Archive for August, 2008

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Link Dump: Keying

August 28, 2008

Alright, this one’s going to be really quick because it’s 11:30 in a series of late nights and early mornings and I’m trying to beat the pre-sleep hunger and save it for morning. So, here goes…

We’ve been doing keying in school a lot recently, so while investigating that, I decided to collect resources and share them with you here tonight (did you notice I’m back on schedule? :P). So, first off, Videomaker.com had an article on The Keys To Chromakey, basically a how-to for greenscreening, covering the basic production theory and offering some suggestions for equipment and tools. The ABCs of Chomakeys also looked good. Also, while searching through the site, I discovered their collection of video tutorials I didn’t know they had. Score!

Moving right along… of course I always check out After Effects tutorials, having some sort of fascination with the application, legally owning it myself, and loving the guys who make the tutorials I’ve found, and so I found this very useful tutorial about light wrapping around your greenscreen subject. Breakdown: basically what happens when you shoot something is light from behind the subject will bend around that subject, leaving little traces of the background on the edges of that subject. You’ll notice it the most in silhouette shots, where the edges seem semi-transparent. During a green/bluescreen shot, this happens just the same as normal, only since you’re keying out the blue/green in post, you often key out the egdes or parts of the subject with those shades of blue/green on them. Which is clearly a problem. This tutorial offers some tips on creating a preset to help you with fixing this problem and creating realistic light wrapping based on the new background image you’ve replaced your blue/greenscreen with. Nice long tip there from me… that one’s free :P. Following in the After Effects vein, this was just a cool little note I found for Mac users, getting a color picker while inside the AE interface. It sounds like a great help for motion graphics creators. Less for compositing work, but still a useful tool if you’re on a Mac.

Another AE link is this site, its list of tutorials being somewhat cool, the summer-to-winter effect was pretty decent, and their Hand Scanner and Aurora Borealis tutorials were pretty cool too.

Alright… into the more industry-friendly stuff… Shake tutorials. I found a nice trio of Shake keying tutorials using Keylight, which actually also ships with After Effects now, so some of this stuff might be useful there too. I wasn’t watching in that frame of mind though, so I couldn’t say for sure. All three parts are good, the audio’s just really low, so you’ll have to listen carefully with loud speakers (or headphones). Thanks to CreativeCow.net for those.

On the last – but not least – note of this post, is a new episode from Photoshop For Video about saturating reds in images without exceeding broadcast/video limits. Good stuff.

Enjoy the new stuff, and I’ll be back as always on Sunday with some new showcase stuff for you guys. Happy filmmaking and good luck keying. Send in commenst or questions or test footage if you like, I’d love to see something.

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Showcase: Threesome :P

August 26, 2008

I know, I know, naughty me. Oh well :P. Today (and this time I have no excuse for the lateness of this post) I have a trio of showcase postings. So get ready, it’s going to be a wild ride.

First up, a short film I found while searching for another one I’d heard of a while back but couldn’t find. This is called The Date, and stars Rose Byrne, of 28 Weeks Later, Sunshine and Damages fame, among many others. It’s an Australian short flick, and further confirms my opinion that Aussies just know how to make good, entertaining movies.

WARNING: There’s a tiny bit of profanity in this one. If you’re a little kid you’d better have some huge-a$$ earmuffs ready. 😉

The Date (short film) starring Rose Byrne

Second on the list was a reenactment of The Dark Knight
trailer…by some little kids. It was funny and entertaining (and
actually surprisingly accurate) enough that I decided I had to post
it. It also embodies the attitude of no-budget filmmaking quite well.

No earmuffs needed.

The Dark Knight (kids version)

And lastly, but certainly not least(ly), is a short film entitled Ending The Eternal that I found perusing my brother’s Rue Morgue magazine while vacationing at his house. It’s a short vampire flick (good points from me), done well (more points), with a very clear low-budget style and attitude about it (more points). Written, directed and edited by Justin McConnell, it has potential, and I’d be curious after this to see what happens with his career in the field.

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Link Dump

August 23, 2008

Alright, I know it’s late, but it’s the first week back at school, getting back into the swing of things, and, quite frankly, feeling more like spending as much time away from the computer as possible, given the amount of time spent on it while at school. Nonetheless, here’s my promised post-after-vacation (which was a great one, by the way).

To start it off with, this article, which I might have posted before, is all about The Dark Knight‘s effects, and offers some pretty crazy insight into the making of the thing. I’m heading off to see the IMAX version tomorrow. Should be fun. Next up in industry-related articles, I found but haven’t read this interview with Simon Reay, DP on the show Man vs. Wild (which I love), which should be interesting.

Among more indie resources, I came across this site, a sort of database of free sound effects. I know nothing of its value or quality or library, but it’s always nice to have one more place to look for that hard-to-find sound when you’re in a crunch. As always, IndyMogul came out with a few new episodes, and apparently are doing a steampunk combo episode with Threadbanger soon, which I’m pretty psyched about. One last thing I actually found quite a while ago but researched again for possible involvement is MobMov, a mobile movie theater group that basically promotes and premieres films in public places via projectors on cars and creating a mini drive-in theater. Sounds great, though their groups in my areas have always been small or nonexistent (though this is the only actual city I’ve been in while trying to get involved). Definitely worth checking out.

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Link Dump

August 7, 2008

Alrighty, here’s another installment of the Link Dump, which I’m thinking about making a weekly piece, along with the Showcase segment I’ve been doing. So, first up, I’ve mentioned my fondness of Robert Rodriguez, his life and work on this blog a few times, so naturally an article about him caught my eye last week, just after posting the last link dump. It’s an interesting interview: pretty brief, not too expressive, but interesting nonetheless. I actually spent about three hours this morning looking through VFX job listings in the US and Canada, just to scope out the field a bit, and had trouble finding any kind of listing or contact info for Troublemaker Studios. Their site was incomplete, but new, so maybe there will be something up soon. I’m not getting my hopes up about working there as a junior though, but eventually, it’d be a pretty sweet job.

Anyway… on to more new stuff… I discovered Action-Cut-Print!, home to The Director’s Chair Ezine, an online magazine for filmmakers and directors. I haven’t personally read any of the articles yet, but it looks like a good resource, maybe something to accompany Judith Weston’s Film Director’s Intuition I picked up a couple years back and haven’t gotten around to reading yet.

I found this article (and this one which I just found, while searching for the links) on the gorgeous Burma short that Shilo made, causing my whole VFX class to drool every time we watch it. It’s also got a nice specific case study/general principle feel to it, so you can read it from either perspective (or both) and appreciate what it has to say however you please.

In brief news, VideoCopilot wasn’t saying goodbye to the world, just to the old website, and ushering in a new age of tutorials, as many of us suspected, accompanied by a new short cuts episode that helps get After Effects even closer to a 3D simulation package, without any expressions. It’s a pretty obvious tip, but I hadn’t actually thought about how to do this until I saw the tutorial. Also, a post of the a possible next tutorial topic?

I also found a few more technical things to throw at you. In case you’re wanting to monitor your system while working, maybe to check a program’s workload or a rendering’s impact on system performance (or whatever other reason), this might come in handy. Also, Adobe’s open (as far as I know) platform AIR has a ton of applications coming out recently that seem like a mix between web-apps and desktop-apps… that all run on a desktop (meaning non-web-based) system. A lot of them are ways to integrate your web life with your desktop life, combining the two into one cohesive digital component of your life. So, this one seemed like a good idea, as a way to store and share files online and access them in a nice, simple-looking interface. It struck me as a great way to showcase daillies to distant clients, share project files with distant collaborators, etc. Another one that looked like it had potential was Klok, a time-management app that might help keep track of projects and manage your workloads with multiple projects going at once. Celtx is still my favorite for schedule film shoots, (though I haven’t tried out Klok yet), btu this seems like it has quite a bit of freelancing potential.

Alright. Well, that’s it. For this week. As I mentioned in last week’s post I’m going to be on hiatus for a week, I’ve got a week break from school and am only bringing my laptop along to check on some personal things every few days. However, I’m going to try to stay away from the computer as much as possible during my time off, so I can really have time off and take advantage of that fact. However, have no fear, I’m sure these links and whatever else they lead to will tide you over for two weeks, and I promise when I get back I’ll have more fun stuff to post about and continue the stream of resources. Enjoy, have a great two weeks, and I’ll see you all when I get back.

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Showcase: Chainsaw Maid

August 5, 2008

I know I’ve got a taste for fun-gore flicks, but this has got to be admired for its painstaking claymation alone. As you know, claymation is stop-motion with clay, and is brilliantly hard to do well, given the subtleties of motion and the detail of the clay objects themselves. Imagine trying to keep a story, performances and production value while concentrating on all of that! However, since I naturally love movies like Planet Terror and The Machine Girl (a better article’s here, with a trailer here), I was recommended this video by a friend. I was shocked and amazed to see all the gorey hilarity in stop-motion clay, with all the cheese of a great Grindhouse-esque zombie flick.

Also, a minor edit on the last Showcase post, Lifehacker has posted an interview with actress Felicia Day, and the full Dr. Horrible short film is available courtesy of Hulu.com on the interview page.

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Link Dump

August 1, 2008

Heylo everybody. It’s been just over a week and I’ve amassed a pretty impressive collection of links since the last post. From always good ones to some new random finds I can’t quite vouch for yet, I’ve got a bunch of stuff. So let’s get started…

Firstly, Adam Wilt is full of good info. Unfortunately, I haven’t had much chance to read much of it yet, but every time it’s recommended it comes from someone with experience and knowledge in the industry. Next, via VideoCopilot (which recently posted this, raising questions and suspicions) I found this article (on the admittedly questionable resource Wikipedia) on match moving and motion tracking in filmmaking. I haven’t read it, but I’ll be covering that in school next semester, and with our final projects piling up right now and only a week left before their due dates (and our first break of the year!), I’ve got very little time. Since we’re talking about compositing, I found the VTC site, which has tons of tutorials and training DVDs (the link’s for Apple’s Shake, which we use here at school for compositing) and whatnot for sale, but they’ve also got some free chapters of their DVDs online, which may prove useful for anyone with holes in their knowledge, or wanting to brush up on some skills. It’s worth taking a look, anyway, as they’ve got wide ranging catalog.

Next up, while doing some research on drop-frame time code and NTSC (maybe at some point I’ll post about how little sense I can make out of using that standard), I found this site which had a pretty long looking video glossary, which is always useful. Speaking of reference, I’m sure I’ve posted this at some point in the distant past, but filmmaking.net is always a good site for pretty random filmmaking related facts. Similarly, DV.com seems like a good resource the few times I’ve glanced at it, but it was down at the time of this posting. Check it anyway though and comments if you find it’s back up.

Later on, while having a discussion at the StickToWhatYouKnow forum about camera stabilizers, I was pointed over to Videopia, and discovered that Eric from the beloved-but-now-defunct DJTV maybe have found a new gig, unless it’s a temporary or occasional type deal. Either way, it was cool to see him doing something again.

Ahh… alright, a few more. Back while searching through After Effects sites, I rediscovered ae freemart and redefinery via maltaannon’s blog, which looked like a great place for more technical AE tips and info. You know, the good stuff.

Of course, IndyMogul has come out with new stuff, I already mentioned VideoCopilot’s mysterious new post, and we’ll find out what happens with that. So, that’s all I’ve got for now. I’ve got a few things thing hovering in my tab list but I want to check them out before I post about it, and you can check out my Amazon wishlist to see a bunch of new film- and video-related books I added the other night, if you’re interested.

Also, there will be a showcase post coming up soon, but that just might be the last post for a bit. I’ve got a break from school starting next Friday, so I’m taking that week off. From everything. However, there’s at least one good post left in me before that, and even then it’s only a week and I’m back on (a rudimentary) schedule. Enjoy the links, leave feedback, additions to the list, etc.