Creating a “Flipbook” of a Project

I put out this request a couple of weeks ago and I think I have found a solution combining the use of a few different scripts.. I know that some editors in the animation area will be interested in this post and some other people may find it helpful as well. What this does is make an image sequence of your project, but ONLY with the first frame of each cut.

1. Start with an XML (FCP) or AAF (I found that an Avid AAF with a video mixdown imports the fastest, even if they come up all offline). You just need the cuts. If the media comes up offline, just grab a quicktime reference of the sequence you are using. I should mention that you should flatten your sequence as much as possible. I will explain why in #3.

2. Import via Automatic Duck to After Effects. CS6 will do the ProImport so you don’t have to download auto duck, but in previous versions you will have to get the free (now it is anyway) plug-in. Note that I tell it to ignore audio so those don’t come in as cuts either. That will interfere with how many shots get exported.

Transparent Graphics in After Effects

You may be an expert in Avid or Final Cut Pro, but there may have been a couple times where you’ve had to open After Effects to do one quick change. This may have been easy, but in many cases you’ve never opened After Effects before. You figure you know can work your way around in Photoshop so how hard could it be? Well, if you need to send something to the render queue and need to export something with a transparent background, it could be tough.

First you need to learn the terms After Effects uses. When you want to export something with a transparent background the correct term is having an alpha matte. If you export something with only an alpha matte, you won’t see any of your artwork or lower thirds.

An Experience with Final Cut Pro, After Effects and Gamma Issues

I’ve put off writing this entry for about three weeks because it was such an awful experience for me. I just finished a documentary and for the SEO sake of it I will refer to it as Hockey Doc. Overall it was a great experience. I finished the edit, locked picture and sent it off to Technicolor to get colored. It comes back, looks great and I plug in the newly colored version into my sequence. While editing the project I created these left or right third graphics that gave biographic information on each of the players, coaches and the others interviewed. So I took the raw file (before color correction mind you) from Final Cut Pro, exported the 7-10 second clip, imported it into After Effects, animated the clip in and out (see the example below) and then spit it back into my Final Cut Pro project.

It all seemed to work really well. That wasn’t the case though.

I got my colored version back, spit the new color corrected versions back into my After Effects compositions and then exported again. I rendered for DVD output using compressor. I burned a master DVD of the project in DVD Studio Pro. It should have just worked, right? Well it didn’t. The color of the After Effects clips would change slightly, becoming a little darker. The graphics also did not slide smoothly across the screen either way. Now normally I would spend a lot more time trying to fix the problem, but I had a deadline. This was on a Tuesday and it needed to be back in Valencia, California on a Thursday morning at the latest. I ended up staying awake until 4 AM trying to figure the issues. Here are a few steps I tried.