… for Visual Effects

Tip #1208: I Need Your Help

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

The Inside Tips encourages reader-contributed tips. Please share yours with us.

We don’t know what we don’t know until we learn it from someone else.

Topic $TipTopic

I want to encourage you to submit a tip or two for “The Inside Tips.” We all benefit when we take the time to share what we know.

The Inside Tips for Visual Effects is a Tip Letter focused on visual effects. This is a vast topic – far more than any single person can master.

Each of us, during our career, has benefited by learning from others – sometimes in a formal setting, more often in the course of daily work.

For this reason, it would be great if you could contribute a tip or two from your own experience. The Inside Tips are read in every state in the US, as well as 50 countries around the world.

Even the “simple things” only seem simple after we learn them.

Click this link to submit a tip…. And thanks!

Please rate the helpfulness of this tip.

Click on a star to rate it!

… for Visual Effects

Tip #1215: Create a Crash Zoom from Two Shots

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

A crash-zoom rapidly zooms from one shot to the next. Here’s how to do it in post.

A crash-zoom in action. (Image courtesy of PremiumBeat.com.)

Topic $TipTopic

This article, written by Jason Boone, first appeared in PremiumBeat.com. This is a summary.

The crash (or snap) zoom is a cinematography technique you’ll see quite often in big-budget films. Quentin Tarantino frequently uses it to snap the viewer’s attention to specific items on screen, such as the tip of a shotgun or the blade of a Hattori Hanzo sword.

Here are the steps to create this effect in post using After Effects:

  • Step 1: Capture a WS and a CU
  • Step 2: Align the clips so the object centers match
  • Step 3: Animate the Crash Zoom
  • Step 4: Cover up the cut
  • Step 5: Add Camera Shake

The great thing about this technique is that you can quickly add motion graphics elements, as the Crash Zoom is already animated separate from the layers. To add an element, just parent it to the Crash Zoom and switch on the motion blur. Some anime speed lines might work nicely here as well.


The article includes step-by-step instructions, along with two demo videos.

… for Visual Effects

Tip #1218: Free After Effects Courses from Adobe

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Simple steps to help build After Effects mastery.

After Effects composite (Image courtesy of Adobe, Inc.)

Topic $TipTopic

Adobe has created a series of courses to help After Effects users become more proficient. These include:

  • After Effects Get Started
  • Understand Layers
  • Animating Essentials
  • Paint, Clone and Rotoscope Layers
  • Build and Animate Custom Shapes
  • Isolate and Remove Objects
  • Export from After Effects
  • Beginner Projects

And many more. Each runs 2 – 10 minutes and all are free.

Here’s the link.

… for Random Weirdness

Tip #1200: Filmic Pro Adds 10-bit Dolby Vision HDR

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Filmic Pro has become an iPhone movie-making standard.

Image courtesy of NoFilmSchool.com.

Topic $TipTopic

This article first appeared in NoFilmSchool.com. This is a summary.

Filmic Pro is a versatile tool that is a must-download for any mobile filmmaker who wants more manual control over the native cameras found on smartphones. With v6.12.7 of the iOS app, it now supports 10-bit Dolby Vision HDR on the iPhone 12 series.

Whether you’re just starting out creating content or looking for a low-budget way to shoot your next short, FiLMiC Pro has the essential tools to help dial in your image. The intuitive app has options to adjust white balance, focus, exposure, resolution, frame rate, and even aspect ratio. Want to shoot 2.76:1 or 2.39:1? No problem, the app can do both.

If you’re looking for more advanced features, it has options for focus peaking, a histogram, zebra lines while supporting flat/Log gamma curves, anamorphic lenses (like the Blue Flare lens from Moment), gimbals from DJI, Movi, and Zhiyn, and Bluetooth microphones. You can even record using a clean HDMI output for livestreaming or to an external recorder. So, yeah, it’s versatile.

Dolby Vision is supported by Netflix, Amazon, and Apple iTunes, so it didn’t come as a big surprise when it was announced the iPhone 12 series supports it. The drawback to creating Dolby Vision HDR content is that you need a compatible display to watch it, so at the moment, not everyone is going to see your punchy blacks and sweet highlights. But at least as a creator you can start learning the benefits of HDR as an image pipeline.

The update is free to existing users. For new users, the app has a $15 price tag.


This article includes several videos showcasing Filmic Pro, along with a variety of supporting links.

… for Apple Motion

Tip #1195: Create a Watermark That Moves

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Watermarks are like a footnote in a book – used as a reference, not as the subject.

A sample moving watermark in Motion – tucked into the lower-right corner near Title Safe.

Topic $TipTopic

We first looked at watermarks, a logo that’s added to a compressed video, in Tip #1191. Here, I want to explain more about how to create a moving watermark in Motion.

Most watermarks are stationary – a logo that sits quietly in the corner of your video to identify the source. Stationary watermarks are easy to create in Photoshop. But, a moving watermark is more visually interesting and might fit the style of your video better.

  • Create a Motion project at the same size as the video to which you want to apply it. Motion creates all projects with an alpha channel, meaning that any part of the background that’s black is transparent.

NOTE: Apple Compressor allows you to scale the watermark to fit the source file, but this changes its size, position and resolution, which you may not want.

  • Add whatever text and animation you prefer (see screen shot). Don’t add drop shadows or fine detail, watermarks are designed to be semi-transparent. Go for clarity, readability and non-distracting colors.
  • Export the project as a movie, not as a Motion project.
  • Then, following the instructions in Tip #1191, combine it with your video using Apple Compressor.


Keep in mind that, while color is more interesting, be careful to pick colors that don’t clash too severely with your main movie.

… for Apple Motion

Tip #1196: Replicators Can Use Multiple Shapes

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Replicators duplicate selected objects into geometric shapes, then animate them.

A group of elements, each with different color and movement, all replicated.

Topic $TipTopic

Replicators are a great way to duplicate an element. What you may not know is that replicators can contain multiple elements.

To create a replicator, select it, then click the Replicate button in the top right section of the Motion interface.

Select the Replicator element in the Layers panel, then, adjust it using Inspector > Replicator. Basically, change something and watch what happens.

However, the key point is that a replicator is made from whatever you first select. If you create a group – as I did in this screen shot – then, select the group, all the elements in the group are then replicated.

Plus, each element in the source group can have its own style, position, color, and movement applied to it.

This makes replicators far more versatile than you might at first think.

… for Visual Effects

Tip #1201: Get Started with Nuke

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

The hardest step is getting started. Here’s a 10-video series that can help.

(Image courtesy of Foundry.com.)

Topic $TipTopic

Nuke is an industry standard compositing, editorial and review tool for single artists to full VFX houses. The hardest part of learning effects software is getting started. Foundry, the makers of Nuke, created the free “Nuke Studio for Beginners.”

This 10 video set takes just over an hour to watch and will get you started with basic editing, compositing and exporting in Nuke Studio. Designed for complete beginners and those new to Nuke, these tutorials describe the steps to make a simple project in Nuke Studio.

Nuke is different from more traditional effects packages found in most NLEs because it is node-based. As such, it takes some effort to shift our thinking into the possibilities that nodes present.

Both the tutorials and a trial version of Nuke are free. Here’s the link.

… for Visual Effects

Tip #1202: BorisFX Sapphire Tutorials

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Interviews, showcases and tutorials to get you started with BorisFX Sapphire.

(Image courtesy of BorisFX.com.)

Topic $TipTopic

Sapphire plug-ins, published by BorisFX, let you create stunning organic looks unmatched by any host native effect tools. Key features include over 270 effects and 3000+ presets, a powerful Effect and Transition Builder, and integrated tracking and masking with the Academy Award-winning Mocha. Sapphire’s superior image quality, control, and render speed offers massive time-savings.

BorisFX has compiled a series of artist interviews and product tutorials that showcase Sapphire and provide an orientation to how it works.

Here’s the link.

… for Visual Effects

Tip #1203: What is OFX?

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

OFX: Improve interoperability, reduce support and development time.

The Open Effects Association logo.

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OFX. Many visual effects tools reference this – but what is it?

The OFX Image Effect Plug-in API, is an open standard for 2D visual effects or compositing plug-ins. It allows plug-ins written to the standard to work on any application that supports the standard. It is widely used for visual effects and video processing and is supported by numerous hosts, including Assimilate, Blackmagic Design, Digital Anarchy, FXHOME, NewBlueFX, RE:Vision Effects and more.

Bruno Nicoletti of The Foundry created it in 2004. The OFX API was established because each developer had its own proprietary interface, so developers at different companies couldn’t work together or share code very easily. Developers had to create their own method of porting their plug-ins into each host, which, as you can imagine, can be expensive and time-consuming.

Out of this confusion, the Open Effects Association – and OFX – was born.

Here’s an article from ToolFarm with more details on which software supports it and what plug-ins are available.

… for Codecs & Media

Tip #1191: Create Watermarks That Move

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Moving watermarks can be created in Motion, then added using Compressor.

Watermark effects settings (top) and the inserted watermark (bottom)

Topic $TipTopic

We are all used to video watermarks, those small images in the lower right corner of a video that identify the source of the video. But, did you know those watermarks can move? If you use the right watermark, it can.

In Motion, create a project the same size as the video it will be added to. Position the watermark at both the size and position you want. Remember this video will loop so be sure the first and last frame match.

Motion automatically creates motion graphics with alpha channels, which means it will key into any video perfectly.

NOTE: I generally set watermarks to sit right at the lower-right corner of Title Safe.

  • Add a video to Compressor, then apply a compression setting to the clip.
  • Select the compression setting, then scroll to the bottom of the Video Inspector.
  • In the Add Video Effects menu, select Watermark (top red arrow).
  • At the bottom of the Watermark effect, click the Select button (bottom red arrow) and select the moving watermark you just created in Motion.
  • At the top of the Watermark effect, change Position to Center. This matches the framing of the watermark to the video.
  • If the watermark and the video are created at different frame sizes, check Scale to Frame Size to get them to match.
  • Finally, because the video needs to loop for the duration of your video, click Repeat (video only) to create the loop.


Any application that creates video with an alpha channel can be used to create moving watermarks.