January 28, 2007

Fair Use Explained

via Sheila Curran Bernard, author of Documentary Storytelling: Making Stronger and More Dramatic Nonfiction Films:

Documentary Filmmakers’ Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use is a useful handbook from veteran filmmakers to help other filmmakers understand some instances where using copyrighted material without clearance is considered fair use.

January 26, 2007

Wikipedia on Editing

Wikipedia has a good sections on editing, like Movie Making Manual-Scene Editing, the list of winner and nominees for the Academy Award for Film Editing, and this from Film Editing:

According to Walter Murch, when it comes to film editing, there are six main criteria for evaluating a cut or deciding where to cut. They are (in order of importance, most important first):

  • emotion — Does the cut reflect what the editor believes the audience should be feeling at that moment?
  • story — Does the cut advance the story?
  • rhythm — Does the cut occur "at a moment that is rhythmically interesting and 'right'"? (Murch, 18)
  • eye-trace — Does the cut pay respect to "the location and movement of the audience's focus of interest within the frame"? (Murch, 18)
  • two-dimensional place of the screen — Does the cut respect the 180 degree rule?
  • three-dimensional space of action — Is the cut true to the physical/spacial relationships within the diegesis?

Motion by Design: book with DVD

I saw a copy of this today and it looks pretty cool, but I'd rather have DVD video:

Motion by Design "is the first combined book and interactive DVD package to present the works of some of the world s leading motion graphic studios."

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January 25, 2007

Sneak peek at NoiZette filter

Taron333 of Taronites, maker of Zborn Toy, posted text and samples of a new filter at CGTalk:

"A little sneak peek at the upcoming NoiZette filter for AE. It's completely map- and texturable fractal noise. All parameters are animatable and controllable through layers. Several turbulence types, mapping methods and blending options make it truely different from from AE's internal solution."

AE filters Normality and Reality are now free!

These were the ones from The Plausible Impossible: useful for 3D people, but he's holding off on releasing Mac OSX versions for awhile.

from Stefan Minning's journal:

"For personal reasons I no longer have the time to actively continue developing my After Effects plugins Normality & Reality as commercial software products. Real life has finally caught up with me and there’s simply too little time in any given day for me to waste on the business side of things - I’d much rather spend the little leisure time I have on my artwork and side projects."

January 24, 2007

Color Stabilizer, GBDeflicker, or Tinderbox T_Deflicker

(May 2015) this article was updated on Pro Video Coalition as Flicker removal in Creative Cloud and beyond.

DV Guru reported on a new AE/Premiere-compatible Windows filter, GBDeflicker, to reduce flicker in time-lapse footage (see video below). Besides the free beta, Granite Bay, makers of the filter, also have a nice guide on what causes flicker in time-lapse as well as cures to fix it.

AE Pro [RIP] already has a filter called Color Stabilizer to fix this sort of problem. I'm not sure how results compare, or if other filters like Tinderbox DeFlicker [now Sapphire] used in NBC's 'My Name is Earl' are even better.

January 23, 2007

Use Milgram for Good

Onegoodmov posted a video on the Milgram experiment, "a series of famous scientific studies of social psychology, intended to measure the willingness of a participant to obey an authority who instructs the participant to do something that may conflict with the participant's personal conscience."

AE pros on Motion

There was an interesting thread on the AE-List on Tuesday, 23 Jan 2007 called "Does Apple Motion suck?" It'll be interesting to see how the next version of Shake incorporates ideas from Motion and AE.

For background information on Motion see Apple, Mark Spencer's All About Motion, and the DV review of Motion 2.0 by Alex Lindsay, with explanatory movie downloads. Please note that the comments were edited down a bit.

Comment 1

Trying to make Motion work like After Effects (I've seen some video training try to do this, to not very positive ends) will usually lead to frustration. Letting go of the AE paradigm and taking Motion for what it is will yield a faaaaaar more positive experience. I rather like it for quick particle and text animations, for example. Although ultimately, I am a control freak and prefer AE's keyframe paradigm + expressions.

We wrote a few more pieces that touched on Motion - may not help exactly what you're up against, but as long as the subject is on the table:
Comment 2

As an AE user for 10 years now, I'm of the opinion that Motion is stupid, but has enormous potential in kicking significant portions of AE's huge ass, as long at the Motion engineers at Apple pay serious attention to the gripes of professional motion graphics designers, and fix the numerous deficiencies that the product currently has.

I use Final Cut Pro, and love the integration with Motion (but still envy the superior level of integration that Premiere Pro/AE users have), but I've found Motion to have enough serious flaws in it to preclude its use in a professional environment (at least at a finishing level...it's still awesome for doing rough previz stuff with the client looking over your shoulder).

For those playing along at home, those flaws (at least the ones that immediately come to mind) would be:

- An infuriating lack of keyboard shortcuts for some of the most common tasks, such as keyframe interpolation type, zooming in/out of the graph editor, fit timeline to window, etc. It really wreaks havoc on my carpal tunnel problems.

- Antialiasing just plain sucks in Motion. Even when you set the AA quality settings to the highest level, the render quality is more often than not, horrible (I notice it most with text and slow-pan & scans of images) ...nowhere near the level of quality that we take for granted in AE.

- Its reliance on the GPU is great when it works, but when it doesn't it falls down badly. I had problems a few months ago with Motion actually changing the scale of one of my images whenever I enabled
high antialiasing quality for the project. It turned out that the image was too large for the GPU to handle, so it rendered the image incorrectly. The only way I was able to get the image to render at the correct proportions was to disable high quality AA. A pretty unfortunate workaround, if you ask me. To my way of thinking, there should be a software-only render option to avoid problems like this.

There's actually an interesting Wiki site called "The Problem with Motion 2", which documents many of the problems with the product.

All that said, nothing quite rules more than running DVGarage's Conduit plugin within Motion. It's one of the main reasons why I haven't given up on Motion yet :)
The Apple Pro Training book on Motion (by Damien Allen) has an appendix in it which is just what you're looking for (IIRC, it was actually titled "Motion for AE Users"). It does a really good job...

Comment 3

I'm an engineer working on Motion (though I don't speak for Apple, yadda, yadda, yadda). I just want to say thanks to everyone for their kind words on our product. [...]If you have bugs that you actually want us to fix or features you want us to add, the only way that will happen is if you report them as bugs at:

January 22, 2007

Free Sound Effects

Partners In Rhyme has a good set of Free Sound Effects and links to many more. Samples can be copyright-free, with limitations, or royalty free so check the facts. See also www.ljudo.com and SampleNet. If you're in a bind use FindSounds to search the Web for lo-fi sounds. There's a ton more of free sounds available on the net, always needed by Flash artists, so Google away.

Update: DV Guru noted the freesound project which has teamed up with ccMixter to "share information about freesound's 20,000 samples and track remixes across the two sites. It's all part of the Creative Commons Sample Pool and therefore available to all remixers, safe, legal and sane."

January 19, 2007

AE Portal Plug-in Summary updated

The AE Portal Plug-in Summary was just updated.

It's largely superceeded by Toolfarm's Plug-in Finder, except you get a single-page overview and links by vendor and platform, so you can easily get out of the Toolfarm gravitational field if desired.

January 18, 2007

AE related blogs

Here are the AE blogs I know -- are there more?

Prolost, by Stu Maschwitz (author of The DV Rebel's Guide) covers various aspects of Image Nerdery including AE, linear color, and AE project and preset giveaways.

General Specialist has tips, tricks and tutorials for visual effects, motion graphics, animation and other tinkerings.

Flowseeker is by Mark Christiansen, author of Adobe After Effects 7.0 Studio Techniques (a somewhat more advanced compositing-oriented book).

Motionworks has a blog, gallery, and a variety of tutorials.

Creative Workflow Hacks shares tips, scripts, links, and hacks; it's especially strong on AE and FCP XML.

AE Portal News has occasional news on After Effects and the world.

Toolfarm markets DV tools, but also has plug-in information, tutorials, and a variety of interesting features to draw you in.

Stephen Schleicher has a ton of informative available stuff from his Creative Mac and other pursuits.

Alan Shisko: Motion Graphics 'n Such is quite useful but
can go quiet for awhile.

AE Product manager Steve Kilisky's AE Blog has occasional good news.

Adobe DV specialist Bob Donlon's Blog has regular tutorials on the Production Studio.

Not much AE, but Product Manager John Nack on Adobe Photoshop has great stuff daily.

January 17, 2007

Clouds of Alien Judgment

from John Nack: "In case you missed an earlier link posted in the comments, check out these rather amazing lenticular clouds." Be sure to scroll all the way down for the full effect!

There are more cloud and sky phenomena pictures at The Cloud Appreciation Society.

January 16, 2007

Motionworks infographic on Curves

Levels heads John Dickinson and Mark Christiansen discuss John's new Curves infographic posted on Motionworks. Both charts are being refined over time, so check back for updates.

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January 13, 2007

KSFO/ABC/Disney tries to hide hate speech

Story at 11, a few days ago anyway, on Spocko the alternate reality 'Vulcan' gangster who smelled a rat trying to brew a Rwanda or Bosnia sequel right here in the Bay Area. Listen for yourself at Spocko's Brain or Odeo to be sure this is not a spoof from fringe-left groups.

Another summary can be found at Media Matters, which implores ABC not to air violent hate speech and racist fearmongering.

DRM & Vista

Steve Gibson and Leo Laporte discussed the latest in Digital Rights Management (DRM) and DRM in Microsoft Vista in the last 2 Security Now podcasts.

DRM is also a favorite topic of Alex Lindsay's This Week in Media podcast, another TWiT sibling.

SketchUp 6 videos

Even the AE team likes the SketchUp UI, and Google just showed the newest version at a big booth at Macworld (which closed earlier than I thought today). There's free version and lots of video tutorials at Google.

Update: Stu Maschwitz likes a new feature Photo Match, and agrees with a Zane Rutledge review on storyboards where Zane discusses exporting models from Poser to use in SketchUp,

January 11, 2007

Bullet Time and Bokeh

FresHDV gives us an update on "bullet time" effects, and points to understanding Bokeh out-of-focus lens effects.

NSA Helps Microsoft with Windows Vista

Bruce Schneier comments, and you really do have to wonder who to trust given recent government carte blanch attitude toward all mail and phone calls. Others think the DRM stuff in Vista is draconian enough.

January 10, 2007

Adobe Production Studio eSeminars

As noted by Steve Kilisky and others, you can catch the Adobe Production Studio eSeminar Series for free, live.

Kilisky: "Alternatively, here are several OnDemand seminars of the Windows version of the products that you can watch at your leisure: Overview of Production Studio hosted by our own worldwide evangelista extraordinaire, Jason Levine, Commercial/Motion Picture Production and DynamicLink, hosted by Rob Legato and Adam Gerstel, or High Definition for Independent Filmmakers, hosted by Jacob Rosenberg."


Creative Workflow Hacks notes Phillip Hodgetts' exhaustive overview of Final Cut XML at kenstone.net. This is an area that Premiere probably won't catch FCP anytime soon, since they want to keep you in the Adobe world.

Levels heads

Stu Maschwitz posted a note on Motionworks' Quick Reference Guide JPG for Levels, which includes notes on the Output sliders too. There was also a link in a comment on Stu's post to more general but useful Cambridge in Colour digital photography tutorials.