Over the last month, I have spent lots of time working on polishing up my effects and coming up with an idea for a final trailer to present on In-Depth night. I am planning on an action/sci-fi movie trailer, so there are going to be a lot of special effects involved. In preparation, I am working on polishing up effects and getting better at creating visual effects. Right now I am experimenting with UI (user-interface) elements and creating futuristic screens. Overall I feel like I have a good hang of video editing, and I am just learning more and more video tricks to help with my final product.

I am still continuing to practice my colour grading skills, so I can make my shots pop out more and add that little extra bit of vibrance. This relates directly to the mentoring session I had, where we discussed a ‘flat’ shot versus a ‘dynamic’ shot. We looked at examples online, where there was a comparison of no colour grade versus a colour graded shot. Then my mentor taught me about video in general, because what’s the point of video editing if you don’t know what you are editing in the first place? We talked about bitrate first, which is simply put the number of bits per second of video and audio files. Generally, the larger the bitrate the higher the file size and quality, and vice versa. Additionally, with a higher bitrate of video, you also have more colour tones. A 4-bit video only has 16 possible colour tones, but an 8-bit video, which is most videos, consists of 256 possible colour tones. 16-bit video consists of a 65536 possible colour tones, and even higher a 24-bit video contains a mind-boggling 16777216 possible colours. You get the point, the higher the bitrate the more colour tones you have in your videos.

After bitrates, we discussed chroma subsampling, which is another complicated topic. To keep things simple chroma subsampling is a type of compression that reduces colour data for luminance data, which is also known as brightness. This lowers the storage, while not hindering the actual video so it’s a win-win situation. Additionally there are different formats of compression, such as .mp4, .AVI, etc. They are all different ways of compressing the video file, but .mp4 is the most common video format.

I made sure incorporated Edward DeBono’s ‘How to Have a Beautiful Mind’ into my mentoring session; here is a transcript of our conversation:

Mentor: So can you tell me why many HD videos on Youtube still look blurry and pixelated even when they are 1980×1080?

Here my mentor uses the blue hat because they are focusing our conversation to a certain topic, and setting up “the sequence of hats for the session” (p.101).

Me: Based on what you said before, is it because they have a loss in compression?

Mentor: Yeah exactly, while uploading the video to Youtube’s servers there may have been a change or loss in the compression of a video, which is why the quality is skewed.

Here the white hat is used, because I stated a hard fact that my mentor confirms. I tell my mentor what I know based on previous experience, and they give me more information to elaborate on my answer.

Me: So does that mean they have a lower bitrate?

Mentor: In a sense, yes, but it doesn’t always have to do with the bitrate. Sometimes it just has to do with the encoding of the video, and the compression. For example newer codecs such as H.264 have higher quality than an older codec such as H.263.

Me: Oh, okay. Also, when we looked at the colour grading examples, what causes a video to look ‘flat’, and how can you add more depth to them?

Mentor: Well the luminance of the video has a large impact on how much ‘depth’ your video has, and the contrast between subjects and the background. You can add more depth by increasing the darkness of darker areas in your scene, many movies only have a dark grey in place of true black, so it doesn’t look like a void, but sometimes it just makes your image seem two-dimensional. This reminds me, you should increase the contrast of your videos as well, to add the illusion of a three-dimensional look.

Here my mentor uses the yellow hat to explain to my how depth is created in video, and how adding contrast adds depth to a video and makes it look less flat.

Me: Speaking of luminance contrast, is there a possibility that using contrasting colours will also add depth to your videos, since according to your previous statement contrast makes a video pop out?

Here I use the green had to probe for another possibility, and if luminance is the only way to make a shot pop out. I demonstrated my perception and creativity to find an alternative method to add depth to my videos. Additionally, I use the yellow hat again when I demonstrate my optimism to share another viewpoint, and when I give my hypothesis as to how this idea would work.

Mentor: Clever point! That would also work because you are still adding contrast to your shots, and making them look less-saturated. You are making excellent progress so far, and you seem to already know so much about video editing.

In this last statement, my mentor uses the red hat to express their feelings on my progress, and what they felt about our In-Depth project based on their “emotions, feelings, and intuition” (p.93/94). Additionally, my mentor uses the black hat to tell me how they felt about my videos and an honest point on how I can improve my work. By telling me how to make my videos pop out, I can make them look that much more vibrant on In-Depth night.

Here are some screenshots of me working in After Effects, and me further exploring the software:

screen-1 screen-2