Tag Archives: Sean Mullen

Review: Rampant Design Tools FCP X plug-ins

By Brady Betzel

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been diving into FCP X and testing out some new tools that work within the editing system, including Rampant Design Tool’s FCP X plug-ins. Rampant Design helps you add value to your project, like adding video enhancements including light leaks, glitch effects, transitions, moving matte overlays and much more.

To back up a second, I have been reviewing Sean and Stefanie Mullen’s Rampant Design products for years, and they regularly create products that directly make me money in my freelance editing. That is the truth, plain and simple. If you make content that needs to grab someone quickly, like a sizzle reel, promos or anything for that matter, Rampant Design tools will help. They will add instant pop to your footage as well as save you so much time that you will be able to concentrate on the story you are trying to convey.

Check out Sean and Stefanie’s Facebook and YouTube show: www.RampantLive.com, a weekly live show that covers topics ranging from dealing with clients all the way to managing stress. It also includes interviews with industry pros like @FilmRiot’s Ryan Connolly (@ryan_connolly), Kevin P. McAuliffe (@KPMcAuliffe) and even me. They not only sell products, but they contribute to the entire post ecosphere by creating actionable and engaging content.

Digging In
Ok, enough background on to the products at hand. Some of the latest releases in the Rampant Design Tools catalog are FCP X plug-ins and Edit Essentials. Edit Essentials are a pack of 220 ProRes QuickTime light leaks, film effects, flares and more that were shot on Red cameras in 4K resolution.

While I am not going too deep into Edit Essentials in this review you can check them out here. Edit Essentials contains many similar products to the FCP X plug-ins, and are QuickTime-based — with a simple composite mode switch to something like Add or Hard Light you can be off and running in Adobe Premiere.

The Rampant Design Tool’s FCP X plug-ins are individual plug-ins that can be adjusted inside of FCP X’s Effects Panel. The downloadable FCP X plug-ins are Hard Light Overlays, Soft Light Overlays, Gradient Overlays, Style Mattes, Film Effects, Film Leaks, Flash Transitions and Glitch Transitions, all of which priced at $29 per set, a very reasonable price considering these are extremely customizable inside of FCP X.

I tried a few of these and created a quick demo on my YouTube channel. I used the Hard and Soft Light Overlays, Flash Transitions, Style Mattes, and Film Leaks combined using different compositing modes (which thankfully FCP X has built in).

What I really liked about using the FCP X plug-ins from Rampant were the ease of use and customization of each effect. Inside of the different effects, such as the overlays and flash transitions, you can customize hue, saturation, rotation and much more. If you like the way a certain light leak feels but you need it to be red instead of green, you can easily change the hue in the Effects Panel. With many of the effects plug-ins you can preview the effect inside the Effects panel or even preview the effect on the actual footage in your timeline and then click and drag onto your clip in the timeline.

style mattesThere is a trick I like to try with these effects: combining different compositing effects on top of each other. With Overlays I’ll apply a Hard Light composite mode to the clip with the Soft Light Overlay on it and place another video clip on a track beneath it. You can achieve a really unique look that is helpful when building sizzle reels and main title sequences. If you combine that like I did with the Style Mattes and you can achieve some high-level, professional-looking results. It really can give you an edge.

I’ve told this story before, but at one point I was an assistant editor looking to make the jump to editor, and I remember seeing the first iterations of Rampant Design Tools (which I still have on DVD by the way), ordered them and now I honestly believe they helped me get a promotion to editor.

One set of FCP X plug-ins that I mentioned earlier is the Style Mattes. I really love using these when doing fast-paced, more modern videos that need a shape-based look. If you troll YouTube for inspiration, like I do, you will most likely stumble on a 15-year old-kid doing a tutorial (that will probably make you jealous) on how to use composite modes and also how to work in diamond shaped patterns with displacement mapping from some drawing made in Adobe Illustrator and After Effects. If you want that look without all of the After Effects hassle, Style Mattes are where you need to be.

In my demo video, I used the Style Mattes X plug-in in FCP X along with hard light composite modes to give a sharp and blown-out look. Rampant Design has tons of variations on matte shapes and motions that you can expand upon by resizing, cropping, re-timing and any other way you want to affect your footage. Style Mattes can also be used as transitional elements between clips or layers of clips, this may take a little tricky transition-building by you, but if you customize a wipe to the timing of the style mattes you can quickly make your own unique shape-based transitions.

Glitch Transitions
The last plug-ins I will touch on are Glitch Transitions. Sure you can throw glitches over a clip, I mean who hasn’t at this point? But what really gets me is the ability to change the displacement values in the Effects Palette. You can instantly modify and create amazing glitch effects with a few button clicks, all starting with Rampant Design Tool’s awesome base — if you screw it up go ahead and reset it.

The Glitch Transitions allow the editor to truly customize each transition if they feel so inclined, or leave the plug-in alone and walk away. I would suggest that you customize your Glitch Transitions if possible, even if it is a little time remapping, doubling up on transitions to get a layered look, or even just modifying the saturation a little. A little customization goes a long way, and without the Rampant’s FCP X plug-ins it would take a few more steps to make such a personalized effect.

If there is one criticism I have with the FCP X plug-ins, it’s the installation process. Installing the FCP X plug-ins is a little cumbersome. They do give a very detailed video and PDF along with your download that explains step by step with arrows how to install them, but a nice simple installation would go a long way in my book. For an awesome plug-in that is priced well below many other plug-ins out there but rivals any of them, I can let a little drag and drop installation slide — I’m probably just lazy.

Summing Up
In the end, I always seem to love what the team over at Rampant Design Tools comes up with. Sean and Stefanie output so many high-end products, it gets hard for me to keep up! I even heard through Rampant Live that they are about to start work on a blood pack, which got me excited thinking about the combination of possibilities when you combine that with their Monster Toolkit.

I have never been disappointed with Rampant Design Tools and continue to be impressed not only by their incredible products but how the Mullen’s approach selling their products. Check out their www.RampantLive.com show and you will understand.

Brady Betzel is an online editor at Margarita Mix in Hollywood, working on Life Below Zero and Cutthroat Kitchen. You can email Brady at bradybetzel@gmail.com, and follow him on Twitter @allbetzroff. Earlier this year, Brady was nominated for an Emmy for his work on Disney’s Unforgettable Christmas Celebration.

Releases & Updates: We are in this ecosystem together

By Sean Mullen

Just a few weeks ago, Adobe released a major new upgrade to its Creative Cloud services. While these updates are welcomed by the community with excitement, there’s also a period of — for lack of better words — stressful chaos as the third-party software and plug-in developers scramble to ensure their products will be compatible.

When Adobe speaks, the community listens. When Adobe does something new, they listen even closer, because when they do something new, it’s usually some amazing a leap forward that only makes our lives easier and our work look that much better. The latest updates to Adobe Creative Cloud are no different.

All of us at Rampant Design are big fans, and Adobe CC is big part of what we do every day. It’s no mistake that our Style Effects complement Adobe CC so well. But we also understand — being part of this VFX community — that while change is great, those changes have impact on the software and plug-in developers who make their living enhancing the Adobe CC workflow. But I’ll get to that in a minute.

Adobe After Effects CC

Adobe After Effects CC

The Updates
Here are a couple of top-of-mind things that get us excited. We zeroed in on some of the applications and features within CC that impact us most on a daily basis, and those are the features in Premiere Pro and After Effects.

The Iridas acquisition of a couple of years ago is really showing its value, especially with this update. The Lumetri Color panel is amazing!  You’re getting seriously powerful color tools built right into Premiere Pro. That’s pretty significant. Morph Cut is part voodoo and part rocket science — a very cool tool that smoothes out jump cuts and pauses. There are some notable changes to After Effects too. While the AE Comp Scrollbar is now missing, the uninterrupted preview is a fantastic addition. The new Face Tracker is impressive as well.

The Adobe Ecosystem: Plug-Ins
There is most definitely an ecosystem around Adobe, an entire sub-segment of the post production software industry who make tools to enhance the workflow — the plug-in developers.

Adobe Premiere

Adobe Premiere

In any third-party plug-in environment, you have the host developer (in this case Adobe) and the third party plug-in developer  companies like Red Giant, Video Copilot, Genarts, BorisFX, to name a few. While the host developers keep the third parties informed as much as possible, their main focus is on rolling out a solid product release.

So,inevitably, some things slip through the cracks — mainly their ability to interact with the plug-in developers in a timely way — at least from the plug-in developers perspective. As a result, you’ll notice a slew of newsletters and social network posts from these third parties claiming that their products currently do or do not work with the latest release.

I’m sure the weeks up to and following a major release can be a hectic time for developers. Plug-in engineering isn’t free, so there is a small window within that the current build of any given third-party plug-in will work. Major releases come out every year and dot releases happen quite often.

At Rampant, our situation is a little different. We make tools that enhance the CC workflow, but also the plug-ins themselves. Style Effects aren’t alternative to plug-ins, they are complementary. If we were bakers or chefs, Style Effects would be the spices or finishing touches. If we were carpenters, Style Effects would be the varnish. Style Effects work hand in hand with your favorite plug-ins.

Style Effects are QuickTime-based, so as long as you have QuickTime, these effects will work with any Adobe update. In our reality, artists and editors want instant gratification. Very few of us get the time to play. Most producers want to see something yesterday, and this is why the plug-in and Style Effects ecosystems are so critical. Major new host releases will always be challenging — and stressful — but the end product of all of us working together is what helps all of us create amazing content. We’re proud to be a part of it!

Sean Mullen is the founder/president of Rampant Design Tools. He is an award-winning VFX artist, but he’s also the creator of Rampant Style Effects, UHD visual effects and designs. Style Effects are packaged as QuickTime files, enabling artists to drag and drop them to any editing platform.

 

 

Rampant offering hundreds of free 4K effects

Rampant Design is making hundreds of Rampant 4K drag-and-drop style effects for editors, VFX and motion graphics artists… free of charge. As part of its new 4K education initiative, called 4KFree.com, Rampant’s founders Sean and Stefanie Mullen are hoping to show the community just how easy it is to create highly-styled effects for video in 4K.

By providing entire libraries of style effects deployed by dragging and dropping onto a timeline, Rampant Design is offering an easy and cost effective way to create professional effects at 4K.

“We’re giving away hundreds of 4K style effects absolutely free to show the post production community how powerful our products are, and to demonstrate that making the leap to 4K isn’t difficult or scary,” says Sean Mullen, CEO of Rampant Design. “We also understand that times are tough out there for editors and VFX artists. They have to do more with less… less time, less budget. By offering these 4K style effects at no charge, we hope to give the smaller design shops the chance to create big budget looks without breaking their bank accounts.”

Stefanie Mullen, co-founder of Rampant Design and professional editor, adds, “All of our 4K style effects can be used in any video production; it’s our way of giving back to the community. We are post production artists ourselves and we know first-hand what it’s like to be under the gun, with no time, no budget, but the expectation that you’re going to create something mind-blowing for the client.”

Quick Chat: Rampant Design Tools’ Stefanie Mullen

Many of you are already likely familiar with Rampant Design Tools, who are well-known in the industry for their high-quality drag-and-drop visual effects offerings. You might even have some on your system right now.

What you might not know is that Rampant is a small shop owned by the husband-and-wife-team of Sean and Stefanie Mullen, artists themselves. We thought it would be fun to get a look behind the curtain at this small company that creates tools that a lot of pros rely on every day.

How did Rampant begin? What was the genesis of the company?
Rampant began five years ago, but the true beginning of the company goes back 20 years when my husband Sean began working in Hollywood. He was working with top producers and visual Continue reading

Rampant Design partners with VFX house That Studio 

Orlando — Rampant Design Tools  has entered into a strategic partnership with That Studio, a global, online production and visual effects studio founded by Kanen Flowers and Alan Edward Bell. As a result, Rampant Design Tools is rebranding, and refocusing its entire library of practical VFX elements for filmmakers, editors and visual effects artists.

Beginning immediately, Rampant will offer its drag and drop QuickTime elements in two distinct and targeted product categories: Indie Essentials and Studio Essentials.

“Over the years, Kanen Flowers and That Studio have built a large and loyal following in the indie filmmaking community. His fans look to him for advice and guidance on the crowded, and often times, confusing marketplace for tools for filmmakers,” said Sean Mullen, president and founder of Rampant Design Tools. “Partnering with Kanen is a significant opportunity for Rampant Design Tools to reach this vast community of users, and give them the tools they need to get their projects done. Kanen has deep roots and experience with this market, so our new relationship will be a big win for our users.”

The first of the new collections, called Indie Essentials, will be marketed and sold by That Studio and will offer libraries of QuickTime elements targeted at the indie filmmaker and freelance artist/editor who require accessible, affordable high-quality VFX elements.

studio-flash-transitions copy

The second of the new collections launched by Rampant, called Studio Essentials, will be marketed, sold and supported by Rampant, and will offer libraries of high quality, ultra high resolution (5K, 4K, 2K) QuickTime elements designed for the stringent, high-resolution requirements of higher end post production and Hollywood studios.

Both companies will jointly create and introduce new products over the next year.

Aharon Rabinowitz is the director of content and communities for Red Giant and had this to say about the new partnership: “No matter how good editing, motion graphics and VFX software gets, the one thing you’ll always need is good source — there’s just no substitute for practical effects.  I’ve used this stuff in some of my most time sensitive projects, and have been really proud of the results.”

Indie Essentials are high quality, practical effects designed to enhance any independent film or project, instantly creating impressive visual effects. Kanen will tap his knowledge and expertise as an indie filmmaker, as well as his broad following in the community, to market and sell the Indies Essentials line of products.

All Indie Essentials files are high-quality visual effects, including QuickTime files (up to 2K) and are compatible with industry-popular post production software, including Adobe Premiere Pro, Apple Final Cut Pro, Adobe After Effects, Nuke, Avid and many more.

Indie Essentials delivers almost 100GB of content, with elements such as: 2k Snow; 2k Dust and Dirt; 2k Embers, 2k Sparks; 2k Fog and 2k Smoke; Cinematic Flares; Creature Kit (Eyes, Mouths, Wounds and creature textures!); Muzzle Flashes; Dirt and Grunge; Grunge Mattes; Overlays and Transitions; Cinematic Music; Sound Effects; and more.

Al Mooney, senior product manager, professional video editing for Adobe added, “That Studio has quickly become recognized as a forward-thinking, modern and very global organization that values independent film. Indie Essentials provides world class tools to filmmakers on a budget to allow them to create the highest quality productions. These tools, along with tight integration to our Creative Cloud toolset, in particular with Adobe Premiere Pro CC,  provides filmmakers with unlimited possibilities to create and edit films.”

Studio Essentials include Rampant Design Tools entire library of high-end, ultra high resolution elements, including the Rampant Cinema Series 5K, Rampant Broadcast Series 4K, Rampant Production Series 2K, and Rampant Essentials 2K drives. Studio Essentials delivers two complete volumes of elements and offer editors and visual effects artists optimal flexibility, quality and value. Sean Mullen continues to tap his expertise as a high-end VFX artist, whose work included Hollywood and television productions such as Charmed, Ally McBeal, NCIS, Felicity, Nip/Tuck, Idle Hands, Lake Placid and Any Given Sunday.

next-gen-for-editors copy

Studio Essentials includes thousands of 5K effects, and all of the Studio Essentials are available in 2K, 4K and 5K.  Studio Essentials are available on USB 3.0 drives, or users can select the 2K and 4K elements as downloads if preferred.  Rampant is also offering the Next Gen For Editors sample pack which includes 10 effects from each volume in 4K for under $100. Some of the elements offered in Studio Essentials include: Studio Fire; Studio Dust, Embers and Sparks; Studio Smoke; Studio Snow; Studio Flash Transitions; Studio Bokeh; Studio Reflections; Studio Mattes; Studio Light Transitions; Studio Light Overlays; Studio Blast Transitions; Studio Impact Lights.