Masking: The Black Art Of Video Making By David Hague Masking to many, is the black art of video making. It all sounds, well, too hard to bother with, with terms such as 'alpha channel', 'compositing' and 'overlay' to deal with. But trust me gentle reader, knowing even the basics of masking and compositing will add a whole new dimension to your home videos, family documentaries, short films and so on. We'll start with something simple. For the sake of the exercise I am using Sony Vegas Pro here, but the basics apply to any editing package (NLE) that dares call itself such. ...Read More »
A Smashing Way to Make Glass Props! By David Hague All the best movies have a car chase (think Bullitt and the French Connection) but they also should have a bullet smashing a window - or anything smashing a window really. If you need to break a window or some such thing in your next production don't risk cuts and lacerations. Do it this way! (With stuff from the kitchen larder) ...Read More »
Do You Know How Long An Average Scene Lasts? By David Hague How long do you reckon the average scene in a TV show lasts for? A minute? 30 seconds? There is nothing more boring than watching a fixed camera shooting a scene for a long period of time. And I define a long period of time as more than 15 seconds! ...Read More »
Mark Syncs the Spot By Diana Weynand, James Alguire and RevUpTansmedia One of the most missed features of legacy Final Cut Pro is persistent in and out marks. That is to say, once in and out marks are set in a clip, they remain exactly where they are, as a part of the clip, until explicitly changed or removed. Unfortunately, this arguably essential feature for digital video editing did not make it into Final Cut Pro X. If you set in and out points on a clip then deselect that clip and reselect it, the in and out marks are gone. While it is true that you can use ratings, like Favorites, in FCPX to create persistent clip selections, in and out points have valuable uses beyond just marking a usable portion of a video clip. ...Read More »
Torpedoed by Subtitles By Diana Weynand, James Alguire and RevUpTansmedia A video or film project's titles provide crucial information to the viewer, whether it's the opening and closing credits identifying a video or film, the principals involved (the talent and production crew), or lower thirds, the nouns of video, identifying the people, places and things being viewed. Subtitles play a significant role, particularly in editorial or documentary work, in a number of ways. Subtitles make clear, speech or dialog that is difficult to hear or understand, as when people mumble or use unfamiliar dialects; provide language translations for viewers to better understand dialog in foreign languages, especially if the video is produced in a language not native to the viewer; and to make your film or video more accessible to viewers with hearing impairments. ...Read More »
Transitional Animation By Diana Weynand, James Alguire and RevUpTansmedia Final Cut Pro X provides a number of interesting ways to animate video elements in the Viewer and Timeline to provide complex visual effects. But do you know how to create quick and simple animations just by using transitions? The beauty of this technique is its simplicity. No complex motion paths to adjust, no messing about with untold keyframes, just add a transition and set the timing and you're off to the next project. ...Read More »
Render the Fat in Final Cut Pro X By Diana Weynand, James Alguire and RevUpTansmedia Render files are the video files that Final Cut Pro creates when you make adjustments to your video clips. Add a filter or transition, crop the image change the clip's speed, and Final Cut Pro has to create brand new video files using your original media and applying the changes. When the video is played in the project timeline, the render files are played in place of the original video clips, where you have added effects. But what do you do if the render files become corrupt? Or when projects are completed and you want to back them up without the render files? ...Read More »
Command and Conquer Your Keyboard Commands By Diana Weynand, James Alguire and RevUpTansmedia Final Cut Pro has provided keyboard shortcuts for the vast majority of its functions, but there have always been a few features or functions where it made sense to have a keyboard shortcut, but none was pre-built and ready to use. In legacy versions of Final Cut Pro you could add, remove or modify keyboard shortcuts by using the Keyboard Layout tools. In Final Cut Pro X you use the Commands feature to add, remove, modify, and otherwise manage changes to keyboard shortcuts. In this tutorial you'll learn how to add new shortcuts for functions that don't have them, how to create new Command Sets, and how to export and import command sets to access these shortcuts across multiple editing stations. ...Read More »
Reconnecting with Lost Video by Relinking By Diana Weynand, James Alguire and RevUpTansmedia Final Cut Pro X manages all of your media files by grouping them in various Events that you create. This makes it more difficult, but not impossible, for media files to go missing. Events can be moved, deleted or renamed, and Apple recommends that you do these operations from within Final Cut Pro itself so that FCPX can always properly keep track of the media files. But there will be times when you move, delete, or rename files directly in the Finder, and that could prevent FCPX from properly referencing the media files. ...Read More »
Pesky Updates Ate the Video of My Homework By Diana Weynand, James Alguire and RevUpTansmedia Apple recently updated Final Cut Pro to version 10.0.3, adding a boatload of welcome new features and fixes, and just as with the previous updates, also introducing a number of problems for people after updating to the latest version of FCPX. There are a few things you can do to prepare for an update to help minimize problems and disruptions to your workflow, and a few things you can do after an update to help recover. This tutorial will outline some steps you can take to a more successful update. ...Read More »
Under New Management By Diana Weynand, James Alguire and RevUpTansmedia In legacy versions of Final Cut Pro you had to set scratch disks to manage where your video data and cache files would be stored. And you were limited to twelve drives at any one time. Final Cut Pro X makes it easier to specify where your video and project files are stored, automatically saving your Events and Projects in the Movies folder by default. But have no fear, your Events and Projects can be stored on any drive connected to your Mac, and you can easily move existing Events and Projects between drives when needed to keep your stories organized. ...Read More »
Intangible Tangibility By Diana Weynand, James Alguire and RevUpTansmedia In the digital age of filmmaking we no longer rely on the tangibility of film to preserve our work during editing and post-production, but on the collected virtual sequences of binary ones and zeroes stored magnetically or optically on various flavors of digital media. The new digital workflow brings about its own issues of storage, maintenance, and long term reliability which makes it all the more essential to protect your story's data files. ...Read More »
Final Cut Pro X Favorite Things By Diana Weynand, James Alguire and RevUpTansmedia Final Cut Pro X introduced a lot of new tools, features and interface elements that take some getting used to, because they don't necessarily work the way they did in legacy FCP. So how do you go about preserving those selections of desirable clip segments you've spent valuable time marking for editing, in a persistent manner? In this tutorial, we'll show you that marking clips as Favorites, may become one of your favorite things. ...Read More »
Choosing Boris Continuum Complete for a New System By Jeremiah Hall I switched from Final Cut Pro to Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.5 last summer, and three projects later, I'm still happy. But when I wrote my original article, there was one thing I never considered - losing my existing plug-ins I used in FCP. Every editor has plug-ins, some we use daily, others we only need to pull out once in a great while. After Effects and Premiere come with some pretty useful ones, but once in a while I need something a little more specialized. ...Read More »
My Favorite Things By Diana Weynand, James Alguire and RevUpTansmedia In the legacy versions of Final Cut Pro you marked a portion of a clip that you wanted to use by setting in and out points. One cool thing about in and out points is that they are persistent, that is, once set in a clip they remain set until you explicitly removed them. This made it very easy to edit multiple clips into the Timeline with just the scenes you wanted. ...Read More »
Accessing Camera Archive Data for Other Programs By Diana Weynand, James Alguire and RevUpTansmedia A Camera Archive is a complete back up of the contents of a videotape (for tape-based cameras), or a memory card or hard drive (for file-based cameras). Normally the video in a camera archive is only accessible from within Final Cut Pro, but what if you need to use some of the archived video in another editing program? You could import the needed video into Final Cut Pro and then export it from a project, but that is quite a bit of work. With a bit of care video from a camera archive can be made available to be imported directly into other software, and this tutorial will show you how. ...Read More »
Creating a Camera Archive By Diana Weynand, James Alguire and RevUpTansmedia Creating a camera archive creates a backup that frees your camera or capture media for reuse, preserves and protects your media for future use (this should also be enhanced with more traditional backup options like Mac OS X's Time Machine), and finally the camera archive feature helps preserve the date structure used by your camera to make it easier to store and access your video files. A camera archive can be easily mounted (in some cases automatically) and the video imported at any time. ...Read More »
Importing from iPhoto or Aperture By Diana Weynand, James Alguire and RevUpTansmedia If you are an avid user of iPhoto or Aperture, Apple's consumer and professional photo management tools you probably have shoeboxes worth of photos, all carefully organized, cropped, color adjusted, keyword tagged, and now just crying to be seen. Somewhere. Anywhere? ...Read More »
Importing from iMovie By Diana Weynand, James Alguire and RevUpTansmedia It's possible you may have dabbled with video editing in iMovie, that it was your first introduction into video editing. If so, then you can easily bring those iMovie gems to a whole new luster by importing the events and projects you created in iMovie directly into Final Cut Pro. Once there, you can take advantage of all the high-end new features that iMovie could only aspire to have. There are two ways to import iMovie assets into Final Cut Pro, either import just the iMovie Events, or import the iMovie projects. This tutorial explains how to do both. ...Read More »
Importing video from an iSight or Facetime camera By Diana Weynand, James Alguire and RevUpTansmedia Just as the options for what you want to import have increased, so have the steps for import decreased, as FCP now takes over many of the tasks previously required of you. Simply make selections on what you want to import, and how you want to import it, and Final Cut Pro goes to work in the background to organize, transcode and optimize footage, freeing you up to get started on the most important task of all - viewing and editing the story you want to tell. ...Read More »
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