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Learn how to blur or pixelate an area within a video segment using Final Cut Pro X.  Apple has updated Final Cut Pro X with a new interface.

Watch this 2 min video on using the Censor Effect within Final Cut Pro 10.3

Final_Cut_Pro_Blur_Face.pngIn Final Cut Pro 10.3, it's easy to create a censor effect to blur or pixelate areas of a video segment.

To demonstrate, I'm displaying default Final Cut Pro X interface here with a single clip segment within the timeline.

Make sure the playhead is at the front of the clip segment.

Click on the clip segment so it's selected.

With the clip still selected, right click and choose show video animation from the contextual menu.

Navigate to the Effects Browser Icon or press command 5 to bring forward the Effects Browser window.

Navigate to the Video / Stylize category and double click on the censor effect.

FCP_X_Effects_Browser_Window.pngInside the viewer window you will see on-screen controls for the censor effect.

In the Inspector Window, you can choose a method of either pixelate or blur.  

In this example, I'll choose the blur method.

Pixilate_Blur.pngAdjust the amount of the blur that you want.

Off to the right side of the radius and center parameters, click on these plus icons to create keyframes.

Place the censor effect onto the area you want to pixelate or blur.

Adjust the size of the area affected by dragging on this outer ring.

Move the position indicator forward a few frames using the right arrow key, and then re-position the on-screen controls for the censor effect.

In doing so, you are automatically creating new keyframes within the video animation area inside the clip segment.

Repeat the process until your finished.

It's that easy!  Check it out!

For other great tips like this, or to enroll in a hands-on or online Final Cut Pro X training class, visit GeniusDV.com

Professional video editors should be aware of a cardinal rule.  Do not upgrade your operating system unless you are 100% sure your video editing software is compatible with it. 

This is particularly true with products such as Avid Media Composer, and Pro Tools.  Also, pay attention to the compatibility of 3rd party software and plug-ins.  Just because your editing software may be compatible with a new OS, some of your software plug-ins may not be.

This brings me to my next point.  If you purchase a brand new computer from Apple,  it will probably have the most recent operating system installed on it. This means if your version of video editing software doesn't work on the latest version of Mac OS 'Yosemite', you won't be able to run your software.

Please note: The hardware in a brand new Mac may prevent you from downgrading beyond the previous operating system.  So currently, that brand new Mac you just bought may only allow you to downgrade to Mavericks, and not Mountain Lion.

Fortunately, there is a way to re-download a copy of Mavericks.  You can even choose to partition your hard-drive so you can keep the Yosemite OS, along with Mavericks.  You can then boot between them.

To  perform a downgrade to Mavericks (Mac OS X 10.9) from Yosemite (10.10) you will need the following:

  • *A copy of the Mavericks installer (you can find this under the purchases tab within the App store)
  • A thumb drive or external drive that can be re-formatted
  • Some patience

Okay, ready?  Here are the steps.  You may want to print the steps out.

You may encounter issues if you are updating  your operating system to OS X 10.9 (Maverick).  One particular issue affects how the OS indexes files.  (keep reading for a simple fix).

maverick logo.png

First off, make sure your video editing software is supported before updating to Maverick 10.9.X

  • Avid Media Composer:  Requires MC 7.03 to run on Maverick Correctly.
  • Final Cut Pro X:  You cannot upgrade to FCP X 10.1 if you are not running Maverick
  • Adobe Premiere: If you are running on the Creative Cloud, it will automatically provide you with free updates to run correctly on Maverick.

After updating to Mac OS X 10.9 (Maverick), you may discover that the finder runs slugish when you first start the computer.


At GeniusDV, we have encountered this issue across eight different models of various iMacs and Mac Book Pro's.

Fortunately, there is a simple fix.

  • Launch the terminal utility from the Mac HD / Applications / Utlities folder.
  • Paste the following text into the command line of the terminal and press the return key: 
     rm ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.finder.plist&&killall Finder

kill finder.pngThe finder will now index much faster, and you will not have to wait for the folders to populate.

Please note: If you perform this function, the preferences for the finder will reset back to the default values.  This will result in theMac HD icon disappearing from the desktop. 

To change this:

  • Navigate to the Finder menu and choose preferences.
  • A dilouage box will appear. 
  • Within the general preferences tab, turn on the option to show Hard Disks.

Turn Hard Disk on.pngOkay, now the finder will operate correctly when navigating between folders directories.

Note:  If you have multiple user accounts, you will have to repeat this process for each individual user.

If you haven't noticed already, Ultra HD or 4K televisions are becoming the next consumer rave. However, it doesn't make sense to purchase a 4K television without any 4K content to view.

However, with companies like Netflix betting big on providing 4K content, and the affordability of new 4K cameras, things are about to change.

Up until now, producing video in 4K has been expensive, but thanks to modern video editing systems, and new affordable 4K camcorders, there will soon be plenty of content in 4K that you can watch.

sony-4k_AX100.png4K UHD (Ultra HD) has a resolution of 3840 x 2160. That's four times the screen area of HD!

Here are a few things to keep in mind before you make the leap to producing content in 4K.

  • You'll need video editing software that supports 4K editing.
  • 4K requires extra storage (4 times more than HD). To give you an idea, a 10 second uncompressed 4K Quicktime movie can exceed 1GB of data! (thats 100 MB per second).
  • 4K requires high speed hard drives to play back media in real-time.
  • You will need a 4K television to display your content.

So, with these things in mind, even at the consumer level, entry level 4K video production costs can quickly add up.  However, I believe the costs are now within reach of small production boutiques. 
4K_equipment.pngAs of today, here's a quick breakdown to produce 4k videos at an entry level.

Apple Mac Pro (Base Model Options): $3000
Seiki 4K Monitor (39 inch): $700
G-Tech 8TB Thunderbolt Raid: $800
Video Editing Software (Adobe CC): *$600 (1 year subscription)
Sony 4K FDR-AX100 Camcorder (available 03-14): $2000

If you're at the entry level to producing 4K content, this should give you an idea of the minimum amount of hardware to get started.

Please note: I'm not pitching this for the serious 4K video production professional.  At a high-end production level, there is quite a bit more involved.  This is especially true when it comes to purchasing a Professional 4k camera, a higher-end Mac Pro, and additional storage requirements.

Whether you cut on FCP, Avid, or Premiere, chances are you're doing some color correction work from time to time.  And with the new release of DaVinci Resolve, chances are you could be doing that color correction work faster and better at next to no cost at all.  We used to think of DaVinci as expensive, complicated, and tricky to integrate with mainstream workflows.  That's not true any longer.

If you're working at HD resolutions, a fully functional commercial license for DaVinci Resolve's Lite edition is free.  $0.  And Version 9 boasts a slick new interface that's been completely overhauled for speed and ease of use.  So no matter how big or small your firm is, you too can be a DaVinci guy or girl.

We're excited.  So excited that we and our crack team of colorists have developed a spiffy two-day course around the new DaVinci Resolve.  Come to Orlando and learn DaVinci with us—details are below.  For that matter, we'd love to come on-site with you and get you cooking with the new Resolve!

DaVinci Resolve 9 Training

Have you been thinking about bringing high-end color grading into your edit suite?  The time to learn DaVinci has never been better.  Blackmagic has priced its full commercial license of DaVinci Resolve Lite at the irresistible price of free, they've fully revamped Resolve's user interface, and now you can get up to speed in a matter of days not weeks with GeniusDV's intensive personalized training!
The DaVinci is the same top-of-the-line coloring suite that the finest coloring houses use to grade major films and Super-Bowl-class commercial spots.  Now that elite toolset makes sense for even the most cost-conscious post production house.  With your GeniusDV training, you'll be all ready to fix problematic shots, guarantee consistency across the shots in each edit, relight scenes, amplify your pieces' moods, and apply the visual polish to help your video stand out.  And you'll be amazed at how fast the DaVinci workflow has become.

Are you an Adobe Creative Suite user?  We're currently developing Adobe SpeedGrade training.  Please contact us at (866)566-1881 for details and a discounted rate on our SpeedGrade courses while they're in development.

Day 1: Basics

  • Setup and Interface—Designing a color grading environment; configuring your system; managing DaVinci users, projects, storage volumes, and media pools; getting around the new DaVinci interface; software-only operation vs control surfaces.
  • Using Scopes—DaVinci's high-performance instruments provide detailed feedback for color-critical decisionmaking.  Learn to get the most out of your color suite's waveform monitors, vectorscope, and histograms, using them for both technical and artistic guidance.
  • Primary Corrections—Use the color wheels, mixers, Camera Raw panel, and Primary controls to adjust each shot's overall exposure and color balance
  • Qualifiers—Selectively adjust specific parts of a video image on the basis of hue, saturation, or luma constraints
  • Power Windows and Tracking—Create vignettes, relight scenes, and isolate specific surfaces in your shot for adjustment

Day 2: Workflows and Advanced Techniques

  • Managing Nodes—Configure node trees to avoid redundant isolation work and create nuanced looks
  • Balance and Consistency—Color-theoretical strategies to create balance and structure in individual shots and harmonize successive shots in an edit
  • To and From the NLE—Send projects to and from Final Cut, Avid, and Premiere; online and offline workflows; conform to changes in your edit
  • ColorTrace, Scene Detection
  • Managing Grades—Recycle grades between shots and projects, maintain a library of looks, manage and apply LUTs
  • Workshop: Creating moods—Working with their own clips or clips from our extensive library, the class will use all of DaVinci's tools to develop complete moods for short edits.  We'll then workshop each student's color grade, with the instructor providing expert feedback and fellow students providing reactions as well as examples of their own personal approaches.
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