vfx

A Well Formatted End Crawl

A basic end crawl can be done with built-in title generators in Resolve or Premiere. 

But formatting a complex and good looking end crawl can be an exercise in frustration. After several different attempts I settled on designing it in Illustrator and animating it in Fusion.

Using Fusion gives more control over the timing and animation. Yet the text controls in Fusion are also limited. Nothing really comes close to a real design application like Illustrator when you need font and placement control.

So it starts with a vertically oversized artboard with transparent background. A layer of black can be added for ease of formatting and then disabled prior to export. For this endcrawl the text object was about 8,000px tall:

That is then exported as a transparent PNG image and imported into a Fusion comp via loader:

 

The trick to a good render of an end crawl is to animate it at an even multiple of pixels per frame. So a bit of math is required. In this case we wanted to the end crawl to finish just under one minute. At 23.976 frame rate and an animation height of 8,043px the closest multiple to stay within one minute was 1/7th, which gets to 1,149 frames on the comp timeline. Rounded up to 1,170 to let it run a few extra frames to allow the last line to end in the middle of the screen rather than at the bottom.

The animation then happens by adding a transform tool and setting the Y center as an expression of frame number and 1/x of the frame count:  Point(0.5,time * 0.0008547008547 - 0.5).

That advances the animation 7 pixels at every frame. It's actually quite fast, but getting such a long end crawl into less than a minute ends up in a fast crawl.

Render out and then bring into the NLE for final assembly.

 

The other challenges - finding fonts that render well on different screens and resolution. This endcrawl uses a one pretty thin font which leads to uneven anti-aliasing on smaller screens. Word is that at times different end crawl fonts have to be rendered for different screens. Which is why people build an entire business around this: https://endcrawl.com/.

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Recreating Sky

On a recent grade I was faced with sizeable number of clips who had blown out sky and that needed to be made look good. If the sky is just peaking through in a few places, bringing down exposure and adding some color may be enough. But if the sky is prominent in the shot the lack of any texture will be glaring.

For one clip in I went down a more complicated path and it was worth it because it was one clip the client upon review called out as being beautiful.

This is the final clip, nicely highlighting the parrot in full color:

This is what the original footage looked like:

 

This type of work is beyond what can be easily done with Resolve and effects. So I used Fusion Connect to bring this clip into VFX software where it's easier to layer different parts together. The first step was to put a luma keyer on it to isolate the blown out sky:

 

Then I used the DaySky tool which can create a natural looking sky by date and latitutde/longtitude. But it's a blue sky with horizon color distortions. For a bit more realism I threw in some fast noise to create moving clouds, do some color tweaking and merge it with the keyed clip:

 

A little color and exposure matching in Resolve, a tracked vignette on the main bird, and things look a lot better...