Monday, 30 January 2012

Free Sound Effects

I was just putting the finishing touches to my latest video (How to make stop-motion explosions in WMM), when it suddenly dawned on me that many people watching tutorials such as these will probably try the techniques out for themselves by copying exactly what I have done..

By that, I mean many will emulate the actual video, because it would make it easier for them to check what they are doing step-by-step.

Now the video, of course they would need to produce for themselves, but any sound-effects used would have to be researched, found and downloaded from the internet (Unless they are going to create their own sounds Foley-style)

So, I thought to myself (as one does), why not just make the sound effects that I have used available on the Meejah website? That way, they could cut to the chase and save themselves a lot of unnecessary time surfing the interwebs.

Even folk who weren't slavishly following the format of the tutorials might be able to find a sound or two which would be useful to them - After all, you can't have too many sound effects!

So from now on, any new sound effects that I use in the production of the Meejah videos will be added to the site for the benefit of all. - To find them just go to and click on the "Free Sound FX" tab - Then, help yourself.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Easy animation FX

I was checking through my Youtube video messages the other day (as you do) and came across one that referred to a video I had made some time ago. The video was about how you can make videos with even minimal equipment and as an example of what can be done, I had included a clip of a very simple stop-motion animation that I had made with my grandchildren, and depicted a wooden toy train running down a wooden track and colliding with a wooden bridge creating a big explosion.

The message sender wanted to know how I had created the animated explosion - was it difficult? Well, in fact, creating simple special effects with stop-motion animations is actually very easy. Stop-motion animations are basically a sequence of still images (usually taken with a digital still camera), that are strung together to create the impression of movement.

Because they are still images, it is a simple matter to individually open them in a photo-editor, and literally paint the effects you require directly onto the photos, and this was exactly how I created the explosions in the video. Working through the images one-by-one I painted a blast, followed by a cloud of steam, then smoke, which eventually dispersed into nothing. When run together, they gave a pretty good impression of a cartoon-like explosion.

In the video, I also give a basic overview of how to make a stop-motion animated video. It is incredibly easy (if a little time-consuming), to do. If all you have is a digital still camera, and Windows Movie maker, then you have all you need to begin making your own Youtube videos - Why not give it a try?

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Inventive video makers

As you look around the Internet for information on amateur film making, you realise what an inventive lot amateur film makers are. Often they are working with the minimum of equipment, and a zero budget. These inconvenient facts however, don't seem to get in the way of their productions.

Often, the professional film moguls produce a certain effect, look or style in their movies that is coveted by the independent film maker. When they try to emulate the technique, they often find that it involves a piece of equipment with a price tag that runs into tens of thousands, but does that put them off? No sir!

These hardy souls are quite capable of finding out everything they can about the equipment they need, and back engineering it in a low-cost and low-tech way, that will nevertheless produce the required outcome.

You need only witness the plethora of plans and tutorials on line that can show you how to produce your own stedi-cam or dolly-and-track system for just a few pounds. But the best innovations of all are those that take a piece of equipment that you already own, and with a few tweaks, convert it for a completely different purpose.

Meejahs latest video offering is an example of this inventiveness. It shows how, by using your standard tripod in a slightly different way, you can achieve a similar effect to the smooth gliding shots produced by a camera dolly system.

Check it out:

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Happy new year! - How to make things Appear and Disappear in your movies

Happy new year one and all.
As you may know, The Meejah Youtube Channel is a pretty young channel, and the whole idea is to provide ideas and guidance for new video makers, showing them how to make the best best videos possible even if they have minimal equipment and cash.

This latest video
goes back to basics, and shows how to pull off one of the easiest, and yet one of the most used and versatile video effects - The disappearing (or appearing) effect. This effect is a staple of TV and the Movies - you will have seen it thousands of times over the years.  This effect is really incredibly easy to pull off. It requires no special equipment and yet there is no end to the fun you can have with it.

Once you have got your head around how it works, you can let your imagination run riot, but use it with care. Most people, when they discover how easy it is to do, go a bit mad at first, and use it in everything they make - whether it is appropriate or not. lol.

I know that many of you will already know how this works - It's so simple that many people discover the principal by accident whilst editing their videos - But we all have to start somewhere, and there are many newbies out there for whom all this editing stuff is a black art, and a simple, effective technique like this is just what they are looking for, so this is for them.