After the first meeting with the Blackburn with Darwen Council, we were given a list of content that the council wanted us to include in the advert, which I spoke about in a previous blog post. The most important thing for me was the awful fade in between two different frames which was caused by the camera being knocked. I needed to fill the gap and find a clip that I could lap over the fade to cover it. I spent a while watching the advert over and over to find a link to something that could possibly fit there, but I couldn’t find any answers visually. I then took to sound and listened to the advert. It didn’t take long for me to find an answer to my problem. During the crossfade between the two frames, the narrator says, “One forty five minute session of smoking Shisha.” This gave me a great idea. The idea was to shoot a clock and make a time lapse. this would fit perfectly over the fade. So, I booked out a Canon XA10 and a tripod and took a clock down from the wall and shot it. The problem was, I was running short of time so decided to have someone turn the clocks hands five minutes so I could shoot it. I took the footage into edit and cut it together. I instantly found an issue. The clock was placed back on the wall in different positions, so it seemed as though the clock was bouncing around. I could shoot it again, but time was really running out. Then I had another idea. Animation. I’d never animated before so I had to look at a few online tutorials and managed to find one I could use.
Here is an example of the background I created and the position of the clock.
I found a preset clock online and then followed the tutorial. Using Adobe After Effects CS6, I created a new composition, and created a black solid. I then added a ramp effect to the solid, changed the start colour to white and the end colour to grey. I then changed the ramp shape to radial ramp to give it a spotlight effect then played around with it till I found a background I liked. I then added the preset clock and positioned it. Next, it got pretty complicated at this point, but I managed to pick it up quite quickly. I created a Null Object and wrote ‘time*6’ in the Expression: Angle slot. The tutorial didn’t really explain why, but I’m guessing this sets the speed of the rotation. I then linked the rotation speed to the second hand, then linked the second hand to the minute hand and timesed the rotation speed by twelve. I did the same with the hour hand, but divided it by twelve instead.
Here is an example of the animation creation.
When I pressed play, the clock began to rotate. I then exported it and added it to the advert. It was perfect. I talked briefly about the positioning of the clock, but didn’t explain why I positioned it as I did. I placed the clock to the side of the frame because I planned on writing the fact that I mentioned about a forty five minute session of smoking shisha is equivalent to smoking a hundred cigarettes. After I added the text, it looked great and covered that awful fade quite nicely.
The next thing I did was add sound. They gave us a whole list of unfeasible content to shoot and add to it, so I decided to treat them like idiots. The footage was hardly changed at all, the biggest changes were changes to sound. I loved cartoons as a kid, and the 50’s had the greatest sound effects for cartoons. So that’s what I used. I downloaded some sound effects and lapped them over actions, such as nods and head shakes. It already made a huge difference to the advert. I also downloaded some 1950’s ad music to compliment the footage and the other sound effects and they all work together beautifully. I was actually quite surprised how much sound can change something visually. The ad went from dull and boring to interesting. This is really valuable stuff that I learned. I had no idea how effective sound could be on this level.
We also reshot the ‘white board scene.’ The council said that they wanted someone in an actual labcoat drawing the Hookah on the board and pointing at it. The new clock scene also meant that we could time the last bit of the scene with the dialogue. The last advert went over the dialogue and was really out of sync, but the new clock scene gave me an opportunity to patch it all up. I look back at the previous attempts and really see a difference in my skill as a film maker. It’s quite liberating actually. I also added some stuff at the end of the ad for more information. I hope the council like it this time.