The Bumper That Nearly Ate Us Alive

Behold, the place of our doom:

Okay, that’s not totally true. It’s just a diorama. And it didn’t exactly cause anything near death… just a few extra hours at work. So it wasn’t too bad.

But it’s one of the souvenirs of our massive video-production crunch week.

Our plans for the church Christmas video involved a little live-action (which we had experience with) and a lot of computer-aided animation (which was a little less of a familiar prospect).  The live action part, bookending the video, was supposed to show a little girl building a nativity scene… so we went ahead and made the prop you see above, complete with a removable lid. Vince Mims, our media director, was able to easily take it and shoot the live-action part in a single afternoon.

Then it was off to the harder stuff. I’ve told you that Vince is a video wizard. That applies on all sides of the camera. For this video, he planned on using Adobe After Effects to take static drawings and turn them into animated characters. This is a pretty time-consuming process, and we felt a good amount of pressure to get it right.

Vince started by literally replicating the diorama as a 3D world inside the computer. This way, he’d be able to get any camera shot he wanted.

Image courtesy of Vince's Facebook page

As Vince worked on the 3D setup, I worked to draw all the characters we’d be seeing. At first, I only focused on the parts of the characters that we’d see in the shots, like faces and such. Vince then explained that we needed full-body images so he could pull off some sweet pans and zooms. That led to the figures below:

Manger pieces to be assembled in After Effects

This crowd was actually done as three seperate, movable layers, then composited together in Photoshop

Drawing is one thing; digitally coloring is another. All told, I drew nearly 30 images and then dropped in color and shading. This took a couple of extra nights at work… totally worth it.

And once I got the characters finished, Vince began dropping them into the video and setting up the virtual shots.

After that, it was all Vince putting in his virtual magic. The man worked all week on it, then pulled an all-nighter on Friday to finish. And then he did a tech rehearsal on Saturday morning and ran the production on Sunday. He doesn’t quit, folks.

Behold, then, the fruits of our labor. The bumper plays at the beginning, followed by Steve Bradley’s sermon:

Of course, we weren’t done going all-out. Not yet. After we finished the video, it was time to build yet another little town of Bethlehem– one that could go in our foyer.

And it’s a big foyer.

Next: A Display Of  Our Affections

3 Comments

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3 responses to “The Bumper That Nearly Ate Us Alive

  1. Dude. Loved the bumper video. Great work my friend. Glad to know you!

  2. Here is the HD version to really get the full effect of everything we did. I’ve already told you Ben, you did a wonderful job on everything but I am sure one more time wouldn’t hurt.

  3. Pingback: Christmas in July. | VTM Productions

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