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Avid: January 2009 Archives

Avid's DNxHD codec and Apple's ProRes are both riffs on the Cineform theme of high-quality digital intermediate codecs for editing.  Both offer more efficient compression than some competitors (especially at larger frame sizes), plus 4:2:2 chroma subsampling (which provides greater color fidelity than DV's 4:1:1 subsampling or MPEG's 4:2:0).  But the advantage of one of the other cool features -- support for 10-bit color depth -- has gone largely misunderstood or overlooked.  [Ed.: Some readers have asked me to emphasize that BOTH DNxHD and ProRes offer 10-bit color depth.  Apologies for any confusion.]

For starters, it's worth pointing out that each of the "extras" that ProRes confers may at first seem irrelevant: after all, broadcast NTSC still (for another month or so) uses YCbCr, and broadcast ATSC and DVB still use a variant of MPEG-2, with all the associated limitations.  Don't be fooled, though. 

Your post process almost inevitably involves changing the source image in some way or another, either through color correction, transitions, or any number of other processes -- and when you have all of the "extra" information in the ProRes picture, you're able to create an edited master that still has more information than you'd need for a "perfect" quality broadcast.  Similarly, you'd never edit in MPEG-2 directly (I hope) -- so using the higher-quality intermediate codec gives your compressor more "wiggle room" as the compressor tries to paint the highest-quality picture for the MPEG-2 transcoding step.

But enough of that ... more on bit depth specifically after the jump.

You can use the Avid FX plug-in to add creative effects to titles that you've created within the standard Avid title tool.

light_zoom_avid_fx.gifAvid FX is a special plug-in that is basically the same as a licensed version of Boris FX.  Avid FX can be launched as a stand-alone application, or it can be launched as a plug-in directly from the Avid software.

Avid FX ships with any Media Composer software license.

GeniusDV provides 'online training services' for a variety of video software programs.  We use a nice tool called MouseLocator so students can easily see the mouse cursor.  Better yet, the utility is free!


mouse_locator.gifTo install Mouse Locator, download MouseLocator.dmg from 2point5fish.com.




 Click the Download Alternative Locator Graphics from the installation screen. This will open a web page with various mouse cursors that you can choose from.  You can choose to download the gallery package or you can download an individual shape by right-clicking (control-clicking) the shape and downloading it. You will want to save it to the top level of the Pictures folder. If the mouse locator program is already active, close it and reopen it. It will find and load the new shape when it reopens. 










After the installation is complete, the Mouse locator will appear as an icon in the Other section of the System Preferences as shown below. You activate it and set its parameters from here.




 I like using the small red rectangle. I use the Always On setting when I teach.


Within the preferences, you can set the cursor to fade after the mouse is pushed. The (Show button clicks) setting causes a yellow circle to flash when the mouse button is pressed.

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This page is a archive of entries in the Avid category from January 2009.

Avid: December 2008 is the previous archive.

Avid: February 2009 is the next archive.

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