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After Effects CS5.5 New Features
Illustration by John Hersey

Locking off a shot


From:

After Effects CS5.5 New Features

with Mark Christiansen

Video: Locking off a shot

Although Warp Stabilizer is commonly used to smooth existing camera movement, you can also use it to completely lock off a shot. That means if you find yourself out there shooting an interview or a clean plate and you forgot your tripod, it may be good enough to hold the camera as steady as you can and then fix it in post. So here we have a source shot that's almost locked off but in fact it is bouncy and handheld.

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After Effects CS5.5 New Features
1h 42m Intermediate May 02, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In this course,, visual effects guru Mark Christiansen covers the relevant new features of After Effects CS5.5, including the new Warp Stabilizer, 3D Stereoscopic workflow, and Lens Effects tools. The course also covers light falloff enhancements and workflow improvements in this release.

Topics include:
  • Adding smooth light falloff
  • Using inverse square falloff
  • Creating lens blur with the After Effects camera
  • Working with Warp Stabilizer
  • Recreating bokeh blur artifacts
  • Creating rack focus
  • Setting up stereo 3D
  • Working with RED camera footage
  • Saving preview time with disk caching
  • Creating an orbit null
Subject:
Video
Software:
After Effects
Author:
Mark Christiansen

Locking off a shot

Although Warp Stabilizer is commonly used to smooth existing camera movement, you can also use it to completely lock off a shot. That means if you find yourself out there shooting an interview or a clean plate and you forgot your tripod, it may be good enough to hold the camera as steady as you can and then fix it in post. So here we have a source shot that's almost locked off but in fact it is bouncy and handheld. Let's take a look at what happens if we actually block it off completely. This time I'm going to apply Warp Stabilizer from the Effect & Presets menu.

So if I search on Warp, you see it under the Distort menu. I'll just double click it and once again it starts analyzing automatically. During the analysis or after, I can instead choose No Motion and that will just change the stabilizing portion. Now before you analyze this result technically, just look what it does for the cinematic quality of the shot. It now conveys a completely different and stronger story, if you will, whereas before the story that I got from the shot was "Hey, my friends are out on up here and I am trying to take a shot of them." Now we've taken the camera operator out of the equation and we have a shot in which one rider remains still and the other one leaves.

Notice that the options to reduce Smoothness are grayed out over here. This is an all or nothing decision. The shot is either locked off or not. If instead you want a shot with a little bit of motion, the way to do that is to choose Smooth Motion and just increase the Smoothness. If I bump it up a lot like this, what I have now is a smooth pan. It still has some of the dramatic quality that I alluded to but this time we're following the rider who's leaving and leaving the other rider behind.

So you can see where Warp Stabilizer actually becomes something of a storytelling tool. The No Motion option is designed for cases where you want a locked camera. If you want a camera that's almost locked but slightly loose, you can use Smooth Motion and raise the Smoothness settings. This is one case where no really means no.

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