… for Random Weirdness

Tip #1064: MotionArray Announces Team Plans

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

MotionArray bundles all their services and prices it for team use.

Manage all MotionArray resources in one place.

Topic $TipTopic

In an email, the team at MotionArray announced the launch of Team Plans to provide better account options for groups of two or more editors needing access to the same MotionArray resources. The primary feature is all team accounts can now download unlimited assets and manage their licenses in one place!

NOTE: MotionArray describes itself as: “The all-in-one video & filmmakers platform. Take projects from concept to completion with unlimited asset downloads, exclusive plugins, video collaboration and review tools, and a portfolio website builder…all in one membership.”

Key features include

  • Easily Add & Manage Team Members
  • Manage All Your Stock Assets & Licenses In One Place
  • Collaborate & Review Projects Remotely
  • Save Time and Money

Here’s the link to learn more.


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Click on a star to rate it!

… for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Tip #1057: What Does this Blue Button Do?

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

By default, sequences are edited as nests – but you can change that with a click.

This button determines how sequences are treated when they are edited into the timeline.

Topic $TipTopic

I’ve been using Premiere for years and have never paid attention to this blue timeline button. Here’s what it does.

When this button is blue, inserting or overwriting a sequence from the Files panel into a different sequence in the Timeline edits it as a nest.

When this button is white, inserting or overwriting a sequence from the Files panel into a different sequence in the Timeline edits it as a separate clips. (That is, it deconstructs the sequence into its component elements.)


… 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 #1052: Two Key XML Conversion Utilities

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

These two utilities are essential for moving files into or out of Final Cut

XToCC logo (top) and SendToX logo (bottom).

Topic $TipTopic

As long as you can create XML, you can move your data from one media application to another. However, the XML Final Cut Pro X uses is not compatible with many other applications. While some applications – KeyFlow Pro, Kyno and Axle.ai – support the current version of XML used in Final Cut Pro, most others, including Adobe’s Creative Cloud suite, do not.

Because XML is a core language for moving data between applications, there are two essential utilities that solve this compatibility issue:

  • SendToX. This converts older XML files into a form that FCP X can read.
  • XtoCC. This converts FCP X XML files into a form that older applications can read.

As with any migration, common elements – such as media and edits – transfer with no problems. However, proprietary functions – such as color grading or effects – may or may not transfer successfully.

As with all things in media, do a test using your own workflow to determine what works best for you.

EXTRA CREDIT

Here are links for both apps:


… for Random Weirdness

Tip #1036: Rough Cut Interviews in 6 Steps

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

These six steps keep the chaos at bay while editing interviews.

(Interview image courtesy of Pexels.com.)

Topic $TipTopic

This article, written by Joe Frederick, first appeared in PremiumBeat.com. This is a summary.

Editors on interview projects face an overwhelming task: reducing hours of footage into just minutes for the final cut. Eliminate that stress with these six steps.

1. Transcription. Getting your interviews transcribed is the best piece of advice I have for anyone cutting these types of videos. There are many, many advantages to getting your interviews transcribed. If the director suddenly wants to find a particular soundbite from a particular interview, you can easily search the transcription for particular key words or phrases. You can also skim through the interviews when away from the edit suite. The benefits are endless.

Before the transcription, it’s worth forming your multicam clips first, if you’ve filmed from multiple angles, so you can drag the multicam clip into your timeline and export the audio from there. That way, the timecode on your transcription will match the timecode of your interview timeline. This is vital if you want to keep your process efficient.

2. Highlighting. Read all the transcripts from beginning to end, highlighting anything and everything that might possibly be used in the edit. I usually open the PDFs in Preview, which allows you to use different colors when highlighting.

3. CreateGood Content.” Back in your NLE, go through all your interviews, cutting out any of your highlighted segments from each interview into a new project/sequence. Essentially you are building an unorganized selects reel. Put a text slide before each clip with the content of the sound bite. By now, you should have a sense of the organizational structure you are aiming for.

4. CreateGood Content Ordered.” Rearrange the selected sound bites into an order that makes sense.

5. CreateContent Cut.” Duplicate your project and rename it “Content Cut.” Because your footage is now in order, you’ll be able to see when you have repetition in what’s being said and can quickly delete it. Then, get busy deleting and whittling down your cut until it’s the length you want your final piece to be.

6. CreateRefined Content Cut.” Duplicate your project file once again and rename it Refined Content Cut. This is where the final finessing takes place.

By taking your project in stages, it helps you feel more in control which allows you to focus more on your story.


… for Apple Motion

Tip #1045: Bug Fixes in Two Recent Updates

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

The Motion update is free and available in the Mac App Store.

Topic $TipTopic

Two recent updates to Motion 5 fixed a lot of bugs. Here’s what’s fixed in these two updates.

10.4.10 UPDATE

  • Fixes an issue in which XAVC media from the Sony PXW-FX9 camera is not recognized.

10.4.9 UPDATE

In addition to adding 3D Objects and the new Stroke filter, this Motion update:

  • Adds square and vertical presets to the Display Aspect Ratio Snapshots in the Project Inspector.
  • Fixes an issue that prevented image masks from responding to opacity changes made to a source object.
  • Improves performance when working with particle emitters.
  • Fixes an issue with the Align To behavior and scrolling text.
  • Fixes a stability issue after switching to Cinema Layout.
  • Fixes a stability issue during playback with Dynamics turned on in the Advanced Pane of the Shape Inspector.
  • Fixes an issue in which still images might be exported with the incorrect color space.
  • Fixes an issue in which the Spirals Generator rendered incorrectly.

… for Apple Motion

Tip #1047: Create a Vertical Video Project

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Square and vertical video require custom settings in Project > Properties.

The Inspector > Properties settings you need to change for vertical video.

Topic $TipTopic

Since the beginning of television, video used a horizontal aspect ratio. Since the beginning of cell phone photography and video, mobile users shot vertical video.

Sigh…. Drives all us old-school video people nuts!

Still, you gotta change with the times. Here’s how to create a vertical video project in Motion.

  • Create a new project using the Motion Project Browser. Since Motion always creates images at the highest possible quality, it doesn’t matter which setting you pick.
  • Once the project opens, select Project in the Layers panel (It’s named “Project.”)
  • Enter the Width and Height values, in pixels, of the new project. (These will generally be 720 x 1280 or 1080 x 1920.
  • Make sure Pixel Aspect Ratio is set to Square.
  • Set the Duration to whatever length you need.

EXTRA CREDIT

We can’t save project presets, so you’ll need to do this for each project. However, you can save the entire project as a template: File > Publish Template.


… for Apple Motion

Tip #1048: What Does Publishing a Template Do?

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Publishing a template is a fast way to reuse settings and media between projects.

A custom template displayed in Project Browser > Categories.

Topic $TipTopic

If you find yourself creating similar projects time after time, creating a custom template can save you time. The trick is to know what to save. Templates can include:

  • Project settings
  • Media
  • Behaviors and filters
  • Anything else you save in a “normal” Motion project

When you choose File > Publish Template, you can assign it a name, pick a category in which to store it, and, if you want to use it in Final Cut, you can publish it as a Final Cut Generator.

But, if all you want to do is create a file with basic settings and, say, logos or other common graphics:

  • Choose File > Publish Template
  • Give it a name and create a category to store your templates. My custom category is named “Larry” – because it is easy for me to remember.
  • Leave all checkboxes unchecked.

Now, as you can see in the screen shot, the template shows up in Project Browser > Compositions, but does NOT show up in Final Cut.

Creating reusable templates is a great way to save time when you are creating similar projects.