Adobe After Effects Keyboard Shortcuts Bookmark

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Useful After Effects Shortcuts

    • ALT / OPTION + [ – (Makes Playhead the beginning of layer)
    • ALT / OPTION +] – (Makes Playhead the end of layer)
    • [ – Move beginning of layer to Playhead
    • ] – Move End of layer to Playhead
    • CTRL / CMD + SHIFT + d – Split layer at Playhead
    • n – (Makes playhead end of work area)
    • b – (Makes Playhead beginnign of work area)
    • l + l – Hit L key twice to view sound wave (Make sure sound layer is selected)
    • 0 – Zero key on the number pad for Ram Preview
    • u (Hit u twice if you want to see expressions. Make sure layer is selected)
    • p – Position
    • t – Opacity/Transparency
    • s – scale
    • ALT / OPTION + Mouse –  Scale selected keyframes
    • r – rotation
    • k – move to next keyframe
    • j – move to previous keyframe
    • i – move to beginning of layer
    • o – move to end of layer
    • v – Selection Tool

  • z – Zoom
  • m + m – View Mask Settings (Make sure layer is selected)
  • y – Pan Behind Tool
  • c – Camera Tool
  • f – Mask feather
  • a – anchor point
  • a + a – Brings up 3D options for 3D layers and lights
  • + – Zoom in timeline
  • ‘-‘ – Zoom out timeline
  • ‘~’ – Zoom window underneath mouse
  • CTRL / CMD + ‘+’ – Zoom in
  • CTRL / CMD + ‘-‘ – Zoom out
  • CTRL / CMD + ALT + Y – New Adjustment layer
  • CTRL / CMD + Y – New Solid
  • SHIFT + CTRL / CMD + Y – Solid Settings
  • CTRL / CMD + d – Duplicate
  • ENTER Key – Rename Layer or Comp
  • Space Bar – Hand Tool
  • F9 – Easy ease
  • Right Arrow – Move layer one frame forward (Make sure layer is selected)
  • Left Arrow – Move layer one frame back (Make sure layer is selected)
  • PAGE UP – move one frame back
  • PAGE DOWN – move one frame forward
  • SHIFT + PAGE UP – move 10 frames back
  • SHIFT + PAGE DOWN – move 10 frames forward
  • CTRL + SHIFT + H = Hide Masks and layers outlines


Royalty Free Music – Free to use

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Some royalty free music I made. Feel free to use in your projects. Download information is below the videos. You can download for free at the links. The password is “filmmaker,” if you want to download for free. You can also pay the CAD$ 5, which is like US$2, if you like any of them. And if you can’t afford anything at all, just click on an ad or two, and we’ll be even. Cheers 🙂

1. Betrayal

Download Info:
Click on “I want this”
Value: $5
For Free download, under offer code type: filmmaker

2. Liberation

Download Info:
Click on “I want this”
Value: CAD$5
For Free download, under offer code type: filmmaker

3. Badlands

Download Info:
Click on “I want this”
Value: CAD$5
For Free download, under offer code type: filmmaker

4. The Chase

Download Info:
Click on “I want this”
Value: CAD$5
For Free download, under offer code type: filmmaker

5. Car Stalk

Download Info:
Value: CAD$5
For Free download, under offer code type: filmmaker


6. Caution

Download Info:
Click on “I want this”
Value: CAD$5
For Free download, under offer code type: filmmaker

7. Fix It

Download Info:
Click on “I want this”
Value: CAD$5
For Free download, under offer code type: filmmaker

8. Float

Download Info:
Click on “I want this”
Value: CAD$5
For Free download, under offer code type: filmmaker

9. Open Sky

Download Info:
Click on “I want this”
Value: CAD$5
For Free download, under offer code type: filmmaker

10. True Love

Download Info:
Click on “I want this”
Value: CAD$5
For Free download, under offer code type: filmmaker

11. Realization

Download Info:
Click on “I want this”
Value: CAD$5
For Free download, under offer code type: filmmaker

Indie Film Distribution – Some Highlights to remember

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I was doing some websurfing on distribution. I just wanted to write down some key points that I learned for everyone’s benefit:

Minimum Guarantee

One of the key terms to look out for when dealing with a distributor is “Minimum Guarantee,” or MG. This is the amount that your distributor pays you upfront. When a distributor pays you upfront, that means they think they can make money off your film, and that’s why they are willing to accept this upfront cost. If there is no mention of a minimum guarantee, it is an indication that they don’t really value the prospects for your film. Perhaps they want your film just to add it to their “library” of films, and then it sits on their shelf. They get to brag about how they have 1001 movies in their library, but nothing really happens to your film.


Distributors will tell you how much they love your film and how well they think of you and your prospects, and they want to give you 80/20 in your favor of the profits that the film makes. Now that sounds great. But the key thing to understand here is that they’re offering you 80% of the “profits.”

Profit = Sales – Costs

If they include every airplane ticket and every lunch bill and every car rental, and tack it on as a cost to your movie, whatever the sale, costs are always going to be higher than sales, and profits will always be negative. That 80% amount in your favor will always be worthless.

So if you’re accepting any backend deal, make sure that the backend, whether it’s 80/20, or 60/40, or 40/60, or 20/80, that it’s based on “sales” or “revenue,” not “profit.” If it’s based on profits, somebody is trying to dupe you. If they insist on “profit,” just don’t accept the deal. You’ll never see a dime. Throw your film into the river, but don’t give it to a distributor who doesn’t have your best interests at heart.


I’ll update this page as I find out more. So keep checking in.


Film Festivals: Should filmmakers bother with them?

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What are the purported purpose of festivals? Supposedly they’re interested in independent film and art, and all kinds of nice things. Is that really true?

Just ask yourself this. When was the last time you heard about some new writer or director being discovered by a film festival? When? I can’t remember anybody being discovered just because they sent in their great film. Almost any film that is chosen or featured by almost any festival of any repute is one that already has backing, either financial or star power.

I put up a picture of Sundance up there, but I’m not really picking on Sundance. All festivals are the same. The new ones may act like they care about the festivals, but they all want to be Sundance. And they all want to cater to Brad Pitt and Tarantino, and not Bill and Joe Shmoe. Just look at the picture above. What does it say underneath the sign? It says Southwest.com. That’s the customer of Sundance. The filmmaker is not the customer. And that’s the customer every other smaller festival that wants to be big wants. The filmmaker is the tool.

So what does that mean? The way Sundance makes money is through sponsorships from companies like Southwest. The way companies like Southwest become interested in sponsoring is when they see the likes of Brad Pitt. They are interested in star power. They’re not interested because a bunch of unknown filmmakers are attending.

And that is the goal of every film festival out there. To make more money through sponsorships. And that’s why they’re looking for stars, and not story.

So as an unknown indie filmmaker, should you really be interested in Sundance or it’s ilk? I think it’s a waste of time. Sundance will take your submission fee. And all you will get out of it is the death of hope.

Royalty Free Music – LightShow

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I’m calling this piece LightShow. It was sitting on my computer gathering dust. I’m no musician, so am not really interested in finding out how bad it is. I love the piece. And if you like it and want to use it in your film or video work, feel free to do so.


Audio for Filmmakers – How to remove hum from your audio with Izotope RX4

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If you are a filmmaker, and you’re spending gazillions of dollars or pounds or deutschemarks on film and audio equipment, you need to start spending some money on audio software, or else there is a pretty good chance your recorded audio will still sound like crap. There is a plethora of software to choose from. I personally like Izotope RX4. Below is a video on how to remove hums like refrigerator noise or other background low frequency hums with RX4.


My Experience With the Atomos Ninja

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In the recent handheld shoot of the film The Girl Without A Song, which is currently in post production, we decided to use two Atomos Ninjas for our two Nikon D800s. I was skeptical at first of inserting a technology in the middle of my shoot that I knew not much about. My DP, Nicholas Collister was adamant about using it. He owned one and kept telling me about the benefits. He suggested I buy a unit for the second camera. I was unconvinced, and wasn’t sure if the money wouldn’t be spent better elsewhere. I was also concerned that it might cause production delays during the shoot because of unfamiliarity with the technology.

Nick however was extremely confident, not only in his ability to use it, but also in the Ninja’s ability to aid in our shoot. So we settled and rented the second Atomos Ninja for our second camera unit. It was truly a blessing. Here are the three primary ways we benefited:

  1. Focus Peaking: We were shooting at f2.8 handheld. At that depth of field even a slight movement of the camera person or the actor or a combination can throw the scene out of focus, and that’s where focus peaking is absolutely crucial as it arrests your attention until things are back in focus.
  2. SSD Drives: The fact that we were able to shoot in 125g or 250g drives meant that we didn’t have to have multiple smaller cards to worry about. It also meant that Data Wrangling was a lot easier.
  3. Histogram: The histogram kept us in check on the visual details of what we were shooting.
  4. Avid DNxHD: It allowed us to shoot in Avid DNxHD Codec.
  5. No Time Limit: While this was not an issue for us, if you’re going to shoot documentaries, or find yourself in a situation where you have to shoot for longer than 12 minutes without having to stop recording, the Atomos Ninja will prove to be invaluable.

Below is a discussion I had with Nick regarding our use of the Atomos Ninja on our shoot.

To Shoot or Not to Shoot Handheld

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When I first started planning the shoot for “The Girl Without A Song,” one of the considerations was budget. The way I handle budget is to figure out how to make my shoot day shorter. One of the ways I do that is to shoot with two cameras, especially in a back and forth dialog scene. That way I get both angles on the same take, and if both actors have a good take, I get to actually cut back and forth a perfect take where the the actor reactions to each other is perfect. It means I have half the setups. Of course, it also means that lighting isn’t perfect. I know. I also know that nothing else is perfect either. So I worry about everything being a little better, and not just worry about lighting being perfect. At my skill and budget levels, I just worry about better. I have neither the time nor the money for perfection.

I had been wanting to do a handheld shoot for some time. I personally like the art form. On this set, what I realized was that not having locked off shots is also a great way to save time. The moment you say go, shooting can begin. There is no exact position to go back to. Everything is a little more fluid. So for my part I would encourage filmmakers with tight budgets to try handheld. It takes a different kind of planning, especially if you’re shooting at f2.8 for the whole shoot. You have to be extremely careful to make sure you have the right focus.

But some filmmakers chastised me for my choice, and told me handheld filmmaking is a sign of laziness. Well. I’ll heed their advice when I see their films. Here’s a video of my DP Nicholas Collister, on his take on our choice of shooting handheld.