Effects

Got the following note from our friend Bruce Allen, just prior to NAB. I’ve been so busy with post-NAB projects that this is the first chance I’ve had to post it. Here are Bruce’s notes on his experience so far shooting with HDRx material with the Red Epic camera.

My friend Sam Druckerman got his Epic-M. It’s a joy to use: stunningly compact, lightweight yet rock-solid. Slow-mo 5K is insane. HDRx is fun and useful. The SSDs kick ass. It’s great for handheld and super-intuitive to toggle different settings, frame rates, HDRx etc – even in a light aircraft :) We found that out when super-talented Director/DP Matt Uhry gallantly took us up in a plane for a camera test.

Here’s some HDRx stuff shot out of the window with a Duclos 11-16. For fun, I processed the two streams separately and combined them in After Effects. Several layers, curves, transfer modes and rendering later, this was the result:

http://www.boacinema.com/projects/2011/red_epic/HDR_FLYING_ba_v1.mov

Then – last night Jim sent me a secret internal RED program which included awesome HDR blending options built in.
These will be in RedCineX very soon, he says. Here’s a screenshot (reposted with RED’s permission, click the image above for full-size), with my After Effects render for comparison.

Compared to my After Effects comp – RED’s stuff looks better, renders faster – and can be applied in just a few clicks! Also, it’s free. So… RED wins on all sides of the Quality, Speed and Cost triangle. Plus Ease of Use :) Forget confining HDR for tweaking something in the finish… it means we can easily have HDR dailies if we wish. Only caveat is that most times Epic’s latitude is sufficient for what you’re shooting, without HDRx. Though it’s still useful to have in case just in case – and for VFX purposes eg tracking.

Epic really is turning out to be a killer tool. The more I work with it, the less I want to work with any other camera. BTW, anyone on FreshDV have questions about Epic? I will try to answer in the comments?

Thanks for the note, Bruce! If anyone has any questions about Epic or HDRx, ask below and I’ll make sure that Bruce sees them.

Saturday comes after Friday

The order of days of the week is one of the exciting facts you’ll learn if you watch Rebecca Black’s music video “Friday.” You’ve probably heard of it…and I’m not going to link it here, or I’d feel obligated to cut my wrists with a rusty knife. Anyway, for a little fun, Dylan Reeve did some detective work on it to discover the skyline used as a backdrop in the film. Clever post…

Imagineer Systems has posted a case study on their website that shows the power of their tracking technology. Nick Guth, the VFX artist tasked with post-production on a student-filmmaker produced music video had to track and fix 165 shots in 7 days.

It’s a classic student filmmaker tale; “The entire music video was shot on RED… Additionally, the director was outputting a 2K film print so we stuck to working at 2k.” Of course. To complicate matters, no VFX supervisor on set meant that many issues fell through the cracks. “In one shot, we’d only see a single tracking marker, and in another shot, we had two completely different green screens cobbled together with the seams showing.” The main character in the music video wears a gas mask with a front section that was to be replaced with a composited screen. “The director thought a single 3×5 orange index card would be enough for tracking the mouth, so he literally slapped the card onto the front of the mask as he shot the entire film! Some shots were close up, some wide – and all of which required a unique track for every shot.”

The bottom line is that Nick was given a nearly impossible task, and couldn’t have pulled it off on that accelerated timeline without a powerful tracking tool like mocha. He goes on of course, for the full cautionary tale of classic poor planning and execution on set, check out the article. And watch a few before and after shots below, as well as the finished music video.

Area 51 – Music Video Basic Breakdown from Nick Guth on Vimeo.

Got an e-mail from CrumplePop about a price increase for their CrumplePop plugin package, a collection of Master Templates for FCP and Motion that offers a hand-drawn text flavor. They are raising the price from $49 to $69, but are offering a $20 off coupon for the next 24 hours. Well, it was 24 hours, but I believe that the email arrived in my inbox yesterday. So by my estimates, you’ve got a few more hours today to get it at the $49 price tag. Coupon code is CRUMP3406, just add the package to your cart here and apply the discount code prior to checkout.

Studio Daily has posted an excellent video tutorial by Ross Shain that shows how to use mocha for FCP to track a blank business card held by talent and replace it with a logo. He even shows how to garbage matte around the talent’s fingers on the card, and quickly apply tracking data to that filter in FCP to make the logo replacement even more convincing. If you aren’t sure what mocha for FCP can do, or would like to get up and running quickly with the $199 software package, this video is a great start. Watch below.

Imagineer Systems has updated their popular software tool mocha for After Effects. With mocha v2, users can now:

*Export any resolution, per point variable edge width roto shape data in the mocha shape format
*Export tracking data as After Effects CornerPin with motion blur

mocha for After Effects v2 is compatible with AE CS3 and CS4, and immediately available at imagineersystems.com for $199 ($99 upgrade pricing).

A new tool they are introducing is called mocha shape for After Effects. shape is a plug-in that allows users to “import rotoscoping shape data directly into After Effects from any Imagineer Systems VFX tool.” For users that utilize multiple Imagineer tools, this should streamline workflows and eliminate unnecessary renders. Specific features include:

*The ability to paste any resolution roto shape data from Imagineer’s products to After Effects without rendering
*Variable, per point edge width feathering
*The ability to translate mocha layer names to After Effects compositions;
*High quality rendering
*Various blend modes
*Ability to render shape as cutout, color composite or color cutout

shape is also compatible with After Effects CS3 and CS4, and available at imagineersystems.com for $99.

Director and editor Paul Del Vecchio has created a fantastic video tutorial on how to convert 4:3 SD footage into 16:9 widescreen footage. He first shows how to accomplish this using Adobe After Effects, then later in Sony Vegas and other NLE’s using his free aspect ratio overlays. There’s quite a few handy tips along the way, and I personally found this to be an informative and helpful video tutorial.

We wanted to help host an HD version of the tutorial, and Paul has agreed to share it here at FreshDV. You can watch at FreshTV, or download an iPod version via the podcast feed. There are also 720p HD WMV and MP4 options linked below.

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For more info on Paul Del Vecchio, check out his blog and production website.

Render breaks are for slobs. This free script helps you get back to work, serf!Are you an Adobe After Effects user who can’t afford Nucleo Pro and doesn’t have the geek-cred to setup a command-line render? Then check out this handy After Effects CS3 freebie from Lloyd Alvarez. BG Renderer is a script that enables you to take whatever items are queued for render, and send them to render in the background. This allows you to keep working in AE even while you render your queue. You can get the script here.

On the subject of working faster in AE CS3, here are a few optimal setting suggestions to speed up those renders.

(via Flowseeker)

Editing Organazized has two great posts up with tips and tricks for getting the best-quality slowmo footage out of Final Cut Studio using Compressor. The first outlines the basic workflow, post #2 delves deeper into Compressor’s behavior at various retiming percentages and provides examples of the sort of results you can expect. In the footage for this example, best results degraded past 1/4 speed. At 25%, Compressor’s Optical Flow appears to preserve much more detail than what you can expect directly out of Final Cut Pro. Very informative articles.

We’ve mentioned Jeff Han several times here at FreshDV, from his first multi-touch demo at the 2006 TED event to his tech growing into a company and garnering mainstream attention. Well it’s time for another Jeff Han Multi Touch Update. Embedded below is the latest interview and video demostration. I can’t wait until we can get multitouch in the edit room!
Continue reading ‘Specialized Multi-Touch Interfaces Mature’

VideoCopilot has uploaded another great free After Effects tutorial, this instructional video walks you through simulating a dolly move through a car side window. Andrew does a really nice job covering every step along the way, from motion tracking the footage to creating an extremely realistic car window complete with reflections and sky color gradients. Very informative.

Ripple Training has a short and sweet video tutorial on how to save commonly used filters and groups of effects as Favorites for later re-use. Doubtless this is used by many FCP editors…I personally have found it to be extremely handy. However, I wasn’t aware that you can also save motion keyframes as a Motion Favorite, which can then be re-applied to clips or text on demand. Very cool, and very useful.

Here’s a quick tip for Final Cut Pro editors. It can really save you some clicking when you need to check which filters are applied to a timeline full of video clips.

*Double click the first clip you want to check, this will load the clip into the Viewer window.
*In the Viewer Window, click the Filters tab
*Using your keyboard Up/Down arrow keys you can now quickly jump between clips on that track.
*Rinse/Repeat for clips on a different track.
*This tip unfortunately does not work for audio filters, you still must double-click each clip to check those.

Here’s another fantastic Creative Cow video tutorial, this one on Simple Object Removal. You’ll need Adobe After Effects, Photoshop, and ObviousFX free CopyImage plugin (for both Mac and PC users).

Creating A Three-Dimensional World using Adobe After EffectsBill O’Neil has a detailed article up at Creative Cow on creating a 3D Arena environment in After Effects, something that is normally done using more traditional 3D modeling applications. He breaks down all the virtual elements of the world, how performances were captured on greenscreen, and dishes out some handy tips and tricks along the way. A very informative and useful tutorial.