Sam Gorski, Nikolas Pueringer, and Jake Watson came together as Corridor Digital as a by-product of a low budget monster movie they had filmed together in Vancouver while they were still in college. That was in 2009. Today Corridor Digital is at the forefront of a new generation of filmmakers and visual effects artists creating and distributing their own original content on YouTube. With over 800,000 subscribers, Corridor’s blend of humorous action shorts has proven that DIY filmmaking does not need to look low budget.
The team at Corridor shoots, edits and manages all post-producton based out of their live-work space in Los Angeles and are using some of the industry’s most advanced tools to create compelling content. Since mocha is one of the tools in their tool kit, we sat down with Corridor and asked them about some of their biggest challenges.
Imagineer: Can you tell us about some recent projects that involved the use of mocha, mocha Pro or mocha AE?
Corridor: The most recent project is for an unreleased web show, and in fact, we used mocha AE on it just today. The project is a pilot for web series called Tether. Rather than doing a full camera track with all the time and work that it takes, we just select certain areas and track to those areas to drop in CG elements. We also often track bullet holes and wounds to people. We do tons of screen replacements, bullet hits on walls, and other enhancing effects. We also love using mocha AE with Go Pro footage and we recently got a Scarlet camera that we love.
Imagineer: What other software is important in your toolkit? How does mocha integrate into your workflow?
Corridor: We are an After Effects house, but we also use 3DS Max, and Bouju as our default camera tracker. Also, Red Giant plug ins are great – we use lots of their stuff. We used to use Final Cut, but aren’t happy with the direction that is going in, so we’re moving to Adobe Premiere for all RED footage processing and editing.
Imagineer: How long have you been in post-production and VFX?
Corridor: We’ve been doing VFX since we were 15, so for over a decade. Specifically, we’ve been using After Effects for over a decade.
Imagineer: How many shots were tracked with mocha products? How did mocha assist the process?
Corridor: We use mocha on everything, typically about 4 shots per project, like on our Youtube videos, which are usually about 3 minutes of footage. mocha AE is super well integrated with After Effects; we just jump in, draw a box, go back to After Effects, paste and we’re done. We have a bullet hit tutorial on our Youtube channel called “shoot your friends” bullet hits. Check it out.
Imagineer: Besides using mocha’s planar tracker, what other mocha Pro features did you take advantage of to hit your deadlines?
Corridor: We’re not using mocha pro… yet! But we’ve seen some demos and we’re especially excited about the remove feature and the mesh warp in the insert tool.
Imagineer: Can you talk about any particular challenges or shots that mocha helped on? Would these shots have been more difficult to achieve in another set of tools?
Corridor: For certain shots we have saved hours of work, especially on screen replacements in shots where there is a lot of skew or heavy lens distortion. mocha handles those really well.
Imagineer: You’ve created some high end VFX shots with relatively inexpensive tools. Tell us a little bit about that.
Corridor: Yes! We use Neat Video for noise removal, while its not a VFX tool per se, it essentially upgrades your camera for $100. There is also HitFilm. The price range is $200 -$400 and its kind of like a mashup of Premiere and After Effects with a really nice particle engine. It is a full blown editing program with integrated VFX.
Imagineer: How would you sum up your experiences with mocha and Imagineer Systems? Do you have any thoughts on things you’d like to see in future versions of mocha?
Corridor: We think its really cool how hands on you guys are, we’ve never had any software company send someone to visit us. Its really nice and we appreciate it.
Some of the things we’d really like to see in the future would be even more integration with After Effects, where it becomes even easier to take a clip from After Effects right into mocha without having it feeling like an external program. We’d also like to see some more things like a quick track option for simple tracks and maybe even an optical flow engine. You could use that kind of thing to ignore a person moving through a screen without having to make a mask for the foreground object. But we’re really looking forward to mocha v3.0, it sounds exciting!