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Jeff: March 2008 Archives

Final Cut Pro, Avid Adobe all run on Macs, and there is a often overlooked function of the Mac OS that can be very useful. By holding down the Control key while you use the scroll wheel of the mouse, you will zoom in on whatever is on screen. By simply scrolling back the other way while holding down the control key, you will zoom out. This is very helpful when attempting to view an online video a little larger than it has been displayed on a particular webpage. Often going to the only other option of full screen, will cause too much distortion. It is also very helpful for reading small print. Within an editing application the Control/Scroll function can be easier for quick zoom in and outs that Command + or -. I  use this function all the time.


In your Mac System Preferences under Mouse & Keyboard is where you find the controls for this function. The Control key is the default for this function, but you can change it if you prefer. By clicking the Options button it will allow you to choose how the screen image moves when zoomed in. I recommend the "Only when pointer reaches an edge" option. This option will cause the screen not to move around every time you move the mouse. It will only move when it needs to.
Knowing when to use Soundtrack Pro vs when to bring a sound effect directly into Final Cut Pro is an aquired skill. In most cases if you are only bringing in one to three effects,. it is easier to just bring the sound effect right into Final Cut. An great way to accomplish this is to set your Spotlight to just search for music, preview the different options in Finder, and then drag the desired effect right into Final Cut. You can drag the effect directly form Finder into your Sequence, but if you may want to bring it into the File Browser first. Soundtrack Pro is great for assembling multi track audio, but if you only need one asset from Soundtrack Pro, you may want to consider this work flow.


Adding Audio to your DVD Studio Pro Slideshows is both easy and versitile. You can add audio to the overall slideshow by dragging your audio file or files into the audio well in the Slideshow editor, or the Audio list in the Inspector. You can add multiple audio files to the same slideshow, but they have to be the smae format. If you are using the "Fit to Audio" parameter for slideshow duration, DVD Studio Pro will readjust the individual slide duration every time you add another audio file. In the inspector you can rearrange the order in which the individual audio files will play.


The Final Cu Pro Smooth Cam Filter is a very powerful tool, but to use it efficiently you need to follow a clip management procedure. When you analyize a clip you are actually analyzing the entire master clip. Since the analyization process can be rather time consuming, it is a good idea to export the portion of the master clip that you need to apply the smooth cam filter to, and then import the clip into your project. Now when you apply the smooth cam filter, you will only be applying it to the footage you intend to.

The process is to load the master clip into the viewer, set your in and out points, then export a Quicktime movie with the current settings, and you will have a clip that can be analyized much quicker.
When an asset is imported into DVD Studio Pro without chapter markers, there is an easier way to add them to a Track, than adding each one individually, and then naming it in the inspector. You can import a Marker List in DVD Studio Pro, that is simply a text file. It is much easier to type in all of the specific timecodes where each marker is to be placed and the title of the marker, than it is to go back and forth within the DVD Studio Pro interface.

To import a marker list you simply right click on the area above the timeline where markers appear, choose Import Marker List, and then navigate to where you stored the text file. Once you click Import after selecting the text file that is your Marker List, the markers will automatically place themselves into the Track. One thing to be careful of is that DVD Studio Pro will bump the markers to the next GOP structure (GOP standing for group of pictures. Typically a GOP structure is between 3 and 9 frames) , and that may or may not be acceptable. If the marker is in a position that is unacceptable you can move it to the beginning of the GOP structure. If neither the beginning nor end of the GOP structure will work. . . . you have a problem. To get markers to appear exactly where you want them, you will need to embed them into your asset.


Inserting a clip from one position to another within a sequence usually involves having to delete a clip and close a gap. By dragging a clip into the Insert pop up menu in the Canvas you can insert the clip to the playhead position, but it leaves the original clip, and then you have to delete it and close the gap. By performing a swap edit you insert the clip at the playhead and shift all clips form the playhead towards the original clip position, into the space the original clip was in. Another way to look at a Swap Edit is to think of it as a rearrange edit.

To perform a Swap Edit you need to left/control click and drag the clip you are moving towards the position you are going to be inserting it into, then press the option key to initialize the swap function. When you have the clip in the correct position you need to release the mouse before the option key. It is very important that you move the clip from it's original position before you depress the option key, otherwise you will be inserting the original clip into the edit point. The original clip will still be in it's original position as well, and the entire sequence from that point will have shifted down the length of the clip, so be careful.


Old habits die hard, so don't get into the habit of targeting a button to a track, and then having to assign the track to end jump back to the menu the button is on in DVD Studio Pro. If you drag your movie to a track, and then target the button to the track you placed the movie into, the track has not received a command for what to do when it is finished playing. You are responsible for assigning the end jump of the track. Usually you set the track to end jump back to the menu the button that started it came from, but if you forget to do so when the track reaches the end it will just stick on the last frame of video, and until you press the menu button nothing will happen.

This can be avoided by simply creating a button and dragging the movie form the Assets over the button and select the "Create Track, Connect to Track" from the pop up menu. This eliminates many possible mistakes, like accidentally targeting the wrong track, forgetting to target any track, or not setting an end jump. Using this technique targets the Track, and sets the end jump. It is certainly the most efficient way to develop menus.
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This page is a archive of recent entries written by Jeff in March 2008.

Jeff: February 2008 is the previous archive.

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