Visual effects fit into two categories: invisible and visible. An invisible effect presents an image of something that looks real, for example, a car rolling over or even a realistic monster like Alien in Aliens. If this kind of effect is successful, you don’t notice that it is an effect. The visible effect, on the other hand, calls attention to itself. It’s like an impressionist painting. And that’s what we have in Cecil Mathew’s documentary “Delhi’s Best BBoys!” featuring the Goodwin Crew.
In the old days—back In the 20th century–creating visual effects required expensive equipment or tedious manual labor, for example painting or scraping movie film frame by frame. Now, however, smartphone moviemakers can create visual effects on a modest budget. Cecil explains how it’s done in the following interview.
MMM: What gear did you use to make the movie?
CECIL: I used only an iPhone to shoot the whole video. Image stabilisation is perfect at 60fps on the iPhone. A bit of steady grip on the phone should do the trick. I personally wouldn’t recommend using gimbals for iPhones, especially because I wouldn’t like having those mechanical gimbal movements in my shot.
MMM: How do you handle exposure issues and focus?
CECIL: Give a long touch on the screen to lock exposure and focus. That’s the way to avoid irritating autoexposure problems.
MMM: What software did you use for editing?
CECIL: The video was edited 95% on Adobe Premiere Pro CC.
MMM: How about the colorful imagery?
CECIL: I used comic elements such as explosions, fire, and lightning which are easily available online at marketplaces like Envato and Motion Array. We also get an After Effects file with them for tweaking the elements. I rendered the elements with alpha compositing so that the background is transparent. Then I imported the elements into Premiere and placed them above the necessary shots. I resized and transformed each element as required.
MMM: What about color?
CECIL: I used an adjustment layer for color grading. I made sure that the elements were placed above the adjustment layer so that their original color and tone wouldn’t get changed with the grade.
MMM: Anything else?
CECIL: Make sure that the element effects are accompanied with appropriate sound effects. The music and sound effects take the video up to another level.
MMM: Can you recommend a source for sound effects?
CECIL: Finding sound effects is super tricky. I usually Google the desired effect and sweep through all the results until I get what I need. It’s important to interpret what sound effect you want. For my Old Delhi video, I wanted a vintage film slide changer sound, and I wasn’t satisfied with the online results. So, I recorded the sound of stapling stapler pins in an isolated room, using my headphone mic and later processed it with some audio enhancements. So, interpret and search for what fits best.
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Delhi’s Best BBoys! was chosen as Mobile Movie of the Week by the editors of MobileMovieMaking Magazine.