Here’s a neat little trick to add realistic background objects to your footage in Adobe After Effects. In this case, I wanted it to seem like the footage was taken in the lobby of the client’s office. This could work for things like posters, hanging artwork, or logo plaques. Check it out.
Cinemagraphs are little looping animated videos that are actually pretty simple to make, especially if there isn’t any movement in the scene.
In this quick tutorial, we’re going to add a video on a polaroid in about 10 minutes using Adobe After Effects. I’ve provided the source files to get you started.
Ok, so let’s get to it. First I took a picture of a Polaroid of my wife and I. I know, I know, we’re cute.
Next, I found the video that I wanted to use as the looping video on the Polaroid. I used a night timelapse that I shot last year of the Austin 360 bridge. Finding a reason to recycle old footage is always fun.
Next, import both of them into After Effects and make a new comp with the Polaroid image. You can do this by dragging the Polaroid image onto the “new comp” icon in the project window.
Next, with the pen tool, carefully draw a mask around the picture on the Polaroid. Add a slight feather of 10 to the mask. And expand the mask a bit with the “mask expansion” parameter.
Next, add your video under the Polaroid image layer and make the video layer 3D. The reason we do this, is so we can rotate it to match the angle of the Polaroid. Scale the video down and rotate it so it fits in the Polaroid. Notice how the guide box roughly matches the edge of the Polaroid.
Next, let’s add some depth of field and blur the edges so they look out of focus. You could do a couple things to achieve this. The way we’re going to do it is by adding a camera to the comp and use the built in “Depth Of Field” parameter on the camera.
So, create a new camera by going to “layer/new/camera” (option, command, C). You can use the 80mm preset since that matches the focal length that the actual image was taken.
Now, we need to enable “Depth Of Field” and set the focus distance to the timelapse layer. Twirl down your camera options in your timeline, or press AA to show them. And enable “Depth Of Field.”
Now, to automatically set your focus distance to your timelapse layer, we need to select both our camera and our timelapse layer, then go to “Layer/Camera/Set Focus Distnace to Layer.” Make sure both your camera and the timelapse layers are selected. You can select multiple layers by holding command.
Nice. Now, let’s adjust our depth of field to match our shot. By bringing up the “Aperture,” it will make the focus plane narrower. And by bringing up the “Blur Level,” it will increase the blur of everything that’s not in focus. Play around with these two parameters until it matches. I landed on Aperture: 960 pixels and Blur Level: 250%.
Now we’re rocking. To add some final touches, I added a “Vintage FX” preset to bring it all together. A GIF isn’t a real GIF without a vintage filter. I added this to an adjustment layer so it affects both the Polaroid picture and the timelapse video. You may have to brighten up the timelapse footage so you don’t loose too much detail in those shadows.
GIF’s are better when they’re short and when they loop seamlessly. Let’s make it 3 seconds long. And let’s adjust our timelapse video so it loops seamlessly at 3 seconds. Basically, split your timelapse layer at 1.5 seconds by going to “edit/split layer” (command, shift, D). Then drag your beginning layer to start at 1.5 seconds. Drag the other layer to start at the beginning. Then fade the top layer out so it fades into the bottom layer. And set your work area so it’s only 3 seconds long.
Boom! Now export it and convert it into a GIF. The easiest way (that I’ve found so far) is to use an online tool called “GIPHY.” But, you’re only limited to a few seconds and the converted GIF’s are tiny. If that’s ok with you, then great, use GIPHY! If you want more control, you can use Photoshop’s “save for web” tool. It’s kind of finicky, but it works.
That’s it! You just made a cinemagraph. Now make sure to show your friends and tell them you found a magic Polaroid from the Harry Potter world. I’m sure they’ll totally believe you. If you have any questions or maybe additional tips that would make this better, post them below.
Dead pixels are annoying. I made a simple little Adobe After Effects preset to fix dead pixels.
When you apply the effect “Dead Pixel Fixer,” there are 2 adjustable parameters in your effects panel. Pixel target and pixel size.
Pixel Target: select the position of the dead pixel.
Pixel Size: adjust the size of the dead pixel area.
That’s it! To fix more dead pixels, simply add the preset to your footage again at the bottom of the effects list. You can download by clicking the download button below. To add the preset to you Adobe After Effects library, add the downloaded “.ffx” file to your presets folder. Additional instructions are in the “read me” file included with the download.
In this quick video tutorial, I show how to add atmosphere in Adobe Lightroom. This is a technique that I often use when adjusting photos taken with backlighting from the sun. I do this by using the graduated filter tool in Adobe Lightroom. This little tool is powerful for adding a splash of style to a specific section of an image.
Here’s a neat little Premiere Pro preset I made that animates text on and off.
I recently made a promo that involved many text layers that were animated on quickly. You can watch that video below.
The preset basically keyframes the position and scale of the text for 5 frames. There are 2 presets included. ON and OFF.
Instructions to import presets: In the Effects window, right click on “Presets” and click “Import Preset.” Navigate to your downloaded file named “Scatter Transition.prfpset.” Then, simply drag the preset onto your text layer.
Cineblur Light Leaks add the perfect amount of style and flare by overlaying real lens flares and light onto your footage.
This filmmaking pack includes 100 real light leaks in 4K resolution that are each individually designed and created to make your footage look naturally and stunningly beautiful. We filmed each of these leaks with various professional and vintage lenses.
- 100 Handmade Clips
- 4K Resolution
- Instant Download (9 GB)
- Satisfaction Guaranteed
Download a free sample pack by clicking the button below.
Each clip is completely customizable and works perfectly in any editing software that allows blend modes. Simply overlay the desired light leak over your footage and adjust the blend/transfer mode. Check out the tutorial video below for more info.
We see it all the time on social media and commercials. Yes, it’s overused, but it looks pretty cool. I usually refer to it as “The Hipster Fade.”
The effect is very subtle, but it gives the blacks a sort of ‘milky’ or ‘creamy’ look. Instead of the black level being set all the way down to 0, the hipster fade brings the black level up to about 10 or 20. You can see this effect happen with the man in the background. In the original image, his black pants are very dark. With “The Hipster” fade applied, his pants get brought up a bit with all the shadows in the image. The opposite happens with the highlights. The whites in the image are brought down very slightly.
This effect is very similar to simply lowering the contrast, but it has slightly different characteristics because It basically crunches the dynamic range of the image by bringing up the shadows and bringing down the highlights while still preserving the original contrast.
The great thing about the “Hipster Fade” is that it usually doesn’t effect the skin tones much at all. As you can see in the examples above, the man’s face is at the same level in both images.
I have a few presets that I use when I want to achieve this effect. And, like always, I’ve provided the presets for you to download and use for free. These presets are for Premiere Pro (CC or above). If you would like to create your own, the images below are the curves effect that I used. Play around with the curves to get what you are looking for. If you’re not familiar with the curves effect, now is the time to learn it. It’s a great all-around color grading tool.
Click the button below that says “DOWNLOAD”. Please note, these presets are only available for Premiere Pro (CC or above).
Cineblur Gradient Overlays are perfect for adding color and style to your footage. These gradient overlays will help your footage stand out and get noticed.
Gradient Overlays includes 26 HD 1080p colorful animated gradient clips to overlay on your footage.
Gradient Overlays are each uniquely animated and created by hand to help add a light and happy feeling to your footage. They also allow you to layer multiple gradients for endless visual possibilities. Simply add the gradient clip above your footage and change the blend mode to screen, overlay, or any other mode to get the look you want. You can also customize the style of the gradients by adjusting parameters such as the hue and opacity to get the exact style that you want. The possibilities are endless.
These overlays are super simple to use and work in any editing software that allows blend modes, such as Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro, Sony Vegas, you name it!
If, for some reason, you haven’t subscribes to Adobe Creative Cloud yet, Adobe is offering a 40% discount for new subscribers. So, instead of paying $50 a month, you’ll only be paying $30. Seriously, jump on this deal people!
Check out these videos to see what’s new in the CC apps. New features are included in Premiere Pro, After Effects, Photoshop, SpeedGrade, and more.
Premiere Pro CC
After Effects CC
Chad Whisnant tweets in and asks, “What bitrate do you export with?”
@cineblur What bitrate do you export with?
— Chad Whisnant (@VideoWiz19) April 15, 2013
When exporting, you usually refer to the bitrate of the video in Megabits per second. Don’t get Megabits confused with Megabytes. They are not the same thing. Megabits, or Mb (lowercase b), are used when referring to transfer speeds. Megabytes, or MB (capital B), are used for file sizes.
These setting are what I use when exporting for web streaming. When exporting a 720p video, I use 5 Mbps. When exporting a 1080p video, I use 10 Mbps.
I find that using the “auto” bitrate feature takes longer to export and creates larger file sizes with more compression. So, using auto bitrate is an all-around bad idea.
Simple. If you stick to those guidelines when exporting for web stream such as Vimeo or Youtube, your video will look great while still maintaining a small file size. Keep in mind, if you are exporting for broadcast or other outlets, your bitrate will vary. Always ask them what their preferred settings are.
I do a lot of technical directing in my church’s productions. I also have the privilege of teaching newer directors the basics of directing.
I figured I would share the 3 main tips that I teach all my new new directors. This article is great for new directors, and also good for experienced directors who just like to read random people’s rambling articles.
3 tips for Video Technical Directing in a live church production
When working in a live church production, there are many roles required to pull everything off. One of the most important roles in the video department is that of the technical director. The technical director is the person calling shots and putting up the camera feeds on the big screen. They’re kind of a big deal, so it’s very important that the director is trained and always on-point with the flow of the service.
The point of a live video production is to convey the worship atmosphere to anyone watching the video. The viewer needs to feel like they are part of the live congregation and get a similar worship experience. So, how do you, the director, accomplish that?
Before we dive deeper into directing, we need to get a few things out of the way first, and this is very important. Your camera operators need to be trained and comfortable behind the controls. I understand, your camera ops might be volunteers, but they still need to know how to operate and do their job well enough to be able to use their creativity. They need to be able to compose and frame a shot without being told exactly how to. They also need to be able to “keep up” with director’s lingo during the service. This will all make your job, as the director, much easier.
That being said, there are three simple tips that I tell new directors to always keep in mind.
1. Always be thinking ahead.
This is one of the most important and obvious things that a director needs to know. As the director, it is your job to know what is happening before it happens. If there is a solo coming up, you need to have a camera ready on the soloist BEFORE they start the solo. If someone is about to speak from stage-left, get a camera on them BEFORE they start speaking. You need to always be one step ahead and think about where your cameras need to be to capture the moment.
Although your camera ops need to have the same mindset and be ready for the next move, it is ultimately your responsibility not to fall behind the action. Run-throughs and rehearsals are crucial for directors. When watching rehearsals, you get to see where everything is happening and how to best capture the moment. When I direct, I have a service order in front of me for the entire service. That way, nothing sneaks up on me.
Usually, you will have access to the worship set before show-time. This will give you a chance to listen to the songs and give you a good idea of how they will be played. Knowing where the verses and choruses are will help the flow of your directing and help you think ahead.
Always having a “fallback” shot will definitely help with this as well.
A “fallback” shot is basically a shot that you can fall back to in any situation. If you have all of your cameras pointed at a singer, what happens when the singers stop for an instrumental break? Or what if the band decides to throw in a last minute bass solo, and you don’t have a clear shot of the bassist yet. In situations like that, it’s a great idea to go to your “fallback” shot. Wide shots usually make good “fallback” shots. Drum shots also make great “fallback” shots because the drummer is almost always doing something interesting. Always having a “fallback” shot will save you whenever the action stops or something unexpected happens.Remember to always asses where each of your cameras are and make sure you have a “fallback” shot for any situation.
2. Be specific.
What does this mean? Here is an example: you’re directing and you see a guitar solo coming up after this chorus, and you know you need a guitar shot. Most new directors just naturally say, “Somebody get the guitar.” Then, every camera gets the same guitar shot. Now, all of your cameras are redundant and not usable.
Be specific on which camera you are talking to. If you are trying to tell camera 2 to slow down their zoom, don’t just say, “slow down.” Say something like, “Camera 2, slow down your zoom.” Adding a few extra words eliminates confusion for your camera operators.
If you see that cameras 1 and 2 have identical shots, be specific on which camera needs to change their shot. Don’t say, “Cameras 1 and 2, you have the same shot,” because both camera ops are likely to change their shot. Instead, say “Camera 1, change your shot.”
Remember, you have a bird’s eye view of the entire situation and every camera angle, your camera ops don’t. Let them know exactly what you are thinking when directing.
3. Don’t micro-manage your camera operators.
This one is tricky. As a director, it is your job to direct the camera ops and give them guidance and instruction. But, at the same time, don’t micro-direct them. Let them do their job. You don’t need to waste your time telling them how to get every single shot.
Yes, there will be times where you want exactly a certain type of shot, and that is fine to tell them that, but don’t do it every time. You need to give the camera operators creative freedom to make cool stuff happen. You’d be surprised at the awesome stuff that comes from camera operators when you just let them do their job and use their creativity.
How would you feel if your boss was always looking over your shoulder tell you how to do your job. Bosses are there for guidance, they’re not there to do your job for you. It’s the same with directing camera operators.
Newer camera operators might need a bit more guidance then seasoned camera operators, so if you know you have a new volunteer on a camera, be patient and direct them for shots, but still let them figure things out on their own.
Bonus tip: Don’t be afraid to cut.
When I first started directing, I would always use the fader on the switcher, especially during worship sets. I would never cut between shots, because I was afraid to. It is simply much easier to mix between shots because it doesn’t take much timing or thought, and it’s just easier. But, I soon found out that, if you want to get good at directing, and properly convey the emotion and energy from the live worship environment, you have to cut sometimes.
You need to find a good pacing of the songs to cut to. For new directors, it’s usually easiest to simply cut on the beat of over measure or two, but, eventually, it’s good to cut both on and off the beat.
During a high-energy song, if you are only doing slow dissolves between shots, you are absolutely killing the energy that is happening on the stage. There are times to dissolve, and dissolves are very powerful when used correctly. But, using dissolves for EVERY transition, is not using them correctly.
Cutting is especially appropriate for dialogue scenes. If you are transitioning from a wide shot to a tight shot of someone simply talking or praying, a dissolve usually looks weird. Whenever I transition between cameras with people just talking, I always cut.
You will only get better.
Knowing these tips will not make you the perfect director, but they will help you along your way. You will only get better with experience. Every director develops their own unique style of directing over time. Remember to be patient, and let the flow of the service happen.
Here’s a neat little animated lower third that I made for our Easter production. You can download the After Effects project and insert any name you wish.
The project works in After Effects CS4 and above. I’ve also included static images of the lower third in case you don’t want to use the animated version. The font that I used is a free font from dafont.com called “One Direction.” I’ve included it in the download.
Matthew Swaggart, over at HoldFastGear.com, has some awesome leather camera goodies for photographers. And, since DSLR’s are so widely used by filmmakers as well, these products are also great for the moving picture folks.
My favorite piece of gear, the MoneyMaker, is HoldFast’s most popular product. It’s basically a multi-camera strap that goes around the shoulders and chest. It’s made of high-quality leather and is EXTREMELY comfortable to wear. And, since it’s made of leather, you can load it up with as much weight as you need without the fear of accidentally breaking a strap or buckle. And, it’s simply stylish.
If you find yourself needing to shoot with multiple camera bodies during a shoot, then you definitely need the MoneyMaker.
Tim Bullock tweets and asks:
I’m adding floating Dust Particles in AE for a Music Video. Should I grade before or after VFX? @cineblur #decisions
— Tim Bullock (@Tim_Bullock) January 31, 2013
Color grading after visual effects are added will make the effects seem like they are seamlessly integrated in the scene. You might have to correct your VFX a bit before the grade to match the original footage’s white balance, exposure, etc, but when you add a visual effect such as particles or flares, adding an overall color grade after they are added will make them seem more realistic and lifelike.
My good friends Sutton McKee and Matthew Tibbenham have just released the first episode of their new interactive web series, “The Wrong Guys For The Job.” This comedic web series follows 2 criminals, Larry and Charlie, as they do their job…..or at least try to.
As an interactive webs series, you get to choose your own ending. At the end of the first Youtube video, annotation popups allow you to choose how you want the episode to end. The first episode introduces the clumsy duo and serves as a great pilot for the series.
Take a look (make sure Youtube annotations are ON):
I personally like the “make her seem drunk” ending the best.
Many times, especially if you work in the church production world like I do, you are faced with very tight deadlines and have to come up with something stunning with a very small crew. How do you accomplish this without spending your entire week slaving over one small project? Simple, use a project template.
Alot of people have asked me if it’s OK to use templates in their video projects. Short answer: “Yes.”
Templates are tools to help you do your job faster and be more efficient. Now, keep in mind that if you’re hired to create something completely unique and specific for someone, using a template kind of defeats that purpose. Also, if you are thinking about using a template for paid freelance work, you’ll have to make sure that the license that you are purchasing with the template lets you legally use it for paid work.
And, if you do use a template, I encourage you to customize the template to your project. Dont use it exactly as-is You can simply replace a background to match other elements; change colors, fonts, etc.
We recently had a big women’s conference at my church……not a conference for big women, but a women’s conference that was big…..anyways, I was given the last minute task of making intro video bumpers for the 4 different speakers. Instead of rushing something from scratch that would of turned out mediocre, I purchased an After Effects template. I customized the temple and adjusted the timing to match my music and voice-over and the videos turned out great. And it only took me about an hour. Here is one of the intros. I used a template from Video Hive called “System Error Promo.”
Project templates can also be things other than videos. Check out this overview of a DVD menu template from Precomosed.com.
Speaking of template resources, here are a few:
- 10 FREE AE Templates (via PremiumBeat.com)
- 10 more FREE AE Templates (via PremiumBeat.com)
Here’s a neat little HD falling snow loop. (click the picture below to download)
Thanksgiving was awesome this year. I went out with my wife and filmed for about half an hour, after the turkey was devoured, and what came of it was a simple little video.
I filmed this with a Canon 60D and a Glidecam 2000. For the low shots in the grass, I flew the Glidecam upside down. I shot everything in 720p 60fps so I could slow it down in post.
My favorite part of finalizing a film is always the color grading that comes at the end. This piece was no exception. An effective color grade adds so much emotion and really sets the mood of a film and helps define what you want the viewer to experience. In this piece, I wanted a VERY warm and comforting atmosphere as she walked through the field. I also wanted most of the shots to be very bright and vibrant.
The shots of her hand flowing through the tall grass were inspired by the movie “Gladiator.” Next time you watch that movie, watch for those hand/grass shots in the flashbacks. They’re awesome.
To watch the final film, click here. Below, is a split-screen comparison of the original and the graded footage.
Vignettes are a nice stylized way to color grade a clip. But, unfortunately, there are no pre-installed vignettes inside of Premiere Pro.
You could transfer your clips to After Effects, or use an application like Magic Bullet Looks to add some vignettes, but if you want to create a vignette right inside Premiere Pro, you can use the “circle” effect and tweak the settings.
It’s been a long time coming, but I’ve finally finished building my “Vintage FX” presets for Premiere Pro. For most editing workflows, using presets in Premiere Pro is better than using them with After Effects. But, there are a few presets that are only achievable in After Effects; such as the light leaks, and the dirt and grime effect.
I took great care in matching these presets with the After Effects presets. Premiere Pro handles color quite differently than After Effects, so some effects might vary slightly.
Thanks for checking them out. The presets are still only $8, and includes both After Effects and Premiere Pro versions.
DVD menus are notorious for being bland. They take time to make and usually turn out to be the least impressive element in a production. After the many hard-worked hours that it takes to complete a project, you don’t want the DVD menu to ruin the delivery of an awesome production. Remember: the DVD menu is the first thing that the client will see when they pop that little disc in. You need it to be impressive.
A while back, I reviewed a “Pro Motion Menu Template” from Precomposed.com. Below is a video of the menu in action.
“Pro Motion Menus” are built heavily in After Effects so, naturally, they take time to customize and render. Jon Geddes, the man behind Precomposed, also has menu templates called “Zip Kits,” that are simpler templates built solely in Adobe Encore, which saves a ton of time. Below, is an overview of one of his Zip Kits.
Checkout his site for more details. These DVD menu templates will save you TONS of time and make your DVD’s look awesome.
If you shoot with DSLR’s, or any camera with a CMOS sensor, you’re bound to run into the “rolling shutter” issue when panning. I’m not going to explain in detail why this happens, but it basically makes your footage look crooked and slanted when you pan sideways really quickly.
So, to address this inevitable problem, I’ve created a free After Effects preset that fixes it. Simply apply the preset to your footage, and adjust the angle to “straighten” your footage.
There are 2 effects: “Angle” and “DON’T TOUCH THIS!”
Obviously, adjust the “Angle.”
Simple. You can also keyframe the effect to adjust for “whip pans.” For instance, if your footage starts static on something, then pans quickly to another subject.