The famous Dan Brown once said, “Sometimes a change of perspective is all it takes to see the light.” When you have 100 tea candles sitting on the floor of your garage and you are looking around trying to find the right angle to film them, it’s all about the perspective from which you are looking.

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Why is it important to take breaks during the day? Your brain gets tired of staring at the screen and requires short recharges. Taking a few minutes per hour to look out a window, get a drink, or talk to a co-worker is all it takes to be able to refocus and allow your brain to rest and settle. When color editing, it is always surprising how when I have been color editing for multiple hours, I feel like my work looks good. After coming back from a short time out, I watch the video and wonder if someone was playing a practical joke on me with the colors.

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Creating custom motion backgrounds can be challenging for multiple reasons, at a very minimum, costly and time consuming. The highly anticipated Christmas Trains was a recent set of motion backgrounds I produced that featured a set of HO model trains in three different variations surrounded by a Christmas village, trees, and smoke.

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Red Giant released it’s newest version of Trapcode Particular a few months ago. I decided to purchase it and see what improvements were made to the current version, and what additional options were added. While the previous version had all the main capabilities to create complex particle systems, it wasn’t until this new release that it has opened the door for non-CG experts to be able to create those scenes with a click of the button. Let’s face it, most of us are just interested in how to create snow, so buying an expensive plugin is usually not the first place we turn to. However, Red Giant’s latest version has changed the game yet again in how Trapcode Particular will be perceived.

So What’s New?

The biggest change to the user interface inside the plugin is a brand new design element that is loaded with hundreds of presets, making it nearly drag-n-drop for creating a huge variety of elements. Choose from over 9 preset categories. Fire, snow, fog, blocks, hearts, and other various particle systems are already built and loaded as presets. Just select the preset you are looking for, and instantly, your starting point is already done. All the options to adjust various customization to the system are still in play. Velocity, size, number of particles, color, physics, all of these features are still able to be adjusted. It is nearly overwhelming when first entering the plugin due to all the new options that are available.

There are even custom shapes and patterns that give you the framework from which particles can emit, using OBJ files already loaded in the plugin. Another new feature is the ability to have multiple particle systems in the same layer. Usually only one particle system can be on a single layer, now, there is an “add” button to where multiple systems can be added from within the design UI. Choose from lots of new particle sprites, and textures including geometric shapes, light bursts, and 3D objects. It’s a new day for Trapcode, and it will take more than a day to figure it all out.

To learn more about this product, visit Redgiant.com.

In the video production world, gear is important. New pieces of equipment are vital in order to upgrade, or resupply failing or aging gear. Having every piece of gear is nearly impossible for most film producers, so hard choices have to be made when deciding what gear to buy. Budgets are real things and with constraints, so come the tough choices. A piece of gear that, to be perfectly honest, is more of a luxury, than a necessity is the Color Checker Passport.

While true colorist will quickly argue it’s the best way to get true colors and skin tones, it is possible to get very close without it. So what exactly is a Color Checker Passport and how does it help when color grading in post? First off, it’s the size of a passport, making it portable and easy to bring in a bag. When opened, it has 4 charts: white balance card, focus checker, color pallet, and a set of grade levels for setting exposure.

For now, I mainly want to focus on the usefulness of the color pallet. While I am not going to go into detail on how to use it exactly, the main idea is that when filming, capture a frame of video that has the color checker in the shot. Once you have downloaded your footage, when color grading, you can check the brand name of the color checker passport and then look up the grade table in a video editing software program such as Divinci Resolve. After selecting your passport checker in the drop down menu, when you sample a color in the footage, the program knows what the color is supposed to look like and will apply the necessary changes to the footage to achieve the most natural look. It takes the guess work out of color grading/adjusting the white balance.

Once again, I see this piece of gear as a luxury as it does come in at a cost of nearly $100 and it is an extra step to take when starting to work on the final look of your project. However, if you are a die-hard fan of the truest skin tones, it might be exactly what is needed to achieve better looking footage. I own one, and hardly use it. I have never had a client complain. But, there is a small part of me that wonders how much better the colors might be if I did use it.

Before starting a big video editing project, through experience, I have noticed that setting up a proper work area can allow the mind to delve deeper into the project quicker. So what do I mean by that? I am going to list several tips that drastically improved by efficiency when editing. Time and valuable, and with so many distractions, it’s easy to waste alot of time. It’s been said that every time a videographer is interrupted from their editing, even if its just a brief interruption, it can take 10 minutes to refocus and resume the same pace of editing as they were doing before the interruption. So here are a few things that can help.

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The ordinary becomes extraordinary when the parameters and boundaries of time are changed.  When time speeds up everyday life, it becomes intriguing. Patterns become visible that weren’t detectable to the normal eye viewing the world in real-time.  Read more

DJI has been leading the aerial drone industry for several years already, and now they have really set themselves apart from the competition. Featuring one of their newest products, the DJI Mavic Air is one the most portable, ergonomic, and strategically built aircraft to take to the skies.

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