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Using the BCC LED Filter in After Effects

We're going to use the BCC LED filter in After Effects as a creative / stylistic element in a comp where we have a pice of static text that has been placed over a background clip of cars moving through the streets at night in NYC. We want to bring in a feeling of movement to the comp and give it a look and feel that has become synonymous with the idea of NYC - lighted signs.

Start by importing the Artbeats Road clip into the After Effects project window. Then drag this down into the timeline. Create a new text layer above the clip, use the font Arial Black at a size of 200 points. We'll leave the text color white. So now that we have the pieces in place, let's move on and start to have some fun with the LED filter.

Disable the view of the text for the time being as we are only interested in the background element for this section of the exercise. Apply the BCC LED filter to the background shot of cars moving through the street at night. We'll set the LED size to 4 pixels. Next set the LED shape to square. Set the Flickering Speed to 40 and the Flickering Amount to 8. On top of this we are going to add a blur, and we'll use the BCC Directional Blur for this. Add the BCC Directional Blur above the LED clip so that it is processing the media and the LED filter result. Set the Blur amount to 10 and set the Apply Mode to Scale Multiply. Now PTR the effect to preview the result and we can see that the background now appears to resemble an array of LED lights.

Enable the view of the text so that it shows over the background. Now add the LED filter to the text element. Set the Light Size parameter to a value of 6. Set the LED Shape to Square. Set the Flickering Speed to 20 and the Flickering Amount to 25. Preview the result via PTR. Now we add the BCC Rays Radiant Edges filter to the text after the LED filter and the comp begins to take on a new appearance. Enable the Light over Edges function and set the light source to the center of the text, which is 275 h x 230 v. Now change the Ray Style from Detailed to Fat.

To complete the effect, we are going to animate two of the light ray parameters. With the CTI at frame 0, set the Intensity to 175 and set the Ray Length to 0. Then move to frame 3 and set the Intensity to 225 and the Ray Length to 95. Then go to the end of the effect and set the Intensity to 175 and set the Ray Length to 60. Now let's preview the final result via the preview to RAM function.

So while we started the exercise with only a single clip of a street scene and a static block of text, we now have animated lights over the text and the clip that make this piece take on a more complete appearance.