31 October, 2009

Color Balance in Camcorder

Camcorders don’t always capture color very accurately. You may encounter scenes with a slightly bluish or greenish tinge, dull colors, lower contrast, or sickly-looking skin tones. And you may wish you could fix it. Or maybe you just want to take color adjustment into your own hands, not only to get the colors right, but also to create a specific mood for an image. Maybe you want a snowy landscape to look icy blue, so friends back home realize just how freakin’ cold it was. The Video Adjustments panel offers three controls that wield power over this sort of thing: Saturation, White Balance, and individual sliders that control the intensity of red, green, and blue. White Balance. Different kinds of light—fluorescent lighting, overcast skies, and so on—lend different color casts to video footage. White balance is a setting that eliminates or adjusts the color cast according to the lighting.

30 October, 2009

Camcorders - effective usage

Many camcorders come with a number of canned focus/shutter speed/aperture settings for different indoor and outdoor environments: Sports Lesson, Beach and Snow, Twilight, and so on. They’re a useful compromise between the all-automatic operation of less expensive models and the all-manual operation of professional cameras. Some camcorders come with a pocket-sized remote control. It serves two purposes. First, its Record and Stop buttons give you a means of recording yourself, with or without other people in the shot. Second, when you’re playing back footage with the camcorder connected to your TV or VCR, the remote lets you control the playback without needing to have the camcorder on your lap. You may be surprised at how useful the remote can be.

26 October, 2009

Edit HD video in easy way

It’s a funny thing that we’ll take pristine HD video and make it look old and grainy. On purpose. But video effects, like the popular Aged Film effect, create a mood that can’t really be communicated in any other way. That’s why so many people were outraged to find that iMovie ’08 came without any built-in video effects. You couldn’t even slow clips down or speed them up. These newfangled boxes we call computers were supposed to make advanced video effects easy, not nonexistent. To make matters worse, you couldn’t install new effects into iMovie ’08 in the form of plug-ins from other companies, as you could in the old iMovie. A lot of people swore off iMovie ’08 altogether as a result. If you’re reading this book, it may even be because you’ve heard the good news about iMovie ’09: Apple brought back all of those missing effects. Slo-Mo is back. Reverse motion is back. Aged film is back. Apple even added new effects that iMovie has never had before, like Picture-in-Picture and Green Screen.

22 October, 2009

Copying and Pasting Adjustments

All of the fun you might be having in the Video Adjustments panel comes to a crashing halt the minute you realize one massive bummer in iMovie ’09: You can adjust color on only one clip at a time. You might have just spent 15 minutes tweaking the color of your opening ski-school clip into submission, but what about the other 25 skiing shots in your montage? Are you condemned to repeating all of that handwork 25 more times? Fortunately, no. While you can’t edit multiple clips at once, you can copy and paste just the video adjustments between clips. Once you’ve got the blue cast worked out of the first skiing shot, you can wipe it out of each additional shot with a single command.

21 October, 2009

Getting the Shot perfect

Besides having the right color of green, here’s a short list of other tips that will make a world of difference in your Green Screen shots.
Good lighting. The last thing you want are shadows on your green background, because shadows change the color your computer sees and ruin the seamless effect. Shadows cast by the actors themselves are particularly frustrating. The best bet is to light the background and the actor with separate light sources.
Lots of space. Whether or not you have great lighting (but especially if you don’t), keep lots of space between your actors and the green background. Four feet is a decent rule of thumb. This reduces the likelihood of shadows messing up the effect your computer will apply.

15 October, 2009

Fire gods

In terms of the core idea, anything is possible. Just walk through your town’s main street, read today’s newspaper, explore the Internet, or flip TV channels for an hour or so. Something, somewhere will give you an idea. Remember, the world of animation, and specifically your imagination, is infinite. Therefore, all is fair game for the subject of your first film. Just remember too that the real purpose of making a film in the first place is to communicate your idea to others. (Otherwise, why don’t you just relate the story to yourself in your own head without doing a single drawing and be done with it?) Working for an audience requires that you conceive and plan your idea to the best of your ability, via the best filmic techniques you can muster. Do not neglect an appeal to the universal emotions we all share. If you can skillfully tap into these you will surely capture your audience.

Adjusting the PiP Size and Position

On a TV, PiP boxes are relegated to one corner of the screen and usually have a fixed size. If iMovie insisted on such behavior, a PiP box might cover up Aunt Bertie’s face the entire time. (Of course, that might not be such a bad thing.) The point is that when it comes to PiP placement, iMovie is much more flexible than your TV. When you select the PiP clip in your storyboard, look at the preview window to see the effect. Notice the inset picture? You can drag that box anywhere in the frame. You can also resize it by dragging one of the corners inward or outward. In fact, you can, if you want, make the box big enough to cover all of Aunt Bertie. Of course, if you’re going to make the PiP box fill the whole screen, it may make more sense to use a Cutaway.

11 October, 2009

Cinema - a boom in this decade

Cinema is the great art form of our time. It provides popular entertainment and is the preeminent forum for ideas and self-expression. Occupying the place of the theater in Elizabethan times, or the novel in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the cinema is where dreams of every shape and meaning take hold of the contemporary mind. The cinema leaps national and cultural barriers as no medium has ever done before, and the best films excite hearts and minds as only good art can. We each have particular stories to tell, and I shall show you that you do too.No limit exists to the number of films the world can consume, so if you can direct outstanding screen work, you can make a job for yourself. This won’t be simple or easy, and the competition is stiff. But if you can sustain passion for the work, this book will help you succeed no matter whether you’ve done ten years in the film industry or are just starting out. Learning to direct films is like learning to conduct an orchestra. Most conductors learn an instrument, master music, and then learn to conduct—which means coordinating an ensemble of top-notch musicians. Most who direct get there by mastering a key craft such as screenwriting, cinematography, or editing. Which one you should choose will emerge as you roll up your sleeves, use this book, and get an all-around immersion. You may do this in film school with fellow students, or outside it working with a few committed friends. Superb, affordable digital technology now makes high-quality filmmaking possible on a tight budget, so learning to direct has never been more accessible.

04 October, 2009

Use Built-in light

Insufficient lighting is one of the leading causes of “amateuritis,” a telltale form of poor video quality that lets viewers know that the footage is homemade. In the best—and most expensive—of all possible worlds, you’d get your scene correctly lit before filming, or you’d attach a light to the “shoe” (light connector) on top of the camera. Those few cameras that have such a shoe, or even have a built-in light, give you a distinct advantage in filming accurate colors.

02 October, 2009

Zoom easy

When you read the specs for a camcorder—or read the logos painted on its body— you frequently encounter numbers like “12X/300X ZOOM!” The number before the slash tells you how many times the camera can magnify a distant image, much like a telescope. That number measures the optical zoom, which is the actual amount that the lenses themselves can zoom in. Such zooming, of course, is useful when you want to film something that’s far away. You should know, however, that the more you’ve zoomed in, the shakier your footage is likely to be, since every microscopic wobble is magnified by, say, 12 times. You also have to be much more careful about focusing. When you’re zoomed out all the way, everything is in focus—things near you, and things far away. But when you’re zoomed in, very near and very far objects go out of focus. Put into photographic terms, the more you zoom in, the shorter the depth of field (the range of distance from the camera that can be kept in focus simultaneously).

01 October, 2009

Create Animation

Animation is a slow, focused, painstaking process, and you’re fooling yourself if you think otherwise. Good animation, or indeed great films, are not made overnight. It takes months … maybe years … to perfect something in animation, whether that be a collection of repeatable animator skills or an animated film that really expresses itself to its full potential and capability. Consequently, to be a significant animator you need to be a dedicated and somewhat patient individual. You also need to have a determined commitment to see through whatever you start. Finally, you need to have the tenacity to hang in there when all seems to be failing, or the world seems to be against you fulfilling your dream (as it most certainly will over such a period of time). If you’re a video game player and you think that what you see in the game is easy to accomplish … think on! If you believe animation is easy, then you are misguided! If you think animation is something you can pick up, then put it down, pick it up again, and put it down again, ad infinitum … you’re wrong! Great animation is effectively a great obsession. Only the truly obsessed — or to put it more delicately, the more dedicated — will ever fully succeed with it as pure animators. It takes an iron will, blood and sweat, and some tears sometimes to see it through to its fullest conclusion. It is not for the fainthearted or for the easily distracted. It is totally involving and demands as much dedication and commitment from you than if you were studying to be a great lawyer, surgeon, or scientist.