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May 2005 Archives

If you are looking to purchase an Avid Xpress Pro system, do you go with a PC or MAC? When you purchase Avid Xpress Pro it ships with both PC and MAC versions. If you wanted to, you could run the same software on two different machines (on a MAC and PC).
What are the advantages of running on a Macintosh VS. a PC?, and which system configuration is best for you? Will Avid Xpress work with Final Cut Studio applications? Can you move projects and media from a PC to MAC?

Importing graphic files into subtitles streams enables you to create simple animations in DVD Studio Pro. You can't import motion graphic assets into a subtitle stream, but what you can do is create animations by adding one or two frame subtitles with a different graphic that depicts the animation at different stages. For example, the video stream may show a mountain while your subtitle animation can depict the route taken to climb the mountain by displaying a line that moves from the start of the trail to the top of the mountain.

DVD studiopro3.jpg

Keep in mind that when you use subtitles to create animations, the impact on the playback bit rate will become substantial and could lower the bit rate of the video stream.

To create a subtitle animation you need to create and import an STL subtitle file. You will be able to specify exact duration and position of each graphic as well as configure the color mapping settings.

Check out this tutorial on adding subtitles in DVD Studio Pro.

Refer to page 423 in your DVD Studio Pro 3 User's Manual to learn more about creating STL files. There is not much on the web about this subject.

With Panasonic's AG-HVX 200 and JVC's new GY-HD100U cameras about to hit the market at under $7,000, if you're about to join the HD revolution, then it's time to seriously look at the HD workflow. Do you need a specialized capture card, do you need to invest in a super fast hard drive, will those who are fortunate enough to see your creation be able to enjoy it in all of its HD glory if they don't own a HD ready TV set? These are some important questions that all of you Avid and Final Cut Pro users need to ask before you spend a lot of money on one of these cameras.

HD SD Edit Anything.jpgHDV Native Sony Camera.gif

Check out the information in these two articles: Workflow With Panasonic HD and Final Cut Pro HD and The HD Editing Picture where industry players such as Avid, Apple and many others talk about the challenges that come with working High Def.

If you are importing media from a CD that has a sample rate of 44.1 kHz into a DV sequence that is set at an audio rate of 38 or 48 kHz, it is most likely that you will get the best results if you convert the CD files to 38 or 48.

Big FCP Box.jpg

Converting CD Files To 32 or 48 kHz:

1. Select the clip.

2. Choose File > Export > Using Quicktime Conversion.

3. Select options.

4. From the sound section of the Movie Settings options, choose settings.

5. Choose the sample rate you desire and press OK from the rate pop-up menu. Make sure the size remains at 16-bit.

6. Type a name and choose a location for the new file, then select save.

Check out these FREE Final Cut Pro Tutorials!

installing After Effects Filters:

- Copy filters into one of these two locations:
Computer/Startup Volume/Library/Application Support/Final Cut Pro System Support/Plugins OR

Home/Library/Preferences/Final Cut Pro User Data/Plugins

After Effects plugin_icon.gifFCP Box.jpg

Tips on using After Effects Filters in Final Cut Pro:

- After Effects filters utilize more memory than FCP filters, so remember to adjust Final Cut Pro's Ram allocation.

- Not all of After Effects Plugins are supported. If any of the filters become problematic after you have installed them, remove them from the plugins folder.

- Concerning After Effects filters that have clip parameters, use the clip itself as the parameter for the input clip. You can do this by pressing Control-click the clip parameter and choose Self from the shortcut menu.

- After Effects filters render only in RGB color space, so they won't be able to take advantage of FCP's rendering abilities using YCrCb.

Check out this opportunity for training in After Effects and Final Cut Pro.

Now that you have seen Episode III and want to show George how it's really done, here's a few things to keep in mind when rendering anamorphic media.


- Clips that have the Anamorphic setting turned on in the Item Properties will be rendered in that format.

- If you have your sequence preset set to Anamorphic, all of the clips in that sequence will be rendered as such.

- If you are adding 16:9 footage into a 16:9 sequence, no rendering is required.

- When 4:3 footage is added to a 16:9 sequence, the new content is adjusted to maintain the proper aspect ratio and may need to be rendered before output.

Make sure you do your research before investing your money in a DV device if you plan on using it with Final Cut Pro or Avid Xpress Pro.
For the budget minded, we have found the Sony DSR 11 to be the most affordable and durable deck for editing DV material. It is also one of the few prosumer decks that supports mini-dv, and DVCAM formats.

For other qualified Avid Xpress Pro DV devices, or DV devices supported by Final Cut Pro, make sure you do your research on what products have been tested.

After you have created a few DVD's you will discover that some of your projects will fit onto discs easier than others, such as some of the shorter pieces you have done. It is within these projects, when the content fits easily, is where you will find the temptation to use the highest video bit rate available. Although this would seem to be the logical thing to do in order to achieve better quality, there are also other factors you should consider before using the maximum allowed value.

DVD disc Capacity bar.jpg

Lean toward being conservative when setting how high of a bit rate to allow for, due to the fact that utilizing the highest possible bit rate for a project can lead to player compatibility and disc space issues. A good rule of thumb is to not exceed 9.2 Mbps for combined video and audio bit rates.

Check out this article about choosing the proper bit rate.

Compressor puts all or the important media formats in your hands, by enabling you to change multiple files at a time to other file types. Another good thing for all of you Final Cut Pro users, after you have put the finishing touches on your movie and are ready to export, you can kick it straight to compressor, and from there output to a high quality DVD format or compressed for the web.
Making A Batch List:

- Open up the Batch window and drag a collection of video clips from the finder to the batch window to create a list (or go to File> Import). Give the batch a new name.

Select A Preset:

- If you are converting all of the files to the same format, select all of the files in the list, then press 'Ctrl', click on the files and choose the desired format.

Submit The Batch:

- Press the submit button.

Ok, you finally have some editing with Final Cut Pro under your belt and have completed a few projects that were pretty impressive, now it's time to get those segments broadcast ready! Up until this point you have been eyeballing your video to ensure that skin tones don't look orange and to make sure what should be white isn't blue, but to make sure your viewers are seeing what you're seeing, you need to learn to use the scopes.

color wheels corrector.jpg

The scopes in Final Cut Pro are very effective in showing the distribution in luminance, color balance, saturation, and the color range of your clips, giving you the information that you need to adjust the controls of the color correction filters.

Eyeballing has gotten you this far, but now it's time to get precise. Check out this tutorial on color correction in Final Cut Pro.

The creation of advanced, interactive DVD's is no longer limited to Hollywood! With the proper training, you can create some overwhelmingly commanding DVD's of your own that could truly up the ante in the realm of DVD Authoring.

DVD StudioPro dialog box.jpg

The DVD-Video specification includes a powerful scripting language that can allow for viewer interactivity. DVD Studio Pro grants access to such scripting prowess to those who know how to wield it! Scripts in DVD Studio Pro are created separately within your project, allowing for allocation to any item that will support a script (buttons, start of a track, story, menu, or marker).

Stop serving your masterpieces on a garbage lid (Tape media), and check out what you can do with DVD Studio Pro!

Here is our first review of the new 20 inch Apple iMAC in terms of performance with Final Cut Pro.

*Also, Apple now ships a 24 inch iMAC, which is even a better choice for Final Cut Pro editors.


First off, it ships with the new Tiger 10.4 operating system. Since Final Cut Pro 5.0 hasn't shipped yet, we were nervous to see if FCP 4.5HD would work properly. We are proud to announce, it seems to be rock solid! We compared the speed to a Dual Gig G4 system, and the iMAC seemed to process complicated effects about 3-4X faster.

Here are the items we like about the new iMAC.

- Nice 20 inch display with 1680 x 1050 pixels (native)
- Extremely Portable, computer is built right into the screen display
- Easy to upgrade (back panel pops off) Adding RAM was no problem
- Ships with ATI 9600 Pro graphics card (with 128 megs of video ram)
- Includes built in airport-extreme
- Includes built in Blue-tooth
- Ships with Dual Layer DVD R/W drive
- USB 2.0 ports (on the back)
- S-video and Composite outputs

We are extremely happy to see a Dual Layer DVD drive, and a beefy graphics card to FCP Studio users can run Apple Motion.

Our only gripe, is there are no firewire 800 ports on this system. This means playing HD footage may be a bit of a challenge with standard fireware 400 drives.

Our only reccomendation for Final Cut Pro or FCP Studio Users, is that you should upgrade the RAM to a minimum of 1 GIG. Unfortunately, there are only two ram slots, so there isn't much room to upgrade in the future. Unless you toss our your old 512mb chips.

Although, there isn't much room to upgrade this system, we believe it will take you a good 3 years before this system falls behind the technological curve.

Once again, Apple comes through big time with the new 20 inch iMAC. In our opinion, this system configured with Final Cut Studio is one of the best digital editing packages you can buy for your money.

In order to transform a layer or object, you have to first select the element you wish to transform within the canvas, layers tab, or timeline. Objects selected within the canvas will be enveloped by what is called a bounding box with adjustment handles that allow for the transformation of each selected object.


Selecting a single object within the canvas:

- Click on the desired object in canvas.

Selecting multiple objects and adding objects to a selection group:

- Drag a bounding box to encompass all objects you wish to select.

- Use Shift or Command and click all objects you wish to select.

- Use Shift or Command and drag a bounding box over objects you wish to add to a selection group.

Check out this info that discusses various hardware configurations and their performance with Motion.

If you haven't seen Star Wars - Revelations yet, you deffinately need to check it out. So what is so amazing about this movie? It is a Star Wars fan film, and was done with off the shelf software and DV cameras.

Yes, with Avid Xpress, or Final Cut Pro, and some help with programs like Adobe After Effects, this type of production is possible.


If you have a PC, check out the latest news story on Star Wars Revelations and see for yourself. Unfortunately, the MSN streaming video site does not work with MAC.

If you have a MAC, you can read the USA today story on Star Wars Revelations.

In a strange sort of way, GeniusDV played in a role in Jack Foley's involvment with Star-Wars Revelations. (directory of Photoraphy). Jack Foley's lives in the Wash D.C. area and after seeing one of the original fan-films 'Troops', he was inspired to work as Director of Photography on Star Wars Revelations.

If you take your passion to an extreme measure, it is possible to create something amazing! Star-Wars Revelations is one of the best examples that I have seen yet.

So whether your using Avid Xpress, Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere, this just goes to show you what can be done.

For additional Star Wars fan films, check out TheForce.net.

Many people said that not much happened at NAB in 2005. Perhaps they were asleep, or perhaps they don't consider that the entire video industry is changing right beneath them.


Perhaps they can't accept the fact that industry standard Beta VTR's are no longer being manufacturered. Perhaps they can't deal with the fact that tube CRT monitor, that we have used for our entire careers, are no longer being manufacturered by Sony and Panasonic. Maybe they want things to be just the way they are – they don't want change. Well guess what, ITS ALL CHANING WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT.

Being able to create animations while your project plays back can be a huge advantage, especially when you have wide array of effects displaying simultaneously. One animated object could be obstructing the view of another element that is crucial to conveying your vision. Compare this technique to audio engineers adjusting sliders for various audio channels while listening to the mix.


Animating On The Fly:

1. Click the record button located at the bottom of the canvas or just press A.

2. Click the play button or Press the Space Bar to playback project.

3. As the project plays back, adjust the parameter slider (located on the dashboard)

4. Disable animation.

Learn to create compelling graphics in Motion.

Although this technique falls short of the grandeur of THX, simulating stereo by crossfading or panning a mono sound can add some old-school flavor to a project with flat sound.


Lets say you captured a mono audio sample of an ice cream truck passing in the background of your scene, by using the Crossfade effect or keyframing a pan you can simulate the sound traveling from left to right or right to left, adding a touch more depth to your scene.

You probably won't receive an invitation to Skywalker Ranch for your technical prowess, but every bit helps when you're an independent. I like that word, INDEPENDENT!

Check out this info for optimizing sound in Final Cut Pro.

Did you know there are only 16 Avid Certified Users in the world? The professional film and video industry would have you thinking otherwise.


Check the official Avid Certified User list on Avid Technology's website. In fact GeniusDV has certified 1/3 of all Avid Certified Users worldwide!

Avid Technology has been offering certified Avid courses for years, and students would receive an Avid certificate of accomplishment for completing the course(s). Unfortunately, these certificates caused confusion, and thousands of Avid users started calling themselves Avid Certified editors. There was never such a thing! Hence, in June 2004, Avid Technology introduced the Avid Certified User program.

Avid Technology has designed a series of courses to help you pass the certification exam. Taking the courses is no guarantee that you will pass, but it will certainly help.

External NTSC monitors, like you would use to preview your work in Final Cut Pro and Avid Express, display video quite differently than does your computer monitor. Standard definition equipment, such as a television set, uses non-square pixels to display an image while your computer monitor uses square pixels, therefore making the image you are preparing within your NLE for broadcast appear distorted.


Within Final Cut Pro you can configure your view settings so that as you work, your images will display back as they would appear on a video monitor.

- Go to view>Level>Show as square pixels

- Choose Show as square pixels from the Zoom pop-up menu.

Dig deeper into this topic of "Square vs. Non-Square Pixels."

I recently talked with video editing professional who uses Final Cut Pro and Avid Xpress that brought up the conversation about video tape drop-outs.


He mentioned he had re-recorded over a DVCPro tape 50 times with no degradation in quality or drop outs. He also mentioned he was using metal particle tape vs. metal evaporated tape. I asked him about the differences.

Apparently metal particle tape is much more reliable than metal evaporated tape. Unfortunately, metal particle tape is only available in DVCam or DVCPro formats. This customer claimed that he was only able to re-record over a mini-dv (metal evaporated) cassette about 10 times before drop-outs began to appear.

Nothing can be more frustrating to an Avid or Final Cut Pro editor when you go to batch capture your DV footage only to find that the tape has drop-outs or has become unreliable. I guess there is a reason why DVCPro and DVCam formats are more expensive.

The new Final Cut Studio is like Production Suite on Steroids! Check out some of these system requirements to see if you're ready to make the move, you may be a bit surprised.


- Macintosh computer with 867MHz or faster Power PC G4 or G5 processor; HD features require 1GHz or faster single or dual processor G4 or G5 (authoring HD DVDs requires a G5 processor)

- 512 MB RAM; HD features require 1 GB of RAM or more

- Display with 1024-768 or higher resolution

- Motion requires a G5 graphics card (iMac G5, 1.25GHz or faster PowerBook G4, or a 1.25 GHz or faster flat panel iMac)

- Mac OS X v10.3.9; Tiger is required to use Core Image Units and 16 and 32-bit float rendering in Motion

Check out this page to get the all of the System Hardware Requirements for the wares featured in Final Cut Studio.

So, you've gotten your feet wet as an editor in iMovie and now you're ready to venture out into Final Cut Pro and push your creativity to the next level! With that being said, you have already fiddled around with some very interesting project concepts within iMovie and now you want to move those elements over into FCP to see if they could be as provocative as you think they can be!


Opening an iMovie Project in Final Cut Pro:

1. In FCP, choose File then open.

2. Choose the iMovie project you want to open in the dialog box. The project will then open in the browser containing the sequence and clips.

3. Double-click the sequence to open the iMovie project in the Timeline.

4. Render the sequence.

Not too long ago we talked about the possible need to upconvert from Standard Definition to High Definition due to the transition that is occurring between the two mediums. Today, we'll discuss knocking High Def material down to Standard Def, which is called downcoverting.

It is more common to downconvert an entire HD sequence to SD as opposed to using individual clips like we discussed in our Upconverting example, but if you do need to bump down a single clip to SD, you will likewise need to choose how the higher resolution HD frame is placed in the lower resolution SD frame.

You can downconvert your HD material to SD in FCP by nesting your HD material within an SD Sequence with matching output formats. For example, if your output format is DV NTSC, nest your HD material in a DV NTSC sequence.

Within Final Cut Pro, LiveType projects behave as any other clips. Being able to import LiveType project files directly into FCP allows you to bypass the need to create a Quicktime file before you import. With this being said, whenever you place a LiveType file in the timeline, you will still have to render those parts of your sequence.


It is very simple to import a LiveType Project into Final Cut Pro:

- Chose File > Import and find the LiveType project you with to import


- Drag a LiveType project file directly into the FCP browser from the Finder. The project file will appear as a clip in the FCP browser.

If you want to find out more about the inner-workings of LiveType, click the highlighted selection.

Now that you have invested in an editing platform (Avid, Final Cut Pro) you are ready to jump in with both feet into that first big project; just a little advice, it pays to be organized! Before you log the first clip of your project, you should have already decided on a file logging scheme to help make your edit easier, and most definitely if there will be more than one person working on the same project!


Naming Scheme Suggestions:

1. Use Description field to name each individual shot

2. Use auto incrementing scene and use numbers to keep track of clips within the script. When a clip is logged, it will be automatically incremented.

3. Use Mark Good checkbox to distinguish between takes you want

When all is said and done and you have a beautiful finished project, it's time to archive those masterpieces.

The pressure is on for Hollywood! With the availability of such powerful software as Avid, Final Cut Pro, Motion and DVD Studio Pro, you have the ability to edit high-end productions and package them at a quality that is indistinguishable from the industry elite.

DVD Studio Pro Interface.jpg

Adding subtitles to your DVD in DVD Studio Pro is not as difficult as one might think:

1. Start by writing a simple text document (Example: Word Pad or Text Edit) using timecode to signify in and out points when the subtitle appears and disappears.

2. Go to the track's timeline then control-click on one of the subtitle tracks. Select 'Import Subtitle File' from the menu. Your text document will then be broken down into individual subtitles placed in relation to the in and out points you specified.

3. Preview to see how they work by using the simulator.

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This page is an archive of entries from May 2005 listed from newest to oldest.

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