Army Peer-to-Peer Safety Video Contest

Good news and bad news – my entry to the US Army Combat Readiness / Safety Center’s video contest was approved, but so were a load of others!  The contest has been running since October, but like most video contests, most of the entries will be rolling in close to the 30 April deadline.  So far, I still believe I am in the running for one of the cash prizes – I believe it’s “up to” $2,000, $1250, and $500.  If I win, the cash will go into a pot of money I am saving for a much faster and more capable video editing workstation.  Oh, and of course, there is the “Safety Emmy”!

You can see my entry here. I have another one planned, but am waiting for watermelons to come in season (they say the commissary will have them next week).  Don’t ask.

It may be a bit silly, but I think my animations are pretty snazzy. The reflective belt and the animation toward the end with the helmets is done using simple stop-motion on a blue screen background.  With the helmets it was a bit tricky because I hadn’t thought it through – blue and grey biking helmets can’t really be selected out using a blue screen background – the chroma key tool makes ALL the blue transparent.  So I had to create a “virtual” red screen – blue’s natural opposite – by clipping the helmets out with photoshop, surrounding them with pure red, and then saving as a jpeg.  Then, in Premiere, using the chroma key tool and making the red transparent.

The moving words in the beginning are done with Anime Studio (35 buck program that has lots of potential once I get over the learning curve).

And of course plenty of blue screening throughout the running and biking scenes – I couldn’t figure out how else to keep a steady camera shot while running and biking.  I wanted a kind of “morph” effect on the same background.  I admit you can tell I’m running in one place…

And finally, the day and night scenes used behind the biking and running shots are exactly the same scene.  I tried doing a series of shots at dusk, but if you don’t have a $$$$ camera it ends up looking grainy.  So I simply darkened the background.

Regarding some of the other entries – check them out!  The one with the speed cop is kind of clever, and the guys in the “Tacos” clip do a pretty good job.  I also think the MADVC guys did a good job “thinking outside the box.”  Quite frankly, most of the videos are drinking-and-driving videos, which is definitely a challenge in the Army.  Not to single out any single video (because you never know) but I know some of the more creative Army Commanders would consider suspending punishment if a DUI offender were to educate his/her peers in a contest like this one.  It’s important to highlight the problem from the perspective of those who can speak from personal experience, but wouldn’t it be a hoot if one of them also managed to then win 2 grand?  That having been said, one of the very first entries, a music video titled “I’m a PFC now” is a pretty commendable job of doing just that.

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