The Shiniest Green Screen

Yet again I’m neglecting my poor blog. I thought I’d put up a couple of blog posts this morning to get my brain in order, as currently it’s feeling like spaghetti in a blender. Deadlines are racing towards me next, so I guess it’s important to take a moment to pause a collect thoughts.

First off is my BBC Title Sequence. The idea was to do a 20-25 second title sequence for a fictitious TV show. I chose to focus on a current affairs and news show for a younger audience, sort of like Newsnight for the BBC Three audience. I titled it LoudSpeaker, it most of all felt right, as if it would fit the target demographic, and it was a play on words of being outspoken and opinionated. Ultimately the whole jist of the programme brand was based on this – being heard. Feeling like your opinion matters. Like you can fight the man, dude.

March 6th - Typo 2

Yeesh, angry fella! I went about toying with handwritten type. Well, I say handwritten type, I mean stealing other fonts by messily drawing over them. But it gets just the right look. Making the focus of the ad typographic made sense considering the whole show is focused on communication, on transmitting opinion and how we disseminate our thoughts. Nothing does this in a more immortal fashion than the written word. In fact the written word is more prevalent in modern society than ever. Thanks to texting and social media we probably use the written word more than any other generation before us. Mixing the typefaces made each opinion seem individual and contrasting. It implies debate and individuality of opinion.

Wow. Look at me with my rationlising and justifying my concept.

March 6th - Typo 3

But I experimented with a number of mediums, pencil drawing, clutch pencil, various thicknesses of pen and charcoal. Ultimately I decided on a combination of pen and charcoal. It got the messy rebellious look I was going for perfectly, and moreover it would translate to motion perfectly. I decided I would sketch each set of text out multiple times and then overlay these in After Effects to get a jittery effect that makes it look like the type is being drawn straight onto the screen. I also had to ensure I didn’t actually draw on my screen. That would be bad.

It sounds a lot simpler than it is. I drafted up 7 screens of text overall, but each would have to be drawn  twice and then drawn a third a fourth time, but with intermittent scans every so often, so I could animate the reveal of the text in the same sketchy fashion. Again, sounds easy but damn is it time consuming. But in the meantime I went to film the footage I’d be placing the text on top of.

March 10th - Jenn Greenscreen

I drafted in the help of Joel and Daniel Hewett, Jenn Samson, Jenny Guz and Daniel Taylor to star in the title sequence itself, basically as people giving random opinions. The problem is it’s quite difficult to get this emotion without a script, considering there’s also no sound. Additionally there’s nothing to interact with, no other actors, as I didn’t want to make a show about arguing – it’s about opinions. Much more civil. Therefor we went with quite an unusual approach. I went to print a copy of Joel and Daniel’s Dad’s blog so they could give a ‘dramatic reading’ that would hopefully deliver a pretty full gamut of emotions. On top of this I thought it might be amusing to slip in a few paragraphs of infamous novel of seduction 50 Shades Of Grey. These dramatic readings proved… interesting.

Nonetheless, we had a good laugh and more importantly I got my footage! Not that laughing isn’t important, it just doesn’t get me a good grade, just an odd look from tutors. I used my usual Canon 500D, but realised through some small research that my lens isn’t perfect for filming video, as it isn’t as reactive as other lenses more specialised for video work. Additionally the 500D doesn’t allow you to control the ISO setting on your video work. Thankfully the green screen facilities in the uni could not be better lit.

March 10th - Joel Greenscreen

In fact the whole place is something to be marveled at. It’s a really nicely kitted out room, with one whole slope-walled side dedicated to the main green screen, with some really substantial LED lighting too. I set about sticking post-its to the green screen to act as tracking markers for the whole video. This meant that when editing After Effects had a solid reference point for which to stabilize the camera or see where the camera is shaking.

This gives me a few options in terms of how to treat the text. It could probably follow the camera shake, I can now place it behind people opinion-ing and the text can match the movement of the camera or even person in some shots. I just need to sort through all of the files to see which match up best with the text.

March 10th - Greenscreen Files

The next step is to finish illustrating all of my typography, scan it all in and then vectorise it in Illustrator. I’ll have maybe over a hundred scans to deal with by this point though, so once again, it’ll be a very time-consuming process. I’ll need to line them all up and then introduce them to After Effects, where I might finally be able to toy about with how the text interacts with the footage. But if somebody asks me to change the whole thing now I’ll go slightly crazy. Perhaps did throw myself it at the deep end with this one. OH WELL!

Listening to: Bowls by Caribou

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