… for Random Weirdness

Tip #1293: Top Ten Tips of 2020 for Random Weirdness

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

It is fascinating to see what readers find interesting!

Topic $TipTopic

During this last year, The Inside Tips published 975 tips and techniques covering six subject categories:

  • Adobe Premiere
  • Apple Final Cut Pro
  • Apple Motion
  • Codecs & Media
  • Random Media Weirdness
  • Visual Effects

Here are three “Top Ten Tips Lists:” The first shows the most popular tips covering Random Weirdness. The second list shows the Top Ten most read tips across all categories. The third list shows the highest rated tips across all categories sorted by votes.

TOP 10 INSIDE TIPS FOR 2020
FOR RANDOM PRODUCTION WEIRDNESS

  1. Tip #767: Import Media From an iPhone – FAST!
  2. Tip #166: 8 Camera Hacks
  3. Tip #631: Get Freelance Work From Video Marketplaces
  4. Tip #324: Improve Your Video Interviews
  5. Tip #743: 3-Step Pricing Formula for Videographers
  6. Tip #175: Lighting Tricks with Your Cell Phone
  7. Tip #897: The Real Reason for a 12K Camera
  8. Tip #974: A Master Class in Vertical Video
  9. Tip #395: 4 Cameras Hacks That Save Time
  10. Tip #598: How to Set Up a Live Streaming Studio

NOTE: Tips are sorted by views, most views listed first.


TOP 10 INSIDE TIPS for 2020
(Sorted by Views)

  1. Tip #479: Copy and Paste Masks in Premiere
  2. Tip #283: AAF vs. EDL vs. OMF Export
  3. Tip #413: Mask Multiple Clips with an Adjustment Layer
  4. Tip #474: DNxHR vs. ProRes
  5. Tip #329: Blurs and Mosaics are No Longer Safe
  6. Tip #592: Make Zooms More Interesting
  7. Tip #957: Apple Supports VP9 in macOS Big Sur
  8. Tip #1135: Boost and Smooth Dialog Levels
  9. Tip #715: How to Reset FCP X to Fix Problems
  10. Tip #342: Uses for Emoji in Final Cut Pro X

NOTE: Tips are sorted by views, most views listed first.


TOP 10 INSIDE TIPS for 2020
(Sorted by Ratings)

  1. Tip #742: The Best Advice to Keep Your Cool
  2. Tip #614: What is the Alpha Channel
  3. Tip #580: The History of Storyboards
  4. Tip #911: The Skin Tone Line is Your Friend
  5. Tip #515: Using the Active Camera Menu
  6. Tip #631: Get Freelance Work From Video Marketplaces
  7. Tip #1056: Move a Mix from Audition to Premiere
  8. Tip #624: Not All Captions Look Alike
  9. Tip #581: Create Colorful Lighting for 3D Text
  10. Tip #398: Use Watch Folders in AME for Automation

NOTE: Each tip was rated 5 out of 5. They are sorted by the number of votes each tip received, with most votes listed first.


Please rate the helpfulness of this tip.

Click on a star to rate it!

… for Random Weirdness

Tip #1294: 5 Secrets to Film Pacing

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Pacing is the sum of all the different parts of a movie.

(Image courtesy of Pexels.com)

Topic $TipTopic

This article, written by Jourdan Aldredge, first appeared in PremiumBeat.com. This is a summary.

Pacing is something that can be hard to put your finger on. What makes one film feel fast and fun, and another slow and laborious? It’s more than simply the number of cuts or the time between them. Pacing is something practical, as well as something intangible, that informs how audiences view a film and keep up with the story on the screen.

The question is: How do you define pacing and control it in your projects? Let’s explore the five secrets to pacing and how you can keep your projects from getting stale.

  1. Script and Storyboard. Pacing really and truly starts well before you start to put together your edit. The pace of a project is defined in the earliest stages of your outline and script. You have the power to begin to define your pace in pre-production as you plan out your shoot and edit workflow. Different projects are meant to have different pacing.
  2. Shoot with Intentionality. Good filmmaking isn’t just about skills or composition. It’s really about intentionality. Just how much thought and focus can you bring to every scene and every shot? Pacing develops through an intricate balance of all the elements of filmmaking combined together.
  3. Create Momentum Through Movement. One of the best tools for defining the overall pace of a project is movement. Movement—either with your characters, subjects, or the camera itself—can create momentum from shot to shot and scene to scene.
  4. Don’t Just Edit Sequence by Sequence. Just because you have one well-paced action sequence that’s visually stunning and delivered in a satisfactory manner, doesn’t mean that it’ll always match up well with the emotional relationship sequence in the next scene. Pacing is all about consistency and finding the right balance between different styles and speeds.
  5. Add Graphics, Effects, and Motion. Finally, as a last step, one great way to tinker and tailor with your project’s pace comes in the final stages of your edit when you add graphics, effects, and digital motion.

EXTRA CREDIT

The article, linked above, has videos that illustrate each of these points.


… for Random Weirdness

Tip #1283: Cool Tip to Improve Product Shots

This is a simple, but subtle trick that improves any product.

Give your product shots a new spin!

Topic $TipTopic

Every product shot is about making the product look great. But, what do you do when the product doesn’t move.

Sure, you can zoom in and pan around. But, well, that’s pretty boring.

Here’s the tip: Put the product on a turntable. This allows you to combine multiple moves into a single shot. Now your zoom not only pulls the eye into the shot, but it also reveals new visual information, which makes the shot all that more intriguing

Adding a Lazy Susan turntable to a product shot adds energy and it’s a cheap, totally believable way to increase production value.


… for Codecs & Media

Tip #1286: Optimize RAIDs for SSDs

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Optimizing RAIDs for SSD drives will improve performance.

(Image courtesy of OWC.)

Topic $TipTopic

RAIDs (Redundant Array of Independent Disks/Drives/Devices) consist of a number of hard drives or SSDs grouped together into a single unit so that they appear to the computer as a single device. Because there is more than one hard drive in a RAID, they offer greater performance and storage.

As we continue shifting storage from spinning media, which holds a LOT, to SSDs, which are FAR faster and more flexible, we need to rethink how RAIDs are configured. This configuration is done using “levels.” There are different levels of RAIDs, identified by numbers:

NOTE: Another benefit to SSD-based RAIDs, is that there is no latency. Because there is no mechanical movement, data can be retrieved much more quickly.

  • RAID 0 – Fast, inexpensive, no data redundancy. Requires a minimum of two hard drives inside the RAID enclosure. The more drives you add, the faster the performance, as performance and storage capacity are the sum of all drives in the RAID. However, if you lose one drive, you’ve lost ALL your data. Most often used when speed combined with low cost are paramount.
  • RAID 1 – Complete data redundancy. Generally only uses two hard drives inside the RAID enclosure. Often called “mirroring,” each drive is a complete copy of the other. Most often used for backing up servers or when on-set for DIT media work. Has the speed and capacity of the slowest single drive in the system.
  • RAID 3 – Medium-fast, data redundancy. Requires a minimum of three drives, as one drive is reserved solely for parity data. Should one drive die, your data is safe. This technology is no longer in common use, replaced by the faster performance of RAID 4 or 5 systems.
  • RAID 4 – Very-fast, data redundancy. Similar to RAID 3, requires a minimum of three drives, as one drive is reserved solely for parity data. Should one drive die, your data is safe. This is the preferred RAID format for SSD drives because of how the data is stored on the drives. When compared to a RAID 5, RAID 4 with SSDs is about 25% faster on reads.
  • RAID 5 – Very fast, data redundancy. Requires a minimum of three drives and shares parity data across all drives. Most often found with four or more drives inside. If one drive goes down, your data is safe. This is the preferred choice for RAIDs containing spinning media (traditional hard disks). Used for both locally-attached storage and servers.
  • RAID 6 – Fast, extra data redundancy. Requires a minimum of four drives. This version protects your data in the event two hard drives die at the same time. More expensive than RAID 5, but, generally, the same physical size. Like the RAID 5 this is most often used connected to just one computer. Not as fast as a RAID 5.
  • RAID 10 (or 1+0) – VERY fast, totally redundant. Requires a minimum of four drives, but is more often created by combining two matched RAID 0’s into a RAID 1. This provides the speed equivalent of a RAID 0, with the data redundancy of RAID 1. As RAIDs continue to drop in price, this can be a less-expensive way to create systems that rival the performance of a RAID 50.
  • RAID 50 – VERY fast, data redundancy. Generally the domain of very large RAIDs, this format combines the speed of RAID 0 with the redundancy of RAID 5 by dividing the RAID into sections, where you can lose a drive in each section without losing data. These systems generally cost more than $10,000 and contain at least twelve drives. Generally used in network and server situations where multiple users need to access the same data.
  • RAID 60 – VERY fast, extra data redundancy. Generally the domain of very large RAIDs, this format combines the speed of RAID 0 with the redundancy of RAID 6 by dividing the RAID into sections, where you can lose two drives in each section without losing data. These systems generally cost more than $10,000 and contain at least twelve drives. Generally used in network and server situations where multiple users need to access the same data.

EXTRA CREDIT

RAID 4 is the preferred option for SSD-based RAIDs.


… for Codecs & Media

Tip #1287: What is “Latency?”

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Hard drives have latency – SSDs do not.

(Image courtesy of Pexels.com.)

Topic $TipTopic

Latency is directly tied to spinning storage media – the traditional hard drive – and determines how quickly you can access your data. Latency is the average time for the data being accessed to rotate into position under the drive’s magnetic head, after a completed seek.

As PC Tech Guide.com writes:

Disk RPM is a critical component of hard drive performance because it directly impacts the latency and the disk transfer rate. The faster the disk spins, the more data passes under the magnetic heads that read the data; the slower the RPM, the higher the mechanical latencies. Hard drives only spin at one constant speed, and for some time most fast EIDE hard disks spin at 5,400 rpm, while a fast SCSI drive is capable of 7,200 rpm.

Mechanical latencies, measured in milliseconds, include both seek time and rotational latency. Seek Time defines the amount of time it takes a hard drive’s read/write head to find the physical location of a piece of data on the disk. Latency is the average time for the sector being accessed to rotate into position under a head, after a completed seek. It is easily calculated from the spindle speed, being the time for half a rotation.

A drive’s average access time is the interval between the time a request for data is made by the system and the time the data is available from the drive. Access time includes the actual seek time, rotational latency, and command processing overhead time.

EXTRA CREDIT

What makes SSDs so fast is that they don’t spin or have magnetic drive heads. This means that terms like latency and seek time no longer apply. Here’s the full PCTechGuide.com article to learn more.


… for Random Weirdness

Tip #1267: Top Filmmaking Gear for 2020

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Every list is subjective, share your favorites in the comments.

The Sony A7S III, without a lens.

Topic $TipTopic

This article, written by Lewis McGregor, first appeared in PremiumBeat.com. This is a summary.

Like most industries, the video gear market was inundated with new gear this year. As a filmmaker who often works either as a lone operator or in a skeleton crew, I’m looking for equipment that condenses tasks and increases my efficiency. The less I carry, the better. The gear I’ve highlighted in this list echoes that ethos. Ranked in no particular order, these include:

  • Sony A7S III – $3,498. The next iteration of the filmmaking variant of the Sony A7 line.
  • DJI RS2 – $849. The DJI RS 2 is the successor to the Ronin-S. It’s lighter by design, weighing just 2.36 pounds, but it can carry up to a ten-pound rig.
  • DaVinci Resolve Speed Editor – $295. Like the 2019 DaVinci Resolve Keyboard, the Speed Editor is a peripheral that gives the editor precise and efficient control of the timeline with dedicated function keys and a multi-operational search dial.
  • NVIDIA RTX 3000 series – $499/$699/$1,499. While it may seem initially perplexing to include a line of new GPUs for an end-of-year filmmaking equipment list, you have to acknowledge that with the increase in camera resolution and RAW recording, 2015 GPUs and CPUs aren’t cutting it anymore.
  • Aputure 600D – $1,890. A single chip LED fixture with a reflector. Like the 120D and 300D, the 600D also packs a punch, but it hits a lot harder.
  • Nova P300C – $1,699. What makes this light specifically unique and highly anticipated is that it’s an RGBWW light. That means it can just about integrate into any ambient light situation, match other light fixtures, or just for creative expression, switch to the millions of colors found with the RGB wheel.
  • Canon EOS C70 – $5,499. This camera is something of a hybrid of the new EOS R line and their cine camera line.
  • Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro 12K – $9,995. In 2020, we were treated to the first 12K camera, with the URSA Mini Pro 12K. The body largely remains the same design as the other readily available models. However, the internal electronics of the 12K have been replaced. There’s a new sensor, a new film curve, new color science, and a whole new host of recording features.
  • Fuji XF 50mm F/1.0 – $1,499. The Fuji F/1.0 is an unprecedented entry from Fuji as it marks the arrival of the fastest autofocus lens for mirrorless cameras.

EXTRA CREDIT

The article, linked at the top, has videos demoing all this gear, as well as more specs and details.


… for Random Weirdness

Tip #1268: Revolutionary Sound Design and Mixing

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Learn about revolutionary sound design technology for audio mixes.

(Image courtesy of Pexels.com.)

Topic $TipTopic

This article, written by Jeffrey Reeser, first appeared in NoFilmSchool.com. This is a summary.

This article highlights two interviews with sound design leaders:

  • Kami Asgar
  • Jessica Parks
  • Walter Murch

As a sound designer (Asgar) and as a post executive (Parks), their collective resume touches on everything from Apocalypto to Grandma’s Boy to Venom.

Parks has recently shifted her focus from supervisor to hands-on sound design, and we talk about how it’s never too late to pivot on your career path and find the thing you love doing wherever you are in life. We also talk about the new revolutionary technology that will democratize the ability to mix sound on a professional level… and why the literal size of your ear matters.

NoFilmSchool also has an interview with sound design master Walter Murch.


… for Random Weirdness

Tip #1269: 5 Basic Filmmaking Principles

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

None of these are “magic,” but, sometimes, we forget. Here’s a reminder.

(Image courtesy of Pexels.com.)

Topic $TipTopic

This article first appeared in MotionArray.com. This is a summary.

Editing is powerful, but good editing takes time, patience, and practice. The way you edit can either push your viewers away or draw them in. In this tutorial, we’ll explore five practical film editing principles you can start using immediately.

These include:

  1. Avoid Jump Cuts
  2. Use Relevant B-Roll
  3. Cut on Motion
  4. The 180° Rule
  5. What’s Your Motivation?

Editing is where the real magic happens in filmmaking, and the quality of it can make or break your project. These five basic film editing principles may sound very simple. Still, once you’ve learned them, you’ll be astounded at how much difference they make towards making an edit look smooth, believable, and just far more professional.

EXTRA CREDIT

The linked article has a tutorial video, plus additional description of each of these tips.


… for Random Weirdness

Tip #1248: The Creative Process of Filmmaking

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

2 Reel Guys: Dedicated to the creative process of filmmaking.

“2ReelGuys” hosts: Norman Hollyn and Larry Jordan.

Topic $TipTopic

Several years ago, Norman Hollyn and I created a 32-part web series dedicated to the creative process of visual storytelling called “2 Reel Guys.” Learn more about this free series.

Norman was teaching at the USC Film School when we first met. Over that lunch, we decided to combine our skills and create a series of short web videos to help folks learn how to create films. Both of us felt that it wasn’t necessary to attend film school to be a filmmaker. But you DID need to know how the story-telling process itself worked.

Our goal was not to focus on technology, but story-telling. Written by Norman, hosted by Norman and myself and illustrated by the “2 Reel Guys Players,” we created the following episodes:

  1. It All Starts With Story
  2. Controlling Where The Eye Looks
  3. What Directors Do That Drive Actors Crazy
  4. Organization and Planning During Pre-Production
  5. Collaboration
  6. Directing Actors
  7. Don’t Be a Victim of Hit-and-Run Lighting
  8. Editing is Storytelling (Bad Master)
  9. Audio is More Important than Picture
  10. Planning Shots and Coverage
  11. Costumes and Wardrobe
  12. Use Color to Guide Emotions
  13. Camera Position and Framing (bad export)
  14. Dealing with Dancers
  15. Solving Production Problems
  16. Editing for Pacing
  17. Adding Music to a Scene
  18. Documentaries
  19. Sound Design
  20. Communicating With the Crew
  21. Comedy
  22. Directing Actors
  23. Communication
  24. Music Video
  25. Good Characters
  26. Location
  27. Staging a Fight
  28. Casting
  29. Lighting
  30. Emotional Turns
  31. Script
  32. Wedding Videos

Each show runs about ten minutes. Though technology marches on, telling stories remains the same from year to year.

If you haven’t visited this site, it’s well-worth your time.

Here’s the link.


… for Random Weirdness

Tip #1249: Use a Foil to Enhance a Character

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Foils are used to enhance our perception of a character.

Sherlock (image courtesy of PBS).

Topic $TipTopic

This article, written by Alejandro Medellin, first appeared in PremiumBeat.com. This is a summary.

A foil character is a simple, yet effective, literary device that uses two opposite characters’ juxtaposition to showcase their differences. According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the term “foil” came about in the 1500s, and is based on the technique of placing a thin metal sheet, or foil, behind a gem to make it shine.

A foil character can be any character in a film that’s similar to another character, while also being different. Typically, however, foil characters exist to challenge or oppose the main character (or protagonist) of a story. A good foil character highlights the good and bad in their counterpart, shining a light on the foiled character’s personality without spelling it out.

A foil character and an antagonist are not mutually exclusive, but not every foil is an antagonist and vice-versa. An antagonist’s sole purpose in the story is to oppose the protagonist and their actions. Foils are similar, which is why there’s such confusion, but foils aren’t inherently against the protagonist. Instead, they serve as an opposite to contrast the protagonist.

A foil character’s primary role is to bring the character being foiled into sharper focus. By simply existing in the story and taking a different approach to a situation, a foil character can carry the narrative of the opposing character. Whether they do something or don’t, how the foil character reacts in contrast to their counterpart is a useful tool in character development and storytelling.

EXTRA CREDIT

The article provides more detailed analysis of foil characters in:

  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  • Harry Potter
  • Iron Man & Captain America
  • Sherlock
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi