Final Cut: SLO Creek Day

The objective of our second week of lab was to recreate a short 30-second TV commercial that aired in 2007 to promote the San Luis Obispo annual creek clean up day using Final Cut Express.

The procedure included gathering and organizing various clips of video, audio, and logo artwork, and bringing all the data into Final Cut Express to arrange them how we saw fit. There were video clips well over 30-seconds that we needed to select and slice up to lengths closer to 5 seconds. This action was executed by using the slice tool and by clicking in the clip it created a slice line that allowed us to delete only the desired portion of the clip. By selecting a certain video clip and changing the settings to unlink we were able to separate the audio in the clips from the video. After deleting all the audio, it was easier to bring in a separate background music that would play quietly behind the Creek Day audio clip. This background music was editable and we lowered the volume drastically so it wouldn’t interfere with the purpose of the commercial. Since the Creek Day spoken audio was exactly 30 seconds in length, it was easy to line everything else up to it visually.

After laying out the basic development of the commercial, I added fade-in and out transitions to smooth out the abrupt switches between video clips. I also decided to enlarge the Creek Day logo so big that it was not visible in the first screen shot, then slowly have it shrink down and drift to the bottom right corner where it would stay for the duration of the commercial. Each segment of the commercial (audio, logos, video) was contained on a different line, which made them a lot easier to work with and visually clearer. I posted the painting graphic from SLO County Creek Day in both the beginning and the end of the commercial in order to try and tie it together as a whole.

:::MY VIDEO:::

SLO Creek Cleanup Video from Cindy Clause on Vimeo.
SLO Creek Cleanup Video from Cindy Clause on Vimeo.

What our project entailed in Final Cut Express was pretty basic and still took a significant amount of time to complete. Final Cut Express had similar traits and elements as imovie; however, it was a lot more complex and not quite as visually appealing and user friendly. I was able to complete the project in a timely manner and manipulate the clips and audio to do what I wanted them to do, but I found difficulty in moving the Creek Day logo to the bottom right corner (like the first project we did with causing the moon to rise and set). Overall, it was a successful experience but outcome of my work was very basic. I can’t help but wonder what kind of time and special manipulations go into making a quality commercial.

This project was important for me because it introduced me to the basics of Final Cut Express that will be needed for upcoming projects. It was also a significant project because we were recreating a local commercial that was previously aired in San Luis Obispo, so we had to integrate all the correct elements.


Final Cut: Green Screen

Create a 30 second- one minute ipod dancing video. We needed to use 12 different dancer clips, 5 transitions, 3 motion properties, multiple dancers, and remove the dancing clip audio and in its place import a hip hop music clip.

Import uncut green screen video to Final Cut Express.
>Isolate dancer and change background color by: Video Filter, Key, Chroma Keyer.
>Choose what color to drop out by adjusting color, saturation, luma
Make Dancer into Black Outline
>Effects, Video Filter, Image Control, Sepia
>Filters tab, change tint color by sliding highlight tab left to get black
Change Background Color
>Brower, Effects tab, Video Generators, Matte, click Color swatch and drag to V1 to set background color.
After completing the basics of isolating the dancing, turning it into a silhouette, and changing the background color, we played around with making the dancers multiply and move across the screen. We also importing additional graphics to appear and circle around the dancer.

:::MY VIDEO:::

Green Screen from Cindy Clause on Vimeo

Although this project was time consuming, the steps were relatively basic considering all the green screen preparation and video that was done ahead of time for us. I was surprised at how easy it was to knock out he background color and isolate the dancer and would love to try this technique for other projects! The additional procedures of moving the dancers around on screen and adding graphics was a bit more challenging.

We learned the importance of a green screen and how to manipulate videos in Final Cut Express, which is a very useful skill in our area of study. This project also gave us more time to familiarize ourselves with the tools and abilities in Final Cut Express.

Save your work more often than you think! After working for about an hour, and being quite pleased with the video I had begun creating, Final Cut Express decided to close and not save any of my work. This was a little bit frustrating, but I learned the importance of saving my work every time I made a change to the video. Open lab hours gave me time to start the project over, but I wish we had more time to focus on each project. Overall, it was a good experience, and I am happy to know I can make a rudimentary ipod video.

Flash Video Skin Project

The project’s objective was to create a custom flash player and skin through Adobe Flash. This consisted of learning multiple ways to create a skin, the box around a video with options to play, pause, adjust volume, etc.
Open previous green screen video in Final Cut Express.
>Save and export with no compression and convert final cut Quick-Time video into a .flv video. This enabled us to work on the video in Flash.
>Then we looked at a list of pre-canned skins that are available to use with our .flv video.
>The second type of skins we played with were editable pre-canned skins. The color and style could be changed a little bit, but for the most part they are as is.
>Thirdly, we imported our video with no skin and created our own from scratch. This was more complex, but allowed freedom in design elements. We also created a small logo (our initials) to be placed on the skin so our video would be attributed to us. We also turned the logo into a link to our personal website.
>Each object we created for our custom skins were on different layers and editable separately.
>By creating an action script we attached our custom buttons to our video.
>Lastly, we exported the video as a .swf and uploaded it to the server.

:::MY VIDEO:::

Flash is important when dealing with the world wide web. The particular type of video we created is very widely accepted and would be good spice up any website. Flash video’s could also be used in instances like Kevin’s job where he creates videos using flash for outside customers.

This was a difficult project because I was so unfamiliar with the program, however, it was a good learning experience. I couldn’t figure out how to click on the buttons for editing, and wasn’t sure what exactly I was affecting until it was too late. I felt like I was just guessing and checking my work the whole time and found most of this project a little frustrating, but thankful it all worked out in the end.


Flash AT&T Project

The objective of this project was to use Adobe Flash to recreate a AT&T advertisement. This included making text fly in from off the screen and creating a learn more button with a rollover affect.

Open psd document of the static view of an AT&T advertisement. Our job was to add action to a seemingly dull add. First, we made sure our new Flash stage was set to the same parameters as the photoshop document. Then we saved the psd in separate layers and optimized them for web so we could import them into Flash as different items for editing and adding motion. By adding new key frames to each layer and dragging them out to new frames, we slowly recreated the advertisement. To make the text fly in from the side we added a tween motion attribute in between frame 1 and frame 15. This process was simply duplicated multiple times for each item that needed to move. Finally, we used the actions property to create a rollover affect with the learn more button by typing:
learn_button.onRollOver = function() {
learn_button.onRollOut = function() {

Check out the sweet rollover below!

:::MY VIDEO:::


This is a very simple way to spice up an advertisement. Companies like AT&T will pay significant amounts of money for people like us to create little flash videos like this one. Therefore, this project is very important for building our saleable skills!

Following Kevin step by step is one thing. I don't think I would ever be able to do this on my own! It was a little overwhelming with all the steps we had to go through, but I'm sure once I fully understand the meaning of what I'm doing rather than memorizing steps, I will be able to create my very own flash advertisements. I am thankful my video works though, I'm pretty proud of that. :)

Flash: WiHire Splash Project

Create a 5-10 second intro video for a company called WiHire. They will choose a winner from our class and give $50 as a prize. The winning video will be used as an introduction to their website.

I decided to use Adobe Flash to create a quick, basic video with fly-in text similar to the AT&T commercial we did last week. First I opened the WiHire logo in Photoshop and selected different layers, saved them individually for web and devices, then imported them into Adobe Flash. I wanted each of the three words (connect, inspire, succeed) to drop in from the top and sit at the bottom of the page. I also decided to have the logo grow within the 5 second limit. By adding new key frames to each layer and dragging them out to new frames, I was able to assign separate movement properties to each line of text. I To make the text drop in from the top, I added a tween motion attribute in between the frames I wanted to move. I also found a photo that had three pillars, which was similar to the three words WiHire stands for (connect. inspire. succeed.)


This was a real life project! That is significant! Many companies want quick flash videos like this to add a little spice to their websites. This project was attempting to do just that.

Since I was out of town last thursday, I wasn't able to hear first hand from the WiHire team what they were looking for in our promotional video. I used Flash because it was most fresh in my mind; however, looking back I think I am more comfortable in Final Cut and would have been able to create a more complex and professional video.

UGS Promo Video

Create a one minute and thirty second promotional video for UGS to possibly be used on the UGS website.

After going through various steps to import and reconnect the correct video, interview, and music files to Final Cut, we were ready to work. I watched Tom’s video a few times to get some ideas for my video, as well as look at the placement of his video clips and transitions. Before trying to find clips from the interviews and video, I mentally planned how I wanted my video to look. At the beginning I wanted the UGS logo to change colors to the beat of the music. This was a very simple process by using the Color Scheme effect. Then, without voices, I wanted to show a short clip of each UGS manager introduce them to the viewer. Then I chose clips of the interviews that I thought captured the culture and mission of UGS without boring the viewer with too much talking about the ins and outs of working for UGS. I also had to increase the volume levels on the interview clips and decrease the music volume when the managers started talking. Then I chose pressroom clips, unlinked them so I could delete the sound, and matched them appropriately with the music and interview clips. I tried to find the most exciting and upbeat pressroom clips that would be interesting for non-GrC majors to watch, because most of the pre-press, printing, color correcting, and trimming videos seem applicable to UGS employees and Graphic Communication students who are familiar with the process. After setting up all the clips, I applied a few fade out transitions between them to smoothly move from one to the next, but for the beginning of the video having no fade in and out effects worked really well with the music.


UGS promo from Cindy Clause on Vimeo

I was happy with the final product of my promotional video and it was a relatively easy process since I am getting more familiar with Final Cut. The keyboard commands for switching between the slice tool and the direct select tool were very helpful in speeding up the editing process for me as I cut clips and moved them around.

This project was significant because it was the first one we did on our own, without a step-by-step introduction to the project. It was good to have more creative freedom in choosing clips and audio, and it seems like a decent project to show a potential employer.

It was a good project and I completed it with few problems, until it came time to try and post it…it seems something always goes wrong. I also wish we had been able to either take the video ourselves or have more pressroom video footage to chose from.

GrC 452 Final Essay - Graphics in Motion - 12.9.08

I completely agree with Tom’s blog post, Keeping up with Technology in the Classroom, and stand in support of any emerging digital technology classes that our Graphic Communication major can offer. Graphics in Motion was an introduction to such a new field for me, and I think more classes of similar content would definitely benefit our major, especially as the industry keeps moving digital. Don’t get me wrong; I don’t think print will ever be obsolete. It’s impossible…print is everywhere; even on the digital products we “replace” print with like computers, cell phones, cd’s, and more. But there is something about the physical, tangible, reality of print on paper that you just can’t experience by reading from a Kindle or writing an email, and in some cases there are no substitutes for print. Print is all around us- flyers, billboards, signs, posters, advertising…with print you can hand it out, put it in front of people’s faces. With web you have to sit down and click and actively play a role in viewing. I hold to Tom’s view that print is not obsolete- people like real things, real printed boxes that hold real cereal, so until some sort of force field can hold our cereal on a shelf, or an invention of “digital cardboard” eliminates the need for printing a brand and nutrition facts on a box, we will be in need of print. However, emerging digital technologies are necessary ancillary services that add a lot of value to tradition print into this new age of technology. In the words of a popular Frank Sinatra tune…”Love and marriage, love and marriage, go together like a horse and carriage. This I tell you brother, you can’t have one without the other!”

Print and emerging technologies in digital media are the same- you can’t have one without the other! With the many directions our industry is going, I know it must be difficult to try and narrow the breadth of the classes we offer in order to let us graduate in 4 years…well, maybe more like 5. Either way, it seems an impossible task to have enough breadth to cover all “graphic communication” topics, and provide enough depth to actually grasp them. My experience in classes such as Graphics in Motion, and Design and Production for Multiple Media, is that ten weeks is far too short of a time to really get a hold on the programs we use. It was very helpful to focus solely on Dream Weaver in GrC 339, and I think it would be more beneficial for a class like GrC 452 to stay within one program like Final Cut Express, rather than dabbling in Flash as well. Statistics show traditional print declining, and digital print technologies continually rising, it is essential that we include these new technologies in our curriculum.

It is important to know the past in order to understand the present and prepare for the future; however, I think spending less time in the past, and more in the present and future technologies of print and digital media would greatly benefit our program. Educating us by re-teaching the history of print will be useless unless we are equipped with the tools to fight today’s battle, which I think is seen most clearly in these emerging technologies classes. Print leads people to the web, and you can’t have one without the other, but the battle of today is being fought largely on the Internet. Emerging technology classes such as Graphics in Motion are not only important to our Graphic Communication education, but are becoming increasingly more necessary for us in order to survive in any business. The future generations are being born into this new language of digital media communication, and we have to be able to provide for them.

In my mind, it would be interesting to try and combine all traditional print classes for the first half of our curriculum, and focus on digital communication with web and video for the second half. The classes I have taken my last year here have seemed the most relevant, and the most exciting, and the best to prepare me for the available jobs related to Graphic Communication. I wish I could have taken more of them! I feel as though I got only a taste enough to know emerging technologies such as building websites, and creating videos are important and necessary, rather than walking away from Cal Poly with confidence enough to apply myself to a job in a related field.

Print, web, and video all communicate graphically. I think each of these mediums of communication should be represented evenly in our class structure, if not more heavily on the web and video end of graphic communication since our industry is undergoing a major shift digitally. With our major curriculum split in half, (having Print be the first half, and Web/Video being the second) I think Graphic Communication students will be more prepared for the changing industry. I have been taught that new, fresh, innovative management with an eye for the future and a knowledge of these emerging digital technologies are coveted in floundering traditional print companies stuck in the ways of the past. From a strategic standpoint, it is looked favorably upon when someone with no preconceived bias toward a traditional print business comes in with fresh insight and inspiration. Along this same thinking, I would challenge our Graphic Communication department to do the same by providing more classes in emerging technologies such as web design, video, 3d programming, animation, and more. This would provide us with a more diverse, full spectrum of topics that are all under the banner of Graphic Communication.

I wish I had taken a class like Graphics in Motion sooner, and I wish I had the option of more classes of similar value. Print will never be gone, and I think we sit at an exciting crossroad of attempting to incorporate digital media and communication. Print, and Cal Poly’s Graphic Communication department, will be greatly enhanced if we continue to integrate our traditional ways with these newer forms of communication in emerging technologies.


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