Join Eran Stern for an in-depth discussion in this video Reviewing, choosing, and preparing footage, part of After Effects Artist in Action: Eran Stern's Personal Transporter.
In this movie, we will review and choose the best footage file to use, and we will also go in to adjust its volume control. I'm starting here, inside Adobe Bridge, and I can see all the eight takes of the footage that I took the same day. The actor in this case is my brother, Yuval. And, I'm going to switch from the Essentials to the Filmstrip View. This way, when I'm choosing something, I can lower the volume all the way down, and play it for you.
We can see the result. Now, the first thing, which is the most important, is to plan your shot. In this case, we can see that I'm just explaining to my brother what I want him to do. And, my plan was for him to get inside the frame, and then draw an imaginary circle in the air. After that, he should duck, and stay on the floor a couple of moments, and then leave the screen.
And, you see that we've got a couple of takes here that Yuval is doing the same action all over again. And, the most important thing, if you are going to shoot something like this, is, of course, to leave the camera rolling after Yuval, or your actor, is actually leaving the screen. This will become more clear why we need it in the later movies. Anyhow, I'm not going to bore you with all the takes. I watched them all and already decided that this shoot MVI_7884 is the one that we are going to shoot.
So, I'm going to raise the volume here. And, let's just watch this take from the beginning. (video playing)xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx We can see that the core of settings is a little bit different from the previous one. And also, we've got a couple of issues that we should take care of in terms of video noise and grain.
However, the first stage is just to take this Raw footage, and import it inside After Effect. In order to do so, you can right-click on the footage, and then just ask it from the Open With menu to open with Adobe After Effects. In my case, I'm going to import it to my already opened project. If I have access to the footage files, you can work along with me; otherwise you can work with your own footage. Inside After Effects, I'm going to press on the Create New Composition button.
I'm going to name my composition "01 Master Clip," and choose this Preset of HDTV/72025 which corresponds to the video that I shot. I'm going to leave the Duration for now to 30 seconds, and press OK. Now, let's drag the clip into this Master Clip Composition, and you can see that it is obviously bigger than what we need. The reason is that I've used the higher settings on my 7D camera, which capture this frame at 1920x1080.
So, we can press S, and basically let's start by scaling it to 80%. This is actually a good thing, because it will allow us to reformat and reframe this footage in the new canvas. Basically, I'm going to drag the footage in my comp viewer, and just place it basically in the center here, more or less in this point. You can also use the arrow keys on the keyboard just to nudge it, few pixels here and there.
I think that this is a good beginning. Now, we obviously got a couple of things that we need to cut away from the beginning and the end of the frame. So, let's go to the start of this clip. I'm going to right-click on the word Duration here, and just choose To Hide it. Same for the Parent column, which, in this case, I'm not going to use. So, now that I have more room to work with, I'm going to close, and open up. And, under the Audio, I just want to make sure that I can see the Waveform monitor.
I'm going to press on the Period key on my Num Lock to generate an audio preview only. And, you can hear me calling the action for the beginning of the shot. So, of course, we need to trim this. So, let's just move here, and just make sure that we don't see Yuval gets into the frame. So, maybe around here this is a good place to start. I'm going to also give it few more seconds here, and basically just going to trim the start of the clip, and then just drag it all the way to the beginning of the composition.
Now, I want to leave the ambient sound that I have here, because I think that it will generate to the atmosphere of the final shot. So, let's just scrub the timeline here. We can see that Yuval is jumping. And, let's continue a little bit more. And, just before he is leaving the screen, so somewhere around here, I'm going to split this clip. So, let's close it, go to the Edit menu, and choose Split Layer.
And now, I can just scrub my current time indicator, until he is clear out of the scene, trim this footage, and then, just nudge it into place. And, from here, we have couple of seconds where we just have an empty, clean plate, which we can then work with. So, I'm going to drag my end work area over here, right-click on this bar, and choose Trim Comp to Work Area.
I also may want to go to the beginning of this clip, and I want to actually fade-in the Audio. Now, don't be tempted to use the Audio levels here in order to do it. The reason is that using this slider of the Audio levels will give you an abrupt sound change. And, just to demonstrate the result of this, I'm going to create a keyframe here, and lower the Audio levels to its minimum of -48dB.
Then, let's move forward maybe a second or so, and just bring it back to 0. Now, if you're going to go back and listen to the result, you will hear what I mean. You can hear that the sound was changing dramatically from nothing to a very loud volume. Instead, if you want to do such changes, I recommend to leave these audio levels alone. So, I'm actually going to park my cursor here, and then, delete these keyframes, so it will leave the 0 volume in place.
Then, let's go to the beginning. And, instead of working with the Audio levels parameter, I'm going to select the clip. And then, under the Effects from the Audio category, I'm going to choose the Stereo Mixer Effect. And this effect will allow you to change the levels of your left and right channels using a percentage value, which will give you a much better and smooth result. So, let's do the same thing basically.
Let's create keyframes for the left and right levels, change them to 0 at the beginning, then move forward a minute or so where the actor is almost entering the scene, and just raise it back to 100%. Now, let's go to the beginning. We can also watch their way from Audio display. And, you can see that, indeed, it created a milder transition. Once again, I'm going to press 0, so you can get to the impression.
This, to me, sounds much more natural than the Audio levels effect on their own. One more thing I like to do here is, basically, dismiss the speaker icon for the second part. And, this is because, at the end of this clip, you can hear me basically analyzing the shoots on the scene. One more thing that we might want to do is just make sure that we are doing the same thing at the end. So, maybe around here, just after his ducking, we will open, once again, the Stereo Mixer Effect, and then just create the same keyframes over here. And then, let's press O to get to the Out Point of this clip. And, once again, we can 0 this, or basically just copy and paste those value.
This is how you choose the best take, import it to After Effects, clean up the Volume control, and of course, trim your composition.
- Reviewing, choosing, and preparing footage
- Removing noise
- Separating the actor from the background
- Tracking the actor's hands
- Adding paint and particle effects
- Parenting the tracking data
- Inserting sound effects and music