… for Visual Effects

Tip #1009: Getting Started with After Effects

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

After Effects is intimidating. This article can help get you started.

(Image courtesy of PremiumBeat.com)

Topic $TipTopic

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

Adobe After Effects is an exceptionally versatile piece of software. If you’re just starting out with it in 2020, here are five things to learn ASAP.

  1. Terminology. Before I started my motion graphics journey, my experience was limited to Final Cut Pro X. That meant I was faced with a whole new set of terms upon opening After Effects the first time, some of which were attached to features and concepts I knew by other names in other programs. For instance, a Project in FCPX is a Sequence in Premiere Pro is a Composition in AE.
  2. Keyframes. Keyframes mark the point in time where you specify a value for a layer property. Using them effectively is a linchpin of motion graphics work.
  3. Motion Blur. Motion blur is an absolute game-changer! When animating an asset, it’s important to prevent said asset’s movements from looking mechanical, twitchy, and, well, like it was slapped together in a computer program. That’s where motion blur comes in.
  4. Dynamic Link. If you’re planning to work with both Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects on the same project, then you’re going to love this. Thanks to the dynamic link, you can avoid all of that potentially confusing, definitely time-sucking nonsense and import your AE comps straight into Premiere.
  5. Pre-Composing. If you’re used to terms like “nesting” or “compound clip,” you’ll be familiar with creating pre-compositions. Simply select the layers of your choice, right-click, and select Create Pre-composition in order to put these layers into their own mini comp. They’ll now be represented in your main timeline by just one layer. If you double-click this layer, you can go into it to make changes that’ll now be visible when you return to your main composition.

The link above has additional tutorial videos, images and links for more information.

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… for Codecs & Media

Tip #1014: Premiere & Avid Now Collaborate

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

MediaCentral extends collaboration from Avid to Adobe video editors.

The Avid logo.

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With the June, 2020, update to Avid MediaCentral, Premiere Pro editors can now connect and collaborate with Avid Media Composer editors—no matter where they are located.

MediaCentral is Avid hardware and software that provides the remote collaboration, media management, and integration large post-production facilities and in-house post teams need to prep, complete, and deliver projects on time and on budget.

The June update provides a dedicated MediaCentral pane for Adobe Premiere making it easy to browse, search or, locate, and access clips and sequences across MediaCentral databases for editing—without leaving Premiere. And the built-in chat enables you to communicate with other editors and collaborators across the platform—on premises or remotely.

Existing MediaCentral users can now connect Premiere Pro editors into their production environment. Premiere users get the same level of access and real-time collaboration power as Avid editors. As well, MediaCentral provides more tool flexibility to fit specific needs and budget. In addition, Premiere editors can access rundowns and scripts for news editing linked to stories.


… for Random Weirdness

Tip #973: Frame.io Announces Big Updates

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Update feature faster file transfers, better FCP X integration and more security.

The Frame.io logo.

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Last week, Frame.io announced a new version and several new features, along with updated support for Final Cut Pro X 10.4.9, released the same day. These new features include:

  • Version 3.7 – focused on speed, precision and security
  • The Frame.io Transfer app
  • Improvements to the Final Cut Pro X workflow extension
  • The ability to display HDR media during playback on iOS devices
  • Improved iOS player controls
  • Improved Admin controls for enterprise accounts

Quoting from the Frame.io press release:

Frame.io Transfer provides more customizable control over how users move creative assets. The control center for effortlessly moving creative assets, Transfer now lets users upload and download large files, entire folders—or entire projects—effortlessly, with a single click. Use Transfer to monitor progress updates, prioritize transfer job order, and configure bandwidth for even more flexibility.


Here’s a news article from my website that describes the update in more detail.

… for Visual Effects

Tip #977: Create a LUT in Photoshop

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Photoshop can create LUTs that work in Premiere, Resolve or Final Cut Pro X.

Save LUT settings in Photoshop using the CUBE format.

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LUTs are a great way to take log or RAW images and convert them into something pleasing to look at. You can even use this technique for Rec. 709 media, which we use every day in HD projects.

Here’s a technique that creates LUTs that work in Premiere, After Effects, Final Cut, Motion or DaVinci Resolve.

  • In Photoshop, import a still frame from the video that you want to create a LUT for.
  • NOTE: This image needs to retain detail in the highlights. TIFF or PNG are the best export formats to use.

  • Select the layer containing the image and choose Layer > New > Background from Layer. (This change is important.)
  • Add at least one Adjustment layers, then adjust Levels and other settings to the adjustment layer to create the look you want.
  • NOTE: Do not adjust the image, only modify the adjustment layer.

Here’s the magic part – as long as you convert the image into a background and use adjustment layers, you can take your look and convert it into a LUT which can be opened in a variety of applications.

  • In Photoshop, choose File > Export > Color Lookup Tables.
  • Give the file a description that makes sense to you. Then, and this is a KEY step, select the CUBE format. This format is required by all our NLEs.
  • Click OK, give it a name and location, then save it.
  • Switch over to your editing application and import your new custom LUT and apply it to your footage.

Done. This LUT can be used across multiple projects and multiple NLEs.


Here’s an article from my website that walks you through all these steps in more detail.

… for Apple Final Cut Pro X

Tip #962: Apple Updates Final Cut Pro X

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

The updates add significant new features to FCP X, Motion and Compressor.

The Apple Final Cut Pro X logo.

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Last week, Apple continued the evolutionary growth of Final Cut Pro X releasing its 33rd free update – to version 10.4.9 – along with updates for Motion and Compressor. While none of these features are revolutionary, all are useful and include:

  • Proxy workflow enhancements
  • Automated tools for social media cropping
  • Editorial workflow improvements
  • Motion now supports 3D models in USDZ format, and include 66 new 3D models in the Motion Library
  • Motion adds a new Stroke filter which quickly outlines objects using its alpha channel
  • Compressor now supports custom LUTs

These free updates are accessed through the Mac App Store.


The Pro Video codecs were also updated. To upgrade these, go to System Preferences > Software Update. All updates are free.

Here’s a link to learn more.

… for Random Weirdness

Tip #950: Blackbird: Fast, Cloud-based Editing

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Blackbird embodies the shift into remote editing workflows.

The Blackbird logo.

Topic $TipTopic

Recently, I’ve been getting a lot of emails about this software and wanted to share their description with you. The following text is from Blackbird.

Blackbird is the world’s fastest, most powerful professional cloud video editing and publishing platform. Enabling remote editing, Blackbird provides rapid access to video content for the easy creation of clips, highlights and longer form content to multiple devices and platforms.

A fully-featured editor accessed through any browser, easy to learn and needing only limited bandwidth to use, Blackbird powers significant productivity and efficiency benefits for any enterprise organisation working with video.

Blackbird was developed specifically for the browser and thereby supports remote production, Blackbird delivers unbeatable speed, scalability and richness of editing features and video output.

Blackbird is unique. The platform allows you to manage your video like no other solution – enabling lightning-fast video viewing, editing and publishing – anywhere, any time, by anyone.

If you haven’t heard of this application before, here’s the link to learn more.

… for Apple Motion

Tip #896: Don’t Use the Rectangle Tool…

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Formatting options for the Shape tool are limited compared to the Select tool.

Top: Options for the Rectangle tool.
Bottom: Options for the Arrow tool.

Topic $TipTopic

…to change an existing rectangle. Or any geometric shape.

The settings in the HUD for the rectangle tool only apply to the NEXT rectangle you draw. If you want to change an existing rectangle, first select the Select tool (Shortcut: Shift + S).

As the screen shot makes clear, the formatting options for the Rectangle tool are very limited. Especially when compared to after you draw the rectangle, then select the Select tool.

… for Random Weirdness

Tip #862: How the Lockdown Affects Production

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

This article describes ways to continue production during lockdown.

“American Idol” got creative to finish its 18th season.

Topic $TipTopic

The folks at TV Technology released an article on “How Did the Lockdown Impact Video Production Workflows.” This is an excerpt.

Joseph Hopkins writes:

A number of major video productions have managed to continue successfully despite having their workflows disrupted by COVID-19 and the restrictions lockdown measures enforce. One of the main reasons some producers endure is because their teams have been able to adapt to working in the “new normal” by utilizing a combination of emerging technologies and time-tested IP transport solutions.

Yet, these are not simply band-aid solutions, but instead are examples of an acceleration in the evolution of production workflows taking place across the media and sports industries. This transition to IP infrastructure has exposed new capabilities not available through traditional satellite and is proving to be a framework on which to build solutions that will overcome the challenges facing the media industry today, and in the future.

Here’s the link to the full article.

… for Random Weirdness

Tip #844: What Does a Film Producer Do?

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Producers do a bit of everything. Here are the details.

Saul Zaentz on set of The Mosquito Coast with Harrison Ford. Image via Warner Bros.

Topic $TipTopic

This article, written by Logan Baker, first appeared in PremiumBeat.com. This is an excerpt.

A film begins and ends with the producer. The producer is the catalyst for a project coming together, its complete production cycle, and its eventual release, marketing, and distribution. A good producer will cultivate a kernel of an idea into something significant, tangible, and bright on screen. So, with all that being said, on a day-to-day level, starting from story inception to hitting the silver screen — what does a producer actually do? Let’s take a look.

Here are the steps:

  • Find the literary property
  • Shape the idea into a viable film
  • Raise the money
  • Hire the director
  • Choose the cast
  • Oversee production
  • Oversee post
  • Mastermind the marketing
  • Negotiate worldwide rights

So, when all is said and done — what does a producer do? Well, a little bit of everything. They’re absolutely essential for a production to get off the ground running, as smoothly as possible. See, there’s a reason producers receive the Oscar for Best Picture.

Here’s a link to an interview in Time, with Saul Zaentz, who details the process.

… for Random Weirdness

Tip #825: Handling Unexpected Location Setbacks

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Production Planning Means Planning for Chaos

Image courtesy of Pexels.com.

Topic $TipTopic

This article, written by Jourdan Aldredge, first appeared in PremiumBeat.com. This is an excerpt.

Knowing how to quickly and safely solve problems on set can save an entire production. Here are the critical areas to focus on. This article provides videos and links to handling problems.

Let’s face it, when working in film and video production, there are going to be problems that pop up on even the most tightly-run sets. It just comes with the territory. That’s why it’s critical for any filmmaker, director, or producer to plan well, schedule accordingly, take real measures up front to address all potential safety concerns, and, you know, still expect the unexpected.

Here’s what Jourdan covers:

  • Serious Emergencies
  • Safety Measures for Stunts
  • Schedules and Delays
  • Locations and Weather
  • See a Problem, Report a Problem

The article linked above also includes links to five other articles covering film and video production.