Learning After Effects (Editing like Wright)

I’ve been learning how to use Adobe After Effects lately in order to edit in a crash zoom and an ‘obscured wipe’, two techniques that are constantly used in Wright’s work to transition between shots, emphasise rhythm and create flow. I wanted to know, before planning my next shoot, that I was able to do these things and what I would need to film in order to achieve them, helping me learn how important planning is and the process of filming to edit.

Whilst I have been able to test out my new knowledge of After Effects in creating these two effects (don’t even ask how long it took to learn/edit…), I’m not entirely happy with the results. I think the crash zooms are fine and once sound effects and a score come into play I think they’ll be a lot more effective. However I’m not as happy with the ‘obscured wipe’. This was tricky, because it takes so long to process and preview what you’re editing that it’s really difficult to tell the speed and fluency of the transition. It actually turned out better to open it up in Premiere just to see the pacing of the shot and how well the transition was working, then go back to After Effects to play with it again. I think what I’m unhappy with is just the unrealistic look of the wipe, and this comes down to the location of the shots (one needs to be one you’d expect a person to walk across), colour correction (to make the person look like they belong to the scene) and the speed of the transition. I also think the person needs to take up more space and move quickly, since really the transition should not take too much away from the scene.

Realistically, although I believe I now understand how to do this transition, it just takes so long to process (especially when put back into Premiere to edit with the rest of the scene) that I’m not sure I have the time to edit multiple transitions like this with the time restraint of a week (I shoot this Friday). I may have to look into replacing this transition with more whip pans (another Wright trademark) or something simpler like match cutting two shots of someone walking across or blocking the frame.

For now though, I’m happy to have learnt how to create these effects on After Effects, and in particular I’m glad I now know how to rotoscope, and how to link projects between Premiere and After Effects. I think these will be really useful things in the future.

Close up montage test:

Obscured wipe test:


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