📙 #024 - How to Shoot Pen Plotter Reels
Twisted ankles, reel tips, a bugbear, some snowflakes and a bit of Vampire Survivors.
I twisted my ankle on Monday evening, meaning I just had to rest up the last couple of days playing on the Xbox. And because of those two days, everything is now delayed until next year. I can't explain how time works; it just is.
It also means this newsletter is going to be a super quick one, with my hot dope tip, as the kids probably say 🤷♂️
# How to shoot Reels
First things first, I'm generally terrible at all these things. I know the rules for social media and making videos. I've had to study them for years, but I don't follow them. It's a bit like web developers' and designers' websites being horribly out of date even though that's their job. But, sometimes, I try to put a bit of effort in and set up a framework of sorts I can use to make things easier for myself.
One of those was figuring out how to shoot reels for Instagram, YouTube Shorts and TikTok without losing my damn mind. After extensive research (seriously, that's not even sarcasm), this is my formula.
A video should be 27 seconds, no more, no less. No shot should be more than 3 seconds (I break this rule at the end). The first shot should be the end result or a hint at the result. These are the shots...
The end result + title over the top - 2 seconds.
Establishing shot of the pen plotter - 1 second.
Shot of the paper (in the pad, being removed from a pack, or put into the plotter) - 1 second.
Shot of the pen, held/getting put into or already in the machine/being twirled evilly - 1 second.
Some shot to show it was written with code - 1 second.
Three quick cuts of the SVG design on the screen, crammed together into... 2 seconds.
Close-up tracking shot of the pen plotting - 3 seconds.
Timelapse 1 - 3 seconds.
Medium shot, the bigger picture - 3 seconds.
Timelapse 2, from a different angle - 3 seconds.
Wide shot, the plot nearly finish, we can see the plot and plotter - 3 seconds.
The grand reveal, show the whole thing - 4 seconds.
Total: 27 seconds.
It's super prescriptive, but I can tick off the shots as I do them, then throw them into Final Cut Pro and bash out a Reel quickly without thinking too much. I mean, I don't, of course, but the few times I do, this saves me so much stress.
It also addresses one bugbear of mine; seeing people shooting timelapses or process videos, then showing the result for a split second. Why did I sit through your 30-second video just to have to guess what the final thing looks like from the last two frames?? Anyway, I digress.
To amuse myself even more, I get Kitty to write the shot list for me because why not? Here are some of the SVG files she created for 4 "x6" index cards: https://github.com/revdancatt/shot-list-svg
There's like a million better ways of doing this, and yet somehow this is the easiest.
It's the time of year for plotting generative snowflakes. My SVG snowflake generator is here: https://revdancatt.com/penplotter/036-Snowflakes/ - it can be a pain to use if you dig into all the stupid settings, but I find eight arms and the "four card" layout on A3 to be handy (hit the "randomise" button down at the bottom, to get it started)!
# Other places
The Gorilla Sun Newsletter is just great for generative art news: https://www.gorillasun.de/blog/gorilla-newsletter-34
Speaking of generative art, I've mentioned him before, but Steve from Steve's Makerspace has started a new YouTube series of tutorials for creating generative art with p5.js; here's the playlist:
In case you missed it before, Amy has a wonderful blog post which is a fun read here: EARLY COMPUTER ART IN THE 50'S & 60'S
# THE END
And that's it for this fortnight.
I've moved this newsletter from Wednesdays to Thursdays because it makes things easier, not just because I sprained my ankle. For the last couple of weeks, I've been trying to focus on things I ought to do. Then, on Monday, I decided that kind of thinking should go out of the window and go with the flow instead because I was all excited about some creative ideas that had been bubbling away. I also had a bunch of low-priority tasks that weren't important enough to do, but I knew it would make me very happy if I gave myself the freedom to do them.
Then, the last step of the stairs mysteriously vanished, and my perspective changed yet again. I have, however, unlocked a few more things in "Vampire Survivors", so rest & recuperation time haa been well spent.
The next newsletter should be in the weird time between that bit of the holidays and the other bit of the holidays. I promise not to do a year in review!
Love you all
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