DVD Recon

In the midst of our biggest product release to date and the upcoming video blog, I managed to find some time to develop a free training for the design and authoring of a playable video DVD. I think many people are familiar with the process but it is so important, I wanted to make this available to the community.

I’ll be covering loopable motion menus, rendering and compression, plus authoring the DVD in Encore. We’ll talk about export formats and what format I like to actually work in. Should be a lot of fun and Sam is sure to get his recon on.

Rockin’ AE

Sometimes it takes an idea to push the limits of After Effects. The title above is created entirely inside of After Effects using the same technique from the recent Ancient Titles tutorial.

I used multiple copies of the radial blur at different lengths to get a realistic shadow falloff. And although the title is not actually true 3D, it really holds up visually.

Download Project File

Image Sample


Ancient Titles:
In this tutorial we will create 3D particles that only appear in the light and build a soft faded shadow for our golden title, all inside Adobe After Effects.

3D Max Soft Shadows:
In this tutorial we will build a simple light array for casting soft shadows in our scene. This simple method yields fast rendering times, especially when compared to other GI solutions, plus the scene can animate without flickering.

Watch Tutorials

Video Blog? Yes!

We’re already working on a half-dozen new things but hey, what’s one more? If you have a pocket full of pens, you can always fit one more : )

Without using anymore misguided metaphors, we are indeed developing a video blog that will be used to share ideas and concepts straight from the Video Copilot team. This includes behind the scenes videos, production tips and even bar-b-que recipes. We have some great ideas for the show and we hope you guys will tune in.

The first episode should be online before we launch Action Essentials 2!

2K vs 720p?

As you may know we are offering the new Action Essentials in 2 versions, 720p high definition and 2k film-resolution. The idea is to give customers a choice so they can get the product they need and we can keep offering incredible low prices. Below is some information on common video formats and how they compare.

Format specifications:

720p HD: 1280 x 720
HDV 1080: 1440 x 1080 (effective resolution is same as 1080p)
1080p HD: 1920 x 1080
2K: 2048 x 1152

Basically 2k is a little bit larger than 1080p but they are very similar for the most part. The 2k version is about 2.5 times larger than 720p in resolution but remember that some elements like a muzzle flash wont actually be “full frame” so even the 720p version could be more than enough resolution for your 1080p project since certain elements will probably be scaled down. Of course the 2K version really gives you a lot of flexibility with framing elements in HD , especially if you needs things to be larger and crisp.
Check out the chart.

BTW, the files are not going to ‘kill’ your computer either, you will actually find them to be quite robust in both formats. Remember 2k is just slightly larger than 1080p.

Watch Video Demo

We know you want to watch the teaser again. Just click here, it’s ok.

Action Essential 2 Teaser Online!

Here is the short teaser for our exciting new product Action Essentials 2 HD. A final promo will be on later this month with a list of the amazing features.

Action Essentials 2 will be available sometime in JUNE 2009.

Be sure to sign up and we will notify you when it is available!

Teaser Note:
Just to clarify, many of the elements in the teaser are zoomed in to show the detail and quality. The actual collection contains wide and close up shots for a variety of compositing needs. Also, the blood has a gray background but it is actually pre-keyed and ready to composite.

Action Essentials 2: JUNE 2009

Hey whats up! Action Essentials 2 will be available this JUNE! We have worked very hard on this new product and it’s exciting to finally show you some of these amazing elements.

We shot tons of great footage and developed creative ways to capture these elements so that they could be used in post. These elements are great for action films and even motion graphics.

Action Essentials 2 will be available in 2 HD Versions:
720p High Definition [1280 x 720] $99.95
2k Film Resolution [2048 x 1152 ] $249.95 (beyond 1080p)

View Relative Size Comparison

Hard Drive Version:
It seems this collection fits reasonably on just a few DVDs so we are going to bypass the hard drive option for now.

Fun Facts:

  • Over 250 HD elements
  • Many elements shot in slow motion
  • Diverse angles
  • Wide and close shots
  • Pre-Keyed & Pre-Matted
  • Most diverse collection ever made
  • 95% Live action footage ( including: real fire and real explosions!)
  • Shot primarily on REDs with a special high speed camera
  • No one got hurt… maybe a few feelings here and there

Later today we will be releasing a short teaser trailer which features a few samples of what you can expect, a final promo and feature list will be following later this month.

View Poster

Update Product Note:
A few questions about sound effects recently came up and I wanted to clear that up for those interested. Our stock products are divided between 2 types: Visual Elements and Sound/Music elements.

Action Essentials 2 will include a few bonus sound effects but nothing substantial. We plan on dedicating real time into a possible action sound FX product in the future.

Underwater Scene

I wanted to create a free project file for the blog so I thought an underwater scene might be cool. I did a quick google search for some reference images of underwater scenery and then started to recreate one. It’s a bit slow to render but was an interesting experiment of using various effects for a specific reason. Have fun and remember everything is better under the sea!

By the way the only reason I’m linking to the Little Mermaid is because I have a daughter and NOT because it is my favorite movie : )

Sample Video
High Quality Still Image

Download Project File AE CS3+

Happy Customer

At Video Copilot we do our best to keep the content flowing and always stay on the cutting edge with ideas and concepts to share with the world. All of this is made possible by your support in the DVD products department and we make no secret about it. We appreciate you guys and gals, your support allows us to drive to the desert to blow things up so you don’t have to

Anyways we don’t always have time to stop and smell the flowers especially since we probably blew many of them up but there is a charming post on the forum that I felt like sharing

Read Post

Be sure to read the photo captions too, pretty clever.

I also want to thank the Video Copilot team and our forum moderators for their hard work and continued dedication to building and maintain one awesome website. Cheers!

News? We Got News.

Well things have NOT stopped behind the scenes here at Video Copilot we are still working on amazing things. The Action Essentials 2 HD collection just needs a few more gas explosions to make it complete, I’ll let you know when that is ready. What makes this product tricky is that we need to have the elements complete so we can make tutorials and the promo video with a finished feature list and information.

In other news, we have built a new download system to improve our customer experience that is just being tested and should be ready to launch soon. It will make downloading and accessing purchases easier and faster.

I have the soft shadows 3D tutorial recorded (3d max) and now I’m just trying to find time for the After Effects portion. I’ve also developed a separate tutorial for a similar effect done only After Effects, this includes a few other cool tips as well. Then on Tuesday, I’m shooting a scene for a quick tutorial to improve difficult fight scenes.

Don’t miss it!