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April 2006 Archives

A software only version of Media Composer for MAC and PC was introduced at NAB 2006. Here are some of the features:


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- HD, SC, DV, and film editing

- Full Media Composer toolset

- Mac and PC compatible

- Add editing seats without adding hardware

- Total Conform with Avid Sypmphony Nitris Systems

You can combine HD, SD, DV, and film formats and resolutions in the same timeline without the hassle of rendering, redigitizing or transcoding.

Avid Technology has released a new and exciting learning portal named (ALEX) short for 'Avid Learning Acclerator'. For the first time ever, users will be able to take many of Avid's infamous certified training courses at a remote location using the web.

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This is an exciting opportunity for those who were unable to attend a local certified training center, because of the travel distance. This program also opens the opportunity for many international users to take a certified training course through Avid Technology.

The online courses are structured directly from the traditional hands-on courses that you would normally have to take at a certified training center. Each course concludes with review questions to prepare an individual for the Avid Certified User exam.

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Building on the success of the JVC GY-HD100U , JVC introduces two new cameras to its HD lineup at NAB 2006: The GY-HD200U and GY-HD250U. The 250U is at the top of the lineup. All models have interchangeable lens capability. Here are some of the features as mentioned in the JVC Press Release:

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JVC GY-HD250U

- 60p Encoding

- HD-SDI Output with Embedded Audio

- Time Code Synchronization and Genlock

- Composite Video Outputs

- Pool Feed

- BNC Connectors

- Dual Media Recording on optional DR-HD100U hard Disk Drive Recorder or on tape.

This camera can also be transformed into a studio camera with the KA-HD 250 Studio Kit.

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- Can utilize JVC's exlusive HZ-CA 13U 16mm Film Lens Adapter with PL Mount giving it the ability to use a variety of prime zoom lenses.

- Has an Image Inversion Function enabling you to compensate for the reversed image of prime lenses. I HOPE THAT ALL OF THE MAJOR CAMERA MANUFACTURERS WILL SOON OFFER A FEATURE MUCH LIKE THIS ONE AS MORE VIDEOGRAPHERS ARE STARTING TO EXPERIMENT WITH 35MM LENS ADAPTERS AND PRIME LENSES.

- 60p Encoder

- Enhanced Cinema Gamma

This camera basically expands on the features that producers have come to love in the in the 100U.

Just in case you haven't heard, if you already own one of the early models of the HD100U, JVC is offering a free upgrade to the HD100 "A" model.

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The rumors are true! Avid unveiled the new SDI capable Mojo 2 at NAB. Connecting to Macs and PCs via FireWire, the Avid Mojo SDI Digital Nonlinear Accelerator offers the same analog connectivity of Avid Mojo, but adds SDI I/O and AES/EBU digital audio I/O to expand Avid Xpress Pro solutions to work with mastering-quality SD cameras and decks. With the addition of Avid Media Composer as software only the Mojo 2 is the perfect compliment. The Mojo 2 will retail for $2449.95 andAvid Xpress Pro v 5.5 and Avid Mojo SDI are expected to begin shipping in June 2006. Upgrades are expected to be available for existing Avid Xpress Pro and Avid Xpress Pro HD customers.

In an unprecedented move, Avid Technology released a software version of ‘Media Composer’ for editing enthusiasts. Editors can now enjoy the full version of Avid’s award winning ‘Media Composer’ software that will run in software only mode. GenisDV has learned that the retail price will be under $5000 for the full version of 'Media Composer Software'.

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Media Composer software – offering professionals the power of the Media Composer creative toolset without additional hardware. Available for both desktops and laptops, Media Composer software delivers comprehensive HD support for both the PC and Mac, leveraging the latest in Multi-Core CPU and GPU power available to both platforms. The software also supports full-screen DVI output of SD and HD material, ideal for any software-only client in a distributed workflow;

The most common occurance of this error is when there is a conflict based on synced clips. First, lock all the tracks (including audio tracks) below the track you are trying to trim on. This may eliminate the problem.

If you are experiencing the error 'a conflict occurred during a trim operation' in Final Cut Pro when you are changing a clip's speed, I would also consider deleting the FCP preferences to see if it clears up the conflict. If you are in the middle of a project, sometimes applying the speed change to the audio of the clip as well as the video will solve the problem. This is not a very consistent error for this execution in FCP, so when you have the chance, deleting the preferences could help.

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Is there a way to apply multiple transitions other than a dissolve, when using Avid Xpress or Media Composer? The answer is, yes. It's done by creating an effect template that can then be access in the Quick Transition dialouge box.

For all of you looking for a good deal on plug-ins, Pluginz.com is running a special 25% discount on a large variety of plugins during this year's NAB dates. You don't have to be at NAB to take advantage of this offer, just go to their website and rummage through a hefty selection of plug-ins to choose from. You'll find titles such as CineLook 2, Furnace for Avid, Aftereffects and Shake, Fractal Flow, and whole lot more. Take a look!

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If you are working with Final Cut Pro, and you receive the error message 'waiting for time code' while attempting to capture media, it may be because Final Cut Pro is unable to detect the source time code.

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The fix is simple. Under the clip settings tab, choose non-controllable device. You will then be able to capture media without timecode. Keep in mind that you will be capturing the media without time-code if you choose this option.

- John Lynn
GeniusDV Trainer/Owner

Many of us enjoy taking on the challenges of building our own computers, or white-box systems to work with the Avid Xpress software. The problem is, the system you put together may not be compatible with the Avid Xpress Pro software. Nothing can be more frustrating then spending hard earned money and time putting together your own non-linear system, and finding out it doesn't work properly with the Avid Xpress Pro software. Before building your system, check the Avid Xpress Pro Support Center for the official requirements to run the software.

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Unfortunately, Avid Technology doesn't have the resources to test every configuration with the Avid Xpress Pro software. However, they do have a fantastic resource page that allows you and other individuals to post information about working Avid Xpress configurations, even though Avid Technology themselves haven't officially tested it.


What's the difference between FCP and FC Express is a very popular question asked here at GeniusDV by producer's who are just entering the business. Here's a good side by side comparison of Final Cut Express HD and Final Cut Pro 5. As you already know, the pro version allows for much much more flexibility and diversity in your projects. I won't name all of the differences here, but there are a boat load! No batch capturing in Final Cut Express HD would be reason enough for me to go the Pro route if I had a choice. Both are great programs, but you would be pushing the limits of Express in no time at all.

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In addition to being able to adjust the pan and the overall volume of an audio track by way of slide controls in Soundtrack Pro, you can also use what are referred to as envelopes to adjust these parameter. Think of envelopes as a graphical representation of audio values much like the ones you would find in Final Cut Pro when you toggle on clip overlays in the Timeline. Click on the Automation disclosure triangle located to the far left of the track. You can then choose to Show All envelopes or just the Volume or the Pan Envelope. The default state of the volume envelope is 0db and the pan is set to center.

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To create gradual shifts in volume or pan values, double click on the envelope at the point when the change is to occur in order to create a new point. As you adjust the volume or pan, you will see an overlay in the form of a numerical value informing you of the current db or the percent by which the track is being panned to a respective channel.

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The National Assocation of Broadcasters exhibtion starts April 24th in Las Vegas. GeniusDV will be there again bringing you the latest news about Apple and Avid Technology.

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We will be updating our Final Cut Pro vs Avid Xpress page after we get back from the show.

We have already heard a variety of different rumors regarding upcoming products for Avid and Final Cut Pro. It all sounds exciting! With the NAB show being so close, we will hold back and report back on what we see. Stay tuned.

By creating a Playback Region in the Time Ruler of a multitrack project in Soundtrack Pro, you can orchestrate the repeated play back of a specific section of your project. This is good for recording multiple takes during an audio session or just reviewing your work. Simply click and drag the mouse cursor in the Time Ruler region above a multitrack project to create a Playback Region. Now when you hit the the Home or the End key on the keyboard, the play head will jump from the the beginning of the Play Region to it's end and the region will play back as a continuous loop.

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MPEG Streamclip makes it possible to trim already encoded MPEG-1 files. To trim your MPEG-1 file open the file using MPEG Streamclip and navigated to the File pull-down menu. Next choose Open and navigate to the MPEG-1 file. Drag the slider in the main interface to your selected Trim In Point and choose Select In from the Edit pull-down menu. Now, drag the slider to your desired Out Point and choose Select Out from the Edit pull-down menu. Once your In and Out Point is selected choose Trim from the Edit pull-down menu.

Once you have your Trim point you can select Save As and name your file and navigate to the location where you would like to save it. You can also export your trimmed file to other formats such as: DV, QuickTime, AVI, and MPEG-4

Working with MPEG-1 muxed media files can be tricky but it can be easier using a tool called MPEG Streamclip. Every Multimedia Specialist should have this tool available. There's a link to a write-up about MPEG Streamclip below.

A muxed MPEG-1 file is a MPEG-1 file that has the video and audio tracks mixed together. You can run into problems encoding these types of files using some compression applications. So it's a good idea to demux the MPEG-1 file. Once you compress the video you can re-assemble the audio and video in Quicktime Pro. This will give you a seperate audio file. If you don't have QuickTime Pro available then you can assemble your files in Final Cut Express or Final Cut Pro then export to QuickTime. It's not the best work flow but it will work.

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To demux your MPEG-1 file open your file in MPEG Streamclip and navigate to Demux to AIFF via the File pull-down menu. You don't have to bother with Demuxing the video because when you compress your MPEG-1 muxed file in many cases you will get a video only file.

Visit http://www.squared5.com to Download MPEG Streamclip for Mac or Windows.

Stash DVD Magazine offers some of the best inspiration for VFX and motion graphic design from around the world. Each issue contains Film Shorts, Commercials, Music Videos, and even Student Projects. Watch how the Pros take Adobe After Effects, 3ds Max, Cinema 4D, Maya, and other animation tools to new heights. You can subscribe to the DVD on a month to month or keep them flowing in for the next two years. They go for about $27.50 a pop and they are worth every penny in my humble opinion.

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You can check out a preview of the latest issue here: Stash DVD Issue 19

If you do get a chance to get your hands on a Stash DVD be sure to check out the Behind The Scenes section. BTS will give you a preview of the steps it took to bring a project to life.

Visit Stash DVD Magazine

This is great tip that was given by Geniusdv Instructor/Owner John Lynn in the GDV Support Forums to a person who was getting a General Error 34 alert while attempting to use Final Cut Pro.

"34 errors almost always refer to a corrupt directory or drive partition. I reccomend running Disk Warrior made by Alsoft to see if you can correct the problem. You can also try running, disk first aid in your utilities folder. If this doesn't fix the problem then, "change your scratch disk location to a different drive, and-or a different folder... see if you get the same error. 34 errors are VERY bad and usually indicate there is a bad section on the hard-drive."

John Lynn.

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Keeping your editing system up to date is very important. Forgeting to update your drivers is no exception. Here is a rundown of how to up-date your graphic card drivers.

1. Uninstall Old nVidia graphic card drivers from Control Panel -> Add remove programs.

2. Reboot

3.Windows will probably ask to install drivers after reboot, select Cancel that you do not want to install new drivers for the nVidia graphic card. If you have two monitors then you might need to cancel twice.

4. When you have installed the latest Avid Editing version (x.2.4 version and up?, see release notes)
go to the folder: C:\Program Files\Avid\Utilities\nVidia\

5. Install the drivers and reboot (77.18_win2kxp_international_whql.exe)

6.nVidia Display setup wizard will start. Select Next, Typical Setup, Next, Finish.

7.Right-Click on the desktop (where there is no icons) and select: NVIDIA Display > monitor-model (1 of 2)

8. Select Performance & Quality Settings, Select View Change from Basic settings to Advanced Settings.

9. Select Hardware Acceleration, And move the slider to the left (Single-display mode) and click Apply.

10. Double-click The registry file NvidiaNewDefault.reg. Select Yes to sett new Default values for OverlayBrightness = 0, OverlayContrast = 100, Overlay Saturation = 100 (see file below)

11.Click on Video Overlay Settings (1), Restore Defaults (2), Apply (3), Adjust Colors (4)

12. Click on Restore Defaults (5), OK (6)

You can verify that the Video Overlay settings are correct in the Avid Editor, by pressing play and stopping. There should be no color, brightness or contrast difference in the viewers on the computer screen.

In Avid Xpress DV or Avid Xpress Pro, Working with Alpha Channels is a tricky process for those who are unfamiliar with the Avid interface. This training tutorial walks you through the basic steps for replacing the fill for any title or graphic that contains an alpha channel.

For 10 years professional skateboarder Rob Dydreck dreamed of creating a place in his hometown of Kettering, Ohio where kids could go and skate not have to run from the cops. The terrain would be truly revolutiionary or "Ground Breaking" if you will. This new haven for skatboarders, would be what some refer to as "Real Street," a street style plaza like you would find 13 million skateboarders in the U.S get chased from on a daily basis. The goal was to create a documentary that would help streamline the process of getting such a skatepark built in other cities and to provide a tool for kids in other communities so that they can accurately depict what they want in a skatepark to their city planning commissions.

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Armed with Panasonic DVX 100's, PowerBooks and Canon EOS Rebel still cameras, DC Filmmaker Kirk Dianda's production of the documentary "Ground Breaking" was agile. Witness the effort that went behind the creation of this amazing skateboard plaza and the documenatary called "Groundbreaking" that is making waves in communities around the world.

Here's a another great plug-in from Red Giant Software that gives the ability to simulate realistic light sources in your projects. Here are some of the things you can achieve with Knoll Light Factory 2 as listed on the Red Giant site:

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- Simulate a bright spotlight behind text or logos.

- Crate mood by emulating a fabulous sunset in seconds.

- Enhance the dramatic impact of explosions.

- Add sparkle and glows to any 2D or 3D object like text and logos. Frequently used on the Today Show and ESPN.

- Replicate sun flares around a planet or above water.

Just in case you missed it, there was a great blog written about Trapcodes plug-ins for After Effects that you have to check out as well.

This topic may seem elementary to some of you by now, but there stills seems to be some confusion out there among fresh users about choosing the appropriate Quicktime export in Final Cut Pro. No question is too big or too small here. When I first started using Final Cut Pro, I would burn reference movies to disks, take them to work and wonder where my media went to. The moment you become too afraid or too proud to ask a question is the same moment that you will have stunted your growth as an editor.

There are two ways to export a Quicktime movie from Final Cut Pro, as a self-contained movie or as a reference file. A self-contained movie is a more practical way to serve your video than a reference movie. A self-contained movie contains both the video and audio media within the single clip and is easily tranferrable between computers for viewing.

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A reference movie is a smaller file that contains references to the captured media but does not contain the acutal media itself. If you were to send this reference file to someone, in order for them to play it back, you would also have had to send all of the original movie files along with it. These files are best used for short-term circumstances on a designated machine that they have been exported to.

Exporting A Self Contained Quicktime Movie

1 With a sequence loaded into the timeline go to File > Export > QuickTime Movie.

2 Choose a location to save the file.

3 Choose to include Audio only, Video only or Audio and Video, then click Save.

Learn about Compression and Chapter Markers here!

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For those of you Final Cut Pro artist who currently do not use Adobe After Effects but are still looking for some sort of motion tracking capability, Lyric Media may have the engine you are looking for. The motion tracking engine allows for:

- sub-pixel and center-of-weight motion tracking

- feature selection on any clip frame

- interactive , frame-by-frame tracking repair

- track smoothing

The kit contains 4 filter:

1 A more advanced image stabilizer

2 Pin: a compositing filter that will allow for the tracking of a feature within a clip, and the pinning of a mask to that moving feature.

3 Pin Blur: Will allow you to blur out the face of a moving subject.

4 4-Point Pin: Will allow you to pin an artificial sign on a building or a moving truck in a shot.

Every now and again I'll see a TV spot that will just blow me away with their animation technique and the New Apple 1000 Songs iPod Ads by LOGAN fit the description to all too well. You can make your own Ad with similar techniques in After Effects using plug-ins such as, Card Dance, Trapcode's Particular, and Digital Anarchy's 3D Assistants

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View the Spot Here : Apple 1000 Songs - iPod Nano

Here's an overview that will help you with understanding MPEG-4 Audio Profiles. MPEG-4 Audio profiles are being used in podcasting, XM Satellite Radio and Video Streaming on the web. At the heart of these types of implementations is the MPEG-4 standard which boasts some audio codecs that provide greater compression efficiency. MPEG-4's AAC codec provides significant improvements over MP3. Likewise, HE-AAC provides significant improvements over AAC at a given bit rate.

Now the MPEG-4 standard uses profiles, which are groups of tools that allow users the ability to choose from a variety of toolsets supporting the functionality they need. So think of profiles as having certain features. Since profiles occur at different levels it provides a way to limit computational complexity. The lower the profile the easier it is to playback the content. The higher the profile is the more difficult is is to playback the content.

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Here is a list of Audio Profiles for MPEG-4 and their features:

High-Quality Audio - Includes the most popular AAC object type, AAC Low Complexity, and the CELP speech coder

Low Delay Audio - A variant of the AAC codec with ~ 20ms delay, suitable for high-quality conferences or conversations

High Efficiency AAC Audio - Adds Spectral Band Replication tool to improve coding efficiency at low bitrates

HE-AAC v2 Audio - Add Parametric Stereo Tool to further improve coding efficiency at low bitrates.

Here's a note about encoding for audio compatibility on a device. For example, if you know that a device accepts MPEG-4 audio but you are not sure what profiles are supported then you should use the lowest MPEG-4 audio profile which is AAC Low Complexity.

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StreamingMedia.com has a 100-page report geared to help streaming media producers with choosing and using the optimal Flash CODEC for Flash video. The report compares all Flash Codecs (VP6, Spark, Wildform) and the Sorenson Squeeze, On2 Flix Pro, Macromedia Flash Video Encoder and AutoDesk Cleaner XL 1.5 video encoding tools to identify which encoding tool/codec produces the best quality video at four encoding configurations (3GPP, 100, 300 and 500 kbps) using a 38-segment test clip containing sections for business, sports, entertainment, animation and pan and zoom content.

The report also evaluates the effectiveness of noise reduction and similar quality enhancement techniques, and explains how to avoid or work around common problems experienced with the Macromedia Flash, Flix Pro and Squeeze encoders.

The report includes 64 comparative screen shots, and buyers can download all video files (39) and still image files (280) used in the analysis, or request a free CD-ROM containing the content. Both the CD-ROM and downloaded files contain a convenient front end guiding the reader through the content. The Flash CODECs report is available for purchase from the StreamingMedia.com website.

Visit StreamingMedia.com to purchase the Report on Flash CODECs 2006 - Choosing and Using the Optimal Flash CODEC

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Understanding Color Match Control.

Both Color Correction groups include a Color Match control. This control allows you to quickly make a correction by selecting input and output colors from your images, or from the Windows Color dialog box. If you select the Eyedropper option in the Correction Mode Settings dialog box, you can also select colors from any other location within your Avid application, such as a custom color swatch saved in a bin.
When you use the Color Match control, the system replaces the input color value with the output color value and adjusts all the other color values in the image proportionally. The system also automatically adjusts the other controls in the group to reflect the change. You can set the combination of color channels or components the system uses to determine the match by making menu selections.
For example, if you want to replace the blue sky tone in one image with that in another to match the two shots, you can use the Color Match control to pick the two colors and automate the color adjustment. For more information, see Making a Correction with the Color Match Control and Selecting Match Type Options.

Because the Color Match control can display the RGB color values for any point in an image, it is useful as an information palette that allows you to check how far the colors in an area of an image depart from the color values you want to achieve.

In order to efficiently archive your projects, you need to demonstrate solid organizational skills from beginning to completion of a job. We have all been guilty at some point in our careers of having files strewn across a drive and storing large amounts of media with no rhyme or reason, resulting in clips from multiply projects going offline when we do try to make since of it all, but there are steps you can take in the beginning to save yourself a hand full of hair later.

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Steps like storing your Project Files and Media files on separate disks, logging your tapes with names and reel numbers, setting scratch disks accordingly to the project at hand, placing materials in the Browser and not just dragging them from the desktop to the timeline and properly logging clips. The price of drives have dropped to the point where you can seriously consider them for long term storage. Think about it, you can easily tuck away a 500 gig drive and your footage would have a longer shelf life than if it were stored on tape!

If you are out of ideas with how to handle text in After Fx and are in need on some inspiration check the Alex Gopher's The Child video. The video was directed by the legendary Antoine Bardout Jaquet who is also responsible for the classic Playgroup's video Number One.

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Check It Out: Alex Gopher's - The Child

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Also check out MK12's Brazil Inspired: MachoBox for a different perspective on handling text.

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This page is an archive of entries from April 2006 listed from newest to oldest.

March 2006 is the previous archive.

May 2006 is the next archive.

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