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Little Frog in High Def

Musings of an NLE ronin…

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Category: FCP

We got handed a project to do.  Majority already captured on a 6TB  RAID (Firewire Raid).  This footage consists of:

1) Uncompressed 8-bit PAL (4:3) (45% of the footage)

2) XDCAM 1080p PAL (full raster 16:9) (about 35% of the footage)

3) PAL DV 720×576 (Anamorphic and 4:3) (about 15% of the footage)

4) NTSC DV 720×480 (Anamorphic and 4:3) (about 5% of the footage)

And…just for the fun of it…

5) Canon 5D Mark II 1920×1080 30p (30fps!) H.264 files (full raster 16:9) (less than 1% of the footage)

Currently converting the DV/NTSC to PAL with Compressor (quite time consuming).  Already converted the Canon 5D footage to ProRes SD PAL Anamorphic (quite time consuming).

When editing started, it was decided to work with an XDCAM 1080i sequence.  This cause headaches NO END.  Crashing 4-5 times a day, slow timeline response…for days and days.  NO doubt this was do to the fact that we are taking formats with individual frames and dropping them into an intra-frame, Long GOP format sequence.  Just painful.

So we changed things.  I made a new sequence…ProRes 422 PAL, and copy-and-pasted the cut from the XDCAM sequence into this.  Yes, we needed to render a few things, but we had GREEN and light GREEN render bars, meaning that we could play it fine without stuttering or dropping frames.  And you know what?  We haven’t crashed since.

Now to figure out what to do with the 4:3 and 16:9 issue.  Delivering a 16:9 master.

Got this a month ago with a one month deadline.  Think we might miss that.  Can really go for that Avid 4.0 software on this, BUT…it was already captured in FCP before it was handed over.

Fun times.

Well, not Daffy Duck, but a more…competent and less cartoony one.

If I said that I had a nasty OMF issue that I have NEVER seen before, and that the DUCK helped me fix it, would you understand what I mean?  I said that to my wife after she asked “how’s your day going so far?” and you could hear the silence on the other end when I replied with that above line.

“Pardon?”

So today I did something that I have done over 200 times with Final Cut Pro…exported an OMF for the audio house to start their mix.  Actually, the first time I didn’t do it.  I was busy juggling about 3 other things, so one of the offline editors did it.  But I told them what needed to be done.  Anyway, we did this export and sent it off, and the audio house calls the next day saying that only 5 tracks were in the OMF, where were the others?  Our timelines consist of 10 audio tracks, so this was a tad odd.  But what was odder still?  Sync was off.  WAY off.  Talking 2-5 seconds off, and just irregular.

So thinking that the offline editor messed up, I did the OMF.  Again, it is wrong.  Exact same issue.  First 5 tracks only, and not in sync.  Hmmm…  So I copy the sequence to a new project, new timeline, paste it, and re-export.  And I watch the progress as it goes.  After track 5, it stops.  Odd.  I boot to the drive with ProTools LE on it, open the OMF in a new session and…wow!  What a jumble.  Sync wasn’t the issue.  It wasn’t out of sync.  It was as if the audio slipped in a room full of banana peels.  The audio was on the proper tracks, but each clip was slipped all over that track.  Listening to it…was impossible.

Odd.

So I stripped off tracks 1-5 and tried exporting 6-10.  It got as far as track 6, then stopped.  I stripped 6, it did 7 only. I stripped 7, it did 8-10.  Then I imported all into ProTools and…I don’t want to talk about it.  U-G-L-Y it don’t need no alibi.

I have to say that I have never ever seen anything like this.  Not on Avid, not on FCP, not with Media 100.  Never.  And I am on like 5 dozen FCP and Avid forums and I have never seen this ever come up.  None of my friends have heard of it.  Some odd thing out of the blue.  This wasn’t hitting the 2GB size barrier as the show was 23 min and never went above 1.75GB.  In fact, if it WAS hitting the limit, I’d get a warning.

Now comes the Duck.  Automatic Duck Pro Export 4.0 to be exact. I had this, but hadn’t used it yet on this show.  Got it for FCP to Avid project transfers mainly.  I did have experience using this software…I have an older version that I used a couple years ago for exporting OMFs from FCP to keep all my levels and pans and dissolves intact, before FCP 6 came along and included that.  So I knew it was good. With some “reminding” about this software (thanks Wes) I did the export with the Duck.

Damned if it didn’t work.  Flawless as all get out.

The Duck to the rescue.

MAKING DVDS

Oct 22

I had one of those “D’oh!” moments today.  Oddly because it was a situation I faced before, YEARS ago, and solved, but for some reason I didn’t think of the solution again, until a day later.

I have been busy lately.  Busy on this ONE show that I have to do four versions on.  2 hour domestic (with commercial breaks), 2 hour international (additional footage, NO breaks), then one hour domestic and one hour international.  QUITE a task as this was done  with the offline edit/online workflow, and one that had me travelling for a remote online.  BUT…more on that later.

So while I am doing all of these outputs, I also need to make DVDs of these cuts.  Seems simple enough, right?  Export a ref movie, take into Compressor, use a preset, compress, make a DVD.  And it is fairly simple.  That works great for the ones that we need CLEAN.  But then we also need DVDs with burned in timecode.  THAT ain’t so simple.  Well, normally it is, as I do this all the time with one series I have here.  But for some reason this show is acting up.  The reference QT I exported didn’t have embedded timecode (I even tried self contained QT), so the Timecode filter in Compressor didn’t display it properly, it started at 00:00:00;00.

Useless.

So I thought about importing that REF movie into FCP, dropping a TC Generator onto it…then I get the GREEN render bar.  96 min show…rendering would take forever.  I tried exporting directly to Compressor, with QMASTER set up, and that said it would take 6 hours.  Just not right.

Then I rememebered having this same issue WAAAAY back when I started with FCP.  Encoding a DVD of the ROUGH CUT to the network took 19 hours (on a G5).  Too long.  So, I bought a capture card, Kona LH, and a DVD recorder, and output in real time.  Didn’t render, as this was a rough cut.

So NOW, here I am, same situation.  BUT, I don’t need to drop timecode onto the track, or nest or export a QT then reimport.  Because I am using a Kona card (LH in that particular bay, and Kona 3 in my online bay), and version 6 of the drivers has a TIMECODE OPTION.  Click this, a lower third timecode reader pops up, and there you go.  Hooked up a DVD recorder, pressed play.  DVD done in 2 hours.

KonaCP_Timecode

THANK GOD.

Still encoding the non-timecoded DVDs, as we make menus for them.  But the visible timecode ones are for other reasons, so quality isn’t a big issue.

OK, more deliverables to worry about.  Back to work.

TJP_ONLINE-Bay

If you follow me on Twitter (comebackshane) you would no doubt been party to the Tweets I have been making about getting an Avid working on my FCP system…with hardware. If not, then time to start following me on Twitter! Well this is the FULL story about that process…

My boss called me into his office and asked my advice about an Avid online of an FCP offline of a cut. This was for another company that was all Final Cut Pro…they called us because they knew we did all of our finishing in house. Now, they needed to do an AVID online because part of their network deliverables required an Avid project file and DNx MXF media on a USB drive.  I said yes, this is possible, Automatic Duck and you are set.  But the other company wondered if we to do this job. We currently are an FCP shop, but there was an Avid Adrenaline somewhere in storage.  But, there were a few issues with that rig.

First off, this place hadn’t used it for about 14 months, and it was pretty much been broken up for “parts.”  The Adrenaline box was still in the rack, and we had the dongle, but the HP Pavillion it used to reside in was in the server room, quite dusty and missing the side panel and the system drive.  But I heard that they were having issues with that machine anyway and the didn’t want to rely on it. Since they were making the switch to Final Cut Pro, the system got pushed aside. No problem, this place is full of Macs, and Adrenaline works on a Mac (I found this out by looking it up and posting a question on Creative Cow).

But in doing further research I hit upon a problem…the Mac Pros we have are all the Jan 2008 model, the ones that came with Leopard installed.  The ones with new PCIe boards and the drivers for them were only on Leopard.  And Avid Adrenaline says that version 3.0 system requirements on the Mac are OSX TIGER…10.4.11. I found THIS out after buying my 2008 MacPro and trying to use it alongside the may 2007 models that were running Tiger (and they didn’t want to install Leopard) and when I tried to install Tiger, Kernal Panic city.  So…another wall.

So now I am back to my original idea that I mentioned in the Creative Cow…I was considering installing Windows XP Professional Edition (SP2) on the Mac Pro I have, booting to that OS, and running Adrenaline.  Using a Mac…to boot Windows…to run Avid Adrenaline.  Is this Avid certified? HELL NO. But worth a shot. So I found the WinXP install disks and used Boot camp to partition a drive and then start the install process. When it booted into windows…the screens remained black. The OS apparently didn’t recognize the graphics card. It was an old Service Pack 1 installer…no doubt the drivers weren’t there. So I decided to drop that idea. I didn’t want to work with Windows anyway.

Back to my idea about trying this on the Mac. Further research and further question asking of several friends and colleagues turned up the fact that I could most definitely use Avid Media Composer 3.0 with the Adrenaline box using Leopard. And since I had 3.0.5 on my home system, I just cloned that drive and brought it to the work machine. OS 10.5.4 and QT 7.4.5. Avid is picky about the OS. But when I booted to 10.5.4…only one monitor worked. Again, the OS didn’t recognize the graphics card, an ATI Radeon 3870. And looking on the web page for a driver turned up the line “MacOS has all the drivers installed in their system, so no driver is needed.” Riiiiight. Further advice said that 3.0 and Adrenaline worked fine under 10.5.6…so since this was a cloned drive I installed it and restarted. THERE was my second monitor.
OK, so I booted to 10.5.6…had the Adrenaline connected via Firewire, bought a Keyspan serial adapter for deck control, and connected the system to the SRW-5800 HDCAM SR deck we have in house…to see how things worked. Well, I could see the image from the deck, but I couldn’t get deck control. SO CLOSE! I could capture to DNxHD 145 and 220…but I had to have deck control off to do so. Hmmm…can’t have that. Have to figure out deck control.

I tried replacing the RS-422 cable…that didn’t work. I tried updating the drivers for the Keyspan…that didn’t work. I got an adapter so that I could try it on the RS-422 cable that I used with FCP (I didn’t before because the connection type wasn’t right…female/male connector issue) and it STILL didn’t work.

God dammit all! So close.

So I posted the question on the Creative Cow and on the Avid_L yahoo list (via a friend) and on FCP_L. There were lots of suggestions, but then one that seemed odd. Terry Curren suggested that I just use the Kona serial, as this is what someone else does (Greg Huson) and it works fine. Greg happens to have FCP and Avid on the same boot drive, and figured out that Avid recognizes the Kona serial port. So I installed the Kona drivers and sure enough, there was that option in the Deck Configuration list. So I chose it, and launched the Capture interface, and…

I had deck control!

There we go…finally. Avid Adrenaline fully functioning. I captured HDCAM SR with timecode, I could output to a monitor, output back to the deck. Everything. Now I just need to test the online workflow. Take one of our finished locked shows, use Automatic Duck Pro Export 4.0 to convert the FCP EDL to AAF or something Avid can read, then recapture the tapes from HDV. Then re-acquaint myself with the color correction tools.

So now I have a bay that can online FCP or Avid. One computer, two separate boot disks (actually, four…one with FCP 6.0.5 (Final Cut Studio 2), one with FCP 7 (Studio 3), one with ProTools (to check our online sessions on occasion), and one Avid 3.0.5. One machine, two editing platforms with hardware.

I have many people to thank for this. I couldn’t have done this without the Creative Cow and the many people there, like Terry Curren and Mark Block…Greg Huson for figuring out the Kona Serial thing…people on the Avid_L and FCP_L on Yahoo…and friends Pat Sheffield, Paul Kavadias and John Malm. This is the reason I post on and visit all the forums I do. People helping people…best tech support you will EVER get.

Wow, another great plugin by my pal Patrick Sheffield of Sheffield Softworks, MOVIE COLOR.

Movie Color is a plugin for use within Final Cut Pro or Motion that gives you the ability to apply stylized “looks” to your footage. It comes with over 40 such looks pre-designed in the form of named presets. Many of these looks were developed from popular films such as Transformers, Harry Potter, Pelham 123, etc. All of these looks can be adjusted in minor scene-to-scene tweaking, or used as a starting point for a completely new look of your own. If you develop a look you’d like to share, name it and send it to me and it may be included in upcoming preset releases.

Movie Color allows you, through a variety of powerful methods, to build two tinted images and mix them back into your original image to varying degrees through the use of masks. A mask can be thought of as an adjustable stencil that allows you to control where and to what degree your tinted image is “painted” back over your original image. It also contains a Pre-Processing section that allows you to adjust the saturation, the brightness, and the contrast of your image as well as a “Bleach Bypass” setting.

Movie Color is an FxPlug plugin that utilizes the power of your graphics card to achieve a boost in processing. With a good graphics card, you can reach around 2 seconds render for every second of raw footage. Your mileage may vary. Movie Color requires at least 10.5 (Leopard) of the operating system and at least Final Cut Studio 2 (FCP 6/Motion 3).

If you’re intimidated by Color, try my Movie Color plugin – you can get great results without ever leaving the comfort of Final Cut Pro or Motion.

or more information, and to download a demo, visit Sheffield Softworks. The plugin’s normal price is $99, but currently has an introductory price of $20 off or $79.

So here I am, all set to do a tutorial on all the fine uses of the OPTION KEY in FCP…because this key really does a lot…when I come across this old tip from Ken Stone dot net.

The Option Key in FCP 4.

Yup…FCP 4! And ALL of those tips are still VERY relevant. Only I think he left one out. If you press OPT-P when you are parked on an unrendered section of your timeline, it will play forward as fast as it can…like a RAM PREVIEW. Only without audio. So at least you can get a quick look at what your effect will look like.

Well darn it all, there goes that tutorial. But HEY…there already IS one…so read it. GREAT tips, huge time saver.

So you have this DV tape, and you would like to see the DATE AND TIME that it was shot appear on the screen, just like you see when you play it in the camera’s viewfinder. Well, before today you couldn’t. It was there, but FCP (nor Avid for that matter) didn’t have any way to display this.

Well Automatic Duck has you covered with their “coming soon” plugin for FCP, ProDate DV. This is great for home video, LEGAL video, weddings…all sorts of stuff.

Check it out…

With the release of any now OS you are going to have a period of time where third party vendor support lags. So if you get the OS the INSTANT it comes out, and install it THAT DAY…you’ll find that a lot of stuff won’t work. Well, a lot of hardware you depend on. Sure, your printer and scanner might (or might not), but I’m talking Pro Editing stuff here…after all, this is a pro editing blog.

Some companies, like Avid, used to take up to a year-and-a-half to finally support a major OS update. This meant that when they finally supported one platform, the next one was already out. They supported Jaguar not long after Panther was released. But I’m fine with this…I rely on my editing gear to earn a living and I’d rather have a good solid working system than be on the bleeding edge of the latest and greatest. I could wait. Avid made DARN SURE that things worked before they certified things. Now they are a bit quicker on the uptake, so it might only take 6 months.

But really, waiting a few months to make sure that EVERYTHING is working…is a good thing. Wait to make sure that AJA (that has for FCP 7, just not Snow Leopard), BMD and Matrox release drivers for their cards, that Sonnett, Caldigit and Highpoint release drivers for their hardware…hey, wait a minute..some of them have.

Caldigit released their new drivers, found here, not long ago. As did Highpoint, for their RocketRaid cards.

OK guys…getting there. But, I think people should dip their toes in the water first. Or let others check to see if there are sharks swimming about. I myself am installing SL on a separate partition on my laptop…and then the Studio 2009…and then Matrox MXO2 and stuff. See what happens. See if it looks and feels worth the update at this time.

But the fact that TWO companies were this fast to release new drivers…that says that they are in the know…they are trusted insiders. I have no doubt that the capture cards will soon follow suit.

EDIT: Ahhhh…Decklink released their drivers for Snow Leopard, today too. Woot!

ANOTHER EDIT: And now AJA did as well.

Well darn it all to heck, I can’t make it to Amsterdam this year. I didn’t last year either…but the year I did go…man, I had fun. Been trying to get back but too many things conspire against that. Not only is the city a blask, but I get to meet a whole lot of industry people at IBC, and a whole lot in my area at the Final Cut Pro User Group Supermeets. These are, hands down, one of the best networking opportunities out there. No, you might not meet your next employer, but you meet other users from across the globe who know more about you in some areas, and you might know more about them in others, and so you can exchange notes. Plus you can meet the developers of products and applications at talk to them first hand and give them your notes to their face. I will miss the chance to meet Andreas Kiel this year…I owe that guy a beer for all the helpful apps he makes.

Anyway…if you are there, you have to go. Seriously. And do what Mike says…take this opportunity to introduce yourself to someone and just start talking. I mean, you can talk tech there, and editing, and you won’t get blank stares like you do when you try to tell your great stories to your non-production friends. That happens to me too much, which is why I go to monthly meetings.

I digress…I need to post the details of this so you can go there and see for yourself. And hey…they serve beer.

AGENDA SET FOR SECOND ANNUAL AMSTERDAM FCPUG SUPERMEET

Final Cut Pro co-creator Michael Wohl featured with interactive Q&A panel
discussion between experts and audience

Summary:
The Final Cut Pro User Group Network have announced the agenda is now set
for the Second Annual Amsterdam FCPUG SuperMeet to be held Sunday, 13
September 2009 at The Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky in Dam Square, the heart of
Amsterdam, Netherlands. Doors open at 16:30 with an FCP Showcase with over
26 exhibitors; Presentations begin at 19:00 and continue until 23:30. This
event is expected to be the largest gathering of Final Cut Studio users,
Gurus and Digital Filmmakers in Europe during the annual IBC trade show.

Body:
Los Angeles / Boston – The Final Cut Pro User Group Network (FCPUG Network)
have announced the agenda is now set for the Second Annual Amsterdam FCPUG
SuperMeet to be held Sunday, 13 September 2009 at The Grand Hotel
Krasnapolsky in Dam Square, the heart of Amsterdam, Netherlands. Doors open
at 16:30 with an FCP Showcase with 26 exhibitors; Presentations begin at
19:00 and continue until 23:30. This event is expected to be the largest
gathering of Final Cut Studio users, Gurus and Digital Filmmakers in Europe
during the annual IBC trade show.

Scheduled to appear will be Final Cut Pro co-creator Michael Wohl who will
show off the new features as well as discuss what we need to know about the
recently announced and shipping Final Cut Pro 7.

Also scheduled on the agenda and in order of appearance will be:

Apple Certified Trainer, editor and designer Simon Walker will show “How to
do a Grade with Color 1.5 in just 10 Minutes.”

Jason Levine, Sr. Worldwide Evangelist for Adobe, is back on the SuperMeet
stage to share the latest integration between Final Cut and Creative Suite 4
Production Premium. Jason will show how to take your FCP sequences into
Premiere Pro CS4 and dynamically create complex, rich Blu-Ray discs in
Encore CS4, building your menus natively in Photoshop CS4, and even creating
motion menus and transitions in After Effects CS4.

Space Digital’s Simon Blackledge and Gary Kelly will once again take the
SuperMeet stage with brand new tips on the importance of choosing “More
Right Tools for the Job” with Final Cut Pro at the center of their workflow.

MacVideo.tv’s Rick Young and JVC’s Semir Nouri will show off the incredibly
simple JVC “Instant Editing” workflow with and show some stunning footage
from the recently introduced compact hand-held GY-HM100 3-CCD camcorder and
shoulder-mount GY-HM700, the industry’s first professional camcorders to
record files in the native QuickTime format for Apple’s Final Cut Pro.

The organizers of the SuperMeet also intend to turn the show over to the
audience for an interactive discussion with Final Cut Studio experts who
will answer any and all questions on the new Final Cut Studio as well as
listen to user feedback and feature requests for future versions of Final
Cut Studio. This portion of the meeting will be videotaped and later put on
the internet for the world to see.

Also expected on stage will be a “Show and Tell” from a soon to be announced
EU filmmaker.

Rounding out the evening will be the always wild “World Famous Raffle” where
over €43,000 Euros of valuable prizes will be handed out to dozens of lucky
winners.

Doors will open at 17:00 featuring the “FCP Showcase,” where attendees will
be able to get up close and personal with 26 vendors and small developers
who will be showcasing their solutions for digital filmmakers and Final Cut
users. The SuperMeet will begin promptly at 19:00.

Tickets for the Amsterdam SuperMeet are selling fast and are available for
sale online for only €15.00 Euros each (Students with valid ID need only pay
€10.50 each). Tickets may be available at the door for €20.00 each but it is
expected this event will sell out as historically every SuperMeet sells out.

Food (snacks) will be served throughout the evening and cash bars will be
available for those that wish to network and share a few cocktails. For
daily updates as well as directions to the The Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky in
Dam Square, details on the agenda and a current list of raffle prizes, visit
the Amsterdam FCPUG SuperMeet web sites:

http://fcpugnetwork.org/
http://www.lafcpug.org/Amsterdam_2009.html

About the SuperMeets
SuperMeets are gatherings of Final Cut Pro editors, gurus and Mac-based
digital filmmakers from throughout the world who use or want to learn to use
Apple’s Final Cut Studio suite of applications, most importantly Final Cut
Pro. SuperMeets are held annually along side large trade shows such as
Macworld in San Francisco, NAB in Las Vegas, IBC in Amsterdam and in 2009 as
a stand alone event in London. The agenda usually includes appearances by
Apple, demos of new products, digital video tips and tricks, and filmmaker
show and tells, including an FCP Showcase with vendors and small developers
who will be showing off their solutions for digital filmmakers.

If you use FCP, most likely you have been hit with the wonderfully generic “GENERAL ERROR!” So informative. It tells you jack s**t about what the problem ACTUALLY is. And the problem is that it can cover all sorts of issues…exporting, editing, rendering…so your guess is as good as anyones as to what the issue ACTUALLY is.

Well, I was hit with this error this morning, and it took me ALL MORNING to figure out what it was. So in hopes that other people will learn from this, and find out what one possible reason for this GENERAL ERROR might be, I will tell you what it was.

I was exporting a self contained Quicktime Movie of my final locked picture. I do this all the time, so that we have a tape copy and a digital file. I do this with the Texted and Textless versions. Well, I did a batch export of these when I went away on Friday and was greeted with the GENERAL ERROR when I arrived Monday morning. I tried exporting again…error. I trashed my preferences with the Preference Manager, I repaired permissions with the Disk Utility, I restarted the computer…nada. Same error.

I thought it might be a render issue, so I re-rendered the entire timeline. Nope…General Error.

But then I noticed that the error happened at the same place every time. So then I started exporting the timeline in segments, until I got the error, then I narrowed my export range until I finally narrowed it down to one clip. Finally, I found the bugger! This was a file that was rendered out of COLOR, so I launched Color and re-rendered just that clip. Launched FCP again, it referenced the new clip and BOOM, I was in business. So somehow, in some way, that clip was corrupt.

So ONE possible cause of this issue is a corrupt clip…corrupt render…corrupt media file.

OH, crap, it just popped up with ANOTHER General Error. Looks like I have more searching to do.

Ugh.

EDIT: Well poop…that wasn’t it. Every time I found the problem clip, and re-rendered in Color, ANOTHER clip would cause the General Error. Even if I narrowed it down to the clip, then check all the clips AFTER that one. After I fix that one, suddenly the General Error would happen on a clip after that…or before. It was like WHACK-AN-ERROR…couldn’t nail it down. BUT…when I opened this project up in FCP 7 (FCP 6.0.5 project) and exported…no error at all.

SO…again, this error remains a mystery. Dammit.

I have been testing this application for a bit, and it is really cool.

P2 Flow

Made in collaboration between MXF4MAC.com and Spherico this handy application “provides editing of the original P2 metadata including MXF video/audio preview and unique workflow features for Final Cut Pro. It’s the only external application that is able to send MXF online clips to Final Cut Pro as well as offline clips that can be ingested with Log and Transfer.” That means that you can edit the metadata, then send use the application to send the clips with the new metadata to FCP for NATIVE access to the MXF files…OR…you can send the clips as “offline clips” that you can then use BATCH CAPTURE to import them into FCP as QT files. The first option is cool for the small one-man-band studios that have only one machine, but the QT import option is fantastic for the operation that has multiple machines but can only afford one copy of the application.

Here is a quick rundown:

– Full metadata editing
– Synchronized metadata editing for spanned clips
– Backward synchronizing of metadata for spanned clips – in case of incomplete spanned
clips had been edited
– Automatic Spotlight search for incomplete spanned clips
– Find function for metadata entries and batch metadata editing
– MXF video and audio preview (DV, DVCPRO25/50)
– AVC-Intra preview support on PPC when using recorded MP4 proxies
– Set in and out points for Final Cut Pro (DV, DVCPRO25/50)
– Send native MXF based online clips to Final Cut Pro (DV, DVCPRO25/50)
– Send offline clips to Final Cut Pro to batch ingest with Log and Transfer
– Full metadata mapping to Final Cut Pro
– Metadata mapping to QuickTime through Log and Transfer
– Memo List editing (DV, DVCPRO25/50, AVC-Intra proxies)
– Memo List mapping to Final Cut Pro markers
– Google Maps support for P2 location metadata (search only)
– Automatic angle mapping (for multicam setups) for Final Cut Pro based upon camera serial numbers
– VirtualTape function creates one single QuickTime movie from a selection of clips
– Visual feedback in the user interface for modified and unsaved P2 metadata
– Automatic update of Access Update metadata on changes
– Integrated user interface to work without cluttered windows
– Support for smallest MacBook display (1280 x 800) to work in the field

Let me highlight another feature for you: VirtualTape function creates one single QuickTime movie from a selection of clips. This means that instead of getting a MASSIVE amount of those small clips that P2 generates, you can join them as one big QT file…just like you might capture a huge section of tape. This is big…the first time I saw the massive amount of small clips P2 generated I was a tad overwhelmed. I like to have one big clip to scroll through for footage, and I had resorted to making selects Sequences for this purpose. But now…I don’t have to.

Take a gander…there is a demo available that will injest 3 clips…so that you can play around and kick the tires.

EDIT: P2 Flow will be demoed at the FCPUG SuperMeet in Amsterdam Sept. 13 at the Spherico and MXF4Mac tables by the authors themselves.

http://www.lafcpug.org/Amsterdam_2009.html

Remember not too long ago…well, TWO ENTRIES AGO… I told you that I had a some task that I needed an application to help with, so I e-mailed a developer I know and he said “Hey, look, I have what you want already…” remember that?

Well, I did it again.

We still rely on the old and ancient EDL technology to spit out lists and track footage use in our projects. Mainly stock footage that we need to order, or music cue sheets. So we output these EDLs, and we try to do as simply as we can, but they are still quite large and full of data that we don’t need and when you import them into Excel you need to do a lot of cleaning up. All of this takes time, and usually falls on the shoulders of an associate producer or clearance supervisor to deal with. This wasn’t the original intent of the EDLs…they were designed to be import into linear editing systems to assemble cuts that were done on offline systems.

So I got to thinking, MXLs are the new standard, and they contain a lot of information, and information WE NEED. So couldn’t someone devise an application that could read those XML files and give us just what we need? Cleanly? So I chatted with Phil Hodgetts of Intelligent Assistance and asked him if he could make something that does this. Because I have seen other products he made that utilizes data from XML files, so I figured it was right up his alley.

Turns out that he to has ALREADY MADE the product I was asking him to make. He released it not a few days before I inquired about it. Too funny.

So I downloaded the demo and tested it, and noticed that it seemed lacking in a lot of information that I needed. So I said “hey, can you add source timecode of the clips, and duration? We need to track the SOURCE footage used in a show.” Sure thing…the next day his partner Greg had made a few changes and viola! There they were. How’s THAT for listening to the client?

The product is called Sequence Clip Reporter and it is a part of their Assisted Editing series of applications. I cannot tell you how helpful this is…and how much of a time saver. It does a lot. The associate producer here is absolutely GIDDY about it, and can’t wait to buy it.

One thing I really like about this is that you can output a Video Only list that shows off ALL the layers, so no need for multiple EDLs, and audio only lists, and target only the audio you want.

And it only costs $69. Woot!

So the current show I am working on uses subtitles. A LOT of subtitles. This is a show that re-enacts 911 phone calls, and it isn’t the clearest audio, so we subtitle everything. Well…we, uh…had some problems with those subtitles.

Typos.

And not just a couple. There were a lot that had something spelled wrong…or two spaces, or missing commas…or something. The producer was a tad miffed at this. He was wondering who to blame…the editors? Another producer came to our defense…

“Hey, I haven’t met one editor that could spell! Not one.”

Uh, thanks…I guess.

No, I understand where he is coming from. I told my wife about this issue and she said “Well, who is supposed to check the spelling?” I said that I was. She laughed. “YOU? You can’t spell.”

True…true…

So, we needed to figure something out. We have another producer who is a master of spelling and punctuation, but we need to somehow get all the text that we have in the show to her to check. And since we use the TEXT tool in FCP she would have to either sit at one of our edit stations, or we’d have to get her a copy of FCP so she could look at the project on her machine. Well, those weren’t viable options. We needed another alternative. I wrote a few programmers I knew to ask if they had any solutions. I knew that we could export an XML of the cut, and that the text data must be in there somewhere…so some solution must exist.

Andreas Kiel of Spherico answered the call.

First he mentioned an application that he wrote a while ago, but no longer supports (but still sells) called Title Cleaner. This is a great simple application that has a built in spell checker, for multiple languages. And removes extra spaces and poor punctuation. Well, that is one solution…one that would be fine, but then there was another solution that was better. Because I needed to somehow get the text to our spell master…and while we are on that track, we need to export a document of ALL the subtitles as part of our final show deliverables. Something some intern has been doing…manually typing what was on the screen.

So we were able to kill two birds with one stone with Title Exchange Pro. This will export a file that you can open with Excel, complete with timecode IN and OUT points. Perfect! But it’s usefulness doesn’t stop there. Using this you can export your subtitles as a file that you can import into DVD Studio Pro to make an embedded subtitle file. Nice…

Title Exchange Pro is 135.00 Euros…and with today’s exchange rate that is..well, close to $200.
Title Cleaner is 25.00 Euros, which works out to be about $50.

So, up to you. I just like the fact that I wrote to someone to ask “hey, can you make something that does this” and they reply, “ah, but I already have.”

Look at those links…Title Exchange does a lot more, but being that I am narrow sighted and only paying attention to what I need, that is all I pay attention to.

I dunno why, but I have been neglecting to read articles at Ken Stone dot net during the summer. I can’t explain why. That site is full of more FCP tips than any other. And a few great ones come from Steve Martin (no, not the comedian/actor) of Ripple Training. What’s new in FCP 7, the 10 Things I Love lists a few nuggets I missed.

– Adding Markers on the fly while you edit…with the ability to type in them while the video is playing

– The ability to export the Markers as a list! Duuuuude!

– The great changes to how FCP does speed changes, and still frames.

– Reveal Affilate clips in the timeline….select one clip, chose this option and ALL the instances that clip is in the timeline light up.

– Advanced Match Frame options

MORE!

There are a few that have been there in FCP 6, but he might not have noticed, like ZOOM INTO PLAYHEAD.

But see…there are all these little changes that we seem to gloss over. Because BluRay support wasn’t implimented, or native AVCHD support, or whatever people are bitching about lately.

Take a lookee here. At the top, where it says FCP 7 User Manual…note that VIEW AS PDF is now an option…and you can click on that, then go FILE>SAVE AS….and have the entire PDF version of the manual on your hard drive.

Thank you Apple. You do listen.