Digital Media Design


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 – 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


Post Production Techniques – Idea Development

Thursday 20th January 2011

Post Production Techniques – Ideas for a 2 minute Title Sequence

What I’ve done before

I’ve produced a title sequence in the past using a large Photoshop image a montage which I’d made from several smaller images, the idea was to make a crime wall such as you see in many of the crime films, a wall with clues photographs and other information all linked together to form a picture of the criminal. I designed mine to be 1.6 meters long and 0.8 meters high.

The movement of the camera was all done within Premiere Pro, Pan and Scanning movement and with the titles overlaid on top. As I had yet to have any exposure to After Effects at the time I was limited to what Premiere Pro CS3 had to offer.

I might look at doing something similar this time but hopefully achieve a slicker result using After Effects.

Something I’ve done before.

New Ideas

I have to be honest and say that I am a fan of title sequences particularly those from the 60’s and 70’s crime dramas, think Dirty Harry, Bullitt, The taking of Pelham 123 and I think it would be a great idea to re-work one of these. Although I have to say that in particular it would be hard to improve on the opening titles for Bullitt, although they could have featured the co-star of the film the Ford Mustang Fastback in the titles.

Opening Titles – Bullitt

What I like about these titles is that they overlay the action on the film. I also particularly like the still shots of the mafia hit team with the lighting from below and the tracking motion of the camera as it moves from right to left. As the titles track or zoom from the screen they reveal new images in many respects it’s a mix of a slideshow and video footage.

I think it would be possible to do much of this in After Effects and if I was to choose this to re-work I would aim to ad footage of the car with its amazing engine sound.

Bullitt Car Chase
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