A paper edit can be the fastest way to get things moving in your editing timeline. These resources can get you there even faster.
A paper edit is a time-coded list of the bits and quotes that you want to use, in the order you’d like to use them, often accompanied by some notes on what illustrative footage (B-roll) you will use to cover the cuts and add depth. Paper edits are especially helpful in corporate or documentary projects, where much of the footage is interview-based. So what makes a good paper edit?
A good paper edit is accurate, specific, and well-structured. Getting to a good paper edit, especially with interviews, depends on good transcriptions of your interviews that you can quickly scan through and highlight.
Historically, transcription was expensive, as you actually had to pay a typist to listen to the audio and manually write out everything, word by word. These days, computer-based speech-to-text services can provide highly accurate transcripts at up to ten times the speed of real time. This improvement in the technology, along with the falling costs of cloud-based services, means that now more than ever, transcription is readily available to everyone.
In this post, I’ve rounded up some of the best online transcription services, including a couple of free options.
Back in ancient times—throughout much of the 1980s and 1990s when just 1000 or so fonts were available for desktop computers—designers had a tongue-in-cheek saying among themselves: The one who dies with the most fonts wins! It made sense at the time because fonts were coveted by every designer as a creative resource of unparallelled importance, and prices were astronomical. While supply has risen and prices have dropped in more recent eras, one thing remains true today: Fonts remain incredibly important and valuable to anyone who puts words on paper or pixels.
If your budget is low, or if you just want to experiment with a wide variety of type styles, check out the abundance of free and low-cost sources on the Internet. Warning: not all fonts are created equal. A font file that you install on your computer is actually a tiny program, with a variety of capabilities—including the ability to crash your applications.
Fonts come in three main formats: PostScript (Type 1) and TrueType are the oldest, and are fairly simple—but still capable of taking down your operating system. OpenType fonts can be far more complex, offering applications the ability to intelligently combine glyphs (characters) into new forms, add swashes to characters, convert combinations of numbers that look like fractions to true fraction characters, and so forth. OpenType is also capable of containing tens of thousands of glyphs, instead of the 256 limit of previous formats.
Aside from whether a font is programmed properly, quality is another issue. In some ways, crafting a font is similar to building a house. Anyone with a set of tools and some raw materials can put up a shelter that could be called a house. But the best houses are designed and built by people who have spent years studying and practicing the myriad techniques, history, styles, and materials. The same may be said about crafting fonts. Many masters around the world have devoted their lives to the true art of typeface design. Others are masters in crafting those designs into font files that you can use. Companies such as Linotype, Monotype, FontShop, and Adobe employ those masters to create the typefaces used by professional designers.
And this may be obvious, but you’ll note that many fonts are primarily for display purposes, not for setting long stretches of text.
There are also smaller font boutiques whose operators have mastered the techniques of font creation, and produce their own brand and style of font designs. Many of them offer their fonts through distributors such as Fonts.com, MyFonts.com, and Veer.com, while others choose smaller distributors such as FontBros.com and HypeForType.com.
FontBros.com and HypeForType.com work with new and upcoming font designers to distribute and promote their work. While some of the designs are unrefined, some gems are also available for just a few dollars.
This brings up the question: Why would anyone go through the hard work of designing and producing a font, and then not charge for it? The most common answer is that the designer just wanted to be creative, and didn’t want to be bothered with the commercial aspect of it.
A more recent trend is for designers to give away a font that showcases their style, hoping that people who discover it will want more of that style and pay for their other designs. Sometimes you can pick up a style or two of a typeface (the regular and italic styles, say), but the remaining styles (bold, light, extrabold, condensed) are available for purchase. Great examples are Jos Buivenga’s exljbris Font Foundry and Chank Diesel’s Chank.com.
Other websites offer some free fonts in addition to paid fonts. FontFabric has about 50 free fonts, each nicely illustrated so you can see the kinds of designs you could make.
TypeDepot has several free fonts, all nicely illustrated, and FontShop also keeps a few free fonts available.
Check usage restrictions
Before we get to the Big List of free font sources, consider this: Fonts have usage restrictions, and while some are licensed for use in any project, many are free only for use in personal projects such as holiday letters and garage-sale flyers. So, if you want a font for use in a commercial project, then look for one that’s licensed for commercial use. Some websites indicate the allowable uses for their free fonts, while others leave that chore for you to discover by reading an included text file with each font. (If the font doesn’t include a text file that states its allowable uses, then you’re on your own to decide what risk to accept in using it.)
Probably the best source of free commercial-use fonts right now is Font Squirrel. It offers free Web fonts (@font-face kits), and a free @font-face kit Generator.
The dafont.com website helpfully indicates whether each font has a full set of accented characters and the Euro symbol, and whether its license is for personal use only.
Abstract Fonts also indicates whether a font is licensed for personal or commercial use.
And then there’s Behance, recently acquired by Adobe, which lets members upload fonts they have designed. At Behance.net, click through to Galleries-> Collections-> Free Fonts. In addition, Google has gotten into the free font game, and has already amassed more than 600 free fonts that you can download individually or all at once.
Other websites are more like a simple database of free fonts, with font previews and links to download the fonts.
The business of fonts is constantly evolving. More free, high-quality fonts are available today than ever before, and new websites have sprung up to offer you the best ones, with the least risk. The best ones were designed by real human beings, who gave hundreds of hours of their time to craft a design tool for you to use at no charge. One of the best ways to say “thank you” for a font you particularly enjoy is to explore other font designs by the same designer, and even buy one.
Infographics are not only informative but also fun! They cover every topic from science to pop-culture (movies are prominent in this category – especially Star Wars– here’s one about how to defend the Death Star).
In maintaining the niche of Filmlinker, here are the best “filmmaking” Infographics (click on each thumbnail for the full picture):
“I want to make…”
Here are 4 great “I want to make…” infographics created by Canal+
The next set of infographics are more in the “technical” side of filmmaking.
First, we have a breakdown of a Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds. It dissects Scene 1 from 2:06-21:20. It breaks down the shots, characters, dialogue, etc. – every detail you can think of in a fun, graphical concept.
Next, we have “Inside the DIY Filmmakers Toolkit” by Wistia. The tools of the trade for every low-budget indie filmmaker. From the handheld camera to the wheel chair dolly. All in an interesting artful representation.
Next is “Quick Facts: Editing – by The Art of Guillotine.” This one goes through the “first cut” in the silent film days to the modern day. It describes the different eras and the different editing styles that make up the art that is editing film.
And finally, I’ll end this post with “The History of Film: 2,000 Films, 20 Genres, 100 Years.” This is an interactive look at 100 years of film. Just click on the image and then scroll over the graphic for all the info.
Creative director and motion graphic artist Angie Taylor (@theangietaylor) shows how to use Photoshop and Adobe After Effects for kinetic typography – combining text and motion to express ideas in the form of animation
In this useful and practical tutorial you’ll learn valuable techniques you’ll want to use over and over again in your Photoshop and After Effects work. Please watch the final movie below to see some of the techniques covered. This is an experimental, art project – created in response to the song, That Day by artist, Richard Walker.
In Photoshop you’ll discover how to use the often-overlooked but powerful Variables feature to automatically enter text into type layers from a regular text file.
In After Effects you’ll use markers to create visual reference points that make animation easier, add nulls to group words together into sentences so they can be animated easily as groups, use text presets to create per-character animation and add expressions to create flickering light effects. I’ll also show you how to control the new Light Falloff properties to help control 3D shadows.
Variables are an overlooked feature of Photoshop but are very useful if you design text for on-screen graphics. We’ll use variables to automatically import text from a document into individual Photoshop layers, saving you tons of time – not to mention typing. Open 01_Variables_Start.psd and go to Image>Variables>Define.
2. Setting up Text Replacement
In the dialog box, click the Text Replacement checkbox and you’ll see the Name field populate with the text – TextVariable1. Basically, we are assigning a code to each layer that we can use to refer to variable data in a text document. Bear with me; you’ll understand why soon!
3. Assigning names to layers
Click on the Right arrow, next to the Layer drop-down menu to advance to the next layer, that’s named Text 02. Click on the Text Replacement checkbox again. The Name field will populate with the text – TextVariable2. Repeat this process till all 11 layers are matched to equivalent names.
4. Importing data from text files
Click on the Next button to open the Data Sets. Click the Load button and then the Select File button in the Import Data Set dialog. Select the Lyrics.txt file from Angie_Taylor_Kinetic_Typography folder then click OK. A list appears at the bottom with corresponding names, values and layers.
5. Applying data sets
Click Apply and then OK. In the Layers panel the text is updated with the text from the file. Imagine how much easier this makes life when working with lots of layers in multiple documents. Simply edit the text file and update the data set to automatically update the layers.
6. Preparing files for After Effects
Plan the style the layout in Photoshop. Use title-safe guides to help layout the text and the Type Tool Presets menu to quickly format it with font styles. In the Layers panel organise the words into sentences within LayerGroups for each section of the song. This will save time in After Effects.
After Effects steps
7. Understanding project structure
Open Angie_Taylor_Kinetic_Typography.aep – 01_Main Setup_start comp. The Photoshop file has been imported into an After Effects project. Layer Groups appear as nested comps within the main composition. An audio file containing the soundtrack has been added to the comp. An animated background comp has been created using a combination of effects.
8. Add markers in time with the audio
Select That Day.mp3 and double-hit the L key to open up the audio Waveform. This will help guide you as you follow the next few steps. RAM preview the comp and while listening to the audio, hit the * key (Shift+8) to add markers at the beginning of each sentence spoken.
9. Adding lyrics to Comments field
Double-click each of the markers one by one to edit them. Type or paste the song lyrics into the Comment field and then click OK. The comments will appear on the layer as a visual reference to help you navigate the timeline. Use the J and K keys to jump between markers.
10. Trimming layers
Each layer from the Photoshop file should begin at the corresponding marker. Jump to the first marker by hitting K. Select the 01_June 1st layer and hit Alt+[ to trim the In point. Jump to next marker then hit Alt+] to trim the Out point. Repeat to trim other layers accordingly.
11. Moving Layers
Double-click 10_So often layer to open the nested comp. Jump to the first marker on the That Day.mp3 layer by selecting it then hitting the K key. Select the But layer and click [ to move it’s In point to the time-marker. Repeat this for the other layers so that each begins on the subsequent markers.
12. Using nulls and parenting to create groups
Go to Layer>New>Null Object to add a Null layer. Select all the Photoshop Layers and then choose Null 1 as their parent from the Parent drop-down menus. This gives us one single set of controls for animating the group of words while retaining their individual animations.
13. Animating the Null
Move to 30:10. Select Null 1 then hit Alt+A to add a keyframe for the Anchor Point property and simultaneously expose it. Move to 31:11 and scrub the Anchor Point X value till you see the word Not in the centre of the screen. This will automatically add a new keyframe. RAM preview.
14. Adjusting Motion Blur
Open 02_Things that are Transient comp from 01_Main Setup_Start comp. Here, Scale, Rotation and Anchor Point have been keyframed to create a complex animation. Notice at 09:04 the motion blur is not detailed enough. Go to Composition>Composition Settings and click on the Advanced tab. Increase Shutter Angle to 200 and Adaptive Sample Limit to 64.
15. Making Photoshop text editable
Double-click 05_When I went out comp. Notice the text from the Photoshop file appears here as a rendered layer. To convert the Photoshop layer to editable text, select it then go to Layer>Convert to Editable Text. Open the layer to see the Text property group is now available.
16. Applying animation presets
Presets can automatically animate the text on a per word basis. In the Effects & Presets panel, type Blur By Word to isolate the preset. With the Time-marker at 14:10, drag it onto the text layer. Hit U to reveal the keyframes. Drag the last keyframe to 17:04. RAM preview.
17. Adding lighting
From the Project panel, open 04a_Here_to_stay_Start comp – RAM preview. Switch on Ambience layer – it darkens the scene by reducing the ambient light to 20%. Switch on Point Light layer and notice shadows being cast. Double-click Point Light to open Light Settings. Change the Falloff Menu to Smooth – notice the light beam has a hard edge. Click OK.
18. Adjusting light falloff and shadows
In the timeline, change the Falloff Distance to 300, this softens the edge as the light gradually fades. Change the Radius to 800 to widen the ‘beam’ projected by the light. Change the Shadow Darkness to 80% and the Shadow Diffusion to 30 for softer, subtle shadows. RAM Preview.
19. Animating the Light with Expressions
To make the light flicker, select the Intensity property of the Point Light layer by clicking on its name in the Timeline. Go to the Animation menu and choose Add Expression. An expression is added to the selected property and a text field appears beside the property in the timeline.
20. The Wiggle expression
The Expression reads: lightOption.intensity Edit the expression text so that it reads: wiggle(10,50) Hit Enter (Not Return!) then RAM Preview to see the light flashing on and off. You can adjust the frequency by changing the first value in the parentheses. Adjust the amplitude by changing the second value.
So there you have it, some valuable tips and tricks that I find useful when creating kinetic typography animation. I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial and find these techniques useful – happy keyframing!
Extend your knowledge
If you’d like to learn more techniques like these check out Angie’s video workshop. This comprehensive course includes over seven hours of video tutorials and covers other techniques used in the final video: