Create a VFX breakdown video

DreamArchitect Website User Posts: 595 Enthusiast
HI guys,
I've seen quite  few Visual effects breakdown videos out there and was just wondering what approach people take to making these. Is it just a bunch of editting and visual effects to show off how...well how you did a bunch of edditing and visual effects or are people using some little tricks and perhaps screen recording software? Or maybe something completely different entirely


  • SimonKJones
    SimonKJones Moderator Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 4,450 Enthusiast
    Generally it depends what you're wanting to show. Most breakdowns are either simple wipes or slightly fancier animations from one version of a shot to another, sometimes through multiple iterations. If you want to actually educate people at the same time then some UI, titles or voiceover work helps.
    For the exploded HF2 trailer we released late last year we mixed together a whole bunch of techniques:
    That was a little fancier as it was also serving as a promo.
    For Extraction Protocol I went the voiceover route, which is a good way to get more information across:
    Then you have more standard breakdowns which mix up simple wipes with some fancier transitions:
    Of course, simple wipes are all you need when you have VFX at that level. :)
  • Triem23
    Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 19,022 Ambassador
    edited April 2014
    For this breakdown, I used the final render of that iteration of the shot (it changed significantly in later versions), and also rendered out the shot of just the camera move and BG layers, as well as creating a second camera and doing the shot where the camera dollies around to show the perspective setup.
    PNG files were exported of each of the elements from both cameras.
    My primary editor is Sony Vegas Pro. I imported all my media, using Vegas's "Track Motion" function to set up the Picture-in-Picture. Text objects were created for each of the two font types, duplicated, and edited for each text-slide. VASST Ultimate S Pro was used to quickly assign a basic wipe transition to every clip on the timeline. The few cuts were then manually replaced, and the variant "3D fly-in/out" transitions manually reassigned.
    Nothing terribly complicated, and the entire thing could have been assembled in Hitfilm, but my familiarity with Vegas, and the automation power of Ultimate S in my workflow meant I could assemble this far more quickly. Heck, batch-processing the wipe transitions alone saved me at least an hour of edit time.
    Wipes and dissolves are good for breakdowns because seeing the next layer overlay helps you see the difference more clearly than a cut. I used text rather than voice over for several reasons: first, I could use Ultimate S to just make all media the same length--this breakdown has very robotic pacing. With VO, I would have been cutting to varied lengths, depending on how long I talked, which would be a more complicated edit. I also did this at a coffee shop waiting for my fiancée to get off work and go to dinner. Figured the people around me didn't need to hear me blather, and that the viewers of the breakdown didn't need to hear the ambient noise of the coffee shop. Also, with simple, large text, I figured if a viewer wished, playback could be paused on playback for close study of a slide, rather than trying to click back to try to re-hear something spoken.
    I did not used screen capture software. I believe Orange Pekoe used screen capture software to assemble elements for his "Debris Field" breakdown, but he also did a lot of editing.
  • DreamArchitect
    DreamArchitect Website User Posts: 595 Enthusiast
    Yeah it was stuff like the shots showing 3d setup of shots and the like I was interested in more than anything. Thanks for the tips both of you.
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