The Christmas Card Shots

The Christmas card shots are something I have never actually acknowledged on my blog before, but it is always the first thing I do when editing a scene. During the story-boarding phase, I had planned that these shots would have an effect on them, to stop them from getting repetitive and dull. I had planned to place a focus pull over each Christmas card shot, in which one side of the frame is de-focussed, but then this effect switches to other side of the frame. I had planned that the Christmas card shot would always be on one side of the frame, with one or more of the girls visible in the other half. Initially, the side with the girls in would be clear, but once the card was placed in the opposite side, this side would become clear, blurring the girls.

So far, placing this focus pull effect across the Christmas cards has been quite successful, but there are a couple of instances where it looks quite amateur and odd, based on what is actually in the frame. For example, in the 2009 Christmas card shot, there is a very obvious line down the middle of the frame where the blurring effect crosses over. In order to explain better, here is a running order of how I create the effect:

1. I cut the clip to the appropriate length and remove the sound

2. I duplicate the clip and lay them over one another.

3. I cut both clips in half, or at the point when I want the crossover to occur

4. I then crop the clips. I treat the clips as vertical pairs. With the first vertical pair, I crop the clip so that only half of the shot is visible in each. A different half should be cropped on each clip, so that when together, they make the one clip. I then do the same with the second vertical pair

5. I then add a ‘de-focus’ effect to the top left clip and the bottom right clip


6. I then add a ‘cross fade’ effect between the horizontal pairs of clips

None of my own examples of the effect are complete, and all wil require significant tweaking before the final product is ready. However, below is a video demonstrating the various ways this effect can be used. In the video, the effect I am trying to replicate is the one used on the clip of the tree trunk:

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