Mise En Place the most simple, repetitive tasks in television production

Every profession has a special way of preparing for the task at hand, and we’re no different in the world of media and content creation.

Ever see a professional chef organizing ingredients or sharpening knives in the preparation of dinner service? That’s called mise en place, which translates to “everything in its place.” Mis en place is every chef’s guiding principle to order and productivity. In the kitchen, all parts are laid out at the beginning so chefs don’t have to stop what they’re doing to chop garlic for each dish as it’s ordered. Each ingredient is ready for them at the outset making their dinner service swift and hassle-free.

So, what’s the best way to chop our proverbial garlic in media production? Mise en place your production!

Let’s look at two real-world examples of planning that leverage production experience, client requirements, and automation.

1. FILE IT UNDER “SIMPLE”

Department Coordinator Amy has just wrapped field production. DIT (digital imaging technician) calls from the other room, six hard drives in hand, “Hey what folder on the server do you want this on?”

It’s a tense moment, but Amy breathes a sigh of relief, she says, “I’ve got this.” Amy recalls, with a little bit of pre-planning she was able to create and implement a simple folder structure on her storage for this and every project in her studio, no matter the requirement.

Let’s look at the structure Amy made, and talk about why.

  • NAME / CLIENT IDENTIFIER
    This is top-level folder. For every client, you’ll have this folder.

    • SEASON / EPISODE / PROJECT NUMBER
      You may have more than one project for any given client. This is a sub-folder that contains a place for all the working elements of the production for each department.

      • BACKOFFICE  
        A place for admin tasks for the production. Accounting, bids, invoices, vendor and asset tracking, seating charts, call sheets, etc.
      • ASSETS  
        A home for raw assets like branding and logos, likely provided by the client.
      • EDITORIAL
        Editorial handles Video QC, delivering AVID Bins, Premiere files, LUTS. All these tasks have subfolders.
      • ELEMENTS
        In visual effects, stock elements are used for everything from atmosphere, smoke, gunshots to texture, blood splatter and fire, etc. Because of their tie to graphic work, these elements have a separate home than the other assets. (Note: there are a ton of subfolders you can create for VFX specific tasks, renders, sims, outputs and such. For now let’s keep it simple.)
      • FOOTAGE
        Source footage from the client or your production. Could be a RED camera codec, or a series of .EXR files. Subfolders _ORIGINAL and _TRANSCODED are included.
      • REFERENCE
        Reference is all the material and canon of the project that exists before you begin. This could be noted from set, source materials, reference from clients like previous episodes or style guides, show bibles on tone and presentation.

How did Amy know to create all these folders? She queried teams at the studio and came up with a universal basic folder structure. Good Work Amy!

Amy supports 10 shows, she doesn’t want to go through this manual process of creation every time a production comes through the door. With the help of her IT department, she deploys a simple script file that automatically generates the folders!

Not everyone has the infrastructure or support Amy does. But that’s okay you’re more than halfway there by coming up with and creating a folder structure, naming schema, project numbering, and a consistent way to version your work. You have actually created meaningful terms (meta-data) to search against.

Also, you don’t have to be on the IT team to script a folder structure. Anyone can recursively create a nested directory structure to include all the subfolders, with a “make directory” command in terminal. Amy’s studio only uses Apple computers. Here’s a simplified way she created those folders.

mkdir -p /nameclientidentifier/seasonepisodeproject/subfolder/

 

If you want to learn more, read this incredibly helpful and detailed post about using all the commands to create folders.

Merrel Davis Mise En Place the most simple, repetitive tasks in television production

2. LOCK REQUIREMENTS  – WHERE THERE IS A WILL THERE IS A WAY

Ambiguity kills productivity. Live action reality Producer Carlos knows it. He’s having lunch with a potential client when they say “the DP wants to do the whole project natively in 6k.” If Carlos was unprepared, he would worry his studio may not be able to take on this work.

Part of production planning is to know there’s always more than one way to skin a cat. In meetings with uncertainty, it’s best to be open steps outside of your comfort zone, and understand how flexible you can be in helping the vision.

Put yourself in Carlos’ shoes. He could be indecisive and go back to the client and say “we can’t do this!” or “you change this requirement.” Instead, producer Carlos meets with his team to vet the opportunity further. Carlos’ goal is to land the business, ensure profitability without upending the entire operation.

Carlos planned. And so can you. Before every meeting ask yourself the following questions:

How can I best prepare for the requirements of this client?  Tone, style, expectation. Do your homework. Be ready to understand what they are laying down. Be familiar with their work and the way they want it.

What resources can you leverage? This is what you know you have and can use. Locations, assets, equipment, infrastructure, talent, crew, etc.

What don’t you know? All the unknowns should be quantified. Timing, Budget, Codecs, workflow, etc.

Using these questions Carlos and his team put some R&D time into enabling a 6k workflow last year and have a comprehensive plan to offline and online certain elements of the workflow to accommodate the existing resource they have. It was part of a “ready-to-go” plan should a client ask for a bleeding edge approach.

At the follow-up meeting, Producer Carlos, accurately tells the client his studio can take on the work. He doesn’t even raise it as an issue, he knows he is leveraging the skill and infrastructure of his company. The client is onboard! It was only through Carlos’ understanding of requirements, his experience and pre-planning that he was able to use his skills of Mise en place to win the business, without incurring downtime or infrastructure investment.

By exercising basic tenants of Mise en Place, anyone can break down and understand all the repetitive but necessary tasks of a production. And isn’t that a relief?

 

Crush a Car with VFX!

We’re taking you on a quick journey to explore how we created this awesome car-crush VFX shot!

We’ll cover plenty of techniques in this mini-tutorial that will help you build your very own VFX shot from start to finish.

We used 3ds Max and After Effects for this, however, we’ve ensured that you will be able to follow along and use the same workflow in almost any other 3D software like Blender.

This is our first Davesplanation episode, so let us know if you want to see more!

Let’s get started:

You can download the car model here if you are a Pro User

For Pro’s we have another car model you can download here

Find the Crate’s Camera Shaker Script Here

The Sound Effects  used are all available on SoundsCrate

New Anime FX!

Anime FX are some of the most fun assets you can use in your projects. They can be used in animations, films, and motion-graphics projects. Our Anime FX are great for exaggerating motion or adding impact. They can be used subtly or deployed in a spectacular fashion. We just added 20 New Anime FX to our libraries, ready for you to download!

Check out this example from our latest show, VFXperiments where we utilize some Anime FX in the title animation.

If you were tasked with creating a similar title card you might not think to use Anime FX but with some simple coloring and texturing Adrian was able to make them appear like a more retro-cartoon animation. Notice how the dust elements exaggerate the motion of the letters, the bubbles add to the vibe of the UFO and the liquid gives the end of the animation an extra touch of fun? Find how you want to animate your titles and then add these effects on afterwards, blending the two, and you will have an amazing project.

 

Think outside of the box when you use these! You can add on to pre-existing animations, like our Lower Thirds Script  or in tandem with some Text Animation like this Bouncy Text Effect in AE

 

However you choose to utilize them, you’ll have a fun time. Enjoy!

download these anime and cartoon effects

Download the Powerful Lower Thirds Script for After Effects

Download Crate’s Lower Thirds Script here (Pro)

Ever wondered how to create lower thirds in After Effects? Pro members can now download the latest After Effects script to generate your own customised lower thirds!

For those new to the term, lower thirds are the banners that overlay the base of a video, containing text that helps provide information. This can be the name of the person on-screen, context to some archive footage, or even as the countdown card for a Top 10 video!

Download Crate's Lower Thirds After Effects Script

Download our script today, and create your own lower-thirds with our one-click solution!

With an astonishing 50 templates to choose from and a huge range of customisations to make, you will have everything you need to create the lower-thirds that matches your branding perfectly. So whether you’re editing for a sports programme, an exciting tech-startup or your own YouTube channel, our script is here to give you a professional look you deserve within minutes!

Download Crate's Lower Thirds After Effects Script

Our main categories each feature their own range of unique designs:

  • Artistic lower thirds
  • Corporate lower thirds
  • Geometric/Modern lower thirds
  • Floral lower thirds
  • Minimalistic lower thirds
  • Sporty lower thirds
  • Tech lower thirds

Let’s take a look at the interface, and see what tools will be at your disposal.

Download Crate's Lower Thirds After Effects Script

Category: Tell us what your video is focusing on! We’ll then display a variety of different themes for you to choose from which have each been individually designed to fit your needs.

Logo: If we’ve featured an option for you to add your branding in a specific template, here is where you select the specific layer for us to use in the lower third.

Title: Type in what you want the viewer to read!

Subtitle: If the template supports a subtitle, this is the smaller text that will usually appear beneath the title, such as a date, or a job title.

Colour pickers: Use the colour picker to help show off your brand!

Smart Colour Change: This special tool will change the colour of similar elements included in the design, so it automatically matches your picked colour style.

In/Out: Decide exactly when you want the lower-third to appear and disappear!

Create New Comp: When deselected, the lower third will be directly imported into the current open composition. When turned on, it is built in a separate composition.

Create: Once you’re happy with all of your settings, hit this to let the magic happen!

 

Installing the script is a swift process. Just drop both the “Crate’s Lower Thirds.jsx” and “images” folder into your After Effects > Scripts folder Open up After Effects, and run the script by heading through File -> Scripts -> Crate’s Lower Thirds

We are excited to see how you make use of this lower-thirds generator!

If you’re interested in our other scripts, check out our easy looping animation script.

 

 

Download 4K Ground Fog Effects

Download 4K ground fog and mist effects here.

If you too find yourself entranced by the peaceful and fluid motion of wispy smoke, you’re in luck! We’ve just released a fantastic bundle of 10 production-ready fog effects, all ready for you to download right away.

Each asset has been pre-keyed, so you can drop these into your composition and make use of the built-in transparent background without any extra preparation.

The 4K resolution also means you will be able to flexibly scale these effects without any noticeable loss in quality.

Download 4K Ground Mist Video Effects

Create an eerie atmosphere by adding these to your shots. We’ve angled these effects so that they will fit onto the ground of your scene and match the perspective perfectly.

We even have several variations in style, such as slow-motion and turbulent!

You can even get creative with the unique appearance of these mist effects, and build an awesome sci-fi portal effect!

Download 4K Ground Mist Video Effects

Want to see how these were made? Check out our first ever episode of VFXperiments, where we take you behind the scenes and show you how we made some of these insanely cool assets.

We’re excited to see what you create with these effects! If you’re interested to see more of ProductionCrate’s content, check out our UFO effects!

 

 

 

 

Download Apocalypse Matte Painting VFX

Download Apocalypse VFX matte painting assets here

ProductionCrate has just released a huge new bundle of apocalyptic assets!

Transforming an entire scene into a wasteland is one of the most enjoyable VFX projects you can take on. You can bring destruction to buildings, roadways, cars, plants, and just about anything that you like, taking inspiration from the Walking Dead, the Umbrella Academy or 28 Days Later. Though often this can involve many hours of tedious work to create each individual feature of the scene.

Thankfully, we’re here to help. We’ve created over 50 set extension assets to help you construct your post-apocalyptic VFX shots. Let’s take a look at some!

Download HD Apocalypse VFX Assets

This apocalyptic city is perfect for distant set extensions. All our assets have been pre-keyed and are ready for you to import into almost any compositing software, whether that is After Effects, Hitfilm, Fusion or Premiere Pro. We even have several different lighting variations, so that you can choose the one that best matches the environment of your shot.

Download HD Apocalypse VFX Assets

We also have over 25 damaged car assets for you to download and composite onto your empty roads. There are two different car types, all with a huge range of angles, lighting conditions and shadow mattes – so you can be sure that these will blend into your shot without any trouble. For even more variation, you can even change the hue and saturation of the car paint! Download these destroyed car set extension effects here. 

Download HD Apocalypse VFX Assets

We’ve also added some awesome large-scale smoke plume graphics! These PNG effects are perfect for distant smoke and are incredibly easy to use with their transparent backgrounds. We also have several HD animated smoke plumes if you want to include motion in these effects which you can download here. Use these to help create an atmosphere in your scene that no other practical effect can!

Download HD VFX Smoke Plume Assets

Time for an in-depth look at how you can composite these into your scene! Chris and Adrian cover all the techniques you will need in this especially awesome Saturday Morning tutorial:


We’ll love to see what you can create with these stunning effects! If you want to learn how you can composite a nuclear blast into this post-apocalyptic landscape, check out this tutorial here.