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August 2006 Archives

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If you are a pro or just getting into editing and vidoeography you need to be aware of a very important part of shooting your footage. You need to shoot, or have your camera operators, shoot for the edit. For example: If you are shooting an interview situation you need to have at least 5-10 seconds after you hit record and 5-10 seconds before you stop recording where the interviewee is looking at the camera, or desired direction, so that your edits will be smooth. This may sound so simple but it is often not done by many camera operators but more so the subjects are not told they need to do this. It makes it really hard to insert a nice 20-frame dissolve while your subject is not moving according to what you are shooting. This is great rule to always follow no matter what type of subject you are shooting. It makes it so much easier when you get back to your Avid or Final Cut machine and have nice clean cuts to start with. This will make your editing process go so much smoother and make for a much more professional production.

Place two video tracks, one over the other, in the timeline and click the Clip Overlays button in the bottom left of the timeline window to activate it.

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You will see a rubber band towards the top of your video clips in your sequence. Click and drag downward the rubber band, which looks like a dark line, in the top video clip to change the opacity of the clip.

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Now the clip beneath it can be seen through the image. Control click or right click the top video clip and highlight the Composite Mode option from the menu and a list will appear. experiment with these settings until you find the one that best suites your needs. As long as you keep the locator bar parked over the stacked clips in the timeline you will be able to see the changes you make in the Canvas Window.

Check out RED 3GL for Titling Compositing and Effects.

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Nesting is a great way to manage timeline real estate for some of the more complex effects that you will build in Final Cut Pro.

To nest tracks in Final Cut Pro:

1 Press Command C to select the tracks.

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2 Press Option C to launch the Nest Items dialog box.

3 Type in a new name for the nest then click OK. The tracks have now been nested into one track.

You can use nesting to manage some of your more complex effects.

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Learn how to customize your FCP presets!

After you have finished consctructing your DVD menu in photoshop, Motion, or set a piece of video as your background, its time to decide what that menu will do once it has reached its end.

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Do you set the menu to loop or will it end and also begin on a common frame. This is a good still menu option. Its a good thing to keep in mind, while building your menus with a video background, that looping may appear smoother if you faded down your video at the end and picked music that had a natural ending. In Any case, you always want to choose a clean end point for your music.

Looping a Menu

- Within the inspector window, choose the General tab.

- Select the Loop option from the At End pop-up menu.

There are sequence presets in Final Cut Pro that can expidite the process of setting up for various projects. Perhaps the project you are planning will be in a different aspect ratio than the last. Here is how to edit sequence presets in the Sequence Preset Editor, then read more indepth on how to set your audio and video settings in this tutorial.

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1 Go to Final Cut Pro > Audio/Video Settings, then select the Sequence Presets tab.

2 Choose the preset that you want to change by clicking on it in the list, then make the appropritate changes in the Sequence Preset Editor that has now been opened.

It is strongly recommended against using mixed sample rates in Final Cut Pro projects. Mixed sample rates are the major reason for audio slowly drifting out of sync and drop-frames. Make sure you are grabbing audio at 16 bit in camera and that your sequences settings in Final Cut Pro match your footage. If you are planning to present your work as a DVD, then you need to be at 48k in the first place. If you are planning on using CDs or MP3s in your project, MP3s being the worst of the group due to extreme differences in sample rates, and CDs coming in at 44.1k, use iTunes to convert all of your files to 48k before using them in FCP.

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Matrox demonstrated their new product the 'Matrox MXO' at the WEVA international convention in Las Vegas.

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Matrox is now shipping is Matrox MXO product, which is a blessing for Final Cut Pro users. The Matrox MXO box allows real-time up-conversion of HDV media to 1920 x 1080. The means Final Cut Pro users can instantly play their HDV sequences back to tape. The MXO box supports both HD and SD outputs. There is also an adapter that allows for real-time analog output.

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You can use 24p material in tracks within DVD Studio Pro as well as in menus, as buttons and in drop zones. How DVD Studio Pro processes your 24p footage depend on how the material was encoded.

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If you have already run your footage through compressor and have made 24p Mpeg 2 assets, then your footage will remain 24fps after you have built your project. If you import your footage as a 24p Quicktime asset, it will be encoded as either 30 fps or 25 fps when you build your project.

Having the ability to use 24p assets without the 3:2 pulldown in your DVD Studio Pro project means that their is 20% less frames to deal with, which translates into less compression of the media, yielding a higher quality DVD. Leave it to the DVD player to add back the 3:2 pulldown for NTSC viewing.

Right now you're in luck because CGM Online is offering a free version of their Aged Film Plug-in, Aged Film LE for Final Cut Pro and Final Cut Express. This plug-in will give you the ability to simulate choice characteristics of old 35 mm film such as shake, jump, scratches, dirt, hair, gamma, flicker and more. If you are looking to acheive a unique aesthetic for your next project, be sure to check out the many options on the CGM website.

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In the Effects tab under Image Control, Final Cut Pro comes with a few canned filters that you can tweak in order to get an aged film look such as: Sepia, Tint, Desaturate, and Gamma Correction.

You can apply filters within Final Cut Pro simply by going to the Effects tab in the main menu then to Video Effects and dragging the filter name from the list onto the clip in the timeline or in the viewer. You could also select the clip first in the timeline or viewer, then choose the filter.

After applying a filter you can look to the timeline ruler area to see the applied filter can be played back in real time or not. An orange bar in the timeline ruler area signifies that you can play back the applied filter in real time but may experience dropped frames and a red bar means that you will have to render the applied filter effect in order to view it in real time. Learn how to take your effects to the next level in an Adobe After Effects class.

Multitrack projects in Soundtrack Pro do not contain the media files that make up the project, instead, it references the files that are on your hard drive. It is possible for your project to go offline if the referenced media is either moved from its original location or deleted. If you haven't deleted the original media files and emptied the garbage can, here is how you can reconnect offline media in a Soundtrack Pro multitrack project.

Reconnecting Media

When you first attempt to open the multitrack project containing the missing media a Can't Find File dialog box will appear giving you these options: Skip File, Cancel, Find File. If you choose Skip File and open up the project, this is how you would reconnect the missing media.

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1 Go to the Bin tab and Control click on the missing audio file and select "Reconnect" from the pop-up menu.

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2 Navigate to the new location of the audio file from within the dialog box.

3 Choose open to reconnect the media.

When editing audio you may find it advantageous to have mutiple tracks visible with some muted. You may also find yourself needing to test various level settings and it would be a big help not having to remember each time which ones you were comparing. Go to the 'View' tabs in the Audio Mixer and this will allow you to able to move between them to compare output levels.

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The 'Downmix' feature is also a nifty tool that prevents dropped frames during playback when you are playing multiple, complex audio files simutaneously. The 'Downmix' feature combines all audio into one track, reducing processor and RAM usage.

Magic Bullet from Redgiant Software offers tons of filters that can help you achieve an aged film effect such as: MisFire, MisFire Basic Scratches, MisFire Deep Scratches, MisFire Displacement, MisFire Dust, MisFire Flicker and much much more.

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In the Effects tab under Image Control, Final Cut Pro comes with a few canned filters that you can tweak in order to get an aged film look such as: Sepia, Tint, Desaturate, and Gamma Correction.

You can apply filters within Final Cut Pro simply by going to the Effects tab in the main menu then to Video Effects and dragging the filter name from the list onto the clip in the timeline or in the viewer. You could also select the clip first in the timeline or viewer, then choose the filter.

After applying a filter you can look to the timeline ruler area to see the applied filter can be played back in real time or not. An orange bar in the timeline ruler area signifies that you can play back the applied filter in real time but may experience dropped frames and a red bar means that you will have to render the applied filter effect in order to view it in real time. Learn how to take your effects to the next level in an Adobe After Effects class.

Matrox recently announced it is shipping is Matrox MXO product. This allows for real-time output of HDV directly from the Final Cut Pro timeline. This can be a huge time savings for those who need real-time HDV output from Final Cut Pro.

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The Matrox MXO works by accelerating the process of playing back HDV from the Final Cut Pro timeline. It uses one of the DVI ports on a dual head graphics card as an output device into the Matrox MXO box. In addition, it will upconvert the 1440 x 1080 to 1920 x 1080. Users will still need a deck capable of recording HD-SDI or Component HD.


Avid Technology, recently released an update to their popular Avid Xpress Pro software. Avid Xpress Pro Version 5.5.3 fixes an issue with the software's security dongle. Previously, customers had to return their sentinel security dongles if they were of the 'DUO type'. A 'Super Pro' dongle was required with OS X 10.4.7.

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Existing Avid Xpress Pro 5.X users may download the newest 5.5.3 version for free.

*Avid Xpress Pro is NOT currently compatible with the newest intel MAC's. Look for a binary universal version that is compatible with the new intel Macs this year.

No matter if you use Avid Xpress Pro or Final Cut Pro, It's overwhelmingly easy to get carried away when color correcting an image and end up with an unintentional piece of video surrealism. Believe me, i've done it! From uploading national commercials to salvaging a shoot on a lake in sunny to cloudy conditions, one thing holds true, if your project is ever going to be shown on TV, you need to tone things down. Drag the 'Broadcast Safe' filter onto the clips you want to check.

Assuming that you want to keep the image fairly impactful, simply set the mode to 'Normal' and then tweak the sliders. If you notice that very little changes after you perform this, then you know you're safe.

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If you really need to be sure you're broadcast safe, set the mode to 'Extremely Conservative.' It's important you check this because there are quite a few whites, blacks and reds that are considered outside color safe guidelines.

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.

See how to export a 16X9 QuickTime Movie From Final Cut Pro.

If your "FCP Timeline and Canvas Windows are gone and you go to Window in the top menu and the two options for having them displayed are greyed out, then some how, you have either deleted your sequence or closed it. You need a sequence in the browser in order to have a Timeline or Canvas Window. If you have accidentally closed the sequence, simply go to File > Open Recent and reopen the sequence and your Timeline and Canvas will reappear. If you have deleted the file, you will need to start a new project.

If you do not want to create new project, but you don't have a sequence to double click on, you can create a new sequence in your Browser window by (Control Clicking or Right Clicking) within the grey area underneath the Name column and select 'new sequence'. Double Click on your sequence, and the Canvas-Timeline will re-appear.

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Just thought I would post a couple pics of the new handheld HD cameras Canon just added to their family over the past few days. As an editor, I believe it's important to keep up with the technology that is acquiring all of that great footage we cut on a daily basis. If you are a Canon fan but found the XLH1 for $8,995 a little out of your price range, you'll be happy to see the listing price for these new Pro Level HDV cameras with the XH A1 model coming in at $3,995 and and XH G1 introduced at $6,999. If you're in the market for a new camera, make sure you check them out.

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If you are losing sync during the capture process in Final Cut Pro, you are probably capturing audio at a different sample rate than how it was recorded. Before you hit the record button on your camera, make sure that you are aware of the rate at which your audio will be recorded at (either 12 or 16 bit). You'll have to go into the camera menu to determine this. 16 bit is where you want to be for the highest quality sound that is also DVD compliant. Being aware of your recorded sample rates will also prevent your audio tracks in Final Cut Pro from slowly slipping out of sync.

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The next toward preventing sync issues during capture is to make sure that Final Cut Pro is capturing audio at the same rate at which it was recorded. A 48k capture setting will render the best results for audio capture.

Remember, if you are planning to lay this project to DVD, record at 16 in camera and capture at 48k in FCP.

Learn how to get audio back into sync in FCP!

Overview of creating or exporting a DVD from Avid Xpress or Final Cut Pro Here are some of the very basics regarding creating a DVD if you are a Final Cut Pro or Avid Xpress users. Lets start with the Avid Xpress software first.

Creating a DVD using Avid Xpress
Here is the bad news. If you are using the current version of Avid Xpress DV or Pro (meaning 4.5.1 or higher), then there is no ability to export an mpg2 file. You will notice that the option is now missing.

Worse yet, some popular DVD authoring programs such as Sonic's DVD-IT, only allow mpg2 file to be imported into it.

The solution is to purchase either Sorenson Squeeze or Media Cleaner. Both of these programs will allow you to convert a QuickTime movie into an mpg2 file.

Fortunately, it is not as difficult as it seems. First off, many DVD burners ship with some fairly easy to use generic DVD authoring software. Sonic makes some easy to use software that is bundled with many DVD burners called My-DVD.

Sonic My-DVD will accept a standard Quicktime movie, which will save you a step from having convert your final sequence into an mpg2 movie. The only catch is to make sure that you export your finished sequence as a DV-Stream before dropping the file into Sonic My-DVD. Otherwise the field playback of your DVD will be reversed which will produce a stuttering effect between fields if your video has any moving action. Better yet, if you are running Avid Xpress on a Macintosh, you can use I-DVD or DVD Studio Pro.

New for Avid Technology, they now sell a software bundle that includes, Sorenson Squeeze and Sonic DVD's authoring software. It is called the Avid Studio Bundle. This bundle is well worth purchasing if you plan on using your Avid Xpress software to make and create DVD's. Otherwise you will end up having to purchase Sonic DVD-IT, and Sorenson Squeeze seperately. The Studio Bundle for Avid integrates these applications so they work together without having to export and import between them.

Avid Technology has published an excellent document that will walk you through the process of creating an good quality DVD using Sorenson Compression Suite 4.1.

Creating a DVD using Final Cut Pro
If you are using Final Cut Pro, you will also notice that there is no mpg2 export option available.

The only way to install the mpg2 export option it to install DVD Studio Pro. Once DVD Studio Pro is installed, the option will appear within the Final Cut Pro export box.

However, it is not necessary to export an mpg2 file if you have I-DVD or DVD Studio Pro installed on your machine. For many novice users, I-DVD is going to do everything that you need.

I highly recommend purchasing or upgrading to Apple's I-LIFE bundle of applications. I-LIFE is bundled with Apple's consumer applications for making videos. I-DVD is worth the price of the I-LIFE bundle alone.

The steps are simple, simply export a standard full-rez Quicktime Movie. You can save it to your Desktop. Then drag each movie directly into the I DVD interface.

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Color Correction is a huge part of the final output in the editing process. No matter how careful the video is shot there is always some sort of color correction that is needed. One great tool inside the color correction tool is Natural Match. Natural Match allows you to replace the hue values in an image without affecting saturation and luminance values. Natural Match is very useful for adjusting skin tone. The best time to use Natural Match is when you are trying to match the skin tone in dark and light areas from shot to shot. Natural Match automatically makes curve adjustments for any or all of the three affected areas. Stay tuned for How to Use Natural Match.

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Corrupt files and Avid do not mix. The main culprit is turning your hard-drives on or off while your editing system is turned on. This has cost me dearly in the past but a different problem happened to me and it was a non-quarantined file that gave me the headaches this time! I went to open my media tool and some of the files that were in my bins and on my hard drives did not show up in my media tool. Through further investigation I found out that I had several media files that were corrupt due to my lack of allowing Avid Express to quarantine files when I was prompted to due so.

To resolve this issue: close Avid Express Pro and navigate to each hard drive and partition's OMFI Folder and delete the database files (msmFMID and msmMMOB) for every partition and empty the trash.

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Relaunch the application- if upon scanning the databases an error message comes up and the option Quarantine File appears- select that and continue...any media that is found to be corrupt will be marked with a + sign or the word BAD and will now appear at the top of the OMFI folder. I have also found it a good practice to go out and delete all quarantined media so it will not show its ugly face again.

Originally written by: Mickey Hough

GeniusDV is now offering Avid Media Composer Training. As many of you have heard by now, Media Composer will be offered in a sofware only version starting at $4,995 dollars and at an education price of $295. This means smaller production boutiques who had once deemed the Composer Hardware as slightly out reach due to price can get into the game. If you smell the scent of opportunity in the air, as many are, consider preparing yourself and your staff to be more competitive in the marketplace.

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We recieve many questions here at GeniusDV regarding timeline translation between Final Cut Pro and various Avid systems. If your company is thinking about investing in the Media Composer software and you want to give it a test drive by finishing a minor project that you have already started in Final Cut Pro, you'll be glad to know that there is a ware out there that can make that migration far less of a headache. Automatic Duck will allow you to translate a Final Cut Pro Sequence into the Avid Media Composer. Here is a list of the Avid systems that are supported by Automatic Duck.

- 30i and 25i projects in Meridien based avid system: Symphony, Media Composer (including Adrenaline), Xpress, Xpress Pro and Xpress DV

- 24fps is not supported

- ABVB-based system are not supported

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Your production house has finally gone HD and you shoot a project completely on on one of the shiny new High Def camcorders. When you're sitting in front of your Final Cut Pro editing bay, you discover that you need to add some SD footage in order to make your package complete.
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Considering that we are in the middle of the transition from SD to HD video, this scenario has become commonplace for the editor. Upconverting SD media to HD media can be achieved by scaling the SD clip placed in the HD sequence.
Due to the fact that Final Cut Pro is resolution independent, you can add any clips in the browser to a sequence.

Scaling a 720X480 SD Clip into a 1280X720 HD sequence:

1. Open the SD clip in the Viewer

2. Click Motion Tab in viewer

3. Click the disclosure triangle, opening the Basic Motion parameters

4. Type 150 in the Scale field

5. click the disclosure triangle to open the Distort parameters

6. Type 12.5 for the Aspect Ratio

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

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