Rudi, my 2 and a half year old son, dropped by my office yesterday afternoon, armed with Cranky Crane and a few other little toys.

He found comfort lying on my muslin green screen that I have hanging over my big freestanding whiteboard. Watching him lying there, quite contentedly playing with his toys whilst daddy taps away at the computer, I couldn't help but want to go and join him even if just for a few minutes.

But lying there on the green screen was just too good to miss, so I picked up the video camera and switched it on, and so began a quick journey into some video effects. Here's what we made together.

Rudi: "What are you doing daddy?"

Daddy: "Nothing honey, just keep on playing with your trains, daddy's just going to sit here an watch you."

Rudi: {plays with train for all of 30 seconds more while I sit, watch and film}

Rudi: "I'm going to find mummy".

Daddy: "Bye then Rudi"

Daddy: "I'll mess around with this on my own then."

So, first up, importing the original footage into after effects CC and using the Keylight Plugin to do some quick keying, refining this using the various Keylight plugin settings.

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A quick search for some background images, I found a nice little railway scene to use as the backdrop.

Applied some additional colour correcting effects and blurring to bring the composition together. My original footage was a bit shaky and couldn't be bothered to either stabilise it or map the background to the camera movements, so I figured if I chucked a load of other stuff on the screen, it would reduce the effects.

So, a load of smoke assets from Video Copilots Action Essentials for ambient atmosphere of the busy train station (not sure how many steam trains would come through here, but they were there, honest). 

Nope, not enough. 

As Rudi swings around the crane, seemed like as good an opportunity as any to chuck in a little explosion. A bit of masking, very rough, looks good enough. 

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Render out the footage.

Nope, still not enough. Bring the footage back into a new comp.

OK, let's add a whole load of graphics and pretend he's on the news, causing mayhem at a railway station. On Sodor. And the Fat Controller is pissed! Just about resisted the temptation to film a green screen of myself as a midget doing a report live from the scene.

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Found a few sky logos, built a scrolling BREAKING NEWS ticker using motion tile effects, a little lower third element and I think that will do.


Re-render out footage. Ticker is a bit quick and blurred, still not perfect, but I'm not eating into work time... onwards.

A few sound effects from FreeSFX and VideoCopilot found. Import these and footage into Adobe Audition CC. Build the sounds to the footage. Export the soundtrack.

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Everything into Adobe Premier Pro, a few more adjustments and export as a quicktime movie.

Phew, done. Really should stick to just running around the living room pretending to be a dragon, a lot less effort.