It’s not often you get to work on personal projects, but when you do, it’s always loads of fun. My good friend, Mark Forrester - co-founder of the awesome theme company WooThemes - had just finished moving into their brand new offices, so I decided to make a fun, short cinematic of it.
As always, I’m constantly learning from my mistakes and this project wasn’t an exception to the rule – I wanted to do something different with this short; something that wasn’t just the conventional style of filming. In this case I decided to break away from the 16:9 ratio craze and go for more of an anamorphic 2.4:1 ratio, which is roughly what you’ll encounter when you watch a movie at the cinema.
The problem was that I only decided to do this afterwards… Which of course meant that I had shot footage according to a 16:9 frame guide, instead of a wider 2.35:1/2.4:1 guide. Luckily it wasn’t the end of the world as I tend to shoot slightly wider anyway, but it was definitely something to remember for next time! Tisk, tisk.
The other issue I encountered was that when I uploaded the 960 x 400 (a 2.4:1 ratio) to Vimeo, it didn’t give me an option to watch it in HD and instead cropped it to a slightly smaller SD size (around 638 x 261). Of course if you’ve ever edited anything in a non-linear editor, you’ll come to know that you can’t change your sequence size after the sequence has already been created (stupid, I know).
Which meant of course that I was faced with a problem – either I was going to have to leave it at 960 x 400 and risk the possibility that folks in high-speed broadband countries, like the US and Europe, would be pissed that they couldn’t watch in HD, or I’d simply have to start again. I chose the latter of course – well, in a manner of speaking…
What I did was create a new sequence at 1920 x 816. I decided to lose the 2.4:1 ratio and go with a slightly wider height by using the 2.35:1 ratio, that’s more common. That gave me a dimension of 1920 x 816, which I quite liked, and of course meant that my final export is now “future-proof” in the sense that it’s at a much higher res…
So, to avoid starting on a blank slate, I selected all the clips in the previous sequence, copied them, and pasted them into the 1920 x 816 sequence. But there was still a lot of tweaking to do – most notably, having to manually resize all the clips to fit the new dimensions. But other than taking a fair amount of time, I didn’t lose any quality in the resize , since my raw footage was 1920 x 1080 – as you’d expect from a DSLR.
Most of the work came from having to redo the digital panning movements I’d used at the very beginning (wall art) and end (web page scrolling). But it turned out okay I think – and needless to say, I certainly won’t be making that mistake again!