FX Networks
Archer DVD: Cooking With Milton
Compositing / Motion Graphics

Archer is a critically acclaimed and award winning animated comedy on FX. In the season 6 DVD extra, Cooking With Milton, we see Dr. Krieger's infomercial for Milton: The Toast Making Robot. I created the motion graphics and compositing effects in this video. These included Milton's interface screens...

My interface design shows the toasting progress of each slice. Also a French Toast mode!

The informercial's 'low budget' motion graphics were a lot of fun to put together. They included a demonstration on the three 'easy' steps to clean your Milton. The video ends with an order screen in a familiar style that we've all seen countless of times over the years – blue background, drop shadows, basic white or yellow font, cheesy transitions. Warm and fuzzy nostalgia.

Typical infomercial order screens. Just pay separate processing and handling!

And with an emphasis on the fuzzy, I created the VHS effect from the ground up using basic Adobe After Effects plugins. No special 'VHS Effect' plugins were used – in my view they go too far and you end up with something that DVR millennials think VHS looked like. Growing up with VHS myself, I still have the odd tape in my collection, and remarkably, a VCR that still works. I was able to apply a keen observational eye to it's many quirks and flaws.

Unfortunately, the process of scaling and encoding the video for this website has smoothed out a lot of the 'flaws' I intentionally created such as…

  • Noise. It washes over everything without mercy. It has distinct look from film grain, or standard static noise. The grain is wide and flatter.
  • Poor RGB colour convergence. This is where the colours don't quite line up, producing green or purple ghosting effects. This is especially evident around the outlines of objects and people.
  • Scrolling Lines. Lines that slowly scroll up the video, which have various effects on the video.
  • Dot Crawl. This composite video artifact is the result of cramming all the colour and luminance signals down one analogue cable. You'll know it as the shimmering checkboard effect over edges or lines. It's commonly seen on VHS recordings, but also present on low budget, poorly produced cable TV commercials.

Here's a short loop, cropped at 100%, in which you can get a better look at the effects I added...

Producer: Floyd County Productions