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Special Effects
Special effects have application far beyond the action movies for which they were originally devised. Even in a simple promotional video, special effects widen the scope of what can be achieved and often provide a quicker, lower cost alternative to filming content directly.

Video Foundry can apply the power of state-of-the-art tools such as Adobe After Effects to overcome difficulties and reduce the costs of even the most basic of video projects, as these case studies show.

Recovering a flat roof

While making a video about recovering a flat roof, it was realised that shots of the completed flat roof were marred by some cement splashes resulting from some re-pointing that they were doing on an adjoining roof at the same time. Costly reshooting was avoided by removing the splashes in post production, even in the shots which are panning across the roof, by motion tracking and replacing certain areas of the roof. Even though the technology is advanced, it is being used to address issues which arise in basic video production.

Cake Decoration

The client wanted a time lapse of the process of decorating a wedding cake, with the objective of demonstrating just how much work is involved in cake decoration, and to demonstrate the expertise required.

I filmed the cake decoration over a period of several hours at normal camera speed. I then edited it and used After Effects to speed it up selectively. If it was speeded-up by a uniform amount, then important steps in the cake decoration would have been compressed to only a few frames and the viewer would not have been able to see them properly, while other periods would have been repetitive and boring. I therefore used the "Time Remap" feature of AE to speed it up according to the content, achieving an overall compression from several hours to around six minutes.

An additional use of After Effects was to disguise the fact that for the filming, some of the upper layers of the cake were just polystyrene dummies. Using motion tracking and masking the polystyrene only was de-focused, so that it appeared to be more like the coating applied beneath the marzipan.
              polystyrene layer by defocussing
Day for Night

In the following example, a scene is shot by daylight, but the finished film has a nighttime look. The quality of the light is now bluish and high contrast, and the headlamps of the car have been made to appear illuminated. This technique is known as "day-for-night". Also note that a purple car on the left and a bystander on the right of the original footage have been removed.

Where necessary, VideoFoundry will employ these techniques using state-of-the-art tools such as Adobe After Effects to make videos more effective or to produce them more economically. They can be used for artistic reasons such as achieving the night time effect, or for practical reasons such as removing extraneous objects from the scene. In this case the cost of production is reduced because it removes the need to physically remove the extraneous objects from the area being filmed. Sometimes these techniques are invaluable for meeting privacy, confidentiality or legal constraints.

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Paul Welton T/A Video Foundry