The Friday Roundup – Gear Obsession, Rotoscoping and Success on Vimeo

Return of the Rotoscope

Let’s talk about rotoscope… anyone?

OK, rotoscope is a technology that nearly all good video editors at the top of the consumer level editing food chain will have in some form or another.

Some will have it as a separate module within the main interface of the software and some will have it as part of a filters package.

So what is it?

Rotoscope is a drawing tool that allows you to draw over live footage like you can in image editing software so that you can turn everything into a cartoon look.

You can use it as lightly or as heavily as you want, you can use it to turn the background into a cartoonish set while leaving the people as real or vice versa.

It is however a tool that goes largely unnoticed or unused for some pretty good reasons.

The first of these is that up until the advent of touch screens rotoscoping had to be done using a mouse and trust me, tedious does not even begin to describe the pain of it!

The second reason was that many examples of rotoscoping that the public saw (or were subjected to) were pretty awful or they were well done but attached to awful projects!

In other words, rotoscope suffered from a pretty bad reputation.

These days the rotoscoping tools you probably have in your home editor are a new generation of development and whilst being easier to use are much smarter than before.

You can get some pretty good results with what you have is you are willing to put in the time and let your imaginations run free.

The video below is a little taste of what can be achieved when you put your mind to it.

49 University of Newcastle Australia animation students were each given 52 frames of Taylor Swift’s Shake it Off music video, and together they produced 2767 frames of lovingly hand-drawn rotoscoped animation footage.

Check it out and Shake it Off!

Maybe You Might Feel More at Home on Vimeo

A short time before YouTube was initially launched there was already another fledgling video uploading service that had taken its first steps.

That site was Vimeo and although things have changed quite a bit over the years Vimeo is still going strong.

Clearly it hasn’t reached the heights of its counterpart as far as users and content goes it still represents and great alternative to the mainstream of YouTube.

One of Vimeo’s most attractive points and one that is become more attractive as the days go by is the fact that their revenue model is not based on serving advertising to users.

With current statistics showing that around 70% of all ads on YouTube being “clicked to dismiss” rather than clicked through it would be fair to say that users don’t really like them that much.

Vimeo on the other hand with no advertising is beginning to be seens as a less intrusive and more enjoyable experience.

In taking the path less travelled Vimeo have created an online community with a distinctly different feel to it than YouTube.

It has been for quite some time now, attracting more thoughtful content or more semi-professional content.

Yes it has a monetization system based on subscriptions or at least you can throw a few bucks in the tip jar of a video and from a viewer point of view it seems to sit better with their audience than being bombarded with ads.

If getting your videos online and building an audience is your goal you may want to take a look at Vimeo for a number of reasons.

The first being that as interface and service it is far less cluttered than YouTube offering a cleaner, sleeker experience.

It also offers a better chance of you being able to attract and build an audience because to put it simply, there is far less noise there that you would have to cut through in order to be seen.

Music Anyone?

I am sure all of us have at some time watched a video made by someone we know or on YouTube and sat there in total shock.

Trying to somehow imagine exactly what the thought process must have been that led the maker of that video to choose the music they did!

A graduation video set to a jaunty polka?

A wedding reception set to Flight of the Valkyries?

Perhaps a christening set to a little Ozzy Osbourne Crazy train!

I am sure at some time you have come across something like that.

The general advice given when it comes to choosing music is that you should try to find something that reflects what is going on in the video.

For a lot of people this is clearly easier said than done!

I personally think that in a lot of those examples of poor music choices the people that made them were actually trying to find something that was reflective of the contents and probably feel they DID do that!

So in the interests of video viewers everywhere here is an article going into the subject in a little more depth.

By the way, if any of the above examples of bad choices are actually choices you made… I apologize, I know you were just trying to do your best!

Do You Have GAS?

Although this post is pretty well aimed at the pro level of the video editing and shooting market I wanted to include it this week as a bit of a reminder to everyone about the dangers of GAS.

Not sure what GAS is?

I understand.

Very often the sufferers of GAS are the last ones to know they actually have GAS.

In many cases it is not until some kind of GAS intervention occurs by the sufferers loved ones that anything can be done to change the situation.

For those of you who don’t know what I am talking about, GAS is a terrible condition that causes the person who has it to never really get anything off the ground due to their constant thought that they need something else to get going.

Of course GAS stands for Gear Acquisition Syndrome and is unique in that it never actually causes anything to happen… it prevents everything from happening.

The great marketing age in which we live is the cause of GAS and the only cure is to not buy into it in the first place or, if you are already trapped, knock it off and get out there and do something!

Every day in the media and especially online the collective marketing geniuses of the world are sending us the same basic message over and over and it doesn’t matter that you are in to video shooting, video editing or training dogs.

There is ALWAYS something, some service, some product, some whatever that if we don’t have that thing we cannot then produce anything.

It is a lie and probably one of the biggest lies told on an hourly basis every day of the week on an almost 24/7 basis.

It all boils down to this formula:

1. You cannot be (…fill in the blank…) unless you HAVE this thing.

2. You cannot do (…fill in the blank…) unless you have this thing.

3. You cannot have (…fill in the blank…) unless you have this other thing.

Don’t believe the hype. The best camera is the one you have. The best editing software is the one you have.

The best course of action is to go out and use those things until you know them inside out and upside down and only then should you look at tools to further your path.

You Want Green Screen with that?

Chromakey or greenscreen is a subject it seems that many, many people are interested in.

In fact just about every week I come across a video or article of some description making an attempt to explain it or instruct on it.

A lot of these tend to get involved in the processing of the green screen effect itself and I rarely post any of these or refer to them.

The reason for that is that probably 90% of the battle when it comes to green screen occurs before you get your footage into a video editor.

In fact the moment you get that green screen footage into your editor is the exact moment you will be able to tell if your project is going to be OK or not.

That’s because it is the shooting of the green screen footage that defines as to whether you are going to get a good result or something that looks cheesy.

This week over on the Techsmith blog they posted a great tutorial on chroma key and the reason I am referring to it?

Because it majorly addresses shooting and lighting for green screen, not endlessly fiddling about in an editor trying to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

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