I haven’t blogged in a couple of days. I’ve been mega busy with work, christmas is supposed to be the busiest time for retail and it shows. We had a van break down today, nightmare!

Anyway, I thought I’d share a bit of what I’ve been upto with my college projects. I’ve just completed two units, DVD menu design and video compositing. I started both of the projects before I decided to leave Voodoo Unicycles and the products I planned to make were originally both going to go towards a full length DVD of our Scotland roadtrip from earlier in the year. I had done too much planning to change the products so I had to carry on and finish what I’d started.
The DVD menu has come out pretty well and I’m fairly pleased with it. When I shot the footage for it I was convinced it was going to be rubbish. I felt the shoot went really badly and I hadn’t got anything useable, turns out it went better than I thought. The menu is based around a set of the Voodoo office. Various buttons appear on the computer, noticeboard and the map on the desk. When selected the camera flys into the different objects and another menu is presented. Here’s one of the transitions I shot. This one is for when the chapters button is pressed. The chapters will appear as points on the map and each one will relate to somewhere we visited on the trip.

Here’s a still from the special features menu. This is before I laid all the buttons and text over the top.

The other product I’m creating is a title sequence for the DVD. I’ve had massive problems with this. I’m using Adobe After Effects to create the 3D text. I have used AE before but only very basic functions and I’ve always had to follow tutorials to be able to do anything. I decided it’s time I started to learn how to use it properly and this project has definitely thrown me in at the deep end. The first few clips I rendered out of AE looked horrendous. I discovered that the ray trace quality setting wasn’t turned up high enough. Once I’d sorted that, the renders were starting to look a lot better. The downside of setting the quality higher was that render times increased. Dramatically. You can just about see in the screenshot below, that it has been rendering for 45 hours and has 17 hours left…
Needless to say, this project is late!

I also wanted to try some grading in After Effects but I couldn’t find a 3-way colour correction plugin. More research needed. I did adjust the curves a bit though. The footage looks waaaay better. I’m going to try some proper grading on them once I’ve found out how. Here’s a couple of screengrabs after playing with the curves a bit. They could be much better but I haven’t really had time to really play with it yet. I’m just enjoying seeing the footage with some colour to it after looking at the raw, flat clips for so long.


That’s all for tonight. I’m off for a beer and a Chinese cooked by my Dad!