… for Apple Final Cut Pro X

Tip #748: Audio Analysis Options

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Audio analysis runs in the background and, generally, is very fast.

Audio analysis options in the Media Import window of Final Cut Pro X

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The following text is from the Apple Final Cut Pro X Help files. The analysis options are located in the Media Import window, or the Modify menu for clips already imported into the browser.

NOTE: Analysis runs in the background and how long it takes is dependent upon the length of your media and the speed of your CPU.

Final Cut Pro provides automatic analysis options that can fix common audio problems, analyze and group audio channels, and remove silent channels. You can analyze audio during import, or analyze video clips with audio issues in the browser or in the timeline.

Final Cut Pro provides these audio analysis options:

  • Analyze and fix audio problems: Analyzes the audio for hum, noise, and loudness. Final Cut Pro automatically fixes problems that are considered severe (marked in red) and flags problems that are considered moderate (marked in yellow).
  • Separate mono and group stereo audio: Audio channels are analyzed and grouped as dual mono or stereo, depending on the results of the analysis. Automatically corrected audio channels are marked as Autoselected.
  • Remove silent channels: Audio channels are analyzed, and silent channels are removed. Clips that have had channels removed are marked as Autoselected.

When you drag a media file from the Finder to a Final Cut Pro event or the timeline, the import begins automatically, without displaying a window of import options. You can set automatic import options in the Import pane of Final Cut Pro preferences.


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… for Apple Final Cut Pro X

Tip #749: Introduction to Clip Analysis

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Finding people isn’t always reliable, but worth trying.

Areas with clip analysis keywords are indicated by a purple line in the browser.

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The following text is from the Apple Final Cut Pro X Help files. The analysis options are located in the Media Import window, or the Modify menu for clips already imported into the browser.

You can have Final Cut Pro analyze your media (video, audio, and still images) and automatically correct common problems. For example, you can balance color and remove excess hum or loudness.

You can also analyze clips to identify their contents. Analysis can detect the number of people in a shot and identify whether the shot is a close-up, medium, or wide shot. This is helpful if you need to quickly find a certain type of clip while viewing footage or editing a project.

You can analyze media during import or after you import the media into Final Cut Pro. You can also set Final Cut Pro to automatically analyze clips you drag directly to the Final Cut Pro timeline from the Finder.

After certain types of analysis, keywords are automatically added to clips or clip ranges based on the results of the analysis. For example, a clip showing several people might have the Group and Medium Shot keywords assigned. In the browser, clips with analysis keywords have a purple line at the top. (Clips with keywords you add manually or keywords imported from Finder tags or folder names have a blue line at the top.)

EXTRA CREDIT


… for Random Weirdness

Tip #743: 3-Step Pricing Formula for Videographers

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Pricing is hard – but it isn’t cookie-cutter either.

Topic $TipTopic

This article first appeared in MotionArray.com. This is an excerpt.

Ask any freelancer what part of their job they hate the most and chances are a good chunk of them will point to the inescapable chore that is pricing. Pricing your own services is awkward, confronting, and much like breaking up with a partner, you just wish someone else could just step in and do the dirty work for you.

But luckily for all you free agents out there, we have a quick little formula that’ll help you tackle this supremely uncomfortable task so you can quit stressing and get back to doing what you love most—making video magic!

As you’ve probably realized by now, no two video productions are the same, which means the fees you charge for them shouldn’t be either. Tailoring your prices to each project is key.

  1. Calculate Your Outgoing Expenses. The first thing you’re going to want to do is make a list of all the expenses you’re going to incur throughout the course of your project. This includes everything from the planning phase all the way through to post-production. We’re talking equipment rental, location hire, set props, actors and crew personnel, transportation costs, stock music licenses, the whole kit and kaboodle.

    Now repeat after me: All of these expenses are things that my client and, not me—repeat: NOT ME—will be covering.

  2. Calculate Your Time and Effort. Next, you’ll need to make a list of all the tasks you personally will need to undertake to see the project through to completion and how long you estimate each one to take.

    This will include any client meetings and phone calls, scripting or storyboarding, logistical planning, the total number of hours spent on set, as well as any post-production work you’ll be required to do or oversee.

  3. Decide How Much Profit You Want to Make. Lastly, you’ll need to decide how much money you’d like to walk away from the project with. To help you do this, go back to step two and take into account all of the time and effort you estimate you’ll be putting into the project and try and place a figure on what you think it’s worth.

Once you’ve decided what you’d like your profit to be, add it to your total sum of project expenses and voilà: there you have your complete project fee!


… for Codecs & Media

Tip #744: What is Interlacing?

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Interlacing was needed due to limited bandwidth.

Interlace artifact – thin, dark, horizontal lines radiating off moving objects.

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Even in today’s world of 4K and HDR, many HD productions still need to distribute interlaced footage. So, what is interlacing?

Interlacing is the process of time-shifting every other line of video so that the total bandwidth requirements for a video stream are, effectively, cut in half.

For example, in HD, first all the even numbered lines are displayed, then 1/2 the frame rate later, all the odd numbered lines are displayed. Each of these is called a “field.” The field rate is double the frame rate.

NOTE: HD is upper field first, DV (PAL or NTSC) is lower field first.

In the old days of NTSC and PAL this was done because the broadcast infrastructure couldn’t handle complete frames.

As broadcasters converted to HD at the end of the last century, they needed to make a choice; again due to limited bandwidth: They could either choose to broadcast a single 720 progressive frame, or an interlaced 1080 frame.

Some networks chose 720p because they were heavily into sports, which looks best in a progressive frame. Others chose interlaced, because their shows principally originated on film, which minimized interlaced artifact, which is illustrated in the screen shot.

As we move past HD into 4K, the bandwidth limitations fade away, which means that all frames are progressive.

EXTRA CREDIT

It is easy to shoot progressive and convert it to interlaced, with no significant loss in image quality. It is far harder to convert interlaced footage to progressive; and quality always suffers. Also, the web requires progressive media because interlacing looks terrible.

For this reason, it is best to shoot progressive, then convert to interlacing as needed for distribution.


… for Codecs & Media

Tip #745: What is HDR Rec. 2020 HLG

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

HLG is compatible with both HDR and SDR broadcast and television sets.

Chart showing a conventional SDR gamma curve and Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG). HLG uses a logarithmic curve for the upper half of the signal values which allows for a larger dynamic range.

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High-dynamic-range video (HDR video) describes video having a dynamic range greater than that of standard-dynamic-range video (SDR video). HDR capture and displays are capable of brighter whites and deeper blacks. To accommodate this, HDR encoding standards allow for a higher maximum luminance and use at least a 10-bit dynamic range in order to maintain precision across this extended range.

While technically “HDR” refers strictly to the ratio between the maximum and minimum luminance, the term “HDR video” is commonly understood to imply wide color gamut as well.

There are two ways we can display HDR material: HLG and PQ. (Tip #746 discusses PQ).

HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma) is a royalty-free HDR standard jointly developed by the BBC and NHK. HLG is designed to be better-suited for television broadcasting, where the metadata required for other HDR formats is not backward compatible with non-HDR displays, consumes additional bandwidth, and may also become out-of-sync or damaged in transmission.

HLG defines a non-linear optical-electro transfer function, in which the lower half of the signal values use a gamma curve and the upper half of the signal values use a logarithmic curve. In practice, the signal is interpreted as normal by standard-dynamic-range displays (albeit capable of displaying more detail in highlights), but HLG-compatible displays can correctly interpret the logarithmic portion of the signal curve to provide a wider dynamic range.

HLG is defined in ATSC 3.0, among others, and is supported by video services such as the BBC iPlayer, DirecTV, Freeview Play, and YouTube. HLG is supported by HDMI 2.0b, HEVC, VP9, and H.264/MPEG-4 AVC.


… for Codecs & Media

Tip #746: What is HDR Rec. 2020 PQ?

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

PQ provides for the brightest images, even though technology today can’t fully support it.

The PQ inverse EOTF (electro-optical transfer function). I thought you’d like to see the math.

Topic $TipTopic

High-dynamic-range video (HDR video) describes video having a dynamic range greater than that of standard-dynamic-range video (SDR video). HDR capture and displays are capable of brighter whites and deeper blacks. To accommodate this, HDR encoding standards allow for a higher maximum luminance and use at least a 10-bit dynamic range in order to maintain precision across this extended range.

While technically “HDR” refers strictly to the ratio between the maximum and minimum luminance, the term “HDR video” is commonly understood to imply wide color gamut as well.

There are two ways we can display HDR material: HLG and PQ. (Tip #745 discusses HLG).

Perceptual Quantizer (PQ), published by SMPTE as SMPTE ST 2084, is a transfer function that allows for the display of high dynamic range (HDR) video with a luminance level of up to 10,000 cd/m2 and can be used with the Rec. 2020 color space.

NOTE: cd/m2 refers to “candela per meter squared.” One cd/m2 equals one IRE.

PQ is a non-linear electro-optical transfer function (EOTF). On April 18, 2016, the Ultra HD Forum announced industry guidelines for UHD Phase A, which uses Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG) and PQ transfer functions with a bit depth of 10-bits and the Rec. 2020 color space. On July 6, 2016, the ITU announced Rec. 2100, which uses HLG or PQ as transfer functions with a Rec. 2020 color space.

The key takeaway here is that PQ supports extremely bright images, but in a format that is not compatible with anything else.


… for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Tip #739: Premiere: No Support for FireWire DV Capture

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

FireWire capture of DV media is no longer supported on Macs.

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This tip first appeared on Adobe’s support page. While this won’t affect a lot of folks, it is still worth knowing.

Starting with macOS 10.15 Catalina, Premiere Pro, Audition, and Adobe Media Encoder no longer support the capture of DV and HDV over FireWire.

This change does not impact other forms of tape capture.
You can still edit DV/HDV files that have previously been captured.
DV/HDV capture is still available with Premiere Pro on Windows.

WORKAROUND

If you need access to DV/HDV ingest you can:

  • On macOS: Use Premiere Pro 12.x and 13.x on macOS 10.13.6 (High Sierra) or 10.14 (Mojave)
  • On Windows: Continue to use the latest versions of Premiere Pro with no impact.

… for Apple Final Cut Pro X

Tip #715: How to Reset FCP X to Fix Problems

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Deleting FCP X Preferences does a lot to fix problems.

The Delete Preferences window in Apple Final Cut Pro X.

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Most of the time, Final Cut Pro X is a solid, reliable program. Until it isn’t. Fortunately, there’s one keyboard shortcut that fixes most problems by resetting Final Cut perferences to their factory default settings. Here’s how:

  • Quit the application.
  • Then, press and hold Shift + Cmd while restarting the application from the Dock.

When this window (screen shot) appears, click the blue Delete Preferences button.

WHAT THIS DOES

  • All preferences reset back to default settings.
  • The list of recently opened libraries is emptied. (HOWEVER, your libraries are NOT erased. You’ll find them stored at the location you specified when you first created them.

Final Cut preferences do a lot, much more than simply determine what the interface looks like. They are deeply embedded into the operation of the program, even if we can’t directly modify most of them.

SUMMARY

In the old days, with FCP 7, we needed to do this every couple of weeks. Now, you may only need to do this a few times a year. Still, when FCP X is acting up, restart your computer. If that doesn’t fix it, this keyboard shortcut probably will.


… for Apple Final Cut Pro X

Tip #734: What is Tone-Mapping

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Tone-mapping preserves highlights when displaying HDR media on SDR displays.

HDR media not tone-mapped (bottom) and tone-mapped (top). Tone-mapping preserves highlights.

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HDR (High Dynamic Range) media has grayscale values that far exceed what our computer monitors can display. (The Apple Pro XDR is a video monitor, not a computer monitor.)

As well, if we try using HDR media in a Rec. 709 HD project, the white levels are way past out of control.

NOTE: To convert HDR video to SDR video as part of a project, use the HDR Tools effect.

Tone-mapping solves this problem. This process automatically converts the vast grayscale range of HDR into the much more limited range of SDR (Standard Dynamic Range).

Final Cut Pro X does this using either a preference setting (Preferences > Playback) or a setting in the View menu at the top right corner of the Viewer.

This screen shot illustrates the difference. When tone-mapping is turned off (bottom of image) the highlights are blown out, with the detail lost; even though the image will look fine on an HDR monitor.

The top of the image is tone mapped to convert the highlights to fit within SDR specs. This means the image will look good on your computer monitor AND on an HDR monitor.


… for Apple Final Cut Pro X

Tip #735: Select Your Fastest GPU

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Use Preferences to select your fastest GPU.

The Preferences > Playback GPU option.

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Starting with the FCP X 10.4.7 release, Final Cut now supports multiple GPUs and up to 28 CPU cores.

As part of the 10.4.7 release, FCP X received a new Metal engine for faster performance, along with internal/external GPU selection. Using preferences, you can now pick which GPU it uses for render and export.

To select a specific GPU, go to Preferences > Playback > Render/Share GPU.

NOTE: If you are running a MacBook Pro with an eGPU, be sure to select the eGPU in this menu to maximize the performance your system gets from that external device.