Education & Inspiration

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After Effects Apprentice Video Tutorial #8

Setting up the motion tracker/stabilizer.

By Chris and Trish Meyer | August 03, 2009

Earlier this year we released After Effects Apprentice (2nd Edition). The DVD-ROM that comes with the book includes an hour and a half of video tutorials that provide gentle introductions to major features inside After Effects. We are releasing these videos one per month here on PVC; they are also being made available on Focal Press' web site - make sure you visit their After Effects micro-site for more related freebies.This tutorial will help you get started with setting up the motion tracker and stabilizer built into After Effects. Although this video uses AE CS4, the tracker's controls have been largely unchanged over the last several versions, so this will also be of use to those using other recent vintages of AE. The tracker in AE is much-maligned (and AE CS4 now comes bundled with mocha for After Effects as an alternative), but once you know the secrets of how the track points work and how to set its options, it works fine for a large variety of shots.(Note: For those who are hearing-impaired, has added Closed Captioning to these tutorials. They are available here. We are also in the process of creating video training for all of the After Effects Apprentice lessons; they will also appear on If you do not have a subscription, click here for a free 7-day pass.)After Effects Apprentice was designed for students looking to learn After Effects from scratch, as well as those who do not use AE full time (such as editors or web designers). It starts gently with an introduction to keyframing, and progresses through the important features (such as masks, mattes, effects, text, audio, 3D space, shape layers, expressions, parenting, and building advanced hierarchies of compositions) until you end up keying, stabilizing, and compositing a shot in high def. The second edition has been fully revamped for After Effects CS4, and includes integration with Photoshop CS4 Extended and Flash Professional CS4.The content contained in After Effects Apprentice - as well as the CMG Blogs and CMG Keyframes posts on ProVideoCoalition - are copyright Crish Design, except where otherwise attributed. Read More


Compelling Storytelling with a Short Video

Compelling Storytelling with a Short Video

How a 5-minute video has spawned a new career as a producer.

By Jeff Foster | July 31, 2009

One of the most important features of the current media explosion is the number of different channels someone has at their disposal to tell their story or sell their product - and we're not talking just cable or TV channels! Some are tempted to use the shotgun approach and merely replicate their message everywhere - print, video, web site, Twitter, Facebook, you name it - but the real winners are those who learn to use alternate media channels in a savvy and effective way to raise above the noise and effectively communicate to their target audience. That's where we come in: We help clients convey their message in a visually attractive manner. But this brave new world will take some education, both for us and for our clients. Read More


NorCal Digital Cinema Society Meeting Tonight, 6pm

For those who didn't get the message via the Cinematography Mailing List or Facebook, the Northern California chapter of the Dig

By Art Adams | July 23, 2009

We'll take a close look at the Canon 5D, see a lot of footage, hear from Canon rep Tim Smith, and see a demo of the Panasonic GH-1 presented by Ilya Friedman of Hot Rod Cameras. Read More


Bringing Video to the Masses - Part 1 of an Interview

An OpEd piece about web video

By Richard Harrington | July 23, 2009

Live from the Voices That Matter conference, San Francisco, author Richard Harrington discusses the factors that have caused online video consumption to grow exponentially over the past few years.You can also view part 2- here! Read More


fcp red soundtrack pro

RED+FCP: 3-channel Audio NG in STP

Yet another example of why you want to validate a new workflow on a small project!

By Adam Wilt | July 21, 2009

Just a quick note: I took a short piece shot on RED and sent the FCP edit into Soundtrack Pro. I found to my dismay that I was unable to apply almost any processing to most of the clips: no noise reduction, no add-on processing (as shown in the image). A bit of investigation followed: Read More


droidmaker history lucasfilm pixar rubin

“Droidmaker” available as a free download

Michael Rubin's historical tale of NLEs and CGI is available as three free PDFs!

By Adam Wilt | July 14, 2009

Michael Rubin, the author of several Mac and editing books, wrote a Lucasfilm/Pixar-centric history of the development of nonlinear editing and computer graphics for film production. The book, Droidmaker, gets rave reviews, as well it should: it's a great snapshot of the early days of NLEs and CGI, as well as the politics and soap-operatic dramas surrounding them, written by a guy who Was There When It Happened. You can download it for free, and if you want to add a dead-trees copy to your library, you can do that, too. Highly recommended! Read More


You’re never too old (or too smart) to learn something new

You’re never too old (or too smart) to learn something new

The new FXPHD term has started and I'm excited I finally signed up

By Scott Simmons | July 14, 2009

If you've never heard of FXPHD then you're either new to this whole film / video / production / post-production world or you just haven't been paying attention. I've been following the course offerings for quite a while now but have never signed up for a term ... until now. The July 09 term is starting this week and I am very excited. Read More


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HOW Design Conference 2009

What we learned about motion graphic design from a print conference.

By Chris and Trish Meyer | July 12, 2009

Why would someone brave mid-100 degree temperatures and high humidity to visit Austin Texas in the summer? To get a dose of creative inspiration, of course. But rather than being devoted solely to graphic design eye candy, we were surprised to find that the 2009 HOW Conference was also heavily slanted toward the topics of product design and marketing - as well as numerous talks on how to keep your own creativity fresh while dealing with both clients and management. Read More


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Netflix vs Redbox rivalry shaping up

Extensive Selection vs Instant Gratification

By Matthew Jeppsen | July 08, 2009

Have you seen those red kiosks at Walmart and McDonalds locations across the US? If not, you probably will soon enough. With about 15,000 existing locations in operation, Redbox is currently rolling their $1 DVD rental kiosks out at a rate of one per hour. Cinematech's Scott Kirsner has a post about Redbox and their competitor, Netflix. Both offer DVD rentals, but using distinctly different approaches. Netflix's DVD title selection is extensive, with over 100,000 titles to choose from. In contrast, a Redbox kiosk carries around 200 titles at a given time. The difference is instant gratification...Redbox is an impulse purchase, made at a location you are likely shopping or frequenting. While Netflix does offer instant internet streaming options, it's not always the same for folks who don't have a computer hooked up to their entertainment system. I've used both services before, and while I wish the instant selection of Redbox was more extensive, there is no denying the price point and convenience. They also allow you to order a DVD online in advance (ala Netflix), for later pickup at your local kiosk. I honestly did not see Redbox as that useful when I first used the service, but am finding that we use it more and more. Regardless of which you personally use, I think there is one thing we can all agree on...the good 'ole fashioned Video Store is all but dead. Read More


3d after effects cinema 4d integration mograph training

Making It Look Great 6 Review

Training for Cinema 4D and After Effects is "Cool Stuff" Indeed!

By Chris and Trish Meyer | July 07, 2009

Unless you've spent the past few years hiking the Appalachian Trail, you'll be aware how much 3D animation has infiltrated the broadcast motion graphics world. Not so long ago, being an accomplished After Effects artist was enough to land a good job, but now employers and clients are also looking for good 3D skills (and in this economy, anything that increases the chances of landing a plum job can't be ignored). Surveys by us and others indicate that Maxon's Cinema 4D is the 3D program of choice for After Effects motion graphic artists. In case there was any doubt, Cinema's MoGraph module sealed the deal. In our report from NAB, we blogged how small studios are successfully integrating Cinema and After Effects, so how fortuitous for us that Cinema master Tim Clapham has released a fabulous training series on just this subject. Making It Look Great 6: Design and Production Techniques for Cinema 4D and After Effects is the latest release from John Dickinson's company Motionworks. As Company Director of LUXX (and before that, HYPA), Tim Clapham' credentials are impeccable - so you know that this will be the best $89 you've spent in a long time... Read More


cmg color fashion predictions trends

Seeing the Future - In Color

What are the "in" colors this year? This group knows...

By Chris and Trish Meyer | June 30, 2009

We're still recovering from the HOW Design Conference in Austin last week, where temperatures hit 107. After the ice packs melt, we'll post a summary of interesting things we heard there. In the meantime, for those who have color-focused jobs (or color-fussy clients), you may be interested in the work of the Color Marketing Group: a global consortium that attempts to determine what the hot trends in color for various market segments will be in different parts of the world. Click here to see their predictions for 2009 (white for business, blue is the new green, etc.). They also have a free weekly newsletter of color trends and ideas. Read More


Please label tapes and disks: An open letter to DPs, camera ops, DITs

Please label tapes and disks: An open letter to DPs, camera ops, DITs

Just a simple label of format and frame rate will tell the editor a lot about what is on the tape or disk

By Scott Simmons | June 26, 2009

Man, there are a lot of high definition formats out in the world today. Just to spell them out would be a dizzying array of letters and numbers. 720p, 1080i, 23.98, 30p ... this list could literally go on and on so I won't even attempt a partial list other that what I have above. Just take a look at this HD format chart. That's a lot of different formats and it doesn't even take into account the different flavors of a particular format that camera manufacturers often come up with on their own.With that in mind this PVC post is an open letter to all DPs, ACs, camera ops, DITs, anyone and everyone associated with the camera department to please label their tapes and hard drives with the usable, relevant information of shooting format and frame rates, codecs and cameras so post-production will at least have an idea of what is being handed to them. Read More


Black Glimmerglass and Hollywood Black Magic Filter Tests

Black Glimmerglass and Hollywood Black Magic Filter Tests

A camera assistant extraordinaire puts two new lines of diffusion filters through their paces

By Art Adams | June 23, 2009

World-class camera assistant Mako Koiwai recently shot a camera test with two new sets of diffusion filters: Black Glimmerglass from Tiffen and Hollywood Black Magic from Schneider Optics. He compared them to diffusion filter sets that he has in his own collection, which includes Tiffen Soft Effects and Schneider Classic Soft filters. Read More


ascap bmi istock performance license royalty free stock music sync license sync rights

The Case of the Two Licenses

"Royalty-free" music may still require a performance license.

By Chris and Trish Meyer | June 18, 2009

A question came up recently about what sort of licenses are required when marrying music to motion graphics (or any imagery edited or animated in time with music). It so happens there are two, which you may or may not need to worry about: Read More


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Diffusion Confusion

What you need to know about glass filters in the digital age

By Art Adams | June 16, 2009

Digital filters are awesome for post image manipulation if you have enough bits to throw away. Glass filters, though, work at the highest resolution possible, in the camera head itself, and you'll never have a better image to tweak than that. Read More


Web video: The Top-Ten Things I Wish I Knew About Final Cut Pro…Ten Years Ago.

Great video full of good tips for the new Final Cut Pro user

By Scott Simmons | June 15, 2009

I don't know how I missed this video when it was posted back in March at the great editing blog Suite Take ... but I'm glad I found it now! The Top-Ten Things I Wish I Knew About Final Cut Pro…Ten Years Ago Read More


ex1 ex3 f35 fabrics far red filter hot mirror infrared nd sony

Using the ND .90 Filter as a Preproduction Tool

Spot problem fabrics with an ND filter and a flashlight!

By Art Adams | June 11, 2009

During my last round of far red filter testing with the Sony F35/EX1/EX3, director of photography and testing cohort Lenny Levy discovered that far red contamination could be seen by eye under tungsten light simply by viewing fabrics through an ND .90 filter. Read More


3 tools for panning and zooming in Final Cut Pro

3 tools for panning and zooming in Final Cut Pro

The Ken Burns effect isn't just for iMovie

By Scott Simmons | June 11, 2009

Today a friend asked me what's the best option for creating the Ken Burns style effect for panning and zooming around a still image in Final Cut Pro. Of course iMovie actually has the Ken Burns effect that can be applied but in FCP you need a third party plug-in to do this properly. Sure you can import a still image and use the built-in Scaling via the Motion tab but if you've ever tried to have nice smooth ramps into and out of moves then you know it's a pain. There are alternatives. Here's 3 of varying price and complexity.

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Online Video Delivery with Kyte

Online Video Delivery with Kyte

Producing Video Podcasts host Rich Harrington Interviews Kyte about their video hosting network and features

By Richard Harrington | June 04, 2009

Author and video podcaster Richard Harrington discusses online video distribution with Cody Smith from at NAB 2009. Read More


after effects animation presets autoscroll banner motion tile offset scroll ticker tickertape

After Effects Tips 5: Going for a Scroll

Techniques to easily create scrolling banners, ticker tapes, and other graphics.

By Chris and Trish Meyer | May 30, 2009

It seems such a simple idea: a banner scrolls across the top or bottom of your comp, repeating the same few words over and over, and doing so seamlessly for as long as you need. Here's how to create such an animated banner in After Effects, using either the Offset (or Motion Tile) effect or the Autoscroll animation preset. If you have After Effects CS4 and would like to follow along, download the CS4 project file: Read More