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Little Frog in High Def

Adventures in Editing
Little Frog In High Def


Archive for February, 2009

There is another blog out there that is somewhat like this one, only in MORE detail when it comes to workflow. It is called Suite Take, and it is one that should be on your TO READ list. And this guy (Thomas Tomchak) is ALSO into being highly organized, as you can see on this post.

I also added it to my links on the side.

Thanks Tom.

OK…as if HD wasn’t confusing enough with all these formats: HDV, DVCPRO HD, AVCHD, AVCIntra, HDCAM, XDCAM, XDCAM EX, HDCAM SR, D5…did I forget anything? Then there are all of the frame sizes and frame rates…23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 50, 59.94, 60…mind spinning yet? Mine is.

Especially when trying to figure out why “they” (whoever the HELL “they” are) did this:

720p at 59.94 is 60 ACTUAL frames per second. 60 individual frames per second that run at a 59.94 frequency/frame rate. In the DVCPRO HD world at least, not sure what JVC does with it’s 720p HDV camera. But then we have 1080i 59.94. Now THIS format isn’t 60fps…but 30 actual frames per second. 60 interlaced FIELDS…and this runs at 29.97fps. So since this format runs at 29.97fps…why the hell do they call it 59.94?

This causes so much confusion with people that it is no longer funny. Well, it never was. I tried until I was blue in the face to explain to a post supervisor that 1080i59.94 DVCPRO HD ran at 30fps. He didn’t buy it. I even showed him the time code numbers, and he still was skeptical. But this was captured on an Avid at 15:1 so he thought that certain frames weren’t captured since 15:1 was a 30 frame format. I finally had to show him on the deck.

SO when I work with people and try to talk about 720p 59.94 and 1080i 59.94 when we are talking about shooting options, there is a lot of confusion. They want to shoot 60fps for slow motion, and I say “you can only do that at 720p 59.94 because that is 60fps…1080i 59.94 isn’t 60 fps.”

I always get the reply “why not? 1080i 59.94…that is the same number as 720p 59.94…they are both 59.94, so why can’t I shoot 60fps at 1080i?”

“Because ‘i’ stands for interlaced meaning 60 interlaced fields, and ‘p’ means progressive meaning 60 full frames. Notice there isn’t a 1080p60 setting?”

Needless to say this takes a LOT of time to explain to producers/post supervisors. So, can anyone shed light as to why they call 1080i 59.94 that, and not 1080i 29.97? That would save a LOT of confusion. HD is confusing enough.

Thank you.

Boy, quicker than I thought. To subscribe to this podcast in iTunes, CLICK HERE.

FINALLY…I have submitted this to iTunes, but didn’t realize that you can use iTunes to subscribe to ANY podcast you want, as long as you have the RSS feed. This is what I get for not knowing jack about the interwebtubes and podmake casting and all that carp.

SO…here is how you subscribe to my podcast in iTunes.

Step 1: Launch iTunes. Click on the ADVANCED menu and choose SUBSCRIBE TO PODCAST

Step 2: Paste in the RSS Feed of the podcast in question…

Done. Then hit GET ALL and there you go.

here is the RSS feed to copy and paste.


The second episode of my podcast THE EDIT BAY is now available for download. This one is about getting fired. Hopefully it will be up on iTunes soon…I did submit it last week.

In the meantime, you can download episode 2 here.

OK, because it is Saturday and I really should be paying attention to my kids, I will just cut/paste from Final Cut User the description of the latest show.

John Flowers was nice enough to invite myself and others to discuss the on going FCP/Avid marketshare talk which can always turn into a heated battle but with this crew we stayed very level headed. The majority of us think Avid is loosing market share to FCP . This is a long show but worth the listen. A lot of what is covered is detailed in the show notes…a sample of which is below.

Whats the show about –
Five people. Five opinions. A civil discussion about Avid and Final Cut’s market share, how much editors get paid for both systems, houses who are installing Avid and Final Cut. The discussion later turns to Adobe Premiere, Apple Color, Assimilate Scratch and how they are poised in the industry, along with a conversation about supporting the RED Camera.

Approximately 2 hours long. Or, as mentioned on the show, “at least two train rides.”

In this episode, we ask the questions:

Is Avid “losing market share?”
Is Avid behind Final Cut in features?
Has Avid’s market share actually increased?
Is Avid or Final Cut the “Industry Standard” today?
Can Avid or Final Cut “gain market share” in the industry?
Hollywood vs. Indie Film – who owns each market?
Can you make more money with one NLE or the other?
What about the lagging editor systems, like Adobe Premiere?

You can download it directly from That Post Show website, or find it on iTunes HERE.

It appears that we will have ourselves a little shootout.

This all stems from a comment made on this blog post. The “anonymous” poster was ripping on the new Caldigit VR as being flimsy and next to junk. And mentioned that the G-Raid 3 is much better. (Interesting that they commented on a post I made a year and a half ago about the FIREWIRE VR…I didn’t announce the CalDigit VR at all.)

So…I contacted CalDigit and asked for a CalDigit VR review unit, and contacted G-Technology and asked for a G-Raid 3 review unit. Looking at both you can see that they are very evenly paired up. Both have a quad interface…USB2, FW400, FW800 and eSATA, both contain two SATA drives that you can raid together as Raid 0, and both tout over 200+MB/s read/write speeds. In fact, Caldigit touts…and I quote…”The CalDigit VR can do 220MB/s with the eSATA port on new Mac Pro’s it’s true!”

I intend to see if that’s true. I have the most current version MacPro. I have an eSATA card. I will run speed tests on both drives via FW400, FW800 and eSATA. I will also compare the noise level of both units. And see how much I can dig under the hood to see how well these units are built. If they hold true to their forms, both will be solid.

I hope to live up to Rob-Art and the standards in which are well known for.

Stay tuned.

The MXO 2 now has a nifty cousin, the MXO 2 Rackmount. Looks PERFECT to me. I like the one I have as I can use it with my laptop too (as needed). But if you only need to use this with the Desktop Macs, then this rackmount is the way to go, IMHO.

I’d like to announce the premiere episode of my very own podcast, THE EDIT BAY. Yes, I know…”not ANOTHER podcast!” There seems to be a lot of them out there. I aim to be different. This podcast will not be technical in nature, and it won’t be guys talking about a variety of topics. This will be stories from the edit bay. The stuff we editors share over beers at the bar or chatting in a co-workers edit bay while we are rendering out a timeline. The fun times, the disasters, the problem clients, the times WE messed up. But very simply these are the stories of the stuff that happens when we are editing. It might be a story from me, it might be a story from a co-worker or a friend. I might tell it, I might have a guest relate a story. It might contain some technical details, but only if it ads to the story.

The aim is to keep this small…between 3 and 6 minutes. Not enough to fill your commute, unless you are very close to work. But enough to keep your interest. And this will be a weekly podcast, coming out every Tuesday morning, God willing. While I am working on all of the technical details on how to get this posted on iTunes, you will have to live with coming here to get the latest episodes. I will try to get a link on the side…but I am not the most technical guy when it comes to the web.

Thank you, and enjoy.

Click here to play.

You might note a new link on the right hand side of the blog…it is for the new blog by my buddy Travis Ballstadt called Final Cut Pro Tips.

These aren’t quick tips mind you, these are fully fleshed out ideas. Reasons for self contained QTs as opposed to reference QTs. AVCHD workflow (He has the Panasonic HMC-150) and how to protect your edit system.

Thanks for these Travis.

I don’t know how I missed this press release on the Creative Cow, but I did.

So you have a project that started on Avid but you now, for whatever reason, need to finish this on FCP. Before now, you’d be able to use Automatick Duck Pro Import to get the sequence onto your system, but then you wouldn’t be able to use the media that was already captured. You’d have to recapture all of it from the tapes. Time consuming.

But now, with MXF4QT 1.5 you can now access all that Avid media. Typically I use this software for direct access of P2 original MXF files in FCP, but it has more uses than that, obviously. This is great news for Avid and FCP editor alike.

Here is the body of the announcement:

(Hamburg, Germany–December 22, 2008) For the first time native media files from Avid systems are directly accessible by QuickTime in Mac OS X. The new release of MXF4QT Import provides extensive support for various Avid OP-Atom formats including all DNxHD variations.

Version 1.5 supports the following compression types:

* Avid OP-Atom IMX30/40/50
* Avid OP-Atom DV25, DVCPRO25/50 and DVCPRO HD formats
* Avid OP1a and OP-Atom DNxHD formats
* Avid OP-Atom 1:1 HD 8 bit formats

For the first time Final Cut Studio applications and Avid can work with the same media files on the same storage system. Standard compression types such as Avid IMX30/40/50, DV, DVCPRO25/50, DVCPRO HD and even 1:1 HD 8-bit are being interpreted with Final Cut Pro’s standard QuickTime codecs to provide full Final Cut Studio compatibility including timeline editing with realtime effects and video playout. QuickTime aware applications in Mac OS X such as Motion, LiveType, Shake or After Effects can now import and edit the native Avid MXF files including DNxHD. Free media exchange between different systems finally becomes true thanks to the open and manufacturer independent MXF standard.

General features of MXF4QT Import:

* MXF OP1a GC and OP-Atom import in QuickTime and compatible applications
* Support for 525/60 (NTSC), 625/50 PAL and HD 720p, 1080i video format types
* IEC DV25
* DVCPRO25 and 50
* IMX 30, 40 and 50
* SMPTE 384M uncompressed 4:2:2 SD 625/50 PAL
* SMPTE 384M uncompressed 4:2:2 HD 720p, 1080i, 50 and 60 Hz
* AVC-Intra
* PCM audio 48 kHz, 24/20/16 bit (1 channel per track and multichannel tracks)
* BWF audio 48 kHz, 16 bit (1 channel per track)
* AES audio 48 kHz, 16 bit (1 channel per track)
* AES3 audio 48 kHz, 16/24 bit (2/4/8 channels per track)
* Timecode
* Access of streaming MXF media (edit while transfer and edit while record)
* Universal Binary

For more information, visit

Here I am in my frozen garage/office working away at this documentary. Spent a lot of today looking at b-roll, but then I wanted to export a small movie of this current cut to take with me on the plane as I fly to the east coast for business. Something to watch on my iphone or computer on the 7 hour flight….besides WANTED that is.

But I had a problem…I had a huge section in the front that needed rendering. So I went to render it. But part way through, like 12%, it stopped and gave me the perplexing error “NO MOVIE IN FILE.” Odd. I scanned through the footage and didn’t see any issues. But this was a 6 layer overlapping wash of clips with cross dissolves up the yahoo. I even looked in the forums and on GOOGLE…found lots of people with this error, but no solution. Great. I knew that one of these clips was somehow bad, but finding it in that haystack of 90 clips was daunting.

Then I had an idea. The Media Manager.

Yup, typically lauded as the bane of FCPs existence I found this tool to be VERY helpful in this matter. I copied the problem section and pasted it into it’s own sequence. Then I used the media manager to COPY the footage to a new location, deleting the unused media and making a new project. It started and then partway through the process it stops with an error. A clip failed to transfer, and it gave the name, 003GH. A P2 file.

I canceled the process and then searched the timeline (Apple-F) for that clip name and boom, it lit up. I pressed F and it matched back to…WHITE. All white. The clip was devoid of data. There was NO MOVIE IN FILE. HA!

So I made the clip offline…moving the bad media to the trash. Then I batch captured the footage again and boom, there was the media. I rendered without issue.

Nice to see the Media Manager work for once…albeit in a troubleshooting sort of matter.

I had a short one day gig of taking an old show idea presentation and doing a few minor tweaks and additions to make it viable as a current show pitch. Nothing much involved, few title changes, a cut here, a tweak there, new b-roll here and there, and then output to DVD.

So I did all of that, and then I went to output for DVD…and was stopped in my tracks. How was I going to get this onto DVD? I don’t have a MOJO or Nitris box on the system, so I can’t go directly out to my DVD Recorder. Hmmm…OK. Well, I recall that the extra applications that came with Avid Media Composer included some DVD authoring software. So I grab the box, pull out the disk, put it into the computer, open it up…and am faced with a bunch of files and an installer.exe. Great…Windows only. Joy.

OK…this is Sunday afternoon. The client is due to come pick this up in an hour, and they need to present this on Monday morning. OK…what to do, what to do. I have the Matrox MXO, which works with Avid in PRESENTATION MODE (note to self: future blog post to explain that), but the image doesn’t look good….not in presentation mode. So that is out. I have DVD SP, but that is on my OS partition that has FCP installed (my main hard drive is partitioned into two…one side is FCP, the other for AVID). The FCP side can’t see the Avid compressed output, because I lack the codecs.

Heeeeyyy…Avid makes these codecs available on their site. Cool, I’ll go download those and I should be in business. So I find the Avid Codecs LE installer and install it…and get an error. INSTALL FAILED. Some post install process didn’t work. Damn. OK, I am chatting about my woes with a friend and he sends me the Avid codecs he has that came from that installer. Great, I install them and open the exported file…nothing. Black and the error that the codec is missing. Hmmm…

So I boot BACK to Avid, export as Avid DV (the first export was lossless Meridian 1:1) and then rebooted back to FCP. Again…nada. Crap.

I grab my Final Cut Studio 2 installer and install ONLY DVD Studio Pro on my AVID partition. Now I can import the Avid output and burn a DVD. Finally. It finished burning a few minutes after the client arrived. Looked good. He went home happy. WHEW.

Then I mentioned all of this on the FCP-L on Yahoo groups. Someone mentioned that I have the full PE (Professional Edition) of the installers on my Avid install DVD. Sure enough, I install that and BOOM, there we go. The FCP side saw all the footage.

Still, I thought that the LE Codec Installer (LE means LIMITED EDITION) would have installed the codecs I needed. I mean, at LEAST the Avid DV codec. And what irked me is that the installer gave the same error on my MacBook Pro. Very annoying.

SO there…that is how you burn a DVD from Avid. Follow those steps closely, followed by two bottles of beer (preferrably imported) and you will be good to go.

The latest edition of THAT POST SHOW, Episode #6 is now available for your listening pleasure. This one is all about plugins and how we use them. And for once, is actually about POST PRODUCTION! Hee, I kid…but the others are slanted towards production, but all roads lead to post. I am on board as the token editor, since the other guys are mainly visual effect and motion graphics guys…so it is a good balance. I certainly enjoyed recording this…even if I forgot to MUTE the microphone when I was googling stuff they were talking about and iChatting to a friend that “hey, I can’t talk now, I am recording a podcast.”

Any my wife came home early from Girls Night Out and caused a bit of delay…but I am sure John edited that part out.

Found on iTunes HERE.

The latest project I am working on is a feature documentary, one that an avid reader (pardon the pun) asked me to help edit. He happened to notice a blog post that I posted BEGGING for work (I admit to being pretty desperate), but I pulled it down after 10 minutes…thinking it an unprofessional way to ask for work. BUT, Steve (the director) noticed it and asked if I would help. I met him, got a copy of what he had cut thus far…watched it…liked what I saw…and said yes.

This is my first feature doc, so I am pretty excited.

So here I am looking at footage. Not only looking at the footage, but organizing it. There is some organization, so that helps. But I am a tad…particular…when it comes to organization. I have a system that me and most of the editors I work with use. One that I talk about on my DVD (link on the right). This really does help me, because I need to look at the footage, and organizing it is the best way to see what you have.

A lot of clips still have their generic P2 names (this was shot with the HVX-200), so I am naming the clips as I go along. A lot easier to look for footage of the Chicago skyline when it is called CHICAGO SKYLINE, and not And I am separating STOCK FOOTAGE from B-ROLL from INTERVIEWS and STILLS.

Now, when I watch the cut again I know what footage I have and what footage I will need.