© Mark Platten 2006



'Bodies' DVD front end sequence

- After Effects

- Sony ACID Pro
- DVD-Lab Pro

A 16-second sequence created to enhance material repurposed from XVid captures legally harvested from the public domain*

In all, I transcoded, authored and compiled 16 hours of content to a total of 8 DVDs covering two series.

*No commerical DVD of this programme currently exists: this was a strictly non-commercial exercise with no association with the BAFTA-nominated BBC3 drama.

< final sequence (requires QuickTime 7.1)
In keeping with the series' visceral, hard-hitting nature & predilection for lurid gynaecological moments, the sequence depicts a female patient in surgery giving birth to the DVD's main menu.

You had to be there, really.

For reasons best known to Adobe, their video products don't cohere with popular codecs like DivX or XViD, so this kind of footage required intermediate handling prior ro compositing.

After suitable clips were chosen for the project, all material was extracted with VirtualDub and turned into something which After Effects would allow across its threshold.
The series' fast, contemporary editing and relentless sense of tension lent themselves to the concept of a short sharp shock: the speed of the final transition made After Effects work straightforward, though close attention had to be paid on a frame-by-frame basis in parts.

A rudimentary particle effect provides the illusion of a sudden splash of blood before the default menu graphic pops out and fills the screen. Viewed here as stills things look crude - but with the action compressed into a handful of critical frames, visually it's very efficient.

An animated lens compensation filter was used to wrap the treated graphic into a ball, prior to the 'pop' where it abruptly unfurls to fill the screen... the animated layer of pseudo gore sits directly below it in the AE stack.
The opening title music; .wavs from the original clips; plus some tongue-in-cheek stock of a cork being slowly drawn and then popped from the neck of a bottle were blended together in ACID Pro, using a draft render of the finalised sequence for reference.
The final menu stills were capped from the original opening sequence: after hunting down a suitable typeface for the 'Series One' & 'Series Two' texts, I tried to stay faithful to the original motion graphics
by animating their wobbling build on screen.

Various DVD authoring apps routinely offer the option to import menu assets from Photoshop.

Nonetheless, constructing all assets in an After Effects composition allows you to easily maintain continuity between all separate menu states - a great workflow proposition for subsequent asset updates; ideal for stitching animated intros & switched menus into each other.

So why not Adobe Encore?
Hmm. A bit like the World Cup, really:
Don't know, don't care...