Monday, May 20, 2013

My First RSA Animate Style Video

Finally I got an opportunity to create the RSA Animate style video. This has been a long pending on my creative things to do list. The video was an assignment for Crash Course on Creativity by Here is the final video -


Helpful tips if you are planning to create a similar video -
  1. Read this blog post. It is a very detailed blog post on how to go about creating the RSA style videos.
  2. Now some of my experience. First I was trying to create a very high end video using transition, black and white image effects and what not. Soon I realized even creating a simple video was taking a long time and all I had was one day to finish it. So I chucked the awesomeness effects and stick with the basics.
  3. All the images were clicked and provided by my teammates.
  4. I jumped on creating a story line. It was pretty straightforward, introduction -> about -> idea 1 -> idea 2 -> idea 3 -> idea 4 -> credits. I used sticky cards to mark the flow and also wrote the anecdotes and jokes I wanted to share in that shot. I set aside the props required for particular idea handy before starting the recording.
  5. Finding the right place to shoot was a challenge. I tried out couple of places but the placement of camera and whiteboard in a place sufficiently lit always had this reflection of artificial source of light.

    Since I was shooting in the office, I had many options where to setup my scene. In the end I chose one near to the window with diffused natural light coming from the back side (bottom portion in the video) and artificial fluorescent light coming from the front (top side of video) without causing a reflection on the white board.
  6. I used the camera on my mobile (Nexus One) to shoot. I used blue tack and some office equipments to strap it above the white board. I was worried about the quality of video since my mobile camera is not that great. But I guess since the camera was stable and fixed most of the time, the video came out nice.
  7. Doing the rehearsal without recording on helped a lot. That way I was able to quickly experiment with different approaches of how to present the idea.
  8. I started recording the welcome screen scene. Soon I realized making a complete successful shot was difficult. So instead of restarting recording I used to abruptly end my attempt, wipe off the board and start over. I thought of taking care of chopping off unnecessary scene while doing editing and it worked out very well.
  9. I learned the geography of East Asia as part of assignment :). Also perfected my spelling of Philippines in the process. It has single 'l' and double 'p', I used to write it other way around.
  10. After working on the welcome scene and the first idea, I gained a lot of momentum. After that shooting for the rest of the 3 ideas didn't take much time.
  11. iMovie is such a marvel for editing movies. Taking the right shots and sequencing was simple and straightforward.
  12. One thing I found missing in iMovie was while playing the movie you don't have a timer which shows the current running time. Just for that I had to export the movie and run it in VLC.
  13. Other thing was there was no way to merge two scenes. You can only increase the speed for a scene and thus for increasing the speed of the whole movie, I had to do it separately for each scene.
  14. First I tried it 4x speed, and exported the movie to give a voice over. I found it to be very fast. Then I went back and made it 3x. That worked out very well. The overall movie length was reduced from 12 mins to around 4 mins.
  15. For voice over, I first exported the movie. The I used Audacity to record my voice. It was a bit tricky to do. It was difficult to sync the voice over and the scene being played. More so since it was so tightly linked to what was being written on shown in the movie. I tried many approaches like - doing it in sync with the scene, having a slight delay in voice over, doing it scene by scene.
  16. While doing voice recording, I purposely kept the sound on of the original recording. This sound was mostly the noise made while writing on the whiteboard and some background noise. Combined it gave a good overall effect when paired up with the video.
  17. Doing in sync with the scene was difficult since you were not able to keep up with what is happening and what was going to happen next. Especially so for a 3x speed. In the end having a slight manual delay worked well. 
  18. I chopped off the delay in Audacity, exported it as mp3 and imported in the iTunes playlist. iMovie directly picks up tracks from iTunes thus it was a easier approach than importing the media directly in iMovie. In the end, the whole voice over thing surprisingly worked out very well. I am sure in future if I again have to do it, I don't hope to have it work out so smoothly.
In the end it was a wonderful experience with an satisfying outcome. Hope to have more opportunities to work on assignments like these. In the end, thanks to my team mates as well for putting in so much effort to come up with brilliant ideas.



  1. The video is very creative and looking like a professional animated video. You have shared great knowledge which is very helpful to know the tricks of making this kind of video.

  2. This is the nice way of creating a video, you have done a great job. The post is very helpful to know the techniques of making creative videos.