Transitioning from large
to small projects.
Over the last few years, I’ve been creating large digital projects and haven’t had enough time to focus on creating smaller shareable digital content. I’ve dabbled here and there in creating video content and marketing promotions, but I haven’t made the full leap. To be honest, I’ve had a mental block to posting work on social media, but as the dust clears from my other projects, I see it’s time to shift my focus. I’m looking closer at the new tools and testing the traditional industry giants to see if they’ve caught up to the changes. Think of it like Photoshop having to accept that Canva is awesome.
A few months ago I created several mixed media videos using Final Cut for a site I created called Tennis Between the Lines. The videos turned out pretty good given that I know only about 30% of what that amazing software can do. Now I want to see if there is a quicker way with more animation control. Googling articles on the topic lead me to Adobe Spark which I quickly tried and like but it has limited customization and no custom animation. The other quick video creation software so far all seem to be similar to Spark or have a pro version that promises the sky. Instead, I went with something I already have that gives me a lot of control over the details – Animation CC (formally Flash).
Could I create a professional looking video, quickly and easily to post on social media using Animation CC?
I grabbed icons from the Noun Project (free) and used ‘classic tween’ to animate them on the main timeline. Super easy. I searched through a bunch of music from Audio Blocks (great site but not free). On Youtube, I searched and found plenty of free cloud videos for background atmosphere (creative commons – free and easy). Adobe Stock always sucks me in for a bit looking at background image options. In Animation CC I mixed everything together, after several hours of moving things around, I began the export to video process.
On the 13th export, I was ready to post it. I had some headbanging moments on the 12 prior exports due to issues with frame rate and audio dropping out. My computer was running slow which caused frames to drop out on export. To fix the problem, I lowered the speed from 30 to 20 fps. The downfall with doing that is that the animation won’t be as smooth and I had to adjust things on the timeline to the new timing. The next big problem was the audio kept dropping on export. I finally figured out I had to have the audio set to ‘Start’ instead of ‘Event’ and the audio had to be placed on the 2nd keyframe, not the 1st. Really? Yes, really.
I posted version 13 to Facebook and saw the text and animation quality suffer due to multiple compressions. First, Animation CC compresses it on export and creates a .mov; then you have to convert it to .mp4 to post which I did in Media Encoder. Lastly, Facebook has a go at decreasing its size. In Facebooks setting, there is an option to allow HD upload which helps.
I’m approaching burn out but I continue.
To post on Instagram, I removed the cloud video background because I don’t like it now that I see it on FB. Then I change the dimension to a square and trim the video length to 60 sec, the maximum allowed on Instagram. Of course, as with everything, it looked nicer on Instagram. I considered deleting the Facebook version, but it was already getting comments and someone shared it, so I let it roll.
The results were mixed.
In conclusion, I enjoyed working in Animation CC because I’ve used it many times in the past when it was called Flash, that is before it went into what feels like a witness protection plan to continue its life as Animation CC. You were and still are great Flash, I mean Animation CC. I could drop almost any asset on the timeline and adjust intuitively. Creating animations was a snap and changing the document size was hassle free.
On the flip side, it would have been great to have some export presets to export directly to Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube. The application is, of course, HUGE to use for small video projects. Plus, you do have to do all the graphic creative work pretty much from scratch. With all the digital content creation apps out there with prepackaged fonts, transitions, backgrounds, graphics and SFX, I know there is faster and more modern way to get better results. I’m on a search to find the best way to create video content. Let me know your tips.