… for Apple Final Cut Pro X

Tip #1071: Preserve Your Projects – Long-term

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

XML is the only file format that can be shared between apps.

The File > Export XML dialog. Make sure you are using the latest version of XML.

Topic $TipTopic

Some projects are one-and-done. Never to see the light of day again. However, in these days of stock media and multiple versions, we often go back to the same project for years.

Yet, technology marches on. How do we protect our edit for the long-term? There’s only one answer: export an XML of every finished project.

How? File > Export XML.

  • XML files describe every element of your edit – but DON’T include media. (You will need to archive media separately.)
  • XML files can be transferred between applications, native project files can’t.

The best option, always, is to reopen your project in the application that created it. But, when that isn’t possible, XML makes sure you can recover your edit. Media links, edits and transitions are preserved in XML. When moving an XML file to other applications, though, you will lose most effects and color grade settings.

Because XML files are small, take almost no time to export, and provide the greatest amount of flexibility for the future, always export an XML version of the finished timeline when you are done with a project.

NOTE: Make sure you always export using the latest version of XML supported by Final Cut Pro X.


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… for Apple Final Cut Pro X

Tip #1073: What Do These Transition Controls Do?

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

These controls allow trimming under a transition without removing it first.

The three transition trimming controls: Trim the In, edit point, or Out.

Topic $TipTopic

If you zoom into the timeline far enough, you’ll discover three icons at the top of every transition that can save you time.

NOTE: To zoom into the timeline, select it, then type Cmd + [plus]. To zoom out, type Cmd + [minus]. To reset the timeline, type Shift + Z.

As the screen shot illustrates, at the top of every transition are three trimming controls:

  • Left. Dragging this icon ripple trims the In of the incoming clip.
  • Center. Dragging this icon roll trims the edit point, moving it earlier or later in the timeline.
  • Right. Dragging this icon ripple trims the Out of the outgoing clip.

NOTE: All trimming is based on the underlying clip having sufficient “handles,” extra media before the In or after the Out.

The benefit to using these controls is that you can trim the clips under a transition without removing the transition. For dissolves, this probably won’t make any difference, but other transitions take time to set up. This means you don’t need to repeat your work.


… for Apple Final Cut Pro X

Tip #1074: Timeline Title Secrets

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

These new timeline menu options provide fast access to common taks.

The timeline menu linked to the name of the currently open project.

Topic $TipTopic

A new feature in the 10.4.9 update to Final Cut is located at the top of the timeline. But it is not easy to find.

Starting with the 10.4.9 update, when you click, not Control-click, the name of a project displayed at the top-center of the timeline, five new options appear:

  • Duplicate project
  • Reveal Project in Browser
  • Project Properties
  • Close [project]
  • Close other projects
  • Duplicate project copies your project, but does NOT make any compound or multicam clips independent. This is not a good idea. Instead, use Snapshot Project, which is an option available to all projects by Control-clicking the name of a project in the Browser.
  • Reveal Project is self-explanatory.
  • Project Properties is the same as Window > Project Properties, or typing Cmd + J.
  • Close [project] removes it from the timeline (which means it takes up far less memory), but does not remove it from the Browser or Library.
  • Close Other Projects closes other open timelines, again releasing the RAM they use, but does not remove them from the Browser or Library. Unless you are switching between different projects, closing projects you are not using is a good idea.

Locating these options at the top of the timeline is an excellent timesaver, except for Duplicate Project, which should be avoided.


… for Random Weirdness

Tip #1062: Accusonus Releases ERA 5

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Easy-to-use, high-power audio tools for all NLEs.

The Voice AutoEQ interface in the new ERA 5 bundle.

Topic $TipTopic

Accusonus, a well-respected name in audio repair, just released ERA 5.

This bundle “features incredible new tools and the biggest engine update yet, delivering staggering quality with the most intuitive workflow for creators. Innovative solutions empower you to fix even more audio issues than before, saving time in editing and enhancing your sound.” (Accusonus blog)

New tools include:

  • Voice AutoEQ. This automatically adjust its parameters to provide you with a great baseline of good sounding EQ for the human voice, which you can adjust to taste afterwards.
  • Voice Deepener. This creates a voice recording that is able to allure, convince and hook everyone! Just select the voice deepening amount that sounds right to you and let it do its magic.
  • Audio Cleanup Assistant. This features presets for podcasting, vlogging, interviews, audiobooks and all sorts of content creation. And if you often have to deal with audio that has been recorded in the same conditions again and again, you can always save and recall your own presets.
  • Noise Remover Pro. RA Noise Remover Pro has up to 6 spectral processing bands. By applying a different amount of processing to each band, you can further tune the algorithm performance on your particular source material. Save dialogue tracks which cannot be recorded again, remove unwanted elements with astonishing precision, and enjoy the ultimate control over your recordings.
  • Reverb Remover Pro. Ggt tailored reverberation reduction on key frequency ranges. Each band has been fine tuned to work optimally in its range, while the complexity is managed automatically behind the scenes. Reverb reduction is one of the most demanding post production processes.

And several more. The software is available by subscription.

Download a free trial here.

EXTRA CREDIT

They don’t promote it, but the new De-reverb filter in Adobe Premiere is actually technology licensed from Accusonus.


… for Apple Motion

Tip #1059: Animate a Line

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Write on animates borders attached to lines, paths and paint strokes.

The Draw and Erase setting applied to a path using the Write On behavior.

Topic $TipTopic

This is a fun and fast way to animate any path, line or paint brush in Motion using the Write On behavior. Even better, you can animate a line to draw, erase, or draw then erase itself. Here’s how this works:

  • Using the Pen or Paint Brush tool, draw a path in Motion.
  • With the path selected, choose a border from the HUD (Option + Cmd + L) or Inspector > Object. The border needs a width greater than 0.

NOTE: Personally, I prefer applying Shape Styles, but these, too, need a wider border value.

  • With the path element still selected in the Layers panel, choose Behaviors > Shape > Write On. This animates the border starting at the beginning of the path.
  • Adjust the Offset value to change where drawing the border starts.

This technique is great at creating animated travel lines for a map, or calling attention to a moving object.

EXTRA CREDIT

  • Change the duration of the Write on behavior to change it’s speed.
  • Select the Write on behavior, then, in Inspector > Behaviors, change the menu from Draw to Erase. This animates the removal of the border, Or Draw and Erase, which draws it on, then draws it off.

… for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Tip #1056: Move a Mix from Audition to Premiere

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Take the time to verify the technical quality of your mix using Amplitude Statistics.

The four key fields I check for every exported WAV file.

Topic $TipTopic

Recently, when I was preparing my webinar An Overview of Adobe Audition, I was reminded of an important tip I learned a while ago.

When sending an audio mix from Audition back to Premiere, don’t use Multitrack > Export to Adobe Premiere. Why? Because you don’t know what you are getting. There’s a better way.

Instead, choose File > Export > Multitrack Mixdown > Entire Session.

This displays a window where you can set various parameters for your exported mix. In general, for video, choose:

  • WAV
  • 48K sample rate
  • 16-bit depth
  • Stereo
  • Check Open files after export

When the mix is complete, the exported file will be displayed in the Files panel. Double-click it to open it the Waveform Editor. This next step is the reason for this whole process: choose Window > Amplitude Statistics and click Scan in the lower left corner of the window.

This analyzes your clip for a variety of technical parameters. Here are the four fields I ALWAYS check:

  • True Peak. This is the loudest level in your mix. This must be below 0.
  • Possibly clipped samples. This must be 0. Anything larger means you have distortion in your mix.
  • DC Offset. This should be at or very close to 0
  • LUFS. This measures the average level of the total mix.

For broadcast, digital cinema and cable, LUFS should be -24 ±1. For the web, LUFS should be around -16. (LUFS is also referred to as LKFS.)

Once I verify that my audio meets all technical specs, I import it into Premiere and add it to the timeline as the final mix. The benefit to this approach is that I KNOW my audio is good, before final output, rather than HOPING it is good.

EXTRA CREDIT

Here’s a video that shows this process in operation.


… for Codecs & Media

Tip #1068: When to Choose JPEG, PNG or TIFF

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Pick the codec that works best for your project.

Export codec list from Adobe Photoshop.

Topic $TipTopic

A codec is the mathematical formula that determines how to convert light, or sound, into binary digits for the computer to store or display. While there are a LOT of still image codecs, there are only four that you’ll need to choose between for most of your video projects:

  • PSD
  • JPG
  • PNG
  • TIFF

So, which should you choose? Here are some tips.

PSD

This is the native Photoshop format.

Use this when you need to retain the ability to edit the elements of an image or when you want to enable, or disable, specific layers within the image.

NOTE: For best results, always embed media into the Photoshop file.

JPG or JPEG

This is a highly-compressed file best used for final distribution. Good image quality in a very small file size.

Part of compressing a JPEG file involves throwing away color data and reducing some of the image quality. While this is almost always OK for images destined for the web, it is not a good idea for any image that you want to edit.

NOTE: Compressing an already compressed file will materially damage quality.

PNG

This is a modestly compressed image format. Excellent image quality with a large file size.

This is a more modern format than TIFF and is the best choice for outputting finished images at high quality. While you can’t reedit a PNG image the way you can a PSD, this provides excellent image quality. PNGs, unlike JPEG, supports an alpha channel for transparent image elements.

The only limit of PNG is that it is only supports 8-bit color.

TIFF

This is a lightly compressed image format, providing excellent image and color quality with a large file size.

TIFF is my go-to still image format. Supporting up to 10-bit color, alpha channels and essentially lossless images, it has been around for a long, long time.

The only limitation of TIFF is that, unlike PSD, you can’t edit elements within the image.


… for Codecs & Media

Tip #1069: Create a Custom Poster Frame

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Poster frames represent your media in the Finder.

Copy a new poster frame image into the image well in the Finder > Get Info window.

Topic $TipTopic

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)

Done.

EXTRA CREDIT

Actually, anything you paste into that top left box will become the poster frame. It doesn’t need to be an image, it could also be a graphic.


… for Codecs & Media

Tip #1070: What Determines Storage Performance?

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Aerial density, RPM and whether an SSD is in the mix all affect storage performance.

The Seagate logo.

Topic $TipTopic

Seagate published an interesting article, titled: Choosing High Performance Storage Isn’t Just About RPM. This is a summary.

The performance of a hard drive is most effectively measured by how fast data can be transferred from the spinning media (platters) through the read/write head and passed to a host computer. This is commonly referred to as data throughput and typically measured in gigabytes (or gigabits) per second. In either case, data throughput is directly related to how densely data is packed on the hard drive platters and how fast these platters spin.

Higher revolutions per minute represent a faster hard drive, but the rate of media transfer is just as important for data storage solutions.

For the areal density specification, we can measure data density on a hard drive in two ways: bits per inch (BPI) and tracks per inch (TPI). As tracks are placed closer together, TPI increases. Similarly, as data bits are placed closer and closer to each other along a track, BPI increases. Together, these represent areal density.

As a rule, when areal density increases on a hard drive, so does data throughput performance. This is because the data bits pass by the read/write head of the hard drive faster, which leads to faster data rates.

For the RPM specification, platters need to spin faster to increase performance in a hard drive. This results in moving the data bits past the read/write head faster, which results in higher data rates. Hard drives have been engineered with spin rates as low as 1200 RPM and as high as 15K RPM. But today’s most common RPM rates, in both laptop and desktop PCs, are between 5400 and 7200 RPM.

Given two identically designed hard drives with the same areal densities, a 7200 RPM drive will deliver data about 33% faster than the 5400 RPM drive. Consequently, this specification is important when evaluating the expected performance of a hard drive or when comparing different HDD models.

However, when moving to a solid state hybrid drive (SSHD), RPM is largely irrelevant. Why?

SSHD design is based on identifying frequently used data and placing it in the solid state drive (SSD) or NAND flash portion of the drive. NAND flash media is very fast, partly because there are no moving parts—since it’s made of solid state circuitry. Therefore, when data is requested by host computers there is typically not a dependence on pulling this data directly from the spinning media in the hard drive portion.

Sometimes, however, data will be requested that is not in the NAND flash, and only during these instances does the hard drive portion of the device become a bottleneck. Since the technology is so effective at identifying and storing frequently used data in the NAND area, SSHD technology is much more efficient in delivering data to a host computer quickly.

In tests conducted by Seagate to illustrate this article, the fastest performance for an SSHD drive came from one where the platters only spun at 5400 RPM.

Here’s a link to the full article.


… for Apple Final Cut Pro X

Tip #1054: Be Careful of the Spell-Check Trap

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

The Index does not display title content, only the label for that content.

Correcting a spelling mistake for a title clip in the Timeline Index does NOT change the content of the title itself.

Topic $TipTopic

I fell into a trap this week, spell-checking titles in Final Cut Pro X. I thought I was correcting spelling, instead I was only correcting a list. Be cautious here! As I was finishing last week’s webinar on An Overview of Adobe Audition, I opened the Timeline index to proof-read markers and text titles.

What I discovered is that you CAN use the Timeline Index to correct marker names. But you can NOT use the Timeline Index to correct titles. That’s because the Index displays the name of the title, not the content of the title. (See screen shot.)

So, when I corrected the spelling of “slash” in the Index, it corrected the display in the Index, but NOT the actual text keyed into the video.

So, while I thought I was being efficient in using the Index for spell-checking, in fact, I wasn’t changing anything that the viewer could see.

EXTRA CREDIT

This discovery meant I needed to reopen the show master, manually review each title in the Viewer, correct any mistakes in the Viewer, then reoutput the master file.

A major pain in my timeline.