Welcome! My name is Alan Shisko, and I'm a freelance motion graphics artist working out of Toronto, Canada. I've been very lucky in my career to have had many inspiring teachers, and decided to start this blog to give back to the community that has enriched me both technically and aesthetically. Perhaps my words and images will inspire you to do the same! If you wish, take a minute to view my demo reel at Shisko.com, or view a comprehensive gallery of my past work Here.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Sticky Roots

Waaaay back in my film school days, I had decided that I wanted to be a cinematographer. I lived Arri's and HMI's, could tie in to electrical panels, and read the ASC Manual every night before hitting the sack. I once built my own steadicam crane (!) out of plywood, 2x2's, bolts and bungie cords (it actually worked, too, but was a tad difficult to maneuver). But then photography intervened. I discovered that it was much easier to create imagery without a huge crew (and buckets of money) and for some time hung out my shingle as a photographer. That led to Photoshop. And that in time led back to motion with After Effects, and here I am!

Film production, photography and motion graphics are to me, at their core, exercises in problem solving. You've got to get the shot, or you've got to get the idea of the editorial across, and you've got all of these cool tools (digital and analog) to make it all come together and look great. But sometimes it all just comes down to a roll of gaffers' tape.

Last summer I picked up the video camera, taped it on to the end of my photo strobe boom and took to the local park to document an earthen structure I helped build back in '05. Earthen building is another one of my passions, and this short clip can show you what you can do with a bit of clay, sand and straw while you wait for those extra-long RAM previews to render :)

Youtube doesn't really do the clip justice, of course, so if you'd like you can take a look at THIS full-rez version of the clip (MP4, h264, 34 megs, 1:51)


Nathan said...

Nice work, Alan. That's an inventive use of the strobe boom, too. Did you have to do any stabilizing or rotation correction to the footage you acquired?

The first thing I thought of while watching the clips was that it would be cool to track the camera moves in Boujou, export them to Maya, render some Paint Effects vines growing on proxy geometry for the structure, then composite them back on to the footage. Make it look like plants are growing out of the building.

Thanks for sharing.

- Nathan S. in Indianapolis

Alan Shisko said...


No stabilization, just veeeeerrrryyyy slooow and careful shots, repeated many times with a hope that one comes out OK :) The key in this case was having a lot of weight on the boom, so even though it's not a 'fluid head', the movement was satisfactory. Not sure if I'd use this solution in a working gig, mind you.

I'd be curious to see how a boujou track would work on that footage: the building itself is pretty round, but the mosaics could provide the contrast and handles necessary for a good track I suppose.