… for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Tip #624: Not All Captions Look Alike

 

Captions are designed for simplicity, not fancy formatting.

SRT Caption formatting controls in Apple Final Cut Pro X.

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When you import SRT files and XML files that have open caption data in them, Premiere Pro automatically converts these files to CEA-708 CC1 closed caption files. You can then edit these files and burn in the captions as subtitles while exporting using Premiere Pro or Adobe Media Encoder.

However, SRT closed captions are designed for readability and flexibility, not formatting. The Federal Communications Commission’s rules about closed captioning include details about caption accuracy, placement, and synchronicity. They don’t say anything about formatting. Avoid problems – read this.

Captions are designed for readability and flexibility – you can turn them on or off, or choose between languages. Captions are not designed to be styled. All captions, except SCC, are designed to be stored in sidecar files. These are separate files from the media, but linked to it.

SCC captions, which can be embedded in the video itself — well, one language at least – are limited to two lines per screen each with only 37 characters per line. They also require a frame rate of 29.97 fps (either drop or non-drop frame). Yup, limited.

SRT captions are more flexible. SRT captions are known for simplicity and ease-of-use, especially when compared to other formats, many of which used XML-based code. It was adopted by YouTube as a caption format in 2008.

SRT captions only supports basic formatting changes including: font, color, placement and text formatting. HOWEVER, there is no clear standard for these style changes. Even if you apply them to your captions there is no guarantee that the software playing your movie will know how to interpret them.

For this reason, when exporting SRT files using File > Export > Media (screen shot), turn off Include SRT Styling for best playback results on other systems.


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… for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Tip #651: Make Adjusting Color Curves More Precise

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Curves make selecting and correcting specific ranges of color easy.

The Hue vs. Hue curve in Premiere’s Lumetri color panel.

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Here are three tips to help make color adjustments more precise using Curves in the Lumetri color panel.

When adjusting color using Curves in the Lumetri color panel, press the Shift key to lock the control point so it only moves up and down.

Use the eyedropper to select more than one color in the same image. Each color will have it’s own control points. To restrict the range, use three control points.

While moving a control point, a vertical band appears to help you judge your final result. It is useful in the Hue versus Hue curve, where it can be tricky to judge the resulting hue. For example: you want to fine-tune some skin tone values which look a bit red. You can use the Hue versus Hue curve to select a range of red colors; with the center control point selected the vertical indicator helpfully shows you that pulling down shifts the red toward orange, which is much better for skin-tone.

NOTE: To make adjustment easier to see, drag the slider at the bottom to center your adjustments.

EXTRA CREDIT

Here’s an Adobe Help page to learn more.


… for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Tip #652: The Five Lumetri Color Curves

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

The Color curves allow you to adjust colors in a wide variety of ways.

The Hue vs. Luma curve, with its range indicator visible.

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Premiere Pro offers five color curves in the Lumetri color panel that you can use to make different types of curve-based color adjustments to your clip.

  • Hue versus Saturation. Select a hue range and adjust its saturation level
  • Hue versus Hue. Select a hue range and change it to another hue
  • Hue versus Luma. Select a hue range and adjust the luma
  • Luma versus Saturation. Select a luma range and adjust its saturation
  • Saturation versus Saturation. Select a saturation range and increase or decrease its saturation

SAMPLE A COLOR

With one of the color curves tabs open, click the Eyedropper tool to sample a color in the Program Monitor. Three control points are automatically placed on the curve. The center point corresponds to the color you selected. For the three Hue curves, this Hue value is for the selected pixel. For the Luma and Sat curves, the point is placed corresponding to the Luma or Saturation value of the pixel selected.

By default, the Eyedropper samples a 5 x 5 pixel area and averages the selected color. Press the Command (Mac) or Control (Win) keys while using the Eyedropper to sample a larger 10 x 10 pixel area.

REMOVE CONTROL POINTS

  • To remove a single control point, select the control point and press Command + Click (Mac) or Control + Click (Windows).
  • To remove all control points and reset the curve, double-click any control point.

EXTRA CREDIT

Here’s an Adobe Help page to learn more.


… for Apple Final Cut Pro X

Tip #640: Faster Freezes in Final Cut

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

This creates freezes from both the Browser and Timeline.

A match frame freeze added at the position of the timeline.

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You can always create a hold frame (Shift + H) in a clip. But, a hold frame is locked into the clip that created it. A freeze frame is a stand-alone piece of media that can be moved anywhere. Here’s a fast way to add freeze frames to the timeline in Final Cut Pro X.

  • Position the playhead on the frame you want to freeze in the timeline.
  • Type Shift + F. This creates a match frame for the same clip in the Browser.
  • Type Option + F. This adds a freeze frame of the frame under the playhead in the Browser on a layer above the Primary Storyline in the timeline.

NOTE: The duration of the freeze is based on the Still Image duration in Preferences > Editing.

EXTRA CREDIT

  • To add a freeze frame from any clip in the Browser, position the playhead on the Browser frame you want to freeze, then type Option + F.
  • To freeze a frame in the Timeline and add it to the Primary Storyline, position the timeline playhead on the frame you want to freeze and type Option + F.

… for Apple Motion

Tip #620: Clone vs. Copy in Apple Motion

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Clones simplify syncing style changes.

Control-click any layer and choose Make Clone Layer.

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I just discovered clones in Motion recently. Clones are an easy way to make multiple elements all look the same and change their look in sync with each other.

Create an element and make of copy of it. These become independent elements. When you change the color of one, it doesn’t affect the other.

Clones, though, are different. Clones are EXACT style and geometry replicas of the original. While you can apply different effects and transform settings to each, all the options in Inspector > Shape disappear for a clone.

When you change any of the Style or Geometry settings of the master, they are instantly reflected in the clone. And you can’t change the color or geometry of a clone – the options themselves don’t exist.

The more you play with this, the more ways you’ll find to use it.

EXTRA CREDIT

To create a clone, control-click an element in the Layer panel and choose Make Clone Layer (shortcut:K).


… for Codecs & Media

Tip #635: HTTP Live Streaming

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

HTTP Live Streaming compensates for shifts in bandwidth for mobile devices.

HTTP Live Streaming compression settings applied to a job-chained clip.

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The problem with mobile devices is that the bandwidth that connects them to the web changes as they move from one cell tower to another. This becomes important when watching movies that are longer than 10 minutes.

Apple Compressor has a feature – called HTTP Live Streaming – that compensates for this difference in bandwidth. This process compresses a master file into ten-second segments, using seven different frame sizes and bandwidths. In the case of my one-hour webinars, it generates about 2,000 separate segments.

This allows the server to seamlessly switch between different quality levels as bandwidth changes. If you are connected via a high-speed Internet WiFi connection, all these different segments are ignored. They only apply to mobile devices connected via cell towers.

My website has supported this playback style for seven years now. The problem is that implementing this takes a bit of programming from your webmaster.

EXTRA CREDIT

Here’s an article that explains this process in more detail. Remember, this only applies to movies longer than ten minutes which are NOT streaming on a social media service.

The reason you don’t need to worry about this if your files are streamed on Facebook or Vimeo, et al, is that these services create the HLS versions automatically on their servers.


… for Codecs & Media

Tip #637: Compressor: Job Chaining

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Job chaining creates an intermediate master file, which saves time creating derivatives.

The Job Chain menu in Apple Compressor.

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There is a hidden feature in Apple Compressor that can save time when creating multiple versions of the same master file. It’s called “Job Chaining” and here is how it works.

Every week, when I post my webinars, I add a watermark of my website URL into all the compressed versions. However, I never export the master file with a watermark, so that I always have a clean copy for archiving.

One of the versions I create is an HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) version of it for mobile devices. (See Tip #635). The problem is that HLS compression creates thousands of short ten-second movies from the master file. There’s no easy way to add watermarks to them.

So, I do this in two steps:

  • First, create an intermediate master file – using ProRes 4444 – with a watermark.
  • Then take the output of that process and “job chain” it as the source file for HLS compression. (see screen shot)

Specifically:

  • Import your master file into Compressor
  • Apply the setting to create the interim master – in my screen shot, this is called “Add Watermark Only.” All it does is burn a watermark into the intermediate master. Because I am working with ProRes 4444 there is no loss in audio or video quality.
  • Control-click the compression setting and choose New Job with Selected Output.
  • This creates a new line in Compressor to which I apply the HTTP Live Streaming settings.

This allows me to create one master file with the watermark, rather than re-create it over and over again.

I use this technique every week.


… for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Tip #609: What Does Uniform Scale Do?

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Disabling Uniform Scale allows stretching images assymetrically.

When Uniform Scale is turned off, height and width can be scaled independently.

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By default, when you scale (resize) an image, Premiere maintains the aspect ratio. This means the image gets larger or smaller, but retains its overall shape. But, what if that’s not what you want?

When Uniform Scale is checked, whenever you adjust the size of an image, both height and width scale in proportion. This retains the overall shape (aspect ratio) of an image.

When Uniform Scale is unchecked, horizontal and vertical size can be scaled independently. This allows for some very interesting – and weird – visual effects. Especially when you keyframe the size changes over time.


… for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Tip #621: Color Management Secret in Premiere

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Color management not easy – but this menu choice helps.

Display Color Management is off by default. Turn it on.

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A common complaint about Premiere is that colors often look darker in Premiere than in other software. This is caused by color management differences between software.

First, if you have a modern system, go to Preference > General and turn ON Display Color Management. (It is off by default.)

Second, read this very helpful blog by Carolyn Sears, at Adobe.


… for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Tip #626: How to Easily Edit SRT Captions

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

It is easy to make minor corrections to SRT caption files.

This is what an SRT caption text file looks like, viewed in Text Edit.

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SRT captions are text files which are both easy to read and easy to edit. These text files can be opened in any text editor, such as Text Edit or BBEdit.

The format of the text inside the file is very specific:

  • Caption number. This must be on the top line and a unique, sequential number.
  • Timecode. This indicates the start and end of the caption, with the last set of numbers set off by a comma and representing milliseconds.
  • Caption text. This is one or two lines of text. Notice that this text file does not support significant text formatting.

As long as your text lines don’t run too long, you can easily correct spelling or punctuation errors.

EXTRA CREDIT

While you can correct timing in this file, Premiere makes timing adjustments easier within their respective programs.