Editing Animated Films with Timecode

Alot of people are oblivious to the importance of timecode on large scale productions. Editing software now has become pretty powerful, and so editors often work from the highres video sequence, which hides a few timecode/referencing steps from them. Animated films complicate this process due to the fact that each shot is created one by one with their own start frames (very much like editing footage shot on a DSLR), which generally means you can have upward of 1200 movie files/clips/image sequences or ‘tapes’ all with their own timecodes, etc.


Timecode is effectively a piece of Metadata stored in the header of your frame sequence or video file. It is used all the time by editing and grading software to match or sync video files. It is also specific to weather or not you are working at 24, 25, 29.97 or 30fps, etc. It is broken into HH:MM:SS:FF where FF is frame number. So as FF reachs your fps it will roll over to SS. So at 25fps, 00:00:00:24, next frame would be 00:00:01:00.

Editors may vary, some edit from 01:00:00:00 vs the UK TV editors who often work from 10:00:00:00. Some in feature films edit Reel 1 from 01:00:00:00, Reel 2 from 02:00:00:00, etc etc. If you are an avid user the videos imported are most likely converted to an internal format (often DNxHD) and the start frame is set to 01:00:00:00 (unless you have specified differently). Default movs created from FFMPeg are more than likely going to be 00:00:00:00, which means if you import that into Avid your edited file and your orginal source file would now be 1hr out. This discprency in the timecode, that you may not have noticed has changed, could have knock on effects futher down the pipeline when you plan to re-link to the highres footage or if you intend to switch your footage out with a .dpx sequence with its own timecode. Continue Reading →

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Nuke Node Collection

This is just a collection of useful grouped nuke node’s that I have created. I could have saved them out as .gizmo files (and maybe I will at some point) but to keep it simple you can just copy and paste the code from this blog directly into your .nk script. So what do I have below:

  • RGBA Extractor
  • Feathered ZSlice
  • Error Catch
  • Chromatic Aberration

RGBA Extractor (ID Matte)

RGBA Extractor Its basically a modified shuffle node, that lets you extract either the R,G,B or A channels from an image or any combination of all of them. It automatically detects the resolution of the incoming image and reformat’s itself to match. It also goes on with a few simple extras, such as an erode to grow or shrink the resulting matte, you can invert it, or even just be given an edge of that mask. Continue Reading →

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Techniques to Maximise your Savings

Its national savings month here in South Africa, and not that I am a Financial Adviser in anyway, I do feel I have a few tips and methods to boosting your savings. Let me preface this post by saying, saving needs you to start changing your current habits. I believe in the moto, ‘What gets measured gets managed’. So often banks and advisors tell you to setup automatic debit orders, but I just see this as loosing control and resigning yourself from your financial matters. So lets start measuring and managing instead!

Maximising Savings

The heading above is actually the wrong way to look at savings. Do not try to maximise your savings, try to minimise your spending.  Unless you are investing long term in unit trusts or stocks, bank accounts will simply never give you the sort of ‘growth’ that curbing your spending can. My combined interest on my personal bank accounts averaged R300 ($30) each month last year. Most people will easily spend that in a single day, after buying coffee on the way to work, snacks, and then dinner and a movie. In this example not going out for one night per month saves you more than your bank account will earn in interest. Don’t worry I have not become a hermit, I love a few beers after work with friends, spending weekends with my girlfriend, etc. So how else do you save? Optimise your life, 80:20 your life and take stock of everything you are spending money on and ask yourself, ‘do I need it?’

I save, so that I can experience this!

The world is moving more and more toward a monthly subscription model, you pay for Cellphone Contracts, Satellite TV or Netflix, Adobe CC, Medical Aids and Dropbox monthly. Insurance, Magazines and Banks have been doing it for years. I see these monthly bills as the enemy of saving, so limit your exposure to monthly debit orders. I have 5 and they are necessary evils, cellphone contract, insurance, medical aid, pension and because I am a photographer the Adobe CC photography bundle. Technically the pension can be considered saving ;)

So lets begin saving money: Continue Reading →

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Travelling East or West?

East or West

The End Is the Beginning Is the End

Tomorrow marks the last day of June, and with it I head into my last 3 months of employment at Triggerfish Animation. Dejavu Much? It also marks my reaching saving goals for my next great adventure… the only real question facing me now? Do I go East or West? I have already spent 7 months exploring South East Asia, but I do have a passion and soft spot for eastern cultures and peoples. Going east would mean venturing to Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Philippines, Borneo, Indonesia, etc. Going west would put me in South & Central America, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Panama, Belize, Hondoras, etc. It may sound stupid but its a tough one! The east would certainly make me happy, the west would be scary and push me out of my current travel comfort zones and oddly enough that sounds pretty damn exciting!  I spent Saturday night chatting with a couple that had spent 4 months travelling from north to south america and they made it sound spectacular. Oh, but to see Hong Kong, and Japan during the cherry blossoms! Continue Reading →

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Stereoscopic Trailers: Zambezia & Khumba

Thought I would put the trailers from both the Stereoscopic Films I have worked on, into one place. I have also included some history below each film.

Adventures in Zambezia (2012)

The first stereoscopic animated feature film in South Africa and so my brief from the director & producers was to be gentle, no extreme gimmick shots and ultimately play it safe. It was an incredible learning curve where I worked to develop the stereo camera rig & pipeline that included cut cushioning and floating windows.

Khumba (2013)

The producers were extremely pleased with the positive feedback on the stereo from Zambezia and so allowed me far more freedom on Khumba. I was asked not to float the stereo windows on Khumba, so sadly this trailer shows no floating windows either. The pipeline was furthered to allow the setup & rendering of Multi-Camera rigs which were used extensively throughout the film to improve the overall stereo effect.

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Astrophotography & Camping at Theewaterskloof Dam

The Road to Theewaterskloof Dam

A few weeks ago I had stumbled upon a stunning photograph of the Theewaterskloof Dam on instagram. I never realised that the shores of the dam are spotted with the carcasses of so many dead trees. The quick history goes that when they flooded the valley in ’76 many of the trees were just left to die & rot away. Suffice it to say, they are still around and now create some spectacular visuals. I recently bought a good tripod and have been eager to break out of the city lights and get a photograph of the Milkway and decided that these trees would make the perfect foreground to any starry night imagery.

The Theewaterskloof dam is situated about 1h 29mins (107km) outside of Cape Town. Climbing up Sir Lowrys Pass, instantly draws you into a landscape with fascinating similarities to Norway. You pass the Steenbras Dam along with pine tree plantations. The landscape is spotted and shaped with jagged rocks protruding from the ground. It is not long before you find yourself in Apple country and on the outskirts of the Elgin Valley. The valley is famous for its apples, as it produces 60% of the South African apple crop.

We decided to stop and have lunch at the renowned Peregrine Farm Stall. The farm stall dates back to 1964 as one of the first farm stalls in the western cape. To celebrate 50 years the farm stall launched a stunning new restaurant that dishes up, amongst other things, amazing pies & gravy along with delicious coffees. The farm stall is your first opportunity to try some of the fruit the valley has to offer. I suggest the Pink Lady Apple.

Sunset Over Theewaterskloof Dam
Peregrine Farm Stall

<> Continue Reading →

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12 Months in 12 Square Meters

What fits in 12 Square Meters

Its true my flat, if you can call it that, is a total of 12 square meters. Its a 4x3m room! The kitchen is 1.5×1.5m, and so is the bathroom. The kitchen connects onto a 3×2.5m lounge, dinning room & a bunk bed above my couch. Its a small space, with everything I need, except an oven. I have a bath/shower, normal sink and toilet along with a full size fridge in my kitchen. Its a cozy space although I do not think I could go much smaller, certainly not as small as the Apartments in Hong Kong.

Photo Credit: Jakob Montrasio - Flickr

Photo Credit: Jakob Montrasio – Flickr

A Tiny Revolution

I guess you’re asking yourself why? Why would someone live like this? Well for me it came as part and parcel of my goals to travel the world. I needed to optimise my life to the point that I could save as much money as possible. A small apartment comes with a small rent bill, and when you compare average rental prices here in Cape Town I have scored a serious deal. This past year living in a small space has sent me down a fascinating path of discovery, finding I am not alone in a global Tiny House Revolution. If you have the time try to watch the documentary below. Continue Reading →

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Hydroponic Grow Update

Considering this is my first hydroponic grow, I think it is doing incredibly well. It has been an interesting 8 weeks, from planting seed to having 5 incredibly happy plants and, well, 1 very unhappy ‘read: dead’ pak choi. :) The leaves are strong & crisp and the roots are clean and matted. I think the two unhappy plants have been over shadowed by the front plants and are battling for sunlight to be honest.

Hydroponic Seedlings

So what have I been doing?

It all started with carefully creating holes in the rockwool cubes and placing 2 seeds into each hole, one on either side pushed into the side wall of the hole. Left to germinate and grow for about 3 weeks simply with the base of the rockwool sitting in my home made hydroponic solution (post coming soon). This tray was left fully exposed to the sunlight whilst the seedlings were young and eventually algae began to grow on the base of the cubes. Continue Reading →

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