The look where a shot is freeze framed and graphics build around a cut-out element isn’t new, but surprisingly this was a first for me.
One of the challenges in this example was that some of the shots worked well with text, while others were less than ideal. With this type of project, if you aren’t choosing the shots for graphical treatment yourself, it’s best to work with the editor and recommend shots that work with the graphics. If that’s not possible then change the graphic style or “make” shots work, as you’ll see with The Sorcerer’s Apprentice below.
If you haven’t been involved in shot selection, it pays to examine all of the shots requiring graphics before finalising the look, just in case you start with a look that works well on one or two shots but is unworkable on the rest.
A properly considered and storyboarded project wouldn’t have this issue but most of the work I do is no longer than a few days, making storyboards a luxury. In this case only 4 of the 10 shots were troublesome so I decided to go ahead with a look where the subject remained in it’s original position, rather than repositioning once frozen.
The tools for the project included Adobe After Effects, Maxon Cinema 4D, GenArts Sapphire and Magic Bullet Mojo and Key Correct Matte Feather EZ (use motionworks10 for 10% discount on Mojo and Key Correct).
The base layer is a simple Shape Layer gradient with GenArts S-HalfTone applied.
The star transition was created using GenArts S-WipeStar, applied to a colour graded version of the original shot, with a simple Drop Shadow effect.
A heavily halftoned version of the shot was added on top and slightly offset from the lower version to add interest.
The talent was cut out from the edit in Photoshop Extended and reimported into After Effects (I prefer to deep etch in Photoshop for greater precision).
The talent layer was duplicated with GenArts S-HalfTone and blended subtly with the original layer using the Soft Light blend mode.
The text was created in Cinema 4D and animated using MoGraph Plain and Delay Effectors. It was colour graded in After Effects to match the shots using After Effects’ Tritone effect.
The star transition starts 5 frames before the freeze frame. This is important because it helps the shot blend more seamlessly with the freeze frame.
After Effects Rotobrush was used to rotoscope sections of the talent to place above the transition. Rotobrush made manual roto using masks unnecessary and saved a bunch of time.
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice highlights the importance of shot selection. With this shot, given the length of the film title, there is almost nowhere for it to sit comfortably without covering the talent and be out of the title safe viewing area.