Narrative of Techniques/Tools

Skills from Lab Tutorials and Lectures

After doing the lab tutorials and lectures, I realised that I would be able to apply many of the aspects I have learnt into my own piece. First, I learnt how to apply depth of field effects which I will be able to apply on shot 8 where the camera will be travelling through seemingly never-ending trees. It will help me to create the deep depth that I am looking for. 

One crucial effect that I learnt in a lab tutorial that I will certainly be using in every shot within my sequence is the colour correction settings. In my practise video of the waterfall, I decided to alter the colour settings to be much darker and desaturated because I knew that this is the style I would like in my final sequence. From doing this, I found that the colour settings are much easier to adjust than I was expecting, and now I have a good understanding of this, I feel confident that I will be able to adjust the colours in my final video to the dark and atmospheric look I am going for. 

I then learnt about different ways to add lighting within scenes. The tutorial was specifically on how to add lighting effectively, which I will be doing in my final scene where the title ‘Fall’ appears on screen. I will also be able to use the same principle to applying lighting within my other scenes – despite the fact that the overall look of my sequence will be quite dark, I will still need to illuminate certain aspects within scenes, most likely through the use of low key lighting which ‘creates tension due to its mysterious and dark atmosphere, controlling how much of the surroundings and characters are revealed’ (Austin School of Film, 2019). I now have the confidence to be able to play around with the various types of lighting in my final scene. 

I have also learnt many skills through attending the lectures that have given me a better understanding of the techniques used within visual effects in both physical and virtual film such as cinematography, camera placement and lighting. These will all be applied throughout the whole of my piece. 

Skills from Independent Learning

Next, to increase my confidence in using After Effects ready for my final piece, I decided to practise some additional effects that I would be using. I mainly gained an understanding of them through doing further research and through following tutorials found online. 

Lightning

First, from a tutorial on youtube, I learnt how to create a lightning effect within After Effects ready for shot 5. I applied an ‘advance lightning’ effect and learnt how it is possible to move the various anchor points around which would mean where the lightning would start and what direction it would travel in. I also learnt that it is possible to change the setting to different style lightning bolts, the one I used in the video above was the ‘strike’ setting which gave me a similar look to what I am after in my final video. I was learnt how to change the lightning settings such as the colour and the glow settings, I gave the lightning bolt a white shade as I felt it was much more realistic than the default blue, and again, the white was the kind of look I am wanting in my final video. Finally, I learnt how to apply a ‘linear wipe’ effect to the lightning which made it look as if it was appearing on screen more naturally. 

Colour Change

Next, I decided to try and follow a colour change tutorial as I would be needing this effect for shot 4 where I will be looking up at the treetops and the leaves will change from green to an autumnal colour. First, I added the ‘keylight’ effect and then used the colour picker to select the green parts of the houseplants, I then altered the view to ‘combined matte’ which changed everything to black and white, from this I was able to alter the settings so that the parts of the plants that I was wanting to adjust the colour on were white and the rest of the composition was black. Next, I added a the ‘hue/saturation’ colour correction effect which I was able to alter the settings to my desired colour of purple. I then realised that some of the things in the background were changing to purple which I didn’t want to I added a basic mask around the plants, the mask ensured the purple colour change only effect the things inside the mask (as I was only practising for this video it was still a very rough mask, but in my final video I will ensure this is done much neater and precise). I then needed to alter the mask throughout certain points in the video as it was staying in the same position and some things that I needed inside the mask would go outside of it. As I hadn’t really used masking before, I took a while to figure out how to properly do this but through keyframing the ‘mask path’ I managed to figure it out. Finally, I managed to do some more practise ready for my final video and I keyframed the mask so that the leaves would start off as green but then change to purple. 

Here are a few screenshots showing my colour change process

Particle Effect

I then decided to practice another particle effect, as I knew that I wanted to use quite a lot of particle effects in my final sequence. I decided to try and create some leaves falling as I was wanting to do this in shot 6 of my sequence. First, I added the ‘CC Particle World’ effect and then I imported a leaf png. Then, I made sure to change the particle type to ‘textured disk’ and then altered the ‘texture layer’ to my imported image. I then tried out some of the different animation types to see what would work best for falling leaves, and ended up settling with the ‘viscouse’ option. Next, I altered the position of the emitter to outside of the screen and made it wider so the leaves would look as if they are falling all over the screen. I also increased the ‘birth rate’ to give it more leaves and then altered the gravity slightly. As After Effects seemed to run quite slow when doing the particle effect, this made it very hard for me to see how fast the leaves were falling when I played the effect back, I also unfortunately had the same problem when I had exported my effect into Premier Pro, so I didn’t always know how it was going to look until I had exported the video. I did the effect a few times and looking at my final attempt, I still feel that the leaves are falling too fast, this will be something I will have to rectify when it comes to creating this effect in my final sequence. 

Overall, learning these techniques has definitely helped me to understand how to do more effects  confidently and I will be able to apply many of them to my final sequence.

References:

Austin School of Film (2019) How to make your film look cinematic on a budget. Available online: https://austinfilmschool.org/blog/how-to-make-your-film-look-more-cinematic-on-a-budget [Accessed 10/11/21].

Lightening Tutorial:

Adobe in a minute (2016) After Effects CC: How to create a lightning strike effect. Available online: youtube.com/watch?v=pWnogMnNh6Q [Accessed 9/11/21].

Colour Change Tutorial: 

TunnelvizionTV (2017) After Effects tutorials how to change the color of something in your scene. Available online: youtube.com/watch?v=PtVo6XwA13A [Accessed 11/11/21].

Leaf PNG:

Vecteezy (n.d.) Maple leaf. Available online: https://www.vecteezy.com/png/1201811-maple-leaf [Accessed 13/11/21].

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