Render Please, A story about video production

I wanted to summarize my two years at the Seattle Central Creative Academy’s graphic design program for my last project in special topics class.

Process: I wanted to capture something authentic about myself as a designer to show to employers. I interviewed my teachers hoping for some insight and asked them about myself and about design. I also had someone interview me on the same topic. I melded sound bites from those interviews into an audio file with a song as a backdrop.

I knew I wanted to make a “demo reel” but I had an idea for making a desk a device with my newly developed app walkthrough skills.

I prepared my “canvas reel,” video taping myself in an empty room in my house and roughly edited it to the pacing of the audio file. I made project reels which had clips from the video projects I did as well as process and images I’ve created over the past two years. I used After Effects to place this reels in the space of the room of the “canvas” reel with the 3D feature.

I wanted to make the audio a little more understandable, so I made captions. I wanted them to animate a little more than I did, but I decided on the expressive hand-written typography and that process led a different way than the scalable illustrator vector items that kinetic typography often uses.

The process with the lettering: I wrote down the script of the video. I screenshot the places in the canvas video where the audio clip ends the phrase for 16 of the phrases in the video. Made an Indesign file so I could print the screenshots scaled on letter paper. Used tracing paper and a 2b pencil to draw out the phrases. I scanned them in. Placed them into photoshop in different layers. Adjusted the levels (made the pencil marks more crisp) and inverted the colors so it was white text on black background. Numbered the layers so they corresponded. Imported that photoshop document into AfterEffects and moved the layers to match up with the phrases and set the layers to screen. There are some places in the video where the type didn’t quite jibe, so I just deleted those bits.

The layered collaged video looked a little jumbled, so I have some parts where a split-screen effect happens. I used clips from my favorite video projects.

Color correction. I wanted a good filter to make the pieces meld together a little bit and act as a highlighter for some of the pieces. Colorize in some places and a black and white tinted layer with a low opacity.

I couldn’t export my video very successfully from After Effects. I tried saving it as a copy, importing it, making new comps, using Premier Pro to add the audio ultimately failed to conform. I should have had better practices with the media cache feature which apparently you shouldn’t set up on a portable drive, but on the main computer. I ended up piece mealing the export process, saving most of the work I did, but there are some things that due to an “unknown error” will forever remain in this lonely corrupted .aep that will have to be remade at some point in the future.

I played this for my class as part of the final presentation. I had no audio, so I played Beatle’s “Yesterday” for accompaniment  After considering Pink Floyd and Davy Jones and not finding good youtube videos fast enough.

I introduced it as a great learning piece about coordinating a lot of pieces of a project and trying to run with a bunch of corrupted files in tow. It seemed reflective of my mind and how I am processing the last two years. It’s kind of all in there and it will take a few more attempts at a video like this to make sense of it all.


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