In 2010 I and my associate Mark Zayachkowski completed the documentary, Mamornitz: A century of faith and tradition. We travelled to Saskatchewan where we presented the “completed” documentary at the 100th anniversary celebration of the Mamornitz community, with some 300 attendees.
As an artist, I find that a creative work is never really “completed”. There’s always something else I’d like to tweak or improve, or try another approach. I’ve been using some of my down time, while I’m recovering from the surgery I had in February, to increase my proficiency with some of the tools I use – Photoshop, After Effects, Final Cut Pro.
I’ve been practicing my technique on one of the interviews that Mark and I filmed for the documentary, an interview with researcher-historian Dr. Jennie Dutchak. The three photos at the side are still frames extracted from three different stages of the process. The first one is from the original footage, in its raw state. One of the tweaks I’ve wanted to do with it was “repaint” the wall behind Dr. Dutchak to hide the fact that part of the wall was unpainted when we shot the interview.
The Stage 2 image shows one of the frames after I digitally repainted the wall, applied some colour correction and digital zoom. In the process of making this tweak I learned how to use the brush and clone tools in After Effects, I got better at masking (I had to avoid getting “paint” on Dr. Dutchak’s head as she moves around during the interview), and I learned a more efficient way to exchange video files between Final Cut Pro and After Effects using XML files. I also learned how to use Subversion for version control. By using a version control repository I have a way to keep multiple versions of files and different approaches, without cluttering up my working directory with multiple version files.
The Stage 3 image shows one of the frames with additional lighting effects added. Quite an improvement over the raw footage, wouldn’t you say? To do this lighting I used a Gradient Gel preset available for download from videocopilot.net. I also learned a better way to divide the labour between After Effects and Final Cut Pro so that I create great looking effects but not bake them in too soon so that edit decisions can still be altered.
I’m going out for a joyride around the learning curve.
- The Learning Curve (mylifeinaneggshell.wordpress.com)
- Version control (orestn.wordpress.com)
- Down to earth video effects (orestn.wordpress.com)
- Photography Video Workflow: Final Cut Pro + Canon 5D Mark II (torrentbaza.com)