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by Scott Simmons

Scott Simmons was born in rural West Tennessee and didn't really realize that movies and tv had to be made by actual people until he went to college. After getting degrees in both Television Production and Graphic Design he was in one of the early graduating classes at the Watkins Film School in Nashville, Tennessee. During that time at Watkins he discovered editing. While most of his classmates in film school wanted to be directors, Scott saw real career opportunities in post production and took a job as an assistant editor after completing fi...

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Very funny and true video on Edit Etiquette

If you spend time in an edit suite then watch this 7 minutes please

By Scott Simmons | May 27, 2009

Joy Moeller - EditQuette from Art+Copy Club of Kansas City on Vimeo.

Shane over at Little Frog in Hi-Def has posted a very funny video from editor Joy Mueller of a "lecture" about etiquette in the edit suite ... EditQuette ... get it? And as Shane said in his post, since the video is embedable I'm gonna stick it here as it's too funny/good for editors not to see! I've got a big post on this that has rattled around in my head for a long while but this video really sums it up well. It's 21 things that all clients should know before they step into an edit suite to work with an editor. After viewing this video it reminded me of links to an old 10 Commandments of Editing list that popped up a long time ago and a few commandments that I added myself.Shane found the video from the art + copy club blog so click over there for a number of other good videos as well. Thanks to Shane for finding it as well as Joy of 19 Below and the Art + Copy Club of Kansas City for posting it. Now if all the ad agencies and directors of the world could see it .... Read More

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Science of the Movies premieres tonight on Science Channel

Science of the Movies premieres tonight on Science Channel

The Science Channel brings on a show for the tech movie geek in all of us

By Scott Simmons | May 26, 2009

If you're a movie fan then tune in to the Science Channel tonight or (more likely) set your DVRs accordingly as tonight premieres the show Science of the Movies.What is the show about? From the Science Channel website:Science Channel invites you on a geektastic journey to the cinematic intersection of art and science in the all-new "Science of the Movies", Tuesdays at 9 PM (ET/PT).Appealing to the movie junkie in us all, the new series explores the remarkable - yet rarely celebrated - scientific world that exists behind the screen, spotlighting the visionary artists, entrepreneurial spirit, innovative technology and remarkable techniques responsible for creating unforgettable, edge-of-your-seat moments in blockbuster films.In tonight's episode titled Spider Man Motion Control we get "Host Nar Williams explores the motion-control technology behind cloning and the famous "Spidey-sense" shot from "Spider-Man"; Nar rides a CG elephant created by the creature special-effects team behind "300"; Nar embarks on a chase scene using wireless camera mounts." There's a complete episode guide over on the Science Channel website. Man I hope it's not too cheesy. Read More

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Shooting Indy Cars with the GT35pro

Shooting Indy Cars with the GT35pro

Back in April I took my HV20 and 35mm lens adapter to shoot Indy cars

By Scott Simmons | May 22, 2009

Indy Racing League test at Barber Motorsport Park from Scott Simmons on Vimeo.

Back in April the Indy Racing League took their cars to the beautiful Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham Alabama. It wasn't an actual race but rather an open test, meaning teams could run throughout the weekend and tweak their cars until their heart's content. It was the only road course that the IRL was testing on this season and from reports around the Internet the league was very happy with the fan support as there was a huge turnout, especially for a test. The hope is that the IRL will return to the track for a fully sanctioned race very soon. A test day is great in that for a small fee you can get up close to the action around the track and in the pits. I took my trusty Canon HV20 and the GT35pro lens adapter and head down for a day of shooting Indy cars. Read More

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You CAN have a large timecode display in Final Cut Pro

You CAN have a large timecode display in Final Cut Pro

If only through a hack or some money spent

By Scott Simmons | May 19, 2009

Avid Media Composer has long had a handy little tool called the Timecode Window. Accessed via Tools > Timecode Window it is a floating pallette with great customization capability. You can resize the font, position the window anywhere you want and most importantly, add many different types of data to each of the lines. You can also add line after line after line of info. I don't know how many you actually add but when I got to 20 lines I stopped adding them. You are able to add information like the Master Timecode of the edit sequence, source timecode of any of your video layer, In to Out durations, time remaining, as well as footage and frames in any number of frame rates. It's a very powerful tool that Final Cut Pro doesn't have the equivalent to. But there are a couple of way to at least get a window with the running master timecode of the edit sequence. Read More

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HBO’s Alzheimer’s documentary

HBO’s Alzheimer’s documentary

Upcoming documentary series looks to be a unique multimedia event

By Scott Simmons | May 06, 2009

Starting this Sunday, May 10, HBO Documentary Films is going to begin air a 4 part documentary series on Alzheimer's disease called The Alzheimer's Project. Normally I probably wouldn't promote or post about an HBO film but this series looks to be a bit more important than most. Alzheimer's disease is a cruel brain disease that affects over half of all Americans and has an indirect cost estimated at more than $148 billion annually. Any disease with that kind of broad reaching impact deserves a special event like this that HBO is producing. I've personally been affected by the disease as my mother suffers from Alzheimer's and I've seen the toll it can take on both the victims and their friends and family so I've been encouraging all that I can to watch this series. Read More

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Want an ikan monitor? Enter their contest.

By Scott Simmons | May 06, 2009

If you are in need of a small external monitor for your video shoots or maybe a small supplemental monitor for your edit suite then head over to ikan corporation and enter their Wish I had an ikan contest. From the ikan website:If you can create a short narrative film either featuring an iKan product or the Ikan name, then you are eligible to win cash and prizes from Ikan.Start Date: April 27thEnd date: August 1st1st place: $2,000 cash2nd place: $1,000 and a V8000HDMI LCD Monitor3rd Place: a V8000HDMI LCD MonitorIt seems strange that the 1st place winner would get cash and no ikan monitor but with $2,000 cash you can spend it how you want! Rules are available here. Good luck! Read More

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Final Draft upgraded to version 8

Final Draft upgraded to version 8

The industry standard screenwriting app moves up a version number

By Scott Simmons | May 05, 2009

It doesn't seem to happen very often so maybe it's worth mentioning when it does .... the seminal screenwriting application Final Draft has moved to version 8!I remember getting Final Draft back in the mid-90s and pounding out a couple of feature length screenplays before I ever went to film school. I had tried writing them in a word processor but reasoned that if something would take care of the formatting for me then I would write more, jack around with margins less. It worked. Two screenplays later I went to film school, took screenwriting classes and read some screenwriting books. My writing career went downhill from there. I think it was one of those cases where the less I knew about the "proper" way to write a screenplay the more I would write! That said, lots of shorts, and half-started / half-finished / half-assed screenplays later I still use Final Draft. Read More

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I’ve grown to really like Avid’s new logo

I’ve grown to really like Avid’s new logo

By Scott Simmons | May 01, 2009

One of Avid's big announcements at NAB 09 was that they have consolidated all of their many companies into one: Avid. So Digidesign, M-Audio, Pinnnacle and Sibelius are all Avid. With this new company focus comes a new logo, which has been getting generally favorable reviews. A number of people have asked me about this new logo. According to the press release Avid Unveils New Brand Identity: The new logo forms a visual connection to iconic shapes that represent "volume up, volume down, play, pause, record and forward," signaling a unification of the company's core audio and video offerings.  The distinctive mark also spells out the company's name in abstract letterforms. Read More

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First video footage from the new Panasonic Lumix GH1 hits the web

By Scott Simmons | April 30, 2009

Panasonic Lumix GH1. First footage from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

Super-duper camera guy Phillip Bloom has gotten his hands on a Panasonic Lumix GH1 and has posted video from the not-quite-35mm cam for all the world to see. He has also written a piece on his blog of early thoughts about using the camera. Whoo hoo! It doesn't shoot to H.264 and has some manual control! Read More

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Reflecting on the NAB 09 REDuser event

We couldn't hold the Scarlet and Epic cameras but it was fun anyway

By Scott Simmons | April 29, 2009

Another highlight of NAB 09 came in the same room that the Final Cut Pro User Group held the Tuesday night SuperMeet. It was the Wednesday REDUser event. Since RED didn't have a presence on the NAB show floor this was their NAB by presenting current Scarlet and Epic prototypes and their new prime lenses at the REDUser party. Like the Tuesday night SuperMeet before it the REDUser party featured free food and a cash bar, vendors in the outer area of the Amazon ballroom and the presentations in an adjacent room where a raffle was also held. Read More

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Reflecting on the NAB 09 FCPUG SuperMeet

It was a long evening but most came out blurry eyed and better for it.

By Scott Simmons | April 26, 2009

Two of the things I was looking most forward to at NAB 2009 were split between the Amazon ballroom at the Rio hotel and a corner of the south hall in the Las Vegas Convention Center. Those things were the Final Cut Pro User Groups SuperMeet, on Tuesday evening, and the Final Cut Pro User Groups SuperBooth that was on the show floor all week. The SuperBooth was particualrly unique among NAB booths in that it featured presentations from FCP users (incuding yours truely) at regular intervals throughout the week. Read More

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A whole mess of Apple Pro App technical documents updated

By Scott Simmons | April 25, 2009

I awoke this morning to find a lot of RSS updates to a number of Apple articles regarding a number of different Pro Apps:Final Cut Pro/Express: Some imported PSD files may only contain the background layerUsing FireWire 400 peripherals with multimedia applications and FireWire 800 portsMotion: Motion quits unexpectedly when exporting to REDCODE (The solution to this one, use another codec ... duhhhh!)Final Cut Pro: Speed interferes with Smooth CamCompressor: Troubleshooting basicsFinal Cut Pro: Troubleshooting BasicsFinal Cut Pro: Quality issue with movies you export from the Viewer with filters appliedFinal Cut Pro: Log and capture with DV50 sometimes does not work in French or JapaneseChanging system display settings causes Final Cut Pro/Express to quit unexpectedlyAnd a few others:About "You need to restart your computer" (kernel panic) messagesDesktop computers: Troubleshooting wireless keyboard and mouse issuesiTunes Store: Error message 3001, -42110, or 5103 when downloading movie rentalMobileMe: Backing up files that are stored on your iDiskMac OS X 10.5: Disk Utility's Repair Disk Permissions messages that you can safely ignore Read More

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5 Things I Learned in the Scene to Scene Color Correction Session

By Scott Simmons | April 21, 2009

Monday at NAB I saw in on a session by colorist Robbie Carman called Match It: Scene to Scene Color Correction. He passed on a lot of great tips for Apple Color ... and a surprisingly large number of them were for dealing with bugs! Here's 5 of my favorites:1. Find your "establishing shot" in a scene, as in a shot that is representative of the overall shots in that scene, and grade that shot first. Use that as a reference and base for the rest of the grading on that scene.2. Control + G toggles the grade on and off of a shot.3. Double-clicking a still store brings up a split-screen of that still and the current frame you are parked on with the playhead. You can compare them side-by-side in the split screen and it is also reflected in the scopes. Control + u toggles that split-screen on and off.4. Using Color's groups functionality you can apply a grade to a group and that grade will appear in all the shots in the group. Make a change to that group and changes will ripple through all the shots in the group.5. You can copy/paste grades in Color but there is a bug in the software that doesn't show the pasted grade in the grade bar of the timeline. Click on the shot and they will then show up. Read More

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5 Things I Learned at the Video Compression on a Mac session

By Scott Simmons | April 20, 2009

Jeff Greenberg of Future Media Concepts did a great job of presenting a lot of information in a short amount of time at his session titled Video Compression on a Mac. Here's 5 tips I liked:1. Job chaining in Apple Compressor is a key to better looking outputs. Under the Job menu > New Job With Target Output will allow you to scale video to a smaller resolution in its own step before doing the encode.2. A shallow depth of field with a blurry background will compress better than deep depth of field. This made perfect sense when he said it since fast motion and busy frames always make for more blocky compression. I had never thought of that.3. Always deinterlance in your compression software and not your editor. And never use the deinterlace filter in Apple Compressor. Always do deinterlacing in the Frame Controls tab of the inspector.4. You can drag an old job from the History window of Compressor back into the Batch window to re-encode again.5. MainConcept Reference is a new and promising encoding application available for Mac, Windows and Linux. Read More

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5 Things I Learned at the Text in After Effects session

By Scott Simmons | April 20, 2009

Trish Meyer presented a great session on Sunday afternoon about working with text in Adobe After Effects. Since I consider myself an After Effects hack who wants to know more I sat in. Among a number of things here's 5 tips that I picked up:1. There is an Auto-open check box up in the After Effects tool bar that when checked, will automatically open the character and text panels when you add text to a composition.2. When you want to add new text to a comp you can have the cursor always begin in the middle of the screen by using the Layer menu > New > Text. No more fumbling with clicking in or around the center of the screen with this technique.3. Do your initial creation and stylizing of your text in its final, readable state before you being animating or working on transitions.4. A square keyframe icon in an After Effects timeline means it it is a HOLD type of keyframe that will hold the parameter constant until it get to the next keyframe ... so no animation after a square, hold keyframe.5. AE's text engine is based on Photoshop which is not itself animatible. If you use the "Range Selector" parameter under the Animate property for text then this is they key to being able to animate text with ease in After Effects. Using the Range Selector means you don't have to animate individual letters or words. This was the basis of the session and text animation in AE can go a million different places using the Range Selector and all its parameters.6. (okay, one more that many people already know) Adobe After Effects is such an amazing, full-featured software application that it never ceases to amaze me when I watch an experienced artist work on it. Read More

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When your 16:9 tv isn’t enough there’s 21:9

When your 16:9 tv isn’t enough there’s 21:9

Philips ramps it up a notch but is it marketing more than good tech?

By Scott Simmons | April 16, 2009

Yesterday my PVC colleague Mark Christiansen posted this quick-link to to an utterly amazing promotional piece / short film from Philips touting their upcoming 21:9 television. It's a fantastic piece of work with the camera drifting slowly through a crime scene in a bullet-time sort of way. Throughout the piece a number of the filmmakers step into the scene to explain various parts of their art and craft.Go and watch the piece and check out this new television and then come back for discussion. I call marketing bullshit on this TV. Read More

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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

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Anvil trailer online!

By Scott Simmons | April 13, 2009

I love music documentaries. From Gimme Shelter to Metallica - Some Kind of Monster they are always a lot of fun to watch especially when it's about music you like. Then you've got your classic underdog docs like Murderball and The King of Kong. Combine them together and you've got Anvil! The Story of Anvil, a documentary about the biggest heavy metal band to never make it big. I've been reading about this film for a while and it looks like it's going to hit theaters on April 10. Enjoy the trailer above and enjoy the film when it comes to your town. Read More

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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

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UPDATE A found video from RED’s headquarters?

UPDATE A found video from RED’s headquarters?

Some guy's "Trip to RED" video posted online and then removed

By Scott Simmons | April 08, 2009

Whooo Hoooo!!!!! Today I got my first ever "takedown" notice for a blog entry! I guess if you write about and cover any industry that deals in product launches and trade secrets for long enough then you will eventually post something that someone doesn't like. Usually it's just an opinion of some software or a certain hardware product but every now and then you might be posting something that really shouldn't have been posted in the first place. Apparently that's what happened yesterday when I posted a link to a video that a recent new Twitter follower had posted of an event at RED headquarters. Apparently he wasn't supposed to be videoing this event as some powers-that-be at RED asked for the video and links to be removed. The video really didn't show that much especially now that the RED ONE is out in full force in the world. But hey, the last thing I have time to worry about or mess with is some lawyer with too much time on his/her hands harassing me for linking to some other dude's illegally obtained video. So off the link goes. Of course with the Internet these days, is any video really gone for good?So I got a new Twitter follower recently and as I was poking around his website and I saw this link to 4 new movies. One of those links was titled RED HQ. From Nathan's RED HQ entry:I got to go "somewhere near LA" and check out the inside of Red's HQ, where the RED ONE camera was born. They showed us a couple of 4K movies, and offered hands on training with the camera and post software. It was insanely cool. In addition to that, I also went to Mexico, which has some interesting shots. Also check out the still images from the trip Right Here.Nathan posted a video to some time he spent at RED's headquarters (or some other very official RED looking event). The camera wanders around and shows RED ONE cameras, parts and pieces, a big projector on some scaffolding as well as what looks to be Red Leader Jim Jannard himself discussing the camera in an informal setting, cigar in hand. I don't know anything more about the footage than what is on the poster's website but it was kinda fun to wander around the place. Anyhoo ... Read More

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