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Everything You Need to Know about Text Animation in After Effects

After Effects can do some amazing things for animated text – but keyframing individual text parameters is handled a bit differently than other parameters. Andrew Devis covers how to create Text Animators and how Text Range Selectors work.

Range Selector Part One

Range Selector Part Two

Animator Part 1

Animator Part 2: Fill and Stroke

Animator Part 3: Tracking and More

Animator Part 4: Per-character 3D

Shaping Text And Advanced Options

10 Famous Directors on Making Their First Feature Films

From Paul Thomas Anderson to Joel and Ethan Coen, David Lynch to Woody Allen, these are the words of directors and their experiences making their first feature film.

Joel and Ethan Coen on Blood Simple

There’s something extremely satisfying in knowing that the director of The Evil Dead influenced two of the biggest art-house filmmakers of our time when they were trying to get their careers off the ground. (They also collaborated with Sam Raimi on Crimewave.) In My First Movie, the directors talked about how their Texas-set neo-noir film Blood Simple was conceived. It was the first time the directors worked on a professional set, but according to them, no one else there really knew what they were doing.

On choosing their story:

“JC: We wrote a little thing for Frank LaLoggia, one of the directors I was working for as an assistant editor; we wrote a screenplay with Sam Raimi. So we just sat down and thought what kind of movie could we make that was sort of producible on a really small budget like these horror movies, but that isn’t necessarily a horror film.

EC: The inspiration was these movies that Joel had been working on which had been done mostly by young people like us who didn’t have any credentials or credibility in the mainstream movie industry. But they’d gone out and raised money underground for their little exploitation movies, got the movies made and subsequently wandered into the place where Joel was working to have them cut. It was that evidence that it could be done that led us to try it ourselves: notably Sam’s movie, The Evil Dead, because Sam was the most forthcoming in sharing all his experience with us.”

Flavorwire | Read the Full Article

5 Tips for Directing Kids Under 10

Ryan E. Hoffman discusses something that W.C. Fields tries his best to avoid.


“Never work with animals or children,” is a phrase that’s somewhat of a cliché in the film world. On my upcoming pilot, we have to do both. Although animals are always tricky, working with kids doesn’t have to be. When I’m not making content, I coach little league baseball. It’s been a great day job for the past ten years, but I never thought I’d be able to apply its lessons to my career in film. This past week, we had to do an action sequence with a six year old boy where he had to run down the hall with a toy shotgun, post up on the wall, then run into the kitchen and shoot me in the neck. Here are five tips that I’ve put together from that experience and my decade plus of practice teaching kids baseball technique.

1. Work around their schedule

We have load-ins, lighting set ups, and the camera crew needs to set up their equipment. Art department sometimes has to build the set on sight, and often times it can be six hours on set before we’re ready to shoot. Problem is, kids don’t know anything about what it takes to make movies, how much work it is, or why it takes so long in between setting up shots. If you have to work with a kid on your set, give them a call time that places their arrival as close to rolling the camera on the first shot as you possibly can. You have their primo attention for two hours. It’s worth it to be completely set up, waiting for 15 minutes for them to arrive, than have them waiting for an hour or two while you set up equipment. Adults understand the concept of patience. Kids do not, or at least, not as well, and you’re more likely to get what you need quicker if you push them through quickly from one department to the next, right up until filming.

Fresh DV | Read the Full Article

UCLA Develops World’s Fastest Camera – Shutter Speed 1/36.7 Million

You won’t be shooting slo-motion of lighting your farts on fire… Instead, this camera is focused at detecting cancer.

To begin with, this “automated flow-through single-particle optical microscope” (that’s its official name) is nothing like a digital camera. With a shooting speed of 36.7 million fps and a shutter speed of 27 picoseconds, CCD and CMOS sensors simply aren’t up to the task; it takes too long to read the data out of each pixel, and at such high speeds there isn’t enough light to produce a sharp image anyway. Instead, this new microscope uses STEAM imaging — serial time-encoded amplified microscopy — which was developed by the same UCLA team in 2009. Without getting into really gritty details: Basically, STEAM fires off quick laser pulses which are reflected off cells that flow through a microfluidic device. The image is amplified and picked up by a very high-speed single-pixel photodetector, and then the image is processed by an FPGA. There’s a (silent) video at the end of the story that demonstrates how the STEAM system works.

Extreme Tech | Read the Full Article

The ability to distinguish and isolate rare cells from among a large population of assorted cells has become increasingly important for the early detection of disease and for monitoring disease treatments.

Circulating cancer tumor cells are a perfect example. Typically, there are only a handful of them among a billion healthy cells, yet they are precursors to metastasis, the spread of cancer that causes about 90 percent of cancer mortalities. Such “rogue” cells are not limited to cancer — they also include stem cells used for regenerative medicine and other cell types.

Unfortunately, detecting such cells is difficult. Achieving good statistical accuracy requires an automated, high-throughput instrument that can examine millions of cells in a reasonably short time. Microscopes equipped with digital cameras are currently the gold standard for analyzing cells, but they are too slow to be useful for this application.

Now, a new optical microscope developed by UCLA engineers could make the tough task a whole lot easier.

“To catch these elusive cells, the camera must be able to capture and digitally process millions of images continuously at a very high frame rate,” said Bahram Jalali, who holds the Northrop Grumman Endowed Opto-Electronic Chair in Electrical Engineering at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science. “Conventional CCD and CMOS cameras are not fast and sensitive enough. It takes time to read the data from the array of pixels, and they become less sensitive to light at high speed.”

The current flow-cytometry method has high throughput, but since it relies on single-point light scattering, as opposed to taking a picture, it is not sensitive enough to detect very rare cell types, such as those present in early-stage or pre-metastasis cancer patients.

To overcome these limitations, an interdisciplinary team of researchers led by Jalali and Dino Di Carlo, a UCLA associate professor of bioengineering, with expertise in optics and high-speed electronics, microfluidics, and biotechnology, has developed a high-throughput flow-through optical microscope with the ability to detect rare cells with sensitivity of one part per million in real time.

UCLA | Read the full article

Two Minutes of Twilight Hate! (the Wrap)

John Hess gets all sparkly when talking about about Vampires.

Episode 58

Two Minutes of Twilight Hate from FilmmakerIQ.com on Vimeo.

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Top 7 Articles

7. Catnip: Egress to Oblivion? A Classroom Drug Education Film

Jason Willis wrote and directed this 70s still drug education film to spread the word on the dangers of Catnip.

6. Ben Burtt on the Sound Design of Light Sabers

Ben Burtt talks about creating the sounds for the lightsabers in Star Wars. As he worked on “A New Hope”, Burtt probably wasn’t aware that he was inventing modern sound design.

5. Bezier Basics: Simple Tracing in Illustrator

Good graphics can really make a video look polished and if you’re working inside Adobe’s suite, you’re going to be working with Bezier Curves. William Card demonstrates the basics of the Bezier Curve – a mathematical curve you’ll be working with in Illustrator, After Effects and Photoshop.

4. The Physics of the Amazing Spider Man Swings

In the quest to make incredibly impossibly fake things look more real, director Marc Webb and stunt coordinator Andy Armstrong dive into the physics of web slinging.

3. Valve’s Source Filmmaker – A New Tool For Machinima

Valve, makers of Half Life, Portal, and Team Fortress, are releasing a beta form of “Source Filmmaker” – a real time 3d animation engine for creating films using a game environment.

2. The Fundamentals of Exposure (Infographic)

1. A Conversation With My 12-year Old Self

Jeremiah McDonald has a conversation reaching back 20 years to talk to his 12 year old self.

WTF Post of the Week

Techno Cat

It’s really Dubstep.

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