Friday, September 21, 2012

White-Board Animation

So this little video is a project done by one of my students (Travis Gonzalez) at Stevens-Henager College in Logan Utah.  This was in our Advertising Design Class and we had to do some type of creative advertising for the Graphic Design Program. We had already done quite a few fliers and brochures and I think that if I had assigned another brochure, my students would have mutinied. So we came up with this idea. We had done something similar in another class, and Travis wanted to give it a go. So here is how we did it.

We got a regular tripod and reversed the head so that it was pointing down between the legs of the tripod (That sounds weird). It's essentially a copy stand, like in the olden days when we would photograph art work as slides. We attached the camera to the tripod and pointed it directly down (It helps if you get a level at this point. A level is a great tool to keep in your camera bag). Once everything is squared away to eliminate distortion, you place your white-board under the camera. For this project, we couldn't find a white board that would be the right size, so we used a picture frame with a piece of white matte board underneath it and cover in anti-glare glass. It worked great, but was a little harder to clean than a white board. It's also a good idea to tape down both the "white board" and the tripod to avoid movement. We did not do this, because, well I forgot the tape.
After everything is secure, the next step is to determine your exposure. You can do this using the in-camera meter or a handheld incident meter. Also set your white balance. In this video, we had some nice soft window light that worked well for this project. I would recommend getting several continuous light sources (Flourescent because you will have them on for a while and you want to stay cool) and positioning them equally on each side of the white board to allow even illumination.
Next you need to decided whether you will shoot using a card or shoot tethered to a laptop. I recommend shooting tethered because you get immediate feedback and can see if there are any issues. My favorite program for shooting tethered is Capture One Pro, by PhaseOne. It is somewhat expensive, but there are other options out there. Both Nikon and Canon have their own capture software, and even Adobe Lightroom has an option. There is a great FREE option though (for Mac Users). It's called Sofortbild. It's a German word that means Instant Picture. It's free and easy to use, and it gives you all the controls on the computer, so that you don't have to touch the camera. This is nice just because you can fire, change the aperture, shutter speed, ISO, WB, all that great stuff, from the computer.
I will do a post later on how to set up a tethered shoot and some great tips, but for right now, let's focus on the animation.
What we are trying to do here is create the illusion of motion. Have you ever flipped back and forth between two photos and it seems like there is some movement between them (the images have to be similar to do this. It won't work with a pic of the Eiffel tower and the White Cliffs of Dover). Your brain automatically puts in the missing pieces and creates the illusion of motion. What you are seeing in any film or animation are thousands of still images in sequence and they give the illusion of motion. Eadweard Muybrige was the first one to create this illusion by photographing a horse at interval using multiple cameras. What he created was the world's first animation. There's a great installation of this on the Freeway outside of Vienna on the way to Bratislava, just if you happen to be in the neighborhood.

Anyway, the more drawings you do, the smoother the animation. Here we just took a photograph every few seconds during the drawings, and with the hand motions, we would move our hands about a half inch for each frame. We kept all the images in sequence and then compiled them all in Adobe Premiere CS6 to create the final film. Hope you all enjoy.



Smith Mosan said...

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Whiteboard animation

N A Janjua said...

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