… for Apple Motion

Tip #721: Secrets of the Spin Behavior

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

The Spin behavior can spin on any axis; you just need to know where to click.

The Spin behavior rotating clock-wise around both the X and Y axes.

Topic $TipTopic

There’s a hidden feature in the Spin behavior that can add visual interest to your movement: Pseudo-3D. Here’s how it works.

When you apply the Spin behavior (Basic Motion > Spin) to an element, we are used to dragging the arrow at the top to get an object spinning.

The secret is the blue arrow at the center. This determines the axis around which the rotation (spin) takes place.

NOTE: This 3D movement works whether a group is set for 2D or 3D.

One of my favorite tricks is to spin an element on the Y-axis, which creates the illusion of spinning it back into 3D space.

EXTRA CREDIT

  • Press and hold the Shift key while dragging the top edge to constrain movement to the Y-axis.
  • Press and hold the Shift key while dragging the left edge to constrain movement to the X-axis.
  • To reset this effect, select it, then go to Inspector > Behaviors and click the Reset Parameter setting.

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… for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Tip #737: 5 Interesting Audio Preferences

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Not all of these are enabled. Check your preferences to be sure.

A detail of Preferences > Audio in Adobe Premiere Pro 2020.

Topic $TipTopic

The last time you looked at all the audio preference settings, you probably just wondered what these did and moved on. Well, let me explain five of the most interesting.

  1. Large Volume Adjustment. This preference lets you set the number of decibels to increase when using the Increase Clip Volume Many command.
  2. Play Audio While Scrubbing. Enables audio scrubbing. You can create a keyboard shortcut called “Toggle Audio During Scrubbing” to toggle audio scrubbing on or off while scrubbing. Using a keyboard shortcut is preferable to returning to the Preferences dialog box each time you want to turn audio scrubbing on or off.
  3. Maintain Pitch While Shuttling. Lets you maintain the audio pitch during scrubbing and playback while using the J,K,L keys. Selecting this preference helps improve the clarity of speech when playback is at a higher or slower than normal speed.
  4. Mute Input During Timeline Recording. To prevent monitoring of the audio inputs while recording the timeline, check this box.
  5. Render Audio When Rendering Video. To let Premiere Pro automatically renders audio previews whenever it renders video previews, select this preference.

… for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Tip #739: Premiere: No Support for FireWire DV Capture

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

FireWire capture of DV media is no longer supported on Macs.

Topic $TipTopic

This tip first appeared on Adobe’s support page. While this won’t affect a lot of folks, it is still worth knowing.

Starting with macOS 10.15 Catalina, Premiere Pro, Audition, and Adobe Media Encoder no longer support the capture of DV and HDV over FireWire.

This change does not impact other forms of tape capture.
You can still edit DV/HDV files that have previously been captured.
DV/HDV capture is still available with Premiere Pro on Windows.

WORKAROUND

If you need access to DV/HDV ingest you can:

  • On macOS: Use Premiere Pro 12.x and 13.x on macOS 10.13.6 (High Sierra) or 10.14 (Mojave)
  • On Windows: Continue to use the latest versions of Premiere Pro with no impact.

… for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Tip #736: Auto Save Secrets

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Auto Save Preferences in Adobe Premiere Pro 2020.

Topic $TipTopic

Auto Save makes backups of your projects. But, what do all the Auto Save preference settings do?

  • Automatically Save Projects. By default, Premiere Pro automatically saves your project every 15 minutes and retains the last five versions of the project file on the hard disk.

    You can revert to a previously saved version at any time. Archiving many iterations of a project consumes relatively little disk space because project files are much smaller than source video files. It’s best to save project files to the same drive as your application. Archived files are saved in the Premiere Pro Auto-Save folder.

  • Maximum Project Versions. Enter the number of versions of a project file you want to save. For example, if you type 10, Premiere Pro saves the ten most recent versions.

NOTE: When you specify auto-save to occur at regular intervals, Premiere Pro auto-saves a project on detecting changes to the project file. The auto-save occurs irrespective of whether you manually save the changes to the project or not. Earlier, Premiere Pro would not execute auto-save if you manually saved within the interval setting. If the system goes idle for a period beyond the interval setting, Premiere Pro forces an auto-save.

  • Save Backup Project To Creative Cloud. To let Premiere Pro auto-save your projects directly to your Creative Cloud-based storage, select this preference.

    When Premiere Pro auto-saves a project, a directory named “auto-save” is created in your Creative Cloud online storage. All the backed-up projects are stored in the “auto-save” directory.

    You can access your backed-up projects from the Files tab of your Creative Cloud desktop application.

  • Auto Save also saves the current project(s). When this setting is enabled, Auto Save creates an archived copy of your current projects, but also saves the current working project. This setting is off by default.

    Auto saved versions have a suffix with the date and time it was saved (yy-mm-dd-hh-mm-ss) appended to the project name (for example, ProjectName-2018-08-31_09-53-41.prproj).

    When an auto save occurs, Premiere Pro creates a new backup project file and adds it to the auto-save folder as an emergency project backup. This file is always the latest saved version of that project. Here are some of the characteristics of the emergency back project file:

    • The backup file has the same name as the project, it does not have any suffix.
    • Premiere Pro produces only one emergency backup file per project, and it is overwritten at each Auto Save interval and when you save the current project.

… for Apple Final Cut Pro X

Tip #715: How to Reset FCP X to Fix Problems

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Deleting FCP X Preferences does a lot to fix problems.

The Delete Preferences window in Apple Final Cut Pro X.

Topic $TipTopic

Most of the time, Final Cut Pro X is a solid, reliable program. Until it isn’t. Fortunately, there’s one keyboard shortcut that fixes most problems by resetting Final Cut perferences to their factory default settings. Here’s how:

  • Quit the application.
  • Then, press and hold Shift + Cmd while restarting the application from the Dock.

When this window (screen shot) appears, click the blue Delete Preferences button.

WHAT THIS DOES

  • All preferences reset back to default settings.
  • The list of recently opened libraries is emptied. (HOWEVER, your libraries are NOT erased. You’ll find them stored at the location you specified when you first created them.

Final Cut preferences do a lot, much more than simply determine what the interface looks like. They are deeply embedded into the operation of the program, even if we can’t directly modify most of them.

SUMMARY

In the old days, with FCP 7, we needed to do this every couple of weeks. Now, you may only need to do this a few times a year. Still, when FCP X is acting up, restart your computer. If that doesn’t fix it, this keyboard shortcut probably will.


… for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Tip #697: What Is the Alpha Channel?

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Alpha channels define the amount of translucency for each pixel.

When viewing alpha channels, black is transparent, gray is translucent and white is opaque.

Topic $TipTopic

Just as the red, green and blue channels define the amount of each color a pixel contains, the alpha channel defines the amount of transparency each pixel contains.

A pixel can be fully transparent, fully opaque or somewhere in between. By default, every video pixel is fully opaque.

NOTE: The reason we are able to key titles over backgrounds is that titles contain a built-in alpha channel that defines each character as opaque and the rest of the frame as transparent.

To display the alpha channel in a clip, click the Wrench icon in the lower-right of the Program Monitor and select Alpha. To return to a standard image, select Composite.

While we can easily work with alpha channels inside Premiere, in order to export video that retains transparency information, we need to use the ProRes 4444 or Animation codecs. No other ProRes, HEVC or H.264 codec supports alpha channels.


… for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Tip #725: Change Your Look – Use Lighting Effects

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Lighting Effects provide a range of ways to modify the look of a clip with light.

Lighting effects: Source (left), Spotlight (center), Omnilight (right)

Topic $TipTopic

This tip originally appeared as an Adobe Help page article. This is an excerpt.

You can use up to five lights to introduce creative effects. You can control such lighting properties as lighting type, direction, intensity, color, lighting center, and lighting spread. There is also a Bump Layer control for using textures or patterns from other footage to produce special effects such as a 3D-like surface effect.

NOTE: All Lighting Effects properties except Bump Layer can be animated using keyframes.

You can directly manipulate the Lighting Effects properties in the Program Monitor. Click the Transform icon next to Lighting Effects in the Effect Controls panel to display the adjustment handles and Center circle.

NOTE: If a clip is already selected in a Timeline panel, you can drag the Lighting Effects directly to the Video Effects section of the Effect Controls panel.

  1. In the Effects panel, expand the Video Effects bin, expand the Adjust bin, and then drag the Lighting Effects onto a clip in a Timeline panel.
  2. In the Effect Controls panel, click the triangle to expand the Lighting Effects.
  3. Click the triangle to expand Light 1.
  4. Choose a light type from the menu to specify the light source.
  5. Specify a color for the light.
  6. (Optional) Click the Transform icon to display the light’s handles and Center circle in the Program Monitor. You can directly manipulate the position, scale, and rotation of a light by dragging its handles and Center circle.
  7. In Effect Controls, set each light’s properties.

EXTRA CREDIT

The link above has more details, as well as defining what each setting controls.


… for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Tip #726: How to Set the Video Scopes

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

In general, set your scopes to Float and uncheck Clamp Signal.

The Lumetri video scope display options.

Topic $TipTopic This article, written by Walter Soyka, first appeared in the Creative Cow forums.

A reader asks: “By default, the Lumetri Scopes in Premiere have “Clamp Signal” checked and the drop-down menu set to “8-Bit” [see attached screenshot]. What do these mean?”

These settings control how the scopes show information to you. Don’t try to match them to specific project settings, but rather use the settings you need for the task at hand.

  • Float displays data based on Lumetri’s internal floating-point processing (0.0 – 1.0 normal scale, plus superblack below and superwhite above).
  • 8-bit displays an 8-bit video interpretation of that float data. This both reduces the precision of the display and effectively limits the waveform range from -7.5 to about 109 IRE, but it does show roughly what the signal would look like after 8-bit digital processing (if that’s part of your pipeline).
  • Clamp signal restricts the input to the scope (but not the actual output of the footage!) to a normal range of 0-255(8-bit) / 0.0-1.0 (float) / 0-100 (IRE). The Lumetri waveform normally uses a variable scale that defaults from 0-100, but can expand when superblack or superwhite colors are present in the signal. During video playback, this can cause the scope to “bounce” as the scale is dynamically adjusted for the data in the current frame. Clamp restores sanity in these situations and keeps the scale constant, but also prevents you from seeing just how much data is beyond the normal display range.
  • HDR is a special monitoring mode that displays a fixed logarithmic scale that goes well beyond the normal range on the high end; it’s meant to be used when grading for HDR displays.

For most cases, I think Float is most appropriate. Turn Clamp off when you’re trying to evaluate the potential for highlight or shadow recovery, and turn Clamp on when you want to keep the scale steady to read the scopes for playback or compare different still frames.


… for Apple Final Cut Pro X

Tip #713: Color Picker Secrets

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

The color picker you get depends upon where you click.

The two color pickers. Which one you get depends upon where you click.

Topic $TipTopic

There are two different color pickers in Apple Motion and Final Cut. Which one you get depends upon where you click.

THE macOS COLOR PICKER

Click the color chip to view the traditional color picker. Tips:

  • Press the Shift key to lock the color, but adjust saturation.
  • The color wells at the bottom hold an unlimited number of colors
  • To see more wells, drag the horizontal line just above them up or down.
  • To also see more wells, increase the size of the color picker.
  • Click one of the icons at the top to see more ways to choose colors

THE MOTION COLOR PICKER

Click the downward-pointing arrow to the right of the color chip to reveal the color picker first introduced in Motion. Tips:

  • This picker is designed for realtime color picking, simply drag your mouse over the color area, then click the color you like.
  • This option does not support color wells or the different ways to select colors available in the traditional color picker.

… for Apple Motion

Tip #683: How Motion Processes Behaviors and Keyframes

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Keyframes are processed first, then simulations, then behaviors.

The Behavior menu in Apple Motion.

Topic $TipTopic

This tip originally appeared as an Apple KnowledgeBase article. This is an excerpt.

There’s no limit to the number of behaviors you can add to an object. Multiple behaviors applied to a single object work together to create a final animated effect. But, what happens when you have multiple behaviors, keyframes and simulations applied? Here’s how Motion handles this.

When combining different behavior types (such as Parameter and Simulation behaviors) or combining behaviors and keyframes, it’s important to understand the behaviors’ order of operations. Motion evaluates behaviors and keyframes in the following order:

  1. Keyframes
  2. Simulation behaviors
  3. All other behaviors

Parameter behaviors are applied in the order in which they are added, from the bottom of the Layers list up (like the order of filters and the compositing order of image layers).

IMPORTANT: The order of operations is always in effect—regardless of the order in which behaviors are applied or keyframes are added to a layer or group.

  • When you animate an object with keyframes and then apply a behavior, the effect of the keyframes is evaluated first.
  • When you animate an object with any behavior and then add keyframes, the effect of the keyframes is evaluated first.
  • When you animate an object with a behavior and then apply a Simulation behavior, the Simulation behavior is evaluated before the first behavior (and therefore may have no effect).

NOTE: Although the Spin behavior appears in the Basic Motion category, Spin is treated as a Simulation behavior in the order of operations.

EXTRA CREDIT

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