View Full Version : "Firefly" video effect

04-16-2006, 10:51 PM
if any of you have seen the show "Firefly" (which, by the way, is the greatest show ever), do you know how to do the effect like during the opening credits where they have a splitscreen but instead of a solid line separating the two images, they blur into each other. any help would be greatly appreciated as I am an aspiring filmmaker and this has really been bothering me. I'm editing with adobe premiere pro 1.5

04-16-2006, 10:51 PM
if any of you have seen the show "Firefly" (which, by the way, is the greatest show ever), do you know how to do the effect like during the opening credits where they have a splitscreen but instead of a solid line separating the two images, they blur into each other. any help would be greatly appreciated as I am an aspiring filmmaker and this has really been bothering me. I'm editing with adobe premiere pro 1.5

04-22-2006, 04:16 PM
somebody must know what I'm talking about

04-22-2006, 05:15 PM
Nope, never seen it.

Can you not just put two clips in different video tracks, Move one to the bottom half of its track, Move one to the top of its track, and set the opacity of the top one to whatever makes the overlap look ok?

Am I barking up the wrong tree??

04-22-2006, 11:56 PM

here's the video for those who've never seen it and dont know what I'm talking about

310th Falcon
04-23-2006, 04:02 AM
S! Time

Here is an website that specializes in adobe Premiere Pro stuff.
Wrigley Video Productions (http://www.wrigleyvideo.com/forum/index.php?act=idx)

Adobe Premiere Pro Tutorials (http://www.wrigleyvideo.com/videotutorial/tut_premierepro.htm)

Good luck on your project

Best Regards

04-23-2006, 09:45 PM
Looks like it's a simple alpha channel mask. The part with the action in it is a hole in the channel with a soft gradient edge, wheras the still image is the part which is solid on the channel.

Hope you understand that, cheers, Neil.

04-24-2006, 08:35 PM
i kind of understand. are you using Adobe Premiere Pro? because I am, and if so could you tell me how to do it?

04-24-2006, 11:49 PM
I'll see if I can work it out for you with a small demo today.

04-25-2006, 05:07 AM
Prepare for a lengthy post, but it's an 'Idiots Guide' to the effect, and I'm not being sarcy, it's just that I decided to write so that anybody should be able to grasp the theory, and LEARN, which is what this forum is about.

Now this may not be the quickest way, but it's simple.

So here's the demo of what I created, it's 3mb, and shows I believe a similar effect, without the text 'shine' effect...and that would take ages to explain. Anyway, here's the footage;


and here is how to do it. It may look complicated, but itis a step-by-step guide:

Ok, this is with photoshop and premiere pro.

To make this easy, follow this step-by-step.

To make the video fit correctly, we need to capture the footage from the game first. Always capture it larger than you are going to output it, as this gives you room to move it around for correct framing.

Open Fraps, and select 1024x768 (you can leave sound unticked, we wont need it for this).

Capture your footage.

Exit the game.

Open Photoshop (or your editing programme)

File New.

Type in a name for your new image, then make it 800x600, leave everything as it is is except in the tab
"Background Contents", make sure it's marked transparent.Click OK.

Now open an image that you want as the static surround image,that will always be stationary while you will (eventually) see the moving video enclosed in it.Like you've seen in the video.

Make sure it is cropped to 800x600. (You can change this later for your own projects, but just follow me here).

Go to the navigation bar and choose "Select All"

Now go to the navigation again and choose "Edit/Copy". You can now close this image.

Go back to your original image (with the transparent layer) and go "Edit/Paste"

Your image will now appear, covering the transparent image you made.

What you have effectively created is a layer. Imagine it as a piece of paper lay on top of a piece of glass.The glass is transparent, but you have now placed an opaque picture on top of it.

What we will do later is place the transparent layer, and the image onto the Premiere timeline, and have them on top of a layer of video. So how are we going to see the video? Well now we are going to cut a hole into the image that you pasted onto the "glass", so that we will be able to see the video through that hole.

Look at the toolbar on the left of the screen (I am referring to Photoshop, I presume other editing applications are the same). In CS2 the first tool down from the top of the toolbar on the left of it, is dotted rectangle.

What you are going to do is cut a hole out of the picture, so that you can see the transparent layer underneath.

So, if you look closely at the rectangle, you will see a very small arrow in the bottom right. This means you can have expanded options.Left-click and hold and you will see a drop-down menu.

Choose Eliptical Marquee Tool.

At the top of the screen in the Navigation bar, a small window saying 'feather' should have appeared.

Ok what this does is make the edge of the hole you are about to cut, softer. The larger the number the softer the edge. Experiment with this later, but for now, set the number to either 15 or 20.

Now click and hold the left button on the picture, and you will see the eliptical marquee get larger or smaller as you move the mouse around. If you get it in the wrong place, don't worry. Just let go of the left mouse button and then just click it once to reset the marquee.Or click and hold inside the marquee to drag it around.

So now about 2/3rds along the picture from the left create a marquee that marks out about a third of the picture. Don't go too near the edges as the 'softness' will bleed into them. Stay about 150px away from each edge.

Ok, you now have a rectangular marquee.

Go to the Navigation bar and choose edit/cut

Voila, you now have a hole in your picture which you can see the transparency through, this is where we will see the video.

Now 'save-as' (I chose Firefly) and make sure you keep it as a .psd (photoshop), just make sure you down compress the layers or flatten them.

Right off we go to Premiere.

Open up a new project and make sure you choose 800x600, Square Pixels and No Fields.

Create the project.

Go File/Import and choose your piece of video footage. It doesn't matter that it is larger than 800x600, again think of the Preview window, as a real window. All it is doing is framing the video. If you went up to a real window, you could look out and around. Well the same applies to the Preview (and Monitor) window. Instead, you can grab your video and movie it around to see it. It's all there, you just can't see all of it.

Do the same for the .psd file you just created (with the hole in).

When Premiere see the file it will ask you if you want to import the image as footage and the option of merged layers or choose layer. Highlight the choose layer, and set Layer 1 (that's the layer with the hole in it.Leave the default setting of 'footage' as-is.

Almost there now.

Premiere sees video on it's timeline as Video 1, video 2, video 3, video 4 etc.,

Now go back to thinking about layers. The video lines are like plates of glass. If you put video on track 1, that's what you'll see, however if you put a clip of video above it, you can't see through that clip, so track 1 gets hidden by anything stacked above it, same for 2 to 3 and 3 to 4, etc.,

Now, place your video clip on track 1 and put the image directly above it....hang on we can't see it becaus anything that is stacked above track 1 obscures it! Aha! That's why we cut a hole in the picture so we could see through it.

Now, with the video and image on the timeline, scrub along the timeline,(if you need to zoom in on the clip,drag the slider to the right at the bottom-left of the timeline between the mountains) and hey presto, we can see our video playing through the hole in the image.

Now what if the video clip is in the wrong place..easy!

I just tried this and to make it really simple, see where it says 'Video ' on the same track as the picture is, there is a tiny blank square next to the eye. Tick the square and a padlock appears, locking that video track in place.

Now, click on the video clip on the timeline (track 1) and then look at the preview window.

Because you have 'activated' the video file by clicking on it, only that will move (in a second). So left-click and hold in the preview window (anywhere) and move the video footage. You will see a white circle with a cross appear.

Move it to where you want it to and leave it there.

Job done.

Export your movie to an .avi.

One small point, when you move any clip, after you highlight it look at the source window and you will see three-tabs. Source, Effect Controls and Audio Mixer.

Just make sure that in Effect Controls, click on the Video Effects arrow and a drop down menu appears. Make sure that the little stopwatches aren't ticked.

These are keyframes and could mean that your video doesn't stay where you left it because the programme will tween it's motion to the point you dragged the clip to. Just make sure the stopwatches aren't ticked BEFORE you move the video clip.

I hope that is comprehensive enough. I tried to make it easy to follow, but something that takes about 5 minutes to do, takes way longer to write.

I have put a very small sample clip of the effect you will get by using this technique. Hope it helps, cheers, Neil.

04-25-2006, 04:10 PM
woah, it works, that's awesome, thanks a lot.

http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.userv...e8-a2b5-4645ff2a9d9d (http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.uservids&friendID=24097095&n=2&MyToken=a21ac447-e1dd-4de8-a2b5-4645ff2a9d9d)

04-25-2006, 06:15 PM
You mentioned the text "shine", might you be able to tell me how to do that too? If it would take too long, that's fine, I dont need it, I'm just curious,

04-26-2006, 08:12 AM
Well Trapcode have a plugin for After Effects (may work in Premiere don't know) called Shine.

It is what they used to create the light beams in the text you see.

You will need flashplayer to view this link:


Here is a link to their website which includes demos and the tutorials on how they created them. They range from beginner to advanced but get the plugin, and the world is your textural oyster!


04-26-2006, 04:47 PM
that looks perfect, but do you maybe know of something that costs less than $99?

04-26-2006, 09:08 PM
hmmm, ok how about a piece of paper, cut the letters out of it leaving the holes.

Then light a cigerette, blow smoke in front of holes, then light a torch behind it! Considerably less cheaper!

Ro be honest, they are production effects, and that is why they are expensive, and that is why studios use them.

Sorry, but they cost money and I know of no other tool that can do it the way shine does.

04-27-2006, 04:36 PM
well thanks anyway

i downloaded the trial version and its pretty cool so i think i'll buy the real thing

05-03-2006, 08:59 PM
i bought it and its AWESOME