Archive Post: De Montfort University, Year 2
My second year at DMU is when Film making truly kicks off for me with the introduction of Adobe After Effects.
When I first looked at this package I hated it! It didn’t resemble the editing software I was used to and there for wasn’t happy with its existence and emphasis in the course work brief!
However a few weeks into the year my house mate Beth Cunningham showed me a website, a website that would not only influence me, teach me, but become my bible.
That website of course is the wonderful Video Copilot.
The tutorials on this website are the backbone of my learning of After Effects. Each Tutorial, hosted by Andrew Kramer, not only informs perfectly but has a wonderful pace and brilliant humour!
The Basic Training section is truly perfect, there’s nothing better that can introduce someone to After Effects than these 10 beautifully crafted tutorials.
They set out all the basics and prepare you to start on any project.
The other tutorials are set out in equally good humour and sense. They teach the user something fun, such as blowing up a planet or creating some great looking text.
The tutorials can often be over the top. But the reason for this is simple, they are giving you building blocks in which to apply these new skills to your own projects. As the same tools that you learn to blow up a planet can be applied to create some great exploding motion graphics.
So even if you cant see a direct reason to use, or watch the tutorial, you should because what you learn can be applied in so many more ways than what you simply see on the screen when
These tutorials and my own copy of After Effects confided me to my room for a year. Constantly experimenting and developing my motion graphics and compositing skills.
My coursework using After Effects was to create an opening sequence of a film followed by some footage.
At the time I was inspired by the first season of Heroes. So I decided to look back at Mega Team and redesign it with a modern twist.
The costumes were gone and the MS Paint special effects have been injected with After Effects super power.
The opening sequence of text was also inspired by classic Star Trek openings and the new Superman opening.
Set flying through space as the credits zoom in to picture and then zoom out, the camera slowly getting closer to a distant nebula.
As the credits end the camera breaks and slows to be in orbit of a planet. The camera begins to shake as a ship flies on to screen.
The screen goes black and noises of a ship can be heard.
The scene picks up on the ground of the planet with on of the characters scanning the area.
Next one of the other characters beams in out of thin air and states he has been looking for an entrance to an object.
The camera then looks over the shoulder of the two men to observe a massive crystal in the ground surrounded by smoke.
At that point a dark character appears and begins to speak. Before long a short battle breaks out between the three. With lightning flying about and jets of fire, time becomes distorted when the lighting meets. A massive energy ball is created. It then implodes before exploding knocking everyone to the ground…
Mega Team was filmed in a field near my house in Rutland.
All the effects were created using After Effects. A lot of this piece was heavily influenced by Video Copilot. As this was my first thing done on After Effects I took a lot of the tutorials literally, such as creating the planet, scene replacement and rotoscoping.
In addition to this I had also purchased some of the products from Video Copilot. Action Movie Essentials (discontinued) was used a lot in Mega Team.
The ship that flies by the camera was created by myself using plumbing parts, stuck together and then painted and filmed in front of a green screen.
Just after Christmas I went to the BBC Wood Norton, near Evesham, for the first time. Here I received a weeks training in TV Studio work. I learnt camera work, floor management, mic set up, set arrangement and how to work within the Directors Gallery.
My Group created and filmed a Game show. It went very well and after a full live rehearsal we recorded a very good live show, for the fact we only created the concept the day before.
We were very lucky and had a great presenter for the day called Craig Rowe.
He was just brilliant, a pleasure to work with and made our script seem better than it was.
The second half of the year I was reintroduced to Photoshop. I continued increasing my skills and ended up creating the DVD cover for Mega Team. This was the start of taking presentation very seriously. After this I made the effort to hand in all work with the highest level of presentation. This being a DVD, or later a Blu-ray, cover, disc label, and inlays.