2 Jul 2009

Top 5 – Washington D.C.

Posted by Chris Paniagua

A couple months ago, the Travel Channel posted some assignments to alumni of the Academy. One of the assignments was to create a “TOP 5” style video piece highlighting famous locations. Now I know I will never be able to sell this footage, as the National Park Service will never sign a location release for me. But – since I had a ton of footage from my recent trip to D.C. I figured, what the heck, I will edit it all out into a slick TOP 5 anyway. good practice right?

This piece took me about 60 man-hours to create. A full week of work. The reason is because I used this piece to take my post production skills to the next level.. Over the last 3 weeks or so I have been studying and executing several new tricks available to post production video editors. Among those you will find in this piece:

  • Animated Title sequences
  • Vector Graphics
  • Motion Graphics
  • Color Correction (huuuuuge difference)
  • Complete audio editing of every syllable
  • Mic’d up sound effects recorded in post
  • And a new “outro”

I used this piece and the one before to teach myself how to use two new programs. One is called Motion. I use it for stabilizing shaky shots using “motion tracking”. I also use it to animate all the motion graphics and titles. If you pay attention, you will see those type of motion graphics and animated titling on professional TV series, so I am much happier knowing how to take the look to that level… Second one is called Color. Yeah, they are both part of the Apple Studio Pro system. The names are un-imaginative, but wow the programs give you serious power. Color is a professional level color correction tool. Gives you the power to do some big-league stuff with your video. First time I ever saw this kind of stuff was in the behind the scenes of the Lord of the Rings. With a bit of software and an artist’s touch, they could make the colors of the video change to suit the mood of the location, or timing of the piece. I remember thinking WOW. that is soooooo cooool… But here I am years later, and I know how, and have the power to do that stuff also. I used it in this piece to make yellow grass green, hazy skies blue, and black water come to life…. I was in DC in February, so the grass was all pale yellow, and the skies were grey. So when you watch this piece and see all the pretty grass, and blue skies – it is all a lie!! And guess what – I still think that stuff is awesome! Video used to be so impossible to alter. its 30 frames a second, and essentially you would have to edit every frame of the video – so even for a 2 second clip you would have to airbrush 60 pictures. Hoorah for technology!

I had also been needing to create a new “outro” to place at the end of every one of my videos. kind of like a video business card. So here is how I made mine. With Brandie’s suggestion, I went to Office Max, bought a $50 stamp that looked just like a passport stamp, knowing full well I would return it…I needed good light, so went into the backyard. My daughter Catherine and I taped my passport to a dining room chair, setup the tripod and for about 10 minutes recorded the action of me flipping the page of my passport. Fast, Slow, delayed, etc… I also had to get the stamp action just right, and itt had to be centered. I gave myself a few options until I recorded one that made me say YES! Then I captured the clip, and ran it through Color to make the blues pop. Animated my logo to match the hand action. Then recorded the sound of the stamp 100 times till I got it just right… Anyway, I am happy to have it done, and I like it. Now you know how much work went into that 5 seconds of film. Oh and I returned the stamp and got my money back. Love it! I’m gonna start doing that anytime I need a prop!

Without any further babbling, here is my TOP 5 “MUST SEE” attractions in Washington D.C.

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2 Responses to “Top 5 – Washington D.C.”

  1. Hey Chris,

    I’m a fellow TCA alum (TCA130) and just saw your video on the video player. Just wanted to send a note to let you know it was outstanding. I hope you get the releases!


    Diana Nguyen

  2. Thanks for stopping by Diana! So far I have not had any luck getting the National park service to return my emails or calls. The location fees they would want would almost certainly be higher than the fee I would earn from the Travel Channel.

    I wish I could! Sigh. But oh well, if not – it was still great practice! Now I have the skills and confidence to conquer the next challenges!


    Chris Paniagua

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