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Little Frog in High Def

Adventures in Editing
Little Frog In High Def


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Man…another FCPUG SUPERMEET, and this time in one of the coolest places to go, London. I mean, Vegas, sure, it’s fun, but you lose a lot of money gambling and drinking and taking cabs everywhere. And there is always construction. But LONDON! Well, I hear things are spendy there, and you still need to take a cab. But DUDE! It’s LONDON. There are houses and building there that are older than our ENTIRE COUNTRY! History man.

And they are having a Supermeet for all the good people on that side of the pond who couldn’t make it to Vegas. These are fun to go to, as you meet people and network and that is only a good thing. Remember, to make it in this business it is who you know and who knows you…with a little dash of ability.

Here are the details:

Oscar™ and BAFTA award winning film and sound editor Walter Murch will be
the Keynote speaker at the First Annual FCPUG SuperMeet to be held Thursday,
25 June 2009 at the The Great Hall at the Kensington Conference and Event
Centre in London, England. Mr. Murch will discuss his Final Cut Pro workflow
and show clips from the soon to be released film “Tetro,” written and
directed by Francis Ford Coppola.

In addition we have booked Jason Levine of Adobe who will show off workflows
between Final Cut Pro and Adobe Creative Suite 4 Production Premium
including RED workflow. Martin Baker of Digital Heaven in the UK will share
his top ten favorite “Killer Final Cut Pro Secret tips and tricks.” This
will be followed by filmmaker Philip Bloom of the UK who is scheduled to
show Canon 5D Mark II DSLR footage 24P Final Cut Pro editing workflow.
Blackmagic Design will announce a special guest this week sure to help you
solve most of your problems and cure many of your ills. Rounding out the
evening with be the always raucous World famous Raffle where currently over
$35,000.00 worth of valuable prizes will be handed out to dozens of lucky

Doors will open at 4:30PM (16:30) for the “FCP Showcase” featuring over 14
vendors and developers showing off their solutions. The SuperMeet will begin
promptly at 7:00PM (19:00) Food and drink will be available.

Tickets for the London SuperMeet are on sale online only for only £15.00
each (£10.50 for Students with Valid ID). It is expected this event will
sell out as historically SuperMeets always sell out. For daily updates as
well as directions to the Kensington Conference and Event Centre in London,
visit click here:

Adam Wilt has a great little snippet on the Express34 slot topic as well, over at ProVideo Coalition.

Yup…the Sony EX3 people will now feel the pain that us P2 people felt when PCMCIA went away.

Apple has a magical way of making my 6 month old computer feel SEVERELY outdated when it announces new products. “This laptop is 2.x5 time faster than the last one, with double the battery charge, and three times the battery life. And the new monitor displays colors you have only DREAMED of.”

That feeling lasts mere minutes, because after the dazzle they get to the nitty gritty and mention specs. Then I am quite happy that I bought the previous model computer.

For example, I bought the Powerbook G4 when the MacBook Pro was first introduced. Sure, it was INTEL and it was FASTER…but my Powerbook had a PCMCIA slot with many supported adapters, including the ability to import P2 directly on the machine. That was huge. But one thing that Apple did when they introduced the MacBook Pro (first revision) was to DO AWAY with firewire 800. That’s right, these new computers DID NOT HAVE Firewire 800. Well, here I am with three G-Raids, all FW800 and all with DVCPRO HD footage. FW400 wasn’t really fast enough for my needs. That was a really odd decision. Especially since they have lately dropped FW400 from the later models of the Mac Pro line and ONLY included FW800.

Another example is when I bought my wife a MacBook. 4 months later the new one came out, and that one did away with firewire ALTOGETHER! Gone! The ability to edit video on the consumer laptops…gone. No way to injest DV or HDV (Apple claimed that people are now shooting with tapeless cameras that are all USB anyway, so they don’t need firewire). Did they forget that you need a separate hard drive to store the media on? Oh, wait, with iMovie you don’t as they use the highly compressed Apple Intermediate codec. Still, the cheap platform for people to start editing, with their EXISTING DV and HDV cameras (who upgrades cameras every 4 years? Who isn’t rich that is…).

Well, let’d jump ahead a little. Today at the World Wide Developers Conference Apple announced a lot of new products. One of them was a new MacBook (odd since they just released a smaller revision just a few weeks ago)…and in their great wisdom they added the firewire port back. YAAAY! Now we can…

Wait, what? What about the PRO line? The MacBook Pros? Well, let’s take a look. Cool, they added an SD card slot, right where…where…

Wait, where is the Express34 slot? Gone? Are you kidding me? GONE? What? They replaced the EXPANSION slot…one of the things that made this computer a PRO computer was the EXPANSION slot. Why? Well, it has one built in firewire port. Even if it had two (like my model does), it only has ONE firewire bus. What that means is that if you had two, both are on the same spigot. So capturing video from a camera or capture card via firewire and then trying to send that signal OUT via the other port to a hard drive is like…well…a big traffic jam. DV, HDV…this might work. ProRes? No way. With the Expansion slot you could add more firewire ports, or better yet, eSATA ports, on another separate bus and the capture video fine. So this messes up people with cameras that capture via firewire.

But who does this really effect? Who does this really TOTALLY screw over? AJA and Matrox.

The AJA I/O HD connects via firewire, no problem there. OK now…where is your media drive? Well, it WOULD be a nice eSATA drive that I would connect to an eSATA Express adapter, but that is not an option. USB? Nope, that won’t work for video…DV maybe, but not ProRes.

The Matrox MXO 2 connects via the Express34 slot. With that gone, the MXO2 is not an option. Now, the MXO2 Mini and the AJA I/O Express also connect via Express34, so they are similarly shut out.

And then there’s Sonnet with the Fusion F2. And on top of that the Caldigit.VR and the G-Raid3 and any other hard drive that connects via eSATA via the Express slot and an adapter. No more will we be able to get the impressive speeds those connections afforded us.

So now the MacBook PRO is really no longer pro when it comes to video. You are limited to firewire connections only, so this would really only work with tapeless…uh, wait. Doesn’t the Sony EX-line of cameras shoot to SxS cards, that are Express cards that fit into the old Express34 slots? Why, yes they are. OK, that’s gone. And the PCMCIA slot was done away with a while ago, so people have been using the Dual Systems adapter for their P2 and that connects via…Express34. That too, is gone. So now you have to buy SxS readers, or expensive P2 card readers, or use the cameras themselves (taking them out of shooting) to do the transfers.

Well Hell’s Bells! Now what?

Oh, you have the 17″ MacBook Pro. That still has the Express34 slot. So now you are being limited to using a HUGE computer for this, and shelling out $500 more than you might have wanted (original MBP 15″ models started at $1999), and you need a bigger backpack…and forget editing on the airplane on that cross country flight. You barely had room with your 15″ model. So Apple first forced you to use the Pro computers for higher end professional editing, now they are forcing you to use the most expensive model of the Pro line. When I started out I was on an iBook G3 with DV.

OK…the rant is winding down.

How can Apple call the 15″ MacBook Pros a PRO computer? Without expansion it is a consumer computer. That is what set aside the professional machines from the consumer line. iMac, MacBook, Mac Mini…consumer, no expansion. MacPro, MacBook Pro…expandible. That and they are really screwing their professional video partners….long time AJA partnership and newer Matrox partnership (well, re-established partnership), and this might cause them to scramble for a solution.

Or people will be limited to using 17″. All I can say is that I am glad that I have my 6 month old model.

First a picture of me doing the demo. You have to click on this link, and you will see me in the far lower left corner. And note…the image quality of the picture is really bright, that isn’t how I color correct. (OK, bad joke.)

OK, so I started the demo with a question that my friend Andrew Balis asks all of his students. “How many people here have opened Color?” A good three dozen hands shot up. “OK, now how many of you never opened it again?” The same hands shot up, minus a few. Because, well, let’s admit it…Color is an application for professional colorists. For the editors who want to color correct but want more control over the colors than the 3-way color corrector gives you, Colorista is a good choice.

ANYWAY…I am straying into my speech. I can’t really do that in a blog.

So I started the demo. I showed a sequence with a lot of footage, containing speed changes and still images and mixed formats…sent it to Color. Showed off the rather complex interface, then went back into FCP and started to show the differences between the built in 3-Way Color Corrector and Colorista. I threw the 3-Way on a clip and pushed the blues in the Lows to the extreme…showed how it neons out the image. Then I dropped Colorista from my Favorite Effects onto a clip and…

Spinning Beachball…then crash. Ho boy.

So I launch FCP again. Then I drop the effect onto another clip and…beachball…crash.

Now, earlier that day during my lunch break I opened this project and was going through the demo to make sure I had all my ducks in a row. I threw the Colorista plugin on a clip and…beachball, crash. I did it several more times with the same result. So I trashed my FCP prefs…trashed the Colorista prefs (oops, that reset the serial number so I had to reinstall and add the SN again)…and then it was working again. I swear it was.

So here I am, in the middle of my demo…well, the beginning of my demo, and it is crashing again. So do I try to trash the prefs, reinstall the application and input the SN again…in front of the audience where they can see the number? What would I talk about?

So there I was…stuck saying things like “Well, if you could see this, what you would see is that I can put a second instance of Colorista as a secondary, or “Power Matte,” and highlight only this area and brighten it. All the while I was prepping to do all of that preference trashing. I had 15 minutes…all eyes on me…for a VERY visual demo that wasn’t working.

Then from the audience I hear someone say something. “What?” I ask.

“Instead of grabbing it from the Favorites why not drag it from the base folder?” That was Andrew Balis, but he was only repeating what the guy next to him said…an editor named Les.

“Ok…let’s try that.” So I grabbed it from the MAGIC BULLET folder in the Effects tab…dropped it on my clip…held my breath (I think the audience was too)…and it worked. FCP didn’t crash. Whew!

There was much applause and celebration.

I went on to finish my demo…and answer a few questions.

Thank you Les.

OH, and I did plan on recording it, but after the first crash I restarted the computer, and forgot to start recording again. I was a bit stressed.

So if you want a demo…albeit an old one…watch this one by Stu Maschwitz, the guy who created Colorista, is the one to see.

Wow, so many great videos out there. Here is a good one that is an introduction to Raylight’s MXFX 2.0 plugin for FCP. Great because it is informative and funny as hell:

IN short, MXFX will

– Remove pulldown
– Add pulldown
– Work with AVCIntra footage
– Convert 25p to 24p without re-encoding
– Convert 720p to 1080i, and 1080i to 720p
– Remove noise
– Flip your footage 180 degrees if you accidentally held your camera upside down…or used a lens adapter like the Redrock Micro.


– Converts MXF files to MXF files, P2 Cards to P2 Cards, preserves metadata

Now, this is mainly for Avid users…that is why it converts MXF to MXF. Not sure about FCP support…it doesn’t say so on the product page. I’ll ask Marcus.

OK, since I am on this video posting kick, you must, and I stress MUST watch the Vendor/Client Relationship in Real World Situations that my buddy Jim from Final Cut User found. This is a PERFECT example….VERY well done.

Why is it that clients think that standard business practices do not apply in the world of video/film production?

All I can say is, I am proud to come from the same home town as this guy.

(NSFW – coarse language)

Nice play on words.

OK, I am snagging this from another site…Art+Copy Club blog. I link to them so you can go there and see their site…and out of courtesy. But I had to embed this on this blog…well, because I can. This is very funny, but has some swear words, so possibly NSFW, unless you can close your bay doors. Just don’t route the internet audio through your massive speakers really loud.

Joy Moeller’s Edit Bay “EditQuette.”

Joy Moeller – EditQuette from Art+Copy Club of Kansas City on Vimeo.

(And yes, this is what I do when I have nothing of note to say.)

When I was at NAB, hovering near the LAFCPUG Superbooth, I met my antithesis, Ross Shain. We shook hands, and I thought that there’d be a huge matter/anti-matter explosion as the result. But there wasn’t…something I attribute to the fact that his last name isn’t QUITE the same spelling as my first. Shain, not Shane. If it was exact, then I am sure the explosion would have been massive.

ANYWAY…Mr. Shain has written a great plugin for motion tracking, called MOCHA. Finally, we can do some of the needed graphics tracking that normally we’d have to go into MOTION to do (I have yet to learn Motion), or After Effects (I know after effects OK, but not an expert). This is something that keeps me in my comfort zone of FCP. Now, I have a copy, but have yet to play with it. I will soon, I promise. Because before I was either manually doing this, or getting the AE artist to do this.

I wanted to get the word out on this plugin, because it is so cool and is ÜBER useful. So keep it in mind as you watch this tutorial, posted on Studio Daily.


Sure, the camera is cheap, and there is really no color correction, but the creativity and storytelling is there…and the point is made. And I am helping a friends wife who is trying to make this go viral. Not that I have much of a reach. But if you guys pass it on, that will help.

so…Psst…pass it on.

I gave a demonstration of Red Giant’s Magic Bullet Colorista in Las Vegas at NAB…in the Superbooth on the show floor. Now, this wasn’t as packed as I’d have liked to have seen it, so for people in the Los Angeles area, I will be doing the demo again, this time at the next LAFCPUG MEETING.

If you can’t make it to that, I understand. Either you don’t live here, or you are pretty far away, or you have to work. Well, they record the meetings and are SUPPOSED to post them online somewhere. I’ll look into that. I will also see about doing a screen capture of my demo and see if I can post that.

The basic gist is that Colorista gives you far better control of the colors that the built in 3-way color corrector does, and is far easier to use than Apple’s COLOR. No need to prep the timeline (no stills, not speed changes, all frame rates and codecs matching) and send to Color…and get lost in an interface designed for colorists. You can color correct in FCP with familiar looking tools, and even have Secondaries and the ability to highlight specific areas and only affect those areas (Power Windows).

There will be other people at the meeting too. “Patrick Woodward from DigitalFilm Tree will show off FCP workflow and footage with the Canon EOS 5D. Michael Weis and Sam Crutsinger will be reviewing the RED workflow they used shooting the indie road feature ‘Carried Away.'” So if you have that Canon still camera that shoots video and want to know how to edit it, or you want to look at a RED workflow (there are SO many), then come on down.

Before I go to see the new Star Trek, and bring my kids, I wanted to show them the first few movies. They are fans of the original series (loved the Tribbles episode), so I thought they’d like the movies. No, I did not start with STAR TREK, THE MOTION PICTURE. That was one boring snoozefest. I mean, a 12 minute flyover shot of the Enterprise? Please.

So we watched Star Trek II: The Wrath of KHAAAAAAAAAAAN!!!! My oldest loved it, even cried when Spock died (this has been out since 1982 so NO SPOILER THERE!). And we will watch STIII and STIV before Saturday to get them ready. Really, I wanted to watch STII because of the mention of the Kobyashi Maru test…something I think that is in the new Trek movie. Has to be…Kirk is in Star Fleet Academy.

OK, this is all besides the point. I told a good friend of mine that we watched it and he gave me the link to the trailer on YouTube. HOLY COW, what a piece of CRAP! I mean…cripes, that was horrible. I don’t think I would have had ANY interest in seeing a movie based on that trailer. Don’t believe me? Here:

Star Trek III is no better:

Ugh. Was it only limited to the Star Trek movies? We started looking at more SciFi trailers from around that time.


The Black Hole (which wasn’t all that good of a MOVIE anyway):

Heck, even THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK isn’t all that good:

Got me wondering, were ALL trailers that bad? Or did they just dump the SciFi trailers on the dirty guy who hangs out in the back room? I mean, oochie the Trek ones sucked. So we started looking up others, like RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (my favorite film)


An Officer and a Gentleman:



My buddy found a list of the other box office toppers of 1982 and we looked them up on YouTube, like TOOTSIE (trailer not that good), Poltergeist (eeeh), Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (pretty good), and First Blood (a very good trailer). They don’t hold up well to the trailers lately, but some were decent. But MAN…STII was just plain awful. Lordy…I would NOT want to see that movie.

Also look up STAR WARS..the original. That trailer is iffy too.

(yes, I am rendering in COLOR and twiddling my thumbs…)

I found out last week that my producer still had ALL the footage, ALL the After Effects files, ALL the music and ALL the sound effects that I used on the first broadcast doc I edited with Final Cut Pro, THE MEXICAN AMERICAN WAR. The show was hosted by boxing legend Oscar De La Hoya.

What he has basically is the two drives I had for the show. Everything I used on that show is on those drives. So everything is there and intact. The footage for a two hour History Channel special…on two 500GB G-Raids. 840GB total.

The main footage was Varicam shot at 720p24, with a few shots at 760p60 with the intent of slowing it down. The B-Cameras were two HVX-200s. The FIRST TWO HVX-200s on the west coast. And we shot on five 4GB P2 cards for each camera.

This is the show that had me make the move from Avid to FCP. This is the show that actually got me started on this blog…here is the first post. Because when we started out doing this show we (my producer and I) still had Avid workflows in our head…offline/online. With FCP and DVCPRO HD there would be no online. We would store all the footage on firewire drives, at full quality…no problem. We were amazed by that. I am still amazed that all of that footage for that show only adds up to 840GB. Could be the fact that we worked at 23.98fps.

We had LIVE cannon fire…shooting LIVE rounds. We had hand to hand combat with the cameraman in the mix being battered about by the combatants. And I edited this in the garage of my house in Van Nuys, while my producer was in Long Beach. We had no production office.

So I came to ask my producer if he still had the original MXF files of that shoot. He did not, he sent those on a G-Raid to the History Channel. But he did have the entire show still…and he asked if I wanted that.

Hell yes!

This is a MUST READ. The blog post called “The Little Things” is not only spot on, but funny as hell. With an opening line like this…things only get better:

“An editing facility is a lot like an underground fight club. Except it’s cleaner. And more work gets done. And there aren’t any fights. It’s actually nothing like an underground fight club. But that would be awesome if it was.”