16 October 2009
I posted a video I produced on Vimeo earlier this week, and I have since had a few people come back to ask me what tools I used to produce it. Some of you may be interested in my take on a few of the video production tools we use here at Connect, Hill & Knowlton’s online content division in Australia.
We like to keep it pretty cheap and cheerful, without lowering the quality of the final product where possible. Our belief is that many video productions are charged at inflated prices, based on old business models that didn’t really have online content in mind. We see the YouTube experience has changed this forever, and with video cameras more readily affordable, there is no real barrier to developing video content.
The above video was produced in support of a great charity campaign run by Canon in Australia and New Zealand, called Creative for a Cause. The campaign asked enthusiasts to take a photo and send in a creative image that represented their favourite charity. The winning charity would be awarded prize money to help further their cause.
For this piece in particular, I worked alongside one of my creative editors to produce this short piece which was used for a client review and supplementary material for an award entry.
Source material: Logo files (eps), finalist photo images (jpegs)
Editing platform: Final Cut Pro on a MacBook Pro
Effects software: Adobe After Effects & Photoshop
Time to produce: 24 hours from brief to final product
I’ll explore some of the wider editing tools available in an upcoming post, but for now, here are a few thoughts around the programs and tools we use.
About Final Cut Pro
This is a great software package used widely across the production community to edit and produce broadcast or online content. Although the cost (around $1499 AUD) may be a little beyond the reach of the home enthusiast, Apple have developed a lighter version which is exceptionally affordable. Final Cut Express ($268 AUD) doesn’t offer the same level of advanced features (such as support for a wider variety of camera formats) but it does include the basics and does them well.
Some of the hidden extras in the pro version that can be often underused are the additional applications such as Motion and Colour, and then of course there is the extensive user manual.
About Adobe After Effects & Photoshop
We used the Adobe After Effects software to animate the logos and intro/outro scenes. We then used Adobe Photoshop to create smoother titles to sit over the images we had to work with. These were imported into Final Cut Pro as PNG files. Once again, you don’t need to work with the high-end tools to achieve a similar effect. You can create suitable PNG files with numerous free graphics programs for Mac or PC. I tend to view After Effects as a bit of a luxury when it comes to editing. You can tell a good story without it, but it does add some pizzazz if you need to add that extra something to your production.