Introducing Prolost Handcrank

Prolost Handcrank is a new animation preset for Adobe After Effects, available now on the Prolost Store. It gives your footage the authentic look of a hand-cranked camera.

Handcrank is more than just a filter. It truly re-times your footage according to a simulated, virtual frame rate, creating a powerful editorial energy that feels both organic and modern.

The very first motion picture cameras were turned by hand, and although their operators were skilled at maintaining a regular rate of speed, there is nevertheless an undeniable organic quality to this early footage.

When hand-cranked film footage is at its most organic, the speed variations are noticeable, and the footage takes on chaotic, pulsing, frenetic, effect, where time and light seem to flit and flicker in concert. It can be quite magical.

Modern filmmakers might choose to hand-crank their cameras for a quaint, quirky vintage look — or just as well for a modern, frenetic, energetic effect, such as in Tony Scott's 2004 Man on Fire, shot by Paul Cameron.

In 2008, I directed a series of anti-smoking PSAs, and I wanted the hand-cranked look, even on shots that would have some very creepy digital creature effects. My solution was to shoot digitally, and create the hand-cranked effect in post.

Prolost Handcrank is the evolution of that process, which goes back as far as The DV Rebel's Guide, in which I included an early version of the effect.

Handcrank works with any kind of footage, at any frame rate. It can work wonderfully when the source and destination frame rates are different — in other words, it can be used in conjunction with a frame rate conversion.

With Prolost Handcrank, you can easily visualize and adjust the variable, virtual frame rate.

At the core of Handcrank is a randomly-varying frame rate for your footage. You set how much variation there is (Irregularity), and how rapidly the cranking rate shifts from fast to slow (Caffeination). You can set minimum and maximum crank rates, and adjust how much exposure variation accompanies the speed changes. You can manually keyframe many of the parameters, including Base Crank Rate, if you want a more controlled effect.

PayPal. Finally.

In other news, you can buy everything on the Prolost Store with PayPal. Sorry that took so long!