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March 2007 Archives

The Record Button in the Apple Motion Canvas allows you to record keyframes as you change the parameters of objects. This is a quick way to keyframe a particular movement for an object by either dragging or by way of handles found in bounding boxes of selected objects. You can also record keyframes by using the record button and entering new values into parameter fields.

Recording Animation and Setting Keyframes in the Inspector

1 Select the object that you want to animate in the Canvas and you will see a bounding box appear around the object. The object I have chosen for this example is call "Big Frame Shadow" and is located in the Motion Library under Content. Scale the object down so that if fits entirely on the Canvas. The color of your canvas may be different than mine, but that is irrelavant.


2 Go to the Inspector Tab in the Utility Window, then click the Properties tab.


3 Find the parameter for Rotation. To the far right of the parameter, there is an icon that looks like a dash. This is the Keyframe Menu. Click on the Keyframe Menu and continue to hold your mouse button down and select Add Keyframe.

rotation2.jpg keeyyyy.jpg

4 Move the Play head in the Mini Timeline ahead 25frames.


5 Click the Record Button.


6 Rotate the Rotation Parameter Dial 5 times.


7 Turn off the Record Button

8 Move the play head in the Mini Timeline to the beginning of your project and press the play button to review your animation.

Did you know you can easily add a plasma wipe, or any other transition to a title without affecting the background? The trick is to nest the plasma wipe inside the nested fill layer of a title.


With the popularity of uploading videos files to FTP servers for client reviews of videos, it would be good for video editors to have their own FTP server. It would give the video editor the ability to create a specific FTP account for a client and only that client would have access to the FTP site. Anytime you finish editing a video simply upload it to the the FTP server for client review. The set-up for this is pretty simple and we actually cover the process in our 3-Day Video Streaming and Compression training classes.


Above is screen shot of an FTP account set-up for a client. Video Editors can set up their own FTP using a dedicated server hosting service and also use the dedicated server for delivering web video as well as videos to be made available using FTP. In some cases you can find dedicated hosting services for less than $100 per month. This would be a worthwhile tool to have and would be a nice way to be able to exchange video files with your clients. Once you set-up the FTP account to upload your videos you can use various FTP programs to upload your videos. The biggest benefit of having an FTP Server is that you can create as many FTP accounts as you like. If you have 20 clients you could set-up 20 FTP accounts for each.

Final Cut Studio ships with a program called LiveType. You can do some amazing effects compositing directly within LiveType.


You can use Livetype for some amazing effects that do not use any actual type. In fact, Livetype treats objects no differently than how it treats type. This exercise involves using a simple square shape to build a complex composite. Keep in mind; you can expand upon this tutorial by using other exotic shapes other than a square.

I made an interesting finding recently in regards to encoding 25 Mbps MPEG-2 files using Episode Pro. Not many tools that I've seen allow you to encode to really high bit rates such as 25 Mbps but Episode Pro which is only available for the Mac does. Episode Pro is unique in that the application allows the end user to have complete control over the encoding process as it relates to compression settings, filters and other settings. Not only will Episode Pro encode 25 Mbps MPEG-2 files it will encode 34 Mbps MPEG-2 files as well. Actually, the tool will let you go as high as you want in reference to your bit rate.

Here's how to do it:


You'll first need to duplicate one of the MPEG-2 NTSC compression settings and then name it based on your bit rate.


Next you can double click your compression setting and select the Video tab and under the Bitrate control select CBR. For Average rate type in 25000 kbps or whatever bit rate you desire. Save your setting and apply to your video source.

Why Encode at a 25 Mbps data rate for MPEG-2 files?

There is a lot of confusion circulating around the discussion forums on the topic of finding an efficient way to extract material from a DVD to import into Final Cut Pro and Avid Xpress Pro for re-editing. After doing some research, I found such a ware that will allow you to read the dvd > set in and out points for the scenes that you want > and extract that video in a format that can be imported into Final Cut Pro and Mac based Avid Xpress Systems. If you already have pre-existing VOB files, you can read them through DVDXDV and extract from them as well. Keep in mind that this ware is for Macs only.


DVDXDV Pro will allow you to extract high quality audio and video from a DVD to be used in Final Cut Pro and Avid. Their are two versions of this software, DVDXDVPro ($80), which is the more robust version of the program that will allow the reversal of the original interlaced field ordering of a DVD, widescreen resizing, 3:2 pulldown removal, and multi-channel audio export.

DVDXDV ($25) is being marketed more to the home video crowd and not the video professional. It will allow you to kick out a quicktime file with all audio in this version being exported as a stereo mix, it also allows for video cropping and resizing and field order reversing. There is also an "Expert Settings" option in the Export dialog that will allow you to manipulate compression settings.

After downloading the trial version of DVDXDV Pro, I was very impressed with the ease of use of this program. After purchasing the software, you are given a download link and a key and I imported some extremely high quality audio and Video into Final Cut Pro and Avid from this ware!


If you find yourself needing to use material from premade non-encrypted dvds, you should really give DVDXDV Pro and DVDXDV serious consideration. If you have Quicktime 6 or later,click here to see a video sample of the process of how you get DVD material into Final Cut Pro. Download the free trial version and see if its right for you!

*It should also be noted that there is an incredible product called streamclip. It is one of the few free programs that is available for both PC and MAC that will convert an mpg2 file or DVD into a single quicktime movie with the audio intact.

There are many ways to trim clips. In the basic editing lesson, we explained how you could use the arrow tool (A) to trim clips.

rolling_trim_icon.jpg Roll trim icon (R)

ripple_trim_tool.jpg Ripple trim icon (RR)

slip_trim_tool.jpg Slip icon (S)

slide_trim_tool.jpg Slide icon (SS)

An alpha matte defines areas of the screen to be dropped out from the visible picture. In fact, when you design any title within Final Cut Pro it is treated as an alpha matte. The title is automatically keyed over a video image below it.

This characteristic of titles that allow you to automatically see a video image underneath them is referred to an alpha channel. The alpha channel represents the transparent area of the image. The matte represents the solid part of the image.


Do you shoot in 24P, 23.976P, 30i, 60i, 30p? It can be confusing what format to choose. Then if you choose 24P, you are faced with the question. Do you shoot with the standard pull-down method, or the advanced pull-down method?


Advanced pull-down is 2:3:3:2
Standard pull-down is 2:3:2:3

If you are going back to film, shoot with the Advanced Pull-down Method, and then edit directly in 24P when using Avid or Final Cut Pro.

If you are going back to video, then you should really edit at 29.97 and go back to video at 29.97. This method will give you the 'film look' with 29.97 television. If this is the result you want then shoot with the Standard Pull-down method.

For more information about video or film-making using 24P formats, you can visit the Adamwilt.com webpage. He has some fanastic tutorials that go into great details about the various video formats.

Here is a training module on three point editing for Final Cut Pro.


Although this is a basic training module, there are some key concepts that other experienced editors may benefit from. This includes:

  • Using the replace editing function (instead of the overwrite edit)
  • Fit to Fill
  • How to utilize match frame
  • The Find Results Menu

  • In Final Cut Pro, the timeline window is the where editing occurs. There are many ways to edit. This is a basic editing tutorial for beginner, although for the seasoned editor you may pick up a few tricks you didn't know about.


    If you have spent much time using locaters in Avid before the HD version you may find the way that locaters in Avid Xpress HD work very annoying. The default set-up in HD is every time you insert a locater the locater dialog box opens and asks you to type in your comment. This is great for organizational purposes but if you want to add them On-the-Fly this new feature is in your way. The only advantage to this is once you are done you can go back to this dialog box and insert you comments. If you want to disable this feature and add locaters on-the-fly then here are the steps you need to take:

    1. Map a locater to your keyboard
    2. Right-click the Source or record monitors and select locators.
    3. Choose Disable Locaters Popup from the Fast Menu.

    Now you can play your sequence and add locater's on-the-fly.


    Logging your clips before you capture them onto your hard drive is a great way to not only save space but is a great time to name all of your clips. If you stick an hour long tape in and log straight through the hour you will most likely have a lot of wasted space and you will have a bunch of unnamed clips, or one big clip if you do not turn on sub-clipping. To log clips from an Avid controlled deck simply follow these steps:

    Organzing your cilps and media within Final Cut Pro is a critical step before you begin editing. Here is a detailed courseware module or some things to consider.

    - Managing Media
    - DV Scene Detection
    - Labeling Clips
    - Creating Storyboards

    For all of you Avid and Final Cut Pro Director/Producers, one thing you can keep in mind while shooting is that if you shoot a 4:3 picture and later mask it into a 16:9 image in post, it will give you the option of also being able to release a full-frame 4:3 version of your show.

    widescreen image.jpg

    Masking in post will adjust the image downward 60 lines before adding the letterbox mask, therefore giving you a 4:3 and 16:9 version that share common sides and a common top. The term common side means that characters will appear to enter and exit the scene at the same time in both the 4:3 and 16:9 versions and common top means that both versions will also maintain the same amount of character headroom.

    Play around with this concept and see if the aesthetic value of masking a 16:9 image meets your personal standard.

    If your looking to improve on the rendered quality of text or graphics within Final Cut Pro, you may want to consider exporting your finished sequence as a 10bit Uncompressed movie, instead of using the standard DV codec.


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    This page is an archive of entries from March 2007 listed from newest to oldest.

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