Archive for September, 2011|Monthly archive page

HET324 Media Theory DVD and Compositing – Week 06/07

In Uncategorized on September 24, 2011 at 5:22 am

Assignment 1: Piano Love Reflection Piece

Piano Love is a short 24 second silent movie inspired by own my experiences. Although this assignment didn’t require a narrative, I found myself creating one anyway.  The concept for the short film came almost immediately to me after someone who I cared a lot about had left for travelling adventures around Australia and I felt a little lost. At the same time, I was trying to write some music for my band but couldn’t because I was sad and uninspired. I experienced writer’s block and became so frustrated that despite my enjoyment of writing music, it just wasn’t the same if I wasn’t in the right state of mind.

Coincidentally, whilst I was coming up with this concept I was listening to Coldplay (a band I haven’t listened to in ages). As I was listening to the album, the song, The Hardest Part started playing. For the first time I really listened to the lyrics, “…I tried to sing but I couldn’t think of anything and that was the hardest part.” As corny as that sounds, it really summed up how I felt at the time and attributed to the creation of the narrative for Piano Love. I didn’t mind that this idea was going to be corny, as most Silent Films often over exaggerate emotions. I therefore used this to my advantage.

Piano Love is about a young girl who is struggling to find the joy in playing the piano. This is because she is lonely and fed up. To her surprise, a young man appears. She isn’t lonely anymore. He suggests that they play a song together. In awe of him, the young girl is happy again and finds the motivation to play the piano with the young man. They are happy and in love. Together they share the love of  playing the piano.

I am really happy with the final outcome of my silent film because it reflected exactly what I had in mind and what was in the storyboard. I believe this was because I didn’t rush into anything and I had really planned out how I was going to execute the silent film. To begin with, I did a lot of thorough research into silent films, by looking at 10 different styles of silent films. I wrote down commonalities of the silent film style for me to incorporate into my own. Before I started filming I had the time frame constantly in mind. I had decided on the location/setting, the actors, the costumes, the camera angles, the lighting and what effects in after effects I would need to apply. The hardest part was fine tuning and tweaking my rough edit in After Effects to most replicate a silent film. The effects I used included: Contrast/Brightness, Speed, Curves, Hue/Saturation, Music, Importing a JPEG file (love heart) in which I added Wriggler effect and opacity, Importing three Illustrator files (The three text/boarder frames) and Importing the Silent Film effect layer over the original footage.

Piano Love can we viewed on Youtube:


Love heart image –

Silent Film Font –

Old film look layer –


HET324 Media Theory DVD and Compositing – Week 05

In Uncategorized on September 11, 2011 at 3:43 am

In this weeks tutorial, we played around with Special Effects. We did two exercises where masks where used in After Effects. The first exercise involved an individual appearing in the same scene three times. This was achieved by filming four shots with the camera perfectly still and layering each the four shots onto one another. The first shot was filmed without anyone in it and the three others were filmed with an individual appearing in different locations and movements to one another.

The second exercise involved two people reinacting a scene from star wars by using bamboo sticks as light sabers. In After Effects, one of the bamboo stick was masked by using the pen tool to trace around the bamboo stick. This was altered for every frame, so to follow the movement of the bamboo stick in the footage. I found this exercise a little more complicated than the first, and I fee that l i’d need to go through this again if i were to apply this effect to my major assignment.

For assignment 1 I had used my friend’s version of Final Cut Pro to edit my footage. The reason for wanting to use Final Cut Pro was because I had recently put a short film together and so I was very familiar with the program and I hadn’t used Adobe Premiere since 2008. So, by week 4, although my footage was ready to be imported into After effects I realised I was encountering a few problems by not choosing to use Adobe Premiere in the first place.

The first being, that it is a lot easier to transfer Premiere files into After Effects rather than Final Cut into After Effects. The second being that I didn’t have the right version of Final Cut Pro for myself in order to transfer the files onto After Effects in my own time. The third being that this was all incredibly time consuming.

This week, however, I finally found a version of Adobe Premiere. So i’m back on track. Yesterday I imported all the original footage (unedited) into Premiere and edited it together in the same way as I had within Final Cut. I increased the speed by 150% and included the three text frames that i had created in Adobe Illustrator. I then exported the file as a Quickmovie into Adobe After Effects. At this stage I have begun adding effects to the footage in After Effects.

I’ve already begun brain storming an idea for my major assignment. At this stage I think I will be making a 1 minute trailer for a documentary about my band whilst we’re away touring for a large part of October.

HET324 Media Theory DVD and Compositing – Week 04

In Uncategorized on September 3, 2011 at 10:35 am

In this weeks lecture we looked at Special Effects (SFX). I learnt that when using special effects, it needs to be integrated into the storytelling. Before applying special effects, it needs to be considered that the special effect has a role/function, how it visually communicates to the audience and what the aesthetic value/meaning may be.

This weeks tutorial was beneficial as this was the first time we were able to film footage and learn about applying different effects to adjustment layers such as curves, levels, masking, contrast/brightness, hue/saturation and the silent film look.

On Wednesday the 31st of October I filmed the footage for my first assignment. The location was at a friend’s house in Fitzroy. It was the perfect location for my silent film to suit the era. This was due to the neutral colour scheme of the interior of the house (white brick walls and white high ceilings) decorated with antiques such as paintings, old books, ornaments and the grand piano (as my story was focused around the grand piano, it was imperative that I found a location that had one).


Before shooting, I spent an hour preparing the the area around the grand piano. This included removing anything that may remove the forth wall and rearranging the furniture. The two people who were to be in silent film were to wear costumes and apply make-up that resembled the 1930s (the boy had dark eye make-up where as the girl had dark eye make-up, rosy cheeks and red lips). This was done so their features would stand out after i applied effects in after effects.


In preparation for filming, I had organised a SONY HD 12 megapixel handycam and a tripod. I didn’t need any props apart from a candle that was required to rest above the grand piano. The candle was important because I wanted to have low light in the room in order to evoke a feeling of romance and lonesomeness. I was hoping for the candle light to symbolise hope for the eventual happy ending of the silent film. Luckily, the house had adjustable lights, which allowed me to get the perfect amount of low light needed to create the ambience that would be captured by the camera.

Today, I have begun the first step of editing in Final Cut Pro. At this stage I have cut the footage down to 23 seconds and it is in the chronological order to my storyboard. I had to slightly speed up the footage in Final cut to not only resemble a silent film, but also so that the assignment was within 15-30 seconds. At this stage, I am almost ready to begin importing the footage into After Effects. However, I need to use a program that will allow me to import Final Cut into Adobe After Effects and i’m not 100% sure on how to do this.

Other things I want to consider:

  • Heart animation for final scene (Illustrator image into wriggler effect)
  • Scratchy look (Real_8mm_Film.mov)
  • Sepia and or black and white (hue/saturation)
  • Highlights and low lights (Contrast/Brightness)
  • To find out the right dimensions for the text frame in order to import it into Final Cut Pro
  • Narrative music