… for Random Weirdness

Tip #038: Magic Maintenance: Do a Safe Boot

Larry Jordan – https://LarryJordan.com

Three steps for smooth operations.

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Keeping our systems running their best requires periodic maintenance. A Safe Boot is something you can do yourself and, for best results, I recommend you do this every couple of weeks. This will not affect the data or applications stored on your system.

  • Start, or restart, your computer while holding the Shift key down. Continue holding the Shift key for 30 seconds after you see the start-up thermometer appear.
  • Log into your computer. You know you held the Shift key down long enough if the words “Safe Boot” appear in the upper right corner of your screen. If they don’t, restart your system and press the Shift key until the log-in screen appears.
  • After login, go to Utilities > Disk Utility, select the name of your boot drive (generally, “Macintosh HD”) from the sidebar on the left then choose First Aid.
  • When repair is complete, restart your Mac and, this time, don’t hold any keys down.

BONUS

Sometimes, your system will act strange and Safe Boot won’t fix it. Here’s a more thorough repair process:

  • Restart your computer and press Cmd + R during restart. This will take a LOT longer than normal. This launches your computer from a hidden partition with a “recovery version” of macOS on it. This allows much deeper repair of the boot disk.
  • After a bit, a menu will appear allowing you to choose between four options. Choose Disk Utility.
  • Again, select your boot drive and click First Aid. When repair is complete, restart your computer.

Following these procedures should minimize the amount of time you spend trying to fix problems with your system.


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… for Random Weirdness

Tip #061: When To Choose JPG, PNG or TIFF?

Larry Jordan – https://LarryJordan.com

Different codecs are best for different uses.

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While there are a LOT of image codecs, there are only four that you’ll need to choose from most of the time: PSD, JPG or JPEG, PNG, and 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 biggest limitation 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 biggest limitation of TIFF is that, unlike PSD, you can’t edit elements within the image.


… for Random Weirdness

Tip #009: Counting Words for Voice-Over Timing

Larry Jordan – https://LarryJordan.com

Media is like poetry. Every word counts.

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The following word count timings should assist you in determining how many words will comfortably fit within a specified amount of time in a spot. This guide assumes a “normal” rate of speech (neither fast nor slow) and a basic “announcer” read.

WORD COUNT TIMINGS

SECONDS WORDS
3 seconds
7 words
5 seconds
12 words
7 seconds
17 words
10 seconds
23 words
15 seconds
35 words
30 seconds
70 words
60 seconds
140 words

NOTE: For phone numbers, each spoken number = 1 word.
(i.e., 1-877-000-0000 = 11 words)


… for Random Weirdness

Tip #020: 9 Ideas to Explain Media Technology

Larry Jordan – https://LarryJordan.com

Ideas to help you understand the technology used to edit media.

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There are so many different forms of media, that making choices almost becomes overwhelming. Yet, in spite of it all, we still need to create projects. Here are some thoughts to keep in mind about editing media and the storage it uses.

  • If deadlines are extremely tight AND you are not adding a lot of effects, you can edit H.264 or HEVC directly in your NLE. Otherwise, transcode all highly-compressed media into an easy-to-edit intermediate format, such as ProRes.
  • Image quality is not lost in transcoding a highly-compressed video format into ProRes.
  • If the media was shot by a camera, transcode into ProRes 422.
  • If the media was created on a computer or uses Log or Raw formats, transcode into ProRes 4444.
  • Always shoot the frame rate you need to deliver. Changing frame rates is a massive pain.
  • Save the aggravation: Use proxies to create a rough cut when using 4K, HDR or Raw media.
  • Color grading high-quality HDR media can require over 1 GB / second of data bandwidth!
  • Always have a reserve budget for more high-performance storage. You’ll need it.
  • Always allow time to test your entire workflow from capture to final output before starting production. It is much easier to find and fix problems when not staring at a looming deadline. “I didn’t have time to test!” is never a good excuse.

Yes, there are exceptions to these rules, but not in most cases.


… for Random Weirdness

Tip #062: Secrets of the Audio Meters

Larry Jordan – https://LarryJordan.com

Audio meters are essential to clean audio.

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Audio meters, whether in Avid, Premiere or Final Cut, show the peak (instant) levels of your audio. But, if you know where to look, they can also tell you a lot more.

For instance:

  • Audio meters measure peak audio on the dBFS scale (deciBels Full Scale).
  • Audio meters show the absolute levels of your audio. This is unlike clips, where adjusting the “rubber band” is making a “relative” adjustment – relative to the level at which the audio was recorded.
  • The left bar represents the left audio channel. The right bar represents the right audio channel.
  • Any audio levels that exceed 0 dB on the audio meters will distort when your project is exported.
  • Audio levels are logarithmic. For every 6 dB that audio levels drop, the volume of the sound is cut in half.
  • The thin line above the green bar shows the loudest level for that clip over the last 1-2 seconds.
  • The top of the green bar represents the loudest level of the clip at that instant.

Audio meters are essential to keeping your sound clean and distortion free.