Guest Post: MegaPath Winner Speaks “TechTalk”

Normally, I don’t submit my work to competitions.  It just doesn’t occur to me.  If I don’t have a paying client I generally want to work on my personal projects.  Grow those little seeds of ideas that get planted in my mind that just can’t be ignored.  Or I want to go play outside and ignore my computer all together.

But for once, the stars aligned just right and I happened across a competition that inspired me.  I was in the middle of a rare lull between projects for clients and after I read through the creative brief I actually had an interesting idea.  So I thought, “why not?”  I like the idea, I have the time, and it could be fun.

So I did it.  I submitted a video to the MegaPath Tech Talk competition (powered by Zooppa).

Of course, by the time I saw the creative brief the competition deadline was only days away.  Couple that with the fact that I was doing this on my own time and out of my own pocket and that meant I acted in the video, ran the camera, edited the footage, and did the animation.  All in two days!

It’s definitely an interesting experience to be the actor and the camera operator.  Thankfully, my Canon T2i comes with some great software that allows you to remote operate the camera from your computer so I was able to run the camera from my iMac as I was filming.  I had to replace the screen on the monitor later, but that’s a quick swap out when you’re working with a static shot, so no big deal.  For those who are curious, here’s a side by side comparison of my monitor before and after:

 Once I had edited the footage in Final Cut, I brought the edit into After Effects.  Using After Effects, I cleaned up my color, lightened the footage, touched up the back wall, added in a subtle vignette, and created the 3D text elements that make up my “swarm” of tech terms.  I also painted out the Apple logo at the bottom of my screen to avoid any potential branding/legal issues with the shot.  All that was left was to swap out the screen.

Before I could replace the monitor though, I had to create the new desktop that would be inserted into my computer screen in this particular shot.  So, I cleared my desktop on my computer down to the bare minimum and left open a word doc so that it would make sense that I was typing in the video.  The word doc is actually a half finished script I’ve been working on for a while, but that’s a whole other story.  Using the Grab utility I created a screen grab of the clean desktop and brought that image into After Effects.  Corner Pin made swapping out the screen a simple matter and a few strategic blurs made the product icons in my dock indistinguishable (again, for legal reasons).

And viola, like magic, it looks like I was typing into a word doc instead of operating a camera.  Or like one of my all time favorite author, Arthur C. Clarke would say “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”.  But isn’t that the best part about making videos?  Using technology to make magic?  That’s my favorite part any way.

This post was written by Goldie Jones, founder of Subversionz Media and a winner in the MegaPath TechTalk competition. Watch her winning entry Tech Jargon Swarm

Meme E

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