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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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It’s that time of year again - FCPUG Supermeet 2009

Don't miss out on the event of the year for FCP editors!

By Matthew Jeppsen | April 03, 2009

One of the best things about attending NAB each year are the people you get to meet. The conversations and experiences shared make the trip to Vegas all the more worth it. And certainly one of the best places to mingle with like-minded folks is the FCPUG Supermeet. There is an awesome lineup of presenters at the event, and I encourage you to consider attending. It will be held on Tuesday, April 21, 5:00PM - 11:00PM at the Rio Hotel Amazon Ballroom. Registration is just $15.00, and that includes 2 raffle tickets. It's one event that is at the top of my list again this year, and I look forward to seeing you there. Look for me, I'll be the prematurely-greying guy in a FreshDV shirt. A short list of topics follows... Read More

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Tip: Create Cinematic Motion Blur in After Effects (and in life)

A 180 degree shutter says, "Cinema." Here's how it works.

By Mark Christiansen | April 03, 2009

Quick: what's the difference between shutter speed and frame rate? You might be surprised that there are even a few camera operators don't even know the answer to that one. Frame rate is the number of frames per second that are shot (or displayed). Shutter speed is the amount of time that the frame is actually exposed to light, and thus, the amount of motion blur contained in that shot. Read More

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PVC Pipeline | Distribution

Have you signed up yet for our free newsletter?

By Scott Gentry | April 03, 2009

This coming Monday, we'll be releasing our third newsletter: PVC Pipeline | Distribution. As you can guess from it's name, this one will be focused on the broad subject of alternate ways of getting your creation out into the world - from podcast production (including an insightful article from Alex Lindsay on the Pixel Corps' experience producing podcasts for themselves as others, as well as Allan T©pper's review of a tool he uses for his podcasts: Übercaster), to getting distribution for your independent movie (a great roundtable discussion led by the FreshDV folks, including award-winning producer/writer Jerome Courshon, and Scott Kirsner of Variety), to a tutorial by Michael Vitti on creating buttons for a custom DVD. So if you haven't subscribed yet, do so now - it's free, and you'll get to enjoy these articles weeks before anyone else. Read More

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Keyboard Manifesto

Change your default FCP (or any other) keyboard for more efficient editing

By Scott Simmons | April 02, 2009

When it comes to increased productivity and better efficiency while editing, saving time every place an editor can will help increase that productivity and efficiency. And we all know saving time is the client's favorite thing as saving time means saving money. My favorite time saver in Final Cut Pro has been to remap the majority of the default keyboard setup. Since I began using FCP way back around 1999, one of my earliest thoughts was that the default keys weren't very well thought out. Why do I say this? I first learned non-linear editing on Avid so of course I was used to that keyboard layout. But while you have been able to map Avid keys for as far back as I've been working on it, that hasn't always been the case with FCP. Early versions of FCP did not allow keyboard mapping at all. In fact, the earliest version of FCP didn't even have the ability to JKL scrub! When keyboard mapping finally came along, life in FCP was good. What is so wrong with FCP's default keyboard layout and so right about Avid's? First, think about how you rest your hands on a keyboard. This is assuming that as an editor, you try to perform as many tasks as possible using the keyboard. Many people do not and while there are lot of fast editors out there using the mouse (I've watched a many of them edit) I honestly believe one can work a lot faster the more the hands stay on the keyboard. And this is also assuming you are doing a lot of edit assemble work; the nuts and bolts of good storytelling before the fancy effects work (read: keyframing) begins. Read More

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Tip: Render Faster & Smarter in After Effects with BG Renderer

This free script will add tons of value to your multiprocessor system

By Mark Christiansen | April 02, 2009

My only assumption with this tip is that you use Adobe After Effects CS4 (or even CS3) on a multi-processor machine, Mac or Windows. Beyond that:maybe you only have one main machine and often face the dilemma of wanting to render while continuing to workperhaps you monitor your system's performance carefully and have noticed that your After Effects renders don't always peg all of the processorspossibly you own or have owned a copy or copies of Gridiron Software's Nucleo Pro and have experienced the joy of background rendering in After Effects already. However you're not experiencing that joy in CS4, because Gridiron has been too busy with another little project to update it.It could even be that you are aware that you can kick off an After Effects render in a shell (Terminal on Mac, DOS on Windows), allowing you to render without the GUI, and thus keep working. If so, if you're like 99% of visual artists, you're not that fond of memorizing, typing or optimizing code. If any or all of these is true, get ready to buy Lloyd Alvarez a beer, because he offers the answer to all of these and more. Lloyd's site is home of many useful tools, another of which may appear in this space this month, but as my first true tip of the month I wish to promote his most infinitely valuable script. And I say infinitely valuable because BG Renderer is offered free, a 100% discount off the alternatives. Read More

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MSM on Hollywood’s Obsolete Business Model

Journalists calling attention to a floundering business model

By Matthew Jeppsen | March 31, 2009

HDFilmTools shed a little light recently on mainstream media coverage of the major upheaval in Hollywood's traditional business model. With the credit crunch, the rise of piracy, and slacking DVD sales, the industry is in a unique position that they've not had experience with in the past. While these changes have not occurred overnight, it appears that they are finally seeing some major media coverage. Read More

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Data Rot

Were you expecting your backups to last more than five years?

By Chris and Trish Meyer | March 30, 2009

Well-known author David Pogue recently aired this interesting piece on "data rot" for his CBS Sunday Morning tech series, which has been transcribed for the New York Times web site. Aside from containing some interesting geek trivia and a renewed warning that DVD lifespans vary greatly (5 to 100 years, depending on the brand and storage conditions), the line that smacked me in the face was "well, hard disks only last five years, generally." And that's not Pogue saying it; that's Dag Spicer at the Computer History Museum, who is trying to preserve these things.I know a lot of people have migrated away from tape backups to hard drives stacked in a closet; I know I copied as many of our old Exabytes as I could read onto an external FireWire 400 drive (in addition to using redundant DVDs of more recent material). I've always worried about stored drives spinning up again and potential "sticktion" problems; this is the first time I've personally heard a time frame put on it by someone of authority. And as we know, FireWire 400 is getting dropped by some computers as well. It sounds like backing up data is no longer a save-and-forget-it exercise (not that it ever was), but instead a shell game we need to be playing constantly in order to keep backups up-to-date.Regardless of media used, as we noted earlier still make two copies - just to be extra safe. Read More

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Why Do LA People Suck? John August Responds

By Matthew Jeppsen | March 30, 2009

Over at John August's blog, he's posted some feedback from a reader that asks the question "Why do LA people suck?" and rants a bit about backstabbing and shallow friendships. John does an excellent job of breaking down the themes in the e-mail, nicely explains the difference between friends and colleagues, and offers some tips on how to better network and ask for help. It's an odd post, but a good one. Check it out. Read More

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IR Filter Cheat Sheet

You asked for it, you got it: the non-brain-exploding "just what I need to know" IR filter cheat sheet.

By Art Adams | March 27, 2009

Here it is. Below the table you'll find a link to download a printable PDF. To the best of my knowledge this information is correct, but be sure to read the notes regarding Hot Mirror filters: they can cause color vignetting on wider lenses, some require that a certain side face out, and they can be highly reflective. This table should be very helpful, but just to cover myself:USE AT YOUR OWN RISK, and WHEN IN DOUBT, TEST.Updates will occur as new things are learned. Enjoy! Read More

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1001 After Effects tutorials

You read that right, 1001

By Scott Simmons | March 27, 2009

I thought that the link I posted the other day to 90+ Avid tutorials was good stuff that could keep one busy for a few days but this one beats it by a mile:Filmmakeriq.com has a page that has some 1001 links to Adobe After Effects tutorials. This page has gathered links from all over the web and looks to mainly link to video tutorials. With this kind of great resource then the only excuse that one could come up with these days for not learning After Effects is either no time or a desire not to learn it. I have been trying to improve my AE skills but it does take time. That's my excuse! This link came from Filmbot via Twitter. Yet another reason to be a part of the #editingandpost Twitter group! Read More

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Mysteries of Color and Light

What I learned after a year of developing the Kelvin Tile LED light, plus some other handy tips and tricks of light and color

By Art Adams | March 25, 2009

Between January 2007 and April 2008 I consulted for Element Labs on the development of the Kelvin Tile. During that time I learned a lot about color and spectrum. Someone on the Cinematography Mailing List's CML-Basics list asked a question about color rendition and broken spectrum lighting, which got me going on a riff that I will post here, with some embellishment. Read More

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The Great Twitter About Editing Experiment - One Year Later

The Great Twitter About Editing Experiment - One Year Later

A really great #editingandpost community has been established

By Scott Simmons | March 25, 2009

It was just over a year ago when I posted a post that began the "Twitter about editing" experiment. I had signed up for Twitter around a year before that but really never used the service since I didn't have a good group to follow nor did I really know what to talk about. That gave me the idea for the "Twitter about editing" experiment. Little did we know that Twitter would evolve into such a mainstream phenomenon that CNN, Britney Spears and Ellen would cover it and start talking about it. And looking back over those comments to that post, a lot of those people commenting are still there ... Twittering away. So with that, I deem the great Twitter about editing experiment a success. I think it's a success because it it really feels like it puts a group of people together using Twitter for a very useful purpose: communicating about a single topic. Read More

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Circling Around the Drain

The recession hits the worker bees in Hollywood.

By Chris and Trish Meyer | March 20, 2009

I felt what is referred to as "the shock of recognition" while reading this first-person account on Newsweek.com about life in The Industry during the current recession: This sounds a lot like what our life was like just a few years ago. Although we work(ed) in the motion graphics side of the business rather than production, it was a similar situation: we lived from job to job, every job was paid in full, and we hoped another job came in before the money ran out. During the good times, we had a steady stream of jobs, with very little breathing room in-between. But as the years went on, the highs got higher (more jobs in at the same time), and the lows in between got longer. Fortunately, Trish is a wizard at calculating cash flow (hint: it's not about knowing how much money you have in the bank today, and spending based on that; it's about knowing the date when the money runs out, and throttling your expenditures based on that), so we managed through the lulls just fine before the phone rang again - but the trend was disturbing. Read More

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