November 17, 2009 by   | 19,309 views | Comments (69)

Generally, when creating a boxing promo, we are given between two and five days. This project was different, or at least appeared to be different at first. My colleague Brett Morris and I, were given two weeks to design and produce a promo for the upcoming Green V Jones Jr fight here in Sydney. However, after the first two days  of work the deadline was  cut by a week!

Not so bad considering the footage had already been shot, but we had no storyboard, no edit and no idea what we were going to do with the footage. By the end of the five days we delivered the following promo, created in Adobe After Effects, shown here with the original untreated cut (with draft audio).

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Brett motion-tracked the green screen footage using SynthEyes. Brett also demonstrated flair with Trapcode Particular to add the swooshes and impact particles to the fight vision. I particularly like the particle trails and how smaller particles shoot out like sweat as punches land.

The fighters were keyed with Keylight using a very effective technique Brett learned from Mark Christiansen in one of his courses presented on The fight vision treatment is a combination of Zaxwerks 3D Warps to bend the vision and CC Ball Action, with Trapcode Starglow for the Jumbotron effect.

The fighters were graded using a combination of Magic Bullet Looks and a cool blue Tritone and Photo Filter (both standard AE filters) adjustment layer. Maltaannon’s handy CE Light Wrap was used to help composite the boxers with the background. The flares come courtesy of Knoll Light Factory but, it must be stated, that I would have have used Video Copilot Optical Flares had it been available at the time ““ that plug-in is mind-blowing. I did however use Video Copilot Twitch to add some flashes and other artifacts throughout.

The title text for the pack shot was created by Brett in Cinema 4D and imported into After Effects with the 3D data for final compositing.

Personally I think the final result was great considering the circumstances of the project. However, the client felt it wasn’t right. So we ended up being given another week to make modifications based on an updated script supplied by the client, along with a new music track.

As Chris Meyer mentions in Unplugged “there’s always time to do it over”! Unfortunately though, I was pulled off of this for another campaign, so it was up to Brett to make the modifications, with the assistance of DesignFTC Art Director – Mark Bowey. Here is the final.


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The client wanted a much hotter look, including fire, smoke and sparks. For that Brett turned to Video Copilot’s Action Essentials 2. The new text was added in After Effects based on a camera move set up in Cinema 4D and exported to After Effects. Brett finds Cinema 4D camera animation more intuitive than After Effects.

I don’t mind the second version but prefer the colour of the original, especially in the video walls which really highlights the action. I feel the original has a premium, black-label quality which the re-do lacks. Brett mentioned he also prefers the original.  So how about you? Which do you prefer?

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