Monday, 14 March 2011

Learning in After Effects

As well as crafting most of the storyboards for our opening sequence, I was also chosen for the task of animating part of the sequence itself. In the style of 'Scott Pilgrim vs. the World' the sequence would include text (onomatopoeia) flashing on the screen as a key sound effect plays, so there is one instance where a 'Beep! Beep!' noise would flash on and off the screen in time with the noise coming out of the alarm clock.

Here is the opening sequence of Scott Pilgrim which I used for reference:

The words would have to move in a cartoony but believable and smooth way, so I attempted Adobe After Effects for the first time to animate this for our opening. Prior to this I had no experience with using After Effects and my initial feelings were that the software seemed complicated and daunting, even though I had created my own animations for pleasure before (mostly using stop-motion). I resourced to YouTube to watch tutorials from experienced After Effects users who had explained the basics, and the instructions were easy to follow and enabled me to teach myself afterwards how to work the software.

Film Opening - First UK Shoot

Last Friday 11th March, our group went to Isaac's house to shoot the scenes for our opening which we could easily complete in the UK; only the footage of New York City has so far been needed to be shot on location. We found it simple yet effective to use the household items readily available, which in many shots are the main focus as this section of our opening sequence reflects ordinary household life in contrast to the busy bustling life in New York City we saw previously. These scenes we shot in the UK were considerably easy to film in comparison to the US shoot, where setting up for a scene would take time as we all had to agree on the angles we wanted and the places we wanted to film; the shots were also much longer in duration. Each shot from the UK shoot took between 1-3 takes each time, and for both UK and US shoots we used the same camera and all the footage was shot in 1080p HD in 16:9, as opposed to our preliminary task which was edited in 4:3.
We still have more footage to film, specifically of the main character driving his car, which at present we plan to shoot later this week (between 14th-18th March).

Film Opening - New York Shoot

We have recently started shooting our film opening which has been going quickly but efficiently and we are all pleased with how the footage looks thus far, especially because both Isaac and I have been able to travel to New York over the February half term to shoot footage especially for this project. We have filmed footage which successfully reflects the busy lifestyle of New York City and also its rich culture and most famous sights, such as the view from the Empire State Building we shot by night. We had hoped to visit the Brooklyn Bridge although we couldn't due to time constraints. We shot all the footage between our stay from 22nd-26th February (Tues-Sat) as we visited each place within the city and shot whichever sights we felt would be appropriate for the feel of our opening, so we filmed each shot as we came to each location. Other filming locations include the metro station at Grand Central Station and the exterior of the New York Film Academy.
Usually only one or two takes were required for each shot taken during the New York shoot, so the process was very quick and we fortunately shot all of the footage we wanted during the time we had.