Posts Tagged ‘choices’

New Editor Portfolio Live

Jake's Editing & Cinematography Portfolio

Slowly but surely the subsite redesign is coming together.

Go there and check it out by clicking here!

The editing reel itself is still a work in progress at present as some of the included clips will contain never-before-seen snippings from Choices.  Now how’s that for drama?  Check back for updates . . .


New Motion Graphics Portfolio

In conjunction with my 2010 motion graphics demo reel, I did an overhaul of my online motion graphics portfolio.  Here’s the link

This is part of the annual overhaul of my portfolio sub-sites that I plan on completing in the next few months in an effort to simplify my website by making the subsites all one page portfolios to reduce the clutter of multi-page mini-sites.  I used jQuery for the first time with this one and found it surprisingly robust and easy to work with.  More to come!

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.

Skeleton Key

Pulling the Perfect Key

If you’re anything like me and you often find yourself flush with multiple green screen clips, the solution for a perfect key is not always clear. This is especially true when you either were not present for the filming or have multiple shots from different cameras and different angles that have to be smoothly edited together. Small things like lights being moved between shots, shooting on different days, a green screen not hung high or low enough, or the pesky errant object someone forgot to move off the set can lead to hours of frustration when it comes time to pull the key.

Almost all visual effects programs out there from Blender to the proprietary software of specialty effects studios offer the ability to key out green or blue screen footage for post-production enhancement. Personally, I find that I prefer two programs – After Effects and Fusion – to do the job quickly and efficiently (most of the time!). Fusion’s Ultrakeyer has saved me many times from a lengthy masking process and most of the time provides a decent color correction result all in the same tool, but, more often than not, I always seem to look to After Effects for my keying needs.

In After Effects, much like any other visual effects program, there is more than one way to pull a key. Color Key, Luma Key, and Keylight are just some of the base effects plug-ins that ship with the software, but ,when you add 3rd party offerings such as BCC Chroma Key from the Boris Continuum Complete suite or Primatte from Red Giant, things can begin to get a little overwhelming. Having tried just about every keyer I can get my hands on in the After Effects realm, I’ve come to the conclusion that the perfect key really depends on the clip and even clips from the same shoot may require completely different keyers to produce a desired result.

This keying flexibility has recently played a major role in the large amount of green screen footage that I have been working on for my independent film Choices. Due to weather, the availability of actors, and the lack of desired locations, we had to do more green screen shots than I would have liked, but, in the end, you just have to make it work as you can.

The process, thus far, has utilized Keylight, Primatte, and BCC Chroma Key to varying degrees with the results proving to be more than satisfactory. I have found that by creating effects combinations of Remove Grain, Saturation, Levels, Curves, and Colorama with the aforementioned keying plug-ins and saving them as animation presets in After Effects, the process can be streamlined to an extent. This approach of developing keying presets within After Effects has allowed me to focus more on the minor tweaking for each shot as well as the inevitable rotoscoping that always seems to come into play despite anyone’s best efforts.

So there really is no skeleton key that can pull or promise the perfect key for your green or blue screen footage, but taking the time to set up a few presets and making minor adjustments to them can really streamline the process and allow you to spend even more time with everybody’s favorite post-production nightmare – rotoscoping.

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