… for Visual Effects

Tip #1599: Does Foundry Support M1 Macs?

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Progress continues, but full compatibility is a ways off.

Image courtesy of Foundry.com.

Topic $TipTopic

Here’s the latest update from Foundry on their support for Big Sur and M1 Macs.

The latest macOS version, Big Sur, is not currently supported across our Foundry product portfolio. Our product teams are testing this macOS release and looking to qualify it as soon as possible. 

Apple’s new processing hardware Apple silicon including the recently released Apple M1 chip, is due to be reviewed by each product and support will be planned based on the individual review results.

Here is the latest status of supported macOS versions across our Foundry products: 

Product macOS Catalina (10.15) macOS Big Sur (11.0) Apple M1 Chips
Nuke family 12.1v1 onwards 13.0v1 onwards Not supported
Modo 13.2v1 onwards 15.0v1 onwards Not supported (in testing)
Colorway 3.1v1 onwards Not supported (in testing) Not supported
Mari 4.6v3 onwards Not supported Not supported
Flix 6.3.6 onwards Not supported Not supported
Katana Katana is not available on macOS.

EXTRA CREDIT

Foundry updated this on April 22, 2021. Link.


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… for Apple Final Cut Pro X

Tip #1572: What Is Range Check?

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Safe video levels are essential for any video not posted to the web.

The Zebra or Herringbone pattern flags shadow or highlight levels that are illegal.

Topic $TipTopic

Range check is a special option in the Viewer > View menu that flags shadow or highlight levels that are “illegal” for the timeline video clip containing the playhead.

If you only post video to the web, you don’t need to worry about video levels, the web will play anything.

However, if you need to submit programs to broadcast, cable, DVD, digital cinema or many streaming services, such as NetFlix, you need to be SURE your video levels are within spec.

There are four options:

  • Off. This is the default setting.
  • Luma. This flags luminance levels that are excessive.
  • Chroma. This flags color levels (mostly saturation) that are excessive.
  • All. This flags all illegal levels.

Excessive luma levels are those above 100% IRE or below 0% IRE (for Rec. 709 media) .

Excessive chroma levels are those that are over-saturated. (Saturation levels will vary by luminance levels.)

EXTRA CREDIT

Range check simply flags problematic footage. You correct this using either one of the color grading tools or Broadcast Safe. (See Tip #1573).


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… for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Tip #1557: Caution When Using the Video Limiter!

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

The default setting for the Video Limiter needs to be 100 IRE.

For safety, be sure to set the Video Limiter to 100 IRE, not the default of 103 IRE.

Topic $TipTopic

(I discovered this tip while researching a recent PowerUP webinar showcasing Advanced Color Techniques for Premiere Pro.)

The Video Limiter is an effect that clamps white and black levels to “legal” levels. This means no white levels over 100% or black levels below 0%.

However, there are two significant problems with the Video Limiter you need to be aware of:

1. The default setting is wrong. The Video Limiter defaults to clamping video highlights to 103%. This is wrong. You need to change this to 100 IRE to be totally safe.

NOTE: While some broadcast outlets may allow IRE values greater than 100%, this should be the exception, not the default.

2. Worse, the Video Limiter properly clamps levels adjusted using either Curves or Color Wheels. But it does not clamp levels using the Basic Correction sliders. This, too, is a mistake. The Video Limiter needs to clamp all adjustments to gray scale, no matter where they are made.

Just giving you a heads-up.

EXTRA CREDIT

The Video Limiter is not needed when posting media to the web. But it IS needed for projects destined for broadcast, cable, DVD or many streaming services.


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… for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Tip #1558: Change Color Grades Within a Shot

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

The key is a long slow dissolve to blend colors during the transition.

Lindsay walking from outside into the studio in a single shot.

Topic $TipTopic

(I discovered this tip while researching a recent PowerUP webinar showcasing Advanced Color Techniques for Premiere Pro.)

Let’s say you have a shot where the talent walks into an interior scene from the outside. Most cameras need to be white balanced for either daylight or interior and can’t adjust on the fly.

So, now you are looking at a shot in post that either starts blue and goes normal, or starts normal and goes orange. You can’t keyframe color settings, so how do you fix this?

Easy.

  • Cut the clip in the middle of the transition from outside to inside.
  • Color correct each side of the clip for the appropriate color.
  • Then, add a SLOW (4-8 second) dissolve between the two clips.

Because the action matches, the only thing the viewer will see is a smooth transition from an outside color grade to one for the interior.


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… for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Tip #1536: Working with PDFs in Premiere

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

The key is to convert a PDF to PNG before importing into Premiere.

The Page Options dialog in Photoshop scales the PDF image before import.

Topic $TipTopic

Premiere does not support importing PDF documents. This doesn’t mean that you can’t use them. Here are two workarounds.

TWO WORKAROUNDS

If all you need to do is import the entire PDF page without zooming into a portion of the page, use this workaround.

Workaround #1: Open the PDF in Preview, choose File > Export and set the export format to PNG. This exports the PDF at the size it was created, not the frame size of your project.

NOTE: Ignore the Resolution setting on export, even if you choose a higher number, the size and resolution of the exported image won’t change. I consider this a bug.

If you need to zoom into elements on the page – for example to provide closeups of an embedded image – this workaround is a better option:

Workaround #2: Open the file in Photoshop, or another image editing program. In the Page Options dialog (see screen shot) that appears: Set the Resolution to at least 400 Pixels/inch. This enlarges the image – while retaining image quality – so that you can easily zoom in or out of the PDF in the timeline.

EXTRA CREDIT

There are two types of PDFs: those that originated as bitmaps and those that originated as vectors.

Photos, scans and Photoshop documents will not scale very well, if at all. Text, Illustrator files or images created using musical notation should scale perfectly.


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… for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Tip #1537: A Fast Way to Improve an Image

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Basic Correction > Auto provides a quick fix for poorly exposed images.

Lumetri Color > Basic Correction panel. Click the Auto button.

Topic $TipTopic

[ This tip was part of a recent webinar: “Color Fundamentals in Adobe Premiere Pro” ].

If you have an image that isn’t exposed properly and you need a quick fix, here’s how.

Select the image in the timeline, then go to: Color workspace > Lumetri Color > Basic Correction and click the Auto button (see screen shot).

This adjusts the sliders in Basic Correction to correct exposure problems.

WHAT THIS DOESN”T FIX

This won’t fix color problems. It won’t fix blown-out areas caused by over-exposure. And it won’t fix black levels that were crushed when the image was taken such that all shadow detail was lost.

So, this doesn’t work miracles, but it can make many images look a LOT better.

Also, because this moved sliders, if you don’t like something in the new settings, the modified settings are easy to adjust manually.


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… for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Tip #1523: Multicam Audio Workaround

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

This makes XAVC discrete audio tracks available.

Topic $TipTopic

Lee Berger writes:

I’m shooting XAVC-L with four discrete audio tracks. No matter which audio option I choose I get the same stereo track with mics 1 & 2 mixed in both tracks. What I want is to maintain separate channel 1 and 2 sources so I can duck each mic if necessary.

Here’s my workaround.

I select the camera 1 source clip and choose: Modify > Audio Channels > Clip Channel:

  • Format = Stereo
  • Number of Clips = 1

That gives me a single stereo track with mic one on the left and two on the right.

Then I create my multicam selecting Stereo and the resulting multicam clip has the same stereo channel assignments.

Finally, I select the Multicam clip in the bin, Modify > Audio Channels > Clip Channel:

  • Format = Mono
  • Number of Clips = 2

This puts it back to two discrete audio tracks. Seems cumbersome, but it solved my problem.


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… for Apple Final Cut Pro X

Tip #1528: A Better Way to Replace JPEG Images

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

How you replace one image with another makes a difference.

Topic $TipTopic

Scott was having a problem:

I use Final Cut Pro to edit a lot of videos with JPEG slides in them. I find that, somewhat randomly, if I have to replace one of the slides by using “Replace with Retime to Fit,” the JPEG I’m replacing will move the order of the previous clip. It’s odd… sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t.

The solution was changing how Scott replaced the images. JPEGs are still images, there’s nothing to “retime.”

So, instead of using Replace with Retime to Fit, I suggested that Scott use Replace from Start. This matches the duration of the timeline image, without moving other clips out of position.

Problem solved.


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… for Apple Final Cut Pro X

Tip #1535: Better Options Working with PDF Files

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Scale PDF images BEFORE bringing them into Final Cut.

The Page Options dialog in Photoshop scales the PDF image before import.

Topic $TipTopic

When you import a PDF file into Final Cut, it gets converted into a PNG. This causes problems when you need to scale the image because PDF files, generally, retain image quality when they are scaled. PNGs do not.

Essentially, the PNG is created at 100% of the size of the PDF page AFTER it is scaled to fit within the frame size of your project, not the original size of the PDF itself.

This conversion means that we can’t zoom into a portion of the PNG image without seriously losing image quality.

TWO WORKAROUNDS

If all you need to do is import the entire PDF page without zooming into a portion of the page, use this workaround.

Workaround #1: Open the PDF in Preview, choose File > Export and set the export format to PNG. This exports the PDF at the size it was created, not the frame size of your project. (You could, also, use this as a way to enlarge a PDF image to do a screen grab of a portion of a page.)

NOTE: Ignore the Resolution setting on export, even if you choose a higher number, the size and resolution of the exported image won’t change. I consider this a bug.

If you need to zoom into elements on the page – for example to provide closeups of an embedded image – this workaround is a better option:

Workaround #2: Open the file in Photoshop, or another image editing program. In the Page Options dialog (see screen shot) that appears: Set the Resolution to at least 400 Pixels/inch. This enlarges the image – while retaining image quality – so that you can easily zoom in or out of the PDF in the timeline.

EXTRA CREDIT

There are two types of PDFs: those that originated as bitmaps and those that originated as vectors.

Photos, scans and Photoshop documents will not scale very well, if at all. Text, Illustrator files or images created using musical notation should scale perfectly.


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… for Codecs & Media

Tip #1521: Use FFmpeg to Create HEVC Files for iPhones

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

FFmpeg is the Swiss Army knife of media compression.

Topic $TipTopic

This gets pretty geeky. Why? Because this command line tweak describes how to use FFmpeg for HEVC compression that plays on iOS devices.

One of the benefits of using HEVC, especially for videos we don’t plan to edit, is the small file size this codec creates.

This is very helpful for storing media on mobile devices where storage is frequently limited. The problem is that FFmpeg, by default, creates HEVC files which won’t play on an iOS device.

The fix, as Aaron K. reported is changing a command line tag – either before or after encoding – that fixes this problem.

Here’s a link to all the specific details.

EXTRA CREDIT

What is especially useful about this technique is that it can be applied after a file is compressed as well as process a group of files stored in a folder.


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