Here’s a little something to warm you up – burning pentagrams! This is part of a title sequence project, for a favourite book of mine, “Black Easter” by James Blish. Don’t get too excited though, it’s not actually being made into a TV miniseries as far as I know, I’m just making a title sequence for it as part of a university project.
This is one of those times where stock footage can be more than just a time saver, it can allow you to make things that couldn’t be shot any other way. In this case, everything you see is derived from a single 20-second high-res clip of fire that comes as part of Video Copilot’s “Action Essentials II” pack, which I picked up cheap in the pre-Christmas sales. While it’s theoretically possible to film something like this myself, the health and safety issues make it a non-starter. Turning the single clip into a pentagram was quite easy. I’ve simply rotated the clip 5 times to make a star, then used the Warp tool in After Effects to bend another copy of the clip into a curve, which when duplicated 5 times makes a circle. I experimented with time offsets, which made for a more realistic, less kaleidoscope-like look, as well as tightly lining up the curves, but decided the ragged, symmetrical look was best. After pre-composing at high resolution (1500×1500), I flew a few copies of the clip around in 3-D space to get this zoom effect.