… for Random Weirdness

Tip #1798: Product Reviews of the Un-reviewable

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

NewsShooter reviews the production gear you never knew existed.

Yup, it’s the Røde Thread Adapter

Topic $TipTopic If you are looking for product reviews of production gear that go way, WAAY deeper than cameras and big-name software, check out NewsShooter.com.

On the current home page of NewsShooter, you’ll find reviews of:

  • Camera cages
  • Lighting brackets
  • Monitors
  • Lenses
  • Focus pullers
  • Thread adapters

Thread adapters? How can you find enough words to fill a review of “a handy little device that can be attached to bags or other equipment so you always have a set of thread adaptors with you.”

But, they do.

This is a fun website for the geek in all of us.

Here’s the link.


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… for Apple Motion

Tip #1803: Why Use B-Spline Curves?

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

B-spline curves are always curved and smooth.

A B-spline curve, with a cyan-colored chalk style. Control points are the red dots.

Topic $TipTopic

I was reading several technical articles about when to use B-spline curves. While they make good points, here’s the key thing you need to know.

A B-spline is always a smooth curve. Unlike a Bezier curve, which can have corners or curves, B-splines are always smoothly curving from beginning to end.

This means that if you have problems drawing smooth curves, as I do, B-splines come to your rescue.

To draw one:

  • Click the small arrow next to the Pen tool and choose B-spline.
  • Then, start clicking in the Viewer. As you do, a curve is instantly created.
  • Drag a red control point to change the shape of the curve. The shape will change, but it will ALWAYS be a smooth curve.
  • Click the starting point to create a closed curve, otherwise, you’ll create an open curve by default.

EXTRA CREDIT

Open the HUD, assign the curve a width, then click the Shape Style icon at the bottom of the HUD to assign a style to the border. This image uses Traditional > Chalk Easy with the border set to a cyan color.

NOTE: For shape styles to appear, the border width needs to be enabled and greater than 0.

This concept is the same for B-spline masks: always a smooth curve.


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… for Apple Motion

Tip #1793: Motion Generators Offer More Options

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Final Cut Generators are the most flexible Motion template.

The Final Cut Generator logo in Apple Motion.

Topic $TipTopic

A Final Cut Generator is the most flexible of the four Final Cut templates in Motion. While Effects, Transitions, and Titles have very specific functions, a Generator can be anything.

Use Generators to create animated backgrounds, bulleted text, visual effects… anything.

Final Cut Effects are always applied to a clip. Titles are always superimposed over the clip below it. Transitions blend between clips. Generators are standalone media clips which can be used in conjunction with other clips, or stand on their own.

If you have a specific use in mind, select Effect, Title or Transition. If you aren’t sure, Generators provide the widest variety of options.


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… for Visual Effects

Tip #1800: Use Unreal Engine to Re-create Nature

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

The Unreal engine can make the artificial look natural.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com.

Topic $TipTopic

In this screen shot, the terrain (hills, mountains, etc.) was fully sculpted in Unreal Engine with the landscape editing mode, using brushes to sculpt, smooth, and flatten areas in the map.

The landscape material and the vegetation were created with the Brushify toolkit. Finally, the props—rocks, cliffs, and manmade materials—are the result of customized elements and assets from the Megascan library by Quixel.

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

In this first article of a three-part series, we’ll learn how to produce stunning, natural compositions in Unreal Engine. In particular, we’ll focus on aspects of planning an environment while making an eye-catching, well-balanced composition.

Here are the key points this article covers:

  • Planning the Environment. One of the biggest challenges while creating natural environments is to plan your scene from the start. Begin with big and bare areas and then develop the details in those macro zones by adding vegetation, assets, and so on.
  • Sculpting Terrain and Set Dressing. Unreal Landscape offers a series of tools for sculpting maps and adding scattered elements like flowers, grass, or anything else you want to import as an asset in your engine.
  • The Importance of Biomes. The art of compositing a good environment is also connected with the presence of biomes: a sort of habitat for organisms and the related terrain characteristics. This way we can have different zones—forests instead of grasslands, desert, etc.
  • Shot Composition: Thinking Like a Photographer. Once you’ve created your own landscape, you want to showcase your work in its best light.

Other subjects include:

  • The Choice of an Appropriate Vantage Point.
  • Low-Angle Shots
  • Depth of Field
  • Positive and Negative Space

That brings us to the end of the first article of a three-part series. We explained how to plan a 3D environment and how to collect photo references with details. We then moved on to talk about the sculpting in Unreal Engine and set dressing with the support of Brushify.


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… for Visual Effects

Tip #1792: Free & Paid Plug-ins for After Effects

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

AEJuice provides free & paid plugins for After Effects and Premiere Pro.

The Motion Lovers logo, image courtesy of AEJuice.com.

Topic $TipTopic

Recently, Jacob Syrytsia, co-founder of AEJuice contacted me about his company. AEJuice provides hundreds of free and paid plugins for After Effects, plus hosts the world’s largest motion graphics community.

AEJuice is a team of motion designers and software engineers that create tools for animation. It was founded in 2015 by Jacob Syrytsia and Mark Duval.

They currently offer a bundle for Premiere Pro consisting of dozens of effects, sound effects, transitions and other elements. They also host “the world’s biggest motion graphics community: ‘Motion Lovers.'”

Here’s the link.


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… for Visual Effects

Tip #1799: The Craft & Culture of Motion Design

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Bi-weekly episodes on the craft and culture of motion graphics.

Austin Shaw (top) and Erin Sorofsky (Image courtesy of Between the Keyframes.)

Topic $TipTopic

Motionographer.com reports that “Between the Keyframes” is a new vidcast hosted by Erin Sarofsky and Austin Shaw, two formidable experts in the motion design industry.

Austin literally wrote the book on motion design (“Design for Motion: Fundamentals and Techniques of Motion Design,” Routledge, 2nd Edition, 2019) and is a sought-after educator and freelance creative director and designer. Erin owns Sarofsky, a studio that puts into practice all of those foundational principles while navigating the crazy tides of an exciting, ever-changing industry.

Online at https://betweenthekeyframes.com, the vidcast is now available via YouTube, Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, Spotify, and wherever you get your podcasts.

Already live with episodes exploring “The History of Now,” “Work from Home,” and “Passion Projects,” brand new episodes are debuting biweekly on Tuesdays. The next installment will cover “Fulltime vs. Freelance,” with part one dropping on July 13, and part two on July 27.


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… for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Tip #1791: Free & Paid Plug-ins for Premiere Pro

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Dozens of effects, transitions and fonts for Premiere Pro

Image courtesy of AEJuice.

Topic $TipTopic

Recently, Jacob Syrytsia, co-founder of AEJuice contacted me about their free plug-ins for both After Effects and Premiere Pro. They have hundreds to choose from. Learn more.

AEJuice is a team of motion designers and software engineers that create tools for animation. It was founded in 2015 by Jacob Syrytsia and Mark Duval.

They currently offer a bundle for Premiere Pro consisting of dozens of effects, sound effects, transitions and other elements.

Here’s the link.


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… for Apple Final Cut Pro X

Tip #1794: Two Shortcuts to Create Still Frames

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Still frames, unlike Hold frames, create separate media that can be easily moved.

A still frame, applied as a connected clip.

Topic $TipTopic

Every week, as I edit my webinars, I need to create still frames to hide an edit or cover a mistake. A Hold frame won’t work because I need separate media to adjust its position in the timeline. Here’s how to do this using just two keyboard shortcuts.

  • Put the timeline playhead on the frame you want to use for the still frame.
  • Type Shift + F. This creates a match frame between the clip in the timeline with the master clip in the Browser. Specifically, it moves the playhead in the Browser to match the frame in the timeline.
  • Type Option + F. This edits the frame under the playhead in the Browser as a connected clip at the position of the playhead in the timeline.

I use this technique in virtually every project I edit.


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… for Random Weirdness

Tip #1786: 5 Ways to Turn Your Camera Vertical

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

These five mounting systems assure steady vertical shots.

Wooden Camera Vertical Plate (image courtesy of PremiumBeat.com)

Topic $TipTopic

This article, written by Tanner Shinick, first appeared in PremiumBeat.com. This is a summary.

If you’re at all involved with full-time or freelance content creation, then it’s likely someone is asking you (with ever-increasing frequency) to produce vertical video. And that means it’s likely you’ve been asking yourself: “What are the best ways to mount a camera vertically?”

Here are five of our favorite answers in the form of products that will make shooting vertically a breeze.

  1. Tripod with 90-Degree Tilt
  2. UURig Vertical L-Bracket
  3. Manfrotto L-Bracket Q2
  4. Wooden Camera Vertical Plate
  5. Portrait Mode on Ronin RS2

The article illustrates all five options, and provide links to learn more.


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… for Random Weirdness

Tip #1787: Directing Advice From the Best

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

This short video packs a lot of advice into a very short time.

Noah Baumbach (left) and Taika Waititi.

Topic $TipTopic

This article, written by Jason Hellerman, first appeared in NoFilmSchool.com. This is a summary.

Every time I talk to a filmmaker, I try to ask about the one lesson they wish they knew when they were coming up. It’s so important to listen to the generations that came before and to seek out advice whenever possible.

Noah Baumbach is an American filmmaker who received two Academy Award nominations for writing The Squid and the Whale and Marriage Story, both of which he also directed. Taika Waititi is a New Zealand film and television director, producer, screenwriter, actor, and comedian. He is the recipient of an Academy Award, BAFTA Award, and a Grammy Award, and has been nominated for two Primetime Emmy Awards. David Fincher is an American film director whose films have received 40 nominations at the Academy Awards, including three for Best Director.

Here’s the link to a YouTube video compilation of these three directors sharing advice to new and practicing directors.

NOTE: The video only runs 2:25.


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