How do you tell a visual story without any visuals?
This week on MacBreak Studio, Steve Martin from Ripple Training shows us how to do exactly that.
Final Cut Pro X contains a collection of generators: “generated” content that you can use in your projects. These include color solids, shapes, animated backgrounds, and one called Placeholder which can be surprisingly versatile and powerful.
The Placeholder generator is essentially a mini storyboard generator. It displays greyscale images of people and locations. In the Generator Inspector, you can quickly select how many people and what gender; the framing of those people (long, medium long, medium or close up); one of 14 environments the people are in (e.g., suburban, rural, downtown, beach); the state of the sky; and whether the people are inside or outside. You can even enable notes to appear on the bottom of the screen.
One way to use the generator is as a placeholder for a missing shot; thus the name. But you can also use it to pre visualize an entire scene – or even a complete story. It's a great tool for getting the feel for the flow of scene, and to communicate to a director, camera operator, actors, and others what you want to see in each shot. Getting the cast and crew on the same page before the shoot can save a great deal of time, money, and frustration.
You can even animate the placeholder images by applying the Ken Burns effect to move zoom in or out or move across the frame of a shot, simulating a camera move.
And by combining the Placeholder generator with Ripple Callouts, you can make them even more useful. Callouts includes arrows, circles, magnifiers, and other visual annotation tools that perfectly complement a storyboard. For example, as Steve demonstrates, you can quickly add arrows to indicate camera movement. Make sure to tune in next week when Steve will demonstrate how to modify the Placeholder generator using Motion.