… for Visual Effects

Tip #314: Faking a Stop Motion Effect in Premiere

Stop Motion can be faked using Posterize Time.

Search for Posterize Time in the Effects panel.

Topic $TipTopic

A longer version of this article first appeared in RocketStock.com.

As you are probably aware, it takes a bit of time to set up, shoot, and edit a proper stop motion shot. But, what if the video is already shot? Can we create a similar effect in Premiere? Yes, and here’s how.

In Premiere, select the clip you want to work with, then:

  • Open the Effects panel and search for “Posterize Time.”
  • Apply this effect to your clips.
  • Adjust the frame rate to between 8 – 12 fps. Try 10 fps as a starting point.

Done.

EXTRA CREDIT

This effect can be used for much more. For example:

  • Emulate the look of very old film.
  • Apply it to existing motion graphics for a blockier, chunkier look.
  • Create flashbacks, dream sequences, even a “drunken sailor” look.

Please rate the helpfulness of this tip.

Click on a star to rate it!

… for Visual Effects

Tip #316: Working with Vertical Phone Footage

Tips to coping with a 9:16 aspect ratio.

A vertical video example based on the settings in this Tip.

Topic $TipTopic

A longer version of this article first appeared in PremiumBeat.com.

Shooting vertical phone footage is a cardinal sin in film-making. However, that doesn’t mean we won’t be working with it in post. Here’s how.

The easiest thing to do is create two layers, zoom the bottom layer so it fills the screen, add some blur, and be done with it. The problem is that this doesn’t make the footage look very good.

Here’s a better technique:

  • Stack two copies of the same clip one above the other.
  • Using the Scale settings in your NLE, stretch the Y value, but leave the X (height) value alone.
  • Apply a Gaussian Blur and increase the amount a lot: say 70-100.
  • Lower the Opacity from 100% to 40-50%.

When you follow these steps, you end up with a more pleasing image, such as you see in this screen shot.


… for Visual Effects

Tip #176: 3 Better Chroma Key Tips

These tips improve how your actors look

A green-screen example.
As long as the background is evenly lit, you can light talent however you want.

Topic $TipTopic

This tip first appeared in Screencast-o-Matic.com.

It is impossible to over-state how important flat, even and well-exposed lighting is to creating a clean chroma-key. However, these three other tips also need to be considered.

  • Use separate lights for talent and background. The background needs to be bright and evenly lit top to bottom and side to side. The talent can be lit however your story requires. Never try to use the same light for both talent and background.
  • Avoid fly-away hair. Each strand catches green, which makes it flicker in the key. Bundle hair or put a hat on your talent.
  • Avoid wearing colors that match the background, unless you are looking for that “hollow body” look. Also, avoid clothing with closely arranged stripes or patterns. Herringbone and pinstripes are both no-nos.

… for Visual Effects

Tip #181: The New Area Brush in Mocha Pro 2020

Tracking is easy, selecting the shape is the really hard part.

The Area Brush in action, selecting multiple portions of a moving image.
The Area Brush in action, selecting multiple portions of a moving image.

Topic $TipTopic

New to Mocha Pro 2020 is the Area Brush with Quick Mask. Area Brush is designed to speed up and simplify Mocha shape creation for planar tracking and masking projects with simple paint strokes.

The power of the Area Brush is the ability to quickly create multiple add or subtract shapes on the same Mocha layer for advanced tracking. Here are some tips to use it effectively.

  • Select the Area Brush and paint on-screen If you have a Wacom tablet, the brush will scale based on pressure sensitivity.
  • Click on the Quick Mask button OR any other tool to convert your paint to spline and begin tracking.

Keystroke/Shortcuts

  • [ – scale brush radius down
  • ] – scale brush radius up

Subtract from the mask in Quick Mask Mode:

  • Alt + paint (Windows)
  • Option + paint (macOS)

… for Visual Effects

Tip #211: 5 Creative Ways to Use Mirrors on a Video Shoot

Mirror tricks to make your productions look bigger.

Image courtesy Shutterstock.com
Use a mirror to capture extreme low-angle shots. (Courtesy: Shutterstock.com)

Topic $TipTopic Jason Boone first wrote about this for Shutterstock.

Mirrors are surprisingly helpful on video shoots – and for far more than checking hair and makeup. As cameras get smaller, mirrors can help you get shots you’d otherwise miss.

Here are some examples:

  • Overhead rig. Put a mirror, rather than the camera, on a C-stand then shoot into it, using it for an overhead angle. A 45° angle tends to work best, because then the camera can shoot directly into it.

NOTE: Remember to flip the video in post to compensate for the reversed image in the mirror.

  • Low angle. Lean the mirror against a book placed on the ground for an extreme low angle.
  • Extra depth. Hang the mirror from a C-stand where the camera would normally be placed. Then, put the camera next to the talent and shoot into the mirror to get extra depth.
  • Fake background. Put the mirror near the talent and use it to create a fake background, if the actual background is uninteresting or objectionable.
  • Reaction shot. When using two or more actors position a mirror to show one actor reacting to another actor. This is a clever way to capture a reaction shot without using or cutaway – or wasting time in shooting a different angle.

EXTRA CREDIT

  • Remember to keep the mirror extra clean all the time.
  • Use a large mirror
  • Bring along an assistant to help with mirror wrangling.

… for Visual Effects

Tip #101: What’s the Difference Between Color Grading and Color Correction?

Both involve color, but in different ways.

Topic $TipTopic

The short answer is that color correction fixes problems, while color grading gives images a “look.”

Typical color correction involves:

  • Removing color casts
  • Setting proper highlight and shadow levels
  • Controlling any excessive highlights (speculars)

For example, the top image was color corrected to boost highlights and increase saturation.

Color grading, on the other hand, takes what we have done in color correction and tweaks the color and grayscale levels to match the story. For example:

  • Boosting saturation for a romantic comedy
  • Decreasing saturation for dystopian scifi
  • Removing color for a film noir

And so on.

Generally, you fix problems first, then create looks second.


… for Visual Effects

Tip #170: How to Capture Motion and Moving Subjects

Minimize blur by following these tips.

Avoiding blur is the goal of all action photos.
The more subjects move, the more blur in your photos.

Topic $TipTopic

Some of the best and most memorable moments in life are in motion. Unfortunately, digital cameras hate movement. Most of the time, moving subjects register as a blur on photographs. So how do you shoot moving objects? Here are some tips:

1. Shutter Speed

When the subject is moving and you want to take a shot of, say a basketball player getting the ball on a rebound, then you should opt for fast shutter speeds. You should use a shutter speed that is at least 1/500th of a second or higher. Keep in mind that faster shutter speeds require more light for a proper exposure.

2. Increase The Aperture

The aperture is the hole where light comes into your camera into the image sensor. Choose a low f-stop to open up the aperture and allow more light in. This will help you counter the low light you get from the fast shutter speed. Keep in mind that opening the aperture decreases depth of field, that is, the area in a photo that’s in focus.

3. Use a Flash

Using a flash with your motion shots is a good way to counter the low light conditions when using a faster shutter speed. It is extremely easy to correct dark photos by using your flash. Keep in mind that most flashes are very short range, so a single flash won’t light a gym.

4. Use a High ISO

Using a high ISO can help you increase the shutter speed and aperture of your camera without increasing the likelihood of getting blurry or dark photographs. However, using high ISOs usually results in a grainy picture with a lot of digital noise.

An extended version of these tips first appeared in PremiumBeat.


… for Visual Effects

Tip #177: Ten Tips for Better Slow Motion

Slow motion often makes scenes more intense.

An example of a slow motion shot.
Action and drama are both enhanced by selectively using slow motion.

Topic $TipTopic

This tip first appeared on Fstoppers.com.

Here are ten tips that can improve how you shoot and use slow-motion.

  1. Understand your subject. Slow motion is all about movement, and certain subjects do not lend themselves to being interesting in slow motion.
  2. Select a frame rate. Shoot at a higher frame rate than the project you’ll put the video into.
  3. Think about light. Faster frame rates require more light. In general, set the shutter speed to twice the frame rate.
  4. Emphasize drama. Slomo adds drama and intensity to intense scenes.
  5. Emphasize action. Cinema today uses slowmo to enhance action scenes.
  6. Emphasize death. in certain instances, the death of a main character or their impending death will be played in slow motion, which adds to the gravity of the situation
  7. Create alternative reality. Use slow motion to convey a sense of detachment from reality that helps your viewers distinguish what is real versus what is perceived based on your storyline
  8. Emphasize fear. Slow motion can emphasize the anxiety and terror of a dramatic moment.
  9. Use sound to match the motion. Use the sound recorded on set, then slow it down in the final mix to emphasize the slower visual motion.
  10. Use slow motion carefully. Like seasoning, use it wisely and food tastes great. Use too much and the food becomes inedible.

… for Visual Effects

Tip #173: 4 Tips to Better Chroma-Keys

Larry Jordan – https://LarryJordan.com

The first rule is great lighting. But, you also need more…

A green-screen example screen shot.
A good chroma-key requires more than perfect lighting.

Topic $TipTopic

This tip first appeared at NoFilmSchool.com.

The first rule of great keys is great lighting. But, there are other things you can do improve the quality of your keys. Here are four tips that can make your keys cleaner and easier.

  1. Choose the right background color. We pick green because it isn’t in skin tone and most of us don’t wear green clothes. But, when there’s green in the foreground, use blue. (Also, green is more reflective, which means it tends to contaminate your shots more.)
  2. Don’t overexpose the background. Both foreground and background need to be properly exposed.
  3. Avoid wrinkles and folds in the background. If you use fabric, iron it. If you use paint, paint on a very smooth surface. Both the background lighting and surface need to be flat.
  4. The less compressed the video codec, the better the key. Chroma-key looks for specific color values – and the first thing that gets compressed in any video format is the color information.

Ideally, when your lighting is flat and you follow these tips, you should be able to create a clean key with one click.


… for Visual Effects

Tip #117: Create a Custom HDR Effect

Larry Jordan – https://LarryJordan.com

Custom Effects Boost Efficiency

HDR plug-in from FCPeffects
This is the original FCPeffects plugin, with Dave’s custom version.

Topic $TipTopic

Dave Casselman writes:

I apply the HDR plug-in from FCPeffects.
from the Effects Browser to nearly every roping video I edit. But I always cut it back to about 40%.

That got me thinking that I maybe could find the setting in Motion to permanently make a copy that only worked at 40%. I opened a copy of HDR Tools in Motion and clicked around ’til I found the Overall Mix setting and moved the slider to 40%. Then I saved the copy with the new name of HDR 40% back into the Effects Browser along with the original. Then I made it the default shortcut. (See Tip #69)

Wow! I now have a really great shortcut.