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2+ Hours of Free Video Training on Shatter

Brian Maffitt digs into his video archives, and shares.

By Chris and Trish Meyer | January 24, 2011

Many After Effects users are familiar with Brian Maffitt, founder of Total Training. Brian also ran a plug-in company called Atomic Power for a couple of years. His Evolution plug-in set was distinguished by 1) deep controls, and 2) hours of video training that came free in the box. Adobe bought Atomic Power and integrated most of the plug-ins into After Effects, including Shatter, Card Dance, Card Wipe, Caustics, Wave World, and Colorama. Most of the controls in those plug-ins haven't changed since AE version 4 (not CS4, but the 4 before there was CS). What does that history lesson have to do with today? Brian has started diving into his archive of video training, with the intention of making available for free still-useful material that doesn't fit into the current Total Training library anymore. He started by posting the 2+hours of training he originally created for the Shatter effect on Total Training's YouTube channel. Below are all 6 parts: Read More

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OT: If you’ve got a toddler and an iPad then you need a BubCap

It help keep those littler fingers from pressing the home button.

By Scott Simmons | January 23, 2011

This is a bit off topic of the usual post-production related stuff you might here but if you've got a toddler and an iPad then you've most likely got a toddler who wants to play with your iPad. While I've heard a few holier-than-thou arguments how some parents would NEVER allow their child to touch their iPad (not because they think the kid would break it but rather that it's not good for the child's development) I do let my 20 month old play with it from time to time. He loves it.The problem is that eventually he ends up pressing the home button and the fun ends. Enter the brand new BubCap. Read More

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What $300 Buys These Days

What $300 Buys These Days

One of those "I sure hope this is true" stories...

By Bruce A Johnson | January 21, 2011

OK, folks, have a look at "Lazy Teenage Superheroes," a funny, really watchable (and slightly NSFW for language) 13-minute riff on science fiction: Read More

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To DRM or not to DRM? That is the question for today’s digital content producers

By Allan Tépper | January 20, 2011

Whether you are a video producer, music producer, audiobook producer, or the author of ebooks, if you sell your content, there's really no escape from the question: "To DRM or not to DRM?" If you aren't yet familiar with the acronym, DRM stands for Digital Rights Management, and basically refers to technologies which can limit digital content. Some DRM implementations aim to prevent copying at all, while others aim to limit the number of permitted copies. To give a familiar example, Apple's iTunes Store originally created its FairPlay DRM system which limited playback of a file to a maximum of five registered computers. However, as quickly as Apple was able to convince content producers (mainly record labels) that they were better off without it, Apple gradually began eliminating DRM and finished that process at the beginning of 2009. For me, the question "To DRM or not to DRM?" recently demanded an immediate decision when I decided to release my book Unleash GoogleVoice's hidden power as an ebook. Previously, it had existed only as a printed book. Although I had previously created digital video tutorials, the DRM decision for them hadn't come up because up until now, my digital video tutorials haven't been sold by themselves: They've been included with seminars and webinars. Read More

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Your Daily After Effects Fix

A few resources for regular doses of information and inspiration.

By Chris and Trish Meyer | January 20, 2011

I've mentioned previously that Todd Kopriva's Region of Interest blog is one of the best sources of essential After Effects information. And it still is. But a few additional sources have really blossomed as constant fountains of After Effects goodness:

Read More

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2010 Motion Graphics Design Census

Parsing the results of the latest survey of who makes how much in our field.

By Chris and Trish Meyer | January 18, 2011

The unofficial, web-based Motion Graphics Design Census for 2010 is now available from their web site. It compiles over 5500 responses - distributed roughly evenly between the US and non-US - into a series of responses about age, software, and - primarily - income. Of course, it's only a survey of those who responded rather than the industry as a whole. Also, not everyone responded to every question - for example, only 219 self-employed artists offered how much they charged per hour, and most of the charts are based just on US respondents. With those caveats, here's what stuck out for us: Read More

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Classic Visual Effects Knowledge

Classic Visual Effects Knowledge

How-to videos and documentaries from the 90s.

By Chris and Trish Meyer | January 17, 2011

Chris Zwar - After Effects power user and occasional PVC contributor - shared on the media-motion.tv After Effects list that Peter Sciretta of /Film had recently compiled the first 12 episodes of Discovery Channel's Movie Magic documentary series. As it was recorded in the mid-90s, a substantial portion of the effects are "practical" rather than done in the computer. Nonetheless, it's a good background on matte paintings, miniatures, stop motion, pyrotechics, and similar techniques, plus a reminder of how easy we have it to day compared to the early days of computer graphics. Read More

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Google political move stifles web video distribution & complicates our workflow

Google has thrown a monkey wrench in present & future recommended practices

By Allan Tépper | January 16, 2011

In case you didn't hear yet, Google recently announced the elimination of support for H.264 in HTML5 video in its popular Chrome web browser within the next few months, in favor of WebM (VP8) and Theora video códecs. Despite Google's official justifications for the move in the name of openness, many analysts (including myself) see this as a political move against Apple, and even hypocritical since the Chrome browser has contained (and will continue to contain) an embedded Flash player. Our logical conclusion is that Google's next step will be to drop support for H.264 in its Android operating system too. This happens after H.264 already has achieved support from Adobe, Apple, and even Microsoft. Up until now, Google's Chrome browser has directly supported H.264 with HTML5's video tag. Before this shocking below the belt punch, many content producers were well along the way of offering HTML5 video with H.264, playable as raw or automatic fallback to the same file embedded in Flash if the browser didn't support it in HTML5, as I have covered in my seminars. However, as we see the writing on the wall, this will likely no longer be sufficient for the ever popular Android devices as they likely become updated to newer versions which would purposefully exclude H.264 playback, especially considering the poor Flash performance on most of the current Android devices that even support it at all. So within a short time, the preferred video códecs for Android devices will likely be WebM (VP8) or Theora, while for Apple iOS devices (AppleTV, iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch), it will remain to be H.264. Read More

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BG Renderer 2.0

A popular After Effects script gets a major upgrade.

By Chris and Trish Meyer | January 12, 2011

Lloyd Alvarez is a top-notch After Effects user who has also developed a handful of very useful scripts for the program. One of his most popular is BG Renderer, which launches instances of After Effects in the background to render compositions while you continue to work in the foreground. Lloyd just announced BG Renderer 2.0 with After Effects CS5 compatibility, plus a whole host of new features. Read More

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DaVinci Resolve for Mac review online

It took awhile but I finally finished the article for Studio Daily

By Scott Simmons | January 12, 2011

It took awhile (and a couple of Resolve articles here on PVC) but I finally finished my full DaVinci Resolve for Mac article that went online today over at Studio Daily. It's quite lengthy but as I was working out my ideas and thoughts on the application I began to realize just how deep an application Resolve for Mac really is. Read More

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Cut Notes offers more use for the iPad in the edit suite

It's a promising start to what could be a useful app

By Scott Simmons | January 11, 2011

There's a new iPad app that has just been released into the iTunes app store called Cut Notes (iTunes link). It comes from the folks at Digital Rebellion, makers of any number of handy tools that most all Final Cut Pro users are familiar with. Cut Notes is different in that it turns the iPad into a note taking device that can record comments about an edit and then send those comments over in any number of ways. Read More

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Career Advice for the Young DP

The true barrier to cinematography success isn't youth-it's experience. Here's what a budding DP needs to know about building a career.

By Art Adams | January 09, 2011

This is my response to a question posted to the Cinematography Mailing List by a young film student who is chafing at the bit to be a director of photography as soon as possible. Read More

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Revisiting My Friend F13

Revisiting My Friend F13

That floating, mappable key always comes in handy.

By Scott Simmons | January 06, 2011

While working on a job this week I had tons of shots to log and organize. While doing this I realized how much I was pasting the same words over and over and over and over. No problem, I mapped my floating keyboard key F13 to paste. That meant I didn't have to keep hitting the two key combination of command + v over and over again. You wouldn't think it would make that much difference but it does. It reminded me of an old 2008 Editblog post: My Friend F13. Read More

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4 Ways Video Is Fundamentally Changing

The head of Google's "video monetization initiatives" details how he has seen the nature of video content change in recent years.

By Chris and Trish Meyer | December 31, 2010

If you're interested in the business of video beyond just shooting and editing it, you might enjoy reading Shishir Mehrotra of Google's recent article over on ClickZ. He notes "In my position at YouTube, I've observed this market over the last few years, and have taken note of the ways in which it is fundamentally changing." His four main macro-changes are:Hyper-FragmentationGreat Content Can Come From AnywhereAdvertisers Can Create Content That Users LoveThere Is No Online Video, Just VideoFor many of you, the first two may fit into the "well, DUH" category; Shishir even notes the first one is "not a new story." The last one is something we've been personally preaching for years: The sooner you blur the lines between broadcast and web video from the production side, the better, because the viewer already expects them to be of the same quality - just as they expected "local market" or cable TV to look as good as the major networks. That third one may come as a bit of a surprise to the cynical, but anyone who has seen videos like the Evian Roller Babies (and not to mention, its view counter) realize it's becoming true. Regardless, it's a good read, as well as something to pass onto your clients. Read More

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From Snapshots to Great Shots

From Snapshots to Great Shots

Laurie Excell; John Batdorff; David Brommer; Rick Rickman; Steve Simon | By Peachpit Press

By Scott Gentry | December 22, 2010

Now that you've bought an amazing new DSLR, you need a book that goes beyond the camera manual to teach you how to take great shots. One key component to that is understanding composition--the creative arrangement of elements in the shot, and the way a viewer's eye travels through an image.With Composition: From Snapshots to Great Shots, the author starts with the basics of composition--such as the popular rule of thirds--and continues with exploring how the elements of color, shape, angles, and contrast work to create compelling images.For more information: Creative Edge Read More

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New Media Webinars offers fast, affordable training

As a presenter I've enjoyed doing them, as a student I've enjoyed learning from them

By Scott Simmons | December 22, 2010

When I finished my NAB 2009 Post Pit presentation I was approached by a gentlemen who operated a website called New Media Webinars. We discussed possibly doing a webinar similar to what my Post Pit presentation about cutting a Canon 5D multi-camera concert. After a lengthy discussion upon returning from NAB we decided on the topic of DSLR Filmmaking Post  Workflows. This was my first presentation for NewMediaWebinars.com. New Media Webinars would end up with four DSLR focused webinars (thus far) on production, post, color grading and audio techniques. Read More

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Pro Apps PDFs!

Oh, frabjous day: Apple offers PDF user manuals again!

By Adam Wilt | December 19, 2010

The PDF link downloads a copy of the docs to disk.

OK, so maybe I'm stupid (no comments, thanks very much) and these have always been available, or maybe they're new: Apple has PDF user manuals for Pro Apps available for download. Read More

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Phantom Adventures: 1000fps on a Budget

A $250,000 camera, 60,000w of tungsten lighting, 1000fps, kids, animals… what could go wrong? Not much, as it turns out.

By Art Adams | December 14, 2010

A while back I wrote this article about some high speed tests I did in preparation for an upcoming regional spot. The results convinced the client, Rambus, that the extra expense of shooting their upcoming spots at 1000fps was well worth it. Read More

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REVIEW:  Hulu Plus

REVIEW:  Hulu Plus

If this is the future...give me the past, thanks.

By Bruce A Johnson | December 14, 2010

It's kind of hard to believe I started gushing over the Roku box over two years ago... and again here... and here. This little plastic box has really revolutionized the distribution of content, from heavy hitters like Netflix, Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League, to middle-level new entrants like the TwiT Network and Revision 3, to seemingly home-grown efforts like Trigger Talk TV and Proud Television. In fact, the Roku Box just passed the 100-channel point, and there doesn't seem to be any limit to what the little box can offer.It's in the wake of this that the folks at Hulu decided to offer their new pay-service, Hulu Plus, on the Roku and several other devices. As a consequence of buying a Roku for my mother-in-law for a Christmas present (shhhhh! Don't tell her!) I got a 1-month free trial of Hulu Plus. What I have seen in the last few weeks doesn't give me a lot of optimism for Hulu Plus as a service.First, the good: Same-week streaming of network programming from Fox, NBC and ABC, the three co-owners of Hulu. This means you can catch up on your "Glee," "Modern Family" and "30 Rock" fixes without a DVR. But sadly, that's pretty much where the good times end.Much has been written about Hulu Plus' allegedly fabulous interface, but really, it seems to me to be much too linear and inflexible, arraying long lists of programs in a horizontal line for you to page through. And while they do have a fairly good selection of network programming, there are many odd omissions (where, for instance, is Fox's "The Simpsons"?) And beyond the network TV fare is a very limited list (about 525 at last count) of B-movies and unheard-of documentaries that weren't very popular in their first incarnations. But worst of all is the inclusion of commercials in a service that you have to cough up $8 a month for. In a previous life, I switched a lot of master control for a network affiliate station. All of us MC switchers knew what was at stake in every break, and we strove to make the flow as seamless and - dare I say it - artistic as possible. If Hulu has any humans inserting the commercials into their shows, I suggest they get replaced immediately. However, I'm quite certain that the closest any beating heart gets to this process is punching a schedule into a computer and pushing the "go" button. Breaks are poorly executed, oftentimes jumping into a show early (in the biz this is known as a "downcut",) sometimes to the point where you miss the punchline of a meticulously-crafted joke in a show like "30 Rock." And as dismal an experience as this is, it is a hundred times worse in long-form programs without defined breaks. One of the few documentaries I wanted to watch in the Hulu Plus list was "For All Mankind", a meticulous recounting of the NASA Apollo moon landing missions. It kind of breaks up the flow of the show when as the Lunar Module is starting it's descent to the Moon, a clumsy cut inserts a commercial for REI. And this happens just about every five minutes! Add to this the occasional video lockup and it makes for an experience that doesn't really merit the $8 per month they are demanding - especially when the new Netflix streaming-only service (albeit without the same-season network TV programming) costs the same, with much better streaming, a much, MUCH larger selection of content, and no commercials.In short, I predict a quick death for Hulu Plus. The service just doesn't justify the expense. Have you tried Hulu Plus out? What do you think of it? Read More

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Pixel Farm brings AirGrade to your iPhone and your Mac

It uses your iPhone as a controller to grade photos on your Mac. Fun if not super useful.

By Scott Simmons | December 09, 2010

Press releases flew fast and furious a week or so ago as the Pixel Farm released AirGrade for your iPhone (iTunes link). AirGrade a color grading app for your iPhone that connects to a companion application on your Mac to allow you to use the iPhone as a control surface for grading still images on your Macintosh. I hadn't played with it until a discussion of AirGrade went around Twitter the other day so I decided to try it out. It's fun and it works well but as it says on the Pixel Farm's AirGrade website: "please remember it's primarily intended as a learning tool" which, at this point, it's probably not much of practical application except as an easy way to get graded photos from your Mac to your iPhone without the use of iTunes or any other application or service. Read More

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