… for Random Weirdness

Tip #807: Create Looped Video for Live Streams

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Loops fill time or background when you don’t have anything else to show.

Simple animated loops can solve several knotty post-production problems.

Topic $TipTopic

This article, written by Charles Yeager, first appeared in PremiumBeat.com. This is a summary.

You’ve probably seen video loops on so many live streams that you don’t even give them a second thought. Here are some common loop examples:

  • Pre-Roll Loops: These video loops play before a live stream begins to give viewers a chance to settle in.
  • Live Radio/Podcast: These loops provide viewers with something of visual interest when people/subjects aren’t on screen.
  • Animation Scene Loops: These are looping animation scenes, frequently used on lo-fi music channels and other music broadcast channels.

The link (above) has a step-by-step tutorial on how to create a looped video, including the software you’ll need, and look at some common video loop examples.


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… for Visual Effects

Tip #808: How to Change Adobe App Icons

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Application icons are easy to change – once you know where they are stored.

The old icons (top) and revised icons (bottom).

Topic $TipTopic

If you are one of the many, many people offended by Adobe’s bland – and darn-near-impossible-to-distinguish – application icons, Jack Roberts has written a step-by-step tutorial on how to change the application icons back to something more useful.

NOTE: This technique allows you to change these icons to ANYTHING you want – so feel free to let your creativity run amok.

I’d copy the steps here, but his tutorial is clear, well-written and clearly illustrated.

Read it here.


… for Visual Effects

Tip #810: Quickly Transfer iPhone Media

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Image Capture is fast, secure, flexible… and free!

Topic $TipTopic

In my weekly newsletter, last week, I illustrated a process to quickly and securely transfer photos or video from an iPhone to a Mac using Image Capture.

While many of us use AirDrop, Apple’s free utility, Image Capture, provides the following benefits:

  • Faster file transfers due to a direct, wired connection
  • More secure transfers. There is no risk you’ll send the wrong image to the wrong person.
  • Easier selection of multiple images
  • Directly transfer files to a specific folder, without transferring images to the Downloads folder first
  • Immediately delete media from your iPhone once it has transferred to your computer

I’ve used AirDrop, Preview and 3rd-party utilities. Image Capture beats all of them.

Here’s the link to my article.


… for Visual Effects

Tip #812: BorisFX: Tips to Improve Green Screen Keys

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Creating the perfect key starts in production; not post.

Screen shot from the BorisFX Guide to Green-Screen Keys

Topic $TipTopic

The folks at BorisFX (Continuum, Mocha Pro and Sapphire) have published a guide covering production techniques that improve green-screen key results.

It starts:

Think of all the top movies from the past decade. What do they all have in common? Epic worlds that are so stunningly realistic you feel like you are really there. These films are created in no small part thanks to the power of the chroma key and a visual effect artist’s ability to “pull a perfect key,” i.e. removing a subject from green or blue screen footage.

In this guide, you’ll get a brief history of the chroma key, how to prepare your green screen set to avoid common shooting pitfalls, a glossary of terms, and discover why Primatte technology delivers the best solution to accomplish seamless composites fast whether a subject is placed over live-action or a CG background.

Here’s the link


… for Random Weirdness

Tip #791: Tips for Better Battle Scenes

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Creating visceral battles only requires emphasizing basic tenets of filmmaking

(Image courtesy of Pexels.com)

Topic $TipTopic

This article, written by Jourdan Aldredge, first appeared in PremiumBeat.com. These are the highlights.

If you think about it, every battle scene comes down to one thing: one side wants something that the other side doesn’t want to give up — the high ground. A beach. A prisoner, information, or maybe a way home.

Fortunately, creating visceral battles in smaller film projects only requires some of the most basic tenets of filmmaking — world-creating, empathetic storytelling, safely performed stunts, and lots of simulated explosions.

Here are some tips:

  • Create an Accurate World. When it comes to classic battle scenes, you can’t do much better than the harrowing, large-scale sequences found in the Francis Ford Coppola horrors-of-war epic Apocalypse Now. And, while it’s a bit dated (released in 1979), its world building is by far the standard for great battles and impressive set pieces.
  • Long Takes Add Realism. Shoot long sequences that keep your viewers on the edge of their seats, trying not to blink. The long take sequence is a hallmark of many notable action, adventure, and war movies like Saving Private Ryan and The Raid: Redemption.
  • Compositing Stunts. Compositing action sequences in post is a great way to create highly technical stunts in a safe and controlled manner. This approach is perfect for anyone with limited production resources who needs battle, fight, and action sequences on a budget.
  • Explosion Sounds and Visual Effects. War and battle scenes have only grown more over the top over the years. However, an alternative for DIY filmmakers is working with explosive elements in the edit.
  • The Importance of Your Soundtrack. Background music highlights cinematic elements and heightens the narrative stakes. The right background music elevates individual scenes and adds an undeniable high-production-value sheen to your entire project. Don’t sleep on your soundtrack.

EXTRA CREDIT

The full article, linked above, has videos and links that illustrate this in much more detail.


… for Apple Motion

Tip #793: What Is a “Light Setup”?

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Light Setups provide a variety of placed and pre-aimed lights to shape 3D text.

A “Drama Top Right” light setup, with blue and purple colors added to the lights.

Topic $TipTopic

An element in the Object menu is “Light Setup.” What are these and how do we use them? A Light Setup is like having your own lighting grid and instruments that you can hang around any 3D object in Motion. Most of the time, this means 3D text.

In the screen shot, I created a 3D text clip, then applied grayish textures to the letters. In this case, I used Concrete > Sidewalk for the front and Plaster > Eggshell Plaster for the sides. (Using gray textures allows the greatest freedom in applying color using light.)

Next, in Inspector > Text > Lighting, I changed Lighting Style between different setups to see which one I liked the best.

For my example, given the shape and angle of the text, Drama Top Right worked great.

Finally, I selected each individual light in the Layers panel and changed color and intensity using Inspector > Light > Light Controls.

EXTRA CREDIT

Switching the light from Directional to Spot provides even greater control over fall-off and shading.

This is an effect you can play with forever, just like real lights, to get exactly the look you need.


… for Apple Motion

Tip #795: Rotate Text in 3D

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

3D Text can rotate and cast shadows on the text next to it.

3D Text with custom lighting, where each character is rotated invidually and casting shadows.

Topic $TipTopic

A hidden feature in Motion is the ability to rotate individual letters of 3D text. Here’s how.

We use Inspector > Properties to rotate the entire text element.

However, if you select the 3D text in the Layers panel, then go to Inspector > Text > Advanced and adjust Rotation, yo


… for Apple Motion

Tip #795: Rotate Text in 3D

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

3D Text can rotate and cast shadows on the text next to it.

3D Text with custom lighting, where each character is rotated invidually and casting shadows.

Topic $TipTopic

A hidden feature in Motion is the ability to rotate individual letters of 3D text. Here’s how.

We use Inspector > Properties to rotate the entire text element.

However, if you select the 3D text in the Layers panel, then go to Inspector > Text > Advanced and adjust Rotation, you can rotate each individual text character.

Not only does this give your text a different look, it also changes how it responds to different lighting directions. Plus, each letter can cast a shadow on the text next to it, adding depth and interest.

EXTRA CREDIT

To turn shadows off, select the text layer, then go to Inspector > Properties > Shadows and turn off Cast Shadows.


… for Visual Effects

Tip #792: Stunning Light Effects

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Fully-animated, colorful textures for multiple applications.

A lighting effect created by Spectrum, from Luca Visual Effects.

Topic $TipTopic

Recently, I was playing with the fascinating Spectrum plugin from Luca Visual FX. This generates fully-animated, full-screen light effects that can be used as backgrounds, illuminated text fills, or anywhere visually appealing, yet amorphous, backgrounds are required.

Spectrum is a bundle of two very customizable generators designed to create stylized light and color effects. Light Effect Generator can be used either to create unusual backgrounds or subtle overlays. Light Transition Generator allows the user to create freely interpreted quick light and color transitions over a given cut point.

Available from FX Factory, this generator supports:

  • Final Cut Pro X
  • Motion
  • Premiere Pro
  • After Effects

This plugin offers 1,400 (if I did my math right) different presets, plus tons of customization.

The plug-in costs $89 (US), however, a free trial is available to give you a chance to experiment. And, ah, giggle. This creates some very cool looks.

Here’s the link.


… for Visual Effects

Tip #796: Particle Illusion – the App – Now FREE!

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Particle Illusion – the application – is now free.

A screen shot from a Particle Illusion demo by BorisFX.com.

Topic $TipTopic

Particle Illusion – the standalone application from BorisFX – is now available and FREE!

The new Particle Illusion application makes creating real-time motion graphics and particles a breeze.

  • Fun, fast, and easy-to-use
  • 2500+ professionally-designed, drag & drop presets
  • Unlimited hardware-accelerated particles
  • Unlimited particle emitters
  • Add forces and deflectors to create organic movement
  • Lightning-fast renders with ProRes export
  • Integrated motion blur
  • Supports up to 8K projects

See the video, learn more and download here.