Part 4: Add a professional touch with Character Generation
(Part 4 of 5)
What is Character Generation?
Character generation is the fancy text and graphics animation that you see on the News and other TV programs. It’s also the graphics that you see in the lower third of the screen, or in the left or right corner of your TV. It usually lets you know what station you’re watching or what’s coming up next.
Adding moving text and graphics to your video productions really polishes your work all together, and adding it can be as simple as owning a computer with PowerPoint installed. Ottis uses PowerPoint through his titling computer that is connected to the Datavideo SE-2000 switcher via the DVI-D port. He uses it for animations like rolling credits and show ID.
Here’s how to add basic CG with PowerPoint just like Ottis did using the SE-2000 switcher:
Step 1: Prep in PowerPoint:
- Prepare your slides – Overlaying graphics and text on your footage works best if the backgrounds in your PowerPoint slides are black. Make sure that your text or graphics do not contain black as they will disappear when they are overlaid.
- Set up templates for different shows or events – You can save different slideshow templates and edit them right before you go live. Making a template that has all the logo’s and animation that you want already done saves time and allows for easy rehearsal when you cycle through slides. It’s better to set up templates rather try to create new slideshows and animations at your shoot. Doing this will help workflow whether you are going live or taping.
Step 2: Computer to Switcher
- Get the appropriate DVI-D adaptor for your computer (MAC or PC) as not all DVI-D outs on computers are the same size.
- While the computer and SE-2000 switcher are off, connect to the DVI-D in.
- Turn the switcher on first then the computer. This is to help make sure each unit recognizes the other properly.
Step 3: Configuring the Overlay
- What makes everything come together is the Luminance Key feature in the SE-2000 switcher. Luminance key works in a similar fashion to Chromakey, only Luminance refers to keying out shades of black or white and Chroma deals with keying out specific colors, usually green or blue.
- Once you set the Luminance to key out black, (Select the range to 28 in the Luminance settings in the menu ), you’ll easily be able to see the overlaid text and graphics in the preview or program screen.
Here’s a video sample of one of Ottis’s finished results:
See Part 5 of this article: Editing and Distributing