Videography, Videos

New (short) Video! Baby’s First Animated Track Matte

21 Feb , 2015   Matt   Video

I won’t pretend this is a polished piece by any stretch of the imagination. It was just some B-roll filmed by a few friends and collaborators recently as part of something else. Specifically, Chris Bastedo and Pauline Lu. Special thanks, also, to Chris’ family for letting us film on private property.

I’m getting to be fairly quick about editing and compositing in Cinelerra, except that I did this with raw footage straight out of the t5i, because I hate myself and want my computer to bother me every five seconds. Yeah, use intermediary codecs, children.

What I absolutely suck at, so far, is animating with the cross-platform software Synfig Studio. I only sort of got it to do what I wanted. Had I been working in Flash, or potentially even Illustrator, this would have gone much more smoothly. Stupid learning curves. Also, I’m quite certain now that I have the FFmpeg codec installed, but it isn’t showing up as a render option. Help me, Gary-Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope.

Because of the technical difficulties, I’m not sure how useful an in-depth review of the process would be. While I did get a high-definition format to render out of Synfig (it purported to be the DV codec), it didn’t seem to display properly within Cinelerra. Specifically, the binary black and white I used to make the matte looked like it had been reduced to broadcast-safe tonal values. I had to screw around with compositing effects to get full-black and full-white back. That may or may not have been the cause of some very screwy behavior when I actually keyed out the matte. You’ll notice that there’s a white ring around all three shapes.

I’m wondering if I should just do the matte as green-on-black, but I can’t imagine why the computer would have an easier time with that than with B&W.

There was some color correction, as the noise I only just noticed from YouTube will attest. The original footage was shot minutes before nightfall, and was extremely blue given the overcast sky that day. I also yanked everything down in the frame as much as Cinelerra would let me, so letterboxing has once again proved invaluable.

The thing that most bothers me is that I couldn’t figure out how to cut out everything except the rectangles. There’s a nice graphic quality to the black background, which was what I set out to achieve originally, but it would be more versatile if I could drop an image over an image. The applications there are well-nigh endless.

It is late, I am tired, and it looks like Snow-mageddon-pocalypse 2015 got started earlier today, so I’m going to go pass out and hope the roads are clear enough to get to my mother’s house tomorrow. Lots of busy-work that needs doing.


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