VideoWall Plugins for After Effects

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One of the most common motion graphics you see on broadcast television, as well as motion pictures, is a video wall. A video wall consists of a grid of multiple videos all playing at once. In many examples, this is usually used to highlight a specific theme or subject, and is accompanied by text or other motion graphic elements. Creating video walls manually can be tedious if you don’t know how to start. But, nonetheless, it can be done. If you opt to go the third party plugin route, below are three plugins/tools from different companies for After Effects that can jumpstart your video wall creation.

Coremelt Video Wall Zoom & Panel Vision

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Within the Coremelt Complete suite are two plugins I use to create a video wall. The first one is Video Wall Zoom from the ImageFlow FX collection. This generator creates a wall of images/movies, one of which zooms in to fill the screen, then zooms back down. Another just zooms in to fill the screen. Not only does it come with enough image/movie placeholders, but it also has an animation option that can be utilized in more ways than one. With the multiple image placeholders and animation settings, it can be used as a standalone motion graphic, or a chapter transition between segments.

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The second plugin from the Coremelt Complete set I would turn to for video walls is Panel Vision. Panel Vision is a part of the Shatter collection, which contains “3D” perspective plugins with interesting effects. Panel Vision allows you to tile up to eight source images randomly into any number of rows and columns. It’s great to use when you want to cram four to five videos into a wall with little effort. You can also combine with other plugins like I did in this tutorial below and get a circular shape.

BCC Wild Cards

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BCC Wild Cards is used to generate an array of 3D cards with interesting and convenient animation options. This filter is a part of the Particles category in the Continuum Complete suite. It can be used to divide up one video into rows and columns of cards, or multiple videos into rows and cards. Below, After Effects guru Kevin P. McAuliffe shows us the possibilities you can achieve when using BCC Wild Cards with multiple videos.

One of the reasons I like this filter for video walls is the ease and flexibility in the control options. They are very straightforward and can have you up and running in little time. I have used it myself when I made a promo for my Premiere Pro project file giveaway, which you can see below.

I highly recommend giving this plugin a try if you want a quality filter for doing a quick video wall animation.

Red Giant Planespace

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Planespace is a compilation of tools that are made to help manage large amounts of 3D layers in After Effects. Within this compilation are Cubic Distribution, Box Creator, Cylinder Creator, and Matrix Creator. One tool in particular that is great for creating a video wall is Matrix Creator. This tool can set up rows and columns with ease along with predetermined animated parameters. I’ve used this tool a few times when I wanted to create a video wall using 3D layers in After Effects, as opposed to having it contained within a filter. With Planespace, I can use an unlimited amount of layers to achieve the look I want. With this ability comes the caveat of slowing down After Effects if you have too many 3D layers.

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Overall, Planespace is great when you want to push the boundaries of After Effects’s 2.5D layers.

These are just some of the incredible tools and plugins you can use to create a video wall for your projects. Feel free to give them a try and add to your arsenal.

3rd Party Plugin Offerings

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One of the many things that led me to post production were the tools I would have available to craft and weave the final product. In particular, I was enamored with the 3rd party plugins and compositing software that were available for NLEs. Over the last seven years, I’ve had the opportunity to play with quite a few plugins from various developers, and have noticed how their form of delivery may be different from one another. I’ll examine a few developers whose delivery of plugins is unique to the user experience, and offer my opinions and critiques as well.

Boris FX/Red Giant

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Boris FX offers a variety of cross platform products from Continuum Complete, Final Effects, RED, and more. Continuum is offered as either a complete set or a la carte. Within this set, editors and artists have access to a plethora of effects that handle a multitude of areas in post production, such as: color correction, motion graphics, and visual effects creation. I’ve been using this set myself for over four years and it’s one I’ve come to rely on quite a bit. About two years ago, Boris FX decided to break up the Continuum suite into 16 separate units so that customers could pick and choose, as opposed to paying for a full suite of plugins.

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In my opinion, I think this was a smart move as I’m sure not a lot of professionals are willing to shell out $1,000 or more for a suite of plugins when only a select few will get used. If I only want to use the Continuum transitions, I can pay $200 and save $800 in the process, which can be put towards other endeavors. As cheap as the units are to purchase, there is a nice comfort in having the complete Continnum suite. If a dire project situation should arise, it could be easily fixed by using a rarely used plugin, rather than going through the process of purchasing another unit just for the sake of one project. I believe having options within the Continuum Complete suite definitely makes it flexible for the customer. Red Giant, on the other hand, is also unique in their approach to plugin offerings.

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From what I’ve observed, it’s cheaper to buy a suite and install what you need, as opposed to buying a la carte. I’m not sure why that is the case with Red Giant products, but it seems to get the job done. This approach has allowed them to become a popular developer in the industry. One of their new additions, Universe, uses the subscription model, where users can sign up for a free or premium membership. With either membership, the user has access to a variety of free plugins, as well as premium grade plugins, which you get if you sign up for a premium membership. In my experience, this approach has been pleasant because Red Giant keeps users in the loop with the option of voting on upcoming plugins, as well as giving them more free plugins with each update. In my opinion, I feel this will have some influence on how plugin developers offer their products.

FxFactory

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The developers at Noise Industries offer groundbreaking and revolutionary plugins that maximize a users creative ambitions, as well as minimizing the need to think to far outside the box. With their FxFactory application, users are presented with a catalogue of plugins that they can choose from. This is similar to how iTunes catalogues their music and video options.

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Personally, I like this approach to plugin offerings because I can pick from a catalogue of developers to test, or purchase, what I need at anytime and have immediate access within seconds. If I need transitions for FCPX, I can chose from Luca Visual FX, Idustrial Revolution, or SugarFX to gain some incredible and creative options. If I need lower thirds, I can download some from Stupid Raisins. Overall, having a catalogue of options from various developers definitely makes the user experience much more pleasant.

After seeing how companies like Boris FX, Red Giant, and the developers amongst FxFactory offer their plugins, it’s great to know that there are unique options that users can choose from. If you want a suite of products for a particular function of post production, Red Giant offers great money saving suites. If you want more of an a la carte option from a suite, you can choose from the units in the Continuum Complete set. If you want a catalogue of plugins you can download within seconds, FxFactory is incredible for that. Choose that which offers you the best bang for your buck.

Sound Effects

Adobe Premiere Pro: Filmstrip Animation and More

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One of the many animations I enjoy creating are moving filmstrips. I’ve found many uses for this animation over the last few years across various projects. Learning how to create this in Final Cut Pro 7, I’ve been able to adapt the same concepts over to Premiere Pro. In this tutorial, I will show you how to create a moving filmstrip animation with a title you can customize for later use. I’ve provided a video tutorial for visual reference in case you want to see my result. Let’s get started.

I’m working in a 720p sequence but these techniques will also work in a 1080p sequence but values will vary. I have a color matte in my timeline that is scaled to 100 percent. Let’s bring the scale down to about 23 percent. Next, I’ll enable title safe and position the color matte on the action safe line.

Color Matte at 100

Color Matte at 23

Color Matte on Action Safe

Now, that we have the color matte in place we can begin animating it. With the playhead at the beginning of your timeline, set a keyframe for position. Move the matte off-screen to the left. Jump ahead 4 seconds and move the matte off-screen to the right. You should have a scrolling animation of your matte moving from left to right.

1st Animation Keyframe Top

2nd Animation Keyframe Top

To turn this into a filmstrip animation, all we have to do is duplicate the color matte. Let’s duplicate this about 9 times so that we have 10 mattes on 10 tracks.

Top Matte Duplicated 9x

Next, let’s offset the mattes on tracks 2-10 by 20 frames. I will select those mattes and type +20 to move them 20 frames forward. Then, I will deselect the clip on track 2 and type +20 to move the mattes 20 frames forward. I will repeat this technique until all of the mattes are offset by 20 frames each.

Top Matte Offset 20 frames

We now have our mattes flowing from left to right in a filmstrip animation. I will create another filmstrip on the bottom of the screen on the action safe line but have this moving from right to left by following these exact same steps.

Bottom Matte Intro

1st Animation Keyframe Bottom

2nd Animation Keyframe Bottom

Bottom Matte Anime

Both Mattes Duplicated 9x

Now that we have our color matte filmstrips, I can replace the mattes with footage. To do this quickly, I will option drag some stock footage on each matte. You should get something that looks like this. After you’ve done that, nest each group of clips into 2 separate sequences.

Mattes Replaced

Mattes Nested

Both Filmstrips Together

Let’s add some finishing touches to this animation. Right now, we have no background to compliment these moving filmstrips. You can go about it a few ways in terms of backgrounds. You can create one from scratch using any available filters or import a stock motion background. I will go with option 2 and use a stock motion background.

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Last but not least, let’s add a title from the title tool to finish it off. The title can say anything you want it to say. Before you know it, you have an animation that can be used for an intro, interstitial or whatever you can think. Sky is the limit.

Title Tool

Final Composition Timeline

Final Composition

You can take this animation further by rotating the filmstrips or have them coming across vertically. So the next time you need a simple animation done, try this out. If you are a Mac user, Coremelt offers a plug-in in their Coremelt Complete set called Image Filmstrip that does this animation and more.
I’m the NLE Ninja with AudioMicro asking you to stay creative.

Sound Effects