Today was my live at five day which means me and four others animators were in the studio from 10am until 7pm, taking graphics requests from the broadcast journalism students. It was the most frenzied in the early morning for a number of reasons. Firstly it was early(ish) morning and we hadn’t quite got it together so the first 10 minutes was gathering our thoughts and then awaiting orders from “Mr Producer”: Hugh. Our first request was three weather maps to be completed in forty five minutes. This, it turned out, was a little unrealistic. We first had to create a map of Cornwall for today's and tomorrow's weather with a camera move and a nice "spreading frost" effect for one. This was tough to do quickly; purely because we had to create the assets from scratch. Things like the cloud/sun/rain icons etc. Darrien and Tom worked away in Photoshop to create the icons we needed whilst Liam created a map of Cornwall and arranged nicely in After Effects with places names of major landmarks and cities. We also used part of my title strap to signify whether it was today’s or tomorrow’s weather.
There third weather map was a surfer's forecast which was my job. I created some stylized 2D waves in Photoshop and then brought those into After Effects and separated them in 3D space, added a camera zoom some jiggling movement on the waves, a surfboard with "Surf Weather" written on it and the high tide times and a light to add something more aesthetically interesting to the flat Photoshop layers. The whole thing was supposed to resemble the kind of waves that might be seen at a play where 2D planes create the illusion of both movement and depth. It worked quite well but the initial camera move got cut of on broadcast, for what reason I don’t know, it wasn’t particularly long. Anyway, job done. An hour and a half after we were supposed to have been done. To a reasonable standard though. Gives you an idea of industry deadlines I suppose, unreasonably tight. The broadcast students must have been done three or four times; only for us to extend their deadlines.

The weather maps and surf map:

I also aided Darrien on his Turbine graphic which was going to be used to illustrate a wind farm on tomorrow's The World Tonight programme. Use of lights, pre-compose, and parenting (plus mandatory motion blur!). This ended up looking quite good, the brief had requested “The Lizard” area of Cornwall be highlighted in some way, so we took this literally and shone a spot light on it before zooming and better showing the 3 wind turbines with rotating blades and all. We also needed to create some title straps but, having left it a little too late, the broadcast journalism students couldn't make use of my animated one. So we took a still image from it and put the text on top of that instead which looked fine. At least it got used in the weather maps to announce whether it was today or tomorrow's forecast. Also they had to be saved using a certain technique were an alpha channel was made using a selection in Photoshop and then this was saved as a .targa file for their use in avid. Not sure why.

The title strap (animated):

The rest of the time I spent finalizing the title sequence I have been working on. It was all done except for the music. I had an after-thought to use some Amon Tobin for its instrumentality and dramatic dynamics. By some ridiculous fluke; the peaks of the music perfectly matched the imagery of the sequence. We took it to the newsroom and they "loved" the visuals but disliked the music (a lot from his tone of voice). So whilst my title sequence is being used (super awesome) the sound is being pulled from the old one. It sucks but another example of industry practice, compromise to please the client. A shame but I shall search for an alternative soundtrack that is more news appropriate and hopefully to their liking. The one piece of feedback we got from the industry professional was that the title sequence was good but to long in the middle between the live at five appearing and the V’splosion.

The title sequence (original soundtrack-I don't have their one):

The whole experience has been a lot of fun though a more even flow of work would've been good instead of jumping in at the deep end and then being stuck for jobs towards the end, I supposed they need certain elements sooner than others, or everything as early as possible. I can’t believe they're using my titles! I hope they continue to be used though Brian’s effort is a serious contender, a much classier and more appropriate take on news titles.