Those familiar with my videopoetry adventures will recall me bemoaning the cost of Adobe After Affects (in the $1,000 range for the latest version) which I had thought was the only program out there capable of producing decent kinetic typography. That was in my pre-Mac days. After working with a Mac for almost a year now (what took me so long) I recently discovered that Apple’s Motion 5 software – a $49.99 download – uses keyframes, 3D cameras and masks in pretty much the same way as After Effects, to produce pretty much the same effects. And you can use it in iMovie, the video editing program that comes free with any Mac – you don’t have to buy Final Cut Pro to use it.
There’s definitely a steep learning curve involved. I’ve been practicing and exploring in my spare time for about 10 days now and still have a very long way to go. My first effort at incorporating Motion 5 into a video is with the remix below, Poem for a Daughter, based on a poem by Sam Rasnake from The Poetry Storehouse.
I created the text portions in Motion 5 and exported them into iMovie. Motion 5 allows you to save the text footage with a transparent background, so you can merge it seamlessly on the iMovie ‘cutout’ track against your regular footage. I was restrained in this one, but you can make the text shrink, grow, spin, glide, jump etc etc. Lots of fun!
Notes on a pre-Motion 5 workaround: To get a very basic text animation effect for the video below, based on a poem by Charlotte Hamrick from The Poetry Storehouse, I used Quicktime to capture a screen recording of me actually typing the poem text against a black background in real time. I then imported that footage into iMovie and used it on the ‘cutout’ track with increased transparency against the regular video footage. The problem with this technique was twofold – 1) you had only one basic animation capability, ie ‘type-on’. Trying to move, scale or pan the text in any way with this technique would have required immensely labor-intensive stop motion screen captures for which I did not have the patience. And 2) even with the fading-in/out function on the cutout, the screen would still visibly darken and lighten with the entrance and exits of the text cutouts. Which actually didn’t work too badly for this particular piece, but it did put me off trying to get any further with that technique.
Here’s to whatever comes next. It’s all good and all fun!