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by PVC Experts

Written by a collection of the best writers in the industry and covering topics ranging from editing to motion graphics to live production. This channel features an incredibly diverse collection of authors and articles. Find out more about each of them...

In third grade, Richard Wirth was already reading anything he could find about television while dreaming of becoming a professional in the world of television and film production. Stops on the life timeline at American Forces Television, the Motion Picture Association, several mid-western pr...

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Discover DisplayPort’s untapped power for pro video

Apple is switching its outputs from DVI to DisplayPort. Understand its hidden potential.

By Allan Tépper | February 02, 2009

You've probably heard or read that Apple recently changed the video outputs on all of the new laptops from DVI to Mini DisplayPort, and has stated that all desktop models will begin offering DisplayPort outputs as they are updated. At first, some people think the DisplayPort just a nuisance and requirement to purchase another adaptor... but there is much more to it! Together with DisplayPort come additional capabilities, which in some cases will potentially eliminate the need to purchase an expensive peripheral device from AJA, Blackmagic Design, or Matrox, especially when the only goal is to achieve proper color evaluation on an external video monitor (not to capture or output to to high-end videotape formats). Read More

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RED+FCP: Native REDcode Importing

Using RED footage directly in Final Cut Studio 2, courtesy of RED's plugins.

By Adam Wilt | January 28, 2009

Last November, RED Digital Cinema Camera Company released an installer adding RED functionality to Apple Final Cut Studio 2:RED QuickTime Codec v3.7.0 (read-only REDCODE decoding for QuickTime).An FCP Log and Transfer plugin, v1.0.0, to read RED's compressed raw R3D files and import them as REDCODE-native or transcode them to ProRes422.A RED tab in Color's primary grading room, letting you tweak the RAW parameters of an R3D or MOV file using the REDCODE codec.A white paper telling you what to do with all this stuff.Let's look at how these additions enable using RED footage in Final Cut Studio, how you set them up, and how they can benefit you. Read More

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Do It Yourself 6TB Video Array on a Mac

Because you can never be too large or too fast...

By vittiPhoto | December 19, 2008

With high definition, multi camera productions and emergent video formats all the digital video rage, power video users are refocusing efforts on computer storage. Last year, Norco Technology approached this author to write an article building and testing a storage system around the Norco DS-1220, a 12 bay, port multiplier SATA chassis for the Do-It-Yourself Mac video community. A test regime to benchmark and field test using Final Cut Pro Studio 2 (FCP ST2) was devised. In August 2008, Fini.tv brought me on board to edit one of four 1 hour segments Read More

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Large Scale Final Cut Pro Installations, Part II

An Interview with Pie Town Productions

By Steve Hullfish | December 16, 2008

This is the second of a two part series on large-scale Final Cut Pro installations. Pie Town Productions currently produces nearly twenty TV shows, including Design on a Dime, Hammer Heads and (my favorite!) Color Correction. I spoke to Scott Templeton, one of the founders of Pie Town Productions and to Dana Besnoy, Pie Town's VP of Post. We discussed the workflows and standard operating procedures that allow Pie Town to pump out around 600 broadcast TV shows each year using about 100 seats (we have 30 bays, and a staff of about 75 people total. 100 seats is a high estimate) of Final Cut Pro running on a massive SAN.PVC: What's the key to media management with Final Cut Pro?ST: The key to us in media management is experience and knowledge. When you know the limitations of something, rather than yelling at the ocean because waves are crashing onto my beach, well, learn what those limitations are and how to work with that. In an operation like ours where we have such a lot of material that we deal with, it's really starting with the basics of understanding first and foremost how FCP handles new clips. Read More

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Tutorial - How To Get The Most Out Of Your Easy Setup Part 3

By Kevin P. McAuliffe | November 25, 2008

To round out my article series on the Easy Setup (ES), we are going to take a look at the last two tabs in the Audio/Video Settings, which are Device Control Presets (DCP) and the A/V Settings (A/VS). Afterwards, we are going to wrap everything up by looking at how easy it is to create your own ES for whatever purpose you might need it for. So what are we waiting for? Let's jump into the DCP.{C} Read More

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Why Pro Res Should Be Your Only Res & The AJA IoHD Part 1

Unboxing the AJA IoHD, and setting up

By Kevin P. McAuliffe | November 20, 2008

I thought that for this next article series, I would take a look at Apple's biggest addition to Final Cut Studio 2, and that is the inclusion of their newest QuickTime codec, Pro Res 422 (and Pro Res HQ). Most editors might think "Big deal, I can already edit in HD, so why would I use Pro Res?". Well, I'll tell you why. First of all, you get real-time HD capture across HD-SDI at 8 or 10-bit. You also get HD frame sizes at SD file sizes (in all major HD formats), you get a codec that gives you quality that is almost as good as codecs that you are currently using to edit HD with, and the best part is that you can edit in Pro Res 422 and Pro Res 422 HQ in the comfort of your own home on FireWire hard drives. Oh, and did I mention that because it's "Pro Res 422", you are working in a true 4:2:2 color space? Until Final Cut Studio 2, Avid has thrown in our faces the fact that they have great quality, compressed HD for their editors to work with, and Final Cut editors don't. Well, not anymore. The big advantage we have over Avid editors right now is choice. We can choose the hardware we want to use as our input/output device, and Avid editors really don't have the choice. So that brings up a very interesting question. How do you actually get Pro Res into your system and edit with it? High end post production houses use MacPros that you can install HD capture cards into for all your editing needs, but what about the rest of us? Now I know that some editors might think that editors who don't use high end MacPros aren't professional, and are only working on corporate and wedding videos, which is completely untrue. I am currently working on thirty webisodes of a show that I am editing in Pro Res that will be shown exclusively on the web, as opposed to on television. Let's take a look at how professional editors can edit anywhere with AJA's IoHD and Apple's Pro Res 422. Read More

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Reality TV Post with Final Cut

Media Management in a shared environment

By Steve Hullfish | November 11, 2008

In the first of a two part series on how Final Cut Pro is being used in two of the biggest reality TV shops in the country, Mark Raudonis, VP, Post Production for Bunim Murray talks about the challenges of posting up to ten hours a week of finished programming. With that much media moving through so many post-production steps, it's critical to understand media management and to have a simple standard operating procedure that is followed throughout the process. Raudonis shares his hard-won knowledge of how to take advantage of Final Cut's media management strengths and how to stay away from its weaknesses in this interview. Read More

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Make Custom Templates for FCP

Leveraging the power of Motion in FCP

By Steve Hullfish | November 07, 2008

Take advantage of all of the tools in Final Cut Suite 2 to make your work in Final Cut Pro easier and more polished. Customizing Templates in Motion is easier than you may think and it allows FCP to create drag and drop motion graphics that are easily changed from episode to episode. This simple video tutorial shows how even a "non-designer" can customize a great show graphic. Read More

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Tutorial - How To Get The Most Out Of Your Easy Setup Part 2

By Kevin P. McAuliffe | November 04, 2008

In the first of our three part look at the Easy Setup (ES) in Final Cut Pro, we took an in-depth look at the Capture Presets (CP), and really got in there and examined what each one of the settings did. For part two, we are going to look at what I think is the next logical step in the process, and that is the Sequence Settings, and then we are going to wrap everything up in part three by looking at the Device Settings, and how you can tie everything together to your advantage. Read More

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Fun with Motion Templates

By Philip Hodgetts | October 23, 2008

I love Motion Templates. Not only because I can pull a great looking effect out of my hat at a moment's notice, but they save me so much time, even when I create an original effect. Instead of recreating the same effect for a dozen videos, I create it once with the common elements embedded and drop zones for those shots that will change for each video.{C} Read More

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Preparing FCP Sequences for Color

An instructional video on how to hand off files from FCP to Color.

By steve martin | October 21, 2008

You start your grading and color correction using Final Cut Pro's 3 Way Color Corrector. You now want to hand off your sequence to Color for finishing. In this tutorial, Andrew Balis of Ripple Training will show you the things you need to know in order to do this successfully Read More

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Time Stretching Music

A video tutorial to make your music fit your video.

By steve martin | October 16, 2008

Have you ever needed your music to fit a specific duration? In this practical tutorial Steve Martin will show you how to use Soundtrack Pro's Time Stretch command to make your music obey. Read More

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Surround Patching

Steve Martin takes us step by step in this video tutorial

By steve martin | October 14, 2008

Soundtrack Pro 2 does surround mixing. Final Cut Pro will gladly handle your 5.1 mix, but you need to know a few things about making your sequence output 6 discreet channels. In this tutorial, Steve Martin will show you the importance of the Match Audio Outputs command. Read More

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Optical Flow Speed Effects

Steve Martin takes us step by step to changing speeds in Motion

By steve martin | October 10, 2008

If you want amazing slow motion effects, consider sending your Final Cut Pro sequence clips over to Motion to apply Optical Flow. Optical Flow is technology inherited from Shake and Steve Martin will show you why Optical Flow will help you avoid mushy-looking slow motion effects. Read More

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DVD Studio Pro: Leaving 4x3 behind for good

16x9 lovin'.

By Scott Bates | October 09, 2008

With the prevelance of flat screens and digital transition, it's time to stop worrying about 4x3. That statement might seem a bit lame, as many of us have already migrated to HD work where 4x3 SD really isn't our concern any more. However, when it comes time to distribute our work, documentaries, shorts, bah'mistzva's, whatever they may be, the good old DVD is still the most feasible means of distribution. The mandatory AACS fees for Blu-ray will keep legitiamte distribuion on BD out of reach for 95% of us (oh how I miss the, HD-DVD). So until the cost of blank BD media drops into the realm of sanity (likely still 18-24 months away) at which point you could distribute duplicated discs which dont require AACS, you are left bring your HD project back down to an SD world. It's happened a number of times now for me in the past year where I've had my head in HD and then sit down to design some nice DVD menus for a project and forget all about 4x3 title safe. So I've started forcing "16x9, 16x9 Letterbox" only for my DVDSP projects. For the feature this is not a big deal at all, but for menus and subtitles it has an impact. When a 16x9 project is displayed as native 16x9, the DVD player typically just spits out the 720x480 (or 720x576 for you PAL kids) anamorphic pixels unadultered, and lets your TV stretch out the composited image for so it appears correctly. However, in letterbox mode, the player will vertically squeeze the video by 25% and center it in the 480 frame. The issue arises that this squeeze is done to the video layer, not the composited image, so it happens before any graphics were involved. So if you have button overlays or subtitles, the video underneath them just shifted and thus they no longer line up in the correct position any more.{C} Read More

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How To Get The Most Out Of Your Easy Setup Part 1

By Kevin P. McAuliffe | September 21, 2008

Any editor who works on FCP, no matter what version, is familiar with the Easy Setup. You simply select the Easy Setup that is most suited to your workflow, and you're all set to go. For example, if you are working with a DV camera, you would choose DV-NTSC. {C} Read More

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Offline To Online For An HD Project

After you get over completing your first "online", you will be finishing all your projects in record time.

By Kevin P. McAuliffe | September 07, 2008

I thought that for this next article, I would take a look at a growing trend for editors these days, and that is the "One Man Shop". What I mean by that is that these days, with systems coming down in price, independent business owners/editors are wearing many hats, and one of those hats is that of the offline/online editor. Let's take a look at how an editor can offline a 1080i HD project, and then carry it through to the online. {C} Read More

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The Magic of Conform in Soundtrack Pro 2

The Magic of Conform in Soundtrack Pro 2

This feature allows editors to make as many changes as they want, with little or no impact on the mix.

By Kevin P. McAuliffe | August 23, 2008

One problem that audio engineers run into all the time is sneaky editors who make changes to their "locked" offline while the engineer is doing their mix. Then, a major "patch" job ends up happening where the mix that is currently being working on, needs to be married with the new, revised audio that the editor has just output. Needless to say, it's a major headache. Well, not anymore. With the awsome new Conform feature in Soundtrack Pro 2, editors can make as many changes to their edit as they want, with little or no impact on the mix that is being done in Soundtrack Pro. Let's take a look at how this works. Read More

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Tapeless Cinematography Workflow v2

By vittiPhoto | August 07, 2008

Being an early adopter of tapeless cinematography, I generally notice these inquiries on the blogs, bulletin boards, listserves and forums. Tapeless being the new technology and work?ow, there are kinks to work out, learn curves to scale. This article will address the issue of tapeless cinematography?s archiving image and sound assets with a reasonable yet secure system. Film set the narrative and commercial image acquisition standard over the past century, but the process from set to edit can be prohibitive. Since the late 1960?s, analog tape has been used for broadcast, corporate communications, with the emergence of digital tape & disc formats, for almost every media industry. Both ?lm and tape provide instant archival mediums for their video, audio and metadata assets, but with the domination of non linear editing systems across all media industries, these formats require digital capture of these assets into the digital realm. Tapeless image (and audio) acquisition is emerging on set as an alternative to ?lm, tape and optical disc based recording. Solid state?s current high cost necessitates using it as a temporary archive analogous to a ?lm camera?s magazine conveying assets to a more affordable archive: computer hard disk drives. Read More

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Compressor 3: A “virtual Cluster” Makes an Impressive Speed Boost

Faster encoding for the rest of us

By Scott Bates | July 30, 2008

A large number of us do our encode/transcode work in compressor on the same single machine as we did our FCP editing on, or are about to author our DVD on. The point being that many of us don't have the luxury of raw extra computing power just sitting in a stack next to our desk waiting to become a Qmaster Cluster for distributed encoding. However, it turns out, there's a great pro-tip for Compressor users that allows you to basically do distributed encoding to yourself. Earlier this year at the Mac Developer Conference, Apple introduced the next version of OSX coming down the pipeline next year (10.6 aka: Snow Leopard). One of the primary goals outlined for the new OS, was to greatly improve the utilization of all these "multi-core" CPUs we have running in our Macs these days. The reason being that while todays OS and Applications are in-fact Multi-threaded and do try to take advantage of all that horse-power, it's not optimized to the degree we'd all like it to be, and thus there are plenty of CPU cycles going unused. Read More

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