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July 2006 Archives

Their are a growing number of studios out their who are seriously testing the waters with Final Cut Pro for long form narrative editing. If you were wondering just who had actually used Final Cut Pro to cut major league films out there, you just may be surprised! Take a look at these accounts of FCP being the tool of choice for producing these four major films!

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Tim Burtons's Corpse Bride

Jarhead

Little Manhattan

Napoleon Dynamite

Have you ever wondered how much storage is required for mini-dv footage? In today's world, it's not as much as you might think.

Mini-DV requires approximately 1 gigabyte of storage for every 5 minutes. This may sound like a lot. But consider this, the typical retail cost of a 250 gigabyte hard-drive costs around $150.00. This means for $150.00 you can hold roughly 1250 minutes of dv storage, or 20 hours of media.

Think about this. It may be cheaper to archive all of your DV media on a hard-drive instead of tape. Hour long DV tapes can cost as much as $10.00 per tape. To give you an idea of how far hard-disk technology has advanced, take a look at this old 9 gig hard-drive that used to cost as much as $10,000. This was the price 10 years ago!

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We are now approaching the hard-drive capacity that could archive all words ever spoken by human beings. That's a scary thought. Here are some extra facts about storage capacities.

A binary decision 1 bit
A single text character 1 byte
A typical text word 10 bytes
A typewritten page 2 kilobyte s ( KB s)
A short novel 1 megabyte ( MB )
The complete works of Shakespeare 5 megabytes
A collection of the works of Beethoven 20 gigabytes
A library floor of academic journals 100 gigabytes
An academic research library 2 terabytes
The print collections of the U.S. Library of Congress 10 terabytes
The National Climactic Data Center database 400 terabytes
All U.S. academic research libraries 2 petabytes
All printed material in the world 200 petabytes
All words ever spoken by human beings 5 exabytes

Here's another update to a great plug-in from Red Giant Software that gives the ability to simulate realistic light sources in your projects. Knoll Light Factory 2.5 supports After Effects, Motion, Final Cut Pro, Avid Xpress Pro and Premiere Pro. Here are some of the new features in Knoll Light Factory 2.5 as listed on the Red Giant site:

- 25 new preset flares effects

- GPU Engine

- Added control for Light Factory Spectacular

- Integrated alpha generation

- New host support

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Here are the many uses of the Knoll Light Factory Series

- 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.

Sonic Solutions has recently unleashed the first ever Blu-Ray Drive (BD) supported optical storage ware for the Mac allowing Macintosh users to store 50 GB of data on BD- R (recordable) and BD-RE (rewritable) disks.

Toast 7 also includes what is being labeled "Toast Dynamic Writing," which will allow users to record files by simply dragging and dropping, much like the transfer of data to an external drive. The software is universal providing Mactel and Power-PC users a viable archiving solution.

Expect the first drives with Toast 7 and Blu-ray support to roll off the assembly lines sometime this quarter.

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GeniusDV.com has a multi-part article for those interested in learning how to create audio for their Podcast using QuickTime 7 Pro. The article is called Creating Podcast Audio with QuickTime 7 Pro. For those that don't know QuickTime Pro, which usually costs about $30 dollars, is the swiss army knife for multimedia. The tool is amazing and now gives users the ability to capture audio directly to their workstation or laptop using a USB microphone. Our 3 part article shows you how easy it is to do. We take users through set-up, capture and conversion to an MPEG-4 (.mp4) AAC audio file. The article also provide some other useful tips.

Article:
Creating Podcast Audio with QuickTime 7 Pro

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Now that I have introduced you to the Avid Pan and Zoom there are a few parameters you need to take into consideration. Rendering options for Pan and Zoom are very important to the quality of output of your production. You might not always want the sharpest possible result. Images with many sharp edges might look better with a softer rendering. So here is the break down of your options and what they do. Remember to always try a few different ones until you get the results you are looking for.

  • Real Time: renders most quickly but results in a draft-quality image.
  • Triangle: results in fairly soft images.
  • Quadratic: has slightly sharper images than Triangle filtering.
  • Cubic: results in sharper images than Quadratic filtering although they are still fairly soft.
  • B-Spline Catmull: When you use this option and shrink an image (zoom out) by a large amount, the result is similar to that produced by Cubic filtering. B-Spline Catmull produces a sharper image than Cubic filtering when you:
  • Gaussian: results in an image that is relatively soft but sharper than B-Spline Catmull.
  • Avid Hi Qual: creates sharp images when you shrink the original (zoom out).
  • Avid Ultra Qual: creates extremely sharp images when you shrink the original (zoom out).

Analyzing Streaming Server Log Files

Analyzing streaming server log files has an added benefit because streaming server logs contain more detailed information than the information one might get from a web server. A streaming server is used to host real-time streaming videos and detailed information from each visitor can be recorded in the log files. You can find out how long certain videos were watched, the total bandwidth used for each video, click throughs for video content. Click throughs are valuable because you can see the first video viewed and the last video viewed per visitor viewing session. Click throughs also show all the video viewed in between.

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Good news for all of you who use Final Cut Studio. Award winning software developer for the Visual Effects Industry, Wondertouch, has created an extensive library of Particle Effects that are compatible with Motion 2. Wondertouch is the developer of the robust particle effects application, ParticleIllusion, which is powered by a very similar particle engine like the one used in Motion, and have created a collection of over 300 particle effects such as smoke, fire, motion graphic elements, water explosions and much more that will run on Motion’s very own particle system.

You will find many of these particle effects in Autodesk Combustion's particle system due to ParticleIllusion being licensed by Autodesk and integrated into Combustion by the effects wizards at Wondertouch.

You will be able to purchase the Wondertouch Particle Emitters for Motion in three sizes:

Small: 65 emitters - $39
Medium: 200 emitters - $99
Large: 337 emitters - $149

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Analyzing Web Server Log Files

Analyzing web server log files is good for getting a snapshot of the traffic that comes to your website. The web server log files can show which websites your visitors are coming from and the most and least popular pages. Tools such as Sawmill, Funnel Web Analyzer and Web Trends enable you to process the log files from the web server. These software applications can easily generate total pageviews, total visitors, viewing for specific time periods and other important information such as errors and successfully loaded web pages.

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Many companies are doing an analysis of their websites by creating web reports and as a result their gaining significant value and cost savings. This is also providing good customer service for end users. For example, I recently created a web report by analyzing the web server log files for a city government and was able to track the pages that visitors were coming from only to find that those pages had errors when visiting the URLs. As a result the web pages were fixed and now work properly. If the web server report had not provided the visitor URLs the pages with errors would have never been checked.

Related articles:

Analyzing Web and Streaming Server Log Files - Part 1

Analyzing Web and Streaming Server Log Files - Part 3

Analyzing Web and Streaming Server Log Files - Part 4

MainConcept, recently released the MPEG Pro HD 2.0 plug-in for Adobe Premiere Pro. Built from an entirely new code base, the new version brings frame-accurate, native MPEG editing with smart rendering to Premiere Pro 2.0. It also adds professional features such as H.264 import and export, MXF file support for Sony XDCAM HD, enhanced HD editing performance and various other improvements.

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MPEG Pro HD turns MPEG editing (including HDV) into a fast, high-quality workflow without the need to transcode to other formats for editing.

Here is the last step for creating your Podcast audio using QuickTime 7 Pro.

Step 8. Convert Audio to MPEG-4 AAC

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The last thing you need to do for creating Podcast audio with QuickTime 7 Pro is to convert your QuickTime .mov audio file to a .mp4 AAC audio file. To do this select Export from the File pull-down menu. A dialog window will open up. Navigate to the Export menu inside the Save Export File As dialog window. Select Movie to MPEG-4 from the Pop-up menu and click the Save button.

In addition to .mp4 AAC audio files, Podcast audio can be created in the .mp3 format. The benefit of using the .mp3 format is that you probably will have greater browser and media player support. Also, when you are finished creating your audio file you will upload it to a web server and not a streaming server because the files will be downloadable streaming files.

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There is an upcoming session at the 16th Annual WEVA Expo which will give attendees a better understanding of Final Cut Studio. The session is called Final Cut Studio Tips & Tricks will be taught by Certified Final Cut Pro Instructor John Lynn and Video Streaming and Compression Specialist, Derrick Freeman both of GeniusDV.

This session will guide WEVA attendees through using the Final Cut Studio Suite but will also feature tips and tricks on how to easily author a DVD project using DVD Studio Pro and how to get good quality MPEG2 files using Compressor. In addition, attendees will learn how to apply various filters and how to create custom compression settings with Compressor.

Get more details on the WEVA session highlighting DVD Studio Pro and Compressor

If you are a producer that relies heavily on Adobe Photoshop for your video work, like most, you will be glad to hear that SFX-3D, developed by Skylark Technology, has given you the ability to create dynamic 3D and 2-D special effects in Photoshop and Adobe Premiere.

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Add and manipulate light in your Photoshop art that matches real-world camera setups, create 3-dimensional shapes from Photoshop elements while adding patterns and textures to create unique surfaces. You can generate complex 3D effects such as netting, bubbles, fractal snowflakes, fur, and rain without complex rendering. There is also an entire library of 2D effects including increased color correction prowess headlining the top of list.

SFX-3D runs on Windows and OSX Systems and you should really take a look at its extensive features list.

JVC has been listening to producers and have announced that they have upgraded their HD100U High Def camera to the HD110U. You can expect the same physical design as the 100 model, but what you can also expect are some new features that have been highly sought after by producers. Here are the new features in the JVC HD110U:

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- Black and white viewfinder display mode

- Simultaneous use of both eyepiece viewfinder and tri-mode LCD display when powered by Anton Bauer or IDX battery system

- Selectable mirror mode on vertically flipped LCD display

- Adjustable setting of FOCUS ASSIST function

- Choice of three image formats on composite out (letterbox, squeeze, side cut)

- User selectable DNR ON/OFF menu setting

- 13 segment audio level indicator

- Manual audio control within FAS (Full Auto Shooting) mode

- Audio limiter available in manual mode

- Parallel power off management of DR-HD100 hard disk recorder

The HD110 is expected to be listed for the same introductory price as the HD100, $6,295, and is expected to ship in mid July, which means any day now.

On August 24th, TV Land will be re-launching TVLAND.com complete with an on-demand streaming video library of classic television shows and some of the most memorable commercials ever produced. Expect full length episodes of vintage shows such as "Star Trek," "Daniel Boone," "I Pity the Fool," starring Mr. T, "I Love Lucy," "The Andy Griffith Show," and the Wendy's "Where's the Beef Commercials."

Be sure to tune in for your daily dose of nostalgia.

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Here are the next steps for creating your Podcast audio using QuickTime 7 Pro.

Step 4. Stop Your Audio Capture

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As you speak into the microphone you will notice a time display of the length of your audio file can be seen to the left of the QuickTime media player along with the estimated file size to the right. When you are finished recording your script or audio information click the Stop button inside the QuickTime media player.

Step 5. Playback Recorded Audio

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In this multi-part tutorial, I'll show the reader how to capture audio for their Podcast and convert it to a file ready for upload to a web server.

Step 1. Select Your Capture Device

A simple way to capture audio for your podcast is to use a USB Microphone. This will give you a very simple set-up. With QuickTime 7 Pro you can capture your audio but first you will need to set-up your capture device. In this tutorial I'll be detailing how this is done on the Mac platform.

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The Foundry, developers of high-end visual effects plug-ins has recently announced that they are allowing a free upgrade for artists using Tinder, Furnace and Keylight plug-ins upgrading to Shake 4.1. All Foundry plug-ins are now compatible with Intel-based Macs.

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Just in case you haven't heard, there has been word circulating around the industry for sometime that Shake may be discontinued. In fact, GeniusDV has just received an e-mail from Apple stating that Shake will end with 4.1. Apple's unified 2D and 3D compositor, Shake, has been used in movies such as Peters Jackson's Lord of the Rings and King Kong.

Working with Audio Filters in Final Cut Pro affects uses up available real-time audio tracks. If you hear beeping within Final Cut Pro, the fix may be relatively simple. All you need to do is navigate to the Final Cut Pro > User Preferences menu and adjust the real-time audio mixing tracks. This will eliminate the beeping sound during playback.

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Keep in mind if you have an audio filter placed on a stereo clip, it would use up two additional real-time tracks. Therefore, a single audio filter applied to a stereo clip counts as four real-time tracks.

The only draw back of adjusting the real-time audio mixing preference this to a huge number, would be the physical performance of your CPU. Adjusting it too high may result in dropped frames during playback.

GeniusDV has moved and upgraded its Orlando, FL video editing training center to include more amenities and additional space for the growing need of video streaming training. New upgrades to the lab upgrade a High Definition 62 inch screen for the instructor, and all new G5 iMacs for the students. Check out the QuickTime VR of one of our new training labs.


Click and drag through the QuickTime VR panorama to see one of our new training labs. This is a 360 panorama snapshot of an actual Final Cut Pro training class.

You are using QuickTime VR 5.0 or later versions plug-in to publish your panorama. If you can not see the panorama in the following area, please download QuickTime VR 5.0 or later versions plug-in at http://www.apple.com/quicktime/download/. Spherical panorama can only be viewed in QuickTime VR 5.0 or later versions. For more information about QuickTime VR, please visit http://www.apple.com/quicktime/.

For all of you Final Cut Pro and Avid Xpress Pro editors out there who are looking to try your hand at some serious 3D animation, NewTek has just released it’s greatly anticipated Lightwave Version 9.

If you're already an avid user of the Lightwave 3D series, here are some of the new features you can expect in Version 9:

New node-based materials editor, optically correct cameras, adaptive pixel subdivision, sub-surface scattering and improved rendering speed.

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This version of Lighwave is being touted as possibly having the most comprehensive toolset for artists to realistically match real world camera lenses and mix 3D animation with live action scenes.

LightWave is selling for $795.

Avid Technology recently released Avid Xpress HD 5.51 which is a software upgrade that finally brings both PC and MAC platforms up to speed in terms of supporting HD media.

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*Also, we've tested the new 24inch iMac with Avid Xpress and Media Composer.

Although not officially supported by Avid Technology, GeniusDV was able to run Avid Xpress 5.51 on an intel iMAC in running Windows XP Professional. Yes, that's right! Previously, the ATI 1600 XL graphics card did not work properly with the Avid software, but apparently something has changed, and now the real-time playback works correctly. In addition, all the real-time effects work in open-gl mode.

Minus an error and warning message while launching the software, everything appears to work. We captured media, and edited a short commercial spot with no problems.

It is important to note, the Avid Xpress software does not work with OS X on an intel iMAC. Avid has announced that a binary version of the software will be available soon.

"This is fantastic for our training center, since we can now provide our students with a choice of running Avid Xpress HD on a MAC or PC, without having to have different computers. The new intel iMACs can be booted up with Windows XP or MAC OS X using Apple's bootcamp software."

For customers who have purchased their software after April 24th, 2006 the upgrade to Avid Xpress 5.51 is free. Otherwise, if you are running 4.X, it is $50.00 upgrade to Avid Xpress 5.51 for a downloadable version for the rest of us.

What if there was a place online where producers could trade video content, edit and remix all in one location. Eyespot Corp has unleashed the beta version of such an online community that will allow you to share images taken with a cell phone, camcorders, and digital cameras and edit them to be used as online content.

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The service is free, but does require a broadband connection. After signing up, all you need to do is select the video in the format that you want and upload it to your account. Check it out!

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Superman Returns is sure to be one of these summers' biggest hits. The entire movie was shot in the HD format which leaves the door wide open for special effects. The Avid editing and shared-storage systems were essential for handling the large volume of ever-changing effects. The Avid Unity MediaNetwork shared-storage solution provided instantaneous access to any specific element, shot, or sequence so Wiedmann could quickly access any media he needed. At the same time, the Film Composer system's comprehensive tools for effects-intensive editing, such as the AniMatte feature for compositing, helped him quickly mock up the extensive CG elements to show other members of the effects teams how sequences could come together. So even with the biggest tasks at hand Avid is there to get the job done! Make sure you sign up for one of our Avid classes to advance yourself to the next level!
"The advantage of using Avid is the flexibility and ease of use. The system doesn't seem to have any restrictions."
- Guy Wiedmann, Visual Effects Editor, Superman Returns

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If you edit for television you have a whole level of color correction issues. You must conform to the broadcast standards. The one over looked issue is your IRE values. You spend a lot of time getting all of your levels perfect and then find out your pedestal black is to low and your whites are too bright. The sure way to fix this after you have watched your scopes to get everything as close a possible is to set you clippers. Avid defaults to 16 -235. In broadcast you need to set your pedestal black to 7.5 IRE and your white to 100 IRE. The main problem is the Avid color correction tool is set to low at the 16 value. You need to set this value to 32 and keep the upper value at 235. The best way to do this is to dedicate top video line to your IRE values this way the whole sequence will be within tolerance. Just do not forget to set the lower value to 32!

GeniusDV is inundated with technical support calls regarding compatibility issues with Final Cut Pro and various DV devices and cameras. We urge customers to make sure their particular camera or deck is compatible with the latest Final Cut Studio software.

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When it comes to purchasing Final Cut Studio it is a big mistake to assume it is going to work with your particular camera. Fortunately, Apple has published a document listing Final Cut Studio 5.1 qualified devices.

In addition, it is also highly recommend that you read the technical specifications listed for Final Cut Studio. We see a lot of individuals who assume Final Cut Studio is going to work on their old Macintosh system. Final Cut Studio has become a powerhouse application requiring a relatively new Macintosh. It is also important to take a look at the graphics card installed in your computer. In particular, Apple Motion requires a high end graphics card. Many Apple G4 owners may be forced to upgrade.

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about.this

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

June 2006 is the previous archive.

August 2006 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.