Digital Media Design


Short Form Video – Green Screen, scale/perspective and locations

Saturday 26th February 2011

Tramp Short Form Video

Scale and Perspective

Using the green screen video footage shot on Wednesday and additional video footage which I shot using my Canon EOS 60D DSLR. I began experimenting with positions, the scale and perspectives for the live footage and the video footage which would form part of the dream sequence.

Group discussions in conjunction with a meeting with Tony the idea was put forward to make the video image behind the live footage of the Tramp on the bench to be oversize, dominating the screen.

I thought it would be a good idea to see how this would look so I set up my camera at home and wearing the revised costume I acted through the drinking idea we’d had.

We’ve yet to decide on the final look of the dream footage whether it’s going to be in colour, black and white or other effects but for this test I just used ‘Threshold’ (Premiere Pro) to separate the live footage from the dream.

I’m quite pleased with the overall look of the footage but I am now thinking that it will be hard to show all the ideas that we have had for the dream sequence in just 2 minutes and I’m thinking we should just show one or two ideas and do these very well rather than do four or more but do them badly.

Also I think we should given the opportunity shoot more footage than is required say an additional 4 or more minutes so that we have enough for a short film of 6 minutes duration and cherry pick from this footage for the 2 minute version required for the overall project.


I storyboarded the short dream sequence but as you can see in the final edit, changes were made to the scale and position of the background images


A useful tool for rapidly identifying locations for filming is Google’s Street View. This allows you to view locations across the whole of the UK and indeed the World although as the name suggests only if there is a street and one which Google’s camera car has filmed.

I used it to view a number of locations in the Charminster area which will need to be followed up by an actual visit but they appear to be good possibilities for filming the Tramps dream sequence.


Short Form Video – Actor Makeup

Actor Makeup

24th February 2011

The Reluctant Actor Makeup

Following on from Tuesdays Blue Screen tests the Group re-set on Wednesday for a full screen test and for this I had to get made up into my Tramps character.

This involved a session in make-up (Thanks to Mark) something I’ve not done before and probably do not want to do again (Please I don’t want to be an actor).

I used my Flip Ultra camera to film the make-up process which I then sped up and edited in Premiere Pro CS5.


Tramp & Homeless People Research

With cast and crew roles now set we the group know that I’m to play the Tramp. In anticipation of this I thought I’d better do some more research on characterisation by looking on YouTube for videos of Tramps and the Homeless, unfortunately it’s not a widely covered subject under that title but I did source some examples.

I also (thanks to Euan) watched a film called the ROAD for ideas. Apart from the look of the main character I didn’t really get much inspiration from this movie.

The Road Movie Trailer

I then came across more examples using Homeless as my search keyword and in particular this one caught my eye because it’s just so interesting.

Images of Homeless people and cycles


Post Production Techniques – Film Noir Soundtrack

Friday 18th February 2011


Film Noir soundtrack project

Today’s tutorial involved the use of copyright free music and matching sound to visuals to add emphasis.

I started by searching the internet for images based on Film Noir, I downloaded a selection of these and imported them into Premiere Pro for editing.

I listened and tried a number of different styles of music and came across one that fitted the fill Noir theme, a short 30 second track that I’d associate with 50’s crime films and dramas.

As this was a soundtrack influenced project I began by importing the music track first, I expanded the track so I cold see the waveform in this way it would be easier to match edit points to the changes in the music.

This was the next task importing and inserting the images into a video track, cutting and adjusting the length of the clips to match the soundtrack.

It’s not a perfect video sequence but it was a useful exercise to see how music can influence the mood of a video and also how matching an edit point to a music ‘s highpoint/change in sound/tempo emphasised the edit process and the pace of the video.


Post Production Techniques – Soundtrack and Experimentation

Wednesday 16th February 2011

Post Production Techniques – Final Titles Version


Up until now I’d been using the original soundtrack for the 1974 Film by David Shire, but for this project the requirement was to either create your own, obtain copyright free music or seek permission to use the music from the artist. As I mentioned in my previous Blog I decided early on to attempt to compose my own soundtrack using GarageBand. I started by familiarising myself with what Loops are included in the standard GarageBand installation and identified a number which I thought would work well and added them to my favourites. But there did not seem to be any good Horn loops and so I had to find these on the Internet. Fortunately I came across some good free loops which I downloaded and installed.

As to the soundtrack itself I already knew that I wanted a fairly contemporary sound for the period in which the film was set and so using the original soundtrack as a guide I started to compose. Sticking to the Films theme, Hijacking of a New York Transit Subway Train I wanted a sound like the sound of the train running on its tracks so a regular and rapid beat seemed essential. With the base sound track in place I then added the horns to tie in with changes on the screen titles. Then lastly I added sounds for the Police car siren, the sounds of the Gun being fired and the sound of the Taxi Cab pulling up to the curb.

Google Maps

I was a bit worried that the scene showing the police car was a little bare and thought it could be improved if I added buildings as a background in which the police car could speed across in front of.  My initial idea was to search for a static image on the internet but to keep the design original I decided instead to use Google Maps Street view and take a snapshot of an actual New York street. The idea to use Google Maps came out of a group discussion during The Short Form Film tutorial. This turned out to be not as easy as I’d thought because in many cases where I looked, the streets were clogged with traffic and pedestrians or the camera perspective was too close to the buildings. I managed to find three in the end which could be suitable and loaded these into Photoshop where I re-worked them and added the stamp filter as the final touch.

After Effects and Premiere Pro CS5

I imported the images in as compositions into AE and tried them as backgrounds for the polices car sequence, finding one that I was happy with I then exported this clip to Premiere and replace the original sequence with the new one.

I then added the new soundtrack and sound effects and exported the final composition as a QuickTime movie and uploaded it to YouTube.


  1. It’s hard to know when to stop – it’s very tempting to keep on adding to the titles which would add little to the final video sequence.
  2. Composing a soundtrack is not easy – especially if you are not a musician but GarageBand makes the job easier.
  3. What I have designed is effectively Motion Graphics – an animation
  4. I’m going to look at my Bullitt title sequence and see what adding text adds to the design and also this gives me the opportunity to work with some more of the effects available in After Effects.
  5. I’ve decided this is not going to be the final video as there is plenty of time to experiment and research ideas and so watch this space for the latest updates.


Post Production techniques – After Effects and Premiere Pro CS5

Monday 14th February 2011

Title Development using After Effects

I’ve completed the planning and visualisation for my Film titles – that is the re-working of the Film ‘The Taking of Pelham One Two Three’

I began by creating all the text for the titles in After Effects in the same order as they appeared in the original film, but actually the order and style/font does not matter at this stage as I will be changing the order and style/font as I insert them into the sequence.

Similarly with all my images created in Photoshop I imported these into After Effects ready to be included in the sequence.

I quickly discovered how confusing the After Effects interface is with so many images and text clips in the project group at the same time. I then decided to break the project up into 2 sequences to make it more manageable.

I also discovered that using After Effects to try and produce a long sequence was also almost unmanageable and so I decided to break each action up into a video clip of between 3 and 5 seconds duration using the workspace guides. As each clip was completed I exported this as a QuickTime Movie clip to be imported into Premiere Pro for editing into the final video sequence later in the process.



Once I had organised the development of my titles in short 5 second clips I quickly realise I could re use some of the images by dragging them onto the workspace this really speeded up the process. The same with Text design once I had worked out the style I was after it became easy to repeat the design.

I did try experimenting with several effects during the project but overuse of effects made the overall sequences seem over complicated and to be honest ended up detracting rather than enhancing the final titles.

As the film was all about the hijacking of a train I tried to associate the titles as much as possible to this and so I used Text that appears to flip ‘decode’ in sequence which I think looks like the rotating boards in stations and airport terminals as they rotate to show trains, platforms, arrival and departure times. I also  slid text in from the right and the left from off screen just like trains passing each other on the tracks.

I added a couple of images in reference to the hijackers shooting their guns and the speeding police cars and the final sequences ends with a Yellow taxi pulling up at the station, which ties in with the opening of the film with Martin Balsam exiting a cab at the stations entrance.

Up to now I’ve been using the original soundtrack as a guide but I hope to be able to produce my own soundtrack using GarageBand eventually as soon as I really get to grips with this application which I’ve only touched on a couple of time in the recent past.

I’m not quite 100 percent happy with the final video sequence and with plenty of time to work further on it (other assignment’s permitting) I hope to address these and get closer to that ever elusive 100 percent.


  1. Preparation was key with all the elements in place including a storyboard design moved rapidly on
  2. Working with After Effects which until recently was something I had had little experience of has proved to me just how versatile this application is and I’m looking forward to enhancing my knowledge of this.
  3. Sometimes less is more, keeping it simple seems to have produced a better final sequence than just throwing the complete effects options at the project.
  4. The soundtrack is starting to look like being the hardest part of the project.


Post Production Techniques – Green Screen and Tracking

Green Screen

Thursday 10th February 2011

Green Screen – Tracking with After Effects CS5

In reference to the previous Blog on green screen video, Fridays Tutorial included a run through of Tracking using After Effects. Basically this allows you to track the movements of an object or part of an object and then associate this movement to another object. Let me expand upon that statement for example I’ve tracked the movement of the subjects left hand in the video below and I’ve attached the movement of the hand to the image of the football.

Green Screen Tracking

Tracking can be found under the Animation menu heading. Selecting Track Motion brings up the Tracker TAB with all the options associated with Tracking. So to get started a motion source is selected from the drop down menu. The Track type in this case is Transform and the box for position has been ticked. Next select a Target from the edit target (this can be done later) and we are ready to analyse.

Now position the Target Symbol in the Viewer that’s the two boxes with the cross inside and position this onto the object you want to track which in this case is the hand. Click the universal symbol for play and this should automatically position the boxes onto the hand and track the hand as it moves around the screen. Unfortunately in my experience it doesn’t and quickly loses it’s position.

Stop the automatic analysis and then using the move forward or back single frame buttons re-position the boxes over the hand and so editing the tracking path. I had to do this manually for the whole sequence because the subjects hand flipped several times during the movement changing the light intensity and so the tracking could not follow it automatically.

With the Tracking analysis done I imported an image of a football which I set to enter from off screen and bounce towards the subject to the point where I had set my tracking path to start. I then went back to the tracking menus and edited the target to be the Football.

When I run the completed composition the ball enters from the left connects with the tracking path and then follows the hand movements and then finally exits the screen to the right at the end.


Post Production Techniques – A look at AE and Green Screen

Sunday 6th February 2011

After Effects – Green Screen and Tracking

Morning tutorial on After Effects, Green Screen video footage and background removal. I’m finally getting to grips with After Effects and can actually be confident with background removal using Keylight 2.1 a very handy plugin which seems to work much better than the other methods of background removal available in AE.

We also had a look at tracking which I will go into more on another Blog entry.

In the afternoon session we setup the Greene Screen and learnt the techniques for lighting the screen and a subject in front of the screen. Thanks to a an earlier exposure to green screen I knew most of this but the use of a light meter hadn’t come up before.

I shot the footage below using my Flip camera, it’s a bit shaky because there was no tripod available at the time but it’s good enough to get the idea of the setup. The second video clip is the same footage after the background was keyed out. I used Masks which I had to key to the movement as the subject moved. It’s not perfect because the subject moved out of the area of the green screen at some point and my camera position changed part way through, but on the whole for an improvised session it worked well enough.

Video before AE
Video after AE

Research – Hostage Film Title Sequence – Very Similar to Sin City?

I like the dark graphics with the coloured text the mix of black and colour. I might look at this for another title project if there is time as it looks like it might be interesting to do something similar.


Post Production Techniques – The Taking of Pelham Titles (Part 2)

Friday 4th February 2011

Title design – So far


As I mentioned in my previous Blog Entry I’ve decided to re-work the film titles for ‘The Taking of Pelham ONE TWO THREE’ in the style of Saul Bass. Also as I have had no previous experience of using Adobe After Effects I’m going to try and use this as much as possible to develop this project.

I researched a number of Saul Bass designs in addition to those we previewed in class and from these decided on a colour scheme. I then searched the internet for a suitable Font and came across ‘HITCHCOCK’ which seemed ideal.

Using images captured from the film I re-worked these in Photoshop removing them in turn from their backgrounds and applied the stamp filter, adjusting the colours to match the characters name in the film, that is Mr Blue, Mr Green , Mr Grey and finally Mr Brown.

Using an essay I’d written earlier on the Film I uploaded the text into a ‘Text Cloud generator’ on the Tagxedo web site and using a graphic template produced the Typographic image of the front of an underground train which I then added to the film title as a motion graphic.

I’ve used the original soundtrack temporarily while I continue to work on my own soundtrack using Garageband – although this is proving problematic as I have still to source the loops I want use as they are not part of the standard Garageband installation.


Post Production Techniques – More Ideas

The Taking of Pelham One Two Three

Original Film Titles

When researching title sequences I came across several re-workings of Bullitt on YouTube and so with this in mind I’ve decided to abandon what I’ve done so far and to look at another one of my other Film choices for my Film Titles project that is:- ‘The Taking of Pelham One Two Three’.

Following a number of recent lectures the style of Saul Bass appeals and so I’ve decided to re-work The Taking of Pelham ONE TWO THREE in his style using After Effects. Although I’ve had only limited experience of using this application I hope to be able to build on this during the course of this assignment, as these skills will be almost certainly be of benefit for the future.

As my experience with After Effects is almost non existent at this stage I’m just going to bring all the images and text that I need together and place them into an After Effects sequence. Towards the end of the project look at what effects may be suitable. In this way I’ll have a working Film Title no matter what and if there is time incorporate some effects. I’m mindful though that it can be too easy to load the final Film Title with too many effects which would detract rather than add to the viewing experience.

Stage One

I need to:-

  1. Download and install a suitable Saul Bass style FONT
  2. Generate images of a Train and the main characters
  3. Come up with a colour scheme
  4. Music Soundtrack – using Garageband

Stage Two

I need to:-

  1. Learn how to use After effects
  2. Add all the images and Titles into an After Effects composition
  3. If necessary export the completed composition to Premiere Pro for editing


Short Form Video – The Pitch Tilt Shift

Thursday 27th January 2011

The Commuter

This is going to be a Short Form Video shot in a Documentary Style inspired by Koyaanisqatsi .


I’m going to be using Tilt Shift effects to add an additional perspective to the video. Where it would be used to film groups of people; cars, trains and bicycles in the daily commute. The addition of tilt shift effect adds an element of fun to the video. The scenes of the video will take on a model like appearance, the people will seem like ants scurrying around an unreal environment bright with colour.

I’ve picked the daily commute as the theme primarily because this is the most active part of the day, the time where most people cars and trains are in motion which is needed for the tilt shift effect to be most effective.

Time Lapse

The sequence will start ideally with a Huge Faked Sunrise to set in the audience minds that it is the early part of the day, we then cut to  people waiting at a Bus Stop using Time Lapse.

  1. and as the Bus Pulls up we cut to a Tilt Shift of lines of cars headlights as they stream into Bournemouth.
  2. The next scene is another Tilt Shift view of the trains coming into the station.
  3. This is followed by a Tilt Shift scene looking down onto the Square in Bournemouth watching the people scurry around the shops.
  4. The penultimate shot will be a Tilt Shift of a line of cars tail lights as they leave Bournemouth (Shot at the same time as the morning shoot).
  5. Finally we have the scene of a commuter on a Bike with a Huge Faked Sun setting with a final close up of the rear bikes spinning wheel.

I would also like to shoot the video using a variety cameras, for example a Digital SLR, GoPro, Flip and of course Sony Z5. The GoPro might give the best result because of its wide angle lens and the HD cameras would give the best quality images for the start and end sequences which are not to be Tilt Shift. But the DSLR might work the best as this has a time lapse function which would be ideal for these sequences and they would also have the benefit of being in HD as well.

I’m still considering whether apart from a music soundtrack whether a voice over would be appropriate as well as any other soundtracks for example one of the videos above starts with an extract from a Radio Traffic Report which I think really sets the scene by establishing the time of day and that it’s the morning commute. It might be a good idea to do something similar and also at the end of the video add the evening traffic report again setting the time of day into the audiences mind that a day has passed. NB: Not 24hrs but a working day say 7:00am to 6:00pm.

Storyboard – Photographs

Ice Cream Boat - Poole Harbour

Ice Cream Boat - Poole Harbour

Customs Boat - Vancouver Sound

Customs Boat - Vancouver Sound

Street - Las Vegas

Street - Las Vegas

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