We recently had an event called “Serve 2012″ and the staff put together some parody songs. Enjoy!
Ok, so this post is for people like me who are constantly asking, “How the heck did they do that?” and I’m going to appeal to you.
A while back we did a message series at Hope on the power of prayer and decided to do another “Interview with Satan” video. The boss man came into my office and said he wanted to make satan disappear upon his command. I said, “That shouldn’t be a problem,” knowing I could do it, but I just had to nail down the details of how it would look.
I decided to do a 3 camera shoot in the seats of our auditorium with one large 1000W softbox lighting the front of our subjects and two 500W fresnels behind on each side as backlights for each subject. I needed one camera for a front two shot and two other cameras for “over the shoulders” of each subject.
So everything works as usual up until the last few seconds of the sequence, when satan explodes. I decided that just having satan disappear would be too cheesy and simple, so I decided to have him go out with a “bang”…actually more of a “poof.” So to set that up is actually more work for the actors than it is for me in post. It’s not an overly complex effect, so for me it didn’t take long to comp it all together. In production, the most important thing is to keep Camera A locked down so that it never moves, not even slightly. If you ace that then post is pretty straightforward. The other key is making sure Mike (on the right) does not move a muscle while Brian (satan) quickly jumps out of frame on his cue. Mike has to be completely frozen during this one frame transition so that we can cut satan from the frame without it affecting Mike’s position. Otherwise you would see a jump cut when you look at Mike.
Fortunately, both Mike and Brian are such good actors that they got it and made it work seamlessly. The cool thing about special effects is that they’re kind of like slight of hand magic. You create a distraction that the eyes are drawn to so the audience isn’t aware of any subtle changes that might happen in any of the transitions that occur. So the explosion effect actually masks the frame that satan disappears. Fortunately, I did not have to actually create the explosion effect. Thanks to Digital Juice Compositor’s Toolkit, all I had to do was drag and drop from a disc and BAM! satan explodes. Well, there’s a bit more involved in actually making it look believable.
There are a few other tricks that come into play to make this look even more believable other than just dropping the explosion into the comp. First, satan is sitting several rows back with seats in front of him. So that means I have to mask the explosion so that it explodes behind the front seats. After Effects makes it really easy, just a quick mask around the seats and a feathered mask around Mike so the “debris” doesn’t affect him.
Also, the sound effect that goes with the disappearing act is extremely important. You don’t want to go all out war zone explosion, so I found a nice little “poof” sound that was just right. The sound really pulls off the realism and believability of the effect. Now, there is one last thing I added that was not absolutely necessary and most first time viewers would not notice, but subliminally adds to the realism of the effect. That is a slight glow from the “explosion” when satan disappears that hits Mike and some of the seats in front. I couldn’t do an actual glow on the scene because I only wanted a “rim” glow effect.
This is where my favorite software comes in handy…Photoshop. I exported the still frame from AE into Photoshop and basically brush traced to a new layer where I wanted the glow to appear in the frame. Saved the .PSD and exported that file back into AE and boom I have a custom glow layer I can work with that doesn’t affect the entire frame. The reason I went out to Photoshop is because of the brush capabilities. I needed brush subtleties that only Photoshop can provide. This glow effect is just the icing on the cake that makes the entire effect more believable. Plus, Mike’s expression after satan explodes is priceless. Thus the final product.
YOUTUBE PLAY. A BIENNIAL OF CREATIVE VIDEO. Design by Jeff Baxter Courtesy of Google:
1. God doesn’t need your talent, but he does want your heart.
Which are you giving him more of?
2. If God wanted the best on your church’s team he would have picked someone else, so figure out why he picked you instead.
I have no idea why Jesus hand selected the disciples that he did and I have no idea why he put you on your team, but if we learned anything from that young group of fishermen, the assembly of your team probably has more to do with ministry potential than it does talent and experience. Find out what your spiritual gifts are and start blessing your team and your audience with them.
3. The process is your worship, leave the outcome up to God.
If God was results driven he would do everything himself. Instead, he’s invited drastically flawed people to do his work because he would rather have daily worshippers instead of weekly products.
4. God created the entire universe in 6 days, so stop bragging about what your team created in 5.
When you start celebrating what God has done, the specifics of what you have done will seem a lot less important. Becoming and remaining humble might be the most powerful thing you can do as a team.
5. God likes what you do and loves who you are.
He designed you to be creative and he adopted you into his family. Isn’t this awesome?
We believe that a key component to fulfilling Hope’s mission as a team is by sharing compelling stories from all walks of life. We’re paving the way for people to share their personal journey through one-on-one interviews in the red chair above for instance (Please don’t judge my iPhone image … I know). These stories not only open our eyes to what we should be thankful for but also remind us that outside appearances may not always lineup with what we battle or have overcome on the inside. Sharing not only helps to heal ourselves but also encourages others around us. Sit in the seat and share your story. The real story.
“More companies are discovering that an über-connected workplace is not just about implementing a new set of tools — it is also about embracing a cultural shift to create an open environment where employees are encouraged to share, innovate and collaborate virtually.” – Karie Willyerd & Jeanne C. Meister, HarvardBusiness.org
“You will make mistakes. If you are sincere about helping the community, the authenticity will show and your mistakes will be forgiven.” – Zia Yusuf, executive vice president for SAP’s global ecosystem and partner group
It may sound like a hair-splitting semantic issue, but I believe there is a fundamental difference between telling a story and promotion.
We, as a team, have this mantra written above our cube: Why > What. Experience has shown us that videos filled with what’s, when’s, and where’s don’t carry the same weight as a video jam-packed full of why. So, we have been discovering the balance between how do help we promote things, because promotion is very important if you want people to attend an event, church or outreach and how do we share compelling stories.
To me, the difference is:
- telling a story allows the person hearing it to make their own conclusions
- storytelling allows you to approach an event or topic without an agenda (think “here is what happened” verses “this is what you should do with this content”)
- Storytelling is about encouraging people to engage with shared experiences or around a topic
What do you think? Share your thought in the comments. What has your video team learned about what “works” in a video and what doesn’t?
The first of many Share Your Story videos produced by Hope Community Church. The concept behind the videos is to collect personal and unique stories from the people of Hope as well as around the community to display how God works through us and for us. Though we like the dramatic red chair effect, we will also shoot on location to show the impact of Hope throughout the community. See additional stories here.
Starring: Chad Johnson
Filmed & Edited by: Josh Hancock
Assisted by: Nicole Hanner