Category Archives: Premiere Pro

Sometimes we just need to fix flicker it in post. And that’s ok!

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It’s been 5 years since we released Flicker Free, and we can for sure say flickering from artificial lights is still one of the main reasons creatives download our flicker removal plugin. From music videos and reality-based videos to episodics on major networks, small productions to feature-long films, we’ve seen strobing caused by LED and fluorescent lights. It happens all the time and we are glad our team could help fix flickering and see those productions look their best as they get distributed to the public.  

Planning a shoot so you can have control of your camera settings, light setup and color balance is still definitely the best way to film no matter what type of videos you are making. However, flickering is a difficult problem to predict and sometimes we just can’t see it happening on set. Maybe it was a light way in the background or an old fluorescent that seemed fine on the small on-set monitor but looked horrible on the 27″ monitor in the edit bay. 

Of course, in a perfect world we would take our time to shoot a few minutes of  test footage, use a full size monitor to check what the footage looks like, match the frame rate of the artificial light to the frame rate of the camera and make sure the shutter speed is a multiple/division of the AC frequency of the country we are shooting in. Making absolutely sure the image looks sharp and is free of flicker! But we all know this is often not possible. In these situations, post-production tools can save the day and there’s nothing wrong about that!

Travel videos are the perfect example of how sometimes we need to surrender to post-production plugins to have a high-quality finished video. Recently, Handcraft Creative co-owner Raymond Friesen shot beautiful images from pyramids in Egypt. He was fascinated by the scenery but only had a Sony A73 and a 16-70mm lens with him. After working on set for 5 years, with very well planned shoots, he knew the images wouldn’t be perfect but decided to film anyways. Yes, the end result was lots of flicker from older LED lights in the tombs. Nothing that Flicker Free couldn’t fix in post. Here’s a before and after clip:

Spontaneous filmmaking is certainly more likely to need post-production retouches, but we’ve also seen many examples of scripted projects that need to be rescued by Flicker Free. Filmmaker Emmanuel Tenenbaum talked to us about two instances where his large experience with short films was not able to stop LED flicker from showing up on his footage. He purchased the plugin a few years ago for “I’m happy to see you”, and used it again to be able to finish and distribute Two Dollars (Deux Dollars), a comedy selected in 85 festivals around the world, winner of 8 awards, broadcasted on a dozen TV channels worldwide and chosen  as Vimeo Staff Pick Premiere of the week. Curious why he got flicker while filming Two Dollars (Deux Dollars)? Tenenbaum talked to us about tight deadlines and production challenges in this user story!

Those are just a few examples of how artificial lights flickering couldn’t be avoided. Our tech support team often receives footage from music video clips, marketing commercials, and sports footage, and seeing Flicker Free remove very annoying, sometimes difficult, flicker in the post has been awesome. We posted some other user story examples on our website so check them out! And If you have some awful flickering footage that Flicker Free helped fix we’d love to see it and give you a shout out on our Social Media channels. Email press@nulldigitalanarchy.com with a link to your video clip! 

 

Using After Effects to create burned-in subtitles from SRTs

Recently, an increasing number of Transcriptive users have been requesting a way of using After Effects to create burned-in subtitles using SRTs from Transcriptive. This made us anarchists get excited about making a  Free After Effects SRT Importer for Subtitling And Captions.

Captioning videos is more important now than ever before. With the growth of mobile and Social Media streaming, YouTube and Facebook videos are often watched without sound and subtitles are essential to retain your audience and make them watchable. In addition to that, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has implemented rules for online video that require subtitles so people with disabilities can fully access media content and actively participate in the lives of their communities. 

As a consequence, a lot of companies have style guides for their burned-in subtitles and/or want to do something more creative with the subtitles than what you get with standard 608/708 captions. I mean, how boring is white, monospaced text on a black background? After Effects users can do better.

While Premiere Pro does allow some customization of subtitles, creators can get greater customization via After Effects. Many companies have style guides or other requirements that specify how their subtitles should look. After Effects can be an easier place to create these types of graphics. However, it doesn’t import SRT files natively so the SRT Importer will be very useful if you don’t like Premiere’s Caption Panel or need subtitles that are more ‘designed’ than what you can get with normal captions. The script makes it easy to customize subtitles and bring them into Premiere Pro. Here’s how it works:

  1. Go to the registration page our registration page.
  1. Download the .jsxbin file. 
  1. Put it here: 
  • Windows: C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe After Effects CC 2019\Support Files\Scripts\ScriptUI Panels
  • Mac:  Applications\Adobe After Effects CC 2019\Scripts\ScriptUI Panels

3. folder location

4. Restart AE. It’ll show up in After Effects under the Window\Transcriptive_Caption

3.select panel

5. Create a new AE project with nothing in it. Open the panel and set the parameters to match your footage (frame rate, resolution, etc). When you click Apply, it’ll ask for an SRT file. It’ll then create a Comp with the captions in it.

5. import SRT

  1. Select the text layer and open the Character panel to set the font, font size, etc. Feel free to add a drop shadow, bug or other graphics.

6.character style

7. Save that project and import the Comp into Premiere (Import the AE project and select the Comp). If you have a bunch of videos, you can run the script on each SRT file you have and you’ll end up with an AE project with a bunch of comps named to match the SRTs (currently it only supports SRT). Each comp will be named: ‘Captions: MySRT File’. Import all those comps into Premiere.

7. import comp

8. Drop each imported comp into the respective Premiere sequence. Double-check the captions line up with the audio (same as you would for importing an SRT into Premiere). Queue the different sequences up in AME and render away once they’re all queued up. (and keep in mind it’s beta and doesn’t create the black backgrounds yet).

Although especially beneficial to Transcriptive users, this free After Effects SRT Importer for Subtitling And Captions will work with any SRT from any program and it’s definitely easier than all the steps above make it sound and it is available for all and sundry on our website. Give it a try and let us know what you think! Contact: sales@nulldigitalanarchy.com

Easy Ways of Animating Masks for Use with Beauty Box in After Effects, Premiere, and Final Cut Pro

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We have a new set of tutorials up that will show you how to easily create masks and animate them for Beauty Box. This is extremely useful if you want to limit the skin retouching to just certain areas like the cheeks or forehead.

Traditionally this type of work has been the province of feature films and other big budget productions that had the money and time to hire rotoscopers to create masks frame by frame. New tools built into After Effects and Premiere Pro or available from third parties for FCP make this technique accessible to video editors and compositors on a much more modest budget or time constraints.

Using Masks that track the video to animate them with Beauty Box for more precise retouching

How Does Retouching Work Traditionally?

In the past someone would have to create a mask on Frame 1 and  move forward frame by frame, adjusting the mask on EVERY frame as the actor moved. This was a laborious and time consuming way of retouching video/film. The idea for Beauty Box came from watching a visual effects artist explain his process for retouching a music video of a high profile band of 40-somethings. Frame by frame by tedious frame. I thought there had to be an easier way and a few years later we released Beauty Box.

However, Beauty Box affects the entire image by default. The mask it creates affects all skin areas. This works very well for many uses but if you wanted more subtle retouching… you still had to go frame by frame.

The New Tools!

After Effects and Premiere have some amazing new tools for tracking mask points. You can apply bezier masks that only masks the effect of a plugin, like Beauty Box. The bezier points are ‘tracking’ points. Meaning that as the actor moves, the points move with him. It usually works very well, especially for talking head type footage where the talent isn’t moving around a lot. It’s a really impressive feature. It’s  available in both AE and Premiere Pro. Here’s a tutorial detailing how it works in Premiere:

After Effects also ships with Mocha Pro, another great tool for doing this type of work. This tutorial shows how to use Mocha and After Effects to control Beauty Box and get some, uh, ‘creative’ skin retouching effects!

The power of Mocha is also available for Final Cut Pro X as well. It’s available as a plugin from CoreMelt and they were kind enough to do a tutorial explaining how Splice X works with Beauty Box within FCP. It’s another very cool plugin, here’s the tutorial:

Creative Cloud 2015 and After Effects, Premiere Pro Plug-ins

All of our current plugins have been updated to work with After Effects and Premiere Pro in Creative Cloud 2015. That means Beauty Box Video 4.0.1 and Flicker Free 1.1 are up to date and should work no problem.

Flicker Free 1.1 is a free update which you can download here: http://digitalanarchy.com/demos/main.html

What if I have an older plugin like Beauty Box 3.0.9? Do I have to pay for the upgrade?

Yes, you probably need to upgrade and it is a paid upgrade. After Effects changed the way it renders and Premiere Pro changed how they handle GPU plugins (of which Beauty Box is one). The key word here is probably. Our experience so far has been mixed. Sometimes the plugins work, sometimes not.

Premiere Pro: Beauty Box 3.0.9 seems to have trouble in Premiere if it’s using the GPU. If you turn ‘UseGPU’ off (at the bottom of the BB parameter list), it seems to work fine, albeit much slower. Premiere Pro did not implement the same re-design that After Effects did, but they did add an API specifically for GPU plugins. So if the plugin doesn’t use the GPU, it should work fine in Premiere. If it uses the GPU, maybe it works, maybe not. Beauty Box seems to not.

After Effects: Legacy plugins _should_ work but slow AE down somewhat. In the case of Beauty Box, it seems to work ok but we have seen some problems. So the bottom line is: try it out in CC 2015, if it works fine, you’re good to go. If not, you need to upgrade. We are not officially supporting 3.0.9 in Creative Cloud 2015.

– The upgrade from 3.0 is $69 and can be purchased HERE.

– The upgrade from 1.0/2.0 is $99 and can be purchased HERE.

 

The bottom line is try out the older plugins in CC 2015. It’s not a given that they won’t work, even though Adobe is telling everyone they need to update. It is true that you will most likely need to update the plugins for CC 2015 so their advice isn’t bad. However, before paying for upgrades load the plugins and see how they behave. They might work fine. Of course, Beauty Box 4 is super fast in both Premiere and After Effects, so you might want to upgrade anyways. :-)

We do our best not to force users into upgrades, but since Adobe has rejiggered everything, only the current releases of our products will be rejiggered in turn.