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June 2009 Archives

When building your DVD Studio Pro projects, do you ever get this error message?

compilererror.gifThe best way to deal with this situation, is to simply delete your preferences.  We do this by going through the Finder > User > Library > Preferences > com.apple.dvdstudiopro.plist and putting it into the trash.  Empty the trash and restart.

preferences.gifIt is important to remember to write down your preferences or back them up before trashing them.  That way anything specific you might have changed for your particular project will still be available.

No one can say exactly why this error message happens; it could be any number of things from encoding to destination settings.  But trashing the preferences seems to do the trick.  In some cases others have had to reinstall the software.

Remember, that with any of our training classes, included is full technical support after you've taken the class.  Ongoing support is invaluable anytime you have a quick question, need help with a project, or just get stuck with a problem.  Just another one of the great benefits of taking one of our classes.  Check out our upcoming schedules, and call us today!

Sometimes you will find a spot in your sequence where the content doesn't exactly start or end at just the right point in the space you have to work with.  You can use a trimming function called Slip to adjust a clip's in and out points without changing it's duration or position in the Timeline.  We refer to it as slipping because you "slip" a pair of In & Out points inside the available footage.

To perform a slip edit:

  • Double-click on your clip to load it into the Viewer
  • Move the playhead to the frame where you want the shot to start
  • Select the Slip tool by the keyboard shortcut, S
  • Position the pointer over the In point.  The pointer changes to the Slip tool.
  • Click and drag the edit point to match the position of the playhead
It is important to remember that to slip a clip, it must have handles on both sides, meaning there must be additional media available on both the head and tail of the clip.  If you are having trouble slipping a clip, check to make sure that the clip has handles on both sides.

Trimming in Final Cut Pro is like fine-tuning your sequence.  The point is to make you a quicker and more efficient editor.

If you are producing both a Standard Definition, and a High Definition project in DVD Studio Pro here is a very important piece of information to keep in mind. When setting the DVD Standard, set it to SD DVD first, author out the entire project, even build it. BUT, before you change the Video Standard to HD DVD, save the project with the HD suffix atatched, then change the Video Standard for that project to HD DVD. If you change a project from SD to HD, you cannot change it back. If you need to build another SD DVD, you won't be able to reset the DVD standard. You can upgrade from SD to HD, but not the other way.

Thumbnail image for dvd_standard.gif

To become efficient with Final Cut Pro there is one thing you need to do.  Use keyboard shortcuts. One study showed that using keyboard shortcuts saves you up to eight hours a week. Here are two great ways to condition yourself to use keyboard shortcuts. The first is to use an Editor's Keyboard. These keyboards have the default unmodified commands printed directly on the keys they're assigned to, which encourages you to reach for the keyboard vs clicking on menus to activate a function.

The second and most important way to learn keyboard shortcuts is more psychological than anything. When you get to the point in a menu where you are about to click on a function, STOP, read the keyboard shortcut, click off the menu, and use the keyboard shortcut. By actually performing the keyboard shortcut, you will remember it easier than by just reading the keyboard shortcut next to the menu function, and thinking "I will use it next time". This is a very effective way to condition yourself to use keyboard shortcuts.


GeniusDV's Final Cut Studio Training teaches a contemporary use of the software, and leave students with a comprehensive knowledge of the software.
The Simulator in DVD Studio Pro is a great tool for checking your project while you are still creating it.  The Simulator behaves just like a standalone DVD player.  There shouldn't be any question as to how your project is going to look using the simulator.

It is good to get into the habit of monitoring your Frames Per Second (FPS) when viewing playback in Motion.  FPS tells you how close to real time you are playing at.  It's easy to think that your timing is off if you don't notice that your FPS has dropped below 17.  Heavy compositing will cause low FPS. 

The FPS value is displayed during playback in the Status Bar.  RAM preview will allow real time viewing.  It is easy to not notice that you are playing at less than three quarter speed if you don't have any audio, which is why it is a good habit to constantly monitor the Frames Per Second.

fps.gifIf your FPS is not displayed during playback, there is a box you need to check in the appearance category of the Motion preferences.

Fit to Fill Button.gif
Most Avid editors are unaware that you can use the Fit to Fill button to make motion effects. If you have a space in your time line that you need to fill or you can set and in to out and simply use the fit to fill button to create your motion effect. There are a few things you need to be aware of when using the fit to fill button. By default it creates the effect using the Duplicated Field rendering which does not produce the cleanest looking motion.
Fit to fill render settings.gif
 You need to change this to Interpolated Fields in the render settings dialog box in your project window. It is very simple to use fit to fill and saves a lot of time if the exact duration of your clips are not important. The best way to practice this is to mark an in and out on your timeline in the desired area of your timeline. Click the fit to fill button and save to your bin of choice. I reccomend mapping it to your keyboard for easy access from the command palette or placing it as a button under your source window.
Fit to fill FPS.gif 

The Audio Mixer in Final Cut Pro is the main tool for mixing more than one channel of a program's audio in real time.  The Audio Mixer has faders, panning sliders, and solo and mute buttons for each track in your sequence.  There are also master meters for each audio output channel in your sequence depending on your audio output presets.  As you make level and pan changes in real time, you can record your changes as keyframes, allowing you to automate your mix when you play your sequence back.  After you record audio level and pan keyframes, you can tweak them in the Timeline or the Viewer using the Pen Tool to adjust the clip overlays.

To open the Audio Mixer, go to the Tools menu > Audio Mixer.

What is Audio Scrubbing?  Simply put, Audio Scrubbing is the bits and pieces that you hear when you drag the playhead across your clip, depending on how quickly you move the playhead.  This way, Final Cut Pro lets you monitor audio as you look at non standard frame rate picture.  Scrubbing through audio is helpful when you are trying to find a particular spot in your clip, for example, in a music track.  However, for some people, that "scrubbing" can get very annoying.  There is an easy toggle shortcut to turn on and off scrubbing.  Shift+S will turn on and off audio scrubbing.  You can also turn it on and off by going to View > Audio Scrubbing; the checkmark notates scrubbing is On, unchecking it will turn scrubbing Off.
Genius Gear ShopWe've been teaching digital video workflows for a long time, and we've gotten good at finding the right hardware to make those workflows run smoothly.  Finally, we're proud to share our gear finds outside of our classroom: introducing the Genius Gear Shop.

We're starting out small.  Today, we're launching with just a couple of the products that our students have liked best.  For each product, we're working on an honest, hands-on video review to explain why we think it's worth a look -- and we'll give you a discounted price if you'd like to buy it directly from us.  

Speaking of videos, we're also selling video walkthroughs and completed project files of several of our tutorials.  You're more than welcome to tweak the project files for your own projects.

Read on for an introduction to some of our new products ... or head on over to the store and browse around!
In order for a text super to be readable, the text should (obviously) stand out from the picture that you composite it onto.  In some cases, you can manage this on a one-off basis: if you have a single title, for example, you can (and should) allow the specific picture for the title slide to dictate how you style your text.

Other times, you'll want to have more confidence that your text will stand out regardless of what picture happens to be underneath it.  For example, you might use subtitles, series titles, and multi-purpose templates like lower thirds over a variety of pieces of footage.  For that matter, imagine that the video under your title pans from, say, a (dark) mountain over to (bright) sky: you need for your text to be readable over both settings.

Traditionally, folks have improved the contrast of their text using treatments like heavy, high-contrast outlines (see, for example, many subtitles); drop shadows; and heavy-handed styles like bevels.  All of these approaches can be useful, but there are a couple of strategies that might allow you to make more subtle choices that are still visually acceptable.

Read on for some theory and a couple of tips ...
Another great effect found within the Generators menu in Final Cut Pro is by using the Render category which gives you some interesting choices of background effects such as, clouds, custom gradients, noise, and the lens flare that I've used as an example below.


Using the Crop Tool in Final Cut Pro and then using the Edge Feather Slider to soften the edges can create a really nice effect, especially if you have more than one image you're using for a frame.  In this example, I have 2 images I want to use at the same time showing the viewer what's going on under the water and above the water. 

Did you know that with Quicktime's latest version you can record directly into Quicktime?  It's a great little tool if you need to record something quickly, and not have to run it through Final Cut Pro or other editing application and make a Quicktime file.  It's also a great tool to use for voiceovers.  You can attach your video camera to your computer or use the iSight right on your Mac. 

Go to the Quicktime Menu to File > New Movie Recording

quicktime1.gifA Movie Recording window opens up for you to preview your video.  Start recording by clicking the red button at the bottom of the Movie Recording window.  You can stop recording by clicking the button again.  Once you have stopped recording, your video shows up in a Quicktime window and it is saved to your desktop.

If you want to just record audio, for example, for a voiceover, go to the Quicktime Menu to
File > New Audio Recording
Again, click the red button to start and stop recording your audio. You can use the Internal microphone on your computer, or an external USB microphone

Remember, you have to be using the latest version of Quicktime in order to use this feature.

Today's scenario is this:  You're finished working on a project for a client and he insists he only needs one copy.  He calls back a week later to say he needs 3 more copies.  But you have already dumped the project, media, etc from your hard drive in order to start a new project.  What do you do?  Well first of all, personally, I would, no matter what, make 2 copies; one for the client, and one for my own "portfolio" per say.  So you take his copy back (or the one you've made for yourself) and you simply make another copy of it from the original.  It's relatively a simple process by using the Mac's Disk Utility Application.  You will copy the information from the DVD onto your hard drive.  When you copy the original DVD you create a .dmg file, or a disk image file.  A disk image file is an exact copy of the original.  Then you burn the disk image file onto a blank DVD.  Easy right?  Here it is, step by step:

  • Insert the DVD you want to copy into your DVD drive
  • The DVD Player application will automatically launch; close the DVD Player application
  • The DVD icon will show on your desktop


Did you know there are lots of great tools for Final Cut Pro found right in the Tools Menu?  One of them being the Button Bars Function.  Every window of the Final Cut Pro interface has a Button Bar.  We can place buttons for just about any command in these button bars.  Buttons for the button bars are created from the Button List found in the Tools Menu.  The Button List is an index of every menu command in Final Cut Pro shown with corresponding keyboard shortcuts and button icons.  You can search through the commands grouped according to the menu in which they come from or in collections of relative items.

buttonlist.gifYou can also type the command into the search bar at the top of the Button List window.

Yesterday, we talked about working within the Filters Tab in Final Cut Pro.  Today we will discuss the fact that once you have applied filters to a clip, you can copy and paste that clips' attributes to another clip, or to multiple clips.  Using this simple concept allows you to build complex sequences that require a minimal amount of effort. 

To Copy & Paste Filter Attributes:
  • Right-click on a clip within the Timeline that contains a filter and choose Copy from the contextual menu.  This copies all of the filters that have been applied to that particular clip.

The Filters Tab in Final Cut Pro is where effects for a clip appear and where their parameters can be adjusted and keyframed.  All Final Cut Pro filters are found within the Effects Tab.  The Effects Tab is a separate window with a tab at the top of the Browser window.  Within the Effects tab, you will see a list of different types of Effects.  The Filter category contains separate folders for the different types of filters.  Each type of filter can also be opened up by clicking on the disclosure triangles to see each type of a particular filter.  For example, by twirling down the disclosure triangle for Blur, you will see that there is more than one kind of Blur to choose from.

soundtrackpro1.gifSoundtrack Pro is a full digital audio editing application that includes over 5000 music loops, sound effects and audio filters.  Soundtrack Pro is designed to be used in combination with Final Cut Pro, where sequences can be exported as small reference files that include scoring markers.  The reference files can then be dragged from Soundtrack Pro's browser to the video pane.  The video track includes thumbnails of the video at each scoring marker.  Once the soundtrack is finished, it is exported as a mix and can then be imported into Final Cut Pro.

To send an entire sequence directly into Soundtrack Pro you can use the Send To function in the File Menu:
  • Select a sequence in the Browser Window
  • Click File > Send To > Soundtrack Pro Multitrack Project

soundtrackpro2.gifA Save Dialog will appear; the default name is the sequence name with "sent" appended.  This is so you do not save over the original media file.

You can find sound effects through the Search Tab located in the lower right hand pane of Soundtrack Pro.  You will find different categories of sounds, including sound effects, instruments, and music loops.  These sounds are tagged with keywords to make them easy to find.

soundeffects.gifNow you can check out this tutorial to add your sound effects.

Markers in Final Cut Pro have so many uses; basically they are just points of reference in clips and sequences.  They can be placed directly in clips or in sequences in the Timeline ruler.  But did you know you can change the durations of these markers?  If you wanted to mark a specific amount of time, like 15 seconds of something in your Timeline, and make a comment on special instructions about that mark, for example, bring down the audio in this section; you can change that duration, or extend it so that it spans multiple frames.  Markers with duration can be used to precisely define subclips in a clip.  You can use them to mark an entire area of a clip or sequence with notes for tweaking.

To extend a marker's duration to the Playhead's location:
  • Move the Playhead to the right of the Marker
  • Go to Mark > Markers > Extend
  • An extended duration marker appears in the scrubber bar

extendmarkers.gifNote that you can also snap to the edge of an extended marker.

Adding unique glyphs to your project is quite simple with the Character Palette, but you need to have it set up, to use it easiest. If you do not have an American (or possible other) flag in the menu bar of your Mac, you will need to check a box in the International settings within System Preferences. Under International category of the System Preferences there is a tab named Imput Menu, and within that tab there is a check box next to Character Palette. By checking this box, the flag will appear in the menu bar.


Last week, a former student called with a question. He was trying to have a line draw on screen, from the top down. He did this by keyframing the scale and position of the line he wanted, but he found that his line kept wanting to scale from the top and bottom instead of just from top down.

There are two solutions to his problem, and both are important enough that I wanted to share them with all of our readers interested in Motion.  First, he could use the shape's anchor point to fix his problem with scaling. But there's also a completely separate approach to this problem, that might be more useful.
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This page is an archive of entries from June 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

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