Tutorials for Adobe After Effects

I’m currently trying to get to grips with the latest version of After Effects. It’s been years since I last upgraded (version 4.1!) and so much has changed that I’m treating the exercise much like learning a new system from scratch. Here are some of the useful-looking tutorials I have found so far:

Any other good suggestions?

CameraBright! Review

Those little LED lights are getting better and better. My Nisis DV-H10 solid-state camcorder has LED lights which work great and can even be used as a torch (flashlight) in emergencies. If your camera or camcorder doesn’t have these kind of lights, but does have a standard tripod screw socket, why not attach one of these little gadgets.

Super Simple Light Tent

Here’s another neat low-cost idea.

Ever got frustrated at the poor quality of your pictures of small objects (things to sell on eBay, stop-motion animation props, etc.)? You might find that a “light tent” is the answer. With these instructions you can get a smooth, even, light and a plain background to your images for next to no cost.

Read more at: Super Simple Light Tent

(via DV For Teachers)

Setting Windows virtual memory settings

One tip which I have found very useful when capturing and editing video on Windws over the years (since my first Windows 95 PC, in fact) is to tell Windows to keep its grubby hands away from the Windows “swap file” (also known as “page file” or “virtual memory”).

When installed, Windows initially sets itself up to manage its own virtual memory, growing and shrinking it as needed. Sometimes, though, this can get in the way of processing large, timed media (like video). So on a PC used for video editing it’s usually a pretty good choice to set the swap file to a fixed size and leave it there.

Recently, I was reminded of this by some discussion on the Media Studio Pro User Group mailing list.

To explain how to do this on Windows XP, I have made a short “screencast”. I hope it makes sense, and I hope it might be useful to someone, sometime.

Click here to watch the video (WMV, 320 x 240, 1 min 31 seconds, 2.28MB)

Top Four Non-Linear Editors – DV Guru

When you are looking to buy some video editing software it can be really hard to find useful information. Manufacturer web sites and user-groups are often very one-sided. So it was nice to find an interesting comparison review at DVGuru of four “top” video editor programs.

There’s not a huge amount of depth to the article, but make sure you read the comments – there’s a load of interesting thoughts and suggestions.

Read more at: Top Four Non-Linear Editors – DV Guru

Ulead VideoStudio 9 now has iPod export

You may rememember that I wrote a while ago about the MPEG4 export plugin for Ulead VideoStudio 9, and how it is now available for free. At the time, I lamented the lack of MPEG4 quicktime output, and wondered if it made much sense to offer MPEG4 without support for the new video-capable iPod.

Well, it looks like the Ulead folks understood this too. As of 23 December 2005, there is now an upgrade patch for the MPEG export plugin that offers iPod compatible MPEG4 Quicktime export as a built-in option. Sweet.

I guess my next “video blog” might be in Quicktime, after all 🙂

Read more about Ulead VideoStudio 9, or All Ulead’s Video Editing Software.


Getting a “film look” on video

A topic that comes up from time to time is how to get video to look more like film. It’s usually pretty easy to tell whether a movie was shot on film or on video, even when watching a tape or DVD. Film has an almost mythic status. Naturally enough, this tempts videomakers to try and recreate the “look” of film using a video camera.

If you are really interested in getting video to look like it came from film, there are a whole load of factors you need to take into consideration. There’s too much to cover in a single post here, but I have collected a bunch of URLs that might help:

Technology Corner: Randy Hoffner — The Elusive Film Look

Urban Fox TV: Making Video Look Like Film

Informit.com DV Technology and the Camcorder

How To Get that “film-look” a.k.a How to make my cheap DV cam footage look like 35mm