DV Rebel's Guide

Introducing Prolost Speedramp

Speed ramps — that ubiquitous editorial trick where a shot transitions between slow- and fast-motion — are a pain, no matter how you create them. When you do them the easy way in your NLE (by dicing up the clip), they’re still difficult — and the transitions are clunky and abrupt. When you admit defeat and jump over to After Effects to do speed ramps the “right” way — with time-remap curves — you wind up in a tangled mess of confusing keyframes.

What really makes this frustrating is that, if you've ever worked with a slow-motion clip on an iPhone, you know how easy it should be to ramp in and out of smooth, beautiful slow motion.

My goal with Prolost Speedramp was to make something as easy to use as the iPhone, and that could produce the highest-quality professional results. To do that, I created an After Effects preset that lets you use Layer Markers to specify where the changes in speed occur. You set the speed at each marker, and the duration of the smooth transition from one speed to the next.

Prolost Speedramp lets you set up to five different speeds for your clip. When you turn on After Effects's Pixel Motion frame blending, you get high-quality motion-vector interpolation. The results are the best-looking speed ramps you've ever created, with the least amount of fuss. You can even Speedramp to a freeze frame, or into reverse motion!

Prolost Speedramp is available now for $19 on the Prolost Store.

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!