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Little Frog in High Def

Adventures in Editing
Little Frog In High Def


Archive for November, 2007

Tim Wilson over at the Creative Cow started this blog post as a comment on the blog post I made over there about upgrading to Leopard (a reprint of what I posted here). It really goes in depth about the dangers of upgrading, and how really there is no way that Apple and other third party vendors can possibly test every possible combination of hardware and software to ensure that no bugs sneak through the cracks. This is also very pertinent to the recent issue I had with Noise Industries FX Factory, and how it was missed.

Many people every day report issues with their software and OS not working properly…and there are literally thousands of possible causes of these. It is just TOO easy to just cry foul and blame Apple for everything, for not “testing” properly.

Well, read his blog posting. It’s good.

Apple Knowledge Base

It’s official. FCP 4.0 and earlier is NOT supported by Leopard. So if you one of the few that are still using this version (why you aren’t on the more stable FCP 4.5 is beyond me) and you are jonzing to upgrade to Leopard…don’t.

Now…UNOFFICIALLY if you are one of the bright ones using FCP 4.5…stick to OS 10.3.9 and QT 6.5. Not sure what APPLE’S stance on this, but from the posts I read, and from experience, this is the most stable combination for FCP 4.5. ALWAYS stick with the most stable version. BACK TO MY MAC and SPACES is cool, but not cool enough to sacrifice a working production machine.

Noise Industries Announcement.

Apple Knowledge Base

FxFactory 2.0.1 fixes a bug which causes the “Log and Transfer” functionality to be lost inside Final Cut Pro when FxFactory is installed

I posted about it on this thread on the Apple forums.

This has been tested and indeed does work.

They also indicated that they are going to work on a patch for V1 as well.

This is a great short film by Martin Scorsese, THE KEY TO RESERVA. It supposedly comes from a few pages (3.5) from a recently discovered Hitchcock script.

So this is a Hitchcock film, as envisioned by Scorsese. GREAT film experiment….we need more of these.

EDIT: This is, in fact, a very long and elaborate COMMERCIAL. I thought so, but wasn’t sure. The REALLY CLOSE UP on the bottle of wine, and the hammy behavior of Scorsese should have been hints…as well as the MUSIC. But…whatever. I still liked it. And I still liked the Ad that he did for American Express last year…having to “re-shoot” his grandkid’s birthday.

This blog can now be found as a part of the Broadcast Engineering BE Roll list of blogs from people in the broadcast world.


There is a nice little graphic link on the right that you can click on that gets you there.

My FULL review of the Matrox MXO and the new 2.0 drivers (which actually came out in April) is up at the Creative Cow.


I have three smaller articles/blog posts about it here (part 1), here (part 2) and here (version 2.0 announcement).

The TV series “24” was set in 1995?

College Humor

Just a little break from all the troubleshooting madness.

There was an issue that cropped up when many of us upgraded FCP 6 to 6.0.2. Suddenly the LOG AND TRANSFER option for P2 didn’t work. Initially I solved this by zapping PRAM, running Disk First Aid and repairing permissions and trashing FCP prefs. This unfortunately only worked ONCE. When I restarted, this didn’t work at all. And this didn’t work for everyone. I started a threat on the Apple forums to track this issue.

So in my testing I found the culprit to be the FxPlug plugins from FX Factory. As soon as I removed those, my import function returned. I even went so far as to get a new HD, install the OS fresh, update it. Install FCS 2 fresh, update it, and then install applications and plugins, testing the Import option after each one. It finally failed when I loaded FX Factory. SO…if you have this, or maybe other FxPlug plugins, try removing those and running FCP again. Uninstalling would be best (if possible), as one of the things I tried doing was removing ALL of the plugins from the Plugins folder, and it still failed. ONly when I ran the Uninstaller did it actually clear things up.

Here is the whole rigamaroll I did THIS time to narrow it down, the troubleshooting steps used in getting P2 import working with FCP 6.0.2:

Purchased a new 320GB SATA drive…only because I wanted to start fresh, and these were on sale for $50, and I had stuff on the other drive that I wanted to keep and didn’t really want to copy it to another…WHATEVER…I got a new drive. Larger than the other one…so…THERE!

I erased it and formatted it MacOS Extended. Then I installed the G5 disks. Then I ran the Tiger Upgrade Install CD, then used the System Update System Preference to bring everything up to the most current version.

Then I repaired permissions.

Next, I installed Final Cut Studio 2. Then I ran all the updates. This took a while, as I also went to Griffith Observatory with my family, and wasn’t on hand to press the OK button or swap DVDs.

Then I repaired permissions and restarted.

I copied over some backed up P2 footage and launched FCP 6.0.2. I opened Log and Transfer, navigated to a P2 folder and BOOM….there the clips were. Worked fine.

So now, I begin installing the extra software. I will list it in order, and test after each install.

1) Kona LH drivers, v4
2) Caldigit FASTA 4x driver
3) Quicksilver (I am CRIPPLED without this)
4) Adobe After Effects 6.5
5) Microsoft Office 2004
6) Photoshop CS (PS 8)

Repaired Permissions. And there was stuff that needed repairing. Photoshop color profiles from the looks of it.

7) Sorenson Squeeze 4.0
8) Shake 4.1
9) Magic Bullet – Colorista
10) Magic Bullet – Editors 2
11) Digital Film Tools (DFT) 55mm
12) Lyric Plugins

Repaired Permissions – no repair necessary.

13) FX Factory Plugins

P2 IMPORT FAILED. I then UNINSTALLED FX Factory (nice that they have an Uninstaller…need more of these) and tested again. P2 import was successful. So now I have narrowed it down to FX Factory…thus far. Checking more plugins.

14) Eureka Free and Eureka Plugins
15) Sheffield Softwerks
16) Marcus Plugins (Vignette, Face Light)
17) CGM Film LE
18) Film Grain Process (Paul Crisp I believe)
19) Nattress Big Box ‘o Tricks
20) Nattress Set 1
21) Nattress Standards Converter
22) Nattress Film Effects
23) Nattress Free (seems like I like the Nattress plugins huh?)
24) Zaxwerks 3D Flag Demo (testing other FxPlug plugins) Import worked fine.
25) CHV FxPlug Bundle (also FxPlug) Import worked fine.

At this point I yanked out the new drive and put back the old one. I ran the FX Factory Uninstaller. And guess what? I was able to import P2 using the Log and Transfer window!

I hope that this helps others in figuring out what is happening for them. If you have FX Factory, uninstall it and see what happens. If not, it might be some other FxPlug plugin.

Apple is aware of this issue and is investigating.

UPDATE: Noise Industries is working on this too.

OK, a few posts ago I mentioned this contest. (which I had the wrong name for the song, but we won’t go there.) This contest is still happening…you have until the Friday the 24th. Dunno, these might have inspired me. Yeah, right. I’ll do this over Thanksgiving. Wife would kill me.

I just wanted to point to the YouTube group for several of the submissions. Some are good, some are bad…as to be expected. And some are GREAT! This is what I like about this stuff. Put the tools and material into the hands of people and you will find the truly brilliant ones out there.

I do have to point out my personal favorite…because not only is it very pretty, it didn’t go down the OBVIOUS cloud motif path.


This guy put a LOT of work into this video, and a lot of heart, and it shows. UNFORTUNATELY…the contest is only open to US Residents, and he isn’t one. DOH! He gets my vote!

Just for you nostalgic types…

In the last post (look down) I mentioned that the place I am working now had, as a doorstop, an RMAG removable drive. More than a few people asked for pics, so…

RMAGs were removable hard drives that found wide use in the mid to late 1990s, and into the early 2000s. Each one was 9GB and cost a whopping $4000! Wait…I said all of that, in the post below.

Sheesh. ANYWAY…

Seeing as technology doesn’t stand still, they quickly became obsolete….and now have been relegated to the menial task as doorstop. Which is a good use. These cinderblock sized drives were also cinderblock weight…perfect for the task at hand.

OK, now that Andrew Jackson has aired, I can now show a clip from it in my demo reel. So I’d like to take this opportunity to announce my new demo reel site, I have been playing around with iWeb and I think I got the hang of it. I will have to say that I REALLY like the h.264 encodes of my HD projects.

OK, enough trumpeting my own horn. Now for something funny.

When I was leaving the edit bay tonight (well, this morning…3AM) I passed an edit bay and noticed something that struck me as funny. There, propping open a door, was an RMAG. Now, for you who don’t know this, an RMAG is a cinderblock sized (and weight) 9 GB hard drive that was in use in the mid-1990’s. This 9GB drive was a slot loading drive (required the RMAG Chassis) that ran about $4000. Nowadays you can get a 2.5TB Raid 5 unit capable of 400MB/s for the same price….think about that for a moment.

And realize that that $4000 drive is now ACUTALLY being used as a doorstop.

Well I found it funny.

Are you missing the Daily Show as much as I am? Well, what better way to get that Daily Show fix, than to watch this video where the Daily Show writers explain the main reason they are striking.

I saved posting the airdate until the time was close. Well, it is close. And it will air THREE times very close to one another…so you will be sure to catch it.

Andrew Jackson.

Sunday, November 18 08:00 PM
Monday, November 19 12:00 AM (that’s right…MIDNIGHT)
Saturday, November 24 05:00 PM

Not sure if these are Eastern or Pacific times…there have been times when it was set to air at 8PM and I find that it is on a 5PM…so 8PM eastern, 5PM Pacific. But then it re-aired later that night.

Anyway, this is my third History Channel high def show cut with FCP…and since I have maybe 4 shows that air a year (specials…all of them specials) announcing when one airs is a big thing. Now, when I get a SERIES, I can be more casual about it and say “catch this every Tuesday at 8:00 PM” and it won’t be such a big deal because you see it all the time. Well, it will still be a big deal, just not a quarterly event.

ONE of these day’s the network will publicize a show I work on…one of these days. Until then I have to shout it from the street corner…


When my SURGERY SAVED MY LIFE episode airs on Discovery Health (gah, they HAD to move it from the main Discovery channel for some reason)…I’ll let you know. That will be my…2nd show this year? The third I am working on now. MAN, I need a series.

Quoting the press release:

World Premiere Sunday, November 18th, 2007 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT

NEW YORK, NY, OCTOBER 10, 2007 — Ask Americans which President’s face is on
the twenty dollar bill and most will say, “Andrew Jackson”. Ask these same people the
reason why Jackson’s portrait graces the modern twenty dollar bill and many of them will
not have the answer. Some of those in the know claim he does not deserve such a
distinction, while others praise him for his accomplishments during his presidency. Why
the discrepancy?

During his presidency, Andrew Jackson saved America from occupation by the British
and held off the secession of South Carolina, was known simply as “The Hero,” and was
one of the most popular American Presidents in history. And yet he is also responsible for
one of this country’s biggest humanitarian disasters, and is remembered in some circles
as a tyrant and double-crosser. A new two-hour special presentation examines the
controversial life and career of ANDREW JACKSON premiering November 18th,
2007 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on The History Channel®.

I case you didn’t know, the Hollywood writers are on strike. For those of you who are unclear exactly why (like me) This 5-minute video lays out very clearly why.

Here I sit in the online of my latest show, watching someone else do all the work. This show, SURGERY SAVED MY LIFE (“Battleground Miami” is the episode title…on Discovery Health) was done the old fashioned way, an offline/online workflow. We offlined on Avid Meridian v11s on G4’s running OS9….all the media on a Unity. Sure, it’s old, but it still works and works well. I had very few issues, and really enjoyed being back on an Avid. Well, I cursed at it a few times when I had to do something that in FCP would be a SNAP…like shuffling footage and scenes…but overall I liked it.

So I did the offline cut at the production office, working with five other editors, all on different episodes. When I locked picture (late last night) they took the bin with the locked sequence to a post facility that then onlined the cut on an Avid Symphony. When this is done, we will output a digibeta, then take it to a DaVinci for color correction, the output a tape, then to a linear bay for titling…then output to another tape. MAN…what a lot of steps. I didn’t have to do this with my last FCP shows…or even my last show I cut on an Avid. We did the titling and color correction in the symphony. Whew.

I mention this because the next show I will be working on…well, the one AFTER the next show I am on (I will be going to a company to help “fix” a series they are having issues with)…the next show with THIS company…will be shot on DVCPRO HD, Varicam and P2, for the History Channel…a series no less…and we are trying to pitch FCP to the main production company as I have already done three shows this way…but they are ballking and wanting us to use Avids. So we are doing a workflow comparison for them. I’ll blog about that soon.

ANYWAY…I have COMPLETELY digressed from what I wanted to talk about. I wanted to talk about distancing yourself from the editing process to allow you to view your work more critically.

Last week when we were working on the FINE cut (the step between Rough Cut and Locked Picture…the second pass at a show that you send to the network), I had finished my cut and we were about to watch the show to see how it looks as a whole, when my producer said to me, “Shane, come here….sit on the sofa. Get away from the controls and sit back and relax, I’ll control the machine.”

“But, I…” I try to protest.

“No, get back here and watch it. Get away from the machine. Watch it from my point of view. NO! Watch it from the perspective of someone who just turned on the TV and goes ‘Hey, this looks interesting.’ Watch critically.”

Now, I never thought of doing this before. Dunno why. Because it is VERY true….when you watch it in your chair in front of the controls, you are still in your ‘editor’s mind.’ Noting things that aren’t working, or wanting to stop the show and just fix this one small thing. You are still seeing it from the point of something YOU put together. Sitting back does put you in another frame of mind completely. I was able to sit back and actually view it as though I was watching some show on TV. That surprised me. And it was really helpful, becuase instead of seeing it as I need to fix this one small edit, or music cue, I was paying attention to the story, following the people and the personalities and…well…enjoying the show.

I wasn’t allowed to take notes or anything. I was to watch it and give my general impressions. What worked for me, and what didn’t…all based on my memory, based on what impacted me and stuck with me. And when it was over, I can say that I did genuinely enjoy the show. It was odd, but I was able to remove myself from the process and watch the show. And it was eye opening. I gave my impressions to the producer, he agreed with most of them, gave me his…and I went about the task of fixing what didn’t work, or needed a little something more to get the point across.

As I said, I had never thought about doing this before. I think that my producer, also knowing how to edit (but having been away from the chair for quite some time) recognized what a difference it was watching in front of the machine, and back on the sofa. Because you are closer to the work, still there and involved in the cut, you are more invested in it, and apt to defend the edit decisions. But by stepping back and removing yourself from the process…distancing yourself…you can watch the show with a more critical eye.

Try it.