Sting for Student Films, using After Effects

This year we are introducing video logos, or “stings”, to go at the beginning of the student productions. The stings act as sort of a stamp, to signify that the videos have been made here in MCC. The sting for the second year module Creating Awareness Campaigns is now complete and ready to go onto the student films:

Inspired by a tribute video to graphic designer Paul Rand, this sting is short animation accompanied by a simple drum score. The animation was made entirely using Adobe After Effects CC.


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Overview of a project in Adobe After Effects.

Each element of the sting is individually animated, allowing for complete control over the appearance, movement and duration of each of the words and shapes. They are all animated using Keyframes, which may look intimidating at first, but is actually quite straight forward once you’ve got your head around it.

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Keyframes are represented by the little diamonds.

Basically what you’re saying is “at point A the position is this, then at point B I want the position to be this”. After effects allows you to create as many Keyframes as you like, so you can go from point A to point B, whiz to point C, and then be back to point D in time for tea! If you’re not happy with your configured Keyframes, simply click on one and press delete on the keyboard to remove it.

To enable the fluid movement around the shapes and words, Camera layers have been created. The Camera layers act like a real video camera, you can choose a lens, set the aperture, focus point and even zoom in and out! Just like shapes and objects, the Camera can also be positioned wherever you like and you can use keyframes to move the camera, spin it around and adjust the focus.

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On the left is a birds eye view of the camera (the large triangle) performing a pan. On the right is what the camera is seeing.

Moving a Camera around a 3D environment can be time consuming, but is also a whole lot of fun!

The music in the sting video was made with the help of first-year Music Tech student Hassaan. Using a free-style drum riff, Hassaan played along to the video to match each beat to the movement of the shapes.

Hassan and I had a lot of fun experimenting with different sounds and getting the beats just right.

Each piece of the drum kit had its own microphone to ensure the best quality of recording. After a few practice runs, we nailed the final drum track. Hassaan post-produced the drum recording to get it sounding top quality.

Weeks of work have gone into this 25 second video, but it looks and sounds great – plus it was a lot of fun to make!



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