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Little Frog in High Def

Musings of an NLE ronin…

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Archive for May, 2009

The twelth episode of THE EDIT BAY is now available for download.

Have you ever gotten a job and then realized that you don’t know how to use a major piece of equipment they require you to use? Me too! More than once.

To play in your browser or download direct, click here.

To subscribe to this podcast in iTunes, CLICK HERE.

I love the EDITORS LOUNGE that Terry Curren puts on at Alpha Dog in Burbank. And I really wish he’d start it later than 6:30 so that I can make it. Most of my jobs has me an hour or more away from there, so I miss them. BUT, I do get to see the highlights online. And that is great.

Studio Daily has two highlights from the last EDITOR’S LOUNGE that are really good to watch:

The AlphaDogs Editors’ Lounge in April featured a panel of four seasoned editors with diverse backgrounds talking about the craft of editing and how it has changed since they got in the business. In this series of videos, feature film editor Billy Weber, reality TV editor Glenn Morgan, trailers editor Carol Streit and jack-of-all trades editor Terry Curren discuss the lessons they have learned in decades of work and offer bits of wisdom not found in any film school or editing manual.

To watch the videos, CLICK HERE. To watch the entire lounge, CLICK HERE.

I had a really strange thing happen to me…my virtual cluster (the thing where you use QMaster to set up all your processors to render faster…I’ll post how at the end of this blog post)…as I was saying, before the long parenthesis aside, my virtual cluster in Compressor upped and vanished. Just went away. POOF! One minute it was compressing a file to MPEG-4 for the audio house, the next…just gone. I was perplexed.

So I iChatted with my buddy Jim Geduldick of Final Cut User and asked if he knew what happened. I figured he was a Compressor guru, having written CRAM. And sure enough, he did have an answer. A little known of button that you have to know where to find.

Well, he blogged about it and posted a tip video on how to find that button and fix all of this.

Thanks Jim.

Now, as for how to set up QMASTER to use all of these processors you have on your MacPro.

– In System Preferences at the bottom is a black splotch icon thing, that is Apple Qmaster. Click on that.
– Select Share this computer as “Quick Cluster with services.”
– Share Compressor.
– “Options for selected service” should be 1 instance for each of 2 processors, so if you have an Octo MacPro, set it to 4 instances.
– Click Share…

Then when you submit from compressor, change it from “This Computer” to whatever you named your cluster. Works like gang busters…

WARNING! NSFW! CONTAINS PROFANITY. Well justified profanity, but not something you want your boss to hear coming from your computer while you are at work.

This is a small section from a documentary about Harlan Ellison called “DREAMS WITH SHARP TEETH,” that a company that I worked with did. GREAT documentary. He rants about how companies with money want to get content from creative people…for free. Very timely rant and fitting with a lot of stuff that is happening today.

I smell a future podcast episode, as something similar happened to me.

Go to www.dreamswithsharpteeth.com for more excerpts.

See the full trailer here.

Part of that interesting online is that a lot of the b-roll used in the cut is DVCPRO HD footage that a production manager shot. The fact that he shot it isn’t interesting…how I am getting the master footage is. You see, he has the tapes, but he also captured this footage into the Avid at high resolution..DNxHD 175. And he had some MPEG-4 versions with timecode so he could shop it around as stock footage. The MPEG-4s is what we used in the offline cut, converted to DV.

But now that the online is upon me, I want the high res stuff. So I can either rent a deck or deal with the Avid files. We weren’t going to rent a deck (money’s tight) so I have to convert the Avid files.

I took the raw .mxf files and put them in an Avid file structure on my external FW drive. AVID MEDIA FILES>1>the files. I then opened Avid MC and made a new DVCPRO HD 720p 23.98 project. I then opened the MEDIA TOOL and searched for the files…they showed up fine, because they were in the proper structure. See, with the Avid media files you need to do this, unlike FCP you can’t just IMPORT the files…Avid won’t allow that. You need to use the Media Tool. That is just how Avid rolls.

Anyway, I loaded the clips into a bin, then loaded them into the Preview Monitor, and exported them as DVCPRO HD QT files. They were now in the DVCPRO HD Avid codec. Meaning that you need the Avid codecs to view these files. Obviously I did. I checked the QT movies and they retained their original timecode.

So far so good, but I am not done yet. Now I need to convert these DVCPRO HD 720p 23.98 files to ProRes 1080i 29.97…progressive to interlaced. So I took them into Compressor, loaded the ProRes 422 for Interlaced onto one of the clips, then modified it. I turned on the FRAME Controls and set things to BEST. Not ALL of them, a couple refer to de-interlacing, and I didn’t want that. I needed them to be interlaced.

After I modified the settings I hit SUBMIT. The sytem estimated 7.5 hours. Fine, as I was leaving for the night. When I returned the next day, they were done. They retained their timecode, but now they were full raster 1920×1080 and 29.97…interlaced Compressor did a pretty good job.

OK, now to recapture the HDV footage.

RT=Re-Tweet…Twitter term, sorry. But I guess this is a RB…Re-Blog, as this tip comes from another blog, Final Cut User.

Anyway, this is a great little video tutorial on how to add metadata to your footage with Compressor. Nice. I’m all for passing along tips that OTHER people figured out too.

As I mentioned on THIS POST a week ago, I am faced with an interesting online. A mixed format timeline with ProRes (and I just found out, ProRes HQ), HDV and DV…and then stock footage that I need to capture from BetaSP and digibeta and upconvert to HD. The biggest issue was going to be finding what footage is what on the timeline, so that I can separate it out and recapture the DV and HDV as ProRes. The stock footage is very easy to spot, as it has visibe timecode on the clips. DV might be easy as it will look pretty low res in comparison to the rest, but the HDV clips won’t be that easy to spot.

So how am I going to find all that footage and separate out what I need to recapture?

Well, Martin Baker of Digital Heaven e-mailed me saying that he had a tip that would help me tremendously. It was on page 56 of his new book, FINAL CUT PRO KILLER SECRETS, which I am allowed to share with you:

Finding Timeline Clips with Matching Attributes

This tip is useful for locating clips in a sequence that match certain
attributes such as being offline or a particular codec.
For example, when preparing a sequence for export to Color, clips that
aren’t running at 100% forwards speed will need to be exported and
replaced. Here’s how to identify those clips.

1 -Create a temporary bin in the current project.

2 – With the Timeline active, press Command-A to select all the clips in
the sequence and drag them to the temporary bin.

3 – If it’s not already visible, right-click on a column header and choose
the Speed column.

4 – Click on the Speed column header to sort the clips in the bin
by their speed.

5 – For each clip that isn’t 100% speed, open it into the Viewer then press
F to reverse match frame into the current sequence. The playhead will
move to show where the clip is used.

While this tip is for finding speed changes…also something that I need to do as I prep for Color, you can also use this to sort the footage by compression type or frame rate…any column heading. Sure enough that trick did the…uh…trick, and I am good to go.

Looking at the rest of this PDF (just glancing through) I am already learning a LOT of stuff I didn’t know. I’ll wager those timeline scrolling lock and Autosave Restore are in there too. If you are interested you can download a copy for only $19.00. This already has saved me that much in time.

Man that was a fairly simple trick…and the simple ones are always the best. Makes you go “why the heck didn’t I think of that?”

I have added the FINALCUTTERS blog into my blogroll. Full of FCP news and tips from other blogs, including this one.

(thanks for the tip Martin.)

Last year at NAB (2008) I was working in the Matrox Booth. The MXO2 was announced, but not shipping. I was working in the booth at the MXO for FCP station, showing off how to make your Apple Cinema Display into a color correction monitor, and how the MXO displayed interlacing as well.

Well, other stations in the booth showed the MXO used in combination with Avid Media Composer. Avid? How did it work with the Avid? I thought only Avid hardware worked with Avid software. They showed me how it worked and it was pretty slick. Impressed all the Avid editors who saw it.

Then 6 months later I find myself working on an Avid. And then at one point I needed to work from home. When I found myself at home I figured, hey, why not check this thing out? I have an MXO. But the MXO took one of the DVI ports, and I still liked working with two monitors as workspaces. So what was I do to? I recalled that a station at the Matrox booth across from me showed off the TripleHead2Go Digital Edition. What this box did was take one DVI port and spread it across two monitors…increase the horizontal resolution from 1920 to 3840. This way you could put two monitors on one DVI port, and then the MXO on the other. So I ordered one.

When it arrived I got the TripleHead working with two monitors on the one DVI port. Then I put the MXO on the other DVI port. Now, the MXO does two things. First off, it passes through the computer video, allowing for another computer monitor. And second, when used with FCP, you can activate it to send a broadcast signal to an external monitor, either Apple or Dell display via DVI, or broadcast monitor via Component or SDI.

What we are going to be using is the first option…the MXO allowing passthrough for another computer monitor. While this allows passthrough via DVI, you might not know that it sends this signal out via Component, Composite and SDI as well. Because of this feature, this allows the MXO to be used on an Avid. The image isn’t broadcast quality, but it is still full screen on an external HDTV or client monitor. And since most of the time you will be working with offline formats, like 15:1, or formats you capture via firewire, this is fine…it looks like poo anyway (well, 15:1 does).

HOW do you get this image onto the external monitor? Well, with this simple thing called TOGGLE FULL SCREEN. Go into the Avid Settings, click on this to open it up, drag it onto the monitor you want to use this with, and click SELECT MONITOR. Now when you activate this option your image will appear full screen.

Normally this allows you to play back the footage full screen on one of your computer monitors. Well, since the MXO allows playthrough of the computer image to another computer monitor, and out via SDI and Component, you can now send a full screen image out through the MXO to an external monitor. Doesn’t matter if this is a computer monitor, like my Apple Display, or CRT monitor, like my PVM-14L5.

Would you like to see this? Here:

If you want to see it bigger, CLICK HERE.

As you can see, I have the image full screen on my Apple display via DVI, and on my HD CRT via Component. Now, because I can get this signal out via component, composite and SDI, I can now output to tape, or a DVD recorder. Not sure about deck control. I know you can get USB to RS-422 adapters, but I don’t know if this will work with an Avid. I assume you can, as I did this with Media Log to log footage.

But that isn’t something I tested this time. But, if it does work, this means that you can output rough cuts to tape. And have that nice big image on the client monitor. And you don’t need the Avid hardware for this. $995 is a lot less than $4000 (Mojo DX). Bear in mind that the MXO does not capture, it is an output only device. And again, it is outputting a computer signal, so it isn’t full quality. This will not output full res to master. But it is great as a client monitor box. If you have multiple edit systems, you can get one Nitris or Mojo to capture the footage, and the rest can use the MXO (in cobination with the TripleHead2Go) to get the image out to a client monitor.

Heck, this will even work on an iMac, since the iMac can run the Avid software, and it has a DVI out…perfect for the MXO. That makes this one heck of a versatile box.

OK smart asses, let’s see if you knew about THIS tool. Now, I know this one has been around for a while but I for one never touched it. I actually just thought it was something cosmetic. Just the way the timeline looked. But then my buddy Paul, who I share a bay with, fiddled with it (he was bored). And he figured out what it did.

What is it? Well, I have no clue what it is called, but here is a picture:

The part of the timeline that straddles V1 and A1…to the left of the tool pallet. Next to the pen tool. ON the timeline. Here, lemme zoom in:

THAT thing. I bet most of you didn’t know this did anything did you? I didn’t, as I said, I thought this was cosmetic. IT ISN’T! It has a function, and Paul figured it out.

I is a scroll lock…a VERTICAL scroll lock. Lemme try to explain this. If you have 12 layers of video, and 18 layers of audio, and your timeline doesn’t fill the screen, you always need to scroll up and down to see things. But what if you always want to see V1, or V1 and V2? Well, drag this up and it will lock the track so they never scroll out of site. V2 on up will move, but not V1. Look:

See, it draws a little BOX around the track. All you need to do is grab the top tab and pull it up one notch. Want to cover two tracks? You can do that too:

And you can do the same with audio.

HOW COOL IS THAT? And don’t you tell me “oh, I have been doing this for years…where have you BEEN Shane?” I don’t want to hear it! Well, OK, maybe I do. I would like to know if people knew about this…but more from people who will tell me “GREAT find Shane! Thanks!”

Don’t thank me…Thank Paul.

OK, watch this first, then read on:

OK, the only thing that stopped her was “this only has 2GB of RAM.” That’s it. That stopped her? She can’t edit video with only 2GB of RAM?

I am running Final Cut Pro 6.0.5…I am running Avid Media Composer 3.5…all on my MacBook Pro…and it only has 2GB of RAM. ZERO issues. Editing ProRes, Editing DNxHD 175, editing HDV!

Well, if she is this clueless, she deserves that PC….running Windblows Vista. I wonder if it is compatible with Avid?

I just found it funny that the ONLY thing she found wrong with it was 2GB of RAM.