“The beginning of purpose is found in creating something that only you understand.”
The risks I took were to create a video that attempted to draw on everything we’ve learnt during the last two months, making After Effects the backbone of this video and recording live footage, something I’ve not done much before. These helped me to develop my skills in After Effects and helped me to further memorise the skills we have been taught in areas such as Sound Design. In the future, I can apply the new effects I’ve learnt in After Effects to a wide range of projects, but more importantly it’s a stepping stone to learning a whole lot more about the program. Moreover, it is also a stepping stone to learning more about using cameras and recording live footage as well. I can research this further by doing short courses on After Effects on sites like Udemy.com and Lynda.com, and by also learning off people who do know a lot more about After Effects. As for cameras, I can do Wednesday workshops, and also just start using my camera more and learning off the internet. The one thing I would do differently next time is film from different camera angles.
For this task, we could do anything we want… as long as it has a connection, however tenuous, to an Aesop’s Fable. However, we were encouraged to explore areas we aren’t so comfortable with, or haven’t done at all, as opposed to stick to our strengths.
Originally, I wanted to look at the meaning behind one of the Fables as this is the kind of video I’ve been wanting to do for a year or so now, and I thought that this task could kick-start my own ‘informational’ videos. However, upon reading some of the Fables I soon found out that this idea wouldn’t work in this particular case because of how short and to the point the fables are.
I went back to the drawing board. I knew the area I wanted to brush up on specifically was After Effects as I haven’t used it in a few months and it is the one program I’ve always told myself I want to master, but at the same time I wanted to try apply as many of the skills we’ve learnt the last few weeks as possible.
The idea I came up with in the end, with the help of my brother, was applying a Fable to a modern day situation. I decided on ‘The Old Hound’ and applying this Fable to a usually reliable journalist who is for once late on filing in his section of a newspaper. As I couldn’t draw on any actors, I decided that telling the story using text messages on screen, in a Sherlock Holme’s esque style, would be really cool and help me cover the After Effects side of things.
What I did:
To start with, I got my brother’s friend (who once worked in theater) to narrate the ‘The Old Hound’ Fable so I could use this in the video. The next day, with my brother’s equipment still out from his podcast recording with his friend the previous day, I got him to help me set up a camera and his Zoom H6 microphone opposite where the subject (me) would be sitting. We actually changed rooms to get better lighting after a few takes, so the room in the BTS video wasn’t actually where we recorded.
We rehearsed what I’d do a couple times in a few takes, then did it for real with my brother directing so we didn’t get any timings wrong.
With the narration and footage now done, I could finally start editing.
I started off with adding in the text effects with After Effects. Cut short, I found the iPhone speech bubbles online, put them inside After Effects, animated them, added in the text, animated the text and then added in some motion tracking so the text moved with the phone.
For the phone music player effect: I found all the icons used online, put it together using Photoshop, put that mockup into After Effects and animated it so it looked like it was actually playing something. The slide and touch gestures you see were made using shape layers in After Effects.
The last thing to do in After Effects was the Sherlock Holmes sketchbook effect you see just before the narration kicks in, very basically again: this was done by drawing a random mask using the pen tool, adding the ‘roughen edges’ effect, fiddling around with the settings of that effect, and animating the mask expansion so the mask animates in. Then it was just a matter of downloading a paper texture and applying this, plus the mask effect, to the part of the video I wanted to apply it to.
I then went to Premiere Pro where I started to assemble everything together, with the clips I edited in After Effects replacing the original footage. I also had to work on the sound as I had my brother directing me what to do in the original footage. I cut out all the times he spoke, only leaving in the parts where I put my phone down for example, and then download a room ambience sound effect to go underneath the parts I left in so it could fill the gaps. I also recorded some wind noises for the narration part of the video. Really, Premiere Pro was just used to assemble everything together so I can’t go into much detail.
One mistake I made during the making of this was to do the effects in After Effects first. This meant that when I came to colour correct the footage, it was also changing the colour of the text boxes. This obviously creates more work as it means I’ll have to colour correct the footage inside Premiere Pro, re-load that footage back in After Effects and then re-export the footage from After Effects.
EDIT (Colour Correction):
I found some time to colour correct the footage after my mistake.
- Cinematic black bars can still be seen under the sketch effect.
- The font looks very stock.
- Eyes drawn to the bright spot in the video. The bright spot (due to the lighting) combined with the lines on table that seem to lead towards the bright spot cause this.
- Think more about composition when doing short films.
- Very powerful.
ExpertPhotography. (2018). Photography for Beginners: A Complete Guide (Updated 2018). [online] Available at: https://expertphotography.com/a-beginners-guide-to-photography/ [Accessed 11 Dec. 2018].