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Evaluation of my motion graphics

For our motion graphics work, I had to come up with a title sequence for a television show or a film. I decided to create one for my factual work that we are doing with Helen. I started off by looking at different motion graphic examples, and finally came up with an idea. I took a few weeks putting it together, stumbling on certain bits at certain points, but finally finishing it. Although it looked good in the project file, the actual render itself seemed to have visually messed up my smoke animation, which disheartened me as I had made it look pretty good in the project in my mind. 

What I had wanted to achieve, was not an ambitious and over the top piece of work. I wanted something that could be useable, and realistic for a small budget documentary/promotional product. I wanted to make it look nice and catchy, and tie it in to the relevant topic. In the research aspect of my work, I had looked into different styles and themes. I finally decided, after having a little bit of experience with it before, to use Particle World. I spent some of my time getting more used to it, playing around with the effect. I tried to recreate some motion and finally steam. When I started on the project, I adapted it from being simply the screen filling up with the life-like looking steam, to an actual train and having the steam emit from it. I did not go over the top with this either. I used a simple image, but I tried to apply it effectively. I suddenly realised I had no carriages, and I decided to make it as though the train had pulled the titles themselves into the frame. This worked well and I did a little short modification to one of them, to give the impression of it bumping into the other title. I finally applied a background and completed my work, although the render seems to have messed the steam I had worked on up. I have rendered numerous times and finally decided to leave it as it is regrettably.

When it came to the screening I had no choice but to use the render I had. Personally I did not like to watch my own work, and felt disappointed in it. I feel it could have been a lot better and so now probably will not use it in my actual final factual product. I did however get feedback, which was mixed, although mostly negative. Many of the common comments about it were that the titles right at the end were not well done. Most people criticised how they seemed to be of inappropriate colour, and should have been black, white or as one person said, red. I feel they were the right colour for this as green is typically associated with Halloween. I did feel though that the background was out of place. One person said that the background could have related more to what the factual related to, so for instance the use of pictures from the place the documentary will be based around. The reaction to my techniques wasn’t too bad; in fact one or two did like the steam, although it had rendered badly from what was in the project file, and another comment stated on how they liked the play around with the title bumping into the other title. One person did say they liked the audio that had been applied to my graphics, although personally I don’t like the audio too much, and felt I could have done better with it.

I feel the comments are about right to hat my own criticisms of the product is. I feel they were right to criticise the points they did, but I was happy for soe of the praise in one or two comments. The little play around with the titles at the end for instance, and at least I know the audio was heading in the right direction for what the audience were hoping for, though not perfect. Looking back, there is one or two things which may help me in the past that were outlined. Many thought it was of a good length for a simple promotional feature, and overall most people seemed to like the steam effect, although it had not rendered properly for the screening. This makes me pleased as even though it wasn’t how it was in the project file, they responded well and one or two people really liked the steam I created with the Particle World effect. I am glad as this was the main technique I had looked into and played with.

If I had to redo this, quite simply I would do more research into another topic and style. I feel this isn’t a strong piece of work, and possibly just grazed a pass. I could be wrong, but I am my own critic and for me, I am not satisfied with what I came up with. I feel I should have dedicated more time into it, and possibly tried to experiment more than I did with my advantage of home use of After Effects. Although I am disappointed with outcome, I can pull the fact that this is a learning curve for me. The one thing I will take away is how important it is to do more play arounds in After Effects. I felt at one point it was wasting the time I could be getting on with the project, but looking back, I wish I had practiced more and with different techniques. The next assignment in this project, I may look toward a schedule of research, practice and planning, and finally creating the product, thus making the product more satisfying in the end.

Just something to note…

Just going to add a little college related note; I have decided to create a new email address which looks more professional for college and work related means.

My original email is now going to be limited to a social email. It incorporated the username, “NiCk14AlPhA”, one that I have used for a few things including my YouTube. I’m slowly phasing out this old username, by converting my YouTube channel to my name, and now my email. 

Hopefully my new email will make me look more professional and presentable to potential employers and tutors, and by keeping my original email, I have not lost out on a social email address. 

Instead of repeatedly switching from one to another on my computer, I am using two browsers, Chrome and Firefox, and signing into one email permanently on one, and my new email on the other. In this way, I have both of my emails open at one time. I feel this is very efficient.


This is just showing the completion of my storyboards for motion graphics, tomorrow I am going to start on creating it in Steves lesson, and work at it in my own time over the next week.


This is just showing the completion of my storyboards for motion graphics, tomorrow I am going to start on creating it in Steves lesson, and work at it in my own time over the next week.

Tuesday 30th and Wednesday 31st

Having not gone up on the Sunday as planned due to bad weather, I made arrangements to go on the Tuesday and the Wednesday. I’m putting them both in one because on the Tuesday, I was only up there for about an hour. I used this day to get one or two things I hadn’t and reshoot something, namely walking around getting a tour with Jayne of the museum.

Wednesday however, was another event day, Halloween itself. This I used greatly to my advantage getting more of the platform, more of the public (with one or two words from them) and more of the crafts going on in the museum. The museum itself was hard to get as many people were on the train and there was not a lot going around it. Although that happened this time, it may not happen at Christmas, and either way, I got some great shots of the museum the other day.

All the footage is now transferred and I have completed my coverage of the Halloween special. After a couple of days break I’m about to focus on my pitch over the Weekend, ready for Monday.

Helen - Factual

27/10/12 - Location Recce/Filming Day 2

(What ideas developed from today?)

Todays accomplishments

So second day of filming is out of the way, and I thought it was just as productive as the first. Today, again I focused on the event, but it was 50/50 outside on the platform. I started off with getting some establishing shots and cutaways of the train as it was preparing near the sheds to go. My grandfather told me to steam it, they have to get it going about 3 hours before hand. So a useful bit of information there for the edit. It was great to get these shots, they will help in the edit, and besides, I couldn’t do what i wanted to as soon as we got there, so I made use of the time and this train being prepared.

Eventually I could access the museum, which ties to the platform behind. The first thing I did was put up the printed out notices of my presence with a camera, for the general public. I kept a copy at home to scan onto here at a later date. As I was finishing putting them up, the public was starting to flood in. Firstly, after having a tour off Jane Wareing on Thursday, the start of which she explained about small craft activities for kids, I decided to focus for a time on her doing this with the kids. I had no problem with the public due to the notices and they seemed fine with me being there. Although I focused and got some great angles, as a contingency I will do the same tomorrow and focus equally on it. This should help in case I didn’t get enough for the edit today. I then filmed for an equal amount of time, on the model train that runs in between the large engines in the museum. I got a fantastic shot of a man and his child/grandchild on this small train. He was more than happy for them both to be on film, and were completely natural in reactions, brilliant. (It was also useful for a mock dolly shot of the engines large wheels at the side!)

Eventually I went out onto the platform, ready for the main engine to come in. I set up the camera ready, with the cover on because of steam, and waited. Despite a long wait, I got a full roll of the engine as it approached and came to a stop. I then quickly got cutaway shots of the funnel and wide shots of the public on the platform, and I went onto the train into the carriages I filmed on Thursday. I got some great rolls of the public on board the train, and some nice shots out of the window. Again I will probably do this tomorrow if possible too, and possibly comments on the train with the window in the back. When it came back to the platform, I quickly got off and set up the camera for shots of people coming off the train. I only got one roll of this, and so tomorrow, if I don’t make it onto the train, I will most certainly set up for when it arrives back and get this again, in more detail too.

Todays public interaction was fantastic, just as I had hoped. I got some comments from a young boy of around 5 years old, the model train shot as mentioned and shown above, and also a young family on the train were nice enough to let me film them waving. This will help as the event is aimed and young persons, so hopefully more of this to come tomorrow now that I have got an idea how to carry this out.

Problems from today?

Unfortunately, today did not go as smoothly as Thursday, both technically and in terms of time/schedule. 

First of all, after I finished on the platform, the camera which was set up on the tripod, slipped away suddenly and both tripod and camera hit the ground. Although I was standing right next to it, it fell so suddenly and too late for me to catch it. The first thing I did was unhook pick it up, unhook it and sat down on nearby bench to insepct any damage. Thank fully the lens and the camera itself was not damaged, just on the side of the camera a small scrape mark. As I checked it over I found that the lens cover had been damaged, meaning the switch would not close the dust cover fully without closing it with your hand, there is a very fine crack on the side of the dust cover, and on the inside at the screw on, it is also cracked. This is unfortunate, however the cover easily fits on still, and overall these problems do not affect the filming or transferring of footage. A near miss, and something to take away for tomorrow, to be cautious and to keep my eye on. While in the cafe transferring, I email Helen Chiula and Andrew Davies in one email, explaining what had happened, and the damage that had occurred. At the moment this is still being discussed, but Helen has informed me that there should be no problem using it, but all the same I may have to take it to the Bispham campus to Tom in the week for a check over. Note: Risk assessment has been carried out prior to DAY 1 filming. Andrew Davies has the risk assessment. 

This was not the only mishap of the day. The way I am working is by filming, then transferring footage immediately as the cards are full via my own MacBook Pro. Shortley after the incident with the camera, it notified me of the disk space, MACINTOSH HD, running low on free space and so would not transfer all clips. Feeling this could only be sorted one way, I decided to call it a day, and plan on going the next day. At home, I attempted to clear the space but have not yet succeeded. I am still learning with my MacBook, and so may talk to Andrew Davies when back in attendance about clearing space. I decided to move the entire project and scratch disks over to my external harddrive. I will work from here until further notice, as it should take the footage of this week as it is a large capacity model. The footage was transferred smoothly using my harddrive, so problem overcome. For now.

I also did not get a chance to redo the tour with Jane, or do the in carriage tour with Michelle. I also did not get to redo the interview with Robin, however I was already aware that this weekend I probably wouldn’t get to. I have plans however on when to do these things this week, so a time when they won’t be busy on the event like today.

What next?

I have already planned to go up tomorrow. I plan to get more on the platform, people coming off the carriages and public reactions. I do however want to get mostly in the museum which is part of the event too. I have been informed i possibly could be able to film on the footplate tomorrow too. This will be a great opportunity  but I will have to manage the time well between the other things I want to do tomorrow. Public reactions and possibly on the event day interviews with staff could be done too, however staff interviews are not essential on event days, as they will be busy and can be done another time when not on event.

I have made early enquiries with my grandfather to go up on the Tuesday. This is not an event day, and so I want to focus on re-doing one or two things I never got done this weekend, while the place is still all set up ready for the next day. A tour with Jane and Michelle could be possible, as could the interview with Robin, however due to his personal reasons he may not be around for this event. No matter as there is always after and the Santa specials, and miscellaneous trips up there. 

After possibly going up on Tuesday, this is where I think I will cease my coverage of the event. My grandfather volunteers there, and usually does this on a Wednesday. I could go with him, but seeing as the event is on it may require him to not do what he does on this day. For this reason, I want to avoid going on Wednesday. I have a huge amount of footage already, and plan on tomorrow and Tuesday to go up. I want to allow him to continue his usual arrangements on Wednesdays and Fridays if possible. What I will then do, is most likely from Wednesday to Tuesday, is focus on my presentation ready for college. 

Helen - Factual

25/10/12 - Location Recce/Filming Day 1

(What ideas developed from today?)

Todays accomplishments

Today I travelled to the Ribble Steam Railway site, in Preston, to get a first glimpse and to commence filming on my factual documentary. I had certain purpose’s today. First of all my Grandfather took me around the insides of the workshop, and the Museum on site, so that I could take photo’s to document and look back on. This would help me for future visits. I met some of the volunteers there, and introduced myself, explaining my reasons why I was there, and why I plan to make a few visits in the next couple of months. Finally, I went today to commence filming for my documentary, which I focused on for the majority of my being there.

On Saturday the 27th, the first of the Halloween specials will be held. The other two are on Sunday the 28th, and Wednesday the 31st. Today I focused on the Halloween preparations at the train yard, capturing plenty of footage around the location. I made sure I got plenty of the decorations that had been put up and the preparations. I then interviews three people who work there. Jean, Alan and Robin. All three were cooperative. 

  • Jean, whom I interviewed first, was very helpful. She is the assistant curator and had decorated the majority of the museum that I have today documented. I first did a standing interview with her, and then followed her with the camera as she showed me around in depth of the shed, and one or two plans for the event at the weekend. She gave a rolling permission to be filmed.
  • Alan, I did a standing interview with. He had helped out around the museum and also, the carriages stood in the other shed, which I later filmed in detail. These carriages will be in service on the event, and have been decorated with a spooky theme. He gave a rolling permission to be filmed.
  • Finally, Robin is the museum curator, with whom I did a standing interview with, right in front of the luxurious DELTIC engine. This was brilliantly framed, however MUST be reshot at a later date, because I had stood in an awkward position behind the camera, and his eyes drift off to the left to where I am, while he is in the left hand side of the shot. This DOES NOT work well, as his eyes should be going off to the right. A fault on my part to where I was stood, but easily reshot hopefully as the framing was well done. He gave a rolling permission to be filmed.
Something that came off well today, was the light hearted side. I got one or two fantastic bits of banter which were unscripted and just happened, which will show how good it is for the people involved to work there. There was also one or two comedy moments when Alan was giving rolling permission, which could be sneakily slipped into the credits as outtakes.
I also spoke to Robin about the public being around on camera on Sunday. He stated that if I noted down what to put on, he would do some notices, with their logo, to state that I was filming and to talk to me with any problems. I also, put on it as an after though asking if anyone wanted to say anything about the event or be featured, to talk to me. Other than this, I may alternatively ask for comments on Sunday.
Problems of today?
It mostly went swimmingly today. Only I didn’t get a walkthrough tour of the carriages like with the museum, but this is already half planned for Sunday. I also need to reshoot an interview that I did with Robin, which will have to be shot another time, and cannot be shot on Sunday as he is not at the event. But it can certainly be done at a later date.
I didn’t have full use of the Radio Mic’s. It seems as though they arn’t working as they should, and i plan on going into college to speak to Andrew Davies about this tomorrow, Friday, as they are preferred for any interviews i need to do Sunday in the hustle and bustle of the event.
What next?

Today I focused on the Halloween event, and on Sunday the 28th, I will be once again going back to the train yard, this time, at the same time as the public as they come to the event. I plan to go up and get whatever I didn’t get today, or redo certain things. I also plan on using the public to my full extent. I want to try and get comments from them, and so in order to do this, I have spoken to Robin about notices and he will try nd arrange something. 

  • The best news for me though, is that a man called Tim, had mentioned specifically to my Grandfather on Wednesday, that he is running the train on Sunday. According to my Grandfather he was all up for my filming on the footplate of the train. This is fantastic news as it will really come off on the film. I may have to do it freehand, as the tripod maybe too big, but this can be looked into on the day as the tripod will be with me at the train yard anyway.
  • I need to do an in-carriage tour with a lady named Michelle, who I have yet to meet, whom the other volunteers pointed me to. She apparently did most of the carriage decorations and so she is someone who would be great to do this with, and possibly interview too on the preparations. She will be in on Sunday I am told.
  • I plan to film one or two of the final preparations for the Sunday. This is the second of the events, and I plan to film everything. I can do some interviews and footage of the finally preparations along with pre-event interviews.
  • I have yet to decide if to go on the Saturday and the Wednesday. Bear in mind my Grandfather is taking me to and from and I want to be mindful of the time he is spending. However, he seems more than happy to take me whenever I want to go up there. Wednesday is Halloween itself, and may be the best time, however I have plans, but they could potentially be swept aside, under the reasons for education.

After the Halloween specials
Of course i will not base the ENTIRE film on these three specials. I plan to make regular trips in November and December, and continue filming and documenting the goings on at the railway. 
  • November: I plan to go up there and focus on the workshop, what goes on around there, the museum, and future developments. Also, the DELTIC engine, one of the best looking engines in the museum, apparently has someone who worked on it there who volunteers. This would be a fantastic thing to get, along with archive footage from somewhere of DELTIC engines.
  • December: The hugely popular Santa Special events will be starting to be prepared for and I hope to carry out a simliar process to that of the Halloween special.

These are the pictures from the Music Video production on Monday.

Director: Eli

Cameraman: Ben

Runners: Nick Hargreaves and Will Omerod

Make-up Artist: Anna

Starring: Jessica Bell

My freelance experience on Monday the 15th

On Monday, I helped out with a production of music video, for a young woman who has had some interest from record labels. I was working as a runner for the director and the cameraman. I got a great insight into how it works in small production. I had to make sure my ears were open, and whatever the cameraman or the director wanted, I had to carry it out quickly and carefully. Then later on, i helped with the lighting, holding up the portable lights for them both, and this in turn gave me a critical part in the production. 

I feel I learned a lot and had a great insight into the production. And I feel i can relate back to it for future work.

My Proposal for Motion Graphics

After extensive research, I have come up with an outline of what I would like to achieve in this lesson, and what I would like my final product to be at the end.

The name for my product is not yet decided. I have decided to try and do opening title to my eventual factual documentary, which is all about how the people who work on steam trains in Preston at the Ribble Valley Railway. I want to show what they do, and what their work builds up to all being well. Seeing as they will be getting a copy to put on display, I want to make sure that the opening to it, is one that is professional and clean. The genre in this case would be a factual and formal product.

How I want to do it, and the techniques to use, are still in my mind being looked over, but what I would like to do, is use the particle effects, and edit it so it creates a simulated steam look, to represent the topic of the program. I then want to implement some nice looking titles into this edit, and possibly have the steam integrated into the titles too, sort of like in the Emmerdale 40th anniversary promo. (See below this post for example)

I see the outcome of the video, with the titles, as follows. A short compilation of the features in the programme, and then the title sequence. The title sequence I want to simulate steam, and have the titles come towards the screen and possibly, disappear in a puff of smoke possibly as well. This would highlight the topic of the programme. As this happens, I will possibly put in sounds of a train behind it, and possibly some simple factual sounding music too. The video will then come off the titles and onto the programme itself.

My personal limits, are that I do not use After Effects, and I am still largely unsure on how to use it. Until now, I did titles in Final Cut Pro, and so I am worried it could take time to learn this, especially the particle effects. Also, I am concerned in case the idea falls apart for the factual documentary, meaning I would have no video to put it toward.

I would require the footage from around the train yards, for this project. This however, is dependant on another part of the course. I do however believe it will all fall into place, and will be a perfect idea to put this to.

As for soundtrack and audio, I want to put sounds of a steam train to the effects, and possibly a simple factual sounding soundtrack. I think this will boost the effect even more as the effects will really highlight the topic, and the audio and soundtrack will help that along more.


This is actually the making of video of the Emmerdale Promo. If you skip to 0:35 - 0:57, it shows, all be it briefly, how they created the effects. It is only very quick however, but it gives a fleeting glance into it. It looks like some high end software, but I cannot tell what it is. It looks like Final Cut Pro X from one layout on the screen, and in one of the sequences, it uses some type of shatter effect. This is only a small glimpse into how this was done, but it is clearly done in a program simliar to After Effects and looks very good in terms of theme and mood. I think that the effects themselves are really well done also.


This is a promo that I saw on television last week for the 40th anniversary of Emmerdale. As you can see, the characters walk up to the screen, pose there for a few seconds, and then transform into bursts of different things. I think this uses a particle effect, without looking. I think it goes well with the music, and it could be put into what I could do. 

Maybe a title sequence with the character and the actors name, and then make them dissolve like in this video as a tile sequence, simliar to what is above. I do think however that it would have to be for a fictional product, and so that narrows it down a little bit in terms of direction and opens up to themes and styles.


This is a video typography of a speech of some sorts, and someone has put words to it. I think it is clever to do speech typography as well as music typography. It seems to be Stephen Fry who is narrating, but I do not know what for. I think having some actors or something appearing as voices and then this sort of style over the top would do well, but I am struggling on how to see it as a title intro. Maybe if it was a mock up documentary with some speech from people who have been interviewed somehow.


Without realizing it, I was listening to this video on Youtube, and noticed it is actually motion graphics, typography to be exact. It goes well with the song, as it is a slow pace. I also like the background of this video too, which changes every so often, and has great and different surface behind. If a film or television show had a certain catchy or chart topping soundtrack, then it could be possible to do typography to a song, but still have necessary credits. This could be an uncommon idea and possibly very unique to pull off.


I saw this advert on TV the other day. It was a shorter and in my opinion nicer sounding commercial, but nonetheless had the same style. I feel its a very good sequence, giving a lot of information at the same time promoting. I like how the words work with each other and how stuff is going on around them, relating to them. This is something which could be possibly with what I plan to do, having more interactions with the words instead of just the words themselves could be very visually pleasing to people, and good have good feedback. Making little interactions like this maybe good to pull off too.


This is the opening title sequence to the 2006 James Bond film, Casino Royale. The film, as the name suggests, centers around a gambling element, and in particular, poker. This is reflected in the films title sequence as there are symbols of poker cards in the title. One I like is when Bond shoots a gun, a large club shape comes out of the barrel, simulating the bullet of a gun. Now taking this idea for inspiration, I could posibly come up with an idea with a central focus, and reflect this in a mock title sequence, which I think could be done very well, or possibly incorporate video into it along with, maybe with the film aspects interacting with the titles.