timecode via firewire. You can sync your cameras and then go shoot, starting and stopping as you please. As long as the cameras are not powered down, the timecode keeps syncd.

March 25, 2008. Tech Stuff. Leave a comment.

Easter 2008 Videos

I had 3 videos for Easter, but 1 of them got canned. It was a bad concept so I’m glad it was canned.

My other 2 videos were testimonies. I shot them on campus with our Sony PDX-10 and DSR-200 DVCams. I used a Lowel Omni light with a bounce umbrella. I used a grey-ish backdrop we have. I was looking for a dramatic look.

I edited the project in FCP and then sent the video to AE via the FCPtoAE script I wrote about. I then used Color Finesse for color correction and Magic Bullet Looks to style the piece.

Here’s Mark’s Video:

Here are some screen shots of the raw footatge:

Mark Raw WS

Mark Raw CU

And some screen shots of the final video:

Mark Final WS

Mark Final CU

Here’s Mike’s Video:

Before Screen Shots:

Mike WS Raw

Mike CU Raw

Final Screen Shots:

Mike WS Final

Mike CU Final

March 25, 2008. Video. 1 comment.

Easter 2008 Sermon Graphics

For churches, Easter is our Super Bowl. It’s one of the two times during the year that our culture slows down to look to the church. Christmas Eve is the other time, but it’s full of other traditions. I’d think Easter is the one day every year that the the most lives are changed.

Anyway I had a few projects I was working on for Easter weekend. I’ve got a few posts about them. Here’s the first.

Sermon Graphics: Easter graphics are always the hardest for me. I usually end up using premade/ canned graphics because my pastor usually has a generic Easter title. Here’s my gripes about a lot of canned Easter graphics. 1) Too dark. We are celebrating His resurrection, not His death. 2) The bright graphics lean towards flowers, pastels, eggs. The secular side of Easter.

I picked up Igniter’s Easter V.2. I used the Easter Roses for my worship bkg, sermon gfx, bulletin and plasma gfx. I used the Easter Joy for the images during the special.

March 25, 2008. Graphic Design. Leave a comment.

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