If you need to gather tracking data to pass to FCP then this is the app for you
By Scott Simmons | November 13, 2009
I am not a VFX artist. I think that if I could plug a data pipe straight into my brain and download an entire profession right into the gray matter ala The Matrix it might be some level of visual effects expertise. It's amazing what you can do with affordable desktop software but even something as accessible as Adobe After Effects can take a whole career to master. It's also amazing at the level of quality that one can achieve with all of the other desktop applications that are out in the world today. I received a copy of Imagineer Systems' mocha for Final Cut a while back but I hadn't had the time or the need to really use it. But at a recent automotive shoot for The Garage Blog we were looking at footage and someone commented that we should have put our own logo license plate on the cars before we drove them (never mind the fact that such a license plate doesn't exist). Idea! I can do that in post and mocha for Final Cut will be the perfect tool.
I think that's pretty much all of them now
By Scott Simmons | November 11, 2009
A while I back I posted a round-up of various footage calculators around the Internet. The one from Digital Rebellion had the most supported codecs but was lacking some new ones like ProRes Proxy and ProRes 4444. Well Digital Rebellion has updated the Footage Calculator with ... well, pretty much all of them.
I gave myself a week using the new Apple Magic Mouse with Final Cut Pro and Color
By Scott Simmons | November 06, 2009
I'm on a constant search for the ultimate input device for editing. Look at my editing desk on any given day and there may be some mad combination of an Apple Mighty Mouse, a Kensington Expert Mouse (which is just a trackball), a Contour Shuttle Pro, a Wacom graphics tablet, a Poker Mouse and of course the keyboard. While the absolute best input device for editing is a keyboard it's inevitable that you will have to reach for a mouse at some point during the edit day. Enter the new Apple Magic Mouse and its touch sensitive surface. But how is it for editing?
The Wave hardware makes Apple Color a much more pleasant working experience
By Scott Simmons | November 04, 2009
I had a small wave of sadness come over me the other day as I boxed up the Tangent Wave control surface in order to return it back home to Tangent Devices in the UK. As I saw Color's dark gray interface and colorful video scopes shinning in the back of the room I thought to myself ... "I've had my problems with you Color, I've said some pretty mean things about you in the past but I have to admit, I'm going to miss you Final Touch Color."
It's a simple editor but it works
By Scott Simmons | October 21, 2009
Months ago when the new Apple iPhone 3GS hit the market I questioned the claim that it could edit video, prefering the more proper term of "trimming." But with the new app ReelDirector that desire to edit on the phone has become a reality. Word popped up on Twitter tonight that this app exists. I downloaded it and performed my first ever edit on an iPhone!
PluralEyes can automagically sync your multicamera shoots and music videos
By Scott Simmons | October 08, 2009
As I was making my way around the show floor of NAB 2009 my friend Shane Ross said that I had to check out this tiny little booth over at the plug-in pavilion and demo this product called PluralEyes from a little company called Singular Software. My first thought was ... "PluralEyes, that's an odd name." Seconds later I headed straight to the booth. Automatic synchronization without timecode. Is this for real? It is.
A control surface for Apple Color can really increase your productivity
By Scott Simmons | October 06, 2009
I was very excited when a big FedEx box arrived a couple of weeks ago with a Tangent Wave control surface for Apple Color. I had a series of short videos that I was soon to be cutting and finishing and I wanted to finally give Color the proper test it deserved. I haven't been a fan of Color in the past, what with its non-standard interface (when compared with most Mac applications), difficulty moving an edit from Final Cut Pro to the app and back again as well as general buggyness. Those issues have kept me from using it, instead opting for Colorista (when in Final Cut Pro) for color correction duties. After speaking with Tangent Devices, they agreed to send a Wave control surface over for testing. Combine that with the recent 1.5 update to Color and I decided it was time to give the app another try. But this isn't about Color but rather first impressions using the Wave with Color.
But it's still a bit buggy. Here's hoping for continued updates.
By Scott Simmons | October 04, 2009
As editors and media content creators we can often accumulate tons of large video and audio files as well as hundreds of thousands of tiny little (and sometimes not so tiny and little) supporting files. Be they QuickTime movies, graphics, audio files, render files, edit project files, autosaves ... the list is pretty much endless. What if there was a way to visually look at all of the files on a hard disk and get a big picture overview of all those files on the disk. There is, it's called Baseline. And while it's far from perfect it's a nice start.
The idea of a production being Good Enough is happening in professional media production today
By Scott Simmons | September 20, 2009
Continuing with the links to other good articles that are great reads for our particular industry comes a link to a Wired article called The Good Enough Revolution: When Cheap and Simple Is Just Fine. That kinds of sums up a lot of what is going on in film and video production today wouldn't you say? That Flip camera footage that comprises a large part of your program would have been flat out rejected on broadcast television at one point in the past but today ... it is good enough.
Or how we can all learn a thing or two from the article I Will Not Read Your Fucking Script
By Scott Simmons | September 13, 2009
There's a great article on the Village Voice blogs by A History of Violence screenwriter Josh Olson titled I Will Not Read Your Fucking Script. It's a must read for any editor who has spent a good portion of their career editing professionally and has an extended group of family and friends who know what he or she does for a living. I say this because if you fall into that aforementioned category then you've been asked, possibly many times, to edit the occasional wedding video, baby video, memorial tribute, work video etc. etc. etc. for a friend and family member or (perhaps worse) some friend of a friend who heard you were an editor.
Test video from an affordable camera mount
By Scott Simmons | September 07, 2009
Sticky Pod test from Scott Simmons on Vimeo.
Just about one year ago I joined my brother-in-law up in the Pocono mountains to shoot video for his website The Garage Blog at the International Motor Press Association's test days. This is an event where automotive journalists converge on the Split Rock Resort and the Pocono Raceway for two days of driving, testing and writing about cars. In the case of The Garage Blog, we shot video as well. This year we are doing more of the same. I'll be taking my trusty HV20 camera (probably minus the 35mm lens adapter in the interest of traveling light and saving time) and pretty much all the same gear I took last year with one addition: a Sticky Pod.
A fantastic web resource
By Scott Simmons | September 05, 2009
Every now and then a web resource comes online and you just have to say WOW! That's exactly what I said after seeing a recent Twitter from Norman Hollyn that said: "For some fantastic articles on editing go to the Editors Guild Magazine site. Interviews, tips and more. " It was followed by this link: http://snipurl.com/rmai5. That link takes you to the Motion Picture Editors Guild webpage of current and past issues of Editors Guild magazine. There's currently issues going as far back as when the mag was just a newsletter in 1994. Click the cover to get a list of contents and then click the link to read the article, that simple. There's no fee and not even a sign-up process.
Install goes well, Final Cut Pro hums right along, QuickTime X .... meh
By Scott Simmons | August 31, 2009
Over the weekend I installed Mac OSX 10.6 (Snow Leopard!) and crossed my fingers as I booted up Final Cut Pro for a number of quick edit tasks I had to complete. Install was lightning fast (relatively speaking to other OS updates) at under an hour and claimed an extra 10 gigs or so of hard drive space (though that might not be totally accurate) when all was said and done. This install was on my edit machine at home, the machine that is often the guinea pig for mad scientist-type software experimentation, so I chose to do the quickest and simplest upgrade option and not a "clean install" as I usually do when a new OS rolls around. In fact a clean install isn't a simple option with Snow Leopard but apparently it can be done by rebooting and formatting your hard drive with Disk Utility and then installing. I'll do that on the office machine at some point. But here's the usual warning, do not upgrade to Snow Leopard if you are in the middle of a job or don't have the time to devote to working out problems that can arise from such an update. And always make a bootable back-up before performing any upgrade.
These handy utilities can never be more than a click or tap away
By Scott Simmons | August 24, 2009
It's one of the questions I get asked more often than most: How much drive space do I need to hold [insert media format and time here]? At one point I tried to keep some rough numbers in my head, as in way back when DV25 was about the only format and resolution to worry about, but these days with all of the different resolutions and frame rates it's way more information than I care to remember. But fear not as there's many different places in which to find video storage space calculators. Web based, widget based and iPhone based ... read on for a round-up.
Filmmaking Central podcast from July is a must listen for the serious filmmaker
By Scott Simmons | August 21, 2009
I was catching up on podcasts recently and I got to the July 16 episode of Filmmaking Central. On this episode host Dave Basulto spends an hour interviewing Doug Schwab, President and Founder of Maverick Entertainment. This is one of the most honest and informative discussions on feature film distribution that I've heard in a long time and is a great listen for anyone making movies. Blogs and podcasts often discuss the technology and craft of filmmaking ad nauseam so the good distribution discussion is often few and far between. Maverick Entertainment is a direct to video distribution company and though you as a filmmaker may be shooting for theatrical distribution the reality is that very few films see the big screen. Schwab engages in a very thorough and very honest discussion about the reality of feature film distribution. There's a lot of great tips within the show about what distribution companies are looking for as well as tips to get your film in front of a distributor or buyer. You can listen to the episode right off of the BlogTalkRadio webpage or subscribe to the Filmmaking Central podcast (iTunes link) and look back into July for the episode.
A batch utility can delete unused audio tracks from a QuickTime file
By Scott Simmons | August 19, 2009
Just the other day I posted links to VideoToolshed, a resource for a number of handy software utilities gear toward the video editor. One of those tools was QtTools, which has been rebranded as qtChange02. I posed the question asking if it could batch extract empty audio channels from QuickTime files. Bouke, the proprietor behind VideoToolshed, said he would add the feature and he did. In the comments David Heidelberger posted and said that he had already written an application to do just that. Audio Track Batcher. Let's see how these tools might work to correct a capture problem where you media has too many audio tracks.
Plus they have lots of other handy tools
By Scott Simmons | August 17, 2009
We all know Final Cut Pro's media management capabilities aren't its strongest feature. The guys over at VideoToolshed have released a utility that tries to make up for some of those shortcomings. Plus, if you've never browsed through the products they offer then take a few minutes to do so as you might find one that meets a specific need you might have.VideoToolshed is a small post-production house in the Netherlands that has quite an impressive collection of little applications and utilities, available for both Mac and PC, that address a lot of small but often quite pressing needs in the post-production world. Their website is rather sparse, their English sometimes fragmented and their software isn't particularly pretty but from just looking at the volume of products they have produced over the years and how they have addressed specific needs you can tell someone has put some thought into these products. I often wish that I knew how to write Mac applications (I once tried to learn and it didn't go very well) so I could do something similar to what Bouke and his team does (that's assuming he has a team!): They see a need they have in their post-production workflow and then write an app to address it. The most reason one to catch the eye is FcpReconnect.
The new FCP update is a very nice, though small, evolution forward for the app
By Scott Simmons | July 27, 2009
By now anyone who has ever heard of Final Cut Pro has heard that Apple shipped Final Cut Pro 7 as part of the new Final Cut Studio on July 23. It wasn't the total FCP reboot that many had hoped and consists mainly tacked on new features. The early word was that it probably should have been called Final Cut Pro 6.5 (and I agree) but you can't make a splashy new release with only half a number advancement can you? I had some time over the weekend to kick the tires on FCP 7 there are some very nice features that have been added to this release. The true test will come when I install at the office and pound it hard for days on end (which won't be for a while as I won't be between projects for a couple of weeks) but for the little project I'm working on at home it's working well thus far. Here's an early observation on some select features where I was able to kick the tires.
By Scott Simmons | July 22, 2009
CineForm recently announced its new CineDDR product. What exactly is CineDDR? I'm still trying to wrap my head around exactly what all the CineDDR system might bring to a post-house but basically it looks like it is being position as a somewhat "software" based alternative to an HDCAM SR deck. A software based anything alternative to an expensive hardware product will almost always have a substantial cost savings and CineDDR vs. HDCAM SR is no exception.
It's nice to see some people are still using slates!
By Scott Simmons | July 17, 2009
Subtleties of the Slate from Inspiration Studios on Vimeo.
Here's a fun little video from Vimeo called Subtleties of the Slate. It was made by Inspiration Studios and is quite a hoot for those who've worked the set. It makes me long for those long days of a dry erase pen with the big powder puff taped to the end. Thanks to Jason Wingrove and James Shen for spreading this around Twitter.