Archive for September, 2010

Carter Train Museum Promo

Just completed this video to promote the George L. Carter Train Museum at ETSU.  I originally intended for this project to incorporate alot more 3D elements, but, after going the the footage multiple times and pumping out multiple renders, it just seemed more effective to simplify the project and allow the footage to promote itself rather than focus on the packaging.  Additionally, I broke this project apart from the short-form documentary about George L. Carter because I felt that the tone of this piece was much “lighter” and I didn’t want to compromise the Carter historical project in order to make them fit together.

As to the credits – the footage was filmed by Jason Jones, Josh Elliott, and Andrew Simmons of the Office of eLearning at ETSU and the opening clip of the train was provided by John Fleenor of the Archives of Appalachia.  The onscreen talent included Kodi Ledford, ETSU president Paul Stanton, museum director Fred Alsop, and various members of the Mountain Empire Model Railroaders (the group that sponsors and maintains the museum).  I performed all post-production duties with Photoshop, Illustrator, Final Cut, Premiere, After Effects, Cinema 4D, Audition, and SonicFire Pro.

Choices the Film – Official Teaser

YouTube Preview Image

The teaser went live yesterday on the Choices main site, YouTube, Vimeo, and MySpace and the responses so far have been favorable.  This project incorporated alot of different techniques that I have been working with recently including advanced expressions for text animation in After Effects, Mocha tracking, extreme slow motion with Twixtor Pro, and color grading with Magic Bullet Looks.

The AE expressions experimentation that I created with the transitionary motion graphics in the teaser was really interesting.  During my research, I came across a couple of resources by John Dickinson and Harry J Frank that greatly assisted me in developing the jittery type animations seen between the live action clips.  I would highly recommend anyone interested in achieving a similar look reference John Dickinson’s site – – or Harry J Frank’s site –

I have begun the transition to Mocha for all my 2D tracking and I am really impressed with the robustness of the 2.5D planar tracking system as opposed to the point based tracker in After Effects.  As a workflow option, it really allows for a much more forgiving experience than I’ve ever encountered in terms of footage stabilization.  As I move further into the post-production of Choices, I’ll revisit this topic and try to give a more in-depth review on the comparison of point-based and planar-based tracking workflows in AE.

Twixtor Pro and Magic Bullet Looks also proved to be amazing in terms of ease-of-use and high quality results.  I would recommend, however, that, if you are working with full HD 1080p footage and above, pre-render your footage with one plug-in and then apply the other in a separate render as running both in one comp can slow your computer to a crawl if you don’t have at least 8 GB of RAM installed (8 GB seems to be a kind of performance threshold when dealing with HD footage, by the way.  More on that in a later post!).

All in all, I’m pleased with the teaser as it stands and it’s nice to have an identity for the film as a whole, so here goes the credits.  The onscreen talent includes Powerful Laud Marcus, Andrew Simmons, Archie Fitzgerald, Quatro Jones, and SunnM’Cheaux.  I filmed all the footage utilized in the trailer with a Sony HDR-FX1 and a Sony HXRNX5U.  All postwork was done by myself with the aid of Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects, Twixtor Pro, Magic Bullet Looks, Mocha, Audition, and Sony Acid.

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