… for Apple Final Cut Pro X

Tip #946: Organize Custom Motion Projects

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

One choice simplifies access. The other simplifies backups and archiving.

Storage Locations panel displaying Motion content storage options.

Topic $TipTopic

By default, when you create or customize any Final Cut Pro effects, transitions, titles, or generators in Motion, that content is stored in the Motion Templates folder located in your Movies folder. You can also store Motion content inside a library—for example, to move a project or library to another Mac, or to back up and archive your work. You may also want to store Motion content in the library if you’re working on a project with others and using shared storage.

If you have custom Motion content and you’re copying or moving clips, projects, or events to another library, storage device, or Mac, set the storage location for your Motion content to the library before doing so. Otherwise, the Motion content is not moved or copied with the other items, and you must manually back up and move the Motion Templates folder. Regardless, you must manually track and move any third-party (FxPlug) content, because it is not managed within the Final Cut Pro library.

EXTRA CREDIT

Storing Motion projects in the Motion Template folder means they are accessible to all Final Cut libraries.

Storing Motion projects in the library simplifies backups and archiving, but means those custom projects are not available for other libraries.

Motion projects that ship with Final Cut – that is, those you did not create yourself – are available to all libraries and can’t be moved into the library file itself.


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… for Random Weirdness

Tip #924: Dropbox Simplifies File Transfers

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

This new features solves problems getting files from Point B to Point A.

The Request Files page inside Dropbox.

Topic $TipTopic

Warren “ButchNelson suggested this tip.

There’s a new feature in Dropbox called “Request a file.” This is a link you can send to anyone and they can upload a file of almost any size; up to the limits of your Dropbox plan.

The file appears in the Request a File folder.

I’ve used this feature this week to collect files from iPhones, Android phones, Macs and PCs. For someone like me, who deals in files from all different sources, I’m in heaven!

It is amazingly easy to use.

Larry adds: To access this, open the Dropbox app, click File Requests in the sidebar on the left, then the blue Request Files button.

Dropbox displays a dialog asking you to specify a storage location, then emails that need to be contacted.


… for Apple Motion

Tip #934: Working with Regions

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Moving the In and Out to create a work region simplifies reviewing complex sections of a project.

Loop playback (left arrow) repeats playback between the In (center) and Out (right).

Topic $TipTopic

When you are working on a complicated transition, Motion has a hidden control feature that allows you to focus on just a portion of a project. Here’s how this works.

At the bottom left of the timeline, left red arrow, is a loop icon. When enabled (blue), this tells the playhead to continuously play from the beginning to the end of a project; looping from the end to the beginning.

Well, ah, not the beginning to the end, but the In to the Out. These two icons (center and right red arrows) mark the In and Out of a Motion project.

Drag them to bracket the section you want to concentrate on, then, when you press the spacebar, Motion will continuously loop between those two points until you tell it to stop.

EXTRA CREDIT

  • I. Set the In.
  • O. Set the Out.
  • Option + X. Clear the In and the Out.
  • Control + L: Enable/disable Loop playback.

… for Apple Final Cut Pro X

Tip #925: Create a “Master Clip” for Efficiency

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Opening a Browser clip in the timeline emulates a Master Clip.

This file was opened in the timeline(left) and then effects were applied (right). (Image courtesy of Anne Gibson.)

Topic $TipTopic

Final Cut Pro X doesn’t actually support Master clips. But, here’s a little-known technique you can use to “create” one – along with significant efficiencies when you use these.

A Master clip is one where, when you change it, all the clips edited from it into the timeline change as well. FCP X does not support those type of clips. However, you CAN change a Browser clip BEFORE you edit portions of it into the timeline and have all those changes – like color correction, scaling or audio channels – travel with the edited portion into the Timeline. This means you can change a clip once, then have all those changes transfer during the edit. But, with the 10.4 update, Apple made creating these clips a whole lot less obvious.

NOTE: Final Cut Pro X used to call this “Open in Timeline.” That language has gone away.

Normally, when you edit clips into the Timeline, you can change that timeline clip’s settings or add effects, without affecting any other iteration of that clip in the timeline.

However, if, instead, you select a Browser clip, then choose Clip > Open, that Browser clip is opened in the Timeline, but NOT edited into it.

This means you can apply settings, effects, color correction or reorganize audio channels specifically to the Browser clip. Then, when you edit a portion of that clip into the timeline, all those modifications travel with it.

To remove the clip from the timeline, open a different project into the timeline, which takes it’s place.

EXTRA CREDIT

If you edit clips from the Browser into the timeline, then, open the clip into the timeline and make changes, any existing edited clips are not affected.


… for Apple Motion

Tip #913: A Quick Way to View Media

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

This should work for any media displayed in the Media tab of the Project pane.

Double-click an image in the Library to view it full size.

Topic $TipTopic

This is something I just discovered today as I was writing tips. There’s a “Quick Look” viewer buried in Apple Motion. Here’s where to find it.

I first found that if you go to Library > Content > Images, then double-click any image, it will open full-size in its own window in Motion. However, no other category in the Library seemed to act the same way.

Then, I wondered if this Quick View would also work for imported media. And the answer is: Yes!

Click the Media tab – to the right of Layers tab in the Project Pane – and double-click any video, audio, still or image. Motion will display at 100% size in its own window.

This is a nice way to see what your media looks like, when you need to see the details.


… for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Tip #911: The Skin Tone Line is Your Friend

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

All of us are the same color, but not the same grayscale value.

The skin tone line (red arrow) in the Lumetri scopes.

Topic $TipTopic

One of the most powerful color correction / grading tools that we have is the skin tone line. (Indicated by the red arrow in the screen shot.) Once you know how to use it, it is easy to quickly fix color problems and make your on-screen talent look great.

Human skin is translucent. That which gives skin it’s color is the red blood circulating underneath; and all of us have the same color red blood.

That which adds variation to our skin is its grayscale. You can verify this for yourself the next time a piece of dead skin falls off. If you look at it, it doesn’t have any color, just varying shades of gray. Some of us have lighter or darker gray skin than others.

So, if you have a shot with an incorrect color balance, crop to isolate a well-exposed piece of skin – avoid makeup or hair – then adjust color settings so the color values are parked ±2° on the skin tone line.

NOTE: Generally speaking, Asians tend to be 2° below the line, everyone else is either on it or 2° above it.

Of course, there are individual exceptions and lighting can make a big difference. But, if you are looking to salvage a problem shot, the skin tone line can help you get things back on track.

EXTRA CREDIT

Here’s a tutorial from my website that describes this in more detail.


… for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Tip #912: The Hidden Dynamic Search Bin

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

All searches are dynamic, with bins appearing in the Files panel.

The Create Search Bin window, displaying searchable metadata.

Topic $TipTopic

Hidden in plain sight in Premiere’s Files panel is the ability to create bins that search all clips in a project based on specific criteria and display the results – dynamically – in a bin in the Files panel.

It’s called a Search Bin.

Click the small folder icon immediately to the right of the text search box at the top of the Files panel. This displays the Create Search Bin dialog (screen shot).

You can search on a variety of metadata, as indicated by the popup menu.

Additionally, lower red arrow, you can refine your search using Boolean logic; specifically AND or OR; by selecting it from the middle popup menu.

The results of these search criteria are stored in a bin in the Files panel, named after your search.

Best of all, the results are dynamic. As different clips meet your search criteria, they will appear, or disappear, from this search bin.


… for Apple Motion

Tip #894: What is the HUD?

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

The HUD is a fast way to adjust common settings for selected elements.

The HUD displaying a customized Fade In/Fade Out behavior.

Topic $TipTopic

The HUD, originally called the “Heads-up Display,” is a floating, interactive control panel for whatever you have selected in the Layers panel.

The HUD icon is located in the upper right corner of the Motion interface. You can access it by clicking the icon, choosing Window > Show HUD or using a keyboard shortcut.

Back when Motion was first released, the HUD was assigned F8 as a keyboard shortcut. However, Apple is moving away from F-keys in all it’s apps. While Motion still supports some F-keys, the HUD was recently reassigned to Option+Cmd+L.

The HUD makes it easy to make quick, intuitive changes to selected layers and effects. For instance, in this screen shot, dragging the vertical line for each blue triangle allows altering the duration of a Fade In / Fade Out behavior from the default 20 frames to whatever makes sense for your project.

If you haven’t used the HUD, it is an excellent tool filled with the most common settings you need to tweak for whatever is selected.

If you were wondering why the HUD doesn’t appear when you press F8, now you know.

And, if you use the HUD on a regular basis, consider yourself one of the “smart folks in the know.”


… for Apple Final Cut Pro X

Tip #890: Better Effect Previews

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Option-dragging previews adjusting the principal parameter before applying an effect.

Hovering over a Gaussian Blur effect.

Topic $TipTopic

Final Cut Pro X allows you to preview effects two different ways before you apply them to a clip. One you probably know, the other you probably don’t.

To preview any effect in the Effects Browser:

  • Select a clip in the timeline.
  • Hover the cursor over an effect in the Effects Browser.
  • The timeline clip will appear in the Viewer as though the effect was applied.
  • Next, press the Option key while hovering. This previews the effect AND changes the principal parameter for the effect as you drag; from not applied on the left to fully applied on the right.

NOTE: Try this using Blur > Gaussian to quickly see how this works.

This is a great way to see what an effect will look like, even after tweaking, before applying it.

EXTRA CREDIT

To apply an effect, either:

  • Drag the effect on top of a timeline clip
  • Select one or more clips in the timeline and double-click an effect in the Effects Browser

To remove all effects from a clip, select the clip and choose Edit > Remove Effects.


… for Apple Motion

Tip #878: Get More Space for Layers

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Adjusting Layer height is a simple way to help manage larger projects.

A composite showing the nested rectangle, then, below, the slider it reveals.

Topic $TipTopic

At the bottom of the Layers panel is a nested rectangle shape. Here’s what it does.

Click the nested rectangle (red arrow in screen shot) and a small slider appears.

As you drag the slider, the height of each layer in the Layers panel is scaled vertically.

Click elsewhere to hide this slider.