Week 13: Assignment 3- T H I R S T (Final Title Sequence)

Voila!

Here’s the final cut/ title sequence of week 13. All those days that Jess, Preet and I made the necessary changes to our schedules, stayed back at my place till 11 pm to finish our shoot and the final hours where we sat down and put our editing skills together finally paid off.
This semester, I learnt how to make the best use of the available footage. For instance, there have been times where the lighting didn’t quite match with the initial idea that I have in mind. That’s what initially didn’t work for me in the shots that I had taken for one of my previous assignments. Also, text/ titles was another aspect that I had to work on. I knew what my capabilities were and how I would best use them this semester. Thankfully, in this group assignment, I learnt a lot from my group mates and they were very patient with me from the day we started the shoot.

In this title sequence, Jess is a vampire slayer who gets a call from a witness (Preet) when she sees a vampire (who looks pretty harmless at first) suspiciously strolling around in her area. Jess rushes off to slay what must be slayed.

Meanwhile, Rebecca (me) and Mitch (my charming boyfriend and co-star) enter his apartment. Rebecca initially gets blocked at the entrance since a vampire has to be invited inside. Mitch takes her by the hand and leads her into his place, seemingly distracted by her presence but unaware of his fate that would be sealed in the following moments.

By the time Jess breaks into the apartment, it is too late. Mitch’s limp and lifeless body has been drained out of blood and Rebecca is no where to be seen.

What we would do differently next time would be adding some closeup shots of vampire related articles like I had initially planned. This would include, better lighting indoor shots, battery charged lighting for outdoor shots and perhaps adding a bit of an evil glimmer in Rebecca’s black eyes to make it look more supernatural.

To be honest, this assignment has not only taught me how to edit and composite video material but I also learnt to be resilient. The allocation of tasks was split up where Preet masked out parts of the video and edited the bats and Jess did a whole lot of tracking  to make my eyes turn black (in the part where I turn into a vampire) as well as the scattering of some of the footage/ text.

On the other hand, I was in charge of the soundtrack, the editing of the first black eye in the second shot, planned the timeline/ shooting and had to come up with the concept. As a team, I think we put in all our effort into it and helped each other where the other was lacking. For instance, I tried to add some realistic blood into the shots where I was successful in attaining some material off royalty free websites which I thought would be ideal for the parts where Mitch gets bitten. However, I wasn’t very pleased with it because the footage that I managed to get was too gory and would have been suitable for a zombie apocalypse film instead.

With reference to my previous posts, I had mentioned that this sequence was going to be Vampire Diaries/ Sin City themed. After actually getting down to edit the footage, we realised that we had succeeded in capturing the Vampire Diaries theme right but Sin City didn’t work out for what we had shot. This is primarily because the lighting simply didn’t work out for us. Jess had borrowed some lights that we thought would be perfect for the shoot outdoors since it had to be shot only at night (vampires, duh). Unfortunately, they weren’t battery powered so we had to resort to shoot under the grace of the street lights. Surprisingly, during our presentation of the rough cut, some of our classmates thought that we had used colour grading for the outdoor shots to make it look spookier (although we hadn’t at that time).

It gave us a better idea of what we needed to work on for the final cut and so we managed to work on accentuating the brightness as well as adding some vignette lighting to the park shots (if you compare the rough cut to the final cut, you can see that there is a stark difference between the two).

Music was appropriately checked and taken off a creative commons licensed website- http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Troy_Holder/Masters_Remastered/Lacrimosa_Mozart

Some of the special effects that we used in this title sequence are Tracking, Paint Brush (for my eyes), scatter effect (when I dissipate and for the titles), and puppet pin (for the bats). Time-lapse was also a major part of the opening shot of the city skyline.

I’m not exactly what you’d call adroit at testing the waters when it comes to tracking which is what I had initially struggled with (especially for footage that had way too many head movements). I found myself getting easily frustrated and restless when I couldn’t get the black eyes right (in the second part of the footage with Mitch and me). Luckily, Jess was adept at getting that part sorted which I’m ever grateful for. We also managed to fix some of the transitions to give the viewer a more idyllic stance of what to expect next- as all horror movies do.

The entire concept of this title sequence is pretty self explanatory and we decided that we wouldn’t add too many special effects into it, otherwise it wouldn’t have given off the same feel.

I’m pretty satisfied with it and I think there’s a lot more that we can work on with an action- packed/ horror genre in the future.

Week 13: T H I R S T- Title Sequence (Rough Cut)

The title sequence has been kept simple. We decided to keep it to the minimum since it would give the video a better overall effect for the viewer. The video consists of the panning shot of the city skyline, the black eye (where I turn into a vampire), the vampire’s entrance and dissipating a couple of times.

Parts of the footage needs to be fixed since in the dark bits of the park shots, it is QUITE dark. Some brightness needs to be added to it, but not too much otherwise the footage would look noisy.

Also here is the list of things that we need to fix in the final title sequence that I hope you guys will find entertaining.

– Need to fix white balance/colour grading.
– Increase the brightness of the dark park bits.
– Will have to fix my eyes in the shots where I turn into a vampire.
– Need to add some blood in one of the shots – where I look up and take my mouth away and Mitch’s neck is like perfectly fine with no blood added to it. In the final cut, we’ll be adding some red streaks to make it look like I’ve bitten him but also make it less dramatic/ gory.
– Perhaps add vingeting or some kind of texture or filter?
– Need to animate the bats properly (Preet is in charge of the bats, she has used the puppet pin effect to make them flap their wings and fly across the screen.)
– We need to get rid of our reflection in the window in the corridor shots which you will notice when I enter the door of the apartment.

Week 12: T H I R S T- Work In Progress

Initially, I had intended on using the traditional Lacrimosa operatic soundtrack as the score for Thirst. 

In case I haven’t mentioned it earlier, Thirst is the final title for our major project for this Vampire Diaries/ Sin City themed teaser title sequence. However, after listening to the operatic version of the track, I realized that it didn’t really suit the shots since it is quite blatantly obvious that the story is set in the 21st century. Lacrimosa is set in the Classical Era which was composed by Mozart. I even tried to experiment using Psychedelic genres where most of the tracks are set at 140 bpm which is used to create forest psychedelic music. That was going to be added on to the chase sequence of the video but then after I tried to merge a few tracks together, it didn’t quite work out and it sounded quite abrupt. I would probably use it elsewhere if the video was over 2 minutes.

I’m in charge of the sound/ music component and after debating between Lacrimosa and Toccata and Fuge in D Minor which is an eerie Frankenstein/ Dracula opening title sequence, I decided to make use of the Lacrimosa remixed version by Troy Holder which I got off freemusicarchive.org .

It was phenomenal. I fell in love with it the instant I heard it and knew that this track would be ideal for our title sequence.

Take a listen to it and compare it to the original which is composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
Take a listen to it and compare it to the original which is composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

I also worked on the ‘Black Eye’. I will explain how this process took place in my next blog post. In the mean time, get the jitters.

Week 11: One Step Closer

I sit here in a crowded computer lab amidst a group of mongrels who have absolutely NO sense of decency when it comes to keeping their noise levels down to the minimum.

Some of us are trying to block it out using earphones but heck, their voices are deafening.

Anyway, I’ll have to make do.

It’s assignment week and the three of us have given it our best shot, skipped work and stayed back to work on this project. The shoot was fun and managed to get what we wanted. However, the lighting that we borrowed weren’t battery charged so we had to manage with the fluorescent glow of the street lights in the park.

That flare though.
That flare though.

I had to run around in my stilettos again, hoping that I wouldn’t trip over dry twigs and leaves in the park. But we still got the eerie shots that we wanted and the wind also played a part in making my cloak flutter in the breeze.

It wasn’t freezing this time, so we got lucky.

IMG_5932

We wanted to film an illuminated crucifix but it has been raining for the past few days and at the worst time too- in the evening, when we need that perfect dusky shot.

And now it’s time to get our special effects together.

CREW.
CREW.

Week 10: “The Week That Was”

Assignment week, deadlines and moreover, the stress that I as an individual has to cope with along with the stress of my group members is unprecedented. But enjoyable and something to learn from nevertheless.

I’ve discovered what it means to stick to my calendar and what it means to keep a promise that I make. (Most of the time we make promises that we can’t keep.)

The weather has been taking Preet, Jess and I for a ride. The first day of our shoot went smoothly. Well despite the fact that we shot from 8:30 PM and then wrapped things up two hours later. I was dressed up in black, and caked in makeup fit for a girl going out on a Saturday night. Was glad that I could use it for a shoot instead. The red lipstick was the best part of course, and my part paid off. The very enthralling, very enchanting, and charming boyfriend, Mitch volunteered to be my victim for the shoot. (He’s such a darling, and a life saver really.)

Work in progress. We've been testing out the Black Magic Camera which suits our theme of blood, lust and vampire hunting. (Basically dark stuff).
Work in progress. We’ve been testing out the Black Magic Camera which suits our theme of blood, lust and vampire hunting. (Basically dark stuff).

There was a lot of blood (lipstick) smeared all over his neck to make it look realistic.

And then there was my red cape which of course made me look like Little Red Riding Hood. So I decided to lose the hood and keep the cape. It actually went well with my black dress and stilettos.

We got some pretty good shots on the first day.

Day 2 of the shoot didn’t really go as planned at first since we had issues with the timings (ugh work) and the location. Finally we decided to finish it at uni and managed to get some pretty decent shots.

Today is Day 3 of the shoot and I’m expecting the girls to arrive with the equipment just after dusk so that we can get some good shots in the park where I’ll have to dress up for it.

I spent the day looking up music that’s been registered under the Creative Commons License and there have been a few links up on YouTube

cc 1
Checked out the description which clearly states that it can be altered and “reused”, plus the Creative Commons website linked me to it. Hopefully this should work. The Lacrimosa remix is perfect for our shots.

.  There are shots where Jess is chasing me (where I don’t really exist in the shot, but hypothetically speaking, it is understood that she’s the vampire slayer).

And the shots where I casually enter the apartment with Mitch and grab him by the nape of the neck. I was thinking of using Lacrimosa as a soundtrack since it literally translates to “death march”.

IMG_5900

Week 9: Lens Flare Effect

The most basic of basic filters that you can use in After Effects, the Lens Effect. I decided to use the flare using the lens effect which had been effective in showing the transitioning of texts. I think this tool can be used in basic and advanced videos. I also ensured that the opacity of the text was reduced to 75% to give it a more realistic effect.

It is useful if you want to give your text/ video a more dramatic transition.

But be mindful not to overuse it.

Week 8: Potential Production Elements for the Major Assignment (Keeping my fingers crossed)

SO MANY IDEAS, BUT SO LITTLE TIME.

My group has decided to work on the supernatural theme for this assignment. Our intention is to make use of vampire elements in the video and we also get to play around with monochrome themes and A LOT OF RED. Sin City has worked on some commendable footage that has used monochrome and bold colours to the film’s advantage. It can be a bit tricky if the lighting isn’t sufficient or if the colours that you work with don’t stand out.

What I really admire about the film is that the animation is comic themed but the characters are very lucid in the manner that they have been portrayed.

Our final cut won’t be completely in this format but it will play around with vampire elements i.e., a wine glass with red wine being poured into it, blood red lips (thanks to Mac’s collection of lipsticks), vampire capes, a crucifix and all that jazz.

Hopefully this one should work out.

And I hope no one gets hurt either. It’s going to be all shot at night that inevitably will lead up to sleepless nights. Something to look forward to in the future? SO MUCH WIN.

Week 7- Assignment 2

The purpose of this video was to create a dual reality of Mitch’s mind in the form of alter egos.
From the likes of Tom and Jerry where evil Tom and good Tom are the consciences that persuade him to make a decision. In this video, Mitch decides to get a midnight snack and is torn between eating a pie that he has in the fridge and a green apple that would be a healthier option.

Work in progress

As you can see in the screen shot, I decided to shoot Mitch in two different ‘realities’. The entire purpose of this was in lieu of the quintessential basic cloning that I modified. It is a simple concept that makes use of masking and feathering effects that illustrates the entire idea of the ‘EGO’ and the ‘SUPER EGO’ in this video. Red hues and saturation was added to the ‘EGO’ to give the idea of evil and a monochrome effect was added on to Mitch’s ‘SUPER EGO’ to give it a more angelic effect.

Work in progress 2

The text was positioned in such a way that it was meant to give the viewer the idea of the dualities whispering ideas into Mitch’s ear. Initially, I had meant to scale down Mitch’s alter ego to half its size and make him stand on his shoulder to give it a more realistic effect. However, I went with another concept of the thought bubble or a more hazy reality in which the dualities exist.

This was also because I didn’t have a wide lens camera and there was limited space in the apartment to get a full shot of his feet.

If I had got the shot of his feet, I would have edited it differently and given it a more 3D effect rather than a thought bubble.

Basic motion tracking was used for text and mainly for the halo above Mitch’s super ego’s head. I had to use the eraser tool in order to mask and blend the trident of Mitch’s alter ego to his hand and used motion tracking to give the image that he was holding it.

What I would do differently next time would be feathering out the edges a bit more and to get other shots that would capture Mitch’s legs. It would thereby give me the opportunity to play around with the footage a little more. In my future projects, my focus will be primarily on the structure and nature of the shot which will give me more space to combine bold colours and masking.