When You’re Out of Times and Ideas

When creating in After Effects its easy to get frustrated. For one, there is the blank canvas. The beginning stage of, “not knowing what you want to do”, can in itself waste time. Deadlines can be your worst enemy or best friend. They help you make up your mind and get on with your life.

You might begin with a few ideas and find that trying those ideas are costing you hours. What you need is a solid idea.

Search around and find some art work of colors you like and see if it fits the project. Next look through your files and see if there is anything you’ve created before that you can re-use in your new project. Then close your eyes and image movement taking place. Now animate your design and bring it to life. Don’t feel bad for trying something out and deleting it after. The earlier you admit to yourself its not working, the less time you will waste. Chances are the next attempt will be, “the one”..if not, go back and get a new idea.

Creativity begins with an idea.. if you are at a wall and have no ideas, then don’t feel bad if you have to copy another person’s ideas but the key is to make it our own. When I was interning at Warner Brothers, they did this all the time. They research other designs and copied ideas. After seeing this I no longer felt guilty for getting inspiration from other places. Notice I didn’t say “copy” someone’s video.” The internet is a small world.

For this countdown, I was low on time. I opened up a past conferences title opener,  adjusted the colors, and camera view. It took me sometime to animate it but it was the design that took the longest to come up with.

Audio: Advice to a New Editor

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Duration 20 minutes (Audio doesn’t work on mobiles)

Audio Notes:

After Effects – Motion Graphics & Effects – Free Basic Training

Final Cut Pro – Video Editing software – Paid Basic Training

Ask yourself: What is your goal?

Learning software and try out what you want to do.

Be honest with yourself on what you really want to do.

Best experiences: Volunteering & Interning

After Effect example video

Movie Scene Project Blog

Learn by doing.

School is good if you can, if not put yourself in your own school.

READ AND DO. Book list blog & After Effects

Give yourself projects; You’ll learn the language of video, pace, time management, learn from mistakes.

Learn from failure. It will happen, learn how to grow from it.

Challenge yourself, “Have I improved?”

Have a platform where you can share your work.

Success comes by working hard.

When your working hard on something you love, it doesn’t feel like work at all.

Blog: My vintage baby (my nephew)

Video of my nephew visiting my grandpa.

Don’t get caught up making stuff for money, money will come, if you love doing what you do people will see that and hire you to do it.

A paid shoots

The important part is knowing what you’re doing.

Using what you have.

Learn the fundamentals on how to tell a story. Book: Blink of an Eye by Walter Murch

Free Mpeg Stream clip download

Freelance: ask, “Do you have a budget for this?” ask yourself, “What is my time worth?”

Volunteering and interning: your pay is the experiences.

Create projects that you want to get hired to do.

People will pay you to do what they already know you can do, they don’t want to pay for your experiment they want to pay for a guaranteed product.

Put yourself in your own school, read books, give yourself projects and deadlines.

Learn how to manage others: communication is key, don’t be afraid to ask for help, to correct, to critique.

Do it all in love for the greatness of the team. The goal is to get things done, by the deadline.

PC: After Effects & Premiere.

Mac: After Effects & Final Cut Pro. (Editing for Film: Avid)

You need the experiences, you need to prove what you can do.

Editing is a lot like life, you’re putting it together.

Get a journal: write projects and creative ideas.

Use your creative muscle.

Creatlive.com – Photography class on line

**share your work with me**

Life is beautiful and I desire to share that with everyone… awwww 🙂

Hope this helped. Feel free to ask any questions that you might have.

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Video: Sony Footage

Here is a promo video I made for work. It shows off footage I captured with our new camera, Sony XDCAM EX. There are a few clips in the video that were shot with our older Panasonic DVCPRO HD camera. The Panasonic footage looks like I scaled it up but in fact its just not as clear as the Sony.

I found that it did great in low light without adding a lot of grain. The room I filmed in is always very dark. (Thanks lighting guys.) Also the footage was great to color grade in After Effects. Its a great camera to use when you have to make a video fast. I shot and created this in four hours.

Even though I own the Canon 7D HDSLR, I don’t use it sometimes because of deadline purposes. The Canon HDSLR series are still the best cameras to shoot video with (in my opinion). But its not the pick up and shoot kinda camera.

The evolution of the video camera is getting better and better. Can’t wait to pick one up that looks as good as a HDSLR.

Tips for New Working Video Editors

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I’ve edited for nine years, so sometimes I forget there is so much for a new editor to learn. I wrote down some of the things I had to learn as a new editor. Some points are my opinion but break the rules at your own risk. 🙂

Tips for New Working Video Editors

  1. Use common sense.
  2. Watch examples, get inspired but don’t completely copy.
  3. Don’t be lazy, fix the shot, color, animation, or re-export.
  4. Keep text within the title safe.
  5. Copy and paste all your text from a word document so it can pick up miss spelled words.
  6. Make text large enough to read.
  7. Say no to RED text. Make it maroon. Red doesn’t process well in video.
  8. Make your text constant if creating lower thirds.
  9.  Lower thirds= graphics on the bottom of the screen.
  10.  If text is supposed to follow the speaker, have the text appear as they say it, unless instructed otherwise.
  11. Work smart to save time.
  12.  Save your work, turn on auto save on final cut and after effects.
  13.  Do the ground work, its worth the extra time. (templates, research, shot list,etc)
  14. Learn keyboard short cuts.
  15.  Takes notes when learning from someone. It’s ok to ask questions the first time but learn to figure out the answer on your own. Goggle is your best friend and creative cow forms are great too.
  16.  Learn the company’s “culture” or style when it comes to language, and delivering information.
  17.  Find where your video storage is on the IT network.
  18.  You can break the rules when you are giving permission and freedom.
  19.  Know and understand your EXPORT settings. Where is the video going to be played?
  20.  Understand video compression.
  21.  Find which video compression works best for your work and then make it a custom setting. (After Effects)
  22.  After Effects, learn how to render your videos correctly. It will save time.
  23.  Check your frame dimensions, frame rate, aspect ratio, final file size when video is completed.
  24.  Delete old versions of your video/renders that have mistakes on them. 1)They will appear and haunt you, confuse you, and take up file space.
  25.  Make the person on screen/company look good.
  26.  Edit out: Awkward moments, silences, expressions, mistakes. (Unless you are editing for TMZ)
  27.  Be proactive and inventive.
  28.  There are 100 ways of doing something but learn the old process first, understand it then fix it.
  29.  Don’t be offended when someone is training, teaching, correcting, critiquing you. They are there to help you grow in your skill as well seeing the job is done right.
  30.  If you don’t like the video you are creating, start over. Don’t waste time trying to make something work.
  31.  Take care of your hand, get a wilcom tablet.
  32.  Label your tapes and footage!
  33.  Don’ think no one will notice your mistakes, THEY WILL.
  34.  Understand NTSC/PAL and other international TV standards.
  35.  Work on your audio. Keep levels around (-12 to -16). Soundtrack pro is great for this. You can export your audio mix from FCP to Soundtrack. Don’t make your narration compete with your soundtrack.
  36. Double check your work, review your video more than once.
  37. Don’t think you know everything, expect to learn the rest of your life.
  38. Spend time living real life.
  39. Carry a note book with you to write down video ideas.

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Photography is Video’s Friend

The reason why I got in to photography was to help with my video work. Before photography came in to my life, my video shots were random, shaky, and slopping.  My color grading was horrible. I didn’t know what to look for when adjusting colors in after effects. Here is a screen capture of one of the first videos I did at the Rock Church.

I’ve been learning about photography and color correcting for the past three years. I edit my photos in Lightroom and love the set up. I’ve been reading up on color correcting and been collecting color graded videos that I like to keep as color reference.

I recently filmed a wedding with my Canon 7D, and today I edited it together. I am now color grading it in After Effects and for the first time I know what to adjust to give me the color that I want.

It feels great to know all the work I’ve been putting in to photography has made me a better camera operator, video editor, and color corrector. I highly encourage you to put in the good work in your craft. One day you will have a moment where you see how far you’ve come along. You can read my post on how to color grading here.

The Best Yet

The creative meetings for Easter started in March at church. As I looked for video examples to show the worship pastor I came across this beautiful credit intro on vimeo. It was modern and the style of music would be different for an Easter video. I showed it to the creative meeting and waited for their responds. After the video played I added, “Lets tell what happened at the Cross in a poetry spoken word form with abstract images displaying God’s powerful nature.” The creative team and pastor gave me thumbs up to try it.

Beth, who also edits with me arranged a guy from church to re-create the music and Erica, who is a song writer, to write a poem. When I finally got to creating the video, I sat at my desk not knowing how I was going to make this video. After Effects can be complex and I knew it was going to take some focus and time. Each 4 seconds was taking me 4 hours to create. I prayed and asked God for help.

When the video was complete, I showed the worship pastor and he was a little unsure how it was going to fit in. There was a chance it wasn’t going to get played. The day before Easter weekend it was time for the head pastor of The Rock, Pastor Jim to watch it. We set up the main auditorium so he could get the full effect. After it played I walked in the auditorium and sat down.

Pastor Jim looked at me and said, “I went a pastors conferences and someone had written a letter to that pastor saying they were going to leave the church because of the music and they said ‘God is not in that type of music’, the letter was written in the 1800’s about Amazing Grace. I was hoping we would have something alternative, lets play it.” I went back to my desk thinking about what my pastor told me.

I am part of an amazing generation. It’s true what God spoke to my heart when I was 18 years old, “you were born for such a time as this.”(Esther 4:14). I love how the church is embracing creativity and using it to bring God’s glory to a new generation. I know  God has given me a gift and I’m so glad the church allows me to use it to play a role in reaching lives.

Spanish Version Here

Video: Love Fool Animation

Here it is guys. The animation that took days of my undivided attention. Shane drew the art work and I brought this little girl to life in After Effects.

The youth department asked me a while back if I would create an animation for the “Love Fool Sex and Dating Series”.  I watched Gumpy,  one of my favorite childhood animations for inspiration. There were a few things I noticed, one, their mouth didn’t follow perfectly to the voice and two, sounds effects do a world of wonders! I felt empowered and went to it. Here is it. Enjoy.

Editing a Video: Fast Forward Style

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Many people have no idea what goes in to making a 30 second video. I decided to record myself putting one together. Keep in mind this video is a simple basic video and nothing too complex. I completed it in three hours. Some videos can take days or weeks.

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Film Management

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Every week the team and I create videos for the weekend. We also create special event videos for conferences.  With that, comes lots of files to manage. I’ve often gotten the question, “How do you file manage?”

Well here are some tips that work best for me. First NEVER leave anything UNTITLED! When you are capturing, ALWAYS NAME YOUR CLIP, if you don’t this, it will bite you in the butt, I promise. So from this point on, name every file. Also, don’t save everything to your desktop! It will run your computer slow, and you will lose files in the process. The only time its okay to save something to your the desktop if you are in a rush and have to export something right away cause you have 5 minutes to load it up on to the screens!

Oh right, here we go.

Categories: Your main folders.


Numbering your folders will give you control on how the files are stacked up. The colors will help your eyes navigate through your folders faster.

1: Announcements: Every week I create the announcements, so this folder is the most used.

2: Projects: All other projects I put in here which has sub-folders. We will get to that in a bit.

3. Elements: This folders is full of my overlays, stock footage, tutorial I downloaded, gradients I created, etc. I often use these elements for many projects. It’s the box of tricks.

4: Final Cut Pro Doc: I set my Final Cut Pro scratch disk here. Also my AE RAM folder is here too. It’s now at an easy location to get to. I often delete audio saves of old projects, old renders, and old captures to save space. (Make sure you WILL never need that footage again before you delete it, or have it backed up on tape.)

5: MB: I have a personal folder to place random things I create.

6: Monica File Share: This is a folder that I tell the other editors to connect to through the church network to grab videos or voice overs that I have for them or to give me their completed videos. They can connect to my computer at any time.

7: Scripts: I use the same scripts often for repeating projects, so having them all in one locations instead of with the project folder helps me find what I am looking for faster.

8: Pictures: All my photography photos are in this one folder.

01 Announcements:

– Everything is named by date. I also have a FCP temp file that has the same set up that I open every week and do a save as.

Having an EXPORT folder allows you to place all your completed versions in one area.

02 Projects:

– I name everything differently. I name by ministry or event.

-Each ministry has its own folder with

-Audio folder

-Render Folder

-Image Folder (specific images only. For common images such as overlays, those will go in the element folder)

-You can see the FCP file along with the AE file.

-The AE auto saves creates a folder where ever the AE file is at.

Big Events

When more than one video is required.

-I place numbers next to my folder so it can be organized. As you can see some have the same number. I did that so videos can be next to each other that of the same “family”. All the videos that will be put in the conference announcements have the same number. All the building pieces such as images, audio, scripts, renders also have the same numbers.

When you look inside the specific project folder you will see that folder the project is broke up in to parts:

Audio, Exports, Images, Renders.

I encourage you to learn how to categorize your files the best way that works for you. This will help you save time when you are looking for something and will also help others who work with you to navigate through your files. Customize your computer for you, I placed all my most visited folders on the side bar. Its great.

Hope you got some ideas.

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Creating a Video // Start to Finish

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Mens Conference

Here is the process of creating a video here at church.

Count Down//

Men's Conference Count Down
Men's Conference Count Down
Fingering out how many days I have to create the video. It helps me better plan out what is possible in the time given. With more time comes more creativity. More time can also hurt, it gives me time to change my mind which can lead to wasted time to create. Three 8 hours days is a fair amount of time to create a video that has thought, creativity, boom and wow. A video created in three hours won’t have a very long life time of play or airing. This Men’s Conference video took me 7 hours, start to finish.
The Scheduling //
Men's Conference Schedule
Men's Conference Schedule

Everything that needs to be done and by when. Having all the information of dates, times,locations, etc.   in front of me helps save time double checking. The goal is to do all the thinking at once, so you have time to put everything together and not waste time still trying to plan while you are editing.

The Thumb Nails //

Men's Conference Thumb Nails
Men's Conference Thumb Nails
I write down what’s going to take place. Some do sketches, but I do words. Once I take the time to think everything out, I write out the flow, what text is being used,  every action that is taking place. If I don’t write it down then time is taken up trying to think of what is coming up next.
Production and Filming //
Men's Conference Production
Men's Conference Production

Now that all of the ideas are down on paper, its time to go and capture what is needed. I call the people needed and arrange things. Once we get together we can get right to it. I know what I want and how I want it which makes it easier on the actor or who ever is involved. Over the years, working with great equipment, basic, and even just a camcorder I’ve learnt to use whatever I have and make it look good by keeping shots steady, not using too much of the zoom unless that is the style you want, and having shots with thought. Photography has helped me develop this skill.

Editing //
Men's Conference Edit: Cut
Men's Conference Edit: Cut

Once I have all the parts needed to tell my story, I captured my footage in Final Cut. I exported all my cuts to bring in to After Effects.

Effects //
After Effects: Motion Effects
After Effects: Motion Effects
After Effects is an advance motion graphic program that could be learned with focus and dedication. Once you know the basic tools, it will transform your videos and your story will come alive. I can spend all day in this program, but since I wanted to add color effects, text flying in, camera motion and lighting, once I created one project I was able to duplicate the comps for the different text and clips. Which helps work flow go fast.
Composite //
Edit: Composite
Edit: Composite
After I set everything to render, titles and clips, I replace all the edits with my renders on the time line. I line it up with music and sound effects.
Approval and Changes//
Approval and Changes
Approval and Changes
A project isn’t finished until the person who is paying you says it is. Leave room on your production timeline for any possible changes that may need to be made.

Final //


The greatest part in creating a video is seeing it come together. What is even greater is watching others reactions. My idea on paper is now alive. Know where your final video will be shown, and export your file accordingly.