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December 2007 Archives

Those that have Final Cut Studio or DVD Studio 4 installed on several workstations inside their internal network can look at Apple Qmaster and Compressor as an option for distributed encoding. This is one of the cool features of having Final Cut Studio and Macs available. Now before you decide to go this route you should know that the only way you'll be happy with the speed of the encoding on your encoding cluster is to have a fast network and fast workstations.


With that said you can create a Cluster with Apple Qmaster by turning on the QuickCluster with services feature in the System preferences of the Mac OS under Apple Qmaster. This option is only available for those with Final Cut Studio or DVD Studio Pro 4. Using Compressor you can send jobs to the cluster instead of to Compressor on your Desktop workstation. The workstations in the cluster can gang up on your videos to encode your output files which is very cool stuff. For example, when you send your Batch to your cluster each node in your cluster is used to process the videos which means encoding should be completed quicker. You even have the ability to check the status of your encoding on the cluster through the Batch Monitor on your client computer. A possible scenario is to have editing happening during the day and encoding going on overnight or when editing is not happening.

Exporting a Quicktime movie out of Final Cut Pro using the current settings of a HDV1080i60 sequence, and then closing Final Cut Pro, and opening the Quicktime movie with Compressor to do the encode is over twenty percent faster than exporting out of Final Cut Pro to Compressor. A test was conducted using a Powerbook Intel duo 2.2 with 2 gb of RAM. The Project was 1:45 long, and to encode straight out of FCP, it took 19:35. To export the Quicktime out of FCP, and then encode the movie, took 15:27. These numbers are certainly subject to the machine doing the encoding. Aside from the benefit of the time savings you also end up with a Quicktime movie.

Exporting a series of images from your sequence is performed a little differently than exporting a single frame image in Final Cut Pro. You can export a sequence of images in the format of your choice via exporting Using Quicktime Conversion. Set a range in your sequence for export using in and out points.

1 After you have opened a sequence into the Timeline, you can set your in and out points for export as a Numbered Image Sequence.

2 Go to File > Export > Using QuickTime Conversion.

3 Designate a place where you want the files to be saved. I recommend creating a new folder for this export.

4 Click on the FORMAT twirl down menu and choose Image Sequence from the list.


5 Click on the USE twirl down menu and choose a setting.

formatjpegfinal-cut-Pro 5 5.jpg

6 Click on the Options button in the Export Window to set other options for bit depth and compression under the Options button of the Export Image and Sequence Settings box.


7 Click OK after you have made changes in the Options menu, in this example JPEG Options, and in the Export Image and Sequence Settings box and Click Save in the Export Window to export your image sequence.

When you are working on authoring a project with DVD Studio Pro, it is often a big help to set a default button style. A popular default would be to set your buttons up to have the text appear in the center of the button rather than the DVD Studio Pro default of below the button. To accomplish this all you have to do is set up your button the way you want it and then right click on the button, and select set as button default style. Now every time you left click and drag to create a button it will use the parameters you have assigned to your default button style. At the beginning of every DVDSP project if you know what the most common, or only button in your project is going to be, and set it as the default, it will certainly speed up your work flow.

Thumbnail image for Default_Button_style.png

You also may want to save each button as either a custom or project button style, so that it can be referred to thru the palette. You would want to do this if you were going to use the button style in future projects or if you were going to be changing button styles frequently within the same project.

Here at GeniusDV, we recieve a large number of calls on a daily basis from editors seeking support on a wide variety of issues that can arise in a day in the life of a working editor , but occasionally, we receive calls that would seem better suited for someone who works in the paranormal!


one of our past Avid students, who produces two shows a week for his local church service, called us and stated that he was hearing strange voices as he was putting together his projects. Naturally, we all looked at one another and wondered if this guy had a late night and was hearing the voice of Jack Daniels, but as we dug deeper and deeper into his situation, we discovered something quite fascinating!

This producer was using a cheap, unshielded firewire cable and everytime someone was on a cell phone, or when the church used their wireless microphone system while he was capturing his material into Avid Xpress, those signals became mixed with his audio signal. He had the better part of an entire conversation and a sermon intertwined in his audio tracks. He went out and bought a heavy duty firewire cable and that solved his problem. We didn't need Scully and Moulder after all!

Something that can easily get over looked in Final Cut Pro is making sure you have your filters in the correct order within the filters tab. Filters start at the top and effect one another as they progress down thru the list of applied filters. A perfect example of this can be seen when applying a matte and a blur. When the Blur is applied first the blurred image shows thru an unblured matte.








When the Matte is applied first the edges of the matte are blurred as well.









Anytime you run into a result that is not what you thought it should be you may simply need to rearrange the order of the filters. Once the filters have been applied you can simply drag them up and down within the filters tab to reset the order.


Replacing a Clip

1 Click on a clip in the timeline

2 Start dragging the clip to an adjacent area, then hold down the option key to swap positions with the other clip. If you are dragging your clip further down the timeline to a new location, it will splice into position and shift all other clips downward.

For Mac users that need to export a single Windows Media file from QuickTime Pro or any other QuickTime based application Flip4Mac WMV Studio Pro HD is just the tool to use. In many cases where you don't need a heavy duty compression application to convert videos to the .WMV format Flip4Mac is just the tool needed.

If you need a high quality file for playback on a desktop you can use the 2-Pass VBR 800kbps preset inside Flip4Mac WMV Studio Pro HD application. To encode 2-pass VBR Windows Media videos users will need to have Flip4Mac WMV Studio Pro HD and no just the Flip4Mac WMV Studio Pro version.


To Export a 2-Pass VBR 800kbps Windows Media file inside the FlipMac Export Settings, choose the Two Pass VBR, 800kbps Profile. Users can further customize settings but this will get you a good quality file without a lot of adjustments to parameters.

Note: Also, make sure you're using the latest Flip4Mac WMV update

Setting up a batch export to Compressor is as easy as doing a single export. I used to export sequences thru Compressor one at a time, and have to be available to start the next one. To export multiple sequences out of Final Cut Pro at the same time, first you highlight them in the Browser by Apple clicking on each one. Next right click on one of them and select Export / Using Compressor. This will open Compressor with all three sequences ready to have a Setting & Destination assigned to them. After assigning Settings and Destinations, which can be different for each sequence, just submit the batch and walk away. I often wait until the end of the day to export all the sequences that are ready, and simply let all the compression happen over night.

Thumbnail image for highlit sequences.png

Thumbnail image for export all three.jpg

In Final Cut Pro, you may find it easier to drag the handles of selected clips within the canvas rather than going to the motion tab and adjusting its parameters. You must be in Image+Wireframe or Wireframe mode to use Wireframe handles.

FCP clip.jpg

Scaling a clip:

1. Select clip in timeline.

2. Within the tool palette, click on the selection tool and either drag a corner handle (to scale the clip and keep its proportions) or Shift drag a corner to scale vertically or horizontally.

Moving a clip:

1. Select clip in timeline.

2. Within the tool palette, click on the selection tool and drag the layer to a new position (partially or completely outside the canvas, if desired).

Rotating clips:

1. Select clip in timeline.

2. Within the tool palette, click on the selection tool and drag any edge of the selected clip's border in a clock-wise or counter-clockwise motion to rotate.

Occasionally, you might be left to wonder "Where in the world did my scratch disk go?" Well, here are some perfectly good explanations on what may have happened. Usually when a scratch disk becomes unavailable it can mean one of the following: It may be turned off, disconnected, unmounted, moved, deleted, or renamed.
The next time you power up Final Cut Pro and the scratch disk can't be found, a dialog box with these options will appear:

Quit: This selection will allow you to quit without changing the preferences of the scratch disk.

Set Scratch Disks: This option opens the current list of scratch disks that are available and can be switched to. If your default scratch disk is unavailable, it will not appear in this list.

Check Again: This option will allow you to reconnect the scratch disk and wait for it to mount.

After making the necessary hardware connections, in order to utilize the voiceover tool in Final Cut Pro, you will first need to set the duration you're recording and the target audio track within the sequence.


Defining Duration:

Perform one of these options

- The easiest method would be to create in and out points within the timeline.
- If you fail to specify an in point, the playhead will act as one and the recording duration will last until the out point.
- If you fail to specify an out point, the last clip at the end of the sequence will be used.

Setting Track Destination:

Audio recorded using the voiceover tool is placed in the audio track defined by the audio channel 2 destination track.

Example: Lets say that you already have a sequence that is comprised of three tracks, one video and and a soundtrack on audio channels one and two. You will need to enable the audio channel 2 target control of audio track 3 before you use the voiceover tool. The voiceover will then be placed in track 3.

 What Is FxScript? FxScript is a set of commands that performs a specific function. Scripting is the process similar to programming that allows you execute complex task automatically with in FCP.

First, we start by selecting the TOOL in the FCP menu and click on FxBuilder.



Earlier, we talked about how you could build each scene of your film as a separate project and later combine them in a master sequence as a form of nesting. The Nest Items Command in Final Cut Pro allows you to select a range in your timeline that contains many layered effects and collapse them into a nested sequence. This can make a very busy timeline easier on the eyes as you continue to work.

Creating a Nested Sequence From a Selected Range in the Timeline

1 Select a range of clips in your timeline.


2 You can either press Option C or go to Sequence > Nest Items.


3 Enter a descriptive name for the nested sequence in the Nest Items dialog box.


4 Designate the width and height of the nested sequence.

5 If the range of clips you have selected contain effects, markers, etc., make sure that you check the Keep Effects, Markers, and Audio Levels with clip selection.

6 Select the Mixdown Audio option if you want your audio to be rendered in the nest.

7 Click on the OK tab. Your previously selected range of clips have now been replaced with a nested sequence. Go to Edit > Undo to step back out of the nest if needed.

To create a text crawl in Final Cut Pro you would first need to go to the generator menu which is located at the bottom right hand corner of the Viewer Window (has the letter A on it) and click it.


1 Navigate to the text option which is located at the bottom of the menu and choose crawl from the text menu.

2 Click on the Controls tab located in the Viewer Window and you will see Sample Text in the Text Edit Box. Change the text to whatever you like.

3 Click on the Video tab inside of the Viewer Window and press play to review the crawl.

While in the process of editing in Final Cut Pro, you can sometimes have second thoughts about a given clip's purpose or the action that it displays. A quick way to review the clip is to solo it. We have discussed soloing a TRACK before, but this is a single CLIP and this can come in handy if you have video in tracks that overlap the clip.

1 Place the position indicator over the clip in the timeline.

2 Click on the clip in the Timeline to select it.


3 Press Control S or go to Sequence > Solo Selected Item(s).


4 Play the clip by either pressing the space bar or clicking the play button in the Canvas Window. You will now see the selected clip playback and that all overlapping video tracks have been disabled.

Press Control S or go to Sequence > Solo Selected Item(s) to reactivate the other clips in your sequence.

When you play back a Final Cut Pro sequence, you can tell which audio spots are hot by simply looking at the audio meter clipping into the red area, but you cannot pinpoint the specific problem areas within your audio clip so that you can address them.

You can detect specific hot spots in your audio by marking audio peaks in Final Cut.

Marking Audio Peaks

1 Make sure that you have UNselected all audio and video in the timeline.

2 Go to Mark > Audio > Peaks > Mark. Final Cut Pro will then place peak markers in the Timeline Ruler above the sequence hot spots. If a section of your audio has a hot point that lasts longer than a spike, a peak marker with a duration will appear over that area in the Timeline Ruler.


Now that you have detected audio peaks now its time to fix them.

Lowering Audio Hot Points

There are multiple ways but here are two:

1 Select the area of the audio clip that was marked as hot underneath the peak markers. You can do this buy creating through edits with the razor blade tool to designate the areas right underneath the peak markers, then going back to the selection tool to make your selections (Shift Click to make multiple selections).

2 After you have made your selections, go to Modify > Levels > and adjust the gain. If you make the changes Relative, if you have already keyframed the audio in this area the keyframes will be maintained. By making your changes absolute, you will blast away any keyframes that where previously set and all audio will be adjusted to the assigned dB level.


Another way to adjust the audio in these problem spots would be to Toggle On Cip Overlays at the bottom right of the timeline > control click on the pink overlays on your audio to create keyframe points that you can drag up or down to adjust levels.


If you have exceeded your system's capability to play back the audio you have in your sequence in real-time, then you will hear beeping when you try to play back your project. If you look under user preferences in the General tab, you will see options for Real-time Audio Mixing and Audio Playback Quality. The Real-time Audio Mixing value is the number of tracks that Final Cut Pro will playback without having to render. Keep in mind that any filter you add to an audio track counts as an additional audio track. For example, if you had 5 audio tracks, each with 2 filters, then you essentially have created 10 tracks. If you have exceeded the number of tracks set in this option, you will have to render. Although this number can be changed, your system hardware will ultimately dictate the Real-time audio Mixing setting.


In reference to the Audio Playback Quality, if you have this option set to High and you have placed audio at multiple sample rates into your timeline, when your sequence settings are set at 48k, FCP will have to struggle to convert all of those audio files during playback.

You've just completed the most ambitious documentary you have ever produced, creating a large and involved timeline filled with various audio clips, graphic elements created in Photoshop and sequences on top of more sequences. Much to your dismay, one of your interviewees contacts you to say that a still image she given to you is no longer relevant to the subject your project covers. This is how you would EFFICIENTLY go about finding that clip in a massive timeline!


Searching for text or timecode in a sequence:

1. Press the home key to position the playhead at the beginning of the sequence to enable the ENTIRE sequence for search OR simply place the playhead where you wish to start the search.

2. Choose Edit > Find.

3. Enter the text or timecode number you want to search for.

4. Choose the type of item to search for in the pop-up menu.

5. Choose the tracks to search from in the Where pop-up menu.

6. Click Find or Click Find All.

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

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