… for Random Weirdness

Tip #881: Starting a Motion Graphics Studio

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

“Know what you’re getting into before you start.”

“Being Brilliant” is not enough. (Image courtesy of Pexels.com)

Topic $TipTopic

This article first appeared in MotionArray.com. This is an excerpt.

MotionArray interviewed Yesael Sumalave, owner of Witness, about starting a motion graphic studio. They talked about how he decided to open a studio and what you have to think about before jumping into running a motion design business of your own.

Topics include:

  • Getting Started
  • Industry Insights
  • The Business Itself
  • Advice for Artists
  • Favorite Work

As Yesael says: “Really think about it, and think about all of the things that go into running a studio. You won’t just be sitting around making art. You have to deal with clients. You have to deal with managing talent. You have to deal with billing and a lot of other things that aren’t art-related. … Know what you are getting into before you start.”

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… for Random Weirdness

Tip #880: Insights on Being a Producer

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Making films is a business. The Producer is CEO.

Film set image courtesy of Pexels.com.

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This article, written by Jourdan Aldredge, first appeared in PremiumBeat.com. This links to five video interviews with industry producers on what it takes to step your career up to the next level.

Interviews feature:

  • Mark Heidelberger
  • Toby Halbrooks
  • Christina Sibul
  • Bonnie Curtis
  • John Paul Rice

I really like John Paul Rice‘s comment: “Start from the end. Start from the very end and work your way back. Don’t start here and go forward without knowing where you’re going to end up… It’s a clear objective of where you should be at this stage. It should be a logical conclusion because everything should flow forward as it flows backwards, as well. You won’t miss anything that way.”

Jourdan’s article summarizes the interviews, then links to them so you can watch them yourself.

… for Random Weirdness

Tip #879: 5 Key Corporate Video Client Types

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Every client is a steppingstone to more work.

Production image courtesy of Pexels.com.

Topic $TipTopic

This article, written by Jourdan Aldredge, first appeared in PremiumBeat.com. This is an excerpt.

Let’s break down the five most common clients in corporate video production, and explore how you can prepare for their on-set and post-production needs.

By investing in your clients, it’s easier to turn them into partners (and even friends) who you can work with as if you’re on the same team. In fact, I’d say that anyone interested in corporate video production should make it a serious goal to get to this “same team” mentality with their clients. After all, the best client, as they say, is the one who keeps coming back to you.

  1. One-Off Productions. These clients can be found on all your job boards, industry specific forums, or even from word-of-mouth recommendations. Take these projects when you can, but always push to turn them into bigger roles in the future. My advice is to show up, do great work, be positive, and try to talk with the highest-level stakeholder you can find.
  2. Event and Live Streamers. These are by far the most boring — and often the most logistically challenging — of the video projects you might be called on to produce. They can also be the most consistent and lucrative. My advice for these types of clients is to work early and often to make your video services a holistic part of their events.
  3. Social Media Marketers. It’s been reported that over 78% percent of people are watching videos online every week, and 72% percent of customers prefer learning about products or services through video. As such, many of the corporate video opportunities you’ll find moving forward are going to be specifically focused on social media video content.
  4. In-House Production Support. It’s no secret that companies up and down the Fortune 500 create a lot of video content. However, the idea that their in-house resources include enough people, gear, and time to handle all of their video needs is naive. A solid point of contact within the marketing or production department of a big-time company can quickly become your best client. If you do good work and make their life easier, they’ll call you whenever they need more support.
  5. The Creative Branding Partners. This might be the best client of them all. You should work to ensure that every single one of your previous clients views you and your company this way. At the end of the day, clients are going to come back to you because they have video needs, but also because they like you, respect your work, and trust you to deliver a quality product.

The link at the top has more examples and links to videos.

… for Apple Motion

Tip #878: Get More Space for Layers

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Adjusting Layer height is a simple way to help manage larger projects.

A composite showing the nested rectangle, then, below, the slider it reveals.

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At the bottom of the Layers panel is a nested rectangle shape. Here’s what it does.

Click the nested rectangle (red arrow in screen shot) and a small slider appears.

As you drag the slider, the height of each layer in the Layers panel is scaled vertically.

Click elsewhere to hide this slider.

… for Apple Motion

Tip #877: Avoid Problems – Change This Setting

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Changing the default shortcuts for keyframe animation reduces mistakes.

The Command menu in Motion.

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Since it’s first release, Motion has used A to activate keyframe recording. Clearly, the Motion team did not talk with the Final Cut team, because A is the most used keyboard shortcut in Final Cut to select the Arrow tool.

NOTE: Instead, Motion uses Shift+S to select the Arrow tool, which just makes no sense.

You have three options:

  • Leave keyframe recording as A and expect this to screw up most of your projects.
  • Change the Command set from Motion to Final Cut. This removes the shortcut from Record Animation, which forces you to click the red circle itself when you want to record keyframes. However, this change does not affect the shortcut for the Arrow (Selection) tool.
  • Open Motion > Commands > Customize. Search for “Record” and change the shortcut to something safer, such as Control + A.

Pick whichever works best for you. For me, I changed command sets.

… for Apple Motion

Tip #876: Hiding Keyframes in Motion

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Animation generates a ton of keyframes. This menu helps you see what you need.

A composite of the keyframes section and the Animated/All menu.

Topic $TipTopic

Keyframes are essential for many effects in Motion, because they provide the instructions on how to animate movement or an effects setting.

But, sometimes, there can be just too darn MANY of them. Here’s how to get them under control.

  • After applying keyframes to an element, select the element in the Layers panel.
  • Open the Timeline (Shortcut: F6}.
  • Click the Animated menu on the left, about halfway down.
  • Select the setting with the keyframes you want to examine/modify/delete.
  • Only those keyframes will be shown in the window.

… for Visual Effects

Tip #887: Current Examples of Mixed Reality

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Mixed Reality combines both AR and VR into something more “real-world.”

Image courtesy of pexels.com.

Topic $TipTopic

When I first read the Pixotope press release, I didn’t know such a thing as “mixed reality” existed. (Clearly, I have been living under a rock.)

So, I started searching.

AcademyXI.com defines “mixed reality” as: “a combination of multiple advanced technologies, primarily Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality.”

Microsoft’s Hololens is a good example of an existing, commercially available Mixed Reality device. It is a holographic computer you wear around your head, with lenses over your eyes that project holograms you can manipulate and interact with as though they existed in your physical surroundings.

“Unlike AR that simply overlays digital elements on the physical space without considering its unique and changing composition,” AcademyXI writes in their blog, “MR devices constantly gather information about the surroundings. This information will then be used to seamlessly place digital content and information on the physical space and allow the user to interact with it.

“Unlike VR,” AcademyXI continues,”you don’t disappear into the digital world, the digital world goes to you.”

They then illustrate several current and near-term uses of Mixed Reality.

  • Healthcare and Medicine. In addition to physician and medical student training, with MR, first responders can also better prepare for work scenarios safely and without risk, making them better prepared for these stressful situations. MR also helps PTSD patients through controlled exposure in a safe environment and at their own pace.
  • Education. Experiential education is one of the most effective learning and teaching tools. Through Mixed Reality, students are able to interact with what they’re learning. It’s not just visual, audio, or traditional learning methods that will enable students to learn, but actual experiences that promote deeper, immersive learning.
  • Gaming. There is great potential for Mixed Reality in gaming, unlocking an experience that combines the intense and impressive worlds in video games into the actual environment. It has the potential to gamify fitness, as Augmented Reality had done as evidenced by the Pokemon Go phenomenon.
  • Retail and Business. With MR, stores can give customers unprecedented information as they walk through the aisles, empowering customers to make informed and confident purchases without the need for assistance. They can also experience a product or a service before purchasing.

Here’s a link from AcademyXI to learn more.

… for Visual Effects

Tip #886: Explaining VR, AR, and Mixed Reality

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

VR, AR and MR will all be part of our story-telling world – we just don’t know how… yet.

Image courtesy of PTC.

Topic $TipTopic

Rumors abound about Apple’s work in Augmented Reality (AR). Another article in this newsletter talks about Mixed Reality. And we are currently wrestling with how to tell stories using Virtual Reality.

Industrial enterprises are transforming the capabilities of their workforce with audiovisual technology that blends the physical and digital worlds together. Connected workers can now overlay digital data within the context of the real world in order to process information in a way that more effectively maps to the relevant learning and memory systems in the brain.

Technologies like augmented and mixed reality are helping enterprises scale knowledge faster, but with so many products, solutions, and concepts hitting the market it can be hard to keep up with all the different terminology used to describe them.

Written by Greg Kaminsky for PTC, this article briefly defines:

  • Augmented Reality
  • Mixed Reality
  • Virtual Realty

Here’s the link to his article, along with links for more information on each of these topics.

… for Visual Effects

Tip #885: Pixotope Unveils Mixed Reality Advances

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Improved interactivity between the computer and actors is a highlight.

The Pixotope logo (image courtesy of The Future Group).

Topic $TipTopic

The Future Group, creators of live photo-realistic virtual production system Pixotope, unveiled its latest Version 1.3 software last week featuring a wide range of advances that significantly improve how virtual environments interact with real-world elements.

Pixotope enables the production of mixed-reality content by bringing together physical components such as presenters, actors, props and free-moving cameras, with virtually created assets such as scenes, graphics, animated characters, or any other computer-generated elements. Pixotope forms the central production hub when creating mixed-reality content for broadcast and live events, with Version 1.3 offering new object tracking, powerful lighting integration, enhanced colour management and more.

A major advance in Pixotope Version 1.3 is the ability to easily utilize and integrate data from real time object tracking systems. This allows Pixotope to use the position of moving tracking locators in the real-world environment and attach them to digitally created objects, so that those objects can be made to follow the tracked motion. This in turn enables presenters to freely pick up and rotate graphics or any other virtually generated asset, opening limitless creative possibilities. From showing a 3D model in the palm of their hand, to controlling any aspect of a virtual scene with their own physical movement, presenters and actors become free to interact with the virtual world around them.

Here’s a link to the Pixotope new features website.

… for Codecs & Media

Tip #884: Include Transparency in HEVC Video

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

HEVC supports transparency, if you know how to create it.

Be sure to check Preserve Transparency when creating an HEVC movie.

Topic $TipTopic

Dan D. found a way to make much smaller files with alpha channels using the HEVC codec. This is a process that Apple introduced just  last year, and it’s only supported on devices running iOS 13, tvOS 13, or macOS Catalina; or later.

The can be used for any video created in any Mac application that includes transparency. Here’s how:

  • Go to System Preferences > Keyboard. Click the Services category on the left, then enable Encode Selected Video Files on the right.
  • From any video application, export a project that contains transparency directly using the ProRes 4444 codec.
  • In the Finder, right-click the resulting .mov and select Services > Encode Selected Video Files.
  • Wait a few seconds for the next menu in the screen shot to appear.
  • Choose HEVC from the menu and pick the frame size that matches your project. Click the check box that says Preserve Transparency.

The resulting movie will be much smaller and retain the transparency information. This technique will work for any video that contains transparency, but requires macOS Catalina or later.

Here’s a tutorial from my website that describes this in more detail.