Psycho The Clown is official

As you know, the Twilight Ballrooms film has been a labour of love for me for the last 10 years and will continue to be so for many years to come as I’m only half way through. The reason it takes so long is because I am doing everything from writing, acting, directing, scoring, grading, compositing, 3d art, editing etc… this list goes on.

However there are one or two bits in the project which are not me. Buster Cristo’s car comes from a royalty free 3d object online repository. The sweet wrappers used in Mrs Kepelwicks shop (which I don’t think are in view anyway) came from a lovely fella called Jason Liebig (who collects sweet wrapper images on Flickr) and who gave me permission to use them. And this week I got kind permission from JP Pirie. Users of Snapchat may well have used his masks on their snapchat pics. It was one of his masks, Clown O Freaky, that I used (along with my face of course) to create the posters of Psycho The Clown. Not only did he give me his permission but even had a quick butchers at the website and was really encouraging with his comments. So, many many thanks JP Pirie!

Vocal Remover

There are many ways to isolate vocals from a song. The results vary and can rather depend on your source material. For example if you have an instrumental of the same track you can “invert” that against the original. Mathmatically speaking, it’s the original(with vocals) minus the instrumental (without vocals) equals the vocals. And this effects can be done easily on open source (free) software such as Audacity

Vocalremover.org

If that fills you with dread then don’t be put off – there is a much simpler way. Whilst the result won’t be perfect, this method will certainly allow you a rough separation of vocal and instrument without the need for the instrumental track and as easy as clicking a button. The algorhythms (yes deliberate misspelt pun) on vocalremover.org are pretty impressive. They can make the split on most tracks that you choose to upload. However, choose wisely as it will only allow you to split up to 3 tracks a day.

If you’re a budding amateur muso like myself, you will be fascinated to listen to the accompaniment of many tracks without the distraction or noise of the singer.

I love a good instrumental as one of my Spotify playlists demonstrates.

Twilight Movie Diary – E05

Recently got into a new site called Pinterest. I found the app version and downloaded to me iPad. Now I’m hooked. It allows to pin most (more or less) pictures on the internet into a folder on Pinterest. So if, you’re doing some compositing on FOG (see below) you can collect a folder of other peoples images to inspire you. Just inspire mind, no stealing! And I was inspired, though it’s your decision whether I actually got a decent foggy composite, rather than just a bleached effect!

Latest from Wits End

Pre-production on the Twilight project has now taken half a year and may take another year or so at this rate. It’s slow but I’m learning so much. However, I am going to have to take some shortcuts, especially with the drawing, which ain’t necessarily a bad thing. Have found a new website called http://www.archive3d.net/ which has a huge repository of models and shapes which will help me in leaps and bounds. And they’re all royalty free and free to use commercially, which means I can use and adapt them for the set in my film.

Thanks to this I have made excellent progress drawing the managers office in the Twilight (complete with rehearsal piano). I had already made great progress with the auditorium and stage (including the Wits End Mighty Wurlitzer), Mrs Kepelwicks Village Store, The Severed Arms and the front gates. I still have corridors, fire-escapes and the main entrance/box-office to do and no doubt other bits and pieces which I won’t go into now. Once that’s all finished there will be fine touching, painting and compositing to do, not to mention experimenting with the greenscreen and finding the look and feel of the film before I return to the script.

Looking forward to watching the LIVE show of The Twilight Ballrooms  – I will be there on 7th August. Good luck to all those involved. The image of the exterior of the Ballrooms (above) wot I drew, appears on the poster of the live show! Yay!

On a downside, I’ve decided to loose the URL www.alifeofbrian.co.uk which finishes today. But don’t despair Brian fans (either of you) as the film will still be viewable on this site!

Greyscale Gorilla & C4 Cafe

“I am the gorilla!”

A blog worthy of mention, Greyscale Gorilla This one covers all my favourite subjects on Post Production, namely After Effects, Cinema 4d, Photoshop and others. Some great video tutorials (video tutorials are always the best) and a competition called the 5 Second Project which is very entertaining, check out the superb entries, inspiring stuff. All this done by a fella called Nick Campbell (he is the gorilla) from Chicago, USA. Nice one Nick!

As I explore the demo of Cinema 4d even more, I have subscribed to c4dcafe.com – who have some excellent tutorials too.  However it took me 3 attempts to get my subscription accepted, (you can’t view anything until you have subscribed which is annoying) and once you’ve completed their rather interrogative questionnaire, they hint heavily for donations. I hope some day they take a leaf out of other sites more accessible walk-in setups and deal with their funding issues by advertising or selling their own products, such as my favourite site Video Copilot or indeed Greyscale Gorilla! Another brownie point for them!

Photoshop tutorials

This year I hope to be able to incorporate mattes into my videos, especially with the Twilight project. For this I realise I will need to swot up on Photoshop and what it can do. There are plenty of good sites such as psdtut+ which I’ve mentioned before on this blog. Here is another. Nothing sells a tutorials site to me more than some great examples of what can be achieved and to this end, this site will not disappoint. Time to get practising.

If you’ve got any more great suggestions for good PS tutorial sites, share them here.

Red Giant Software

Not only a great selection of post-production software and add-ons, the website also has a great selection of videos and tutorials on how to get the best out of these products. From Grading software with fabulous presets, to lens flares, text effects (including the ubiquitous Matrix generator), vintage effects, state of the art video noise reduction, ray effects, keying software, oh to name just a few!
But Red Giant’s “Pièce de Résistance” is its Trapcode Collection of particle generators, most notably “Particular”. This effect comes in many forms and categories and Red Giant have been wise to subdivide its possibilities into various different versions of software. Also worthy of mention, and one of my personal favourites, was “Psunami” which is a sea generator like no other. Incredibly realistic, you can also have huge control over its environment including camera angles giving you the power to make some amazing effects which would only otherwise be possible shooting from a helicopter. In can take a while to render but its still significantly faster than doing it on 3d modelling software, and the wire mesh preview gives almost realtime rendering which is ideal.
So check out the website, the software, Red Giant TV and give their demos a try. It’s not so much whether you’ll buy something because you will, but more that you find the perfect solution from its vast array of offerings.

Movie Poster Font

Give your movie poster a touch of class by using that font Hollywood uses on the base of all of its posters.
Download it free from www.abstractfonts.com
The small credits “Directed By, Written By, Produced By” etc… are all achieved using one lowercase letter shortcuts. There are also extras like DVD and Caption logos and much more. It couldn’t be simpler. Great stuff.

Mailchimp

Get visitors to your site to subscribe to your mailing list.

This is a great and FREE site. Mailchimp is the answer to your mailing list needs. It can help you set up a variety of forms such as mailing lists or questionairres; it’ll help you customise these forms with your own design and provide the code for embedding it in your own site; non-coders can get a link to their own page created especially for their form; it  protects you against spam and webbot attacks and allows visitors to your site to subscribe/unsubscribe safely.It will let you plan email campaigns, filters results from your database and…..oh everything! OK, if you’ve a serious amount of subscribers and mailout every week, you’ll probably have to pay a premium to upgrade your service, but the limits for free customers are very generous and if you’re just starting out with mail management, then you can’t go wrong registering with this site. There are even plenty of tutorials and prompt boxes to help you along.

Creative Cow

What this site hasn’t got for the serious movie maker isn’t worth knowing. It certainly has a comprehensive collection of external tutorials covering a wide array of categories, including many Adobe products, specific camera equipment and the main 3d modelling programs. And when you’re on a tea break have an explore of the rest of the site too. The showreels people have submitted are awesome and inspiring, there’s a jobs board, excellent resource and links to some other fab sites.

Visit www.creativecow.net

Site of the Year – Video Copilot

Video FX guru Andrew Kramer and his team run this website that sells their own VFX products and After Effects plugins including Action Essentials 2, ProScores, Twitter, Optical Flares, Riot Gear and more. These are very professional looking products at a snip of a price that you’d expect to pay elsewhere. But it is not just these that makes this site my Number 1 choice for any creative artist starting out on their own. It is the 100+ online tutorials by Kramer that are…free to watch! Kramers enthusiasm and passion for the subject is infectious. If the software, the tutorials or his positive personality don’t inspire you then I’m sorry for your loss. And it is your loss! Don’t be a loser. Visit www.videocopilot.net and buy their products! Now!