Sermon GFX: Stories About You

We kicked off a new series this weekend Stories About You. I took the graphic for TXT from Life Church and did some very small tweaks. The text I used for Story was the main scripture for the week, Psalm 139. Don’t know if anyone actually picked up on it.


April 30, 2008. Graphic Design. Leave a comment.


I decided to sign up for a fxphd and all I have to say is wow! Fxphd is an online training in just about every area of production and post production. A lot of it covers tools I don’t know if I’ll ever touch but there is a ton of knowledge here.

How it works is for $330 you sign up for 3 classes + a required class called background fundamentals. You can preview the first 2 weeks of all the classes and then you have to lock them in. If you decide to enroll mention me as your referrer and I’ll get a free class. My id is dave.smith.

So far I’ve locked in 2 of my classes and can’t decide on the 3rd. I’m taking an AE 220-After Effects Beyond the Basics class with Mark Christianson and I’m taking AE 301- A Guerrilla Filmmakers Guide to After Effects with Garth Edwards. Check out his work on Atilla The Hun for the BBC.

My last class is a toss up between DV Rebel (which I’ve finished reading the book and learned a lot, now just to start applying it) and a Final Cut Studio Pro 2 class. I didn’t think I’d be that interested in the FCP class since I’ve been using FCP since 2.0 but I learned so much watching the first class I might take it. Or I might pay an extra $90 and take both classes. Hmmmmm…..

Here’s a shot I worked on from my AE 301 class. I composited in the Statue of Liberty into the shot.

Here’s the quick break down of the shot:
– Track motion and rotation of shot, apply tracking data to a null
– Take a still from the end of the shot into Photoshop. Scale and place the Statue of Liberty. Select a section of the background plate to bring in front of the statue to composite it properly
– Back in AE parent the statue and foreground tree layer to the null
– Color match statue to plate
– Added some haze and blur to sell the shot.

April 29, 2008. Video. Leave a comment.

Choosing The Right Font

This isn’t a long post but just wanted to pass on a great piece of advice on choosing fonts. I heard it from Brad Zimmerman. Basically every font has a voice so read the piece with that voice.

Example: Comic Sans looks like a child wrote it. Read it with a 2nd grader’s voice. Does it work for your message. I think Brickham Script Pro sounds like Julie Andrews.

By the way my favorite place to find free fonts:
Smashing Magazine

There is more that goes into choosing a font but I thought this was great advice.

April 22, 2008. Graphic Design. Leave a comment.

Church Def

I’ve been thinking about this idea for a few weeks. But today I heard Brad Zimmerman from (great video podcast I just found this week) being interviewed on Church Tech Talk (another favorite podcast) use the phrase “Church-Def”. It’s not Standard Def, it’s not High Def it’s Church Def.

What does Church Def mean? Well like many of you my church is using 4:3 projectors. Projectors that have a much higher resolution than 720×480. Our lower end projectors are running 1024×768 while our main projectors in the sanctuary run 1400×900 native. What if I created videos to run at the native projector resolution? High Def quality in a 4:3 aspect ration

Why not play HD clips but letterbox them? I for one don’t like letter boxing videos on our projectors. We paid too much money not to use the entire screen!

I’m trying to work out getting a new video camera that will be HD because that is the future. If I’m shooting at HD why not display in CD (Church Def)?

Content would be played out of ProPresenter which handles HD backgrounds just fine. I’m thinking I would create my content using a 720p project with guides marking my 4:3 aspect ration. I would then nest that comp into my CD comp for croping. I would archive the project in HD for future purposes.

Next video project that comes up I might try this out. I might have to wait for one that is mostly Motion Graphics where I am manipulating stills or custom content.

Anyone tried this out? Any thoughts?

April 22, 2008. Tech Stuff, Video. 3 comments.

Champions Video

I’m finishing up reading The DV Rebel’s Guide. While the tag line and focus of the book is about making “Killer Action Movies on the Cheap” it’s really about getting high production value our of any setup you may be shooting with. I only wish I would have finished it before I shot these testimony videos.

Champions is a 15 or 16 week course our youth ministry does each year. Kids get training and encouraging through these classes, devotionals and memory verses to live a life that is sexually pure and drug and alcohol free.

I was setting up for the shoot and realized my backdrop has gone AWOL and 2 lights in my kit were broken/ missing pieces. O the joys of other ministries “borrowing” stuff.

Jesse LaBauve (our youth creative arts guy) did the rough edit and I thought he did a great job. I just took it from there doing color correction/ grading with Color Finesse, removed some noise from my shots and established a creative look for the video. I then took the audio into ProTools from compression and EQ. I also added the music in ProTools and bounced it out.

I’m finding myself making my edits in FCP then going to AE to finish my looks. I find the tools in AE more powerful, easier to use. I’m also able to render my effects in 16 bit instead of 8 bit. I don’t know if FCS2 has 16 bit but I’m hoping to upgrade soon. 16 bit really improves the quality when applying multiple effects.

I found my free ways to get from FCP to AE were not translating my timeline accurately. The shoot was a wide shot and a medium shot. We synced them with a camera flash. Wide angle on bottom and medium shot on the track above and then just razor bladed the edits. Multicam wasn’t an option as my free FCP to AE ways don’t handle this. But the edits in AE weren’t lining up so I used The Magnum Edit Detector. It looks like I’m going to be able to get Automatic Duck soon though. Hip-Hip-Horray!!!

On to the videos. Here is the rough uncorrected/ unstyled video:

Here’s the finished video after running it through AE and ProTools:

April 18, 2008. Video. Leave a comment.

NAB Thoughts Part 1

I didn’t make it to NAB. But it won’t stop me from sharing some of my thoughts. First off I’m in the market for a new video camera as I’ve mentioned before.

New Sony PMW-EX3
Sony expanded their PMW-EX line with the PMW-EX3. The EX3 adds HD-SDI output and interchangeable lens. I’m sure if there is an adapter to use SLR prime lenses with this camera, you could get some great looking pictures with shallow DOF. HD-SDI is a nice addition, nice for IMAG use and hopefully you can get an uncompressed signal out of the camera. But the price puts it out of my budget.

Panasonic HPX-170
Seems to be a small update to the HVX-200. HD-SDI output, same advantage I mentioned about the PMW-EX3. Wider angle lens, nice. For my purpose either the HPX-170 or the HVX-200 would be great cameras. That because they are bridge cameras (half SD/ half HD). And it gets me out of DV/HDV format for effects/ compositing/ green screen.

Red Scarlet
Red is redefining digital cinematography. Their current camera shoots in a raw file format like a DSLR. Their scarlet camera is promising 2/3″ chips delivering 3k resolution at $3k. Details are few with lots of questions about what the camera is actually going to become. The idea of shooting this quality at this price point is very appealing. But Red is a unique format with a very demanding post production workflow. It will be interesting to see how this camera shapes up.

Other Stuff
The Assistant Editor
Looks like a very cool application. But you have to be organized in your shooting and logging. How much I like it will depend on how much it costs.

Adobe CineDNG. Looks to bring the advantage of the RAW workflow that RED has to other cameras. Hopefully breaking digital video out of it’s limited dynamic range. Might it make video emulate film with better highlights and shadows??? Hope so!

Hmmm that’s all I can think about right now. I’ll post more if I can think about it.

April 17, 2008. Video. Leave a comment.

ProPresenter Questions???

My grandparents have been in town this week. So we’ve taken some time off and they’ve been spending time with their great-grandchildren.

I looked at my blog stats and it seems like my ProPresenter posts ahve drawn a lot of interest. So does anyone have any ProPresenter question? Anything they’d like to see written up about ProPresenter or ProVideo player?

April 16, 2008. Video. 7 comments.

Getting Organized

I always feel like I could be more productive. I think if I can optimize my workflows I’ll be able to stay on top of things.

Todd Henry from the Accidental Creative(a great podcast that I subscribe to the premium feed) says it’s not finding the newest organization system but finding one that works for you and sticking with it.

For awhile now I’ve been using a couple of tools:
Vitalist is a Getting Things Done web based organization tool. While I don’t following GTD strictly I have modified it for me. It’s web based so that means it’s accessible from any computer or my iPhone. I like that I can have an inbox and an action list. I also like that I can sort my to-do’s based on projects. I also like that I can assign notes to tasks.

The other tool I use is a pocket Moleskin notebook for creative thoughts and meeting notes and sketches. I call them sketches but I’m lucky if I can understand them a week later. I like being able to write my ideas down in one place so I don’t have to go looking for them later on scraps of paper. It’s small enough to take with me to meetings yet fit in a pocket.

I did find out about another tool that looks promising, Evernote. One thing I don’t do well right now is catalog creative ideas and inspiration. But this tool looks awesome for cataloging ideas. It’s in beta so hopefully I’ll get accepted.

I’m also looking forward to see what apps will be launched to run natively on the iPhone this summer.

April 10, 2008. Personal Growth, Random. 2 comments.

New Book: The DV Rebel’s Guide

Well it’s not a a brand new book to the world but it’s new to me, The DV Rebel’s Guide by Stu Maschwitz.

I’ve found myself in a bit of a creative rut lately. Among other things I haven’t had some good creative input. I’ve been learning more about After Effects and some other video tools but it’s been more here’s what this button does and not too creative.

The premise of the book is how to create cheap action movies. Well I don’t have a desire to make an action movie, but I am interested in learning how to make great videos for the church on a budget. I’ll write up some of my thoughts as I work through this book and maybe some creative examples of the work it inspires.

April 9, 2008. Personal Growth, Video. Leave a comment.

Digital Signage: Drummers Needed

I rehashed a video I did a while ago. I cleaned it up and added some elements. It’s to find someone to play cowbell for the worship team. OK maybe not a cowbell but for some drummers.

The pictures of the girl and the drums had an alpha channel so I just applied CC Threshold in After Effects. The Arrows are from Evolution with the grunge texture from Riot Gear applied via Luma Matte.

It’s for our digital signage so there is no audio. Boo. Creating content for digital signage you realize how much is lost when there is no audio.

April 8, 2008. Video. 1 comment.

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