Impromptu Abstract

Abstract Road Trip

Today me and my brother drove up to Winchester, Virginia to get some new 4k camera gear. I took my 5Dmkii and my Canon 24-70mm 2.8 L Lens. On the drive up, I decided to play with some long exposures. The lighting was perfect and the following image was the result of being at the right place at the right time. I wish I could always have my camera with me but alas I can’t. Enjoy!

Abstract

Feeding the next generation

Moving on

I recently sold off some of my old equipment I have not used since I purchased my Canon Ef-L 35mm 1.4 & Canon 24-70mm 2.8. I sold my first EF mount cine lens.  My very first cine lens was a micro 4/3 Rokinon cine 14mm T3.1. This lens was soft and slow and I never really got the results I wanted out of it. Compared to the Rokinon cine EF 85mm t1.5 it was a terrible, but at that time I was shooting on my black magic pocket cinema camera with it’s super 16mm sensor a 14mm. A medium wide angle lens. The 85mm on that camera was like a 250mm on my 5d mkii which made it usable in only certain situations. This led me to mainly use it on my Canon t3i that I used as a B camera at the time. The lens crushed everything else I had or had used except for the Panasonic GH4/Zeiss cp.2 combo i had shot with at school. I shot a lot on that 85mm. The vessels of Mercy interview, some of the My story, multiple short films, weddings, and events. The fast speed of it never let me down. Sadly in the gear world, you always run across something better . In this case mine was a outrageous deal on the two Canon EF-L lenses. after getting those at the beginning of the summer I had not reached for the 85mm since.

The other day I decided to list and sell it on Facebook’s Market. A young man responded and expressed how excited he was to use the lens and how many opportunities it would open up for him. We agreed on a price which was subsequently what I had payed for it. We chose a time for him to run by the house and test it out. He showed up with his buddy who was clearly just there as backup. He opened his bag and took out a camera very much like my T3i from back in the day. He put the lens on and was so giddy he could hardly keep a straight face. It felt like I was talking to my self from 3-4 years ago. You know how everyone wishes they could go back and tell themselves what they should have done? Well this was my moment. I gave him the advice that I would have told myself. I tried to tell him what I wished I had known at that point in my filmmaking career. I told him what gear he should skip on and what he should invest in , and that if I ever had any work that I could’d hire him onto I would. I also told him if he ever needed any help to reach out to me.

Helping bring up a person with you

Many people would’ve left him out to dry because it’s a competitive field and the jobs are few but I feel that theres always a right person for a job and that the client works the best with a certain person so who am I to dictate that? I will find my right client but in the meantime I can pull someone up with me much like I had hoped someone would do for me back when I was 18 with a camera and high hopes ready to tackle the world.

 

Java: for more than web animation

Before this class I had never even seen source code. I’ll admit on the firstday of classes I was very intimidated and the though of dropping the class did cross my mind but I decided to stick with it because web development and coding is something I’ve wanted to learn for a very long time but was alway overwhelmed by it. I’m happy to say I now feel very confident is going out and adding webdevelopment to the list of creative services I can offer. Its a pretty awesome feeling to be able to approach a small business and say “I can handle and create your video, photography and build your website.”

For this research project I want to demonstrate something I didn’t connect before learning some basic java script. I found that these script are applicable in so much more than just animating a website. I am a film student in the VCU Arts Film program and use Adobe Premiere, Audition, and After Effects. I’ve done complex animation some dealing with 3D space in after effects by previously hand animating everything with keyframes and the result never quite where got where I was happy with it.

As a filmmaker the image above is intimidating. Each of those little symbols represents a change in a parameter of the layer or object and doing each of those manual is usually a frustrating and at least in my case renders a clunky robotic feeling animation. However there is hope for individuals like me who need to animate titles and Visual Effects that don’t look like they were made in 2007 windows movie maker.

The first solution: Expressions

Expressions are scripts that are built-into After Effects that can aide in frequently used animations such as randomly “Wiggle” parameters. This is a great way to generate a true random fluctuation that you can set thresholds and control.

 

The second and most advanced: Scripts

Expressions and manually animating are great but all too often something more is required. I ran up against something that was going to take an enormous amount of time and 50 or so layers that would all need individual animation.  The  idea was simple. I needed some additional footage for an video interview I was working on for a client. The client wanted a calendar counting up through the days of the month. After a few failed attempt to get the result I wanted, I got very frustrated and decided to do a search because there must be a better way. Little did I know I was already learning it 🙂

After effects can take script code directly. This opened up a whole world to me that I didn’t know existed. being able to find code that does close to what I want, modify it and inject the script directly into the layer that I’m working on changed the way I approach animating anything. A quick search revealed this code

beginCount = 0; stopCount = 30; beginTime = 0; // start counting at time = 0 countDur = 5; // count for 5 seconds “” + Math.round(linear(time,beginTime,beginTime + countDur,beginCount,stopCount)) + “”

 

I put this into my text layer and it was like magic, automatically after effects generated numbers counting up. All the work was done for me and saved me hours of animating. It pretty cool that this language and way of thinking is usable across websites and into my art.

In my research  I’ve found many other scripts that allow me to do thing I couldn’t do before in After Effects