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Little Frog in High Def

Musings of an NLE ronin…
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Archive for May, 2010

Sometimes I feel like I am right out of an In Living Color skit (funny skit show from the 1990s) where some Jamaican lady says “You only got three jobs?  You so LAZY!”  OK, I guess you had to be there…

I am at an interesting point right now. Not in my career, but in my job situation. The Long Beach job is now on hold. An unplanned hiatus, but something that is needed…and I will go back to it at some point. Not too long ago, I was on a planned hiatus, and during that time I went to NAB, and spent a week working on a show pilot/pitch.

Now, that show pilot isn’t done yet. We THOUGHT it was, but then the network wanted changes, so they are doing some re-shoots. That’s a good thing, it means that they want it they just want to tweak a few things. They wouldn’t be ponying up dough if they didn’t like the show. SO, while I am on the unplanned hiatus, I will be working on the pilot.

AND…I landed a three to four week union gig on a show called WARREN THE APE.  No, I’m not editing it  That would be COOL!  But I am onlining it…and making it look pretty.  And now you can see my work in action if you watch the clips on that site, then watch the show.  See how much better it looks?  That’s my work!  OK…so I have this job to fill in the hiatus too.  Pilot, and short stint onlining a show.

But wait, there’s more!

Another person has approached me to edit another show pitch.  This is one that I agreed to do a while ago, I just didn’t know when it was going to be hitting my door. Well, it looks like it will be hitting my door the same time as the OTHER pitch, while I am onlining Warren.

So yeah, I am busy.  This is something that can happen to anyone in this business.  Some days/weeks/months…nothing.  Then other times, four things all at once.  It is the times where you have nothing for those long weeks that actually make you accept the three things at once.  I mean, no one wants to work ALL the time, right?  But you do have to prepare for the dry months.

Now I just have to get my act in gear so that when the dry months hit, I do some independent film short or web video.  Some NON-technical tutorial thing.

OK…this is something that “Avid Editors” brag about all the time.  They can load a sequence into the Viewer, and then click a toggle that will then show them that sequence on the timeline.  The PROGRAM (or Canvas for you FCP peeps) timeline is replaced by the PREVIEW (or Viewer) sequence in the Timeline area.  This way they can build a selects reel, or look at footage from another cut, and watch it…then mark IN…watch some more…mark OUT, and then toggle back to the main sequence and cut that in.

This is super useful.  I do it all the time.  Select reels, or as I said, sequences from previous cuts, or other acts, that I am moving to the current cut.

The complaint I hear from them is that FCP doesn’t do this.  Sure, you can load a sequence into the Viewer, but first off, you can’t then toggle back and forth and see what you are doing.  It is useful at times to see not only the image you are cutting over, but also the layers of stuff…what you are bringing over, or might want to bring over or leave out.  You might not want to bring over the original music, for example…or the voiceover.  Whatever.

Now, the first thing that happens when they try to just cut this in is that FCP doesn’t bring over all the clips, but rather it NESTS them, so you end up with one layer on V1, and a stereo mix on A1&2.  Even though you might have 5 layers of video and 18 layers of audio.  Well, there’s a simple solution to that.  All you need to do is either hold down the COMMAND key (A.K.A.  key) when you press F10 or F9.  This enables OVERWRITE SEQUENCE CONTENT…or INSERT SEQUENCE CONTENT.  And this is mappable on your keyboard.  Just go into the Keyboard, choose CUSTOMIZE, and then in the search window on the upper right, search for SEQUENCE CONTENT.  Then map it.

OK, that solves one issue.  But now to the others.

First off…seeing what you are doing in the other sequence.  Well, that’s easy.  Don’t load it into the Viewer.  FCP has the wonderful ability to have multiple sequences open at the same time.  This is a huge advantage over Avid MC…in this respect.

But that doesn’t solve everything.  Because lets say that you want to copy and paste only between IN and OUT points.  Well, if you select the clips you want, there might be overlapping audio, or video…definately music that will go off in either direction.

Well, yes, you can RAZOR the sections that you want, OPT-V will do that.  Then you can COPY and Paste.  But then that leaves your other sequence with copped up sections.  Looks kinda messy.

I mentioned to a fellow editor (Richard Sanchez, who is a regular on the Creative Cow), that I really wished that the RANGE SELECT tool worked in selecting just part of a sequence that you wanted to use.  He offered up this suggestion.  

Mark IN, then mark OUT, and then press OPT-A.  This will SELECT BETWEEN IN AND OUT.  YES!  Then hit COPY, click to the sequence you want to cut into, and PASTE.  OR, if you want to CUT this in between shots, hit SHIFT-V to INSERT PASTE.

Boom, done.  The great Avid feature that we all know and love, replicate-able  in FCP.  Yes, done a little differently, because they are different applications.

This is why it is really cool working with other editors.  Because it is impossible (well, VERY difficult) for one editor to know ALL the tricks in an NLE. So Richard was able to show me the cool trick of selecting between IN and OUT points.  And I was able to amaze him with INSERT PASTE.  And this is why whenever I learn a cool tip, I like to share it with people.  Plus this might make the Avid editors happy…now they can do something they rely on in Avid…in FCP.  Albeit differently.

EDIT: Martin Baker, the BRILLIANT lad from across the pond said in the comments that you don’t even need to do the OPT-A. Just mark IN and OUT and then COPY. TOO EASY! SO…the tip in brief:

Have your main sequence open. Open the sequence you want to copy from. View your footage to determine what you want. Mark IN, mark OUT. Press CMD-C to Copy. Go to the main sequence. Park the playhead where you want the new footage to go. Press Shift-V to INSERT PASTE.

RUMORS

May 19

Apple Insider posted a pretty funny rumor, that seems to have spread like wild fire.

I would comment, but I think Phil Hodgetts did it best.

Bottom line…AI is just plain wrong.

EDIT: APPLE responds on CNET.  So get a grip.

I like the fact that both AVID MC and FCP show this in the Viewer (Preview monitor in Avid MC) and Canvas (Program Monitor in Avid MC) when you are missing media.


FCP shows white letters against a bright RED background, which seems to scream, “Hey!  Buddy!  Your media is not here!  Something’s wrong!”


Avid just has a black background with grey letters…muted, as if to say “hmmm…something should be here, but it isn’t.”

This appears to be the theme of both applications.

You see, when your project SHOULD have media, but then it suddenly doesn’t…or rather it had media the last time you opened the application and now it isn’t there…both applications react differently.  And I have to say that I really like the way FCP handles this situation better than Avid does.

You see, when media goes missing from FCP, it flashes a big warning:


“SOME FILES WENT OFFLINE.  Some of the media your project references have either moved, changed, or gone away.”

I like that.  I like it when the application says “you’re missing something!”  Because you might not know.  Not at first, but eventually you’ll open a bin and see the media is gone, or play the timeline and hit that red bar.  Well, no.  Because FCP does ANOTHER cool thing to tell you the media is offline.  If you get that warning, and then click past it, you will see right away on the timeline where the media is missing from.  


A red render bar appears above the timeline where the media is gone from, and the clips are a different color (light grey).  And the thumbnail has that MEDIA OFFLINE red banner.

FCP does this by default.  Automatically. “Eh, oh…you’re  missing something here tough guy.  You might want to take notice.  Or not, you can click continue if you want…but it will still be missing.”

Avid Media Composer…doesn’t.  It doesn’t say a word.  Not one peep.  It just waits for you to open a bin, double click on a clip, and then it shows the muted warning, “media offline.”  Or play the timeline and hit the same black slate.  It’s as if MC says, in a bored tone, “here’s a shot, here’s another shot, and another, oh, by the way, this media is offline, here’s another clip…  Yeah, it was here just a moment ago, but now it isn’t.  Where is it? I don’t know. Shall we continue?”  The ONLY warning you have that the media is offline is that slate. Oh, and the thumbnail if your bin is in  SCRIPT view.


Sure, you can choose the clip color OFFLINE in that timeline menu, but this isn’t a default.  This is something you have to tell Avid you want it to do.  ”What, now you want me to tell you when this is offline?  Well, I won’t do that, but I’ll make the clip a different color.  Is that good enough for you?”  Well, no…but, I guess…if that’s the best you can do.

I have been using Avid MC 4.0 for the past 6 weeks, and I have really enjoyed going back to it.  But then this happened today and I remembered that this was one of my pet peeves.  The one thing about FCP that I really liked.  Media management is crap next to Avid MC, yet it can tell you that something is missing, ringing bells and flashing lights, when Avid MC just sits there.

What’s up with that?

Man, have I been neglectful of my blog. I hate it when I go to other blogs I read and see the same old post over and over again. Nothing new. Really? Nothing new? C’MON! You must be doing something.

Well, I am. I am busy…busy cutting. I am on Rough Cut 2 where we had to completely rearrange everything. Which is OK, as most of the stuff I roughed out in Rough Cut 1 I could use again as segments in Rough Cut 2. And I needed to expand on some segments, and cut some segments. And I’m glad that in these stages I don’t have TOO much music…because fixing music after adding or cutting is time consuming. We are just in “get it in the right order” mode…get the story in a good…story telling order.

ANYWAY, that isn’t what this post is about. I just wanted to let you all know that I have been busy. Because besides this job, I have a family with three girls and on the weekends they run me ragged. Mother’s Day hit too… Oh, wait, getting side tracked again.

I had today off. Because we had more footage to import (another shoot day), and the producer needed to get her bearings. So I went to the dentist (which everyone should do on a day off, I suppose…right?), and then saw Iron Man 2…in a theater ALL to myself. Private screening. NICE. And then I cam back and…took the rest of the day off? Nah…I can’t do that. I’m a workaholic. When I am not working…I make excuses to fire up my machine and do SOMETHING.

Well, I had a decent something to do today. Besides converting a bunch of footage at home for use in the show, I did some testing. Because when you aren’t working, you should test things. See how things might work out…BEFORE you impliment them. Well, the thing I wanted to test was taking this fine show cut on Avid Media Composer 4.0 (which I am LOVING, BTW), and get it over to FCP so I can send it to COLOR for color correcting. Because Color is not only easier to color correct with than the built in tools in MC, but because it is more powerful than MC.

So, I took an Act, exported an AAF file linking to media. Then used Automatic Duck Pro Import to import that into FCP (worked flawlessly)…media managed to ProRes 422 (because Color doesn’t work with the Avid codec)…and then sent to Color to correct a small chunk, then back to FCP to see the results.

I knew that eventually we’d output this 720p 23.98 (DVCPRO HD from P2) show to 1080psf HDCAM, I first media managed the media to 1080p 23.98, using the software to cross convert the footage.  Why not?  I was converting the footage to ProRes, why not kill two birds with one stone?  Well, it looked a little soft to me, so I media managed again to 720p ProRes…and that looked much better.  Sharp.  and toggling between the two I could definately see the difference.  And I know the cross convert capabilities of the MXO2 will look better than the software.  So I’ll do the cross convert when I output.

OK, now.  I still have some NAB stuff to get to.  YES, I DO!  I’ll try to do that when I am on the subway to work.  I have 1.5 hours to kill both ways.  It’s just not easy typing and managing my bike at the same time.