Animation progress: Import, Export, Repeat.

Production designer James makes some last minute adjustments to the set

Production designer James makes some last minute adjustments

The second stage of editing on my NFTS graduation animation, in which the live action background rushes are assembled according to our original animatic, has been completed. The backgrounds from the first shoot were done a few weeks ago, and given to the animator as a low-res .mov so that she could start work on the line drawings and getting the early stages of the animation started. This finished sequence will now replace that half-finished version in the first layer of her after-effects timeline.

Handles have also been added to a duplicate sequence to be graded (to allow colouring and compositing to start) so that they're available for any extensions to the head or tail of a shot, should they turn out to be necessary - even though we timed everything as near as possible during the animatic phase. The film was shot with this in mind, so overall the sequence with the handles that will be graded is almost twice as long as the animatic and final film, though it's the same number of shots so it shouldn't be a major additional burden on the grading - and notes will be made on the EDL on which frames (multiple of 10 for easy trimming purposes) at the start and end of a shot are the handle.

We'll be exporting a full res (1920 x 1080) TARGA sequence from the online suite because the school edit suites only have Sony HVR-M15Es and we're not linked to any of the higher-res decks, and once I've removed the handles I'll be giving my animator a TARGA sequence (plus any additional frames as necessary)... so it seems to make sense. To us, and that's possibly what counts the most. It's all about the trial and error really - the way we're going about it may not be the most efficient, but given the resources we have plus the need for the animator and editor to have immediate access to the graded handles once the grader's left the job (he's a former student of the school - grading a grad project at this point in the year is a tricky proposition) it's what we've come up with.