BatchFrame Blog
Focal Length
Jesse Toula on January 15, 2012 at 9:25 pm

Beyond Camera Basics - Focal Length

So here it is, the first in a series of videos called Beyond Camera Basics. My goal is to go through concepts of Still Photography and Cinematography that seem basic and easy and show that there is much more to these concepts then you might think. For the first video we will be going through Focal Length, possibly the most fundamental part of photography.

Do you know what focal length is? What is it measuring exactly? What is focal length actually referring to? Well this video will go through it all and explain in as simple terms as possible the science behind focal length. Learn about what it is as well as what it can do for you and how you can use different focal lengths to your advantage. 

This video starts at the basics assuming you have almost no knowledge of focal length and goes up to into advanced concepts that many have probably never seen. So even if you know about focal length already, there will probably be some info in here for you.

And all of this in a quick 10 minute video. Check it out!

For those of you looking for more info on the subject, here are a list of my references for this video. There is info here that I could not fit into my video, so I encourage you to do more research on your own if it interests you. If you have any questions that were not answered in the video, leave a comment and I'll try to clear things up for you.

Quick Lock
Jesse Toula on January 11, 2012 at 1:48 pm

Quick Lock

I've been doing a lot of rotoscoping recently. One thing I found myself doing constantly was locking the position property of the layer using expressions. By using expressions, I can be sure the layer isn't moving anywhere, but I am still able to work with it, unlike using the layer's 'Lock' switch. By locking the layer before I start rotoscoping, I can make sure the layer iteslf does not get shifted while moving around mask points. There's nothing worse then finishing a big chunch of roto only to realize that at some point you had moved the layer instead of a mask point. All of your keyframes would then be wrong for as long as the layer has been shifted.

Now honestly, all that it takes to fix this problem is adding a very simple expression to the layer properties you want to lock. basically you just want to take the layers current position and set it explicitly inside its expression. So if your layer's position was 960, 540, you would simple put the expression [960, 540] into the position attribute. Now even though this is pretty simple to do, its something that I found myself doing over and over again and decided I could save myself a little time by writing a script to do it. 

Just drop the Quick Lock script into your SriptUI folder and you can open the panel from the Window menu. To use it, just select the layer you want to lock, then click the button for the particular property. The button labels will update accordingly (between lock and unlock) depending on the status of the layer. If you are using After Effects CS3, the labels may not update correctly but the functionality will still be there.

Quick Lock Panel

Download Quick Lock for free over on the AE Extras Page!

Beyond Camera Basics
Jesse Toula on January 09, 2012 at 5:55 pm

It's time for Batch Frame to get the new year started with some new tools and videos. In a few days, I'll be releasing the first of what will become a series of videos called 'Beyond Camera Basics'.

With the cost of pro-sumer and professional cameras coming down, more and more people are begining to create their own content. Unfortunately many people never learn the basic camera concepts that make it possible to create quality video. In these lessons, I'm going to be starting with basic principles of lenses like foccal length and aperature as well as concepts like depth of field and circles of confusion. Eventually I'll go into things like color sampling, bit rates, video formats and more. 

Now, these aren't just going to be the usual camera 101 lessons. These are going to go way beyond the basics and into more detail then you probably need to know. I'll be explaining all the technical details about each concept and explain the reasons behind the principles. So if you're a nerd like I am and like to know how everything works, these videos are for you. And even if you aren't, these videos will be easy to follow for people with any level of experience.

I'm looking forward to getting these videos online and I hope you all will find them useful.

Also, keep your eye out for new scripts and other After Effects tools that will be online soon.