CG Chatter 026: Freelance Editor & Motion Graphics Artist Doug Hanback

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Welcome to the CG Chatter Podcast episode #26! In this episode I chat with Doug Hanback, Freelance Motion Graphics Artist.

Doug lives and works in the Washington, DC area, where he’s been creating a wide range of content for over ten years. Before freelancing he was on staff at Cortina Productions, where he learned the ropes of the industry and expanded his skill set well beyond video editing and into areas like compositing, motion graphics, and other post production disciplines.

Areas we discuss include what makes museum work unique, why it’s important for video editors to also learn some compositing and motion graphics, technical aspects and storytelling considerations for creating spherical 360 video and VR content, and also how to juggle work/life balance when you’ve got twin boys.

Episode Guide:

  • 1:52 – Doug’s work as a freelance editor and motion graphics artist
  • 3:12 – How his interest in film and storytelling developed in high school
  • 4:34 – His initial interest in pursuing Computer Science in college and for his career
  • 5:22 – He ended up being a Political Science major and received a film certificate
  • 5:51 – His semester studing film at the University of Southern California (USC)
  • 6:32 – Doug’s internship at Franchise Pictures in LA and what it taught him
  • 7:36 – Thoughts on how the LA film scene differs from the more documentary-/museum-centric East Coast scene
  • 8:49 – Life after graduating college, and the process of getting his career launched
  • 9:44 – How he got started at Cortina Productions in a non-editing role, and how that evolved to editing
  • 11:40 – “Chevy Chase is a town!
  • 12:12 – Stepping back, we discuss Doug’s decision to go to Duke
  • 14:49 – Doug talks about Cortina and the different kinds of work that they do
  • 16:36 – What it’s like working with such a diverse range of formats and output specs in museum work
  • 18:06 – Doug’s time at Cortina and what a typical day would look like
  • 19:21 – He gradually integrated more and more motion graphics into his work
  • 19:56 – His work for the UNC Basketball Museum and how it was a “trial by fire” for him
  • 21:22 – “The better you get at the tool, then the more you can apply the things you have in your head and actually put them on the screen.”
  • 23:24 – The experience of seeing his work installed in a museum space, often at a much larger size than how he was working on it
  • 24:13 – Similarities between editing/motion graphics and performing
  • 25:08 – His preferred style of motion graphics
  • 26:04 – Doug’s work on “Science on a Sphere: Sea Level Rise” (see images below)
  • 29:08 – Similarities and differences between physical sphere projections and VR work
  • 29:40 – How physical sphere projections are set up
  • 30:45 – Developing storytelling techniques for physical sphere projections
  • 35:34 – Doug’s work on “Super Bowl XLIX: Orchestrating a Comeback” (see image below)
  • 36:46 – Unique challenges of working on video walls
  • 40:23 – What it was like working with the New England Patriots
  • 42:00 – Doug’s work on “Fire/Combustion” (see image below)
  • 43:37 – You can’t just be an editor anymore – you need to have some graphics and compositing skills
  • 44:33 – Using footage (particularly elemental things like fire, smoke, and water) as a matte for compositing other footage
  • 46:00 – Working on a 360 theater project and how graphics can be used to obscure any issues
  • 49:20 – The overlap of techniques used for spherical projections, 360 theaters, and VR in general
  • 49:53 – The technical hurdles of creating computer graphics become easier to deal with over time
  • 53:42 – Doug’s transition to becoming a freelancer
  • 55:52 – Your best resource is the people that you’ve worked with
  • 56:42 – Doug’s typical freelance work environment
  • 57:10 – Pros and cons of working remotely from home
  • 1:01:06 – What Doug does to maintain good work/life balance
  • 1:05:35 – Advice for students: don’t forget to “practice the craft and learn on your own.”
  • 1:06:32 – Even if you’re not starting in the role you want to be in, find opportunities to show your skills
  • 1:07:10 – “Don’t worry about being great” – just make stuff
  • 1:07:46 – Don’t forget to learn the technical stuff, even if the software makes it easy not to – that can be what sets you apart
  • 1:08:49 – What makes the “Stranger Things” intro so great
  • 1:10:15 – Get involved in your local community related to your area of study or work
  • 1:11:26 – The vast majority of the time you won’t find jobs through online postings, but rather through people you know
  • 1:11:45 – What Doug’s up to these days
  • 1:13:11 – Vacation can be harder to take as a freelancer, and Doug finds he’s more inclined to pick up occasional weekend work
  • 1:14:00 – He feels that Mac is abandoning pro users
  • 1:14:49 – Doug’s working on learning JavaScript and expressions a bit more

Episode links:

Featured Work from the Episode:

"Science on a Sphere: Sea Level Rise" for The Aquarium of the Pacific. Produced by Cortina Productions Editor and Motion Graphics This is the first of four "Science on a Sphere" projects I've done. The film is projected onto a spherical surface suspended from the ceiling with a 360 degree viewing area, with set ups in museums all across the country. They are most often used show projections of the Earth with data presented over top. But with the Aquarium of the Pacific and Cortina Productions we took that a step further, using the sphere as a canvas for more documentary style storytelling, while incorporating visualizations of the Earth graphically. Below is a photo of the sphere in its space, along with a frame grab of the sphere from three separate angles.

“Science on a Sphere: Sea Level Rise” for The Aquarium of the Pacific. Produced by Cortina Productions
(Image 1/2)
Doug’s Role: Editor and Motion Graphics
Doug says: “This is the first of four ‘Science on a Sphere’ projects I’ve done. The film is projected onto a spherical surface suspended from the ceiling with a 360 degree viewing area, with set ups in museums all across the country. They are most often used show projections of the Earth with data presented over top. But with the Aquarium of the Pacific and Cortina Productions we took that a step further, using the sphere as a canvas for more documentary style storytelling, while incorporating visualizations of the Earth graphically. [Above] is a photo of the sphere in its space, [and below is] with a frame grab of the sphere from three separate angles.”

"Science on a Sphere: Sea Level Rise" for The Aquarium of the Pacific. Produced by Cortina Productions Editor and Motion Graphics This is the first of four "Science on a Sphere" projects I've done. The film is projected onto a spherical surface suspended from the ceiling with a 360 degree viewing area, with set ups in museums all across the country. They are most often used show projections of the Earth with data presented over top. But with the Aquarium of the Pacific and Cortina Productions we took that a step further, using the sphere as a canvas for more documentary style storytelling, while incorporating visualizations of the Earth graphically. Below is a photo of the sphere in its space, along with a frame grab of the sphere from three separate angles.

“Science on a Sphere: Sea Level Rise” for The Aquarium of the Pacific. Produced by Cortina Productions
(Image 2/2)
Doug’s Role: Editor and Motion Graphics
(See description above)

"Super Bowl XLIX: Orchestrating a Comeback" for The Hall at Patriots Place. Produced by Cortina Productions Editor, Design and Motion Graphics This is one of 10 films displayed on a huge 16 monitor array video wall in the New England Patriots' Hall of Fame exploring their Super Bowl victories (I also edited much of the rest of the media in there, including a large four-projector theater film). I've done a bunch of video walls now, and they always present a unique challenge of dividing the screen into blocks to design and animate around.

“Super Bowl XLIX: Orchestrating a Comeback” for The Hall at Patriots Place. Produced by Cortina Productions
Doug’s Role: Editor, Design and Motion Graphics
Doug says: This is one of 10 films displayed on a huge 16 monitor array video wall in the New England Patriots’ Hall of Fame exploring their Super Bowl victories (I also edited much of the rest of the media in there, including a large four-projector theater film). I’ve done a bunch of video walls now, and they always present a unique challenge of dividing the screen into blocks to design and animate around.

 "Fire/Combustion" for the Museum of Science and Industry "Science Storms" Exhibit. Produced by Cortina Productions Editor and Graphics/Compositing This is one of several large format films I did for the Science Storms exhibit along with smaller videos and interactives. While there's not a ton in the way of "CG" in there, there's a good deal of compositing and text. Aside from the challenges of large and uniquely shaped formats, I think it's a good example of graphics and compositing blending into the world of editing and post-production as a whole and wearing different hats to complete a project.

“Fire/Combustion” for the Museum of Science and Industry “Science Storms” Exhibit. Produced by Cortina Productions
Doug’s Role: Editor and Graphics/Compositing
Doug says: This is one of several large format films I did for the Science Storms exhibit along with smaller videos and interactives. While there’s not a ton in the way of “CG” in there, there’s a good deal of compositing and text. Aside from the challenges of large and uniquely shaped formats, I think it’s a good example of graphics and compositing blending into the world of editing and post-production as a whole and wearing different hats to complete a project.

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The post CG Chatter 026: Freelance Editor & Motion Graphics Artist Doug Hanback appeared first on CG Chatter : The Art, Business, and Lifestyle of Creating Computer Graphics.

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