Step 13: Post Production

I'm no expert in post production work, so there might be better ways of doing this. Below are the steps I took for combining all the individual frames into an animation:

Step 1:
Dump all of the footage from your cameras SD cards onto your HD. If the frames are all named properly you should be able to easily group them into folders. Be careful not to overwrite files with matching names. Once you have identified which shot you want to animate find all of the images and put them into one folder (renaming files as necessary). You should have one image per camera.

Step 2:
Launch Premiere and start a new project (other video editing programs such as Final Cut Pro will work similarly, we aren't doing anything fancy here). In the end I am going to create a 640 x 480 video, but it is a good idea to work at a slightly higher resolution in order to have some room around the edges of the shot to account for differences in camera angles. Set the width and height of the new project to 800 x 600, 30 fps, square pixels.

Step 3:
Go to Edit -> Preferences -> General. Change the value Still Image Default Duration to 5 frames. This will set every image equal to 5 frames in length upon import.

Step 4:
Go to File -> Import and select all of the images in the sequence.

Step 5:
Drag all of the image from the Project resource list into the timeline. Because the images are still at full resolution we will need to match them to the 800x600 dimensions of our project. Select all of the clips in the timeline. Right click anywhere in the selection and go to Scale To Frame Size.

Step 6:
Reorder all of the images so that they play in the proper order.

Step 7:
No matter how careful you are in setting up all of the cameras chances are that you will still need to do some aligning between frames. Locate an object closest to the center of your shot. In this example I will be aligning based on the position of XP's eyes. In the timeline drag one frame onto a layer above the preceding frame. Set the opacity of the top image to 30%. Zoom in to 100% in the program window and drag the top image until the position of the eyes line up with the image below it. Once it is in place set the opacity back to 100% and move the clip back into place. Repeat this for every frame in the animation.

Step 8:
If you scrub through the animation quickly at this point it should look fairly smooth. When played back at slower speed, however, you will still notice the jumps between frames. To eliminate this go to Video Transitions -> Dissolves -> Cross Dissolve. Drag the Cross Dissolve icon directly in between frame 1 and frame 2. Repeat this for every frame.

Step 9:
Export this sequence at 800 x 600 resolution.

Step 10:
Because we moved around some of the frames in order to align them we are left with some frames containing black edges. To fix this open up a new project and set the width and height dimensions to 640 x 480. Import the 800x600 video and re-position it masking out any sections where the edges are black.

Step 11:
Export this movie and 640x480 and you are done.

To view screen shots and all of the full resolution images in the sequence we used for this example go to:

- http://fffff.at/fuckflickr/index.php?dir=data%2FGHETTO_MATRIX_HOW_2%2F