Green v Jones Jr: Before, After and After That

GreenJones004

Generally, when creating a boxing promo, we are given between two and five days. This project was different, or at least appeared to be different at first. My colleague Brett Morris and I, were given two weeks to design and produce a promo for the upcoming Green V Jones Jr fight here in Sydney. However, after the first two days  of work the deadline was cut by a week!

GreenJones002

Not so bad considering the footage had already been shot, but we had no storyboard, no edit and no idea what we were going to do with the footage. By the end of the five days we delivered the following promo, created in Adobe After Effects, shown here with the original untreated cut (with draft audio).

GreenJones003

Brett motion-tracked the green screen footage using SynthEyes. Brett also demonstrated flair with Trapcode Particular to add the swooshes and impact particles to the fight vision. I particularly like the particle trails and how smaller particles shoot out like sweat as punches land.

GreenJones005

The fighters were keyed with Keylight using a very effective technique Brett learned from Mark Christiansen in one of his courses presented on  fxphd.com. The fight vision treatment is a combination of Zaxwerks 3D Warps to bend the vision and CC Ball Action, with Trapcode Starglow for the Jumbotron effect.

The fighters were graded using a combination of Magic Bullet Looks and a cool blue Tritone and Photo Filter (both standard AE filters) adjustment layer. The flares come courtesy of Knoll Light Factory but, it must be stated, that I would have have used Video Copilot Optical Flares had it been available at the time. I did however use Video Copilot Twitch to add some flashes and other artifacts throughout.

GreenJones006

The title text for the pack shot was created by Brett in Cinema 4D and imported into After Effects with the 3D data for final compositing.

https://vimeo.com/88950582

Personally I think the final result was great considering the circumstances of the project. However, the client felt it wasn’t right. So we ended up being given another week to make modifications based on an updated script supplied by the client, along with a new music track.

As Chris Meyer mentions in Unplugged “there’s always time to do it over”. Unfortunately though, I was pulled off of this for another campaign, so it was up to Brett to make the modifications, with the assistance of DesignFTC Art Director – Mark Bowey. Here is the final.

https://vimeo.com/88950593

The client wanted a much hotter look, including fire, smoke and sparks. For that Brett turned to Video Copilot’s Action Essentials 2. The new text was added in After Effects based on a camera move set up in Cinema 4D and exported to After Effects. Brett finds Cinema 4D camera animation more intuitive than After Effects.

I don’t mind the second version but prefer the colour of the original, especially in the video walls which really highlights the action. I feel the original has a premium, black-label quality which the re-do lacks. Brett mentioned he also prefers the original.  So how about you? Which do you prefer?

Discuss
  1. Gene Hoffman
    Reply

    I’m with you John I like the first a lot. It has a fresh look, while the second has an HBO Boxing look. Though it’s much better done then any HBO boxing promos here in the US.

    It always amazes me to see the quality promos you and the Foxtel team produce. The cable company I have Time Warner wouldn’t think of producing the quality PPV promos your team produces.

    Thanks for sharing this

    Gene

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Thanks Gene, we really appreciate your compliment. Best, John.

  2. digitalove
    Reply

    i really like both, each have some really cool design elements. Hey how did you make the footage look like large pixelated screens? was it the grid effect using alpha?

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      The screens are a combination of Zaxwerks 3D Warps, CC Ball Action, Glow and Trapcode Starglow. I may do a tutorial on this soon. Best, John.

  3. Jonas Van Gestel
    Reply

    I definitely like the look & feel of the first version better, it’s a more entertaining story too. The second version is a little bit boring as it only seems to have the fire and more fire + the grading isn’t that fancy. Like the blue grading & contrast from the first one better.

    Good job & fun to see that clients can be the same all around the world :).

    Thanks for the post, very interesting!

    Cheers,

    Jonas

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Thanks Jonas, we probably could have improved it had we had more time on the original. Best, John.

  4. Devin Northrup
    Reply

    Hey John, I love your work and your website. Your contribution to the motion graphics community is great. I agree with you that the first spot is better overall. I didn’t care for the somewhat jerky camera animation for the text sequences in the second. Perhaps it matches the audio track, but for me the audio wasn’t playing. The color and effects in the first one are very nice!

    The only piece that I didnt care for in the first piece was the segments showing the boxer’s names at :10 and :18. Since the foreground boxing shots are dark and cool and then you have all the movement, brightness, and color in the background, my eyes naturally had a hard time trying to focus on something. I knew I should probably be looking at the foreground, but the background kept stealing the show. I think the treatment is better in the second piece around :37. I also like the close up shots with the sparks and smoke around :33, very nice! But thats the only piece I’m a little critical of. The first one rocks.

    Love the particle effects as well. Just curious, did you use the 3d motion tracking data and apply it to a light for that effect? Or was it keyframed by hand?

    Thanks again, and great job!

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Hey Devin, thanks for the considered response. The conflict with the text in the first spot was one of things the client had a problem with too. We should have placed it in the foreground but to be fair, we were only told about the need for text at the last moment.

      There should be music with the second spot (which the camera moves match) so I’ll re-compress and re-upload. I also like the close-ups with the sparks.

      The particle effects were hand tracked using AE lights as the emitters in Trapcode Particular 2.

      Best, John.

      • Devin Northrup
        Reply

        Fair enough! That’s why I hesitate to make critiquing comments. We as viewers rarely understand the restraints under which each project was created, and it’s really not fair to you as the artist. I really appreciate seeing your work. It’s inspiring to those of us who are still maturing in the field! I keep watching the first one. I love the warped jumbotron look!

        • John Dickinson
          Reply

          Hi Devin, I’ve got an eSeminar coming up soon for Adobe, so I might put the Jumbotron technique in so you can see how I created it. Best, John.

          • kwaku

            Would it be possible to hear a little more about how that text sequence in the second version was done. Very impressive.

          • Brett Morris

            Hey guys, Yes I used CS Tools – docucam for the camera move and keyframed it around the scene. I recommend this to anyone wanting you emulate a hand held feel to their camera moves, there’s some great settings in there to really get some interesting pop zooms and wobbles. I blocked the camera move with text holders within cinema 4d and attached external compositing tags to them so I could take that 3D data into after effects and create the type there. I really enjoy this workflow because it gives me the freedom to get as creative as possible with the camera and know that anything I do in after effects will marry up in the scene.
            Cheers,
            Brett

  5. naimalwan
    Reply

    I prefer the second as a concept (as i think it matches the spot a lot better the first is a bit too pretty :)), but think the first was executed much better, did you spend less time on the second version?

    Thanks for sharing.
    Naim

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Hi Nailmalwan, there was an extra week given for the second version but the guidelines weren’t totally clear, so it ended up being a case of making some changes, client checking, then making some more changes. Not the optimal way to work. Best, John.

  6. Ryan Butterworth
    Reply

    I prefer the first one. I seriously have to investigate all the CC plug-ins. I’ve been looking for a way to create an LCD effect for a while now. Usually, i’ll try and make a material in Cinema 4D, but this technique is fantastic!

    http://www.ryanbutterworth.com/bg.mp4

    This is our video wall, but I think I’m going to go back and rework this. Thanks for this!

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Hi Ryan, thanks for sharing. I’m glad you found this useful. Best, John.

  7. Hussin
    Reply

    Hey JD, I like the 1st version! The fire thingy…nahhh not so much. Anwyas, well done on both…

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Thanks Hussin, I kind of wish we had been given the soundtrack for the second version up front, I prefer the rock beat. Best, John.

  8. andrea
    Reply

    yep i like the 1st one too!
    the second..mhh dunno my feelings about it..just fire..and particle trail-punches..(seems like a promo for stock footage or something like that)

    also not sure ..on the second one.. the title at the end covering the heads..if u take a look at posters..the text (title) never covers the characters head

    btw.. clients have to be pleased.. man ! so..it’s hard job!

    great stuff and thanks for sharing

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Thanks for your input Andrea. Best, John.

  9. bellacose
    Reply

    I think it’s ‘apples and oranges’ for me; I like both of them. I think it best demonstrates that there is always more than one way to do something. I feel each works in their own way; but, that’s just the way I see it. Isn’t that the beauty of this field (Motion Graphics), we can effect so many people in so many different ways; and, just like any other art form, it can connect in a unique and individual way with every person who views it.

    My Canadian Nickels’ worth…

    ~bellacose~

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Hi Bellacose, that’s why I thought this project would make a good post, being able to see two versions of the same promo side-by-side. Best, John.

  10. Lou Borella
    Reply

    The original has more polish and glitz with I think fits considering the size of the title fight.
    I feel like it has the more grandiose feel of a title fight than the second one which has a more grungy underground boxing match type feel. I like both but the first one fits better.

    I thought the color grade on the boxers in the original needed a little more of a warming tone. There seems to be a little too much blue or purple for my taste.

    The particular streaks are tremendous. Really well done.

    Both cuts feel a little long. Having finished audio in the first could fix. The second one needs more audio overall. In a 1 minute promo there needs to be an announcer IMO.

    Great work on both. I would give anything to have the kind of budget that includes green-screen, 2 editors and storyboards on a promo!!!

    Lou …

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Well said Lou, I think v2 is more like the usual types of promos we do. All valid points you make, thanks for sharing your thoughts. Best, John.

  11. Lou Borella
    Reply

    P.S. I always say – “this job would be great if it weren’t for the clients”

    :)

  12. SteveL
    Reply

    Dear JD
    First one does it for me, the second one looks a bit to video copiloty to much fire effects etc, not that its a bad thing, just a bit OTT, the first looks and feels right, not so much text to read etc. The trapcode work is just brilliant, green with envy here!

    Also to Ryan, just watched your demo file and that is also amazing, just brilliant.

    Thanks for sharing all 3 videos, top drawer

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Thanks for sharing your opinion Steve.

  13. gacon
    Reply

    hi john! you can create video tuts? Thank
    Nice

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Hi Gacon, some of this will probably end up in a tutorial some time ;) Best, John.

  14. Boreale
    Reply

    In my opinion, the first is better but I’d have some objections too.

    What makes it sooo different from – and I’d say better than – the 2nd one are :
    a/ the presence of an off voice (is it the good word for it ?), which lacks in the 2nd one ;
    b/ the relations you created between what this voice says and the images.

    Though, the first one is too overweighted for me : they’re too many elements with too many saturated colors spread on the whole screen. There is no real focus (as opposed to the 2nd one, much simpler), and the eyes have no direction.
    It seems to me it’s mainly due to the colors.
    Maybe just having colors a bit less saturated, and a discreet vignette, would be enough…

    Anyway, that’s just my 2 cents. And I love these kind of posts, it’s always very interesting.

    (btw, seeing Australia through your blog, Australians seem to be all fond of boxing ! :-) )

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Hi Boreale, the client had the same problem with the background screens conflicting with the action in the foreground, which is a fair call. Don’t take my blog as indicative on Australia, I just happen to do work for Main Event which features boxing events. :)

  15. Adam
    Reply

    Both look great and i think the difference is probably just personal taste.. But here are the things i noticed..

    The text at the start of the final looked odd behind the fire and being a hollow outline didnt look right to me.. It just seemed a bit too obscured..

    The dynamics of the finals sequence i think is good though.. It builds well and is especially cool when the songs vocals come in at the end and the audio level lifts.. That together with the slow pans of the boxers give it that epic “Rocky” quality. I dont have foxtel though so maybe this is done to death and i just dont know ??

    The original looks great and the pixellated screen effect looks really cool but the audio lets it down most i think.. I think its exectued better (visually) but the way the “story” plays out with the audio doesnt make it seem as epic..

    The call and response idea between announcer and boxer quotes is cool, but the way its mixed and cuts so evenly back and forth is where i think it could be better. Especially the first Danny quote.. The EQ on it sounds totally different to the other samples, and the way it chops off makes it stick out too much (IMO).

    If the music was something with more impact and the commentaries sat in the mix better i think it would be rocking…

    I want to say John.. I have just found your site and im really impressed by the quality of the work you do and also very appreciative of the tutorials you have created.. Thanks.

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Hi Adam, thanks for taking the time to give such a considered response. Your view as is everyone else’s who comments here on Motionworks is important and valued. Best, John.

  16. Storm
    Reply

    ooh, going against the consensus here but after viewing each spot twice… I actually feel the second one is better. I didn’t want to get too caught up with the effects and colours (as I did prefer #1′s colours), but tried to just ‘feel’ it as someone watching a promo on Foxtel. Overall, #2 got me more excited about the fight than #1. It had more energy about it…. though I agree the hollow font wouldn’t have been my first choice either.

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Hi Storm, great feedback thanks. I also feel that although the first is prettier, it suffers from a poor script and is basically and bunch of keyed shots in front of a bunch of boxing vision. If we’d had more time to consider the project up front we could have found a better balance between both examples. Best, John.

  17. Matt
    Reply

    I much prefer the original version.
    The music for the second version doesn’t seem to fit, I like the style of the music for a boxing promo…maybe a different, more “punchy” beat would be more fitting??

    Also the second version seemed to be “thinner” than the first. Less elements to the whole composition, it’s not bad but the original has alot more going on, keeping you interested.

    Overal both are real eye catching! Not to mention the pixelated back-plates are amazing! Great Work!

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Hi Matt, thanks for your valuable feedback. I’m going to put together a tutorial on how to build the jumbotron effect. Best, John.

  18. Patricio
    Reply

    I really like the first one, considering the original footage, the result is amazing (and in a short time)

    Congrats, it’s kind of cool to know about things like this.

    keep it coming.

    regards from Chile

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Thanks Patricio.

  19. Ianh Moll
    Reply

    Hey John, i aprecciate very much your job,

    sorry if my english is not good, im brazilian, never study this language.

    but, i need your help, can you recomend for me, one good câmera, to film (rec) amateurs movies ?

    its my dream, and i need to begin.

    thanks! :)

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Hi Ianh, I’m looking at cameras at the moment too. Many people have suggested the Canon HV20. I’m probably not the best person to ask as this hasn’t been an area I’ve looked into for some time. Good luck, John.

      • Ianh Moll
        Reply

        Thank you very much, when i do some nice video, i’ll send to show you, thanks!

  20. Ramzan
    Reply

    John, great work, I like very much your design.You are very great designer.. Good luck to you!

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Thank you Ramzan, that’s very kind.

  21. Gyorfi Szilard
    Reply

    Wooou, man. Roy Jones Jr !!!!

    This is incredible, I would love to work on a project like this. Besides being an AE animator I am also a big fighting fan, Roy Jones is on of my favorite boxers.

    congratulations John :)

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Hi Gyorfi, unfortunately I was away for the shoot so didn’t get to meet him. A legend indeed. Best, John.

  22. Nate Tull
    Reply

    I like them both but really the 1st one is by far a better piece. I think the music in the 2nd one throws it all outta whack for me. Like I said they are both done very very nicely, but the 1st one for sure. But, you know, the one signing the check is always “right” whether they are or not if you know what I mean…

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Thanks for your input Nate.

  23. Lucy
    Reply

    hi jhon, really really great shots, gratz :)
    I have a little curiosity. You know for all motiongrapher it hard to define a price for our job. I can ask how much this video?

    Sorry for my horroble english, I’am poland

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Hi Lucy, I have no idea what this project was worth, I wasn’t involved in the finances. You should watch the Business of Design discussions where we talk about profit and discounting. Best, John.

  24. Ramzan
    Reply

    John hello, I just want to ask you, if you can do a similar tutorial with text which you used in this video, can you do it for us?Please.. or maybe you know some links which have a similar effects tutorial.

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Hi Ramzan, you may find something similar on Video Copilot? You could probably use SureTarget to do the camera move directly in After Effects. Best, John.

  25. John Dickinson
    Reply

    Thanks for sharing your views Vikash. Best, John.

  26. Chris Wharton
    Reply

    Hey John,

    I really like both. I think personally it is a preference thing as to which one I like the most. The first one I really like the technique, it almost feels a bit futuristic with the cool tones. For me personally I don’t like the dialogue as much. The second one feels more like a mix between a boxing promo and a music video. I really like the Action Essentials elements especially behind the keyed footage. Overall very well done. I am curious about the song in the second one. Was it created for the piece or is it an actual song you can buy?

    Keep up the amazing work,
    Chris

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Hi Chris, the first one didn’t really have a script so it relied on Brett and I to make it look cool. The second one had a script so is more cohesive as a promotion. It would have been best to have the right script up front! Best wishes, John.

  27. KlotziDotCom
    Reply

    Hey John,

    great work on both videos. I prefer the technological look of the first one to the “final” result – which is not as bad, but not as awesome.

    Just out of curiosity: Which song was used in the final track? Reminds me of BoySetsFire.

    Best,

    ~ Klotzi

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      The music is by a Melbourne band, whose name I’ve forgotten…

  28. Zaher
    Reply

    Hi John,both are incredible work ,but I was more taken by the first one as it put me in the fight scene instantly and blew my mind with those ` impact particles ` with there traces .
    The motion tracking of those swooshes and impact was flawless and pro of course (was SynthEyes used for motion tracking ?)
    I have heard that AE doesn`t have a the best motion tracking tool and animators often use other software ,is that because those software give you a better result or easy to use or is there other reason .
    Thank again for sharing with us your work .

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Hi Zaher, Brett manually tracked the particular emitters to the boxers gloves. I love how the particles look when treated with the ball action layer. AE has never had a very good tracker unfortunately. Best wishes, John.

  29. Bryan Thomas
    Reply

    Hey John,

    Very impressive! And not just on the surface… the more I watched it the more I was engaged with the sheer amount of details that you guys didn’t miss.

    And yes, I also think the first was better. Everything worked in harmony, while the second one seemed to have something missing (at least in the first section). Not to mention color harmony was better in the first, too. Oh well, that’s the way it works in this industry, eh?

    Again, great work!
    Bryan

  30. Benjamin Eshagpoor
    Reply

    I know I’m a late comer to this discussion, but I definitely like the first one the best.

    It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve disagreed with a client. Haha! Client gets what the client wants!

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Thanks for giving us your opinion Benjamin. Best wishes, John.

  31. BoxFan
    Reply

    The first one is way better but needed a quicker tempo background music. Also, It just seemed a little slow, speed it up a bit and need more of a quick action tempo feel to bring some feeling of anticipation.

  32. Christopher Perilli
    Reply

    Being a HUGE fight fan (both Boxing and MMA) That is some great work. The first one in my opinion blows the 2nd away. No disrespect to no one but the first seems to be out of the 2nd’ league with a definitive top shelf polishing. Plus it moves so much smoother and even though the 2nd uses more moves, this one utilizes 3d space more dramatically. I think the first looks especially cinematic, to me the music is quite fitting, with a some nice use of frame rates etc, def a very solid piece. Sometimes clients just don’t see what the artists see, sometimes I wonder if clients are asleep at times(but thats a story onto itself) :-) . Great work and great site!

  33. Conrad
    Reply

    Definitely the first John … visually, it’s very impactful as well as appealing. But as I’m learning, the client always needs to have the last word … I think most designers accept that.

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