Freebies - Short clip Working With After Effects

SENIOR COPYWRITER AND FILM DIRECTOR. I help company owners humanise their brands by telling authentic, immersive stories that inspire, entertain and educate us.

It’s been a while since I made a fun VFX video. This time I got my best friend Melodie involved. She’s very proud of her budding acting skills. I’m just glad she didn’t lose her patience after all the different takes I got her to do.   

This one’s called ‘Freebies’ and it pokes gentle fun at the idea there is such a thing: everything having a price, really, even if it's “FREE”  on it in big, fancy letters.

Originally I was going to use an envelope with a big prize offer of £1000, but the copy wasn’t tying up well with my visual idea. When my dad suggested: ‘Free boxing membership’ I pictured a glove popping out of the envelope and punching someone in the face, I laughed out loud.  

Green Screen and CC Particle World

I filmed the boxing glove against a green screen. My ‘boxer’, another friend, was a little slow with the punching action, so I sped it up in After Effects. I masked the glove to make it look like it were shooting out of the envelope, and messed around with the colour balance because the glove is really bright and crisp whereas Melodie’s house, the corridor where we filmed her, is a little dark. CC Particle World is a very complicated effect that I used to make the sparks. (I still need to watch more tutorials to get my head around that.)

Key Frames in a Photoshop Video Timeline

The dizzy stars are created in Photoshop and animated with key frames in a Photoshop video timeline – it’s sort of like creating a gif. I could have added some animated swirls and masked Melodie’s head so that the stars are revolving around the head and not just placed there, but that would have been for an even younger audience, I think.

That comical bump at the end when Melodie falls to the ground? That’s a little wiggle effect on After Effects. It goes really well with the cartoon feel of the piece. And yes, I used the same music as the floating phone video – ‘Sneaky Snitch’ is the perfect royalty free piece for witty sketches. (Oops, so freebies can be useful after all!)

This was a lot of fun to make. Please share if you like it!

Written by Shiona Penrake