Mammoth Lakes, CA - Lake Mary, Rock Creek Lake, and Devil’s Postpile
Redondo Beach Pier with a Glidecam
Zot zot zot! A little Glidecam montage of UC Irvine
More of a test than anything else; still needed to get the balance right at this point.
I did check the motion blur. And then rendering took 40 hours. And that was with the shots split between two computers.
I’m happy with this video. I’m exhausted, but happy. I also wish I’d had the time to make a couple more shots and get virtual coverage. So really, I’m pretty happy with it. Relatively speaking. The 4K aspect of the project makes everything slightly better. As do the lens flares.
I enjoy working with After Effects and I started getting excited the moment we proposed this idea for our 4K project. I actually suggested we do the time lapse idea for that one and then work on this idea in HD for our final project. I had my doubts about doing this in 4K. So of course we went and did it in 4K.
Everything worked out fine. Technically I was scaling the 3D models up from 1080p, but since we were using particles, After Effects was just drawing larger vector shapes. And that was really my only concern.
Editing 4K was, as usual, slightly problematic. The proxy version was fine. Unfortunately, I sped a couple shots up and those changes didn’t carry over to the 4K version. So after some initial confusion, I figured out why our audio wasn’t quite synced up and got ready to export.
Because why not?
Then, thanks to Jon’s computer rendering After Effects compositions for 40 hours straight (and the fact that he hadn’t restarted it or even closed AE since it finished), his memory was completely shot and the initial attempt to render out a 1080p version was estimated to take 3 hours. Quick reboot, and that time is down to 30 minutes. The 4K TIFF sequence told me it would take 2 hours so I went home. I’m sure it went up to around 3, but in any case it finished and Jon got it to class without any problems. Except he proceeded to tell me the files got wiped and I almost had a heart attack. I swear, if I’d had a heart attack, I would’ve killed him.
Fingers crossed there aren’t any problems with encoding. But for now, I’m going to take the rest of the night off and worry about finals in the near-ish future.
Oh, and there are also a couple easter eggs in the video. I couldn’t resist. Seriously, give me complete control over anything and there’s a 100% chance there’ll be a nerdy reference somewhere in it.
Here’s our group’s final project presentation outlining our concept and process.
… I don’t know what to say.
Sleep is overrated?
I’ve finally finished all the shots and queued them up for rendering. We edited a low-res version last night and we’re starting on sound design. In the meantime, Jon and I have split the shots up between ourselves and we’ll be rendering all the 4K versions over the next day or two. Wednesday night we’ll all meet up in the media lab to watch the video in surround sound, and then we’ll replace all the low-res clips with their 4K counterparts. After Effects already did the legwork on the renders, so exporting the final TIFF sequence shouldn’t take more than an hour or two. Of course, Murphy’s Law. So who knows.
I’m not slacking off. My shots are rendering.
Thousands of particles in a 4K composition take a while to render. Hopefully no magic smoke comes pouring out of my computer. Which reminds me, I should probably run a backup tonight.
The project is moving along, slowly but surely. Yesterday I was able to finish four shots. Not ideal but decent. Unfortunately, as soon as I start adding a good number of particles or even one of the orbs, After Effects slows to a crawl and it takes a while to do a quick RAM preview, let alone scrub through the timeline. Then add lens flares and motion blur and…. yeah.
The plan is to finish editing the proxy version by Sunday, then render out all the high-res versions while Rhiann uses the proxy to work on the soundtrack. To meet that deadline, I’m teaching Jon and Al After Effects so they can help put some shots together. Then we’ll enlist the help of all our computers to render everything.
Here are a couple 720p renders:
Lens flares. They make the world go round.
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that people like shiny things. So we’re going to make them a glowy-particle-shiny-thing in 4K. I’m actually really excited about this because a) this is a rare occurrence where I know exactly what I’m doing so I know it’s going to look great, and b) we’re doing it in surround sound. There’s no way we’re not having ships fly past the camera.
I did tests when we were considering this idea for the 4K project so I’ve gotten pretty good at manipulating all the objects as well as streamlining the workflow. Then it’s just a matter of throwing in a JJ Abrams amount of lens flares (seriously, that needs to be a unit of measurement) and we should be good, right? Kidding aside, though, this should be pretty impressive. Glowy things are always good.
Hopefully Jon will send me a storyboard by Monday and I’ll be able to start putting some shots together. In the meantime, I’ll be modeling various parts of the city and working on our two glowy orbs so everything’s ready to go once I get the storyboard. Then, at the very least, I’ll get some test renders out so we can start working on sound design. If we’re lucky I’ll be able to get final renders out instead. But Murphy’s Law and everything…
I liked Haley’s comment about changing the orbs to give them some character. I can make them pulse different colors and probably play with their tendrils of light to make them react differently based on the situation. Plus I can make the tendrils pulse different colors. It’s fun playing God. Other than that, we’re probably limited to body language and sound design. I was going to do a traditional blue and red/pink color for the two, but the blue just blends right in with the rest of the city. So I’ll probably go with green.
For once, I will actually have fun staying up late working on a project. I just need a production assistant to get me coffee.
I guess this is sort of a post-mortem for the 4K project. Editing was… interesting. We spent about an hour or two troubleshooting, another hour or two converting the footage, and maybe an hour editing. [Success Kid.jpg]
Yeah, we had our files set to 300 dpi. That might have been a mistake, and we might have been able to get away with 72 dpi seeing as dpi is for printing, but I’m not certain because my brain starts to shut down when I try to think about that. Anyway, we had a nonzero number of image files at 300 dpi and Premiere kind of got mad at us. So we thought about Final Cut. Well, we only had Final Cut Pro X, from which Apple conveniently removed the “import as image sequence” option. I also have an ancient copy of Final Cut Express on my computer, which (more understandably) also lacks an “import as image sequence” option. It is possible to import images that default to a length of 1 frame, but that’s also really annoying to work with.
Plan C: After Effects. After separating the sequences into their own folders, I threw them into After Effects and rendered them out as Quicktime movies with a ProRes codec, which Premiere was a little happier about. But of course, a 4K ProRes file is a little too much for Premiere, despite the sheer amount of memory it takes up, so we had to go back and render out low-res versions and work through proxies.
Once that was done, we quickly cut the music to fit within one minute, threw the sequences in, and had a video we liked in pretty much no time at all. There were a couple hiccups when it came time to replace the proxies with the 4K files, but after we sorted that out it only took 6 minutes to render an HD test and another 10 minutes or so to render the TIFF sequence.
Overall, not a bad experience. Luckily, as the group’s resident nerd, I knew enough to figure out how to fix our little problem. I would definitely be open to doing more time lapses in the future, although I think I’ll stay away from 4K until it really starts to replace HD.
Finished shooting last night, around 11. Not bad, considering the fact that we probably went to fewer locations than Thursday night, which took until 12. Luckily we stayed in one general location so we were able to move faster. Now Rhiann is tweaking the raw images and we’ll meet up on Monday to do some editing. Jon is cutting a song down to one minute, and it’s moving along pretty well.
Here are some shots:
I’m looking forward to seeing all the sequences on Monday.