All posts by Glenn.Clarkson

The Fantastic and the Invisible – Ken Turner on VFX

Our April meeting is The Fantastic and the Invisible – Ken Turner on VFX, at Film Oxford on Thursday 16th April, 7:30pm .

Ken is an award winning VFX supervisor and Animation Director with almost 20 years experience working in TV and Games. He is sometime CG supervisor at Lexhag in london and runs his own business DesignImage.

He will present a range of work from high budget TV BBC dramas to micro budget sci-fi shorts, using a variety of software.(he uses Photoshop almost every day!)

His talk  is a semi technical presentation with ‘how we did it’ VFX shot breakdowns (including the recent Poldark. and Bafta winning “the Fades” ). He will cover a range of techniques: matte painting, invisible mending, creatures, motion graphics, and more. Plus introduce Blackmagic’s (free) compositing software Fusion.

There will be time for questions including tips for you’re planning a  VFX or animation project.

Work done on current TV series –  Poldark

Also from the “The Paradise”


Joint meeting with Digital Film Editors Oxford

Meeting Report: Augmented Reality – Traak!

John Twycros and Eric White show of ar1 . Eric kicked off with the artistic concept behind the product which was influenced by Avant-garde artists in the early 20th century creating machines to create an artistic audio experience.

Traak uses a specially created app, and a hacked mobile, in an enclosed headset, with high quality headphones, to give a video overlay of reality (as the eyes would see), with superimposed 3d graphical explosions that are triggered by patterns printed on cubes.

ar2I would described it as like downing 10 espressos at once – or an endorphin stimulation device – Richard

Thank you Richard.

Augmented Reality – Traak!

augmentThis Thursday at Film Oxford (7:30pm) we look at the fusion of video production with wearable technology and will have a presentation of Traak! an augmented reality project produced by researchers from Oxford Brookes. Augmented Reality is a cutting edge technology popularised by Google Glass, and being explored by a range of tech companies.

The discussion will be relevant to anyone interested in audio visual production, design, animation and app development. This session will provide a hands on experience and discussion of this emerging future technology that allows great potential for creative digital production.

Traak! is a wearable device that allows users to ‘play’ an animated futurist sculpture and create the ‘future sounds’ of cities. In this interactive installation, participants can use Traak! to explore the possibilities of Augmented Reality (AR) and reconsider their relationship with art, technology, and the environment.

Meeting Report: February Meeting

This month we invited you to share your favourite websites, blogs, short videos and e-zines with the group. You shared with us these websites and short films:

Short Films:
Zoe Broughton
Keith Hoult

Resource websites:
Film Oxford Talent & Crew Skills Database
Shooting People crew recruiting
BBC Technology – test your broadband speed

Inspirational websites:
MUBI curated online cinema
BBC News in pictures
The Boston Globe ‘Big Picture’
Completing Barcelona’s ‘Sagrada Familia’ basilica temple

Industry event:
BVE broadcast and production technology event

Thank you to everyone who contributed to this evening of resources.

Prize Draw
FebruaryDuring the evening we ran one of our prize draws for a one-year free subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud. The lucky winner, John Lewis, was presented his prize by Richard Duriez and Dariusz  Dziala. Congratulations John, enjoy your year of Creative Cloud free subscription!

February meeting

Thursday, February 19 – Film Oxford, 54 Catherine Street, Oxford OX4 3AH

This month we are inviting you to share your favourite websites, blogs, short videos and e-zines with the group. Just bring along the URLs and we will display the sites so that everyone can view them.

The sort of sites we are thinking of are technical resources for developers, film-makers, designers and editors; domestic resources; entertainment; news and current affairs; education. In fact without limit (but keep the party clean and the videos short!).

Prize draw
During the evening we shall be running one of our prize draws for a one-year free subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud. Bring along your business card or fill in one of our blanks at the door. You have to be in it to win it!

We also have a number of t-shirts and other Adobe collateral to give away!

Meeting Report: January meeting

This month we had two very interesting talks and demos by members Sathya Vijayendran and Guy Henstock.


Creating a title sequence using After Effects and Photoshop by Sathya Vijayendran
Satya’s Vimeo Channel

Sathya Vijayendran Sathya showed the title sequence he created for his comedy web series, “Robby’s Guide To Picking Up Chicks”. The sequence, based on a bathroom wall heavily covered in graffiti, showed animated images and text for the title. He had created this using both Photoshop and After Effects. In particular exploiting the layers in Photoshop that transition as layers when imported into After Effects.

In his demonstration Sathya created a simple version of the sequence by first starting with an empty image large enough to move around in for Super HD. Filling this empty image with a light background colour as a base, Sathya then went on to add an image of texture using partial opacity to blend the texture with the background colour. He continued to add layers of different opacity introducing items of graffiti on the wall, finally adding an image of a toilet roll holder with a small degree of drop shadow to complete the background of a bathroom wall covered with graffiti.

Saving the image as a PSD with all layers available in Photoshop, Sathaya imported it into After Effects where he proceeded to add text, this he floated onto the stage with various animated settings, including the introduction of an image. Sathya made various adjustments to the positioning and time line, as well as moving some of the Photoshop created layers, to get the desired presentation on the screen for his title sequence.

A great demonstration of the capabilities of Photoshop and After Effects working in partnership. Thank you Sathya, great job!

See the original video Robby’s Guide To Picking Up Chicks – Episode 1, “You’re More Important Than Her!” with the full title sequence.


Becoming a Google Business View Photographer by Guy Henstock

Guy HenstockGuy  Henstock demonstrated how he had created the Business View of Film Oxford for Google Maps (view here by clicking on the front door).

He talked about how Business View is used by businesses to show visitors inside their premises using 3600 imagery. Google integrate Business Views into their Street View on Google maps.

Guy has become a Google Trusted Photographer working for Software Assistance. He talked about the extremely strict set of criteria that Google require him to follow when executing an assignment recording a client’s establishment. In particular Google require a very specific set of equipment to be used in a highly prescribed manner. He went on to point out that Google are working in partnership with photographers all over the world and obviously require consistency for their software and systems to work without issues.

He talked about how the images are taken using a fish-eye lens, shooting the first  image facing North, 10 feet away from the front door, with second image being 4 feet from the door, then 4 feet inside the front door. Images have to be submitted without editing, the process consisting of uploading to Google using Picasa. Google then perform an extreme quality control process, returning for re-shooting and submission, any sequence of images not matching standards.

This Business View service is new to Europe but very widely used in the USA. The inclusion of Business View sequences in Google Maps is thought to aid SEO rankings. Businesses also use the sequences in their own websites. To view Guy’s portfolio at Software Assistance  click here and scroll down the page.

Thank you Guy, yet another great talk and demonstration!

Media courses for 2015

Media courses that you may be interested in are now signing up for early 2015, Short and weekend courses; 1-week, 5-week, 8-week and 10-week courses. Click on the links in the listing headings to get full details of the course.

Short and weekend courses

Smart Styling for the Web
Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and client-side scripts have transformed the look of the Web. This intermediate course in Web Design and Development takes visual form and actions to greater depth. It provides hands-on practical knowledge and experience of applying style to the latest standard CSS3 alongside HTML5 and the public JavaScript library jQuery. 24th – 25th January, 9am – 5pm.

Directing Drama for Film and TV
This course, focuses on the principles of directing drama, providing techniques for working with actors, capturing their performances and planning the most sympathetic coverage.
Sat/Sun, 24th-25th January, 10am – 6pm

DSLR Cinematography
This is very much a hands-on interactive workshop, with real-time filming using multiple DSLRs and equipment, with an emphasis on making your footage look ‘cinematic’.
Sat, 31st January, 10.00 am-5.30pm

Festival Screening Course – new*
Don’t get left on the shelf, get your films shown! Aimed at those with a short production ready to submit to festivals. Sunday 1st February, 10-4:30pm

Adobe Premiere Editing
Learn practical editing skills using this leading software package, (suitable for PC and Mac users). Sat/Sun, 7th-8th February, 10am-4:30pm

Introduction to Photoshop
This course introduces digital imaging concepts and techniques using Adobe Photoshop. Sat/Sun, 14th-15th February, 10am – 4pm

Adobe After Effects
This course is a great introduction to leading industry special effects and compositing program. Sat/Sun, 21st-22nd February, 10am – 5pm

Location Sound Workshop
Location Sound workshop focuses on both mixing and recording; it looks at a wide variety of microphones and techniques, and gives the theoretical background you need.
Sat/Sun, 21st-22nd February, 10am – 5pm

Introduction to Digital Video
This enjoyable taster course is a hands-on basic introduction to using digital video cameras and editing. Sat/Sun, 28th February – 1st March, 10:00 – 4:30pm.

Reel Women – Intro Video Production for Women
This course is designed for women wishing to make their first step into video production.
Tues 3rd – Thurs 5th March, 9:30am-2:45pm

HD Camera
A one-day workshop aimed at those who have some experience of semi-pro/pro camcorders, but want to create better images. Sat, 7th March, 10-5:30pm

Lighting Workshop
This course introduces students to the principles of lighting, giving you a better understanding and confidence to deal with different lighting situations. Sun, 8th March, 10-5:15pm

Creative VJ – Make Music for your Eyes!
At the crossroads between DJing, live cinema and the visual arts, VJing is a truly 21st century art form. Thurs/Fri 12th-13th March, 11am-6pm

Introduction to Screenwriting
For those wishing to write their first screenplay or touch up on writing skills.
Sat/Sun, 14th-15th March, 10am-4pm

Film Producing on a Microbudget
This course strips away the mystique of film making and explains in a very practical way how to make and then market your film. Sat/Sun, 21st-22nd March, 10-4:30pm

Stop Motion Animation
Create stop motion animations using different media and techniques, in this creative hands-on workshop. Sat/Sun, 11th – 12th April, 10am – 4pm.

Final Cut Pro X
FCP X can prepare footage for quick, automatic fixes of defects such as camera shake, rolling shutter and colour balance. Sat/Sun, 14th – 15th March, 10am-4.30pm

Responsive Web Design for the mobile web
Responsive Web Design creates websites for visitors equally from the smallest smartphone to the large desktop, without multiple versions of the site. We explore the issues and create websites that adapt to their environment by using fluid, proportion-based grids, flexible images and media queries. In addition we look at displaying only essential content when the viewing environment is limited on a small screen smartphone. 11 – 12 April, 9am – 5pm.

3 Day Video Production Course
This new intro covers the whole process of video production from start to finish; over the 3 days you will produce an advert for a community group. Mon, Tue, Wed, 13th, 14th, 15th April, 9:30 – 2:45pm.

Advanced Javascript
This course takes your knowledge beyond the fundamentals of Javascript and jQuery.
Advanced topics such as closure, scope, module patterns, hoisting, and working with a prototypal language, are introduced. We discuss strategies for managing scope and introduce encapsulation, namespaces, module patterns and closure. Saturday 20th June, 10am – 5pm.

1-week courses

Shooting Break
This introduction to video-making covers the whole process of video production from the initial idea through to a finished film. 1 Week Course, starts 23rd March, 10am- 4.30pm

5-week courses

Shooting Documentaries
In this practical hands-on course students are taught the main principles of Documentary Production before going on to research, develop, schedule and plan a short documentary.
5 week course: 16th February -16th March, 7pm-9:30pm

8-week courses

New Screenwriting Workshop
A bespoke discussion-based follow-up to the Introduction to Screenwriting Course in which more individual attention is given to developing each participant’s project from concept to finished script. 8 weeks course, starts 18th January -15th March 2015, 6:15pm-8:15pm

Shooting Video
Film Oxford’s flagship beginner’s course is designed for those wishing to make their first step into video production. 8 Weeks Evenings and 2 Weekends, starts 3rd February, 7-10pm

10-week courses

Intermediate Web Design and Development
Cascading Style Sheets and client-side scripts have transformed the look of the Web, giving designers and developers outstanding control of website presentation and behaviour. This course follows on from our Introduction to Web Design and Development Course and provides hands-on practical knowledge and direct experience in applying the styling specified in CSS3 alongside HTML5 and the public JavaScript library jQuery.
19 January – 23 March, 5:30pm – 8pm.

Going Further with Javascript
This is a second course on web programming and shows how JavaScript, PHP and MySQL may be used to build attractive, dynamically populated websites. The course reviews key ideas of basic JavaScript and extends knowledge of the language. It ccontinues by introducing PHP and command-line MySQL. The course finishes with an introduction to dynamic window and data exchange – key technologies in the modern Web. 19 January – 23 March, 7pm – 9pm.

Introduction to Dynamic Websites
This introductory course enables students to supplement their skills and experience of website design, offering hands-on practical knowledge of PHP and MySQL and providing experience of designing and building a Content Management System for a website, using a visual artist’s online gallery as the example. 21 January – 25 March, 5:30pm – 8pm.


January meeting

We return to Film Oxford in Catherine Street for the New Year with two new talks and demonstrations. Thursday 15th January, 7:30pm.

Becoming a Google Business View Photographer by Guy Henstock

googleTrustedGuy will be speaking about Google Business View and his experience of becoming a Google Trusted Photographer, the steps required, the equipment necessary, the process of a shoot, the tools used to create a tour and the strict rules that Google impose.  He will also demonstrate how a tour can be imbedded in a website and his own Adobe Edge Animate solution for embedding multiple tours.


Creating a title sequence using After Effects and Photoshop by Sathya Vijayendran

Sathya-VijayendranSathya is a video editor and shooter and motion graphics designer recently relocated from the USA, previous clients range from small companies to conglomerates in public relations, marketing and advertising such as L’Oréal, Microsoft, Google, Pfizer, 1-800-Flowers, Edelman and MWW Group.

He has recently released his comedy web series, “Robby’s Guide To Picking Up Chicks”, a parody on the dating show, which he wrote, directed, filmed, and edited. He will show the title sequence and do a walkthrough of the steps of creating it in Photoshop and After Effects. Sathya’s vimeo channel

Christmas drinks – 11th December

We have brought forward our usual meeting date by one week for December so that we can meet for drinks before the busy Christmas period really gets underway.

Thursday 11th December, 7:30pm at The Royal Blenheim, 13 St Ebbes, Oxford, OX1 1PT.

The staff and members of our sponsors Film Oxford will be joining us. A totally social evening, we hope that you can come.

The Royal Blenheim
The pub has 10 hand pumps for real ales from White Horse brewery plus a variety of guest ales.

Meeting Report: November meeting

This month three of our members gave short talks and a demo. We also had three raffle winners!

Magic Lantern – John Twycross
John demonstrated the various facilities that can be enabled on a Canon camera by downloading the open source application Magic Lantern.

mlMagic Lantern can be downloaded from, it is a free software add-on that runs from the SD/CF card and adds a host of new features to Canon EOS cameras that weren’t included from the factory by Canon.

Most popularly known for its video features Magic Lantern also adds an array of features for stills photography. John showed amongst other features the so called ‘Intervalometer’ which allows you to take pictures or movies at fixed interval times. He also showed how Magic Lantern can enable fine control for ISO, shutter, Kelvin white balance and other image settings.

Magic Lantern’s features range from audio through video control to image overlays and display tweaks that adjust the live view on screen. The application is downloaded onto the SD/CF card which also records the cameras exposures and therefore is a temporary installation whilst the card is in place. Removing the card restores the camera back to its factory settings. Thank you to John who also pointed out that Magic Lantern mentions that similar functions are available for Nikon users at

Low light photography – Roger Gilboy
Photographer Roger Gilboy talked about his approach to photography under low light conditions telling us that he is “no fan of flash”, preferring to “shoot in natural light”.

Roger discussed the factors affecting exposure, shutter speed, aperture and ISO rating commenting that no one factor could be considered on its own as the three work together. He showed excellent examples of how high shutter speeds can freeze movement whereas slow shutter speeds can be employed to create mood and motion.

Antique-sellerFurther examples (like this on the right) showed how low f-stops open the aperture to its fullest, causing low depth of field which can be used to isolate a subject on a shallow plane. High f-stops closing down the aperture result in deeper field of focus where much more of the image is sharp.

Finally Roger discussed the benefits and drawbacks of high ISO speeds which enable pictures to be captured in low light conditions but can introduce  noise if the highest settings are used. Originally used to signify film speed the ISO setting on a digital camera amplifies the the sensitivity of the camera’s sensor. Thank you Roger and congratulations on your two awards this year

tubeGetting the best out of YouTube – Dave Perry
Dave Perry made a welcome return to update us on the new features available at YouTube.

“Google change and update YouTube regularly” he said. A host of new capabilities have been added since Dave’s previous talk in April last year. In particular YouTube has been focusing on becoming very mobile friendly and adopting the wide screen format. Music is the most popular subject followed in popularity by entertainment with a very high volume of gaming. Electronics are the most significant subject in the marketing arena.

YouTube is the world’s largest video sharing service with over 100 hours of video being uploaded every minute and 6 billion hours of video watched every month. the default maximum duration for YouTube videos is 15 minutes and the average is 4.4 minutes. Dave pointed out that statistics show that long and very short videos are most unpopular.

Dave advised all who want to upload their own videos to YouTube should verify their account as this unlocks a lot of additional capabilities. Creating titles, tags and key words are vital to users finding your videos; Dave talked about ‘video-friendly keywords’ which help to drive views and engagement. Thanks Dave, another great update!

Dave’s slides are available to download from this link.

Raffle winners

UG-NovemberThis month we held our twice yearly free raffle. The first prize of one-year’s subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud was won by Laurence Wright congratulations Laurence, enjoy Creative Cloud. Runners up were Melville George and Daniel Gill.

In the picture here are (left to right) John Twycross, Dave Perry, Laurence Wright, Daniel Gill, Melville George and Roger Gilboy.