Global Advance Promo

Here’s a side project I worked on. It’s for Global Advance a ministry my church supports. They wanted a basic talking head promo video with some b-roll footage thrown in.

So we shot the talking heads on green screen with the Sony EX-1. I then edited the about 30+ minutes of them talking down to around 3 minutes.

This is a bit of a tangent but I’m becoming a bigger and bigger fan of scripting out what’s going to be said on camera. That way the person can focus more on delivery and not worry about if they are getting all the content in, if it’s making sense, etc… I really want to get a teleprompter but it’s not going to be in this year’s budget. I’m going to experiment with some free teleprompter software I’ve found and just put a laptop directly below the camera lens and see how that goes. We’ll see how the sight lines work out.

Back to the project. Once I had a locked down edit that was approved by the client I edited the B-Roll then I moved the project from FCP to AE using Automatic Duck’s plug-in.

Once in After Effects I pulled the key with Red Giant’s Primatte plug-in, which I love for keying. I get extremely good results so much faster than I was with Keylight. The background was made from an EPS map of the world and Trapcode Form. I didn’t realize it until recently but it copies a look from CNN. Didn’t mean to, I don’t watch CNN. Finally I stylized the b-roll seperatly from my talent with Looks and added some motion graphics for the intro, a couple of catch phrases and an outro. Added audio from Sonic Fire Pro.

Overall I’m happy with how the project turned out and so is Global Advance, which is the important part.

Watch the video on Vimeo:

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May 27, 2010. Sound, Video. Leave a comment.

LA Promo

This was another quick turn around project. It’s a promo for a mission trip to LA. They wanted something visually sharp and hit some stats about the needs in LA. I didn’t have any footage to work from so I went searching for some “b-roll” on vimeo. Found this guys work here: http://vimeo.com/10452247. Once I had some footage I pulled the clips I liked, added the text and ran the footage through Magic Bullet Looks.

Here’s the link to the video

May 26, 2010. Video. Leave a comment.

Sonic Fire Pro Review

One of my biggest challenges in video production is finding good music for video and motion graphic pieces I create. Typical stock music resources run a huge range of prices. Not only is there a variety of prices, there is a variety of quality. Another challenge I’ve run into is most stock music is edited for standard broadcast lengths. Which is great if you need a 10, 15, 30 or 60 second music bed. The full length is usually in the 2-3 minute range. So if your spot doesn’t fall into one of those lengths you’ve got to edit the music to match.

This year I budgeted some money to but some stock music. After looking a various different resources I finally landed on Sonic Fire Pro. If you’re not familiar with Sonic Fire it’s a combination of their software and layered music tracks. Here’s some of my major reasons:

    – It will create a track with a beginning, middle and end to any length you desire
    – You can adjust the timing of the track to match your edits. In other words you can retime a musical transition, build up, break down, etc.. to match the edits of your video
    – You can change the mix of the track. You want these instruments to fade in or out at a certain point no problem. They even have premixed moods for you like background, dialog, breakdown, lite, etc…
    – Imports your audio and scoring markers from FCP. Will also export your mix back to FCP for you.
    – Each track has about 6-8 variations of the arrangement. Different than the premixed moods but alters the arrangement of the song.

The music quality is not as great as some of the high end stock music resources (where you’d be paying $$$ per track) but the quality is good and the customization makes up for it.

Plus they seem to run deals to add CDs to your library at significant discounts if you are patient and budget for it.

May 25, 2010. Music, Video. 1 comment.

Red Giant Software offers Non Profit Pricing

In the world of video production the tools I use on every project is Final Cut Pro or After Effects. Most the time it’s a combo of those 2 product together. There are times that you want to extend the toolset of FCP or AE because a new tool does the job more efficiently or extends AE/FCP to a new realm. Red Giant Plug Ins are by far my favorite.

For motion graphics work I use the Trapcode Bundle Retail price $900 non profit price: $449. There is nothing in FCP or AE to replicate some of Trapcode’s products. There are particle generators in AE but Particular is much more flexible.

For color correction I use the Magic Bullet Suite Retail $800 Non Profit Price: $400. I tend to use colorista to color correct my footage and then use looks to stylize my footage. How’s it stack up to FCP tool set? FCP color corrector is pretty lame but I do like Color. I prefer Color for color correction over colorista but I prefer Looks for creating the grade or look of my video. How’s it stack up to AE’s tool set? Color Finesse is a very good color correction tool. More powerful than colorista but slower in my opinion. Looks for me is still where I tend to go to do basic color correction and establish the grade or look for my video. Unless it’s a poorly shot video that needs lots of color correction then I’ll open Color Finesse.

For keying I love their keying suite Retail: $800 Non Profit Price $400. How does Primatte compare to FCP? Hands down it blows the built in keyer in FCP away. How does it compare to the tools in AE? Keylight does a great job in AE but I’ve found Primatte WAY faster to work with. For our video announcements I can set up a very good key in 2-3 minutes with Primatte compared to 30 minutes with Keylight. That’s because Primatte gives you tools to visually edit your key instead of always moving sliders. Primatte also has color matching and a light wrap built into the plug-in. Which involves more steps and plug-ins with Keylight.

FYI I bought the Trapcode bundle, Looks and Colorista a few years ago. Last summer I got into a beta program to test www.redgiantpeople.com and was given the Red Giant Mega Bundle.

May 24, 2010. Video. Leave a comment.

Servolution Promo

So I was given a logo, a very brief script and asked if I could make a promo video for a local mission trip. And I had an afternoon. Here’s what I came up with…

Here’s the link to the video

It’s a simple After Effects project. 2 of the animations were too similar for my liking but it is what it is. This is one of those projects where I had to quickly nail out the content, then finesse the animations from there.

May 24, 2010. Video. Leave a comment.

Video: Year In Review

Around May every year our church has an annual business meeting. Last year I had only been around for a few weeks at my job and they asked if we could put together a year in review video. Last year we didn’t have enough lead time or archive footage to pull it off. This year was different.

We began kicking around ideas about 6 weeks out. We established a scope for a 3 minute video recapping the major events and stats from the last year. Then things changed the week of. The project scope was tossed out the window and what we ended up with was a 9 minute video.

Here’s what saved me:
1. I had b-roll from events over the last year
2. We had brought in a photographer recently to shoot footage around the church during a Sunday morning.
3. We had each department head write out a short script to recap their year. We then highlighted what would be delivered on screen and what would be read and I’d show b-roll.
4. I had a years worth of bumpers to pull from for eye candy.
5. I reused some testimonies we showed last fall for small groups.

I had a few challenges:
1. We wanted to highlight our small group ministry but we don’t have a point person over that ministry currently.
2. I had no footage or testimony from our missions trips and our missions directors were over seas.
3. I had 2 working days to pull this off but I ended up working during one of my off days to pull it off.

Not having footage for the missions piece I decided to create a kinetic type video. My first true kinetic type video but I found a tutorial to quickly lay out the text in Illustrator and then bring the file into AE to animate. I got the idea from here
The run down is this:
1. Lay out the text in illustrator.
2. Create outlines from text and ungroup.
3. Group the letters to form a word.
4. In the layers pallette choose release to layers in the options menu. Then drag the new layers out of the current layer.
5. Save the file and import into AE as a comp.
6. Animate the layers position.
7. Sequence the layers to animate in to the audio.
8. Precomp now animate the precomp using scale, anchor point, rotation to focus on the key words. Make sure rasterize continuously is checked so the vector artwork stays sharp.
9. Add motion blur and stylize the background

We got a great response to it. I’ve got some ideas for next year:
1. I need to get footage and testimonies from missions teams when they return.
2. Need a small groups point person as well and time to shoot new testimonies.

Here’s the link to the video

May 19, 2010. Video. Leave a comment.

Ignite Bumper

Earlier this year we did a sermon series called Ignite. The series was about the power of the Holy Spirit. I was given some graphics that I thought looked great and thought this project was going to be fun. As we brainstormed some ideas it seemed like the best idea for a bumper was to creatively present some Bible passages. So that’s what we did.
Ignite Bump

I used Trapcode Formto create the particle field. Then laid my text out and fly the camera around. Pretty easy and a fun project.

May 17, 2010. Video. Leave a comment.

How To Fix Apple’s Compressor

Over the last month or so I’ve seen a couple of problems with Apple’s Compressor just acting goofy. Typically a batch will begin to render and then I can’t cancel the batch and compressor is responsive, but isn’t doing anything. It won’t cancel my batch and it won’t render anything new. I found a couple of trouble shooting options.

Option 1: Reset background processes. This is from the compressor application menu/ Reset Background Processing

Option 2: Compressor Repair:. This week I accidently dropped an audio file onto a .wmv droplet I have and compressor locked up. It would cancel the batch and resetting the background processes didn’t work either. But this little app worked like a champ.

Hope this saves you a headache down the road.

May 13, 2010. Tech Stuff, Video. Leave a comment.