… for Apple Final Cut Pro X

Tip #1040: New! Stabilize 360° Video

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

360° Video stabilization is a single button – nothing to adjust.

The Stabilization checkbox in the Video Inspector.

Topic $TipTopic

New with the 10.4.9 update is the ability to stabilize 360° video which involves clicking a single button – there’s nothing to adjust.

To stabilize your footage, select it in the timeline (you can’t do this in the browser), then go to the Video Inspector and check the Stabilization checkbox.

Done.

EXTRA CREDIT

Unlike normal film, 360° video can easily cause motion sickness, especially when an audience member is wearing a headset.

The best way to shoot 360 is to use a tripod. For those situations where you can’t, stabilizing footage is essential.


Please rate the helpfulness of this tip.

Click on a star to rate it!

… for Apple Final Cut Pro X

Tip #1038: Apple Releases Bug Fix Updates

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Updates fix most of the bugs introduced with the 10.4.9 update.

Topic $TipTopic

Thursday last week, Apple released bug-fix updates to Final Cut Pro X, Motion 5 and Compressor 4. Apple also updated the ProVideo codecs.

The Final Cut update fixed the color flicker problem that first appeared in version 10.4.9, along with a variety of other bugs. It also, at least on my system, fixed the bug preventing voice-overs from actually recording.

One bug that was NOT fixed is the inability to export chapter markers from FCP X. Apple is still researching this.

Here’s the list of fixes from Apple’s release notes:

Final Cut Pro

  • Fixes an issue in which XAVC media from the Sony PXW-FX9 camera is not recognized
  • Fixes an issue where brightness levels shift when switching between Better Quality and Better Performance in the viewer
  • Fixes an issue in which effect keyframes are not added correctly when using onscreen controls
  • Improves stability when using the transform tool with multiple clips in the timeline
  • Improves reliability when exporting an FCPXML that contains Compound clips
  • Addresses an issue which could prevent sharing at certain resolutions
  • Fixes an issue in which sharing a Compound or Multicam clip from the timeline was disabled.

Motion

  • Fixes an issue in which XAVC media from the Sony PXW-FX9 camera is not recognized

Compressor

  • Fixes an issue in which XAVC media from the Sony PXW-FX9 camera is not recognized

EXTRA CREDIT

Here’s the complete list of features and fixes in every version of Final Cut 10.4.

Updates to Final Cut, Motion and Compressor are free and available in the Mac App Store. The ProVideo updates are free and available in System Preferences > Software Update.


… for Random Weirdness

Tip #1028: 4 Tips to Better Natural Lighting

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Natural lighting does not mean “hands-off.” It just means “unplugged.”

(Image courtesy of pexels.com.)

Topic $TipTopic

This article first appeared in MotionArray.com. This is a summary.

The capabilities of digital cameras today make this style of shooting easier than ever because of their high sensitivity. ISO 800 has become a standard rating for most cinema cameras, and some are pushing even further, like the Panasonic Varicam which has dual native ISO’s of 800 and 5000. At 5000 ISO, you can likely get a proper exposure with simple street lamps.

But just because you can get a proper exposure doesn’t make it good lighting. Here are some things to keep in mind as you set up for your next scene using the sun as your primary light source.

  1. Maximize the Natural Light with Tools. There are lots of tools that can help you harness or shape the light you have. Bounce boards, reflectors, and diffusion frames can all help soften a source or redirect it.
  2. Location, Location, Location. A DP friend once said that 90% of his job is a good location. An interesting location can make simple, straightforward lighting look amazing, while the most interesting lighting in the world won’t save you from a drab or blasé set. When it comes to natural or available light, you should have three concerns: exposure, depth, and quality.
  3. Time. Available light is ruled by the time of day. If you’re shooting outdoors, midday can be very difficult; the light is generally softer and more even in the “golden” hour after sunrise or before sunset. On the other hand, shooting indoors with window light can be a lot better in the middle of the day simply because the light coming through the window will be stronger, giving you a better exposure inside. This all means that shooting with available light is an exercise in patience and scheduling.
  4. Use LED Fixtures. Okay, so this one is a bit of a cheat. But thanks to LED technology, it’s getting easier and easier to sneak relatively bright sources into a scene with just a small LED panel/strip and a battery. Even if you can’t set up a “regular” light, it might be a good idea to rig up a couple of battery-powered LED fixtures and use them to accent your available light.

EXTRA CREDIT

The article, linked above, has more details, examples and links.


… for Random Weirdness

Tip #1027: Writing Tag Lines that Work

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Tag lines sell your films to audiences.

Minions tag line: “Uh oh.” (Image courtesy of Universal Pictures.)

Topic $TipTopic

This article, written by Darrin Bradley, first appeared in PremiumBeat.com. This is a summary.

A tagline is a short phrase marketers use to sell a product experience to a customer. They’re usually pithy or clever, often employing puns or other turns of phrase that can grab your attention and get you to start asking questions, like “What’s this . . . ?”

Some of the most famous include Nike’s short-and-sweet “Just do it” or Apple’s “Think different.” They condense the entire consumer experience with these two brands into a grand total of five words. It’s marketing witchcraft, and it works.

In this post, we differentiated the logline from the tagline — the two often get confused, but they’re doing very different jobs. The load-bearing logline works in isolation, usually according to a formula, to quickly summarize your script for potential producers. It’s the elevator pitch that identifies exactly what your movie is about and why it will be interesting — if done correctly.

The tagline, on the other hand, is one element of an overall marketing strategy to attract viewers for your movie. Loglines sell your film to producers; taglines sell it to audiences. They often capture one-liners from trailers in a joint effort to keep your movie front-and-center in a viewer’s mind. You’ll also see them on promotional posters, and they can appear in programming guides for film festivals. Now that marketing a movie is largely a digital affair, the tagline has taken on new roles, appearing as a social media post, as ad copy, or as a headline on a promotional website.

There’s no magic answer for how to write a tagline that accomplishes everything you want it to, but you can position yourself for success by following a couple of tips. First, write a lot of them. Bad ideas can yield good ones, so don’t be afraid to record every stupid thing that comes to mind until you nail it. Second, bring other brains into the process. You may have only your director’s or cinematographer’s view of the movie. Bring in other members from the crew — bring in outsiders you trust. Develop a hive-mind, and don’t be precious about your ideas. You never know who’s going to come up with the winner.

The article continues with examples and analysis from ten different popular films.


… for Random Weirdness

Tip #1026: Creating Video in Lockdown

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Four webinars presenting how to create video during a pandemic.

Image courtesy of IPV.com.

Topic $TipTopic

The team at IPV, which makes media asset management software, just published four free webinars on “Creating Video Remotely in Lockdown.”

Featuring conversations with Sky, Sesame Workshop, Warner Media and Biola University, these discussions focus on how each company navigated lockdown to create “amazing content under extraordinary conditions.”

  • Sky. How one of the largest broadcasters in Europe kept on creating through the pandemic
  • Sesame Street. How one of the world’s most beloved brands continued to create content through Covid
  • Warner Media. How WarnerMedia became one of the world’s largest remote video production teams.
  • Biola University. How Lockdown affected video production workflows in Higher Education

Here’s the link.


… for Apple Motion

Tip #1021: Effects Playground: Sunset Butterfly

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Most effects are not complicated. Rather. they combine multiple settings to create something cool.

A composite of a butterfly, clear vase and a sunset, in Motion.

Topic $TipTopic

OK, I confess. I didn’t plan this effect, I just kept asking “What happens if I do this?” … and I ended up with this sunset butterfly.

Here’s what I did. In the same group in Motion combine:

  • Library > Content > Images > Folio > Clear Vase 01
  • Library > Content > Particle Images > Butterfly

Make sure the vase is on top then select the Clear Vase:

  • Apply Inspector > Properties > Blend Mode: Soft Light
  • Apply Filters > Color > Gradient Color. Then set the gradient to Burnt Ember from the “rectangles” icon to the right of the gradient itself.

Adjust the size and angle of the butterfly so it looks good to you.

Done.

EXTRA CREDIT

Apply Filters > Color > Levels to the butterfly and adjust it, again, so it looks “right” to you.


… for Apple Motion

Tip #1020: Effects Playground: Add Textures

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Stencil Luma provides the illusion of texture mapping in 3D – provided nothing moves.

A flower image “mapped” to the Spiral 3D object using Stencil Luma.

Topic $TipTopic

While we can’t apply textures to 3D objects in Motion, then move with the object, we can create the illusion of texture mapping, The problem is that we can’t track how the surface of a 3D object moves in Motion. But… if we don’t need an object to move – or move much – we can easily fake it.

  • Add a 3D object to the Layers panel. (A solid white one will work best.)
  • Below it, in the same group, put the texture you want to “map” to the surface.
  • Select the 3D object and choose Inspector > Properties > Blend mode: Stencil Luma.

This blends the background image into the foreground shape based upon grayscale values. I found Stencil Luma preserves the 3D effect of the shape better than Stencil Alpha.

EXTRA CREDIT

Make this even more interesting:

  • Replace the lower image with a video or animated background and watch as it moves inside the shape.
  • SLOWLY rotate the group containing the 3D image. You can’t go far with this because you’ll lose the effect, but a small, slow spin – especially with moving video under it – should work fine.
  • Add a Stylize filter to the underlying image.

You get the idea – experiment!


… for Apple Motion

Tip #1019: Effects Playground: Circle

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

The Circle filter converts any image – still or moving – into a series of circles.

Source image (left), then with the Stylize > Circle filter applied.

Topic $TipTopic

This week, I decided to explore some of the filters included with Apple Motion. This article looks at Filters > Stylize > Circle.

This converts an image – the more color variation the better – into a grid of circles. You can adjust the circle size, the amount of blur (falloff) and whether to invert them which shows the underlying grid.

For this image, I used:

  • Size: 147
  • Falloff: 0.22
  • Invert: Off
  • Mix: 100

EXTRA CREDIT

You can animate this effect by setting keyframes for Mix (part of all filter settings in the Inspector) from 0 to 100.


… for Visual Effects

Tip #1033: Introducing the Visual Effects Society

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

VES: Honoring visual effects – one artist at a time.

VES logo.

Topic $TipTopic

The Visual Effects Society (VES) is a global professional honorary society and the entertainment industry’s only organization representing the full breadth of visual effects practitioners. VES’ over 4,000 members in more than 40 countries worldwide contribute to all areas of entertainment – film, television, commercials, animation, special venue, games and new media.

OBJECTIVES

To advance and promote the art and science of visual effects and to foster and strive for excellence and knowledge in all matters pertaining to visual effects, and for the purpose of bringing together those leaders and innovators in the field who have demonstrated a high standard of artistic and technical ability and whose singular achievements entitle them to Membership … (and)  …to actively cultivate talented individuals in this discipline; to educate and develop public awareness and understanding; to support and encourage technological advancements in the field of visual effects; to establish a collective organization that recognizes, advances and honors visual effects as an art form, promoting the interests of its Membership so that Membership … based on merit, shall become a mark of honor and distinction.

Annual individual membership dues are $200 (US).

Here’s a link to learn more.


… for Visual Effects

Tip #1032: Free Google Fonts for Motion Design

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Over 700 fonts – all free – direct from Google.

A small sample of the fonts available from Google.

Topic $TipTopic

This article first appeared in MotionArray.com. This is a summary.

Over the years, Google has launched many projects and products completely sans payment for the internet world to use. They are famous for things like search, Gmail, and the Chrome browser, but did you know about their free Google Fonts? You can download fonts from Google Fonts and use them in all of your personal and commercial projects for print, video, and whatever else you can think up.

The Google Fonts library can be found at fonts.google.com. Once you load the library you’ll have access to over 700 font families. The entire library can easily be sorted by popularity, alphabetical, date added, or the number of styles. The number of styles function comes in quite handy if you need a font with a lot of versatility.

When you see a font you like, simply click the Add to Collection button. This can be found to the right of the preview text or by hovering over the font in the poster layout.

Once your .zip is downloaded, you pop it open, install the fonts the way you normally would, and get to work.

EXTRA CREDIT

The link at the top has more details, font illustrations and links.