We use countdown videos every week at STORYCHURCH to count down to the beginning of the service. Up until now I had been using some free green screen videos I found online and merging it with our series graphics each time. This has worked well, but had it’s limitations as I was restricted to the font face, size and position of the green screen video counter.
I’ve been thinking about buying Apple Motion 5 for a while and finally picked it up yesterday. With Apple Motion, we can create our very own fully customized countdowns!
It took me a few hours to find the best (and most efficient) way to do a basic countdown. If there’s a better approach, please let me know.
1) Create a Motion project.
We are creating videos for a projector display with a 4:3 ratio (1024×768). If you are following this tutorial in Motion, you can select the preset type you need, it doesn’t affect the outcome. Adjust the project duration to 5 mins and click Open.
2) Add a Text Generator
In the library, go to Generators, select a File Generator and drag it into the main project group.
When I began researching how to do this in Motion, I found multiple videos that recommended using a Timecode Generator with a Ramp behavior. I tried that for my first video (in fact we used it this morning at STORYCHURCH), but I wasn’t happy with it as I couldn’t figure out how to format the timecode, and also could not get it to play in reverse properly. In the end, I had to export the video from Motion and run it through iMovie to export it in reverse.
3) Load source file
I created my source text file in Numbers (any spreadsheet application would work).
In the spreadsheet, create the first two entries, highlight and drag the yellow triangle thingy through the 300 rows. I then copied and pasted the data into a plain text file and saved it to my desktop. Here is my copy to save you time.
Before arriving at this finished text file I tried a number of different approaches. On my first attempt, I created a file which included hundreds of a second (e.g. 5:00:00). This resulted in a file with 180,000 rows and seemed to work well up until half way through when Motion stopped reading the file. I then tried splitting the file into two and adding two File Generator objects to the project. This created some issues as well (flickering). Finally, I decided to stick to only minutes and seconds and ended up with a file of 300 rows only. Motion had no issues with this at all.
4) Format The Countdown
Select a style for the countdown from the inspector dialog.
Since we’re creating this countdown for green screen use, add a green background and ensure you select “solid” for the background property. The green screen color is #00FF00 (Hex), or 0,255,0 (Rgb).
5) Export The Movie!
The movie came out around 500mb. Using Handbrake, I reduced the filesize to 1.3mb. I use Handbrake for every movie I create for ProPresenter or YouTube.
You now have a countdown movie ready for import into iMovie. I will create another tutorial on that part soon.
Right click on the following links to download.