SDF’s Realities of Reality TV

“A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.” – George S. Patton “Everyone wants to go to heaven but no one wants to die.” – Joe Louis
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” – Wayne Gretzky

 

This week the San Diego Filmmaker’s presentation was on the Realities of Reality TV with Ken Gora, CEO of Branded Entertainment. He began with the three quotes above. Ken is the producer, and one of the judges, behind So You Think You Can Sell and The Romance. With a background as a corporate head hunter and a PHd in psychology, he has used his skills to create a reality TV series to meet a different market need.

His first idea, for a VP sales contest later called So You Think You Can Sell, came to him in the middle of the night. The idea involved doing something good for the community, creating jobs, generating sales for local companies, and filming it. He contacted several people in the business for advice. Mark Cubin (Shark Tank) asked – how do you make sure you don’t get idiots who might cost the company in sales, screen out serial killers, and has it been done before on this scale?

Essentials to good Reality TV

  • Is it a compelling storyline? – For So You Think You Can Sell, people would learn lessons on selling, strategies of marketing and see how people deal with success and failure.
  • Determine a gap or need – While there are similar shows this would focus on local businesses and local people.
  • Funding (product placement, corporate sponsor, investor, advertising) – 95% of the show was paid for organically (through product placement, advertising, sponsors and branding). As a local show, Ken was able to approach many smaller companies and demonstrate how the it would reach their audience. * Estimate $1k per minute to produce and edit a low budget reality TV show.
  • Characters – The people need to be genuinely interesting, not the people willing to do anything just to be on television.

How does The Romance  Fit the Essentials of Good TV?

Again, it will feature local people and businesses. People learn psychology behind dating and see how people deal with success and failure.

  • Existing dating shows seemed false (The Bachelor, The Batchelorette, Millionaire Matchmaker,…). When dating do people really move into a mansion together? Do people really fly off to Bora Bora together on their second date? Is it really a good idea to marry someone after 29 episodes?Why does everyone look like a model? So by creating a show that is more realistic they hope to fill that gap.
  • Funding will follow a similar model to So You Think You Can Sell plus he is looking at investors.
  • By choosing choosing participants like a single mom who works as a whale trainer at Sea World, he expects to find the right balance of interesting characters.

Sponsor Package

An important aspect of finding funding for the program includes creating sponsor packages. Send an email to the VP of Marketing/Branding with information on:

  • Who you are – a brief description
  • What the show is – perhaps your elevator pitch
  • What placement will do for a sponsor – with a channel 4 deal the show will air in 1.2 million households and will be syndicated for 1 year.

O'Connell Design
O’Connell Design

O’Connell Design is a creative studio dedicated to film and motion, game cinematics, and engaging visuals. For more information on our studio and to view our portfolio go to www.oconnelldesign.com.

 

Top 10 Video Game Cinematics and Cut- Scenes

“Video games rely on many things to keep their players happy, whether they’re action packed FPSs or story orientated RPGs. A gripping story, intensive gameplay and competitive multiplayer are a few of the things that gamers demand these days. However it seems that with today’s technology, gamers are starting to take graphics for granted with many expecting top-notch cut-scenes, whether the developer is funded by a major company or not.” Idris Aylwin, whatculture.com

The list below is largely based on visual aesthetics and connections not on the story or narrative. It focuses on elements of visual design along with editing and motion graphics to determine a hierarchy.

10. Dragon Age Origins Sacred Ashes Final FULL HD Trailer

Beautiful CGI and great editing. This also gets credit for best transition to the branding element – a graphic element that moves from the end of the cinematic and turns into the title/logo. Its also nice when a company (EA here) has a logo that can be tweaked to compliment the product branding (also quite risky).

Cinematic: ?. Publisher: Electronic Arts. Developer: BioWare. Release: 2009

9. Star Wars: The Old Republic E3 2009 Jedi vs. Sith Trailer

Cinematic: ?. Publisher: Electronic Arts/LucasArts. Developer: BioWare. Release: 2009

8. Watch Dogs

Great layering and integrating graphics to tell the story. I’m keen to see how these video game cinematics tie into the gameplay.

Cinematic: Digic Pictures. Publisher: Ubisoft. Developer: Ubisoft Montreal. Release: 2014

7. Halo 4: Epilogue Cut-scene Cinematic

All of the Halo cut-scenes and cinematics are beautifully put together – audio and visuals. With expansive long shots and touching close-ups Digic makes the most of space to create intensity. The use of lens flare are fun too.

Cinematic: Digic Pictures. Publisher: Microsoft Studios. Developer: 343 Industries. Release: 2012

6. Onimusha 3 – Opening Movie

Cinematic: ?. Publisher: Capcom. Developer: Capcom. Release: 2004/2006

5. Portal 2

These cinematics are all well very well done artistically but the humor is what makes them stand out. Rapid cuts and obstructed views add to the tension and interest in this sequence.

Cinematic: ?. Publisher & Developer: Valve Corporation. Release: 2011

4. World of Warcraft: Wrath Of The Lich King Cinematic

All the WOW sequences are beautiful and moving. Dramatic for-shortening of the sword and unusual camera angles, along the ice as it breaks and along the dragon as it emerges create an undeniable energy.

Cinematic: ?. Publisher: Capcom. Developer: Capcom. Release: 2004/2006

3. Rage Opening Sequence

Great narration and moving soundtrack. Long shots of space, lunar surfaces and planet juxtaposed with close-up scenes inside the spaceship create great tension.

Cinematic: ?. Publisher: Bethesda Softworks. Developer: id Software. Release: 2011

2. Borderlands 2 Kreig Cinematic

As with most of the Borderlands the hand drawn visual style is a brilliant change from many games out there. The fact that the cinematics and promotional material remain true to the visual styles is a beautiful blend of marketing and product. Last of all you can’t ignore the humor throughout all of Borderland’s video advertising, it makes these quite memorable.

Cinematic: ?. Publisher: 2K Games/SCEA. Developer: Gearbox Software. Release: 2012

1. Assassin’s Creed: Revelations- Opening Cinematic

Fluid movement of figures and fights reflecting to the fight style in gameplay are made film-like with alternating speed changes creates tension and interest. Camera angles moving over and through the action create tension yet remain easy to follow – great editing. Simple and elegant motion graphics for the logo and branding.
Cinematic: Digic Pictures. Publisher: Ubisoft. Developer: Ubisoft Montréal. Release: 2011


O'Connell Design
O’Connell Design

O’Connell Design is a creative studio dedicated to film and motion, game cinematics, and engaging visuals. For more information on our studio and to view our portfolio go to www.oconnelldesign.com.

SDF After E ects Presentation

How After Effects Can Help Save You in Post

We recently attended an informative San Diego Filmmakers presentation on Adobe’s After Effects by Eric Addison of 100 Acres Films.

Eric started the presentation by comparing a knowledge of After Effects to a deep well. Some people know a section of the well, others know a different section of the well, but very few people know the entire depth of the well. His recommendation was to focus on one aspect – green screen techniques, kinetic typography, or motion tracking, for example. Learn that aspect, become good at it, then move on to something else.

The first example was a quick rotoscope matte and sky replacement to make a flat city skyline more interesting. This also included a bit of information on color correction in order to ensure the two clips come together seamlessly. His recommended color correction extensions/plugins were:

Next he spent time rotoscoping in order to place text behind a moving figure, but in front of the background. This included using the Roto Brush Tool and the Refine Edge Tool. There was also a brief review of green screen and keyer techniques. Some useful keyer links are:

Next he used the Warp Stabilizer VFX effect. It can be used to smooth the existing motion of a camera or to create a locked-off shot, with no camera movement. His example was a shot taken from a helicopter of a military ship under way. The default settings did a pretty good job.

Other important tips included using the clone stamp tool, motion tracking and planner tracking to eliminate or replace unwanted logos or objects. Cloning can be useful if you have a clear section to sample from. For example, if the camera is fixed during an interview and a boom, or object, drops into frame for a time. The clear footage can be sampled to cover the time when the object is in view. Motion tracking is useful if you want to use Photoshop to create “band-aid” to cover or change an object that moves through the frame. Planar tracking is required when the item being replaced or erased moves out of frame.

In the last example, he used planar tracking to replace a ball in a clip and with a baseball. He also used CC Simple Wire Removal effect to remove a wire that allowed it to appear as though the baseball was floating in throughout the scene.

After Effects Gurus to Follow

  • Andrew Kramer, Video Copilot
  • Aharon Rabinowitz, Twitter @ABAOproductions
  • Eran Stern, SternFX
  • Angie Taylor, www.angietaylor.co.uk

Shattered the Movie

Motion Graphics Movie Title: Shattered

Motion Graphics Production Notes

Movie title test for Shattered. This video was produced using After Effects, Premiere Pro, Photoshop, Audition

Credits

Motion Graphics Design, Artwork, Art Direction: L.V.O’Connell
Audio: “Light Bulb Breaking” by Mike Koenig


O'Connell Design
O’Connell Design

O’Connell Design is a creative studio dedicated to film and motion, game cinematics, and engaging visuals. For more information on our studio and to view our portfolio go to www.oconnelldesign.com.

Movie Title Test: Shadow & Light

Motion Graphics Series :: Movie Title Tests

Motion Graphics Movie Title Production Notes

Created with After Effects, Premiere Pro and Cinema 4D. This video makes use to custom textures and lighting rigs. These files were created using a procedural technique so that the text and background image can be changed to suit the audience or venue.

Credits

Motion Graphics Design, Artwork, Art Direction: L.V.O’Connell, www.oconnelldesign.com
Music:  “Bee Quiet“ by Ergo Phizmiz

Movie Title Odoacer

Motion Graphics Movie Title:: Odoacer, End of an Empire

About the Movie Title

“After the fall of the greatest empire the world has ever seen, one man is left to put the pieces back together.” A movie title design study for an historic fiction movie based of the end of the Roman Empire.

Motion Graphics Movie Title Production Notes

This movie title test for the movie, Odoacer, was created using After Effects, Photoshop, Illustrator and Premiere Pro. The title’s logotype was designed, transferred into After Effects. The animation also uses 3D effects to create depth and allow light to appear on the falling fragments.

Credits

Motion Graphics Design, Artwork, Art Direction: L.V.O’Connell, www.oconnelldesign.com
Music: “War And Peace“ by Jamie Evans, CC 3.0

Typography of Good Motion Graphics

Leading for typography.

Finding the Music in the Typography of Good Motion Graphics

When describing good typography, terms like rhythm, proportion and motion are frequently used. The music of superior typography has a good measure to each line of text in a paragraph. Horizontal motion and a vertical motion even of static typography can aid in the ease of readability and ultimately the flow. This flow is the same you find in psychology or the gaming world.

“Flow is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity.” Flow, Wikipedia]

These same qualitative terms apply to motion design. With motion design, however, you have a limited time to present the text. We all have a need to read text that is put in front of us. Here are a few recommendations of how to make the best use of the typography in order to aid in the flow of reading and assimilating content.

Audience

Determine the parameters of the project. Screen resolution, device, and distribution system all play a part in the final product as well as who the project needs to speak to. Attention to the rhythm, proportion and motion of the typography are important.

Font

Choose your font, size and color carefully. Serif fonts can be tougher to read on a smaller screen, but can be easier to read in properly leaded formatted blocks than a san serif font. Text that needs to be read quickly needs to have a higher contrast to its surroundings there is a reason why warning road signs in the US are black text on a yellow background. Its one of the best combinations for reading quickly and at a distance.

Measure Horizontal Motion of Static Typography

High contrast road sign.
High contrast road sign.

Pay attention to the measure, or the word spacing and width, of the columns. Word spacing can vary from a fixed distance in ragged right or left text, to an elastic space in justified text.

“Anything from 45 to 75 characters is widely regarded as a satisfactory length of line for a single-column page set in a serifed text face in a text size. The 66-character line (counting both letters and spaces) is widely regarded as ideal. For multiple column work, a better average is 40 to 50 characters.” [Horizontal Motion, Elements of Typographic Style Applied to the Web,
http://www.webtypography.net/Rhythm_and_Proportion/Horizontal_Motion/2.1.2/, site no longer active]

This is a useful rule of thumb but consider your audience. A dyslexic, or time-stressed executive for example, who has difficulty tracking will have trouble reading wider column.

Vertical Motion of Static Typography

Leading for typography.
Leading for typography.

The vertical space between lines of text, leading (or line-height), is used in a different way to the horizontal space but is equally important in the readability of text. Creating a rhythm and balance to the leading of paragraphs and headings allow the reader to predict a pattern and creates a comfortable flow.

When you start with these basic principles of rhythm and proportion, motion design of text and maintains greater readability across a wider audience.

A Fun example of typography in motion graphics.

Ira Glass on Storytelling from David Shiyang Liu on Vimeo.

Ira Glass on Storytelling from David Shiyang Liu on Vimeo.

 

 


O'Connell Design
O’Connell Design

O’Connell Design is a creative studio dedicated to film and motion, game cinematics, and engaging visuals. For more information on our studio and to view our portfolio go to www.oconnelldesign.com.

 

Motion Graphics Movie Title – Arctic

1st in a Motion Graphics Series :: Movie Title Tests

About the Movie Title

“As the long nights of winter close in, an expedition to the North Pole discovers something unexpected….”

The motion graphics for this Science Fiction/Thriller needed to create visual intensity and a sense of mystery. To achieve this, the images and type are dark and obscure. The type appears to move into the for foreground from deep within a frozen block of ice. The title comes into frame on a diagonal before settling in the center of the screen.

Motion Graphics Movie Title Production Notes

This movie title test for the movie, Arctic, was created using After Effects, Photoshop, Illustrator and Premiere Pro. The title’s logotype was designed and transferred into After Effects. The animation also uses 3D effects to create depth and allow a camera to move through the visual space in a number of ways.

Credits

Motion Graphics Design, Artwork, Art Direction: L.V.O’Connell, www.oconnelldesign.com
Music:Frozen“ to MaCu, CC 3.0

Accessibility and Good Website Design

Good website design accessibility

The Scary Truth About Web Accessibility and Good Website Design

Good website design accessibility
How accessible is your website?

I recently attended a webinar for a number of small businesses, literally “mom and pop” operations. The average age of the attendee was easily over 60 and each business might have employed 3-4 people (full-time and seasonal). The web production company running the webinar repeatedly told the audience that “if you don’t make your websites ADA accessible, you will be sued (see WalMart, 2001 ).” In an effort to assess my client’s liability, I asked the web company for details on the specific legislation. The web company couldn’t provide a name or legislation number.

The truth is that there is legislation out there but it’s not aimed at these companies. Section 508 refers to ADA compliance and specifically “requires that Federal Departments/Agencies Electronic and Information Technology (EIT) is accessible to people with disabilities.” (http://www.section508.gov/index.cfm?fuseAction=Policies) While I don’t claim to have a legal background, it seems clear that think that this document doesn’t include these “mom and pop” operations.

While I despise the “scare tactics” used by the web company above, there are plenty of reasons why considering accessibility when designing and updating anyone’s website is a good idea.

  1. Reach a wider audience.
  2. Many ADA compliant features will aid in Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
  3. If accessibility is considered in the initial design and implemented it shouldn’t add much to the overall cost of the site.
  4. If/When guidelines are adopted into legislation, demonstrating that your business is working on addressing website accessibility potentially could go a long way towards meeting that obligation.

Web Guidelines for Accessibility

Guidelines that the industry is working towards called Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).

“WCAG itself is a technical standard designed primarily for Web developers and designers, authoring tool and evaluation tool developers, and others who need a technical standard for Web accessibility. WAI [Web Accessibility Initiative] develops additional material for people with different levels of accessibility knowledge.

WCAG 1.0 was approved in May 1999 and is the stable and referenceable version. WCAG 2.0 is being developed…” (http://www.w3.org/WAI/flyer/handout2007b.pdf)

These guidelines are produced by The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an “international community where Member organizations, a full-time staff, and the public work together to develop Web standards.”
(http://www.w3.org/Consortium/)

5 Elements of Good ADA Accessible Design

  1. Include ALT text for images: Allows visually impaired users to hear (using their software) a description of the image and helps search engines understand what image content is.

     

  2. Keyboard Input: for those with restricted motor skills, keyboard input can allow them to use the keyboard instead of the mouse.
  3. Transcripts: for those who are hearing impaired, providing transcripts of videos or presentations makes the audio information accessible. This is also useful to search engines (similar to No.1).
  4. Contrast: Consider the contrast of text to images. The clearer it is, the wider the audience is that will be able to read it quickly and easily.
  5. Consider Column Width: Those with learning disabilities can find very wide columns difficult to track, and everyone can read a narrower column more quickly.

Accessible Website Design Links

http://www.ada.gov/
U.S. Department of Justice, 1991 ADA STANDARDS FOR ACCESSIBLE DESIGN
http://www.ada.gov/stdspdf.htm
http://www.section508.gov/
http://www.w3.org/WAI/intro/wcag.php
JAWS, a screen reader for Windows. http://www.techno-vision.co.uk/JAWS.htm
Lynx, a free text-only web browser. http://lynx.browser.org/
Links, a free text-only web browser for visual users with low bandwidth. http://almende.github.com/chap-links-library/
Windows-Eyes, a screen reader for Windows. http://www.nanopac.com/WindowEyes.htm PwWebSpeak, a screen reader for Windows. http://www.soundlinks.com/


O'Connell Design
O’Connell Design

O’Connell Design is a creative studio dedicated to film and motion, game cinematics, and engaging visuals. For more information on our studio and to view our portfolio go to www.oconnelldesign.com.