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by Steve Hullfish

Steve Hullfish has been producing and editing award-winning television since the mid-1980s. He has written four books, countless magazine articles and hosted an Avid training DVD. He has lectured at NAB, DVExpo and the Master Editor seminars. He has edited on Avid since 1992 and was named to Avid's first group of Master Editors. His client list includes: Universal Studios, NBC Television, PBS TV, Turner Networks, The Oprah Winfrey Show, "Investigative Reports" and "Cold Cases" with Bill Kurtis for A&E, Jim Henson Home Entertainment, HIT Enterta...

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FxFactory Pro and MOTYPE Review

FxFactory Pro and MOTYPE Review

Effects plugins for FCP, Motion, After Effects and Avid

By Steve Hullfish | March 01, 2009

Most people I know in this industry love new gear. And in the world of desktop video applications and editing, new gear is now less and less about the physical stuff with buttons and knobs and more about "the code."If you want access to a lot of new stuff, the easiest way to get high quality stuff to play with is to load FxFactory for Final Cut Pro, or FxFactory Pro with its 142 plug-ins already included. These plug-ins can be used in FCP, Motion, and After Effects. A similar product - Factory Tools - is available for Avid. Read More

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OnLocation CS4 Review

OnLocation CS4 Review

More than just a facelift

By Steve Hullfish | February 01, 2009

Last year I wrote a review of various software-based waveform/vectorscopes. In that review I included my praise and criticism of Adobe OnLocation, though technically it's a lot more than just simple wave/vector software. Since that time, Adobe has released the CS4 collection, upgrading most of their apps with significant features and - probably more importantly - increasing the interoperability of the apps in the overall suite. Once of the apps that got a huge overhaul in CS4 was OnLocation, so I wanted to revisit it and share a little of what has changed and why you should consider using this app on your next project. Read More

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Avid Gems #10

Avid Gems #10

How to see what you're doing in a nest

By Steve Hullfish | January 16, 2009

Here's an interesting problem I came across on the Avid-L2 listserve:An editor was trying to create three circle wipes to reveal three video files over a background. To achieve this the editor dropped three circle wipes onto the videos and customized the position, size and softness of each circlular "window." The problem was that even though the circles were positioned properly, the video inside each circular window was not displaying the desired portion of the underlying video track. In order to reposition the video underneath the window, the editor "stepped in" to the effect and added a resize effect, allowing them to change the size and position of the video. The problem is that when you step in to an effect like this, you can no longer see the position of the circular window, so you have to guess where to place the video and then step out to see how close your guess is. Read More

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Color Correction Tutorial #11

Intro to Apple Color's Color FX Room

By Steve Hullfish | January 15, 2009

After a brief hiatus, my color correction tutorials are back.This tutorial is about 8 minutes long and provides a glimpse into how to use the Color FX Room in Apple's Color. The Color FX room is very cool. It is a "nodal" or "process tree" based process where you add nodes (effects) together by graphically linking them into a "tree" that allows MANY effects to be linked in novel and complex ways. This tutorial shows how you can start THINKING about using the nodes to create effects. I'll do another tutorial later to give some more complex examples of process trees and how they can be built.I still have a dozen more from the revised edition of my first color correction book - "Color Correction for Video." The original book was co-authored with Jaime Fowler and was called "Color Correction for Digital Video." The revised edition is completely re-written with a great DVD that has more than two hours of video tutorials and sample footage to play with. You'll be able to use the book no matter which application (or even OS) you prefer for color correction. Read More

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New Year’s Resolution List

Things to pledge to do - and NOT to do - next year!

By Steve Hullfish | December 21, 2008

So the grand poobahs at ProVideoCoalition wanted all of us gurus to write a few year end lists. There are all kinds of things that are important to editors and video professionals that could be turned into lists: plug-ins, equipment, innovative productions.My list is of none of these things. But hopefully, it will be even more helpful and valuable. Oftentimes I get called in to fix projects that have been started by other editors, so I see a lot of other people's work. There are a few common mistakes that I see over and over again. So welcome to "My New Year's Resolution List of Mistakes That You Should Avoid Next Year." Some are technical. Some are creative. And some are business mistakes or client relationship mistakes. There are also a few positive "to dos" to add to your New Year's Resolution list. Read More

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Avid Gems 9

Avid Gems 9

user tips on effects

By Steve Hullfish | December 09, 2008

This column on Avid tips and tricks was originally designed to include hidden "gems" from the Avid user manual, but today we're going to feature a bunch of nice "gems" from one of our readers, Josh Petok as well as a stream-of-conscious of gems from me. Manuals? We don't need no stinkin' manuals for these gems! Josh's gems are definitely included in the list of tips that I know I learned at one point but I'd stored them away in that section of my brain that has the giant dust bunnies and is crawling with spiders. That doesn't mean that they're not great tips! Far from it. These are excellent tips and Josh has reminded me that I need to store them somewhere closer to the frontal lobe with the important information like my wife's birthday and our anniversary. Read More

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Color Correction Video Tutorial

Color Correction Video Tutorial

fix it in Color Finesse - or adapt it to Color

By Steve Hullfish | November 17, 2008

This week I balance and fix a dark image in Synthetic Aperture's Color Finesse color correction application, but if you are using Apple Color, you can adapt this easily to Color by using the Master Gain, Gamma and Pedestal and the Advanced Tabs Red, Green and Blue gain, gamma and pedestal controls. You could also do this correction using Curves and guide your corrections using eyedroppering instead of using an RGB Parade waveform monitor if you wanted.The image that I used in the example is on the CD from my first color correction book, co-authored with Jaime Fowler, "Color Correction for Digital Video." That book is about to be released in an almost completely re-written revised edition called "Color Correction for Video." This image is also on the DVD for that book.Next week we'll get into some more advanced techniques in Color, so make sure to subscribe to the RSS feed for this series. Read More

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Meeting the challenges of today’s weak economy

Bringing home the production bacon

By Steve Hullfish | November 13, 2008

Last year was my best year ever. Huge projects and lots of them. Plenty of work to pass out to the great freelancers that I knew. This year… not so much. Actually this year is my worst year. From feast to famine.So what am I doing about it? Losing sleep? Yes. But this is an inspirational and motivational column to convince you to wear out some shoe leather and burn up the phone lines.There's still work out there. Someone is doing it. So how do you get a piece of the pie? Read More

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Avid Gems 8

Gems in the Bins - How many do YOU know?

By Steve Hullfish | November 10, 2008

Get your bin tips! Step right up, folks! Get your bin tips here!Once again: maybe not sexy, but useful. One of these tips isn't even in the manual and one of them was new to me until I re-read the manual. Which ones will be new to you? You never know what little gem has slipped past you on the way to becoming the experienced editor you are. Read More

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Color Correction Video Tutorial

Using color contrast to improve an image

By Steve Hullfish | November 05, 2008

This video tutorial on color correction shows how color contrast can be used to really transform an image. A large part of color correction is improving and manipulating the tonal contrast - the difference between the brightest and darkest parts of the image. But color contrast can be even more important in creating an interesting and arresting image. Contrasting warm tones with cool tones or playing colors against each other to create interest is something that sets the truly great colorists apart from the rest. The example in this video tutorial uses footage from Evan Nicholas' short film, "Susannah," which was shot with a RED camera, to show how tonal and color contrast can be used to improve the impact of a shot. Read More

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Avid Gems #7

Advanced Tips and Techniques for Avid editors

By Steve Hullfish | November 03, 2008

I wasn't sure if anyone was reading these, so I stopped for a few weeks. Then I got a very nice comment from Ra-ey Saleh who has been reading and learning from the tips, despite being an experienced Avid editor. He also asked if he could suggest a tip, so I'll start this week with a great tip. Essentially, it's nothing more than a common button, but it does perform hidden wonders, which is the whole point of some of these gems. Read More

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Scarlet Killers - Attack of the HD DSLRs!

HD capability in new crop of DSLRs deserves a look

By Steve Hullfish | October 30, 2008

Nikon is claiming its recent release of the D-90 is the first HD DSLR camera. Plus there's the news of Canon's entry into the HD DSLR race, the EOS 5D Mark II as well as the Sony DSLR-A900. The combined pressure of these seemed to sink the much anticipated release of the Scarlet. So why are these SLR form-factor camera's making a scene? Well, lately it's been about the release of Vincent Laforet's HD film "Reverie" on the Canon website. The images are stunning and the entire project was shot on a 72 hour deadline with a budget of $5,000. So many people downloaded the movie that it shut down Canon's video webserver. Read More

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Color Correction - Secondaries Video Tutorial

Another example of how to use Secondary Color correction in Apple's Color

By Steve Hullfish | October 29, 2008

Here is a video tutorial - one of a series based on my book "Color Correction for Video," out in December from Focal Press - showing how to do secondary color correction on a typical image. This footage is from Artbeats. In it, I "qualify" (another term for "select") the color of the baseball jerseys in the shot AND the color of the grass in the infield and change it without affecting the other colors in the footage.If you find these tutorials valuable, subscribe to the RSS feed! Read More

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Color Correction Video Tutorial

Sampling colors in Apple's Color

By Steve Hullfish | October 20, 2008

Another in a series of color correction tutorials from the upcoming revised edition of "Color Correction for Video" coming out in December from Focal Press.In this installment, I show you how to sample colors on the screen in Apple Color to get numeric readouts of specific pixels in your image. (These same methods can be used with Avid or FCP or Color Finesse in Premiere or After Effects.) Using these numeric readouts can assist you in making corrections, especially if you can sample something that should be white, black or some other neutral gray tone. Any neutral tone should have the same numeric readout across all three color channels. (They can be off by a little.)The samples in Color will continuously update as you color correct, which is very helpful. So, for example, is you sample a black pixel from your image and it says that the red channel is .085, the green channel is .088 and the blue channel is .025, then that means that your blacks have either a deficiency of blue or too much yellow (the combination of even amounts of red and green). So you probably need to raise the set-up/pedestal/black level of your blue channel to remove the yellow cast in the blacks. This will actually help balance the overall level somewhat, especially if you can balance the whites/highlights/gain using the same method. Grays will either fall into place, or you can adjust your gammas/midtones "to taste" by eye. Read More

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Color Correction Tutorial

Cool tip using Geometry Room to analyze colors!

By Steve Hullfish | October 13, 2008

This is another in an ongoing series of color correction video tutorials taken from the upcoming revised edition of my book "Color Correction for Video" (originally released as "Color Correction for Digital Video" co-written by Jaime Fowler.)This tutorial shows how you can use the Geometry Room (one of the tabs along the top of the Color interface) to analyze your colors more accurately using the internal or external scopes.Please subscribe to the RSS feed so you don't miss any of these tutorials. Read More

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Avid Gems 6

Four more Gems - these aren't sexy but they work!

By Steve Hullfish | October 10, 2008

OK, this won't be a sexy tips week, but it'll be useful. Sometimes sexy sells, but in economic times like these, sometimes you've got to say "Damn! Workboots, a flannel shirt and a pair of jeans is just what I need today." Read More

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Creating Custom-shaped Vignettes in Apple Color

A Video Tutorial from the book "Color Correction for Video"

By Steve Hullfish | October 06, 2008

This video tutorial is one of more than two dozen video tutorials I created for the revised edition of "Color Correction for Video" which I originally wrote with Jaime Fowler back in 2002. The revised edition will be out in December and is almost completely re-written. I'll be posting one of these tutorials each week.We're not really going in any specific order with these tutorials. I did a series of Primary color correction tutorials. This is actually a tutorial about creating custom user shapes in Apple Color to do secondary color correction.Subscribe to the RSS feed if you haven't already. And if you have questions or specific video tutorials you'd like to see, let me know. Just add a comment below to the article. Read More

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Avid Gems #5

Avid Power User tips

By Steve Hullfish | October 03, 2008

Many of you know me from various listserves, and hopefully I have a reputation as someone who's willing to help out people with problems. Today's Gem #1 is something I learned when I tried to help someone with a problem that I THOUGHT was going to be pretty easy to solve, but it turned out that I needed to learn some new tricks before I could be on any help at all. Read More

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Color Correction Video Tutorial

Setting up a JLCooper Eclipse

By Steve Hullfish | October 02, 2008

The latest in my series of color correction video tutorials is a brief departure from art to get to the nuts and bolts of installing color correction hardware.If you are doing a lot of grading, there is no way to keep up with the "real" colorists doing work on dedicated systems like da Vinci unless you invest in a "panel" or manual user interface for Color or Color Finesse (or any of the other "software" color correctors).The main two companies manufacturing units like these are Tangent Devices and JLCooper. They actually have very similar install setups. When I wrote "The Art and Technique of Digital Color Correction," I went around the country and sat in on sessions with the nation's top colorists. For those sessions, I brought along a Tangent Devices CP-100. That unit was about $25,000. If you're not quite that flush with cash (and who is today?) then you could try their CP-200BK or various combinations of smaller Tangent Devices boards that are meant to work together. Each of those boards runs about $6000. Tangent is also soon to release their even lower-cost unit, The Wave.JL Cooper has the Eclipse CX, which is about $7,000 which delivers about the same functionality of the $25,000 CP-100. Originally, I was not a big JLCooper fan. The first versions I tried seemed rough and almost gritty. But the Eclipse I've been using for the last few months is a huge improvement over previous versions. The unit is good looking, feels solid and is a pleasure to work on. Also, with the new software it can be configured by the user to get the most efficiency from the way you like to work. I'll try to get into that user customization of the JLCooper in another tutorial soon. But first, I'd like to show you how easy it is to get set-up and working with a new unit, fresh out of the box. You should be able to have this up and running in about the time it takes to watch this tutorial, especially if you have someone who knows computer networking. If you don't have someone like that, don't panic. This video will show you everything you need to know.This video tutorial is on the upcoming revised edition of "Color Correction for Video" which I originally wrote with Jaime Fowler in 2002. The release will be out in December of this year on Focal Press. Please subscribe to the RSS feed to receive future video tutorials in this series. Read More

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Avid Hidden Gems 4

Power User Tips and Hidden Gems from the Very Fine Manual

By Steve Hullfish | September 25, 2008

OK, so you CAN teach an old dog new tricks! While the previous installments of Avid Hidden Gems have all been from memory - basically just some cool power user tips - today, I actually dove into the manual itself to: 1) find things that are completely new to me2) rediscover things that I'd forgotten3) remind myself about things that I use all the time, but others might not have discovered.  Read More

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