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Sandy: January 2010 Archives

lock_and_load_icon.gifIf you've ever wondered if there's an alternative to using the Smoothcam Filter in Final Cut Pro, there is:  it's called Lock & Load, and it's available from CoreMelt.  This week's featured plug-in takes your hand held shaky camera footage and makes it usuable footage.  Just select the clip, analyze it in seconds and playback the smoothed clip; even on clips with complex rotational motion or camera zooms.  Compared to other stabilizing filters, Lock & Load only analyzes the section of the clip between the in & out points, and is up to 12 times faster.  It also analyzes in the background so you can work on other clips while it's working; so no more waiting.

Lock & Load also features advanced tracking techniques which allow transitions to be added without having to re-analyze.  It also features intelligent adaptive zoom, so it will automatically compensate for differing levels of movement and zoom in to remove edges.

Once downloaded, Lock & Load can be found under the Effects Tab in your Browser window.
lock_load_filter.gifYou can trial the plug-in and see for yourself.  But in comparison to smoothcam, Lock & Load is much faster, and well worth the money spent! 

sketchup_icon.gifIf you're new to using Google Sketchup, you need to understand some key concepts before getting started.  The first thing to understand is that Sketchup is 3D, and when you're working in 3D, there are some essential tools you'll need to know.

  1. The Orbit Tool:  the Orbit Tool lets you look around your model; it lets you look above, below, and orbit your view anywhere around the model.
  2. The Zoom Tool:  the Zoom Tool lets you zoom into the model and away from it.
  3. The Pan Tool:  Panning lets you move from side to side and up & down without orbiting

These are the 3 key tools you need to understand first to be successful in Sketchup.  Take a look at some of these examples as to how these tools work:

Notice on the right-hand side of the screen the Instructor:  each time we choose a different tool, the Instructor will give you hints as to what each tool does.  GeniusDV now has a monthly 2-day Google Sketchup Class that will teach you everything you want to know about 3D modeling.  Check out our schedule and give us a call today to book your next class.

Every movie and TV show today has them:  credits.  It's important to know how to create the most basic kind of scrolling credits in Final Cut Pro.  Once you have your sequence finalized in the Timeline, you can then start to create your credits for the end of your video.

Step by step is after the jump...

time_machine_icon.gifTime Machine is a backup utility that was introduced with Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard.  You use Time Machine with an external hard drive to automatically back up your entire Mac computer, so that you never have to worry again about losing files.  It not only keeps a spare copy of every file, but it remembers how your computer looked on any given day, so you can "go back in time" to recover a file and restore it to the present.  After you've backed up your entire Mac, Time Machine automatically backs up every hour, every day, copying just the files that have changed since the last back up.  It will save the hourly backups for the past 24 hours, daily backups for the past month, and weekly backups for everything older than a month.  And it does all this in the background, so you can continue to work on your computer while Time Machine is busy copying your files.  More about Time Machine after the jump...

dropbox_icon.gifWhat is Dropbox you're asking; Dropbox is basically an online storage solution for any of your digital files.  Dropbox is a lot like iDisk, where you can store files and be allowed access to them from almost anywhere.  It's mainly designed for people who are constantly emailing themselves files or carrying around tiny flash drives.  But unlike some other storage solutions out there, Dropbox gives you 2GB for free and uploads so much faster.  Here's a perfect example as to how Dropbox, or iDisk, or other online storage solutions can help us in the video editing world:  we have 2 editors working on a project; however, one lives in Florida, the other in California.  The 2 editors can easily share files, sending back and forth their changes through the Dropbox or iDisk and still be able to work on a project hundreds of miles away.  The faster transfer rate with Dropbox allows them to do this with ease.  More about the features of Dropbox after the jump...

dvd_studio_pro_icon.gifWhen we talk about Jacket Pictures and DVDs, we're not talking about pictures on a DVD box cover, but rather, a picture that actually pops up on the screen when you've stopped play.  It's a way to brand your DVD with your company logo or graphic.  Jacket Pictures (usually referred to as Jacket_P images) are sometimes used by some DVD players that can hold more than one DVD at a time to give a visual indication of what disc is available.  But keep in mind that not all DVD players have the capability of showing this feature.  Some do, some don't; it's kind of a hit or miss thing.  But since it's not difficult to create, I would suggest go ahead and make one anyway, plus it doesn't take up much space on the disc.

The easiest way to create your Jacket Picture, is in Photoshop first.  Start by creating a new document in Photoshop and choose the video preset NTSC DVD 720x480 from the drop down menu.  More step by step after the jump...

gfeller_profile.gifThis week's student profile features a past Avid Media Composer student who is retired and works part-time consulting for his previous employer. Ed Gfeller is from Winter Park, Florida and loves being retired since it has given him the extra time to work on personal documentaries he produces and edits for his family, and particularly for his grandchildren.

Ed started making videos over 2 years ago and was getting disgusted with the editing applications he was using.  He says, "they typically crashed, sometimes more than once a day.  I figured Avid wouldn't do that since it it what they use in the Film and TV industry.  So Avid was completely new to me.  By taking a training class with GeniusDV, I got a thorough understanding of editing in Avid, and since getting an iMac, I have not had any crashes.  The class proceeded slowly and methodically; we had 2 beginners and one advanced student in our particular class.  But there was enough new material every day to keep me interested.  I have since then taken some tutorials with my instructor, and they have really been helpful in getting me into the more advanced effects and Marquee."

Continue reading to hear more about Ed...

zoom_buttons.gifFinal Cut Pro 7 has some terrific new shortcuts making editing life easier.  Today we'll look at one that may have gone unnoticed, the Zoom In/Out On Playhead In Timeline Buttons.  If you go to the Tools Menu > Button List (or Option+J) and type Playhead into the search bar you will see the two new navigation buttons Zoom In and Zoom Out on Playhead In Timeline Buttons. 

button_list_zoom.gifTake both of those buttons and drag them down into your Button Bar above the Timeline.

zoom_in_buttons.gifThese two new shortcuts are really useful when you need to zoom to a particular section of your Timeline.  The cool thing is, if I wanted to zoom in on a clip in the Timeline, and I click on this button that says Zoom In On Playhead in Timeline, it keeps the playhead centered, so as you're zooming, notice how the playhead stays centered in the Timeline.  This feature helps the problem that when you have a clip selected and you normally zoom in, it actually zooms to the thing that's selected, which can be really annoying.  But with these buttons, it doesn't matter what is selected, it still zooms on the playhead.

compressor_repair_icon.pngEver get Compressor errors, or Compressor won't start encoding, or just plain refuses to Compress?  There's a handy little application that's designed to fix Compressor when it develops problems, Compressor Repair, by Digital Rebellion. 

Sometimes you can fix the problem by Verifying Disc Permissions and Repairing Disc Permissions, but if that doesn't help, try this handy little app.  Because Compressor relies a lot upon Qmaster, Compressor is unable to submit batches if Qmaster fails to launch.  But with Compressor Repair, it checks for problems that could be preventing Qmaster from operating correctly.  It checks for missing files, incorrect permissions, invalid hostname, and attempts to manually start the Qmaster process.  More about Compressor Repair after the jump...

sketchup_icon.gifOne of the best tips our Google Sketchup instructor tells his students is to always leave your Instructor Dialog Box open. The Instructor displays information related to the currently selected tool.  Click on any tool in the toolbar menu to see information about that tool in the Instructor.  You can also click on the links in the Instructor to navigate to sections in the Online Sketchup Users Guide.  Using the Instructor is a great way to find out what all the different tools do.

To see the Instructor, go to the Window menu and click on Instructor.

sketchup_instructor.gifGeniusDV has a great 2-day Google Sketchup class that teaches you how to build basic 3D models to entire scenes with a virtual walk-through.  Check out our class schedule and call us today to reserve your spot!

fcp_icon.pngWith the Standard Window Setup or Arrangement in Final Cut Pro, it can sometimes be confusing and not so intuitive to new users.  So, here's an alternative window arrangement that may help beginners understand the relationship between windows.

Here's what the Standard window arrangement looks like...after the jump you can see another alternative...

noise_industries_icon.pngThis weeks featured plug-in comes from one of my favorite plug-ins providers, Noise Industries' FXFactory.  You all know how much I love transitions for Final Cut Pro, and I was so tickled to find this one.

It's basically a particle generator that can make for some amazing effects and motion graphic elements.  If you're like me, and not quite the Motion graphics wizard yet, creating particle systems can be difficult.  But Particle Metrix takes all the guesswork out of creating those particle motion effects.  Keep reading to learn more about the Particle Metrix plug-ins...

Perian is a free plug-in conversion tool that you can download and enables you to play .flv files in QuickTime Player and save them in basically any format you want.  Perian also converts other popular formats such as AVI, DIVX, MKV, GVI, VP6, and VFW.  It's a great tool to get QuickTime to play a lot of formats that usually you wouldn't be able to.  Perian also supports many different Video types such as:  MS-MPEG4 v1 & v2, DivX, 3ivx, H.264, Sorenson H.263, FLV/Sorenson Spark, FSV1, VP6, MPEG1 & MPEG2, HuffYUV, just to name a few.

To download the free plug-in, go to Perian's website, note the system requirements and follow the instructions for installation.

perian2.gifFor an example of how this conversion tool works, I'll use a .flv file.  Once you have the tool installed, simply right-click on the .flv file you want to play in QuickTime, and choose Open With > Perian-Open in QT Player

open_with_perian.gifIt's that easy!  For most users Perian Conversion Tool is the easiest way to get some of these types of files to play in QuickTime Player.  For professional editors who already have the means to play and convert these files, ie: Adobe Media Player, Perian makes it even easier, not to mention more preferable.

video_audio_patches.gifEver wonder what these little symbols mean on the left side of your Timeline in Final Cut Pro?  It's called the Timeline Patch Panel, and what it does is it determines which elements from the clip in the Viewer edit to the Timeline.  The Patch Panel lets you edit video-only or audio-only into the Timeline and it lets you determine the tracks to which you edit a clip.  But it only works when editing clips using the functions such as Insert or Overwrite and dragging them into the Canvas.  If you drag a clip directly into the Timeline, you can override the Patch Panel.

The Patch Panel has two sides:  the left side, labeled with a lowercase letter, v for video, a for audio, representing the clip in the Viewer.  The right side, labeled with an uppercase letter V or A, representing the tracks in the Timeline.  The left side of the Patch Panel looks at the clip in the Viewer and only displays the tracks that are there.  If there is no audio with a video clip, there won't be an audio patch on the left.  Think of the Patch Panel as showing the source of the clip on the left and the destination of the clip on the right.  Keep reading for some examples...
auto_select_icon.pngWhen applying a video effect or filter to a clip in Final Cut Pro, you don't always need to select a clip in the Timeline.  You can use the Auto Select button within the Timeline to tell Final Cut Pro which video layers will be affected when you apply a video effect from any of the Final Cut Pro menus.  This includes effects that are applied from using a shortcut key.  But you have to make sure you have the playhead indicator parked over the clips that you want affected.

Most of the actions that you take in Final Cut involve applying some kind of change to some specific target region or piece of media.  Final Cut tries to save you time: if you don't explicitly pick the target for your action by clicking to select it, Final Cut will try to guess what you want to change.  The Auto Selects help Final Cut guess better by giving it hints about what video or audio tracks you're interested in working with.

The default keyboard shortcut to manage the Auto Select is CMD + track number.  For example, CMD + 2 toggles the Auto Select for V2, and to toggle the Audio use OPT instead of CMD.  But remember, this only works when using the numeric keypad and not the numbers above the QWERTY portion of the keyboard.

toggle_auto_select.pngIt's important to note that you're toggling the correct Auto Select buttons on or off before adding a favorite effect that has been mapped to a shortcut key.  The default setting is for all the Auto Select icons to be turned on.

If you're only working with one video track, you can basically forget about Auto Select; however, if you're using functions such as Matchframe, Revealing Master Clip, or Mark clip, between several tracks, using the Auto Select buttons do become helpful.  The number one instance for using the Auto Select Function is when you copy and paste to different tracks.

fcp_icon.pngSo how many of you out there got a new Mac for Christmas or are starting off the New Year at work with a new Mac?  Lucky you!  So maybe you're selling your older Mac or even giving it away to someone, but what you don't want to do is give away your Final Cut Studio.  So in order to save you a lot of time, there's a really easy way to delete the Final Cut Studio System ID number. 

You will find this information by following this path:  HD >Library >Application Support> ProApps >Final Cut Studio System ID

fcs_system_id_path.gifThen basically just delete the file or move it to the trash.  Anytime someone tries to open up the application, it will prompt the user to input a new serial number.
fcp_licensing_dialog.gifYou might ask, "Why not just uninstall the applications?"  For one, it could take some time.  Also, it might be a situation where the person you are giving your old Mac to already has a license.  Why make them go through the 4 hour install process when all they need is their serial number.

It's also important to note that when upgrading Final Cut Studio, you won't need the original serial number, just the number for the upgrade.  But you will need the original serial number if you've entered a new system ID.

Got a new Final Cut Studio for Christmas or the New Year and don't know where to start?  We have an awesome 5 day training class in Final Cut Studio.  Class sizes are small and you get a lot of one-on-one time with your instructor.  Why not check out our schedule and call to book your class today!  Can't come to Orlando?  No problem!  Our instructors will come to you; call us to find out more about our Onsite Training.

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This page is a archive of recent entries written by Sandy in January 2010.

Sandy: December 2009 is the previous archive.

Sandy: February 2010 is the next archive.

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