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January 2008 Archives

The video quality settings that are available to you in Avid Xpress Pro and sometimes misunderstood. They are for playback only. If you are rendering out a Quicktime or any other type of export Avid will default to the highest quality setting. The Video Quality Menu button in the Timeline bottom toolbar allows you to switch display resolutions when real-time effects are enabled. This allows you to trade off video quality with smooth playback of real-time effects. If you notice missing frames or choppy video during real-time playback, switch to a lower quality setting. The Video Quality Menu button in the Timeline bottom toolbar allows you to switch display resolutions when real-time effects are enabled. This allows you to trade off video quality with smooth playback of real-time effects. If you notice missing frames or choppy video during real-time playback, switch to a lower quality setting.
full quality.gif The Video Quality Menu button in the Timeline bottom toolbar allows you to switch display resolutions when real-time effects are enabled. This allows you to trade off video quality with smooth playback of real-time effects. If you notice missing frames or choppy video during real-time playback, switch to a lower quality setting. med quality.gif The Video Quality Menu button in the Timeline bottom toolbar allows you to switch display resolutions when real-time effects are enabled. This allows you to trade off video quality with smooth playback of real-time effects. If you notice missing frames or choppy video during real-time playback, switch to a lower quality setting. low qaulity.gif The Video Quality Menu button in the Timeline bottom toolbar allows you to switch display resolutions when real-time effects are enabled. This allows you to trade off video quality with smooth playback of real-time effects. If you notice missing frames or choppy video during real-time playback, switch to a lower quality setting.
Much of the Library of production elements that are used in Motion, can be brought right into Final Cut Pro. My workflow often takes me into Motion to do a simple composite with something from the Motion Library, and then one day it hit me to just drag what I needed right into my Final Cut timeline. Many of the items are not able to be brought directly into Final Cut, but many can. Any of the Quicktime movies, or still images can be brought right into Final Cut. The route you must take to get to many of the elements is long, and if you don't use it often you may forget the route. A good practice is to drag the Motion folder to the side bar. Doing this will allow you to click on the shortcut that will take you right to the folder containing all of the production elements you may want to use.
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After_Effects_Drop_frame.gifI have been asked many times to explain the difference between Drop Frame and Non-Drop Frame. I found a fairly detailed explanation the will hopefully help you understand the difference. US TVs display 29.97 frames a second. When NTSC was defined, they found out there were some problems with the video signal carrier fequency running at 30 frames per second (fps). So they decided to shift things by 1/1000 to 29.97 fps which is 0.999 of 30 fps.The two of the more commonly used combinations of time display settings are 30 fps drop-frame timecode and 30 fps non-drop-frame timecode. When the frame rate is a non-integer number as is the case with the NTSC frame rate of 29.97 frames per second a compromise of one sort or another must be made in displaying time. Either the time display can accurately show clock time (after one hour, the time display shows 1:00:00:00) or the time display can be continuously numbered (frame n is always followed by frame n + 1, modulo the number of frames per second). Drop-frame timecode does the former; non-drop-frame timecode does the latter. In the case of NTSC 30 fps drop-frame timecode, two frame numbers are skipped for each minute, except for every tenth minute. Drop-frame timecode is conventionally indicated by separating the time units with semicolons. The most common case for which drop-frame versus non-drop-frame timecode is relevant is 29.97 fps NTSC, but it also applies to 23.976 fps and 59.94 fps.

DVD Studio Pro allows the menu buton of your DVD player to have various control depending on what area of the DVD you are navigating from. A common mistake is to set Menu1 up as a short first play movie, but leave the overall disc control of the menu button to go to that menu, causing the viewer to have to watch the first play movie every time the menu button is pressed.

In the Outiline of a DVD Studio Pro project, select the Disc icon (at the very top), which as long as you have saved your project, will display the project name. Once the Disc has been selected, move your attention to the inspector, specifically the menu button destination. In most cases you will want to route the control of this button to the main menu, but you can certainly select anything you want.

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iWeb is an extremely easy way to bring your Final Cut Pro video to the internet. With drag and drop ease, you can have an iWeb page prepared in just seconds. .Mac users can utilize their account to publish the website, or if you are building th site for someone else, it would probebly make more sense to have the site hosted somewhere like Godaddy, and use a program like Fetch to upload it.

To transfer an iWeb site from one Mac to another, you need to get the Domain file that is located in a folder named iWeb. To get to that folder follow this path; User (the user that the site was created by)/Library/Application Support/iWeb. If you are creating a site for someone else, it is a good idea to create a new user on your Mac to create the site, otherwise all the sites you have built under that user will transfer in the Domain file.

A good setting in Final Cut Pro to output video for an iWeb site is the iPhone setting. To select this setting you need to export Using the Quicktime conversion, and then select iPhone. This compresses your project to Mpeg4 video, that will play in an iWeb site. During the five day Final Cut Pro/Studio class at GeniusDV, we take students through the process of using iWeb to deliver your video to the web. For more information on that class click here. To view a more step by step tutorial in developing an iWeb site click here.



If you are an owner of Final Cut Studio 2.0, a new plug-in category called 'Glow' is now available in the Final Cut Pro effects palette.  Now granted, there are all sorts of third party effects that have specific filters that create the 'burnt film effect', A company called CGM-online makes some plug-ins that contain a burning film effect.

However, this is an excellent work-around if you do not want to spend the money for a third party plug-in.



Avid express pro.jpg
Avid has now released the latest  issue of Avid Xpress Pro. This release, which is available for both Intel- and PowerPC-based Macs in addition to PC systems, includes additional codec support and a number of quality improvements over the previous version 5.7.7. Avid Xpress Pro v5.8 is available free of charge to all registered customers of Avid Xpress Pro 5.7.x and Avid Xpress Studio 5.7.
  • Support for VC-1 codec. This release adds native support for the Microsoft VC-1 codec. You can import, playback, render, mixdown and transcode in native VC-1 resolutions. Please note that VC-1 support is currently not available on Macintosh Power PC and playback-only on MacPro platforms.
    Please refer to the Avid Xpress Pro v5.8 ReadMe document located on the avid.com Knowledge Base for a detailed list of the capabilities and limitations of VC-1 support in this release.
  • Mac OS X support. This release supports Mac OS 10.4.11. Support for Mac OS X Leopard (10.5) will be added in a future release.
  • Quality improvements. Refer to the Avid Xpress Pro v5.8 ReadMe document located on the avid.com Knowledge Base for a detailed list of improvements in this release.
Download the Avid 5.8 and get your system up-to-date!

The Final Cut Pro generators typically do not extend past 2 minutes once in the timeline. Often editors duplicate the generators in the timline to obtain the desired length. There is a easy way to be able to extend generators. When a generator is first opened in the viewer the default in and out points are set 10 seconds apart, but if you change the value in the  duration window you can extend your clip out as far as the value entered in the duration window. If you already have brought a generator into the timeline, you can double click on it, load it into the viewer, and make the change to the duration.

Using iPhoto with Final Cut is an effective work flow for managing still images. You can drag right from the iPhoto interface right into your Final Cut Pro sequence. iPhoto also responds to the still / freeze duration in the Final Cut Pro User Preferences. A very effective configuration is to have the Viewer, Canvas, and Timeline on your primary screen, and the Browser, iPhoto, and Finder on the second screen. The Configuration of the second screen is important, because you want to be able to access all of the different interfaces without having to hide or move one to get to another. First position your Project tab all the way to the left, next tear the effects tab off and position it next to the project tab, then position iPhoto in the center of the screen, so there is some space on either side of the interface, last of all position the Finder all the way to the left leaving a little space of the left side and at the bottom. Configuring your second screen in this way will allow you access any of the interfaces without having to hide or move one or more of them. This configuration promotes using iPhoto as your still image bin(s) (the term Bins comes from days ago when editors kept the individual clips of film in Bins under their workstation). With iPhoto it is much easier to sort and access images than using the Browser. You can apply effects, crop, or make image adjustments in iPhoto before taking the image to Final Cut Pro, but rotation will not be recognized. I highly recommend this workflow. One thing to keep in mind is that the photos that come out of iPhoto are coming from the iPhoto Library, so if you move the project file to another machine that does not have that iPhoto Library, the images will go offline, and will need to be reconnected to the images in your project folder that you originally had imported into iPhoto.


Sony's SxS PRO Memory Card will change the way event, corporate, and industrial video is captured and posted. In addition to faster transfers, smaller size and longer record times than the standard PC card, the SxS PRO Memory Card increases workflow efficiency, with seamless transition from camcorder acquisition to PC or laptop for editing and archiving. The SxS PRO Memory Card is about half the size of a PC card and fits in ExpressCard 34 and 54 slot sizes. It will initially be available in 8GB and 16GB storage capacity, with higher capacity planned for the future. Providing reliability, durability and expansion flexibility while offering improved performance, the SxS PRO Memory Card may be defined as the flash media of choice , and the definitive media for high definition. ExpressCardâ„¢ media technology,  the replacement standard for PC cards, supported by PCMCIA, the industry-wide consortium that standardized the PC card. Enter the ExpressCard of the future: Sony's SxS PRO Memory Card. Because it uses a serial interface, it transfers at a faster bus speed, is more reliable and comes in a smaller size resulting in a significantly lower storage cost per minute of high definition video when compared to conventional PC parallel cards. And it’s designed to work with Sony's latest, groundbreaking, handheld HD camcorder, the XDCAM EX  model, which houses two SxS PRO Memory Card slots.

Lacie has just introduced the latest hard drives that will satisfy all of your needs. If you edit with Avid, Final Cut Pro or Adobe Priemer, theses hard drives will fit your needs. Fully loaded with all the best interfaces:  eSATA 3Gbits, FireWire 800, FireWire 400 and USB 2.0. This all-in-one professional hard disk offers universal connectivity for PC and Mac users. They are offered in 320gb, 500gb, 750gb and the massive 1tb. The unique, fanless aluminum heat sink design with 60% more surface area for heat dissipation keeps it quiet and safe. Perfect for digital content creation, audio/video editing, DVD authoring, and web animation, etc., the d2 Quadra can handle multiple demanding professional tasks. It can be daisy-chained via FireWire or connected to your DV camera and is even bootable in FireWire for Mac and in eSATA for Mac/PC.

  • Quadruple interface for full PC/Mac compatibility
  • Superior burst transfer rates up to 115MB/s (eSATA)
  • Sturdy aluminum d2 heat sink & ergonomic design   
Check out this latest hard drive from LaCie and give your editing bay the space it deserves.

Ever wanted to connect one mac to another for the purpose of transfering contents? With a mac all you need to do is hold down the T key while it is booting up to be able to to use it as a hard drive. A hard drive icon will float around the screen, and you can just attatch it to another Mac the same way you would an external hard drive.


I find this very useful when editing on an airplane with my powerbook, and then connecting my Powerbook to my Power Mac to do transfer assets or finish the job.

This eliminates any relinking issues that can arise.

My Powerbook is three years old and is still a very useful machine, but does not encode nearly as fast as current models. I did a test where I encoded a project, and it took an hour and 22 minutes, then set my Powerbook to be a hard drive, opened the project same project file off of my Powerbook, with a newer Powerbook and the compression took only 19 minutes.

In Final Cut Pro to get a 16 x 9 sequence to output in a 4 x 3 space can be a very frustrating task, but it doesn't need to be. There is a very easy way to do this that most people overlook. All you have to do is open a DV NTSC 48 kHz sequence, and then drag the 16 x 9 sequence from the Browser window into the the timeline of the DV NTSC 48 kHz sequence. Final Cut Pro will see the sequence as a clip and will ask you if you want to change the sequence settings to match the clip settings, answer NO.


Avid_Timeline_settings.gif When you open a new timeline in your Avid editing application you will notice you receive one video track and two audio tracks. Most of my sequences have at least 3 video tracks and 4 audio tracks, so every time I open a new timeline I end up adding at least two extra video tracks and two audio tracks. This is not a big deal but wouldn't it be nice if you created a new timeline and you could have your desired amount of video and audio tracks? Well, you can. Simply navigate to the timeline settings in the project window and open the timeline settings dialog box. You can also do this by right-clicking on an open timeline. Under the edit tab you will see New Sequences with Video Tracks and Audio Tracks. If you click on the pull-down triangle next to the number you will see your options. You can have up to 24 video and 24 audio tracks to start. This makes it easy to start editing and not worry if you have enough tracks to lay down your media.
If you are new to editing or if you are considering purchasing a new editing machine make sure you check the requirements before you buy. As of right now, Window's Vista and Apple's Leopard are not supported operating systems by Avid. Eventually they will be supported but right now you will need to take an alternate route. If you have no choice and you are buying a new machine you have two distinct options. You can purchase a Windows machine and then buy a copy of Windows XP and install it on your new PC. This will cost you about $200.00 above the price of your new computer but it is the best way to get your Avid up and running. Your second option is to purchase a new MAC Pro and install Windows XP alongside your MAC OS. This is a great option and the route I am about to take myself. There is much more than just the operating system to consider. You need to make sure you have at least 2GB of RAM. Avid states only 1GB for DV and 2 GB for HD but I have found that 2GB is the minimum you should consider for either. This just scratches the surface of requirements; make sure you read through the read me files on Avid's support site and make sure your system meets all the requirements for your editing machine. 

Using DVD Studio Pro instead of Powerpoint to prepare presentations for meetings or semiars is an option many people overlook. Wouldn't it be nice to not have to worry if the machine that you will be using to make your presentation is compatable with your Powerpoint project. Another concern is to be able to give people a copy of your presentatin without them being able to easily use the contents individually. With DVD Studio Pro you can creae a DVD that goes through a specific progression instead of being user driven like a typical DVD. Using slideshows and menus you create a presentation that goes from one to another. Slideshows are similar to an A typical Powerpoint, having many of the same functions. Menus will allow you to choose the route the prenentation will continue on with.

UPDATE: I've got some bad news for Windows fans who were hoping Final Cut Pro would run on a Windows operating system.  With the introduction of Final Cut Pro X, it's unlikely you will ever see a version that will run natively in Windows.  Apple has rewritten FCP using more than just modern coding techniques like 64-bit programming.  The new Final Cut Pro X accesses functions and technology that is exclusive to Apple's Mac OS X operating system.

If you're committed to editing on a Windows machine, Adobe Premiere is the most direct alternative to Final Cut Pro.  Avid Media Composer also runs on Windows.  It's popular in high-end workflows, but more expensive and more difficult to learn.  We teach Adobe Premiere and Media Composer classes for both Windows and Mac.

The good news is that moving to the most popular editing software in the industry is cheaper and easier than ever.  Even an entry-level MacBook Air ($999 at time of writing) will run FCPX, albeit slowly—and the price of Final Cut Pro has plummeted to just $299 for a license on every Mac you own or use.  There's even a free, full-featured trial available for your Mac if you want to test drive Mac OS and Final Cut.

button_drop_down_menu.gifWhen dragging assets to a menu button in DVD Studio Pro you are given five choices. They are all very similar, with specific differences.

Set Asset: This option places the asset within the button area. If it is a video asset you will be able to have it play within the button, or display a single frame of the video.

Set Asset and Create Track: This option does the same as the Set Asset option, and also takes the video asset and creates a track that is connected to the button, and also end jumps back to the menu.

Create Track: This option takes the video asset and creates a track that is connected to the button, and also end jumps back to the menu, but leaves the button area clear.

Capturing a live feed from your camera is as easy as capturing from tape. To do a live capture you connect your camera to your mac via firewire the same as you would if you were capturing from tape, and turn the camera on in camera mode. The Final Cut Pro Log and Capture will not recognize any timecode during a live capture, so you will have to set your device control at Non-Controllable Device. Selecting Capture Now will begin the live capture, and it will continue until the escape key is pressed. While the live capture is going on any camera movement will appear out of time, but when you playback the video it will be fine. During a live capture the camera does not need to be recording, but be careful that your camera is not set up to go to sleep. You can even change tapes as long as you don't disturb the firewire connection. One last thing to keep in mind is the Capture Now limit in the System Settings, you may want to turn it off or set it to the desired length of the capture.


Live Capture is great for doing long captures to be used for showing a time lapse. It is also perfect for a quick turnaround, not having to do a real time capture after you shoot. A perfect example would be recording a sporting event and being able to view or edit the game as soon as it was over.

Sony_PVW_EX1.jpg Sony has just announced the release of their latest HD tapelss camcorder. This camera is about to set the industry on it's ear! The Sony PMW-EX1 is a flash-memory based high definition camcorder capable of a variety of frame rates and resolutions using Sony's new XDCAM-EX intraframe codec. The Exmor 1/2" CMOS sensors used in the PMW-EX1 provide unprecedented levels of image clarity previously unavailable in the prosumer market. Sony's sophisticated SxS Pro memory cards add a unique dimension to almost any production. Enhancing both usability and workflow efficiency, the PMW-EX1 has an extensive set of features that push the boundaries of traditional handheld cameras, including a continuous record time of up to 140 minutes! Whether shooting in 720p, 1080i, or 1080p modes, the PMW-EX1 has it all covered. Its bevy of output settings lets users take advantage of fast and slow motion, as well as popular framerates such as the "film-like" 24p mode.

To protect yourself when sending work to a client that hasn't been paid for we will often put a watermark on the video to keep the client from making a copy, and then refusing payment. If you embed the watermark into the video with Final Cut Pro, you will have to reexport the video without the watermark.


When installing Plugins into Final Cut Pro you will want to make sure you put them in the base level of the computer versus an individual user, if you want them to be available to anyone using the machine. The route to get to the Plugins folder is starting at the HD, then Library / Application Support / Final Cut Pro System Support / & then Plugins. After installing plugins you will need to restart Final Cut to see them in the Effects tab.




Check out this short tutorial on how to install a third party Final Cut Pro plugin.


lacie_hard_drive.jpgWith the popularity of Final Cut Pro and Apple's new line of Macintosh's it is often necessary to move files back and forth between a PC and MAC.  Fortunately, Apple's operating system will read FAT 32 and NTFS file systems. There is one catch.  OS X can only read from an NTFS formatted device.  It cannot write to it.  Therefore, It is recommended that you format your hard drives as FAT 32, to you can read and write to your drive on both a PC and MAC.


However, keep in mind that if you format a device as FAT 32 using Windows, the maximum partition size is 32 Gigs.  This is relatively small for today's storage requirements.  Therefore, you should use the hard drive manufacturer's formatting software so you can format your hard drive with a larger FAT 32 partition.  I myself, prefer one giant partition.


Unfortunately, if you've formatted your hard drive on a MAC using 'MAC OS X Extended', a PC cannot natively read the hard drive.  However, there is an excellent program called MAC Drive that will allow a PC to read/write to a drive formatted as 'MAC OS X Extended'


To create a glow behind a piece of video, you only need to apply a matching shape behind the piece of video you want to glow. The shape will need to have softness that extends outside past the edges of the video.

In this example I applied a glow to a piece of video that had been cut out with a travel matte. By coping the shape of the matte, adding softness to it, and changing the color to orange, I was able to create this effect.



You have to be careful using your cell phone near digital video equipment. In production and post production some cel phones can cause interference. I recently captured 10 minutes of video, and when I brought it into Final Cut Pro I noticed that 3 minutes in the video was jittery, and the audio was crackled. I had noticed this a couple other times over the past year, but this particular time I remembered recieving a call when that portion of video was being captured. An Avid editor in Las Vegas told me of having the same problem, primarily with audio pops. This is easy enough to fix by simply recapturing, the real issue comes when the interference comes when shooting. Some cell phones can interupt the camera recording process, which embeds the distortion on the tape. Whenever possible turn your cel phone off, especially the the ones with the direct connect feature.

There are a couple things to keep in mind when adding DVD ROM content with DVD Studio Pro First there are two ways to add DVD ROM content to content. In the inspector at the Disc level, and during the Build/Format option. Both do the exact same function, but you need to be careful, because only adding content at the inspector updates the disc meter. When you add content during Build/Format setup, you won't find out that you exceeded disc capacity until you get an error message. The other thing to keep in mind is that everything you are putting onto the disc via DVD ROM content, must be in one base folder. Even if it is just one picture or movie file, it must be in a folder to be added as DVD ROM content with DVD Studio Pro.


Avid Media Composer comes bundled with an incredible title tool called Avid Marquee.  In case you are curious, Marquee used to cost $7500, and it was recommended that you run the software on a SGI running Irix. It is now included with all current versions of Avid Media Composer.

Marquee doesn't ship with any manuals and the learning curve can be daunting.  Here are the basic steps to creating an extruded title.


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This page is an archive of entries from January 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

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