The Masked Avenger

Things were going swimmingly until I installed a plugin for After Effects which somehow corrupted the program and prevented it from opening. I wasted the whole evening/night uninstalling and reinstalling it a few times and trying to fix the problem. Turns out the Magic Bullet plugin had installed itself incorrectly and was wreaking havoc with the root files within After Effects. I simply found the troublesome folder and Time Machined its ass back to yesterday, where it never existed. A simple solution but only after 6 hours of panic and panic and panic. and panic.

The scene from above the suspended fac e needed some attention. Due to my flimsy tripod balanced on a less than sturdy surface, the face of the machine moved slightly from frame to frame. To fix it I used my new trick of placing a still frame in a layer above the animation and using a mask to let the animated bits be seen. Simples.

Using a mask to hide unwanted movement

I used this technique again in other places. I noticed that in the scenes I had already used it in (the other shots from above) that the table cloth jittered considerably from when I walked past it each frame to move the machine. The light reflected on the IV bag shifted quite a bit too so I essentially froze all these elements in place during this shot. As I’m blending both layers for the animation, this meant I had to import a frame from each set of exposures and apply identical masks to both.

Using multiple masks to freeze elements

I had to stop the numbers at 0000 in a couple of the takes. I had done it by hand during shoot but I had to hold onto the numbers to prevent them from advancing so they moved slightly each frame. When played back the numbers had the jitters..

Numbers frozen at 0(000) degrees

When editing the piece today I had to be ruthless in the cut I made. I’m all to aware of how long certain shots took and the amount of effort I put into each and every frame but I have to start thinking what works for the actual story and how long each shot should be. I’m the first to admit that I shot way too many frames for this, but that’s mostly because I wasn’t sure what I’d need for the putting together of the film at the end. I’m glad I did as now I have choices of different angles and lighting arrangements to choose from. Still, having to cut minutes (which equates to days of shooting) out of the film has undoubtably been the most disheartening activity yet.


I also had a bit of fun making the photo of the kid, which triggers memories of a happier time. I just played around with a few images of my own and came up with a cheesy tourist snap which might work well. I’ve been researching motion tracking in order to get these new images to follow the blue and green mattes. I may have a bit of trouble getting a key from the blue piece of card though as the images are fairly blue-heavy in their overall tint. This is something I will have to deal with when and if it becomes an issue.

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