The ongoing blog of the Tomchak family, in Wheaton IL USA

Brother vs Brother Video

By on December 21, 2016 in Text Post, Video Post with 0 Comments

For the first time in my video editing career, I was asked if I could create lasers for an upcoming project. And if so, how long it would take to do a bunch of lasers as 2 people ran through the building. That’s something you don’t get asked every day – if ever.

I gave what I thought was a good estimate, but also knew that regardless of how much time I said I needed, we only had 5 days to complete the entire video. That included shooting in multiple locations, so really 4 days. I found this all out on Tuesday or Wednesday the week before it started.

I always like to be prepared and try to under promise and over deliver as much as possible. At worse, you give them at least what you promised. So the weekend before the project started I grabbed the kids and had them run around the yard “shooting” at each other. They didn’t know exactly what it was for and knew nothing of the story. They just knew they were supposed to take my direction and do what I asked while I shot some video.

So I grabbed my GoPro Hero 3 and started shooting. The entire shoot with them took no more than 20 minutes.

That evening I put together the video featured here as a proof of concept for the video the client asked me to do.

While there were no big surprises, I felt a lot more confident walking in on Monday knowing that I could in fact do it in the time specified.

The other big takeaway is that this sort of laser shooting is very forgiving. I wasn’t sure if I would need to camera track or do any other kind of motion tracking, but because the laser shots are only 4-12 frames long you can do it all by hand. It turns out it’s pretty easy to trick the eye with this effect.

One thing that helped make this really easy to do was the relatively new plugin Saber from While it’s real strength is creating light sabers as seen in Star Wars, it can be adapted and used in many different creative ways. And what’s amazing is, it’s a FREE plugin for After Effects.

So I ended up with a fun video for the kids, and walked in on Monday feeling like I was as ready as possible for the job. (Which in the end, was done almost a full day early).

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