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The words visual effects and graphics probably make you think of films like "Toy Story" and "Avatar." And while those projects do feature groundbreaking visuals and stunning special effects, that kind of work also requires serious training and resources. More realistically for your project, VFX and GFX can correct minor problems that arise in production. Maybe there’s a boom in the shot or a camera reflection in a window that you couldn’t deal with on set or simply didn’t notice at the time. These are the “fix it in post” issues that your editor should be able to touch up using one of the major programs.

Photo: Sean Devine


Subtlety is crucial in the delicate art of corrections. For basic problems, Adobe After Effects should be able to do the trick. It can even do a little more, but you set off on that path at your own risk. An editor proficient in After Effects should be able to fix issues like image stabilization, unintentional window reflections and that goddamn boom in the frame. Ask your editor about tracking, masking and rotoscoping – and maybe brush up on those techniques yourself so you know what to look for in an answer. However, when doing these corrections less is almost always more. Maybe you have perfectionist tendencies and your inner Kubrick tells you that every shot could be better. Most of the time, it’s not as bad as you think.


Motion graphics design probably sounds really complicated – or maybe not if you’ve been doing it in some form or another since you were eight years old. Once you’ve corrected the visuals for your project, you can try to play around with graphics for your titles. You’ll get some pretty killer results with a basic understanding of keyframes and a bit of rhythm (yay – technology). While you probably won’t be able to recreate the pop-up map of the Seven Kingdoms in “Game of Thrones,” you could achieve something along the lines of “Birdman.” If you really want some motion graphics, that’s a little more advanced but not totally impossible. The tutorials here and here can be applied to your project’s titles to give them a little more pop. Even if you have a graphics wizard on your team, the cardinal rule still holds: your titles need to fit your story and tone.

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