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Jeff: August 2009 Archives

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.


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.


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.

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.


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.


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. 

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
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This page is a archive of recent entries written by Jeff in August 2009.

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