… for Random Weirdness

Tip #809: A Beginner’s Guide to Frame Rates

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Frame rates are fundamental to video – and difficult to change.

Topic $TipTopic

I’ve written a lot about frame rates, with my key point being that changing frame rates in post is, almost always, difficult and unsatisfactory. In this PremiumBeat.com article, written by Lewis McGregor, you’ll discover the basics of frame rates. Along the way, Lewis illustrates where they came from and how to decide which frame rate to use for your next project.

As Lewis writes: “Different mediums and different regions all demand different frame rates for various reasons. But, the number of frames per second you decide to give to your shot can also drastically change how your project looks and what you can do with the footage.”

Click the link above to read more.


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… for Random Weirdness

Tip #811: Talent & Location Releases – What’s Needed?

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Nothing ruins a great production like a lack of releases.

Topic $TipTopic

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

Picture this, you just had the best video shoot ever. You hired the perfect actress to play a part in your commercial. She was a natural in every way. The setting was outdoors on a perfect day, and you got exactly what you needed. You have two days to edit everything together and deliver the spot to the client.

The day before it’s due, you get a call from the talent who says they no longer want to be a part of the commercial. And you never got them to sign the proper release. Guess what? You are in big trouble.

It may seem like when someone says they are in, then everything will be fine. But without the proper legal documents, you have no power when it comes to release and usage. And you won’t realize what a headache this can be until it happens to you.

Getting proper talent and location releases signed by the right people is one of the most important and often overlooked aspects of any video or film shoot. So, don’t let it slip through the cracks while you are busy working on shot composition or directing talent.

This article explains what talent and location releases are, when you need them and links to get forms for your next project.


… for Apple Motion

Tip #806: Adjust Projects with Project Properties

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Every project setting can be adjusted after you start, except for frame rate.

The Project Properties pane in Apple Motion. Frame rate can only be adjusted for empty projects.

Topic $TipTopic

Once you’ve created a Motion project, you can always go back and adjust its basic settings. Except… Well, let me illustrate.

Select the Project in the Layers panel.

Then, go to Inspector > Properties.

This is where you can change frame size, duration, and other settings.

NOTE: Keep in mind that you can only change frame rate in an empty project. Once even one element is added, frame rate is locked.

EXTRA CREDIT

Changing the duration does not extend or contract the timing of any elements. This is a good reason to set the duration before you start creating a project.

Also, when you change the duration, Motion sets an In and Out to match the duration of the original project. This means that you will need to remove these marks, as well as manually adjust the timing of any clips that need to extend beyond the original duration.


… for Visual Effects

Tip #812: BorisFX: Tips to Improve Green Screen Keys

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Creating the perfect key starts in production; not post.

Screen shot from the BorisFX Guide to Green-Screen Keys

Topic $TipTopic

The folks at BorisFX (Continuum, Mocha Pro and Sapphire) have published a guide covering production techniques that improve green-screen key results.

It starts:

Think of all the top movies from the past decade. What do they all have in common? Epic worlds that are so stunningly realistic you feel like you are really there. These films are created in no small part thanks to the power of the chroma key and a visual effect artist’s ability to “pull a perfect key,” i.e. removing a subject from green or blue screen footage.

In this guide, you’ll get a brief history of the chroma key, how to prepare your green screen set to avoid common shooting pitfalls, a glossary of terms, and discover why Primatte technology delivers the best solution to accomplish seamless composites fast whether a subject is placed over live-action or a CG background.

Here’s the link


… for Codecs & Media

Tip #813: What is Handbrake?

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Handbrake is a free, general-purpose media compression program.

Topic $TipTopic

HandBrake is an open-source video transcoder available for Linux, Mac, and Windows. Everyone can use HandBrake to make videos for free.

HandBrake takes videos you already have and makes new ones that work on your mobile phone, tablet, TV media player, game console, computer, or web browser—nearly anything that supports modern video formats.

HandBrake does:

  • Convert nearly any video to MP4 or MKV
  • Crop and resize video
  • Restore old and low-quality video
  • Remove combing artifacts caused by interlacing and telecine
  • Pass-through audio without conversion for certain audio types
  • Downmix discrete surround sound to matrixed surround or stereo
  • Adjust audio volume levels, and dynamic range for certain audio types
  • Preserve existing subtitles, and add or remove soft subtitles (subtitles stored as text)

HandBrake does not:

  • Combine multiple video clips into one
  • Pass-through video without conversion (video is always converted)
  • Create Blu-ray, AVCHD, or DVD discs

HandBrake also does not defeat or circumvent copy protection of any kind. It does not work with video files employing Digital Rights Management (DRM). This includes but is not limited to, copy protected content from iTunes, Amazon Video, Netflix, or other online providers, and many commercial DVD and Blu-ray discs.

Here’s the link to learn more.


… for Codecs & Media

Tip #814: What is the VP9 codec?

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

VP9 is a replacement codec for HEVC.

Topic $TipTopic

One of the complaints heard after WWDC was that Apple did not make mention of VP9 during the two keynotes. Still, this got me wondering what VP9 is?

According to Wikipedia:

VP9 is an open and royalty-free video coding format developed by Google. It is supported in Windows, Android and Linux, but not Mac or iOS.

VP9 is the successor to VP8 and competes mainly with MPEG’s High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC/H.265).

In contrast to HEVC, VP9 support is common among modern web browsers with the exception of Apple’s Safari (both desktop and mobile versions). Android has supported VP9 since version 4.4 KitKat.

An offline encoder comparison between libvpx, two HEVC encoders and x264 in May 2017 by Jan Ozer of Streaming Media Magazine, with encoding parameters supplied or reviewed by each encoder vendor (Google, MulticoreWare and MainConcept respectively), and using Netflix’s VMAF objective metric, concluded that “VP9 and both HEVC codecs produce very similar performance” and “Particularly at lower bitrates, both HEVC codecs and VP9 deliver substantially better performance than H.264”.

Here’s a link for more information.


… for Codecs & Media

Tip #815: Download the Safari Technology Preview

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Safari Technology Preview provides an early look at “what’s coming.”

The Safari Technology Preview logo.

Topic $TipTopic

Apple’s Safari Technology Preview provides an early look at upcoming web technologies in macOS and iOS. It showcases the latest layout technologies, visual effects, developer tools, and more, so users can provide input on how they are implemented.

Designed more for web developers than end users, this free software:

  • Previews the latest web technologies. Get a preview of the latest advances in Safari web technologies, including HTML, JavaScript, and CSS.
  • Easy to update. You can update Safari Technology Preview right from the Mac App Store. Updates occur every few weeks.
  • Access powerful developer tools. Use the latest version of the powerful Web Inspector and Responsive Design Mode to modify, debug, and optimize your websites.
  • Provide feedback. Use Feedback Assistant to send feedback directly to Apple about issues and enhancement requests. Simply select Report an Issue from the Help menu in Safari Technology Preview.
  • Run side-by-side with Safari. Safari Technology Preview is a standalone app that works side-by-side with the current version of Safari, so you can continue to use and reference the current release.
  • Surf seamlessly with iCloud. Safari Technology Preview works with iCloud, so you can access your latest Safari Favorites, bookmarks, and Reading List.

Here’s the link to learn more and download the latest version, or beta copies of upcoming versions.


… for Apple Final Cut Pro X

Tip #802: Remove Attributes vs. Remove Effects

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Remove Effects is faster, Remove Attributes provides more control.

The Remove Attributes window. Blue checkboxes indicate applied effects or changed effect settings.

Topic $TipTopic

In the Edit menu for Final Cut Pro X are two options, both of which relate to removing effects. The key question is: what’s the difference?

  • Remove Attributes
  • Remove Effects

Here’s the difference:

  • When you select Edit > Remove Effects, all effects settings applied to all selected clips are instantly removed. This is the fastest way to reset one or more clips to its default (native) settings.
  • When you select Edit > Remove Attributes (screen shot), you are presented with a screen where you can select which effects you want to keep or remove from all the selected clips.

Remove Effects is the fastest way to totally reset a clip. Remove Attributes gives you more control over what is actually reset.

NOTE: It is important to note that both of these menu options can apply to one or more clips. Simply the select the clips you want to reset before choosing one of these two menues.


… for Visual Effects

Tip #792: Stunning Light Effects

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Fully-animated, colorful textures for multiple applications.

A lighting effect created by Spectrum, from Luca Visual Effects.

Topic $TipTopic

Recently, I was playing with the fascinating Spectrum plugin from Luca Visual FX. This generates fully-animated, full-screen light effects that can be used as backgrounds, illuminated text fills, or anywhere visually appealing, yet amorphous, backgrounds are required.

Spectrum is a bundle of two very customizable generators designed to create stylized light and color effects. Light Effect Generator can be used either to create unusual backgrounds or subtle overlays. Light Transition Generator allows the user to create freely interpreted quick light and color transitions over a given cut point.

Available from FX Factory, this generator supports:

  • Final Cut Pro X
  • Motion
  • Premiere Pro
  • After Effects

This plugin offers 1,400 (if I did my math right) different presets, plus tons of customization.

The plug-in costs $89 (US), however, a free trial is available to give you a chance to experiment. And, ah, giggle. This creates some very cool looks.

Here’s the link.


… for Apple Motion

Tip #777: Keyframes vs. Behaviors

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Use Keyframes for precise control over specific parameters.

Keyframes illustrated in the Motion Timeline.

Topic $TipTopic

When should you use keyframes instead of Behaviors? This Apple KnowledgeBase post has the answer.

As an alternative to animating with behaviors, you can animate most text parameters using keyframes. The text animation method you use (keyframing or behaviors) depends on your project, or more specifically, your timing needs:

  • Use keyframes if you need an action to happen at a specific point in time in your project. For example, if you want text to be completely transparent at frame 1, become completely opaque at frame 60, become transparent again at frame 90, and opaque again at frame 120, use keyframing. Keyframes apply specific values to an object’s parameters at specific frames.
  • Use behaviors if the timing of the animation doesn’t need to be precise. For example, if you want the text to be completely transparent at frame 1, become opaque over frames 60–90, and become transparent by frame 120, use the Fade In/Fade Out behavior. Behaviors generate a range of values that are applied to an object’s parameters.

You can combine keyframing and behaviors to animate any object in Motion. For example, if you keyframe text opacity, you can then apply the Tracking behavior to animate text tracking, or you can keyframe the Tracking parameter. However, if you keyframe the text Opacity parameter and then apply a Fade In/Fade Out behavior to the text, unexpected results may occur.