Friday, 13 November 2009

New found respectability?


Maybe not. But this blog can now be accessed by the slightly snappier:

More changes coming in the not too distant future, probably.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Such a long time!

What on earth have I been doing since to 9th of September!? Almost two months ago, it's truely disgraceful of me, sorry... Well, apart from finishing off our latest BBC 4 doc at work (Shooting The War, will be aired some time in February), I've had non-seasonal flu, and went to the Grierson Awards at the BFI last week because the Story of Agriculture (which I graded) was nominated in the best historical documentary category, although we unfortunately lost to Thriller In Manilla.
Not done much else, but did do a bit of storyboarding recently for my friend Lizz, so I thought I'd post some of those up:

I'm sure she won't mind...

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Graphics and experiments!

So, I've not been very good at keeping things up to date recently, but I was on holiday for three weeks (it seems so long ago!), and I was very busy for a few weeks when I got back, and then... well, I've not done much that's exciting, I'm afraid. Things like new pets and being ill have distracted me. Anyway, to make up for it today I'm uploading three things for you to have a gander at!

This first one is one of six sub-title graphics made for a Teachers TV programme, made very quickly, I wish I'd had the chance to put some more polish into it now:

Earth graphic title from Michael Lansdell on Vimeo.

This next clip is my first ever crack at motion tracking:

2D Motion Tracked titles from Michael Lansdell on Vimeo.

It came out pretty well, I'm pleased with it, and it got me thinking about how to do 3D motion tracking. This is my first attempt at it:

3D Motion tracking in After Effects, experimant 01! from Michael Lansdell on Vimeo.

Now, I'm aware that After Effects doesn't technically do 3D motion tracking, but as all I want to do with it is comp in a flat 3D layer like this I'm sure there must be a workaround. The biggest problem will be automating the scale, as you can see here that doesn't happen at all because that information isn't carried over from this corner pin method. I know the track here is very messy scaling aside, but I think maybe shooting the footage with my mobile phone in a dark room wasn't a particularly good idea. Still, it just means I have room to improve and fiddle!

Thursday, 20 August 2009

3D Photo shots

I posted awhile back about some graphic work I was doing for a BBC documentary, well here's something from it. Or rather, spare graphics from it, so they're a bit rough, but quite nice anyway:

3D Photo Rostrum type effect... from Michael Lansdell on Vimeo.

I know I haven't put anything up in awhile, but I'm super busy and have quite a bit more to put up when I get a chance.

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Dhag Dheer Screening

First post of any substance in a while...

Before going away for my well-earned (well, I certainly think so!) holiday, we had the Premiere screening of Dhag Dheer at the Watershed, the 100 or so students involved from the City Academy Bristol came along, saw the completed film for the first time, got photographed by us and a local paper, filmed by a television crew from Sudan and had a really good time! Here's some of my crappy mobile phone pics from the event, hoprfully I'll be able to get some better ones for the future :o)

The Bristol Evening Post ran a brief story about the film just before the premiere.

RELIEF! The tape works!

The kids pose for a photograph (not this one, though!).

Oliver (the director tutor), get's interviewd for a news programme for Sudan's television network. They roped Jake (the offline editor tutor) in for camera duties by this point!

The reception to the film so far has been fantastic. The funders have asked for the charity to pitch for the next project already and it all seems to of come together brilliantly! Now the only things left to do are to get a website up for the film so the kids and anyone else can watch the film whenever they want and to enter it into various festivals, we may even get some of the kids some free holidays if it does well!

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Videos unlocked!

Just a quick note to say that the videos here and here are now viewable, as they have been broadcast. You can view them in their original contexts here, as well as many other films I've worked on :o)

Oh, and it's the premiere of Dhag Dheer tonight, at the Watershed in Bristol, should be fun, there may be photo's, will post if so.

Other than that I don't seem to have quite so much to upload this month, and August is likely to be quiet too (holiday, woo!).

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Two characters for a pitch

We're sending a pitch off for the BBC, I drew these characters for it very quickly (like, an hour, tops!) this afternoon, enjoy!

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Dhag Dheer finished!

I'd previosuly mentioned (here, and here) work I'd done for Bristol charity, Integrate Bristol. The film is almost finished now, having completed the grading sessions with the kids. The following pictures are from the film, as graded by the children from the City Academy Bristol:

It's been a fun project, and I'm looking forward to the premiere at the Watershed on the 14th. I hope future projects like this come up that I can be involved in.

(Off subject, why does Blogger reverse the order of uploaded pictures!?)

"Cells down a microscope" look in After Effects

This was made is After Effects, using only the standard effects (I've seen this done elsewhere with plugins). It's not perfect by any means, it doesn't have the delicate, crystalline look I was really after, for instance, but the movement and slimey stickiness is about right. It's an experiment for an upcoming project that hopefully will be a lot of fun.

More info when I can :o)

After Effects Cells from Michael Lansdell on Vimeo.

Friday, 26 June 2009

TTV Title Sequence Preview.

There's a lot to be added to this, but it's awhile since I put anything up and I'm quite pleased with how it's shaping up, will put the final clip up once it's finished!


Here's the rough clip, enjoy :o) ;

TTV Story Starts Title Sequence Rough... from Michael Lansdell on Vimeo.

Here's another rough clip, I've changed the style slightly and I'm not sure which I prefer yet;

Story Starts Sting V2 from Michael Lansdell on Vimeo.

Friday, 19 June 2009

Overexposure Correction in Final Cut Pro Tutorial

I'm going to try something a bit different today, which is rather than the just show bits from the finished results of something I've done, show what went in to doing it, in the form of a tutorial (that hopefully will be easy for people to understand).

In a recent programme, one of the shooting days was incredibly bright and sunny, and unfortunately, the actress playing a newsreader ended up with parts of her face being burnt out. I'm going to talk through how to go from this:

To this:

Big improvement!

First of all, this requires a plugin for Final Cut Pro, but it's free, so don't worry!

Captains Blowout Fixer

Take a look at the rest of the site, there's lots of interesting stuff on there.

Basically, what this filter does is allow you to look at the red, green and blue channels of an image seperately, select the least damaged and colour correct it to fill in those burnt out areas.

Here you can see the original image again, and then the red (most damaged), green and blue (least damaged, in this case) channels;





You should be able to see clear differences between these images.

There are limitations to this method, but the most serious issues are covered. The technique I'm going to describe only really helps with select areas, in this case the face. Burnt out roads or skies require separate techniques that require more work, because it tends to be that whole sections of image burn out, here we are just dealing with facial highlights.

Right, so the actual process to go through is as follows. Grade your clip and get it looking as you would like (bar the overexposed portions, obviously!), copy the clip and put the duplicate on top of the original in your timeline. Mask out the area you want to affect with the shape mask (Effects > Video Filters > Matte > Mask Shape), set it to oval and position it so the face is masked out and then use the Mask Feather (the effect above Mask Shape in Effects > Video Filters > Matte) to soften it's edges. You'll find this easier if you drop the opacity the lower video track. Now, select the clip we just masked, and go to Effects > Video Filters > Color Correction > Captain's Blowout Fixer. You should now have a screen that looks something like this:

You can see here that I've selected the Blue channel as the "From" (being the least damaged), the Red channel as the "To" (being the most damaged) and the "View" to Final (so I can see what I'm doing!). You now need to adjust the setting until the burnt out gaps fill in as much as possible with the most natural looking colour. I've left the "Threshold" and "Tolerance" as they are so as to get the minimal amount of interference with the non-burnt colours.

If you were to stop and make the bottom layer visible again now, you'd have made a pretty good stab at correct the overexposed areas of her face. But there's more to really improve this!

The next step is to make sure that you really are only affecting the damaged areas, and we do this with the Luma Key. Here you can see the affect that the Luma Key has on the mask, and the settings used for this shot:

Fiddle with these for your shot, but they probably won't be far off :o)

And you should have something that's as much of an improvement as this:

I hope that this has been helpful, let me know if so and also if you have any questions I'll get back to you as soon as I can!

Also, if anyone can tell me why blogger is making me write in italics now, I'd be grateful...

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Little Stampede album art.

Bristol band, Little Stampede, asked me to do the artwork for their second album, here's the cover:

I'm looking forward to seeing the final printed thing, will put some photo's of it up once it's back from the printers.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Videos uploaded!

I've updated this post:

More Science Starters

With two video clips form the programme. This post has been updated, too:

Beliefs and Values

Phew! Lots of posts, today! Take a look and enjoy!

RTS Education Awards, 2009

Last night, a programme I did the online and grade for was a nominee for an RTS Education Award. I did it quite awhile ago, and have since improved greatly (I think!), but for anyone interested you can view the programme here:

It didn't win, but it's nice to of been involved in something that was considered good enough for a nomination, at least!

Story Starts: Beliefs and Values

I've just completed another offline, grade and graphics job on an episode of TTV. Another Story Starts programme, this one is on "Beliefs and Values" rather than maths or science. Below are some stills from the programme;


"Animal Rights"


There were seven programmes in total, "Selflessness" and "Telling the Truth" were probably the best two, I'll try and upload clips of them when the dub has been completed. Again, this programme was good fun to work on, and allowed me to do some fun graphics work, some of which will be highlighted in the clips I upload.


Clips are now uploaded, here are the sections; "Selflessness", "Animal Rights" and "Telling Lies".

Telling the Truth from Michael Lansdell on Vimeo.

This clip doesn't have any fancy graphics in it, but it's the closest thing I've done to straight drama, and I quite like it!

Selflessness from Michael Lansdell on Vimeo.

This clip was a lot of fun to work on! For a start, it's got soldiers and shooting in it, and secondly, I had to make it look like they're shooting, which was fun to do and came together quite well. The planes flying overhead took quite a bit of work in terms of timing, etc, but in the end came together quite well. Not bad for an afternoons work!

There's one left to add, but Vimeo is taking it's time, so will update later.

(I'll unlock these once they're broadcast, for now they're waiting, biding there time...)


Videos are now unlocked and watch-able, as the film has been broadcast :o)

Friday, 12 June 2009

Background, continued...

I updated the background, more to come...

Thursday, 11 June 2009


I changed the background. It may look horrible now (it really does! And lets not mention the fact it's almost completely illegible!), but soon it'll be awesome.
Or maybe worse, depending on your point of view/how much effort I put in...
I figured doing this would make me put the effort in to a proper blog revamp, only time will tell!

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Beach Dogs

I occasionally do a bit of freelance colour grading for the lovely and award winning Jayne Chard at Hummingbird Films, you can see an excerpt from a Learn Direct training video I worked on if you follow the link to their site.

Jayne also owns and runs a charity, the charity runs the NoiStar vetinary clinic (named after her two lovely dogs!) in Thailand, that looks after the wild dogs and other animals on the island of Koh Tao and those surrounding it. I colour graded a series of three short films made to promote and help raise money for the charity awhile ago. There's a charity event coming up, and although I know that currently the number of people who read this blog are limited, I wanted to do something to make people aware of it. If you might be interested, further information can be seen by clicking here.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Silver Pyre gig @ The Arnolfini

A video has been posted on You Tube of a track from a gig by Silver Pyre at the Arnolfini, in the background is part of the third iteration of the visual set I have made for this. I'd been meaning to put up bits from this here for awhile, but have been pipped to the post! Still, hope you enjoy it:

The visuals were made using a mix of After Effects, Final Cut and some found footage. Gary mixed the live audio, hence the re-post! Also, I've widened the blog post space, so it can show videos properly, it was just sloppy before!

South Wests Top 100

Just a quick note. The company I work for - Available Light - has just been placed 47th in South West Screens top 100 media companies!

Monday, 1 June 2009

TTV - More Science Starters

Not the most exciting sounding blog post, but I've just finished the edit, grade and effects for another episode of TTV, this one being seven lesson starters for Primary level Science. I'd previously mentioned this programme in my Boris the Vampire post, below. I'll post a link to the programme once it's up on the TTV website. In the mean time, here's a still from each programme:

This is the "Boris the Vampire" Clip, for this I created an aged film look, to give it the apearance of old horror films, and did some graphics in AFX in the form of thought bubbles that appear with animals that relate to the teeth he's examining.

This clip was about springs, and featured a rabbit who had lost the ability to jump being leant a hand by some Pro-jumpers (those funny bouncy-feet people).

This is a still ffrom a short documentory form clip, about different rock types.

This is a screen from a clip about a girl, who, whilst pretending to be an artic explorer, finds some frozen wooly mammoths in her freezer, and thaws them out.

Another documentory short, explaning how hot air balloons work.

This was a clip about how your heart rate is affected by exercise, I made the simple ECM style overlay in After Effects, and comp-ed it all together in FCP.

Filmed during the day, this clip about a janitor trying to build shelves required footage from a sunny day to be made to look like night time, and lights coming back on in the house behind. I created the lighting effects in After Effects, the moon was done very simply in Final Cut, as was the night time look of the whole scene. It ended up being much more effective than I expected!

It was a fun episode to work on, I enjoy these story starts episodes. The next one I'm doing is similar, so I look forward to hopefully having somemore fun clips/screens to put up.


Here's some clips from this programme;

Boris the Vampire

Boris the Vampire from Michael Lansdell on Vimeo.


Light from Michael Lansdell on Vimeo.

I hope you enjoy these :o)

(They're locked until broadcast, though. I'll unlock them then, sorry!)


Unlocked now, as the film has been broadcast, enjoy!

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Short Film: Remember Me

I did a colour grade for some students graduation film at UWE, so thought I'd upload a few stills from it, and if it goes online I'll put a link to it here also. The film is called Remember Me, and was a nice change from the documentary work I normally do.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Boris the Vampire

I just put this up on Vimeo, it's a title sting I made with the intention of using it in an TTV episode I edited, but left out due to time constraints. It's a silly bit of fun, made very quickly. It was also my first use of the puppet tool, which I'm quite enamoured with!

Monday, 11 May 2009

Remastered films!

I only had really crappy, small, compressed versions of my three university films, and so I spent a bit of time the other day cleaning them up and upscaling them, so I have them at a decent quality for the future. They're up on Vimeo, but I'll embed them here, too.

Moth Exodus from Michael Lansdell on Vimeo.

The Boy with a Hole in his Head from Michael Lansdell on Vimeo.

Leaving Nowhere from Michael Lansdell on Vimeo.




I drew a monster in response to a post by Warren Ellis over on the forums for the excellent Freak Angels webcomic. The thread is here, if you're interested? I did this very quickly, it's little more than a sketch really. I'm quite pleased with it, though.

(Fiddled with it a bit more, hence the edit)

Friday, 27 March 2009

Social Care TV

It's been really busy at my day job recently, having hit crunch time on the first of our BBC 4 series (The Story of Agriculture) of the year. These are hour long programmes, with lots of archive and different sources for all the video content, so hair pulling at the best of times. The first two programmes look really good though (if I do say so myself!), and I'll put some stuff up from them soon. As well as working on that, though, we've just started working on projects for a new internet based channel called Social Care TV, which will launch properly soon. They commissioned us to make some programmes for it, but also to make the sting that will run before each programme, and here it is:

I made this in about six hours, after several days deciding on the images via e-mail with various people at SCIE. It wasn't as long as I'd ideally of liked (although I did prepare some of it before hand), but I'm pleased with how it turned out.

Dhag Dheer Storyboarding

I did my last session for this last Saturday, and I've really enjoyed it! I probably got more out of it then the kids I was tutoring, but I think they enjoyed it. One of the kids drew this on a whiteboard on the classroom whilst I was running around trying to find a working photocopier:

So I guess they did like it! I'll put up some of my favourite pictures from the sessions once I have them all scanned in and assembled into a final storyboard.

Web Project

I haven't posted in ages! But, I have been very busy! Anyway, first off; here are a couple of pics and some clips from a web project I was working on briefly. The assets here are all the rough bits and bobs that were used to pitch an idea for an additional feature for the site to the client. Unfortunately, in the end they decided they didn't want to pay the extra money to have a some animation on their website. I quite like them, though, even in the rough form they are here. The company is basically an online carpet showroom and fitters, you book an appointment online, a nice lady comes to your house and shows you what they've got and then they fit them for you.

Clips coming just as soon as I work out how to upload a .swf file to blogger...

Friday, 6 March 2009

Hand pic.

I drew an arm, at random, and I happened to like it but not really have any idea what to do with it, I ended up spending ages trawling the internet for a decent ink splat graphic, and ended up using these nice custom brushes, allowing me to make this pic of a cute cartoon arm reaching out of a ink splat hole.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009


Waiting for a timeline to render I drew this on a post-it (and coloured it on the computer). Possible sticker candidate?

Monday, 2 March 2009


A pic I doodled in bed last night, based on a scribble off a post-it at work. Not a lot of work went into it, but it's kinda fun.

I got a really good book in the post today, it's called Sticker Bomb and it's by Studio Rarekwai. is a sticker street art book. They also do some other cool books, I'm currently desiring the screen printed sketch books... I had a brief spell of infatuation with the whole sticker thing a couple of years ago, and it's making me think about it again, if only to encourage me to produce the amount of work I used to.

Friday, 27 February 2009

Random Illustration thing...

This is a picture I did as a style guide for an animated sting for work, but the sting is now going to be much more "graphical" in nature, will post it up once it's done. It should be quite nice!

I'll stop using thing/things in my post subjects from now on, promise!

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Published Illustration Things...

Two illustrations I've had published in the rather excellent Sci-Fi and Horror anthology, Murky Depths.

The first one was in the first issue, and to be honest isn't my finest hour as an illustrator, the second (from issue five) is much stronger though I think, and was a good project for getting to grips with my lovely Wacom tablet :o)

Internet Things...

I thought I'd post a link to an internet site I made last year for BBC Scotland;

Skara Brae

I made the artwork, animations, etc and a talented colleague did all the very clever Action Script stuff. The text and some of the details seems to of changed slightly somewhere between it being sent off to the BBC and the website going live, I assume it's a programming thing so until I learn a bit more about that you shall have to except that the finished version I made was a bit neater! I've made one other flash website, but it isn't publicly accessible, which is yet another educational thing! And, I thought I'd upload a set of icons made in flash that were designed for another BBC website, but one where the Beeb was so taken with the concept that they're remaking it so as to be integrated into the site proper, or so I believe... Anyway, here are the (now defunct) icons: