Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Five things I learned at Film School

Gulf Islands

Watercolour and crayon

©2010 Charlene Brown

1. How to use a Wacom tablet to create a simple running cycle in Adobe Flash, using only nine images – as well as how to replicate this sequence so your (rather ineptly-drawn) figure can go more than two steps.

2. Green screen filming of another running figure (me, actually) and how to ‘key out’ the green background using Adobe After Effects, producing a film clip with no background that can be placed in any setting. And we learned that some activities, running being one, don’t lend themselves very well to green screen filming, simply because you can’t really go anywhere – You must stay in front of the fairly narrow screen.

3. Replicated sequences and green screen clips can be used repeatedly with different backgrounds, using a compositing program such as Adobe Premiere Pro. This is an efficient way of producing otherwise painfully slow video ‘footage’ but must be done with finesse. Please check out my video Running Around North America to see the results of doing it without a lot of finesse …

4. Paintings of Google Streetviews make great background for computer animations, and if you use your own paintings you don’t have to concern yourself with copyright infringement. Fortunately, I was able to download paintings I have on my blog. I hadn’t taken any files or paintings with me, because I had planned on a little painting while I was there, but soon learned…

5. There is no time for anything but your project, while you’re at G.I.F.T.S. (Two other people did individual animation projects and two groups did documentaries, and one group wrote and produced a drama.)

It’s taken until now to unwind from the intensive five-day program and find time to paint Gulf Islands. It shows the view from the ferry leaving Galiano Island at the entrance to Active Pass, with Mayne Island on the right and the Point Roberts peninsula (part of Washington State) in the distance.