Here to tear it up.

My original idea for this assignment was to do a time-lapse. Time-lapses are usually pretty interesting, and if done right they can be brilliant, however if there is one thing I have learnt so far from this course that will stick with me, it is to not go with your first idea straight away. First give it time to mellow, and re-consider it a couple of days later. During the couple of days I decided to think of some more ideas, the second idea I had was to create a short movie with the main theme being around time. I thought of having a bomb ticking down the time ’till it blows up that I could randomly cut to, and I imagined a really dark atmosphere.

The only things wrong with this is that I didn’t have a high quality camera to record the film on, and I had no previous experience of making a film. I started to think of things that I enjoy doing that I could use. After a week or so I decided upon making a video game montage. I have some small previous experience in this, as I got into editing a couple of years ago and made a few montages.

In preparation I started looking at some tutorials, and I came across a brilliant website called Video CoPilot, this website had over a hundred brilliant tutorials for Adobe After Effects. Here are a couple I looked at, I’m not sure how to embed the actual videos, so I’ll link to the pages:

http://www.videocopilot.net/tutorials/galactic_orb/

http://www.videocopilot.net/tutorials/lightning_strike/

Although there isn’t really a way you can incorporate them into an FPS montage, these videos were still really useful as I got to watch a professionals workflow in AAE, and I definitely learnt some new stuff.

The game I am going to create my montage of is Halo Reach. I’ve loved the Halo series ever since I first played it, so it was logical choice for me.

The first thing I had to decide about my montage was what music to use. I wanted the music to be fast paced, and to have a lot of points that I could sync the music too. I also wanted the song to be about time in a way. After a couple of hours of listening to my iTunes library, I came up with two candidates from my two favourite bands.

In the end I chose the first song, as I thought it fitted the criteria more.

After listening to the song a few times, I could see the video forming my mind, I could see the major sync points, places where I wanted effects, that sort of thing.

The programs I decided upon using to create my video were Sony Vegas, and Adobe After Effects. SVE will be mainly for slowing down and speeding up parts of the video, for cutting clips, and may be used for some small effects. Once I have everything in place in Vegas, I will render out small clips where I want effects and import them into AAE, once I’m done adding effects in there, I will then render the clip again and place it back in Vegas.

I had some problems with this at first, as the clips I had to use were .wmv files. These were fine to open on vegas, but when I tried to open them in AAE it wouldn’t work. My solution to this was to render the clips as .avi files in Sony Vegas, and this fixed the problem, partially anyway. The new problem was trying keep as much quality as possible, as when I first tried this a lot of quality was lost. I adjusted the settings and if I rendered them with the template HDV 720-30p intermediate, then there was minimal quality loss.

Here are some screenshots I took while making the video:

When I completed the first render, I watch the video back about 10 times. And then returned a day later and watched it again. After a day the flaws in the video were still there, so I put it back into SVE and AAE, and started tweaking it until it was satisfactory. When I was finally satisfied, I had rendering problems. My computer wasn’t capable of rendering out the complete video in one go any more, I was stumped for a while. I tried restarting it and closing every other program but it wasn’t having any of it. I overcame this problem by rendering it out in two halves, and then putting those two halves together again in SVE and rendering it as a complete package.

The problems didn’t end there though, no! When I attempted to upload the video to Youtube, it let me wait for two hours thinking it was uploading, and then kindly informed me at the end that it had failed to convert the file. Another unsuccessful attempt later and I was pulling my hair out. After some contemplation, I re-rendered the video as a .wmv (much smaller file size, not as great quality) and that seems to have done the trick.

Here is my video:

One last screenshot of me working in After Effects using the light rays effect:

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