… 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.


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… 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 #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 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.


… for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Tip #771: Add Keyboard Shortcuts for Marker Colors

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

These shortcuts can add new markers or change existing ones.

The Add and Set marker color options in the keyboard shortcuts panel.

Topic $TipTopic

A new feature in the May, 2020, update for Premiere is the ability to add keyboard shortcuts for marker colors. This means that we can easily color-code new or existing markers to help us organize our projects.

However, by default, these keyboard shortcuts are not assigned. Here’s how to enable them.

  • Open the Keyboard Shortcuts panel.
  • Search for “marker”
  • Scroll down to the Title section.
  • Add keyboard shortcuts for the colors you want to use.
    • Add [color] Marker. Changes the marker color and adds a marker with that color at the position of the timeline.
    • Set [color] Marker. Changes the marker color of an existing – and selected – marker.

… for Apple Motion

Tip #720: Motion Path vs. Throw

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Throw is straight-line movement. Motion Path offers more complexity.

The Throw behavior, top, versus Motion Path, bottom.

Topic $TipTopic

Apple Motion has two behaviors that seem to do the same thing: Throw and Motion Path. What’s the difference?

The Throw behavior (Basic Motion > Throw) moves the selected object in a straight line, based upon settings in the HUD.

The Motion Path behavior (Basic Motion > Motion Path) provides a fixed starting point, a fixed ending point and the ability to add curves along the path.

NOTE: To add a curve to a Motion Path, double-click the red line, then adjust the two white curve controls.

As with all Motion effects, the speed of the effect is based upon its duration in the timeline (or mini-timeline).


… for Random Weirdness

Tip #716: 3-2-1 Backup Rule

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

3 copies – 2 different media – 1 different location.

3 copies – 2 different media – 1 different location.

Topic $TipTopic

This article, written by Trevor Sherwin, first appeared in PetaPixel.com. This is an excerpt.

Whether you take your photos professionally or for fun, how many of you out there can truly say you’re are happy with your photo backup strategy? If a drive were to fail, will you lose any photos? If you have a house fire or were to be burgled, do you have a copy elsewhere?

Getting your backup processes in place is a bit boring and not very creative but the more seriously you take your photography, the more you need to have a robust workflow in place.

Put simply, the 3-2-1 backup strategy provides an easy-to-remember approach to how many copies of your data you should have and where those copies should be stored in order to protect against the most likely threats to your photos.

  • 3 (copies of your data)
  • 2 (different media or hard drives)
  • 1 (copy of your photos in another location)

The article, linked above, has more details, include a sample workflow on how to safely and efficiently backup your data.


… for Codecs & Media

Tip #731: What is a Watermark?

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Watermarks are used to deter theft and trace stolen images.

Topic $TipTopic

Video watermarks are used for branding, identification and to deter theft. Most of us are familiar with the watermarks that are burned into the lower right corner of a video. However, there are actually two types of watermarks:

  • A still or moving image burned into your image
  • A digital code embedded into the media file itself

The first option is easy, but does nothing to prevent piracy. The second is much harder and, while it can’t prevent theft, it can help determine where in the distribution pipeline the theft occurred.

All NLEs and most video compression software allows burning watermarks into video during compression.

A digital watermark is a kind of marker covertly embedded in a noise-tolerant signal such as audio, video or image data. It is typically used to identify ownership of the copyright of such signal. Digital watermarks may be used to verify the authenticity or integrity of the carrier signal or to show the identity of its owners. It is prominently used for tracing copyright infringements and for banknote authentication.

Since a digital copy of data is the same as the original, digital watermarking is a passive protection tool. It just marks data, but does not degrade it or control access to the data.

One application of digital watermarking is source tracking. A watermark is embedded into a digital signal at each point of distribution. If a copy of the work is found later, then the watermark may be retrieved from the copy and the source of the distribution is known. This technique reportedly has been used to detect the source of illegally copied movies.

EXTRA CREDIT

In case you were wondering, Section 1202 of the U.S. Copyright Act makes it illegal for someone to remove the watermark from your photo so that it can disguise the infringement when used. The fines start at $2500 and go to $25,000 in addition to attorneys’ fees and any damages for the infringement.

Here’s a Wikipedia article to learn more about digital watermarking.


… for Visual Effects

Tip #692: 10 Tips for Shooting Media for VFX

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Ten Ideas to Improve VFX Source Footage

Topic $TipTopic

This tip, written by Tihomir Lazrov, first appeared in fstoppers.com. This is a summary.

Visual effects are not software magic that works with any footage. With video you have lots of still images per second and the process of making a composite needs to be automated as much as possible. Working on a frame by frame basis is avoided as much as possible. Here are 10 quick tips on the importance of shooting appropriate video content to help create realistic visual effects more easily.

  1. Include Camera Motion
  2. Shoot to Avoid Motion Blur
  3. Know the Camera Settings for the Footage
  4. Put Tracking Markers in the Shot
  5. Shoot on a Tripod If There’s Nothing to Track
  6. Avoid Fast Camera Moves
  7. Shoot a Blank Background Plate
  8. Shoot a 360° Environmental Map
  9. Use the Sky as a Blue-Screen
  10. Use Foreground and Background Objects for Tracking

EXTRA CREDIT

The article, linked above, has lots of details on these ten tips.