… for Codecs & Media

Tip #086: How to Create Custom Poster Frames

Larry Jordan – https://LarryJordan.com

Poster frames illustrate the contents of a movie clip in the Finder

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Ian Brown suggested this tip.

There’s a very fast way to create a poster frame for a QuickTime movie. (Poster frames appear in the Finder, and other locations, to illustrate the contents of a clip.)

  • Open the video in QuickTime Player
  • Move the playhead to the frame you want to use as a poster frame
  • Choose Edit > Copy (shortcut: Cmd + C)
  • Close the video
  • Select the file icon in the Finder
  • Choose File > Get Info (shortcut: Cmd + I)
  • Select the small icon in the top left corner
  • Choose Edit > Paste (shortcut: Cmd + V)



Actually, anything you paste into that top left box will become the poster frame. It doesn’t need to be a still from your video – though it can’t be a video itself.

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… for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Tip #022: 2 Export Options You Don’t Need

Larry Jordan – https://LarryJordan.com

These options have been puzzling editors for years.

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You are ready to export your final project, when you come face-to-face with two inscrutable checkboxes. Ever wonder how to set these options in the Export window of Premiere? We’ve got the answer.

  • Maximum Bit Depth. If you have a GPU, Maximum Bit Depth is irrelevant as you’re already getting that performance from the GPU, if it is applicable to your media. Turn this off.
  • Maximum Render Quality. If you have a GPU, this, too can be turned off. The only reason to turn it on is if you are scaling your images – up or down – and see jagged edges on clearly defined diagonal lines. As of this time, scaling is still CPU-based, and only effects calculated using the CPU are affected by this setting.

Now you know.

As you can probably guess, as Adobe migrates from CPU-based effects to GPU-based effects both of these options will become unnecessary and probably disappear.

… for Apple Final Cut Pro X

Tip #125: Edit Vertical Video – Fast

Larry Jordan – https://LarryJordan.com

Edit vertical video the easy way in FCP X.

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In spite of all our hopes, vertical video is here to stay. Not to worry, Final Cut makes editing vertical video easy. When the time comes to edit, transfer the video to your editing computer, then:

  • Choose File > Import Media (Shortcut: Cmd + I) and navigate to the footage. (You can transfer media directly from your iPhone if it is connected.)
  • Next, create a new project and use the Automatic settings. (This is the screen where the button in the lower left reads: Use Custom Settings.)
  • MOST IMPORTANT: don’t change any project settings. Make sure that the text: Video: Set based upon first video clip properties is visible. This is what makes configuring vertical video easy.
  • Next, edit a vertical clip into the empty, new project. This is important, even if this isn’t the first clip you want the audience to see, because FCP X uses this clip to configure the project settings.
  • When that first, non-standard video clip is edited into the timeline, a dialog appears asking if you want to change the project settings to match the video.
  • Click YES and FCP X will automatically configure the timeline to match your media. After you edit a couple more clips into the timeline, you can delete that first clip that you used to set Project settings.

After that, edit as normal.

When it comes time to export the final project, choose: File > Share > Master file to create a high-quality master file for compression later.

NOTE: Make sure that the aspect ratio of your final export matches the aspect ratio of the original media. Both 1080 x 1920 and 608 x 1080 match for aspect ratios.

… for Apple Final Cut Pro X

Tip #089: Create Subclips Using Keywords

Larry Jordan – https://LarryJordan.com

Subclips are defined sections within large clips. And, they are easy to create in FCP X.

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Keywords provide more and better ways to find clips, true. But… they also allow us to create subclips. Here’s how.

In the Browser, select a range within a clip either by dragging with the skimmer or playhead, or setting an In (shortcut: I) and Out (shortcut: O).

With that range selected, create a keyword (shortcut: Cmd + K) and give it a name.

NOTE: Use whatever name makes the most sense to you, but shorter is better.

Now, when you click that keyword, only the selected section shows up as a subclip in the Browser.


In this screen shot, the top image shows the selected range. After a keyword is created (“Key Reveal”), selecting that keyword displays only the portion of the original clip that was selected.


… for Random Weirdness

Tip #053: Safe Zones

Larry Jordan – https://LarryJordan.com

Don’t let key text or graphics get cut off.

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Back in the old days, when TV’s had picture tubes, producers discovered that when a program was broadcast, text which was easily readable in the control room was cut off on most home TV sets.

This was caused by the fact that images back then were generated by scanning a high-voltage electron beam across the inside glass of the picture tube, causing the phosphors that coated the picture tube to glow.

The problem was that the manufacture of these picture tubes was not precise, meaning that edges of the image would be cut off, but it could be a different edge for each picture tube.

So, to solve this problem, directors and graphics designers created two boundaries within the image. While we still need to compose a complete frame, when adding text or other essential graphics we need to pay attention to these two boundaries to make sure all the essential elements safely make it to the home viewer.

  • Action Safe is 5% in from all edges. All essential actors and action need to be contained inside the outer rectangle.
  • Title Safe is 10% in from all edges. All essential text, logos and graphics need to be contained inside the inner rectangle.

Even today, programs destined for broadcast or cable must follow these guidelines. However, for the web, where media is displayed digitally, my recommendation is to keep all essential text and logos inside Action Safe (the outer rectangle).

Why? Two reasons:

  • We are all used to watching this framing on all professionally produced programs. Adopting the same looks says that we are professional, too.
  • You really don’t have any control over where your digital media files will play, Even today, using rear screen or front projection, images get cut off.

There’s no reason to risk losing that critical phone number or URL simply because you put your text too close to the edge.

… for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Tip #021: A Fast Way to Export Part of a Sequence – or Clip

Larry Jordan – https://LarryJordan.com

Need to export only part of something in Premiere? It’s easy.

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With a movie in the Timeline, select File > Export > Media.

When the Export window opens, look in the lower left. Change the menu at the bottom left to Custom (see screen shot). Then, drag the In and Out markers to isolate the section you want to export.

Once that’s done, choose Queue (to export in the background) or Export (to export immediately).

NOTE: You can only have one In and Out in the Timeline or export window.


Here’s a hidden way to export files from the Project panel.

Using Hover Scrub, mark an In and Out (shortcut: I and O) in the clip in the Project panel.

This time, and this is an important step, rather than use the File menu, right-click the clip itself and choose Export Media.

The Export window opens, but this time the clip is loaded into it. Note the menu at the bottom left now says “Clip In/Out” with the range for the clip already marked.

Then, choose Queue or Export as usual.

… for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Tip #046: Create a Custom Workspace

Larry Jordan – https://LarryJordan.com

Premiere allow you to create a custom interface called a “workspace.”

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A workspace is a collection of panels optimized for a specific task; for example, editing. Premiere ships with eight pre-built workspaces:

  • Learning
  • Assembly
  • Editing
  • Color
  • Effects
  • Audio
  • Graphics
  • Libraries

Naturally, I didn’t like any of these, so I created my own, called: “Buzz Edit,” which you can see in the screenshot.

The easiest way to create a custom workspace is to drag panels around (see Tip #47) and resize things until you are happy.

Then, select Window > Workspaces > Save as New Workspace.

Give it a name and – Poof! – it instantly shows up in the Window > Workspaces menu (with it’s own keyboard shortcut) AND at the far right of the workspaces bar at the top of Premiere.

… for Apple Final Cut Pro X

Tip #068: Remove Specific Effects Fast!

Larry Jordan – https://LarryJordan.com

This trick makes it easy to remove specific effects from one or more selected clips.

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There are two ways we can remove effects from one or more clips in Final Cut: we can remove all the effects applied to a clip or just selected effects.

Here’s how.


  • Select the clip, or clips, that have the effect you want to remove.
  • Choose Edit > Remove Effects.

This deletes all the effects applied to the selected clips.

NOTE: This is a really fast way to reset a batch of clips back to their native state.


To remove selected effects from a clip:

  • Select the clip(s) containing the effects you want to remove.
  • Choose Edit > Remove Attributes.
  • Uncheck any blue check-box to remove that specific effect from the selected clips.

The nice part about this technique is that you have the flexibility to remove specific effects without altering the effects you want to keep.

… for Apple Final Cut Pro X

Tip #5: A Fast Way to Fix Color Problems

Larry Jordan – https://LarryJordan.com

This one tip can solve really tricky color problems.

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This one tip has solved more color problems for me than any other: “If something is supposed to be gray, it must appear as a small dot in the center of the Vectorscope.”

Use the Crop > Trim tool to isolate something in the frame that’s supposed to be gray (remember, black and white are also “gray”).

Next, using the Master color wheel in the Color Inspector, adjust the colors so that the dot is centered in the middle of the Vectorscope.

Then, undo the Crop by clicking the curved arrow next to Crop in the Inspector to see the full image.


You have more control using the individual color wheels, starting with mid-tones, but it will take longer.