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I’ve been over colour in a previous post saying how important it is, I didn’t get in to colour too much I’m leaving that til later and until I have time. Just quickly I’ve been editing some footage to go on my show reel for my university application and I came across so footage I shot and the colour is completely off, so I thought I would share some tips on how to correct it in After Effects using a method that I always use
Other people use different methods, I do this, I like the control I have and I love the way I go about grading the footage so yeah. This will also help you with that film look and show you how to restrict your pallet.

Very quick tutorial though because I’m just going to the gym, good times!
Here we go, the original footage in After Effects

As you can see the red is extremely ugly, very quickly you can get rid of this.
There are a few ways to do this, the way I did it here was quickly add Magic Bullet Colorista

  1. Push the highlights towards blue
  2. Push the mid tones towards blue / green
  3. push the dark tones towards green

You can see how much I did in the example below (look at the colour wheel on the left and look at the difference it makes

Another way of doing this would be just to add a blue filter over it… Perhaps a blue solid, change the opacity value and fiddle with the blending modes you would get a quick fix.. Or you could use Colour correction > Curves.. and fiddle with the red and blue values

Or you could even use Magic Bullet Look Suite and select the preset “Berlin” which is a nice blue shade and it would colour the footage well and give you a lot of control but this way’s pretty fast and it’s adequate for what I want to do here

But it’s still quite ugly because her face is very red, a handy trick I’ve been taught by other tutorials is to restrict your colour pallet… What I’m doing here isn’t so much restricting it. Usually with this term it would be like getting rid of an annoying colour that draws attention away from the video… Here I just want to slacked the reds off a little

  1. Effects > Colour Correction > Hue & Saturation
  2. Place it ABOVE all of your effects (This is very important!!)
  3. Click the drop down box and select the red (or just highlight the red area (so that the only colour we’re effecting is the red channel)
  4. Then de-saturate the red channel… This is a visual thing, depending on your footage the values will be different.. you just have to play around with this

There we go, a little bit better… Perhaps a little too heavy on the green but it takes fiddling with.. You push the colours around until you get the look you want. Here the colours are quite saturated, quite Michael Bay esque, very heavy in the shadows very saturated.. I’m more of a bleach bypass kind of guy but I like this look too.

It looks a lot better than the original, it still needs some work but this is enough to get you started, these colour correction and grading techniques are extremely handy… Especially Hue and Saturation which is extremely simple but incredibly powerful when making movies or just correcting footage!


The Pursuit of Happyness, a film that I forgot about and recently found hiding in the corner of my room, it’s a fantastic film about a father who’s trying to survive with his son, based on the true story of the stock broker Chris Gardener it does make it even more inspiring.

If you ever feel like you can’t work or you aren’t motivated about work or you’re complaining about work to much, watch this film I guarantee it will change you’re out look and I guarantee you will be working like a steam engine once it finishes.

Of course there’s no surprise here that Will Smith’s actually a person that I completely idolise.. like who doesn’t? the guy’s got everything and he’s one of the most charismatic and friendly people about. If you ever want some inspiration you can just look to Will Smith, maybe listen to some of his music, watch some of his movies. Try and learn from the people that inspire you and take their advice to heart.

Then again cynical IMDB user’s going to come along and say “MONEY DOESN’T MEAN HAPPINESS!!!!” over time I’ve learnt to stop listening to the wonderful people of IMDB for the most part because they are plain wrong and it’s a site full of trolls… because nothing’s more annoying than someone trashing your favourite film.
In this case you will see this like “TOTAL TOSH!”, “UTTERLY ****”, “COMPLETELY BORING!” etc, you get the idea.. basically it would get you wound up… So you have been sad, you watch the film and become happy don’t go on that site because I garauntee you’ll just get frustrated..

Or you could sit there and giggle smuggly because you enjoy your life so much and the trolls obviously just hate theres… that too, if you’re that kind of guy fair play

This is a great film, if you haven’t heard of it, get out from under that rock and check out this trailer

This has to be one of the most suspenseful movies I’ve ever watched, I mean this is a real nail bitter.. It’s filled with some really great and some extremely varied scenes I mean Kathryn Bigelow has suspense on lockdown. Hitchcock being the master of suspense as far as that goes I’d crown Kathryn the queen of suspense.

Small details in this film make it really great, I love films that show me details (especially when it’s something I know nothing about) I never knew guys suited up like this and went around diffusing bombs it’s fantastic! From that down to the detail of a 50 cal sniper rifle not firing because the blood on the bullets is making it jam.. It’s really great, then the characters developing during the scenes to get the blood off the rounds I mean I would have never thought about making a film that shines in the details like this and I think it’s pure genius.

There’s so much about this film that’s so great it would take hours to explain it, I’m really not suprised it has been nominated for so many oscars neither am I surprised it won all those Baftas.. it’s really award winning material.

As far as the movie details go, the movie lives in the characters and they are pretty great characters in a pretty amazing setting with an awesomely suspenseful objective.

Check it out if you haven’t done so already, if there’s one movie I really wouldn’t miss it would be this (goes in to my top 10 movies of all time)

In my opinion one of the greatest cinema experiences ever.. I could spend hours talking about this film so I’ve decided to just address some things about it.

There’s an enourmous amount of people that love it, like myself I hail it as the greatest cinematic experience I’ve had to date. My brother loves it, but doesn’t see it as the greatest film, great film none the less he says. There are a few people that think it’s “ok” and there’s a few that hate all the hype it has so they hate it. Then there’s a few people that just generally don’t like it.

Going a bit serious here but this is where people differ.. Movies like music have different genres, movie genres are so much more complex than movie genres but they’re still genres, some people like other genres more than other… I love action adventure more than anything so even watching the trailers for Avatar I was hyped and even from the trailer there was an amazing atmosphere and I instantly knew it was a 2 and a half hour movie when I had purposely read nothing about it, same instincts told me it was going to be fantastic, (and the fact my brother told me all the top directors saw a preview and came out blown away)

The movie was really dream like, and I think that’s what really won me over about the whole thing is that it was like a really amazing dream you don’t want to wake up from. Probably dragging on from that I could say the creativity in this movie is far far beyond anything I’ve seen, conceived or imagined myself.

POCAHONTAS vs AVATAR (vs Dances with Wolves vs Last Samurai vs every other movie with culture clash plot)

Addressing some critism here, there are only 7 types of plot, some say there’s up to 21, I’ve been taught 7 by my writing books so I’ll say 7.. point being there isn’t that many plots going about.. For example, boy meets girl, boy loses girl boy gets girl… (which is actually a plot inside Avatar) It’s vague but it can be applied to LOADS of films.

The battle between good and evil or over coming a monster.. Plots that would be associated with a culture clash theme. What I’m really getting at here is that if you talk about the movies in vague sense they all sound similar. Once you start adding in details in to the story and in to the storyline you completely set the two apart.

For this reason people saying “crappy plot” are completely wrong, it’s not a bad plot it’s just obvious.. Audiences hate plot, once the audience figure out the plot they lose interest because they know what will happen it makes them loosens that sense of anticipation mixed with uncertainty. Admitidly this is one thing Avatar did badly, it didn’t manage to hide the plot… but considering it would be incredibly difficult to hide and trying to hide a plot like this would require mass amounts of elements that wouldn’t be needed other than to hide the plot it would actually make the movie worse.

One thing that’s true about the vagueness of movie plots is in the final hour or so of Avatar it’s NOTHING like Dances with Wolves, Pochahontas or The Last Samurai… Because movies set the scene and the theme (culture clash) and the first hour or so of Avatar was setting the scene and setting everything up. In a way it’s like a game of chess, you move your pieces in to position and then execute your plan.

No Character Development

This is something I heard from a number of people including another film student, kind of wondering what they’re doing on a film course when I hear things like this. Couple of points, if there was no character development at all nothing would have happened.

  • The most basic character development is to have the main character thinking one way at the start but at the end of the film give him a complete reversal of his views. How some people missed that one I don’t know, considering Jake had a complete reversal of his views I thought it was pretty obvious.
  • Character Development in the story gets more complex, all the characters have to bounce of each other, Norm bounces off Jake, Dr Augustine bounces off Jake, and the biggest developments between characters are the 2 key players Neytiri and Quarich have mass amounts of character development with Jake… The development between Quarich makes us love it when they go at it during the final battle and you want to see Jake win. The development between Jake and Neytiri creates a lot of emotion.
  • Loads of people including myself found this movie to be an emotional roller coaster, this is impossible without character development. (see the Matrix) The characters Neo and Trinity weren’t developed enough so when she says “I love you” I felt nothing.
  • Unfortunatly if you know this about film you know some of the characters that aren’t developed can get killed… I was expecting either Trudy or that scientist with the glasses to die. Trudy died but we didn’t feel too sad about that because her character wasn’t developed. Note that if you want to convey tragedy you develop the character then kill them off like in Tsutes case.. Tsute’s was developed, his character bouncing off Jake or even when he sees his home land being destroyed by the “sky people” he had character development in the film which made it a shame when he died
  • Even Neytiris Ikran (dragon) has development – if you really pay attention there’s quite a bit, if you do pay attention you do feel sad when her dragon gets shot down. Again because of development.

I could go on about it for ages but you get the idea that there was massive amounts of character development so where the claims “no character development” come from I have no idea… Probably the pretentious film student. Problem is that guy doesn’t know a lot about films.

Technology, known through out the film industry for it’s revolutionizing technology Avatar stands really tall, I’m leaving this until another post becuase it wouldn’t be right for this one. It is another reason why I love this film, what it’s achieved via technology it’s now the film that has truly defined 3D movies.

If you speak about the film as the highest grossing film of all time (currently at Box office #1 after 3 months..) unbelievably impressive. I mean it’s actually unbelievable, after 3 months and it’s at number 1! There was a point where it dropped down but now it’s back up. It’s unbelievable. Also the total gross at the moment is at $2.5 Billion… It’s a number enough to make you teary eyed, I doubt there will be a movie that can over take it. That’s ridiculous the film has grossed that much.

Despite what some people say, ticket sales do count, if people are seeing the film it means people are enjoying it, if people are seeing the movie over and over it means it’s a really good film. Avatar’s right up to $2.5 Billion which is the highest grossing movie ever by a long shot.. currently the only movie to ever make over $2 Billion there’s no doubt about it that Avatar is an amazing movie.

As far as hugely successful movies go it means there will be guys anti-hyping. The more successful it is the more people feel the need to shout out in anger at it. Anything with this much publicity and doing this well has these guys. Maybe one day I’ll review Avatar, take some time to look in to the greatest film I’ve seen but I’ll wait for the DVD before I even attempt to understand the movie completely.

The type of film I would absoloutly love if I were young enough. Even though I’ve seen some heavy criticism for this film mainly “why’s it called Karate kid if he’s doing kung fu?” you know I have no idea, hopefully the movie will explain that somewhere but a lot of the other constructive critism I see is “looks shit”

It wouldn’t if you were a 7 year old, Jackie Chan and Will Smiths son kicking ass, it would be awesome and children wouldn’t have embraced the incredibly cliche storyline before.

The thing is the trailer’s actually pretty enjoyable, I’ve always been a fan of martial arts movies, especially when I was a kid… The original Karate kid movie didn’t interest me, but this trailer actually had me hooked… I guess the biggest fall for this movie (for someone my age) would be I know exactly what’s going to happen because it seems to be on a pretty massive cliche level but I could probably watch the movie and really enjoy it on the basis of watching some pretty cool stunts and nice looking lens flares appearing behind a God like Jackie Chan.

anyway, movie’s release on June 10th just in time for the holidays… There’s an atmosphere about summer movies that I just love, this movie would not be the same if it were released now.. which I find odd..

Anyway, I might go and see it if I want to be laughed at the rest of my life lol I’m kidding, in all seriousness it doesn’t look half bad but I think I’m a bit old for this.. If I did see this movie it would be the equivalent of me going to a theme park and riding that really slow catepillar roller coaster

(Not gonna lie, poster’s pretty bad ass)

A couple of months ago I was doing work non stop and when all my work was finished I found myself looking to do more work, that’s being properly motivated.. that was after finishing the MoD work and I went right in to directing 15 actors at a church after it finished I found myself longing for more work

Something has happened in between then and now, maybe the xmas holidays, maybe spending a week with that girl maybe the death of my Grandfather… Something has happened because I now have massive amounts of work but I cannot be bothered with any of it. It’s awful and I find it incredibly frustrating knowing I could pile through all my work within a day I just don’t, I’m not motivated

Watching my idols at work usually provides a lot of motivation, maybe I need to watch the behind the scenes of a Michael Bay flick lol Better yet I would love to see the behind the scenes of Avatar, but the release date for the Avatar DVD’s April so I’ll have to wait til then to hear Jim Camerons words of wisdom.

I’m motivated for university work, I have an interview for ECA and Napier that I’m preparing myself for and even filming a couple short films this week to improve my showreel. I’m motivated for this but college I’m just not, I think my real problem actually lies with the college. As much as I like Telford and it’s tutors I find myself hating the work, documentaries I hate.. Films and drama are where I shine at what’s hailed by others at a way above average level but my documentaries make me depressed when I watch them… I can write them nor can I direct them and I hate it.

Thinking about it that way, documentaries could damage my ego and in turn damage my motivation. Whatever it is I’m going to have to work through this barrier because I know there will be a point where I will be proprly motivated and I will seriously regret it if I don’t put in the hours now

Perhaps one of the most misunderstood directors of this generation. People that know me know I don’t dwell in bitchiness, I really don’t criticize often, I usually spend my time placing a counter argument rather than complaining.
Which is one of the reasons I’m doing this post, also one of the reasons I tend to rant.. I never start off bias or prejudice. If I actually thought Michael Bay was a bad director I’d let you know but I have a million and 1 reasons as to why he’s actually pretty inspirational

I’m not going to bullshit or be deceptive here, nothing I hate more than the sin of spin it’s what I think and what I know. I don’t think Bay’s the greatest director of all time but I love the guy. Everyone knows I do and it leaves me to get some criticism from class mates or where ever.. weather they say “I hate Michael Bay” so I can hear it or “he’s awful”
Except these usually come from the people I don’t really expect to do well in film, a lot of my friends already know where I stand with the film industry and especially film courses.. there are LOADS of people that shouldn’t be in the industry because they just aren’t suited to it, don’t have the right mindset or just back stab and step on toes.

First off, he isn’t the greatest director of all time but he isn’t the worst, he’s fun. Pure entertainment, the guy knows how to sell cinema tickets, I’ve heard arguments for this that cinema tickets don’t = good quality film.
That’s looking at it the wrong way Cinema tickets sold = entertainment
Just like twilight did well because it was entertaining for girls, you know. Michael Bay makes films for entertainment, his sole purpose in film making is to entertain and despite what criticisms he may endure via film students or other critics he is doing his job.

I have a view on to how to watch a film, the majority of people that aren’t movie buffs are looking for entertainment, go to the cinema to be entertained (hence the entertainment industry) When you become a film student you lose a quality that you had… that’s being able to watch a movie how it’s intended to be watched. When I watch a film I see a series of shots, cuts and camera angles and sometimes think WOW that’s an amazingly well lit scene.
I still watch movies to enjoy them but I’m subconsciously dicepting the film in my mind. All film makers do this and it leads us to think our opinions are more valuable… when they aren’t… maybe to other film makers but who really matters is the audience.

A good example of this is an old documentary I watched… I enjoyed it from a film makers perspective, it was intuitive but if I had never been on a film course I would have hated it. I need to zone out from my film makers mind set and become a member of the audience to watch movies and when I did this as an audience member I became so bored by this documentary. Afterwards I noticed all the other film students liked it… but this is a documentary that’s been shown and audiences with no experience in film hate it.

My point is not to make a movie for movie buffs, don’t make movies for the critics but create a motion picture for the audience. My intended audience isn’t film makers, I NEVER value their opinion over the audience. Ask a member of the audience why they liked or didn’t like the film you will get a reply that helps you so much more than any film maker or critic could. (unless the audience member is talking about camera angels or editing… it’s why I don’t ask movie buffs) I’m talking about the members of the audience that are there to be entertained.

My whole point to that is the people that are critising Michael Bay are movie buffs and although they understand film they’re kind of missing the point because they value their mindset over someone elses. The majority of audience members I’ve spoken to loved Transformers, loved Bad Boys.
There are film students and critics that love these films too.. The open minded film students because they can understand these movies are just for fun and you don’t rate them on the same level as something like Shawshank. It’s like apples and oranges.

This so far is ALL opinion. My opinion of film makers and critics my opinion that Bay’s a fun director and he does create entertainment. Box office positions, ticket sales and DVD sales all show this. Ticket sales means people are seeing the film, a number 1 box office position for over a week means the film has really good word of mouth (which is the most important thing for a successful film), DVD sales again, entertainment and Bays produce always sell in mass quantities. The fact is, he is very good at his job and his job is to direct entertainment.

While I know people will disagree with this, there are some reasons why I find Michael Bay to be one of the biggest inspirations to me. First and probably the most prominent visually in my work is that I love his visual style.

Weather it’s creating amazingly romantic shots or really tight high action close ups he really knows how to film and something that I do hear a lot of that his movies are beautifully (if cheesily) shot

Even just see some of these images that he has created are quite breath taking and even though his newer story lines may be weak and the dialogue may crumble in parts there’s no denying that he can really direct a shot and that he has one of the most amazing visual senses in film

Using a lot of sunsets you can actually see (especially in the early moments of Pearl Harbor) he tries to create a film noir type sense, he really knows his cameras and if there was ever a director with a good sense of film grammar and if there was ever a man that could speak the language of film and the language of entertainment then that’s Michael Bay.

While I’m on the subject of visuals I’ll point out that he has had massive influence with shots. Shots that he has invented can be seen in a whole load of movies, the best example of this is the spinning bad boys shot, which can also be seen in Ridley Scotts Gladiator and others.
I have to mention the Bay Buster, which is the vehicle Michael Bay has created to capture amazing images that camera men wouldn’t have been able to survive. The Bay Buster is a car with re-enforced cage and all this metal saftey, it has cameras positioned all over it and the idea is to drive the Bay Buster in to the action as fast as possible.. which does actually create some amazing shots as seen in Bad Boys 2

and yeah, that car tumbling towards the camera at incredibly high speeds is real. Perhaps one of the most admirable assets to Michael is that he strongly believe “live action” is a dying art. This is doing things real life instead of using CGI. Where ever he can he makes it real, even if it’s impossibly difficult he will find a way to pull it off real (unless they’re giant fighting robots… which have to be CGI for obvious reasons)
For the reason he does do his action real makes his films look so much better and the entertainment value does shoot up!

I could speak about why Bay inspires me all day, but the main reason why he inspires me is that he’s incredibly hard working. Straight after Transformers he jumps right on to Transformers 2… straight after 2 on to 3 and he’s doing other work at the same time.
I mean these aren’t small projects… One thing Bay loves is scale and the scale of his movies are f*%^ing massive!! Pearl Harbor isn’t my favourite movie, the storyline wasn’t all there but the 40 minute action sequence blew me away. I know the script for Pearl Harbor was floating around for ages and no director had the balls to take it on. I’ve got to say that people can criticize Pearl Harbor but at least Bay gave it a shot.. It’s something not many people would do..

I’ve seen the behind the scenes footage of Bad Boys 2 and he’s completely in charge when he’s directing.. For my Stella Artois advert I had never worked with a large amount of actors before, I was looking to direct 25 actors the next day, I was under a lot of pressure, watching Bad Boys 2 gave me an amazing sense of how to handle the pressure.. Bay shoots fast, something I also learned he says “there’s a lot of time wasted by dicking about on set” and this is completely true.. I shoot fast like him, I go on to a shoot extremely well prepared and ready to shoot, I don’t like wasting time. I shot my advert well within the 2 hour window.

Whenever I feel uninspired, or I find myself not wanting to work or bogged down with work to the point where I complain and I can’t be bothered I watch Bay and to me the guys such a big inspiration that it picks me up and I can just go and work my ass off.

Other people will be inspired by different people, I’m inspired by Bay, it would take me ages to completely explain why he inspires me in so many ways but there’s more to him than what a lot of people say, they could say “Bay sucks”, “Bay can’t direct films” or something negative… but I know differently, I’ve studied Bay and when I hear someone say something negative that’s just trolling “Bay sucks”
“no storyline… characters are bad”
It’s a close minded view and I lose so much respect and I lose so much insight for the person that has said this (not just about Bay, about any director) For me Bays the hot shot and he’s the real target. People say things about him to annoy me but what it really does is just make me lose respect for the people hating because as much as they hate on the guy, there’s so much about him that’s extremely positive I have no idea how people can dwell and bitch about the negative.

Famous Kanye West quote but ironically I actually hail his music video for “Welcome to Heartbreak” as one of the best music videos I’ve seen.
First couple of times I didn’t really like it but it has flow, and for something so wildly ugly it pulls it off amazingly well.

It’s great for one of the reasons it can be interpretated as ugly or as beautiful. It’s a wash of visual FX that in a way play tricks on your mind and create illusions in parts, it’s really well done.

Another couple of great music videos

I’ve recreated the Lovestoned effect in Adobe After Effects.. I did a remake in November 2007 when I was an NC student. I may upload the video I may not. I might actually revisit the lovestoned effect with After Effects CS3 and see if I can pull off the effect better than I previously did

Looking back it at it, pretty good for the time but I could really do with an updated version since that was 3 years ago.

Tom Petty – Running down a dream, always been one of my favourite music videos, ever since I was a kid

I’ve got a list of quite a few short films. The list is still growing, finding new ones all the time, here’s 5 short films I got off youtube, they’re all fantastic

I have a massive list of short films that I really like but wordpress doesn’t support vimeo, I’ll post the links up for them in the future because vimeo’s the way forward and the short films on that website are fantastic

I was recently introduced to the stereotype Guido for the first time a few months ago when I watched Ray William Johnsons video about the Guido threat, had never heard of Guido before since they’re Italian Americans that reside in New York / New Jersey.

I don’t have a problem with the guys on the show, it seems like everyone’s stereotyping this kind of lifestyle when I know there are loads of people in the UK that go drinking and clubbing every night they do this purely to get girls, so I’m really not bothered by the people as much as other people seem to be. The show has had some heavy criticism but I’m not a person to judge lifestyles unless they have a negative effect on people around them. Clubbing and drinking doesn’t cause as much harm as corporate greed…

It’s what I’m really getting at here is MTV and their ability to exploit these guys and girls, I know when I was watching the show, there’s about 9 episodes… 40 minutes and episode, in total that’s 360 minutes, it’s only 6 hours… They stayed in that house for 2 weeks. 6 hours out of 2 weeks is nothing, especially with 7 people in the house, it’s about an hour of air time per person… It means MTV had way more than enough footage to completely manipulate how the viewing public see these characters.

I know show like this have to have conflict, like films maybe even more so, these TV shows are based upon conflict, tension and through this they create drama.
What I really dislike is MTV had a 10th episode called “The Reunion” with host Julissa Bermudez who was constantly trying to get a raise out of these characters. This is what really got me, the show I can live with because I know it doesn’t represent reality because they only show what they want you to see.
But this host was bombarding them with questions that were near impossible to avoid conflict from. Eventually when Ronnie and Sammi went to the stage as a couple the host revisited a past conflict with “never before seen footage” and that was low man… I mean I know MTV can be controversial but completely exploiting that couple and using their relationship as a tool to create drama is just low… like come on MTV.

Anyway, I hope Ronnie and Sammy don’t go back on the show, even though Ronnie was my favourite character on the show because he had common sense and the guy’s down to earth it isn’t worth risking your relationship over and I think they’re aware that if they do a season 2 MTV will find a way to create conflict between them and to be honest I’d rather they had a good relationship than jeopardizing it for an audience.

I am on a TV course right now but this makes me want to chose a different career path. This is the lowest I’ve ever seen from a TV show. There are other ways to go about creating conflict, seriously.. Jersey Shore the interference would be a better name, then again the creators of the show aren’t idiots, the show’s very cleverly put together but they’re so damn low..

I’m not the nicest guy but I have my principals and I can only hope the creators of the show get really screwed over by the cast much more than they already are.


February 2010
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