Short Films, After Effects & Video Copilot

November 2, 2011 at 8:49 am

Short Films, After Effects & Video Copilot | Independent Film Blog

I’m an editor.  When it comes to making a living, I do it editing live television events for a major sports network.  In my spare time, I enjoy editing short films and pretty much all of them are films produced by 17 West.  Post production is expensive so it’s always nice to keep costs down and do things on your own.  This approach can lead to satisfying results but it’s also frustrating at times.  I’m learning this now while completing the sound design for The Climb.

I can balance audio and remove unwanted noise and such but I’m not an expert in the world of sound.  Thankfully, I know enough to finish The Climb without hiring on a sound guy.

One thing I am NOT is a motion graphics artist.  I have decent Photoshop skills and they translate well into the world of After Effects but I’m a beginner.  However, I refused to simply put a white title card with ‘The Climb’ at the end of the new trailer.  I also refused to create a static logo in Photoshop and simply fade in and out.  I wanted the title to have some movement.  It had to be better than just a still image.

So I turned to After Effects and the skills I learned visiting Video Copilot on a daily basis.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Video Copilot, it’s a site full of amazing tutorials and resources created by Andrew Kramer.  The popular site is home to hundreds of in depth (and free) tutorials that covers everything from motion tracking to lightsabre battles.  It’s also a great place to learn Motion Graphics design as most of the effects he produces are visually stunning.

I’ve also purchased several of his products and they’ve been a massive help over the years.

[NOTE: I am not affiliated with Video Copilot.  I’m just a huge fan of the site.]

Action Essentials 2:

The value you get for $100 is remarkable.  Hundreds of pre-keyed elements including smoke, glass, fire, explosions and more.  It’s difficult to see because I wanted it to be subtle but I included one of the dust elements in the background to give the logo some life.  Combining elements with certain techniques I learned on his blog made this logo possible.  For example, the background isn’t just a solid color it’s a dark texture that’s been masked and feathered to highlight the text.

Speaking of which, I created the font in Photoshop and used a similar texture to match the overall style.  Once I was finished, I brought it into After Effects.  Again, I made the effect subtle so it doesn’t jump out at you but the logo is also animated and moves forward very slowly.

Finally, I added some particle elements to it using free files provided by Video Copilot.  What I love about VC is how he doesn’t just upload a couple files, he includes a tutorial as well so you can learn how to apply them to your work.

Check out the particle blog post on Video Copilot here.

I’m just an independent filmmaker addicted to learning new skills and techniques.  I’m fully aware that I’ll never be an expert in the art of Motion Graphics but websites like Video Copilot have made it possible for me to produce better quality videos.  You don’t have to settle for static logos and simple fonts.  All you need is a little creativity and some great tutorials and resources.  Video Copilot is one of the best because you gain access to the elements you’re looking for and the tutorials to help you achieve the look you want.