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August 2009 Archives

If you ever want to move a clip by using its timecode, you can move them by entering a positive or negative timecode value.  For example, if you enter +100 it will move a clip forward 1 second; if you enter -100 it will move a clip backward 1 second.  You have to make sure the clip you're moving is highlighted, otherwise only the Playhead will move forward or backward.  By selecting a clip and pressing the + or - key, the move box will appear.

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Then you can enter the amount you want to move a clip; press return and the clip will move.

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Clips in the Timeline will move forward unless it's blocked by another clip.  This way your clips are kept in sync.  Final Cut Pro gives you a collision error if another clip is blocking the clip you want to move.

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Check out our Final Cut Pro classes; class size is small and they fill up fast!






GeniusDV has been in the video editing training business for over 6 years now, and has helped literally thousands of students.  We'd like to introduce some of those students to you through a new weekly series of blogs called Student Profiles.  It's interesting to see what these students have learned and how they're applying their training to real-world experience.  The first of this series portrays one of our more recent students, Roxy Hambleton.

roxyhambleton.gifRoxy Hambleton recently completed our 5 day Final Cut Studio class with the intentions of starting a new business.  Roxy is from Fort Myers, Florida, where she is currently employed as a certified professional organizer.  In her new business, she is working as a Video Biographer.  Just one week after her GeniusDV course, she's already shooting, capturing, editing, and titling her own footage for her first professional project!

When asked, Roxy had this to say about her training experience with GeniusDV.

       "I very much liked the training I had at GeniusDV.  It was informative and applicable to what I was working on and the level I was at (beginner), but it could also apply to an advanced Final Cut professional.  The class was fast paced and covered or at least touched on the spectrum of everything Final Cut Pro has to offer.  The instructor (Jeff) was great.  His sense of humor kept the class interesting throughout.  The amount of his knowledge was staggering.  He truly knows what he is teaching and is using it in the 'real world,' not just teaching it.  He was patient and understanding in all aspects of the class and was always attentive that the entire class 'got' what he was covering for the day. 

"I believe I will continue to receive value for what I paid in this class as different aspects of the class become apparent as I continue to edit.  Also the continued support offered by GeniusDV is invaluable to help out those of us new in the Final Cut Pro world.  This course was well worth the price paid.  The student-teacher ratio of five-to-one (in my class) afforded me the flexibility to ask more in-depth questions.  I was also lucky enough to have an instructor-in-training during our class which was also wonderful.  I feel it was a great thing to come to this class as I begin my business because I have learned the 'right way' of doing things.  I won't have bad habits to break at a later date."



 




Too often, editors assume that 16 by 9 means Hi Def. 16 by 9 is not necessarily Hi Def, it could be DV Anamorphic, which is Standard Def. Thinking of the two aspect ratio in terms of shape is a more sensible approach to understanding the main difference between the two. 16 by 9 is the "Letterbox" or more rectangular shape, and 4 by 3 id the more "traditional" or more square shape.

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If you start a project in one aspect ratio, and try to change it to another, it can be a frustrating situation if you don't follow the correct process. The best way is to load a new sequence setting instead of trying to change all of the Sequence settings. Additionally it is often necessary to reset the Distort in the Motion tab.

If you get into a situation where you need to provide both a 16 by 9 and a 4 by 3 version of the same project, it will be best to produce in the footage's native aspect ratio, and then drag the produced sequence into an empty sequence of the other aspect ratio. For example if you produced a HD sequence, and needed a 4 by 3 SD version, you would drag the HD sequence into an empty 4 by 3 sequence, and allow it to letterbox itself into that sequence.

Understanding the differences in aspect ratios, and how to set up your Sequence's properly is very important. Check out our video tutorial on this topic for step by step instruction, on many of the most important areas of dealing with aspect ratio, as well as using HD media, in a SD Sequence.

It's really important to know what each of the Track Labels do or represent in the Timeline in Final Cut Pro.  For instance, if you want to lock a certain track while editing so it doesn't get changed in the process, you can click on the Track Lock icon.  Let's take a look at some of these track labels that are important in Timeline editing.

tracklabels.gif

  • Visibility icon:  (circled in red) tells you whether the contents of a track are displayed or not.  If the track is disabled, it appears darkened in the Timeline
  • Track Lock icon:  (circled in orange) let's you lockdown a track so that nothing can get changed or moved
  • Source & Destination controls:  (circled in blue) used in 3-point editing to determine where source clips are placed from the Viewer.  For example, I have the audio track "detached" in the picture below, so that when you Overwrite or Insert video from the source, it only brings in the video and not the audio. 

detatched.gif
  • Auto select icon:  (circled in yellow) limits which tracks are affected by functions like copying and pasting
  • Track Height controls:  (circled in green) let's you choose between four different display sizes
  • Clip Overlays icon:  (in purple square) toggles on & off; indicates video transparency or audio levels
  • Clip Keyframes control:  (in pink square) displays keyframe graph area within space below video or audio track containing keyframes
  • Audio controls:  (in light blue square) displays mute and solo buttons on left of the audio track that are usually hidden

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Check out our upcoming classes, and call to schedule yours today!



Yesterday, we talked about the pre-planning stage and storyboarding in DVD Studio Pro, before you even start your project.  Next, you may want to check your Preferences, and it's important to know what each of them mean, so let's explore the Preference Pane.  We find Preferences under the DVD Studio Pro Menu.

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The Preferences Pane lists everything that applies to the overall DVD project.  It also contains several other panes each containing settings for specific areas of DVD Studio Pro.  Even though you can make most of the changes within the editor and inspector windows, it will save you some time to select these settings now.

preferencepanes.gifPROJECT PREFERENCES
  • DVD Standard:  here is where you choose whether a project is SD or HD
  • Video Standard: choose if you are creating NTSC or PAL
  • Default Language
  • Applies to new projects being created, not projects that are currently open

While we've discussed storyboarding in Final Cut Pro sometime ago, it's always a good idea to plan out the way you want the buttons and links to work in your DVD project and create a storyboard here too, even before you begin your project.  It's kind of like a road map that helps you simplify the process.  By storyboarding, you may not make as many mistakes, and you may become aware of other problems like missing media or graphics.  By making a storyboard, it holds you accountable for all of the elements you need in your DVD.  This process covers the first two steps of making a DVD project; Planning and Creating.

The best way to create a storyboard is to make a visual diagram, kind of like a flowchart.  Your diagram should show you the path that the viewer will follow, from menu to menu, button to track.  Start by listing all of the media you are going to include as well as any extras you want in your DVD.  Think about how many menus you're going to need to link it all together.  Then start to draw your chart; each item in your DVD, whether it's a menu, video track, slideshow, etc, gets it's own box.

Once you have a diagram on paper of what you want your storyboard to look like, it's time to create that diagram within DVD Studio Pro.  You can do this by using the Graphical View.  Remember, you should be doing this process before even starting your project; it's not necessary to have your assets imported at this point.  You're merely constructing the skeleton of which you'll drop your assets into later.

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Media Manager is a great tool in Final Cut Pro that allows you to manage content based on timecode information embedded within all of your clips.  You can use this tool to consolidate media that contains only the necessary media to play back your sequence.

To consolidate a sequence using the Media Manager:

  • Highlight your finished sequence within the Browser Window
  • Go to File > Media Manager
  • Set the Media drop-down menu to Copy media referenced by duplicate items
  • Click the Delete unused media from duplicated items option
  • Click the Duplicate selected items and place into new project option
  • Click the Browse button to set a new media location for the new files that will be created
  • Click OK to consolidate the media into a new project

mediaman.gif
Just remember to be careful when using Media Manager since certain functions are irreversible.  Also know that in order for Media Manager to work correctly, all of the clips must contain the original timecode information from their source.  Clips that do not contain timecode information are not included as part of the managed process.

Check out this article for more information on the Media Manager.

If you have an Apple Mighty Mouse, you may not realize there are actually four buttons that you can configure.  You can do this under the System Preferences Menu.

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Configure the Mighty Mouse so it works with left and right clicking.  Final Cut Pro contains so many contextual menu elements that are accessible by right-clicking the mouse or Ctrl-clicking. You will see, that just by changing the right button to secondary, a whole new world of menu options will be available to you.  Also, you should adjust the speed of your mouse to fit your specific screen resolution.  For large display screens, set the tracking speed to Fast.  This will help when you're navigating over long screen distances within Final Cut.

mouse.gif

Check out this tip that Mickey had to utilize that 4th button on the Mighty Mouse.

So many self-taught editors miss out on some of these really easy set-up tips; schedule a class today and you can learn how to be more efficient and improve your workflow!


A really easy way to convert your audio files in Final Cut Pro is by using QuickTime Pro.  Since audio from CDs has a sample rate of 44.1 kHz, and most DV projects and DVDs have an audio sample rate of 48 kHz, the audio files will have to be converted before you output to tape or DVD.  It's better to convert the sample rate before you import the the CD audio file.

Remember, you have to have the Pro version of QuickTime installed on your computer; but fortunately, as long as you have Final Cut Pro installed, it will automatically upgrade your version of QuickTime to QuickTime Pro.

First, open the file in QuickTime Pro.  From the File Menu, choose Export.  From the Export drop-down menu, choose AIFF.

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Click the Options button to open the Sound Settings window.  Change the rate to 48.000 and leave the Sample Size at 16.

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Choose the location for the converted file.  This should be the same location as the other project files.  Click OK, and you're finished!


Ever wonder how you can fix low volume in a clip that had recording issues?  You can use the Audio Gain Filter in Final Cut Pro to adjust your volume as an easy fix.  Basically the filter gives you additional volume control without increasing the audio level manually.

We find the Gain Filter under the Effects Tab in the Browser window.

audiogainfilter.gif

Load a clip into the Viewer that needs some volume adjusting.  Drag your Audio Gain Filter directly into the Viewer, and click on the Filters Tab.  There you will see the Gain slider to make real time adjustments.

gainfilter.gif

A good rule of thumb to remember is that the average volume reading for DV should be kept around -12db.


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A new feature in Final Cut 7 is the ability to apply a transition to more than one edit at the same time.

You can do this by simply highlighting a range of clips in an entire sequence and then press Command T to apply the default transition to every transition point.

If there isn't enough available media, the transition duration will be adjusted automatically. You can then adjust, delete, or change selected transitions after if you choose.

For example if you were to apply a 30 frame cross dissolve to every edit in a sequence, you could go in and change the individual durations of each transition by right clicking on each transition and change the duration.

You could also delete the ones that you want to be cuts. For example if you have 50 edits and you are going to want 35 cross dissolves, it would be faster to put cross dissolves on every edit, and then delete the ones you want to be cuts.

If you know which ones they are, you can command click on each transition, and then delete them all at once.

Just a reminder that when deleting a transition, you want to use the big delete key (backspace key) a.k.a. lift edit, and not the little delete key (down and to the right of the backspace key, or shift backspace) a.k.a. ripple delete. The reason is that a ripple delete will also delete the media associated to the transition.

For those of you that don't have Final Cut Pro 7, and want to be able to apply multiple transitions with earlier versions of Final Cut Pro, there is a work around to accomplish this. Check out this article written back in 2006.

Recently, I wrote an article about Range Checking, and today I want to continue on that topic, but take it one step further.  Using the Broadcast Safe Filter.  The Broadcast Safe Filter will give you the quickest way to reduce the luma & chroma levels within your clip that might go over the legal broadcast limits.

unsafe.gifWe find the Broadcast Safe Filter within the Effects Tab under Video Filters > Color Correction > Broadcast Safe

broadcastsafefilter.gif

In your Viewer window, click on the Filters Tab, and drag the Broadcast Safe filter from your Effects Tab into the Viewer window.  Now you can see the parameters in which to set your luma & chroma levels.

filterparameters.gifBy dragging the filter into my viewer, it automatically fixed the areas that needed correction and now I have a green checkmark, indicating that it's broadcast safe.

unsafefixed.gifYou might even want to set your Luma/Chroma Mode to Very Conservative or Extremely Conservative to be extra safe.

lumachromamode.gifIf you choose Custom from the Luma/Chroma Mode, you can then use the sliders to manually fine-tune your Luma & Chroma levels.

Note that using motion parameters, transitions, and compositing modes can change the results of the Broadcast Safe filter applied to individual clips.  Sometimes it's best to create a nested sequence and then apply the Broadcast Safe filter to the Nest.






There are a few ways to get your project from Final Cut into Compressor, whether you're producing a DVD, preparing a Quicktime movie for the Web, or prepping a clip for Apple TV. Lots of folks prefer to export a Quicktime movie from FCP, then import it into Compressor; others use the Export Using Compressor feature in FCP6. Going through a Quicktime movie noticeably reduces the quality of Compressor's output, but Final Cut Pro 6 makes using the superior Export To Compressor option fairly painful.

Our advice has changed with the new Final Cut Pro 7 upgrade, which has dramatically improved Final Cut's output workflow.

With the new upgrade, there's no longer a good excuse to sacrifice quality by exporting video to a Quicktime movie before bringing it into Compressor.

When working with Final Cut Pro, have you ever seen these funny looking green stripes "zebra stripes" in your Viewer or Canvas?  This happens when you press the keyboard shortcut (ctrl z).  Press (ctrl z) again to remove the 'zebra stripes'.

The Zebra Stripes look somewhat like animated diagonal marching lines that are superimposed over areas of an image that are over or close to the legal broadcast limit.  They are enabled when you use the Final Cut Pro range-checking options.

NTSC Broadcast Luminance levels are measure in something called IRE (Institute of Radio Engineers).  Anything over 100 IRE is outside the legal limits of broadcasting an NTSC signal.

You'll see a green checkmark indicating whether or not you are within the legal range of luminance values.  Sometimes you'll see an exclamation point with a yellow triangle. When 'range check' is on Final Cut Pro will display one of three indicators.

green_zebra_stripes_fcp_viewer.gif


A green checkmark means everything is good to go, which means there are no luminance values that exceed 90 IRE. 

A green checkmark with an up-arrow means there are some areas that exceed 90 IRE, but you are still within legal range.

A yellow checkmark means there are luminance values that exceed 100 IRE.

You can see these IRE values by looking at the waveform within the Video Scope.  The video scope is under the tools menu within the Final Cut Pro menu bar.

IRE_indicators.gif

In Final Cut Pro adjusting the Anchor Point is both useful and easy to do. The Anchor Point is the point to which Rotation and Scale are based. By changing the Anchor Point you create completely different results than the default.  If you were to move the Anchor Point to the top center of an image, instead of the default center of the image, Rotation and Scale would happen from the top center of the image instead of the center.

Adjusting the Anchor Point is critical if you need to cause a graphic to behave a certain way. For example if you had an image of a tree in Track 1, and an image of a tire swing in Track 2, with the goal of seeing the tire swing rotate from the branch, you would need to set the Anchor Point at the top of the rope form in the tire swing image to create the look that it was swinging from the branch.  By default the Anchor Point would be in the center of the image. You can see below that when the Anchor Point is in the center of the image the rope does not stay attached to the branch.

anchor_point_final_cut_pro.gif

To adjust the Anchor Point all you need to do is first make sure the Image control is set to Image + Wireframe, then turn on the Distortion tool by pressing the D key, or clicking on it in the Tool Palette, and then drag the Anchor Point from the default position in the center of the Wireframe to the desired position.


You can tell deliver a Standard Definition DVD, with HD versions of the video on the disc as well? To add High Definition video to a standard definition DVD, add it as DVD ROM content. The viewer will not be able to view the HD video on their DVD player, but as long as they have the Quicktime Player, or iTunes they will be able to view the HD version that you have added as DVD ROM content.

HD_DVD.gif

DVD Studio Pro is only going to allow you to have total disc usage of 4.7 gb ( on a standard DVD5), so you will want to keep the file size of whatever you are adding to the DVD ROM as small as possible. You probably will not have the space to add a 1920 x 1080 Apple Pro Res movie unless the total length of the video is under 4 minutes. The Apple TV setting will produce a 1280 x 720 Quicktime movie that will compress to a manageable size that will not cause you to need to leave too much space for the DVD ROM content.  When producing the Mpeg 2 video in Compressor, you can add the Apple TV setting to the same batch, and Compressor will do everything at once.

If you are adding the DVD ROM when you a doing a Build/Format in DVD Studio Pro, be sure to make sure you have the disc space before doing so, because DVD Studio Pro will not update the Disc Meter unless you add the content at the Disc level in the Inspector.
It would be a good idea to explain to the viewer how to access the HD content. In most cases, you will probably just tell them if they put this DVD into their computer, they will be able to access the HD content directly from a “HD Contentâ€? folder on the disc. You don’t want to claim that you have produced a HD DVD, because you have not. More and more people have their computer integrated into their home entertainment system, and for these people being able to play the HD version instead of the SD version will be much appreciated. For that matter if you know that you are delivering to someone who will be viewing your video from a computer, you could just deliver a full res 1920 x 1080 version on a thumb drive. Not only will they be getting superior HD, but it will be something that if they needed to edit it down the road, it would be ready to go right into a NLE system. 

Ok, so we know that Mac just cannot support burning blu-ray discs at this point, but you're wondering how your colleagues are taking their projects from Final Cut Pro and burning them onto Blu-Ray discs?  Simple, especially now, that Final Cut Studio 3 has a newer version of Compressor that can encode and deliver onto Blu-Ray.

In a recent article from MacVideo magazine, the LG BE06 "is a breakthrough product for video editors.  It let's you burn 25 or 50 GB Blu-ray media from a Mac for archiving purposes."  Although  you can't use it to view a Blu-ray disc, you can use it to burn one.

LGBE06.gifFor just around $400, the LG BE06 comes with a nice little bonus feature too:  LightScribe Disc Labeling, which is a laser printing technology that lets you create silkscreenlike labels right inside the drive.

Check out this article on DVD Authoring with HD media too.

compressor_icon.pngUsing Apple Compressor to convert Final Cut outputs to various formats is a very efficient way to compress and encode. Learning to use Apple Compressor boils down to simply applying a setting and a destination to whatever you have in the Batch Window, & submit. If you want to make adjustments to the attributes of a setting, you can duplicate the setting, which will place a copy of in the Custom folder. Once a setting is in the Custom folder, you can make adjustments to the attributes of the setting in the Inspector. Default settings cannot be adjusted until they have been duplicated into the Custom folder.

You can simplify the Compressor function, by creating what are called Droplets. Droplets are a way to automate Compressor settings. Once a droplet is created, you will not even have to launch Compressor. You can simply drag your Quicktime movie onto the Droplet, and allow the Droplet to initiate Compressor to process the movie to a preset Setting and Destination. To create a Droplet, you need to select a Setting, and click the Save Selection as Droplet button. Next you will need to name the Droplet, choose where the droplet will exist, & choose where the Droplet will place the processed media.

multiple_output_compressor.gifIf you duplicate a Settings Folder, the folder and the settings within it will appear in the Custom Settings folder, and the duplicated folder can be added to. Take for example if you were to duplicate both the DVD: Best Quality 90 minutes settings folder, & the H. 264 for Apple TV, & H.264 for iPod settings. You could add the H.264 settings to the DVD: Best Quality settings folder, and then create a droplet of that folder. Anything placed onto that droplet would be processed to all four of the settings in the folder. This makes your most used setting combinations very easy to use.

Be sure to check out this video tutorial creating a droplet in Apple Compressor
motion-logo.jpg

In Part I, we used a fairly simple system of particles to throw footballs across the screen. In that process, we explored the basic controls that Motion offers over its point-based particle emitters: emission angle, range, particle speed and angle, and so forth.

This time, we'll work up an effect something like a primitive snow flurry. That will let us go over shape-based emitters, evolve particles over their lifetimes, and touch on physics simulations.

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This page is an archive of entries from August 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

July 2009 is the previous archive.

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