Frame Damage

I’ve just added a new overlay pack to the Scratchtapes pages. This one is a mini pack of 11 clips and around 25 image textures. Themed around film damage and clutter, the clips are a combination of telecined Super 8 and scanned Super 8 and 16mm frames. Using a few different techniques for the damage, including bucket processing out of date film, it’s really geared towards the extreme end of film effects.

I’ve created a short demo clip, in a similarly dark mood to the others. If you would like more info, then please visit the page here, or you can always send me a message via the contact form.

Scratchtapes film fx new price

I’ve dropped the pricing on both the Scratchtapes clip bundles to $10.00 per bundle and updated both the store and product pages here.

The bundles are made up short clips, which can be overlayed onto existing footage, usually for a grunge, or old cine look. Comprised of light bleed, leader, dirt & scratches, the clips can be used with most NLE and video effects programs around.


Scratchtapes : Glitch

I’ve just added a new pack to the Scratchtapes collection, the first of a few I’m rolling out over the next couple of months. Glitch, is a pack of 20 short clips, from a few frames, to a few seconds in length. Like the Dirt collection, they are really intended to add low fi elements to clean footage, though they can be used in their own right.

I’ve called this pack Glitch, as that’s probably the best description of how they can be used. Consisting of film clutter, light streaks, video noise & interference, as well as some general weirdness, the pack is available for a reasonable $20/£13.

Here is a very short and slightly leftfield demo, giving an example of how they can be used.

For more info, check out the Glitch pack page here

Creating a grunge title sequence

Following on from my last post on the Scracthtapes demo, I’ve created another little demo clip, showing how, through the use of overlays and textures, you can create a grunge style title sequence. Perfect for horror and thriller type title sequences.

This was created really quickly, using only about 5 or 6 clips. The old film clutter layers were stacked over the titles ( simple text, with a small amount of glow added ), which makes them flash and burn. These were then overlayed again, on to some grimey textures for the end part. All achieved by choosing different composite modes like overlay, difference and screen.

I’ve also added a non commercial licence download to the store, called “Dirt Cheap”. It’s a pay what you like download of 8 clips. So if you want to get stuck in and mess about with these clips, then you can, without paying for the full collection, as long as it’s for personal use. Go here for more info ( scroll down the page ).

Film Flare Transitions tutorial ( updated )

Film Flare Transitions Tutorial

Here is a technique for adding the effect of a film camera stopping and starting and the resultant flash frames or flare that sometimes occur. While years ago this was something that was mostly edited out, with the more recent search for the elusive film look, a lot of people have been adding this effect back in. I haven’t seen any tutorials on how to achieve this, even though I hear a lot of people asking how it is done. So if you aren’t happy with using normal flash frame dissolves then read on.

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Film Clutter mini tutorial

( If you’re not sure what film clutter is and how it’s used, then watch the Scratchtapes demo clips, for a better idea. )

This very simple technique for adding an overlay of film grain and clutter, can have an effect that ranges from the subtle, to the extreme. A lot depends on the source footage, but the method of compositing and how much you grade both layers, can have pretty wide ranging effects on the end result. You might be going for a very low fi look with lots of artifacts or you might just want to introduce a bit of real world grain and noise at a low level. Hopefully, you will be able to experiment a little and use this mini tutorial purely as a starting point.

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Scratchtapes – Dirt

After a long break from updating the website, mostly due to several of my projects being held off for various reasons, I’ve decided to make a long overdue update on the Scratchtapes film effects. I’m starting this with a download collection of film clutter, called Dirt. This will be available from May 1st on this site. The freebie clips will stay up and might actually get added to, along with another tutorial or two next week, to tie in with this.

Scratchtapes – Dirt, is a collection of Super 8 and 16mm film footage, which can be used on digitally shot footage, to dirty it up a bit. This first collection will contain some of the original standard definition clips that were incuded on the original disc, along with a few 720p clips. I’ve created this short demo, just as an idea how the clips can be used…

Scratchtapes Dirt demo clips from Adrian Frearson on Vimeo.

“Ripley” My solution to DSLR handheld camera rigs

The Tripod mod rig guide Pt.1

If you’ve looked all over the place for the ideal camera rig, but then you realise that you have to either a; hike with it or b; travel with it, as well as carrying a tripod, you’ll soon realise that something will have to give. This was my predicament until a few months ago, when I realised that I could simply break down a Manfrotto tripod and re-rig it to fit my needs. Up until then I’d used a tripod to steady up some shots, by either bracing the legs against my shoulders or just shooting while holding it out in front. I’d also been experimenting with using bungee or shock cord, to help stabilise and hand hold cameras for long periods. The original steadicam was based around the use of bungee cords, so this is nothing new.

It was only recently that I put 2 and 2 together and came up with 101 different uses for a tripod and had to check myself! The first and most simple option is to put the tripod on your shoulder and tilt the head until the camera viewfinder is close to your face. This works to a point but it’s not exactly what I’d call ergonomic. Modify the idea slightly and you can start with a shoulder rig that’s really well balanced for a DSLR.

So here is a very simple guide to building a handheld and modular DSLR rig that doesn’t involve going near a DIY store or welding sticky back plastic to your mums old pram.

DISCLAIMER: If the bungees snap or you use the hooked luggage straps that you can buy in the corner shop and these come loose, I can’t be held responsible for what happens. YOU POTENTIALLY COULD HARM YOURSELF OR YOUR CAMERA DOING THIS. Make sure that you check, double check that all connections you make are secure first!

Stuff you will need:

1. Tripod with removable centre column.

2. Fluid head with pan bar handle ( an additional handle will make it more versatile ).

3. A ball head and tripod end stub ( optional )

4. Superclamps  ( optional )

5. A couple of meters ( or yards ) of Bungee or shock cord of at least 6mm.

6. Karabiners

7. Cable ties, gaffer tape, pliers etc…

8. Special ops vest, climbing harness or heavy duty backpack with harness ( this parts optional, but harnesses are useful )

9. Some bike handle grips, make nice additional touches and again help to make the set up more versatile.

Shoulder rig

Remove the centre column with head  already mounted. Tilt the head fully back ( on this old 501 head, it’s only possible to tilt through the whole 90 degrees in one direction ). If you are using a head like this, then you will need to mount the camera in reverse on the quick release plate, so that it’s facing forward when mounted. You will need to adjust the plate backwards and forwards to suit your set up. Tilt the pan bar handle down. Add the other pan bar handle to the other side, so that you can have a pair of handle bars if you want.

Add the stub into the other end of the column. You don’t need to do this, but it does mean you can add a ball head or superclamp to this end, which helps with both the balance of the support and allows you to attach other equipment. I’ve got a ball head and Zoom recorder mounted in this picture to demonstrate.

With camera mounted on the column like this it’s very comfortable or me to bring the EVF in close to my eye, without cricking my neck. It also means you can go from tripod to shoulder mount very quickly. Nice.

The Ripley Rig.1

Invert the pan bar handle so it’s facing upwards. Attach a bike grip to the end of the centre column. You could also mount a pan bar to a clamp at the end if you want. Make up some various lengths of shock cord as shown here. Using bike gear parts makes for nice extra attachment points, but you can use other parts here. Attach the cord using karabiners at the front and the back of the rig. If you’ve attached a sling, then this just goes over your shoulders. Other wise attach the two cords to your harness. It’s NOT a Steadicam, but it does make long periods of handheld shooting comfortable and it is amazingly versatile to shoot with, allowing the camera to be shot both from the hip ( being stabilised by the bungee ) and shoulder mounted. Switching back to tripod shooting only takes a matter of seconds by quick release, or less than a minute if you’re repurposing one tripod head. The important part here is to experiment with cord lengths and thickness, as you need to avoid too much bounce and stretch.

This set up also allows the camera to be moved with one hand when shooting from the hip, as the bungee cord supports the rig and is stable enough to allow this, while the other hand takes care of focus/zoom/set ups etc.

Here are some stock car clips, all from the hip and shoulder mounted with mostly long lenses ( 200-300 EFL ). I’ll update this with a more comprehensive video later this week.

Blender Editing

I’ve been messing around with Blender for a few years now, occasionally using it for titles/motion graphics etc. on projects and when I have time, trying my hand at a little modelling. Over the last few months though, I’ve been drawn more and more to it’s post production capabilities, with the upgrade to the sequence editor and the addition of compositing nodes for colour correction and keying. I’ve posted about this a while ago, but have since begun to use this side of the software on a more regular basis. Surprisingly, I now find myself turning to Blender sometimes, as an alternative to “other” post production software, to get some jobs done. 

Maybe it’s because I’ve become used to it’s way of working, but I find basic cutting in the sequence editor very fast and just plain logical. While it is still a long way from being an out of the box NLE, that will work in high pressure environments, I feel for film projects of my own, it’s more than enough to sketch out and even polish off some short form material. I recently edited a short piece in Blender, which I shot on one night in January. The footage was of the sun setting over the mountains. When working with it in the timeline, I decided to flip the direction of the shots, reversing some of them, to make it appear like sunrise. This took a matter of seconds to achieve, but it’s the kind of thing that can sometimes be much more time consuming. Anyway, here is the clip, filmed from the Pont D’Andey, overlooking the clouds above the valleys.