Digital Media Design


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.
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