Sasa Jokic, New York City-based editor and VFX artist is a long-time Imagineer Systems customer and fan of mocha. Sasa recently launched a new post production collaborative called MASSIVE Workshop, Inc, and shared with us his background, his experience in post production, and what inspires him. Sasa also shared some feedback with us on mocha and the new v3 release of mocha Pro.
On Sasa Jokic
My name is Sasa Jokic and I am creative video editor and VFX artist based in New York City. Even though I am a classically trained editor (I hold Master of Arts in Film and Video Editing from University of Art in Belgrade), I have always been interested in learning and using new editing and VFX tools. As a freelancer in New York, it is essential to keep current with all post-production software developments. Because you never know where are you going to get your next job and what tools the new company is using, I have learned to work on all editorial systems, including AVID, Final Cut Pro, Premiere, Media 100, to name a few, as well as most VFX tools on the market.
One of my favorite tools is Imagineer Systems’ mocha. It saved me so much time on so many projects and literally saved my job on some. I came to New York 1996 and did my fair share of work on low budget independent feature and documentary films. About 9 years ago, I decided to focus more on advertising, so I start working with many ad agencies as their on site editor and VFX artist. At the same time I started developing my relationships with the feature film world and working on visual effects for films.
A few months ago I created my new company called MASSIVE Workshop, Inc. We are a collaborative collective of best-in-the-business post production talent - producers, editors, motion designers, VFX and 3D artists. The idea is to provide an ad agency with a full range of post-production services directly and on many operational levels. I am confident that our approach will change the way ad agencies conduct post-production business. That will be MASSIVE’s main orientation, but we will continue to provide superb VFX work to our feature films clients.
On Recent Work
Just last week I finished two commercials for Purina Cat Chow and Tidy Cats. I used mocha on a few shots for Cat Chow, and on all shots for Tidy Cats; shots that needed to be stabilized and tracked because cats were shot separately from actors. Here’s a clip:
mocha on Feature Films
Six months ago I finished VFX work for the feature film “Silent House,” directed by Chris Kentis and Laura Lau, shot by Igor Martinovic and starring Elisabeth Olsen. It premiered in more than 2000 theaters last March in United States, and it is just about to start screening throughout Europe. It was a very interesting project from technical stand point because the whole movie is one continuos shot. As a result, there were many small imperfections which we needed to fix. Sometimes the light would be seen on the celling, or cameraman’s hand would slide into the shot; some shots had unwanted lens flares, or surrounding houses would be seen through the forest, which did not sit well because it is a horror film our hero house needed to be isolated!
So I had to do a lot of object removals and clean ups. Some shots had to stabilized, because everything was shot with a handheld. mocha Pro was an essential tool in my workflow and we used it in every single part of the shot I was working on. There were more than 150 instances where mocha Pro came into play. Footage was dark, shaky and in some cases, had lots of motion blur and noise (it was shot on Canon 5D), but mocha Pro did not have a problem with any of that. Planar Tracking was flawless, and new stabilization module in mocha Pro v3 helped to smooth some parts of the shot and still keep that handheld camera feeling.
On the Workflow and Integration with Other Tools
I used After Effects CS5 for compositing, and with Mathias Mohl’s After Effects script mochaImport. It was a great workflow because After Effects was able to import not just mocha tracking data, but mocha shapes as well, which are essential for rotoscoping. mochaImport with option to create stabilized precomp helped me tremendously, especially when I needed to remove many stuck/hot pixels which is a known issue with DSLR cameras.
mocha Pro: Solving Problems, Saving Time
I do not think that I would have accepted the offer to work on this project if I did not have mocha Pro at my disposal -- it is hard for me to imagine any other way. Tracking handheld footage, shot in low light conditions where most of the objects we had to work on are coming in and out of the frame, would be impossible without mocha and its Planar Tracker. With so much material to work with and on such tight deadlines, you need to focus on compositing and solving shot problems. So just knowing that you do not need to worry about tracking is absolutely irreplaceable.
mocha Pro v3: Workflow Improvements and Integration with CS6
My only challenge with older versions of mocha really came when I was in a big rush, and I did not have much time to export files from After Effects and than import them into mocha. At the time, I thought that was the biggest problem in my mocha - AE workflow. But now with CS6, where you can open a clip directly from After Effects in mocha without first exporting it - well this improvement made mocha 100% perfect. In addition to this, the new mochaImport script also has an option to send clips, including masks, in- and out points from After Effects to mocha – with just one click, so even without CS6, your mocha AE workflow is significantly improved.
I am just about to start work on the movie “Red Knot” directed by Scott Cohen and starring Vincent Kartheiser and Olivia Thirlby. All these improvements in mocha v3, and additions like 3D camera solving, will streamline my workflow even more and make mocha absolutely one of the most valuable tools in my workflow.