after effects script

Tip: Track a Mask in After Effects with TrackerViz

Average bad tracks instead of retrying for perfect ones, attach them to mask points

By Mark Christiansen | April 19, 2009


It's Script Sunday, and today's script is so useful it made the cut and was included in the latest edition of After Effects Studio Techniques. TrackerViz was written by Charles Bordenave, the guy behind NABscripts (no apparent relation to the conference beginning this weekend), based on requests and ideas from artist Sean Kennedy. Here's an excerpt in which I describe it. Read More


quicktime time

Tip: Display Timecode or Frames in QuickTime Pro

Sometimes essential features hide right below your nose.

By Mark Christiansen | April 18, 2009

What if QuickTime Player Pro gave you other options than that counter in seconds? Think of the options - you could specify a particular frame for feedback instead of saying "it's between 1:52 and 1:53." Search source timecode of footage to look for logged clips right there instead of firing up Final Cut. Refer to frame count numbers instead of minutes and seconds. Read More


after effects fcp

Tip: CS4 Update Actually Gets You All the Way from FCP to After Effects

It's implied by the new FCP > Premiere Pro feature; now I'm stating it.

By Mark Christiansen | April 16, 2009

Last week Matthew Jeppsen posted an article to this Adobe TV video entitled "Import FCP Projects into Adobe Premiere CS4" - today's tip is that the title could just as easily have said "Import FCP Projects into Adobe After Effects CS4" - keep watching, and the whole workflow is there. Read More


filter ir led lighting litepad rosco roscoview tru-color

Rosco Shows New IR Filter (and other goodies) at NAB

LitePads, IR filters, RoscoView make Rosco booth a destination

By Art Adams | April 15, 2009

Not too long ago, after writing a series of articles on HD cameras and IR contamination, I published my first IR Filter Cheat Sheet for those who wanted to skip the technical details for a short description of what IR filter to use when. Shortly thereafter Rosco contacted me and said they'd like me to test their IR filter, the Rosco Tru-Color IR. Being the curious sort, I readily agreed to take a look. I'll be testing it tomorrow at Videofax in San Francisco. Read More


April Showers website a treasure of information

April Showers website a treasure of information

Film's online resources are great for those interesed in independent filmmaking

By Scott Simmons | April 15, 2009

I was looking at some of the films coming to our local film festival, the Nashville Film Festival, (which I won't be attending much since they scheduled most of it the same week as NAB!) and I came across a film screening this Saturday called April Showers. It's not a light little comedy but rather a drama about a Columbine-like school shooting. The synopsis from the film's website:From writer/director, Andrew Robinson, a survivor of the Columbine High School tragedy, comes April Showers a dramatized retelling of what it was like to be a survivor in the midst of the nation's largest school shootings. Based largely on actual events, April Showers follows the story of Sean Ryan (Kelly Blatz, Prom Night) as he and fellow survivors attempt to make sense of the horrors they've just witnessed and, for Sean, coping with the loss of his friend April (Ellen Woglom, Viva Laughlin). Besides looking like an important film with very topical subject matter, one other thing that makes this movie worth a blog post are many of the resources available on the film's official website. Read More


after effects quality

Tip: Render the Impossible via Proxies in After Effects

A tax day tip, because squandering machine time is definitely taxing.

By Mark Christiansen | April 15, 2009

True story: I was animating a design that involved multiple "filmstrips" of HD video: 6 or 8 of them with a couple dozen HD clips each. I worked on it until past midnight for an early morning deadline only to realize it would never render in time; it wanted over 2 days to process all that 1080 footage. Then I remembered that I could set up a series of proxies and render those in a giant cascade. When I awoke the following morning everything was fine. Here's how. Read More


arrihead camera operator gear head geared head gearhead hd nab panahead red

Gear Head for the RED

Sacramento company GearNex brings smooth moves to your favorite HD camera

By Art Adams | April 14, 2009

Last spring, while shooting a piece for solar energy company SunPower on the RED, our jib operator asked me to keep a secret. "How interested would you be in a low cost gear head for the RED? I think I'm going to build one." Read More


mac red

Tip: Double-click to Open R3D in REDAlert with RedPortal

Handy, free, hard-to-find utility

By Mark Christiansen | April 14, 2009

A while back (late 2007 to be exact) Anders Holck posted a Mac helper app that lets you double click an R3D file to open it in REDAlert. The link was only ever posted on reduser and disappeared at some point after it was posted. Read More


mac software video

Tip: Add “Missing” Finder Tools

Clipboard Sharing and Teleport sit in the menu bar to work between systems, while Pathfinder revolutionizes file browsing itself

By Mark Christiansen | April 13, 2009

Today's tip features two freeware and one shareware application that I've found super-helpful in a multi-Mac studio environment. Read More


after effects script

Tip: Split a Layer into a Grid in After Effects

Take your pick of a couple of free scripts to solve a tedious problem

By Mark Christiansen | April 12, 2009

Whenever you're confronted by a tedious task in After Effects - such as splitting a single layer into a grid of smaller images - I highly recommend checking whether there is already a script that can help you. In this particular case there are two. Read More


mac quality quicktime video

Tip: Get QuickTime Looking Right Without Re-Rendering

Maximize quality, de-interlace, reset aspect and more

By Mark Christiansen | April 12, 2009

I have in the past been critical of QuickTime as the standard for professional review of digital video; nonetheless, that is its status, and since you and I will be posting QuickTime movies for peers, clients and potential employers to view for the foreseeable future, we might as well get them right. Read More


Blu-ray comes to the Mac, kinda

Blu-ray comes to the Mac, kinda

Blu-ray drives offered from MCE just no playback in OSX

By Scott Simmons | April 10, 2009

So we all know by now that Steve Jobs called Blu-ray a "bag of hurt" and that Apple doesn't officially support Blu-ray on the Macintosh. Yes we can author in Adobe Encore and burn with Toast. You can even back-up data galore onto Blu-ray data discs and mount those in the Finder but if you want to watch a Blu-ray movie then you got to look elsewhere because Macintosh doesn't support that. One option for the Mac is a Blu-ray drive from MCE. If you've got a Mac Pro or a G5 tower then you've probably got a second optical bay just waiting for something to be shoved into it! Read More


Professional Audio Podcasting seminar, April 14th in Miami

Professional Audio Podcasting seminar, April 14th in Miami

Learn how to produce a professional audio podcast in Miami, April 14th

By Allan Tépper | April 10, 2009

Now is your chance to attend a seminar about professional audio podcast production. You will learn the fundamental differences between tradtional radio broadcasts, live Internet radio, and audio podcasts... and the advantages of the latter; how to design your audio podcast format; the standard elements (intros, outros, bumpers, etc.); hardware and software to produce your audio podcast; how to conduct high-quality telephone interviews; audio editing of your podcast; compression versus normalization; how to add chapters and graphics to your enhanced audio podcast; how to upload your podcast; and how to create an RSS feed which is compatible with iTunes and other podcast aggregators.The date is April 14th, and the place is Miami, Florida. Although there is a charge of US$100 per person, attendees will receive a coupon good for a 40% discount off of the recommended audio podcast production software for Mac. Click here for more information, or to register. Read More


copyright stock

Tip: Make use of 21st Century Copyright Laws to Secure Elements

Creative Commons has opened the door to better sharing - but play by the rules!

By Mark Christiansen | April 09, 2009

A few years ago I found myself in need of images for an earlier edition of my book that I did not have on hand, or have any way of shooting. I needed a winter scene but was 250 miles and 2 months away from one. I needed strongly lit footage to demonstrate color matching with extreme lighting; this I could have shot, but more than just images, I needed inspiration.We've come a long way in the past decade with image sharing. Thanks to increased bandwidth the growth of the web, and fantastic photo sharing sites like flickr, you no longer have to find, stage and shoot everything yourself.Or do you? It's illegal, and uncool, to use imagery against the wishes of the user. Standard copyright law plans for this by assuming that the creator wants to retain all rights, and requires big bucks for usage. This law may be in place whether or not a work specifically states it is under copyright. Is there a better way? Absolutely. Read More


3d after effects cinema 4d lightwave 3d max maya plugins script

Tip: Send After Effects 3D animation data to Cinema 4D (or Maya, Max, Lightwave…)

Thanks to this script and plug-in, cameras can go both ways

By Mark Christiansen | April 08, 2009

It has long been a feature of Cinema 4D that animation data, including camera animation settings, can be exported for use in After Effects. Which is fantastic, provided you do all of your camera animation for 3D/2D work in Cinema. If most of your camera animation is happening in After Effects, you would seem to be out of luck matching the camera in 3D. Untrue. Read More


cs4 fcp final cut pro premiere tutorial xml

Import FCP Projects into Adobe Premiere CS4

How to import and edit Final Cut Pro XML projects

By Matthew Jeppsen | April 07, 2009

Here's a great little segment on Adobe TV about how to import and work with XML projects from Apple Final Cut Pro using Adobe Premiere CS4. It looks quick and relatively painless, and can even map motion keyframes between the two systems. It's an interesting way to translate FCP projects over to take advantage of Adobe's very useful Dynamic Link capability. The video tutorial is embedded above. Read More


quicktime red red alert red camera

Tip: Apply Color Adjustments to RED QuickTimes

Working natively with those QuickTime files that link to an R3D and the color doesn't look quite right? Try these steps.

By Mark Christiansen | April 07, 2009

As you probably know, when you transfer footage from a RED camera you get QuickTime movies along with the source R3D file, in the same folder. These QuickTimes are symbolic links only with no data of their own (mine show up as 4K in size); they merely provide a means for QuickTime-enabled apps to preview the R3D file at various resolutions. Move them to where they no longer link to the R3D and they are completely useless. Read More


mac networking productivity tip

Tip: Use iChat to McGyver Back to your Mac

Back to My Mac not working for you? Me neither. Until it's fixed, try this.

By Mark Christiansen | April 06, 2009

I love the idea of Back to My Mac, including with a MobileMe account (there is also a Windows equivalent I haven't tried). Unfortunately, I have never gotten the green light on both ends of an attempt to link one Mac back to another.Networking two computers together hasn't been a big deal for 20 years or so, but taking control of a machine which is part of some network somewhere remote is, you have to admit, a formidable request. The ability to do this was a major reason I re-upped for a MobileMe account, so imagine my disappointment when I could not get that indicator in System Preferences to turn green. Read More


after effects effects script tip

Tip: Locate Missing Effects in After Effects CS4

Can't find that hidden effect? pt_EffectSearch to the rescue.

By Mark Christiansen | April 05, 2009

So you've opened someone's After Effects project - or maybe even your own - and an error comes up that there are missing plug-ins. You get a list in the warning dialog, but it doesn't tell you where the missing plug-ins are (and if the list of missing is too long, you don't even get a complete list). Read More


fcp quicktime tip

Tip: Debug QuickTime Pro

Get your preferences set the way they probably should just be by default.

By Mark Christiansen | April 04, 2009

Today's tip is a simple one. I even kinda hope you already know about it.QuickTime includes two preferences which are mistakenly (in my opinion) disabled by default.The first is Use high-quality video setting when available - toggle this on.The only reason that I know of not to check this is to get faster playback at the expense of poorer quality. We are professionals with speedy machines - and when I say speedy, I don't mean you need a Nehalem i7 machine to justify enabling this. If you're using QuickTime Player to evaluate professional work, you want this setting on. Always.The second is available only to Final Cut Studio owners: Enable Final Cut studio color compatibility - toggle this on as well.Now this certainly will not end all of your myriad woes color matching QuickTime movies from one application to the next - it's really up to Apple to solve that, and I'm not holding my breath - but it will at least eliminate an obvious point of confusion. Who expects a gamma shift from one Apple application to another?And what about the fact that you can't ensure that someone else, on another system, has enabled these settings? Next Friday's tip will cover that, and more.(See? There's even a story arc.) Read More