Tag Archives: editing

From Motion to After Effects

I have been making the transfer from Final Cut Pro’s Motion application to Adobe After Effects.

Here’s a piece I made a few years ago in Motion.

Motion is very intuitive to use, while still giving editors many options. Motion allows for key-framing or applied behaviors. Users can add cameras and edit in 3D space, which is becoming more and more popular in motion graphics for not only car commercials but documentaries. There are also stock replicators and graphics that are easy to manipulate. As most applications by Apple are aesthetically pleasing, Motion is probably Final Cut Studio’s most aesthetically pleasing application.

What I like most about Motion is “round tripping.” This means an editor can easily move between a sequence in Final Cut and a motion graphic or applied effects in Motion. A sequence can be sent directly to Motion, effects are applied, and those effects appear directly in Final Cut without any export. Of course some rendering still have to take place, but who doesn’t render?

Adobe’s After Effects is different on the other hand. The only “round tripping” or seamless editing can occur within Adobe. An editor could move between a project in Premier and After Effects. But a project in After Effects can be seamlessly edited in Final Cut or AVID.

This orange room is the first project I made in After Effects that I had some success with.

When using After Effects and Final Cut, which I have so gracefully taken to with the advice and wisdom of Andrew Killoy (pretty much a master, at least from what I’ve seen), a motion graphic must be exported as a large reference file, then that reference file must be encoded in Adobe Encoder with the desired specs. That file can be brought into Final Cut as a QuickTime, for example, and rendered.

However, if one wants to make changes, they have to go back into After Effects, re-edit, and export all over again. While when working in Motion and Final Cut, changes can be made in Motion and are directly and immediately changed in the Final Cut sequence.

This is a series of photos I stitched together in AE. They were taken near a botanical garden in Valencia, Spain.

This is a single photo I manipulated in Photoshop to create “The Kid Stays in the Picture” effect.

Not too perfect, some of it is rough around the edges, but I am still learning. So why am I bothering to learn After Effects? the application is a powerful tool and most industry professionals know and use it. Although, I must say that it’s popularity has to be because it runs on PCs and Macs.

I do hope to become proficient enough in After Effects so that I can use the program to create motion graphics for my documentary pieces as I have done in my most recent mini-doc, which I used Final Cut and Motion for.

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Filed under documentary, Trend

Photos of the Days – It’s been a while…

Due to my lack of access to real internet, the fact that I have an internship across the state and a nearly full-time job, I haven’t been able to upload my photos of the day or make some good blog entries. But without further agonizing, here are the photos!

May 5, 2010

Some hidden street art in Northampton.


May 6, 2010



May 7, 2010

Smith College gardens


May 8, 2010

Capturing footage at my new job.


May 9, 2010

Mint cookies!


May 10, 2010

The puppies have grown!


May 11, 2010

Firefly night.


May 12, 2010

Seriously, this cake was way too big. There's still some of that chunk in our fridge.


May 13, 2010



May 14, 2010

Turkey run!


May 15, 2010

USFWS and UMass Amherst have joined forces.


May 16, 2010

Snow pea flower.

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Photos of the Days – Tech to Wilderness

As usually planned, here are my last few days of Photos of the Days, due to my only and inconvenient access to dial-up.

May 13, 2010

Greasy and greasy, yet so much fun.


May 14, 2010

This is the monitor and editing-on-the-fly unit we (UVC-TV 19) use for big field productions.


May 15, 2010

This is the morning of the UMass Commencement... at 5:55 a.m.


May 16, 2010

Old and dusty wilderness and hunting items.

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Filed under Culture, documentary, People

The animated documentary

Manipulation of footage and rhetoric happens enough in documentary filmmaking, but what about animated documentaries? Should viewers begin watching an animated documentary knowing the truth has been manipulated even more than a non-animated documentary would have been?

More than a few documentaries include animation to help tell a story. “New Year Baby” and “American Teen” are both documentaries that use animation, however, the whole documentary is not animated.

Waltz With Bashir” and “Chicago 10” are two films I can think of that are told through animation.

Waltz With Bashir” director Ari Folman said in an interview with John Esther on CaliforniaChronical.com:

“I was not interested in a fiction film. I wanted to do it animated because it dealt with memory. The term documentary, honestly, I don’t really care. I’ve been hassled so much about the animated documentary idea. It was so much trouble raising the budget because I declared it “an animated documentary.” If I had to do it again, I would never call it a documentary. [Laughs]”

Folman also said, he encountered debate because people believed a documentary can’t be animated.

Folman recorded studio interviews and animated scenes, and sometimes overdubbed audio recordings.

According to the director of “Chicago 10,” Brett Morgen, the trouble came when trying to figure out how animation would be done for courtroom scenes when video footage didn’t exist. “We had to animate 35 minutes of dialogue!” he said in an Independent Lens interview.

I feel the editing and animating process becomes unethical when audio recordings are manipulated in such a way that the actual truth of the speaker does not represent what they actually said.

Unethical manipulation can occur in non-animated documentaries where b-roll is used, but the same ethics apply to non-animated documentaries and news packages.

How are viewers supposed to know if what they are hearing is the complete truth, and if what they are seeing is the complete truth?

Viewers don’t know and can’t tell unless filmmakers and videographers are honest with their audiences.

It is easier to be unethical when animating documentaries, so it is even more important to be cautious when editing audio and footage.

Please feel free to weigh in on any comments, experiences, or any documentary films that use animation.


Filed under documentary