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October 2007 Archives

Travel mattes can add another dimension to your Final Cut Pro project by allowing you to conceal part of a video image with a shape, while selectively focusing on an area of interest in your video. This same principle can also add some flavor to a tailor made graphic that reveals selective areas of video through it.

1 First, you must decide what you want to designate as a background and place it on V1 in the Timeline. This could be a still or animated graphic like a texture, a premade graphic, or video footage. In this example, I simply chose another video clip.


2 In the V2 track, place the clip that you want to be the matte. I simply went to the Generator menu in the Viewer window > clicked the twirl down menu > chose shapes, then picked the Oval.


3 Place the video that you will be masking in V3.

4 Click on the video clip in V3 to select it.

5 Go to Modify > Composite Mode > Travel Matte and choose either Alpha or Luma. Depending on which mask you have chosen you would choose from these two. In this example with the Oval shape, I chose Travel Matte Luma which uses luminance as the mask instead of an alpha channel.

6 Render this area of your sequence so it can be reviewed.


Keep in mind that you can make adjustments to the matte layer by double clicking on it in the Timeline and opening it in the Viewer. Under the Motion tab you will be able to manipulate its parameteres. You can also manipulate the area of focus in your masked video clip on V3 by clicking on it in the timeline > going into image and wireframe mode, then simply dragging the video around in the Canvas window until you have revealed the desired area of interest in the mask.

In case you missed it, Avid now includes a time-shift audio plugin that is included with the Avid software. You must have at least 5.7.X in order to use this new feature.

time_shift_plug.gifIn some ways, it is the same as the old time compression expansion filter, but I find it much easier to use since it doesn't deal with ratios.

The time-shift filter is good for adjusting the speed of audio without adjusting it's pitch.  For example, let's say you are editing a 30 second commercial, but your edited spot is a little too long. You could use the time-shift filter to make a 32 second spot into 30 seconds!

Here's a quick tutorial on how to use this audio filter.

If you have ever used the Time Remapping Tool to manipulate a section of a clip's speed, then you have realized that whatever speed change that you perform in the clip has to be made up elsewhere in the clip. For example, if you ramp down the speed at the beginning of the clip, the end of the clip will have to play back faster in order to maintain the length of the original clip. You will have also noticed that the speed ramp does not extend to the audio of the clip, meaning you will lose sync with your audio after you perform the ramping effect.

Perhaps a more practical way to perform time remapping in Final Cut Pro is to create through edits that encompass the section of video where you wish to perform the speed change and manipulate the speed of that particular section. The effect will also extend to the associated audio with the clip, therefore keeping it in sync and the time change does not have to be made up elsewhere.

1 Go to the FCP tool palette and choose the razor blade tool.


2 Make sure the Link Selection icon is turned on in the timeline linked.jpg, then make a through edit in the select clip, within the timeline, just before the action that you want to manipulate with the speed change begins. You can do this by clicking the area of the clip with the Razor Blade Tool active. Make another through edit where you want the speed effect to end in the clip.


3 Go back to the tool palette and choose the selection arrow.

4 Right cllick on the segement of video that you want to manipulate with the speed change in order to select it.


5 Choose the Speed option in the pop-up menu and enter 200 into the percent field to speed up that area of the clip. Click OK.

Keep in mind that in contrast to using the Time Remapping tool, you will be changing the overall length of the clip depending on whether you are speeding the clip up, making the clip shorter, or slowing it down, making the clip longer.


Try out both techniques to see which one is right for you.

Understanding nesting within Avid Xpress / Media Composer is a critical when creating certain effects. For example:

If you want to have a transition (let's say a plasma wipe) between several PIP effects without affecting the background layer, it can be challenging to figure out. With Avid Xpress or Media Composer, an effect on any layer will affect all the lowers below it. This means the transition would also affect the background layer.

The trick is to nest your content within a single PIP effect. Here are the steps:

You will find it useful to group tracks in LiveType in order to protect the integrity of an effect that may involve multiple tracks. Just the slightest movement of a track that is involved in a multilayer effect could throw the timing off for the entire piece. When grouped tracks are moved, they move together, so you don't have to worry about tweaking the effect out of sync.


Lets Group Some Tracks!

1 When you first open LiveType, you are given a single empty track. Type something into the track via the Text Entry Box.

2 Create another track by going to Track > New Text Track and type something into it as well.

3 Select a track in the Timeline or Canvas and you will see the Grouping button to the far left of the track grey out (The Grouping Button looks like a chain link).

4 Select the Grouping Button in the track that you wish to group with this track and the chain link icon will appear.

Now when you move either track, they will both move in unison.

Let's say that you have been shooting footage at the Vans Skate Park and you've captured some serious stunts on tape to use as an intense sequence for a skateboarding documentary. Along with some pretty impressive airs you've also recorded some hair-raising wipeouts along the way. Perhaps for artistic purposes, or just because its cool to watch someone take a serious dive then walk away, you want to play the clip backward starting at the point of the skateboarder's crash. Having someone appear to fly off of the ground back onto their skateboard again is a very simple but attention grabbing effect that can be easily achieved with Final Cut Pro.


Getting A Clip To Play in Reverse in your Project

- Right click on the clip IN THE TIMELINE on which you want to perform the effect.

- In the speed field, you can either type a negative number (anything under or over 100% will also change the speed of the clip) or you could just click in the reverse box.


Now your clip will play in reverse within your project sequence.

Reconnecting offline media is a pain, there is just no other way to describe it, but there are some things you can do within Final Cut Pro to narrow the search. You can designate which folders and drives Final Cut Pro should look in before you attempt to reconnect your offline media. If you go to Final Cut Pro > System Settings, under the tab search folders, you can designate specific areas where FCP will perform the search. This is especially great if you have a large number of drives and if you work in a SAN (Storage Area Network) envrionment.


Designating a Search Folder

1 Go to Final Cut Pro > System Settings, then click on the Search Folders tab.

2 Click on the Set button to navigate to a new folder or click Set to replace a previously chosen folder or drive. Choose clear to clear any choice.

3 Click O.K.

The initial state of background textures and movies placed into the Canvas area of LiveType is locked, but you can unlock them fairly easily in order to reposition and resize them.

Unlocking Movie and Texture Backgrounds

1 Within the timeline, select the track that you want to unlock.

2 Go to Layer > Lock Position to uncheck this option.

Now, when you select a texure or movie background, a bounding box will appear, allowing you to move this element.



You've just completed building your timeline, but something doesn't look quite right. The action in one of the clips seems to be a little off. Perhaps you didn't let the athlete follow through with her tennis stroke or maybe the actor didn't fully exit the screen before you cut-away. You're not looking to make the clip longer or shorter, you just need to modify the action within that clip. This is the perfect time to perform a slip edit, assuming that you captured enough media for that scene to make the adjustment.

Making A Slip Edit
1 Go to the tool window and select the slip tool slip.jpg or just hit the S key on the keyboard.

2 Click on the clip that you want to perform the slip edit on and drag it to the left or right to adjust the action within the clip. An overlay will appear showing you the amount of media that is available to you on either side of the clip you're adjusting.

3 When you are pleased with the clips content, Release the mouse button, then play through the clip to review your changes.

Here is a great response from one of GeniusDV's Instructors to a producer who was having problems getting iDVD to recognize chapter markers he had set in Final Cut Pro. This is great information.

Here are the steps to make the chapter markers work correctly in iDVD.

#1.... Make sure when you add your markers, that you are adding them to the
Final Cut Pro timeline (NOT inside the individual clips)


#2 Make sure you are pressing the M (Marker Button) TWICE. And make sure
you press the add chapter marker button. This will then add the appropriate
meta-data to each marker so iDVD will understand the chapter makers.


#3 Highlight your sequence in the Browser window, Go to File Export -
QuickTime Movie, and select the pull-down to add chapter markers.


#4 Drag your exported sequence into an iDVD template, and you will see the
scene selection option which will list the individual chapters based on your

If you are unable to change the duration of a Cross Dissolve while working in Final Cut Pro, chances are their is not enough pad on each clip to allow for it.


When I say pad, I'm talking about the fact that in order for FCP to perform a cross dissolve, their has to be enough media at the end of the out going clip and at the head of the incoming clip to allow for it.


Example: if your original captured media clip was 8 seconds long, when you set your in and outs for the clip, the in point should be marked somewhere around 3 seconds into the clip. It doesn't really matter where the in point begins Just don't place it at the very beginning of the captured media. The same goes for the end of the clip. Don't place your out point at the very end of the captured media, unless you know that you are definitely going to perform a straight cut into the next clip. The room that you are leaving at the beginning and end of clips is what FCP will use to perform the Cross-Dissolve.


motion_templates_menu.gifOne of the many new features in Final Cut Pro 6.0, is the ability to use Motion Templates. This means you can make changes to a template directly within Final Cut Pro, without having to launch Motion.

Final Cut Pro ships with a basic set of templates. You can access these templates from either Effects / Master Templates menu, or the Generators Menu (within the Viewer window).

The first step is to design an animation using Motion 3.0



Within Final Cut Pro you can make quick notes for clips, bins and sequences within the browser by assigning labels to them.

No Color: None
Orange: Good Take
Red: Best Take
Blue: Alternate Shots
Purple: Interviews
Green: B-Roll

Assigning a Label to a Clip

1 Select the clips in the Browser that you want to label.

2 Either control click, if you have a one button mouse, or right click, with a two button mouse, on top of one of the selected files and navigate to the Label option, then choose a label. Each of the clips, will be labled with the assigned color and if you pull over the lower right corner off the Browser Window to the right, your clips will be labled accordingly in the Label field.


Changing Lable Names

Go to Final Cut Pro > User Preferences > Click on the Label tab > Change the name > Click OK.

You can add a drop shadow to text and to a Picture In Picture effect (PIP) in Final Cut Pro by simply going into the Motion Tab in the Viewer Window and checking the Drop Shadow option. Double click on either the text or PIP effect in the Timeline to load it into the Viewer. You will then have the ablility to manipulate the drop shadow's angle, color, softness, and opacity over the video you are placing it on from within the Motion tab of the Viewer Window.



Apple's Motion software contains all the same LiveFonts found within the LiveType application. If you need 3D perspective controls, you'll need to use Motion instead of LiveType.

livefont_animation.gifIn case you're wondering why you might still continue to use LiveType instead of doing everything in Motion, it's because LiveType treats each character as an individual glyph on one track. Therefore, it much easier to create animated path's where characters follow each other in a timed pattern.

However, Apple Motion 3.0 has a 3D perspective tool, LiveType does not. So if you plan on moving objects around in 3D space, you'll need to create your effect in Motion.

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

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