Morph Cut Transitions

NLEs

Jump cuts can be a pain to deal with when cutting interviews and other types of video projects. Sometimes your talent talks too long or you need to hide unnecessary motion. All conventional wisdom says the best way to hide a jump cut is to use a cutaway or b-roll. I wholeheartedly agree and use that wisdom quite often in my own work. However, there are times when those options don’t exist and you are left with jarring jump cuts that can distract or interrupt the piece. Thanks to technological advances in editing software, there are ways to hide a jump using a Morph Cut transition. I’m going to highlight how each of the three top NLEs on the market are able to do this.

Avid Media Composer Fluid Morph

The Fluid Morph effect predates any other morph cut transition that has been brought to the market lately. In this tutorial, GeniusDV master trainer Jon Lynn shows us how to use the Fluid Morph effect to hide jump cuts on an interview clip. First, he makes blade edits at certain points, and then adds the Fluid Morph effect. In the Effect Mode panel, he changes a few parameters and sets the duration to three frames long. After a quick render, you see that the Fluid Morph was able to hide the jump cut in the interview. From what I know about diehard users of Media Composer, this effect exists in many of their favorite effects bins.

Adobe Premiere Pro Morph Cut

Introduced back in April 2015, the new Premiere Pro Morph Cut transition works to hide jump cuts between edits. Located in the Dissolve category of Video Transitions section, this transition analyzes in the background and attempts to morph frames together to create a seamless transition from multiple frames. From personal experience, I’ve found this transition works best on interviews with static backgrounds and not a lot of motion from the talent. Otherwise, it can be a hot mess when applied. Overall, I see this transition getting better with time as Adobe engineers improve the code base.

Final Cut Pro X mMorph Cut

This recent release from MotionVFX brings Morph Cut transitions to the world of Final Cut Pro X. For just $59, you can salvage interviews from long pauses, stutters, and mistakes. The transition works fluidly to fill gaps and instantly smooth out shots. I haven’t had a chance to try it out myself, but based on the demos I’ve seen, this seems like a must-have for editors who do a lot of interview work. With all the innovation that FCPX has brought to the table, I was a bit surprised that it took this long to finally get this plugin. I’ve seen tutorials where it was possible to do this but it seemed rather tedious in execution. It’s good to see that FCPX has this ability.

From what you have seen here, the Morph Cut method of hiding a jump cut can work depending on the footage and the circumstances on which you use it. While not perfect by any means, it is a method that can be called upon to smooth out an interview or other type of video project. Try using the Morph Cut method on your next video project and see how it effects your final edit.

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FCPX to AE & Avid to AE

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Very often in the editing process, we get to a point when we need to shift from cutting and assembling our edit, and into the stage of refining it with motion graphics, visual effects, or color grading. Most modern NLEs have the tools that can do such tasks, but depending on the complexity of these finishing techniques, you may need to turn to a program like After Effects. It’s no secret that After Effects is one of the industry standard compositing/motion graphics applications that professionals of all tiers use to complete a project. Getting timelines or footage from Premiere to After Effects is an easy task that can be accomplished in multiple ways. However, if you an editor who uses Final Cut Pro X or Avid Media Composer, getting your timelines into After Effects may be a bit of challenge. However, there are dedicated workflows and applications available for editors of those programs.

FCPX to AE (Automatic Duck XImport)

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This new plugin from Wes Plate brings the functionality of bringing Final Cut Pro X timelines into After Effects. The original Automatic Duck plugin allowed users to send Final Cut Pro 7 & Avid Media Composer timelines to After Effects for polishing and other effects. The process works by creating an XML in Final Cut Pro X. From there, open up After Effects and navigate to Import>Automatic Duck Ximport AE. A dialogue menu will appear and you can navigate to the location of your XML file. Select your XML file, decide whether or not to modify settings, and hit Return. The translation will produce a folder and composition based on what you named your timeline in FCPX. Open the composition and you can see what transferred and what didn’t. This plugin will read third party plugins like Boris FX, Coremelt, and others. The ones that probably won’t carry over are any FCPX Motion template based plugins, like those from MotionVFX, Ripple Training, or Pixel Film Studios.

I personally haven’t had a project to test this plugin, but when I do, I plan on trying this workflow to see if it is another solution I can have in my arsenal.

Avid Media Composer to AE

In this video tutorial, post production guru Kevin P. McAuliffe shows us how to roundtrip Media Composer sequences to After Effects and back. First, he right clicks on his sequence in the project panel and selects Export. In the Export settings, he selects Options and chooses AAF along with AAF Edit Protocol. He also selects Include Video/Data Tracks, enables the Link option, and sends the AAF file to the desktop. Inside of After Effects, he goes to File>Import> Pro Import After Effects. In the dialog menu, he navigates to the AAF file and modifies the settings to accommodate his file. This allows for After Effects to create a composition that looks identical to how his timeline was cut. From there, he breaks down how to export from After Effects using the DNxHD codec. Once he exports it out, importing it back in Media Composer is a smooth process based on the DNxHD codec he used.

I’ve cut on Media Composer in the past, and from what I see here, this is a very similar process to getting FCP timelines to After Effects. The only difference is the name of the file intermediate you use to get your timelines from one place to another. Personally, I’ve never been a fan of how Avid has compositing situations and its continual lack of blend modes boggles my mind. However, this tip is handy for anyone who deals with Media Composer on a regular basis.

From what you can see here, getting your timelines from FCPX and Media Composer to After Effects is not as hard as it looks. Knowing how to use these methods can be beneficial for those situations when you need to hand off your timeline to a visual effects artist or animator. There are probably other methods than the two I highlighted here, so feel free to find those so you have a backup plan.

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Nodes 2 from Yanobox

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Avengers. Ender’s Game. Iron Man 3. Rise of the Planet of the Apes. These are just a few films that have had the opportunity to utilize the plugin known as Nodes. With the release of Nodes 2, Yanobox has upped the ante with what this plugin can do. This motion graphic tool can import 3D models, interact with the After Effects camera, link text and images to individual nodes, and so much more. The best part is it supports the most popular editing and compositing programs on the market including: After Effects, Motion, Final Cut Pro X, and Premiere Pro. If you don’t believe how awesome and intricate this plugin is, take a look at this demo below:

I’ve had a chance to try out Nodes 2 myself and I was extremely impressed with how quickly I was able to pick it up. Here are a few quick examples of what I was able to create on my own, which to my surprise, rendered very quickly on my iMac. On top of that, I like that I can create certain animations with ease compared to plugins like Trapcode Form or Particular.

Overall, Nodes 2 is an incredible plugin that needs to be experienced firsthand to admire its depth. With this plugin, I am able to create breathtaking and stylized motion graphics that would require multiple plugins and tinkering to achieve the look Nodes can create effortlessly. I’ve always been a fan of the Yanobox plugins, and this Nodes sequel more than lives up to its predecessor. I like how the controls are easy to experiment with, as well as the presets. The presets provide a great starting point and can be manipulated at will. The fine folks of Noise Industries have provided very detailed tutorials for your favorite software application, which you can check out here:

If you are looking for a plugin that imports stunning 3D models, build networks of node structures, and allows you to create an limitless amount of text and image connections, then look no further than Yanobox Nodes 2. At the price of $299, it’s a no brainer purchase that will save you hours of work and allow you to explore more creative depths than you can imagine.

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Best Drones for Filmmaking

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In this new era of filmmaking, getting complex shots has become much easier thanks to technological advances made by vendors across the world. It’s more affordable to get a rising shot thanks to jibs and cranes that are accessible to even the most low budget filmmakers. Getting stabilized shots are easier now thanks to amount of rigs available. Aerial shots have now become cheaper due to the influx of drones available on the market. I want to highlight some drones you may want to consider adding to your filmmaking kit so that you can increase your production value.

DJI Phantom 3 Advanced/Professional $1,3000

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This aerial drone is a new release from DJI and can capture great high quality footage from great distances. What makes this drone so popular is the following:

  • 3 Axis Gimbal camera which shoots HD (for the Advanced model) or 4K (for the Professional model)
  • Captures photographs at 12 megapixels
  • Live HD camera view via smartphone or tablet attached to the remote controller through the DJI app
  • Vision positioning through visual and ultrasonic sensors
  • Intelligent Battery with battery level indicator
  • Worry-free AutoPilot

As an owner of the DJI Phantom 3 Pro, I can attest to the incredible media captured with this camera. Within three days of learning to fly this drone, I was capturing great aerial shots that I would have had to pay a helicopter pilot to capture. With a $1,300 price tag, it is a steal for what you get from this drone. I would personally recommend this model for any prosumer or high end shooter who needs to capture aerial shots of client locations.

 

DJI Inspire 1 $3,399

 

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The DJI Inspire 1 is the more advanced and expensive model of the Phantom models offered. This drone is designed with strong carbon fiber arms and gives the user a full 360 unrestricted view when in flight. The Inspire features:

  • 3 axis gimbal 4K camera which shoots up to 30 fps, or 1080p up to 60 fps and takes photos at 12 MP
  • Optional dual remote control function
  • Powerful propulsion system
  • HD wireless video transmission
  • Vision Position system
  • Intelligent Power Management system

If I had the expenses, I would have considered investing in this. I would definitely say that this model is meant for high end, big budget filmmakers that have the funds to afford it.

3DR Solo Quadcopter $999.95

 

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The 3DR Solo is an all-in-one personal drone with a great ease of use and powerful new features. Within these powerful features are the following:

  • Computer assisted cinematography through the Solo app
  • Attach a GoPro to gimbal harness and stream HD video from your GoPro to your iOS or Android mobile device, at ranges of up to half a mile.
  • Easy to use aerial photography controller
  • Powerful smart battery which displays remaining time
  • Up to 20 minutes of flight time with GoPro attached

I haven’t had the opportunity to try this drone, but based on the preview video above and the feature list, it has a lot to offer. With the ability to mount a GoPro, you know what type of quality you are getting. With a price tag of $1,000, you are getting an advanced video production tool that will give see a greater return.

Overall, these three drone models are great if you want to add aerial videography to your business and skill set. I’ve only began my journey into aerial photography, but already I feel that it has added much value to my current projects. I look forward to seeing what I can do next.

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Third Party Green Screen Keyers

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Green screen, or chroma key compositing, has been around since the 1930s. Developed by filmmakers at RKO Radio Pictures, it was used as a method to create complex visual effects that were before its time. Over the years, the process went from a painstakingly analog method to a digital method that can now be done on computers. Programs such as Final Cut Pro, Premiere Pro, Avid Media Composer, and the like all have the ability to do basic greenscreen/bluescreen keying if your footage is in the optimal conditions. For complex and intricate situations, post professionals turn to programs like After Effects, Motion, Autodesk Smoke, or Nuke. Despite the programs that have greenscreen keying capabilities, there are many third party companies who have developed plugins to handle even the toughest keying processes. Let’s take a look at a few and see what each have to offer.

Primatte Keyer/KeyCorrect

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Primatte Keyer is Red Giant’s premiere keyer solution for post professionals. Within its array of features are some of the following: auto compute algorithm for pulling a perfect key, key correction tools for refining mattes and backgrounds, and color matcher feature for matching the subject to their background. This plugin is one of the most trusted keying plugin on the market amongst professionals in film (Lord of the Rings, The Matrix, Harry Potter, and Spider-Man) and television (Sesame Street, Nickelodeon, and Disney). This plugin is compatible on Mac and PC with programs ranging from Final Cut Pro, After Effects, Premiere Pro, and Motion. I can personally attest to its strengths and abilities as I’ve used it in my work quite often. I find it great to use when Keylight may not be enough to get the job done. For the price of $499, it is definitely a keyer solution to consider if you do a lot of it. Just take a look at its capabilities below.

If you are fine with keying with Keylight, you can get the tools of Key Correct to assist you. Key Correct lets you create perfect keys from an image shot against a colored background. These tools include a Rig/Wire Remover, Light Wrap, Color Matcher, Alpha Cleaner, and many other tools. I’ve personally used Key Correct’s tools on many projects and found it to perfectly complement Keylight when I may have challenging keys. Having both Key Correct and Primatte Keyer are definitely tools you should consider in your post production pipeline.

Boris Chroma Key Studio

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Within the Boris Continuum Complete set is the Key and Blend unit. This unit automates the creation of precise keys with a minimal amount of adjustment. These filters strip away the complexity of chroma keying by automating matting, edge softening and refinement, and light wrapping and reflections to produce seamless composites each and every time. One plugin that stands out is the Chroma Key Studio. The Chroma Key Studio is an all-in-one keying suite similar to Primatte Keyer. It can do everything from screen enhancement, auto-garbage matte and masking, chroma key, matte cleanup, matte choker, foreground color correction, and light wrap into a single filter. In the tutorial below, Kevin P. McAuliffe demonstrates how versatile this plugin is and why it is a suitable solution for keying within your NLE. I’ve used it myself a few times and it is definitely a time-saver if I’m working in Premiere Pro or Media Composer as opposed to shipping it out to After Effects for chroma keying.

PHYX Keyer

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The final keyer plugin on the list is the one from the Phyxware folks. Phyx Keyer 5 is a set of 10 plugins designed to give you even faster and more accurate keys than ever before. These plugins include the FastKeyer, ScreenCorrector, Lightwrap, and SkinTools. These tools have been used by companies such as AT&T, Autodesk, and Fox Sports. These plugins were also used on the feature film Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues. In the tutorial above, you get to witness how versatile and fast these set of plugins are, whether you are in an NLE or compositing program. One thing to note about these plugins is that they function on Mac only and are installed through the FxFactory software engine. I’ve personally used the Keyer and other tools in this set, and I have to say that it is top notch. They really have tools to handle even the most difficult keying scenarios.

You’ve seen these industry leading third party keyers and what they can do. Feel free to download a trial and see what the hype is all about. I can assure you that you won’t be disappointed.

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Media Composer Tips & Tricks

Avid_AppAdrenaline

Of the non linear editing systems I blog about, I rarely discuss Avid, unless I’m comparing it to other NLEs or highlighting new features in updated versions. I decided, that for this article, I want it to be Avid-centric with tips and tricks because there are a ton of them available. In fact, I can honestly say there are more tips for using Avid Media Composer than there are for other editing software. I’m going to highlight a few that stood out to me while using the program. Professionally, I’ve only used Avid about five times, and, in most situations, it was because it was a freelance job that required it. Currently, I don’t use it as much, but I have a lot of respect for those who do, considering it is used to edit major episodic television shows and Hollywood feature films. So, let’s learn some tips and tricks of using Media Composer.

Create Quick Transitions Bin

In this quick tutorial, Genius DV master trainer Jon Lynn shows us how easy it is to create a bin for commonly used transitions. First, choose a transition of your liking and apply it to your edit point. If you want, you can customize it in the Effect Editor window. Next, navigate to the Bins tab and create a new bin called “Quick Transitions.” Make sure you type this out case sensitive or else this process won’t work. In the Effect Editor window, drag the custom transition into the Quick Transitions bin. With that in place, you can click on the Quick Transitions button, click on the drop down menu, and you’ll see you custom transition there.  I have to say that this is one feature I wish Premiere and FCPX had emulated. I know in Final Cut Pro 7 you could create favorites bin and put effects/transitions there, but to have a button able to call them up whenever you’d like would be a timesaver.

Batch Rendering Sequences on Export

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This is a handy tip for those projects that have multiple sequences that need to be rendered. With the work I do for a living, multiple sequences are an every project occurrence. To batch render sequences on export in Media Composer, select all your sequences in their respective bin. Open the Export Settings window and select Quicktime Reference Movie. Click on the Render All Video Effects and hit OK. Now, all your sequences will be rendered in a small Quicktime file to check if things are correct or need to be fixed. You can create a preset out of this in the Export Settings window to save time in the future.

Mapping Editing Workspaces

In this informative tutorial, editing guru and Lynda.com instructor Ashley Kennedy breaks down how to map the Media Composer workspace to your needs. She shows us how to create a custom editing workspace, as well as a workspace for audio editing. Saving a timeline view is as simple as a click at the bottom of the timeline, clicking on Untitled, and choosing Save As. From there, you are presented with a dialog window where you can name your timeline view. She goes into detail explaining how managing the Settings tab can assist in workspaces you may use at various stages of the edit. In my opinion, this is a great video to reference for the times when you step away from Media Composer and forget how to manage workspaces effectively.

Overall, this is a small collection of tips and tricks you can find out about Media Composer. With their active forums and user groups across the internet, you can easily get more acquainted with Media Composer than most NLEs out there. In my opinion, it pays to know Media Composer if you have plans to edit episodic television or major feature films. It is still the dominant editing platform when it comes to delivering those type of projects, and for good reason.

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Setting Up Multi-Cam in your NLE

A Team NLE

As an editor, I’ve been in many situations where I have to cut a project that was shot by multiple cameras. If production sets up their cameras so that I can easily match things up and cut like a technical director, my job is much easier. If they don’t, however, it can be a painstaking task trying to figure when each camera is in sync with one another. You can’t always control the method to which you receive footage from multiple cameras, but it is an essential skill to know how to set up your timeline to do multiple camera editing, also known as multi-cam. I’m going to briefly breakdown the steps it takes to set up a multi-camera edit in popular NLEs such as Avid Media Composer, Final Cut Pro X, and Adobe Premiere Pro.

Avid Media Composer Multi-Cam

In this video tutorial, editor Jon Christenson shows the basics of setting up a multi-camera edit in Avid Media Composer. This type of edit in Media Composer can be set up using timecode, in & out points, or the start of clips. In his example, he uses a clap from three clips to set a sync point for all clips. From there, he uses multiple bins to sort out his clips he wants in the multi-cam, as well as a bin for grouped clips. Utilizing the Fast Menu in the bin, he chooses Group Clips to create his multi-cam edit. Once he has his multi-cam clip set up, he sets up his buttons to make the multi-camera edit more streamlined and efficient. Then, he can do a multi-cam edit by pressing a key mapped to a specific angle. Although I don’t use Media Composer as much as I should, I have to say they have a robust system for multi-camera editing.

Final Cut Pro X Multi-Cam

In this video tutorial, Apple certified and GeniusDV trainer Jon Lynn shows us how to set up a multi-cam edit in Final Cut Pro X. In this program, you first select the clips you want. Then, you right click and select a new multi-cam clip which brings up a dialogue menu. Once you have your settings, use the Angle Viewer and click on the angles you want to cut to while playing back the multi-cam clip. In my experience, I found this multi-cam system very fluent and easy to use in comparison to Media Composer. Although it has a different paradigm than other track based editing systems, the multi-cam functions in FCPX are extremely robust.

Adobe Premiere Pro Multi-Cam

In this video tutorial, Lynda instructor Jeff Sengstack demonstrates how to set up a multi-cam clip in Adobe Premiere Pro CC. There are two ways to set up multi-cam clip in Premiere Pro. I typically set it up from the timeline level where I have my clips set up as needed. The other method is doing it from the project browser, which is the method Jeff uses. With the clips he has selected in the project browser, he right clicks and selects Create Multi-Camera sequence. From the dialogue menu, he can choose how to sync his clips. Once that is taken care of, you should get a new sequence clip in the browser. Now, he can begin cutting the multi-cam clip in his timeline using the available tools. I’ve found Premiere’s multi-camera abilities to be the best of the track based NLEs. I have used Final Cut Pro 7’s multi-camera function before and found it hard to wrap my head around. Premiere’s multi-cam function always seemed to work for me.

As you can see from these videos, multi-camera editing is relatively easy to set up, depending on your NLE of choice. Trying to cut without multi-cam functions is possible, but can be tedious and frustrating in longform projects. I know from earlier experience, I tried to bypass using multi-cam editing and wasted hours fixing things that could have been addressed sooner had I learned how multi-camera editing works. I highly recommend you learn multi-camera editing in your NLE and save yourself some time on those long and complex edits.

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How to Create Nested Sequences

A Team NLE

Timelines, or sequences as they are known in certain NLEs, are the foundation for editors to arrange their footage into a comprehensive narrative. Timelines allow us to insert video, audio, titles, transitions, and more to take us from point A to completion. However, there comes a time when you are editing in your preferred NLE and having a lot of tracks or connections clutter your timeline. In a situation like this, creating a sequence within a sequence, or nesting, will consolidate your assets into one. Every major NLE has the ability to create nested sequences, or compound clips as they are called in Final Cut Pro X. With the video tutorials below, I will highlight this technique so that it can become a part of your skill set.

Avid Media Composer

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In Avid Media Composer, the act of nesting is known as collapsing. As Avid guru Kevin P. McAuliffe shows us in this tutorial, when your timeline gets heavy in effects and clips, collapsing items in a sequence can be much more effective than using video mixdowns. In order to collapse your video/audio assets, select all that you want to include and hit the collapse button, or a custom keyboard shortcut. Once your assets are collapsed, you can step into the collapsed sequence, or double click and modify your clips as needed. If you are a Final Cut Pro or Premiere Pro editor, Media Composer’s method of nesting may seem a bit confusing at first, but with time and practice it starts to make sense. One of the drawbacks of a collapsed sequence in Media Composer is that you can only see one timeline at a time.

Premiere Pro

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Adobe Master trainer Maxim Jago shows us the process of nesting clips into a sequence in this PeachPit tutorial. Nesting sequences in Premiere is very similar to Final Cut Pro Legacy’s process. Select the video and audio assets you want, go to Clip> Nest and it will ask you to name your nested sequence. Once you’ve given it a name, it will appear in the timeline as one clip, as well as the project browser. I like this form of nesting because I can cycle between open sequences with ease.

Final Cut Pro X

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In Final Cut Pro X, the process of creating nesting sequences is called creating compound clips. In this tutorial, master trainer Jon Lynn shows us the process. You can create compound clips from the timeline as well as the Event browser. Select the clips you want in your timeline and go to File -> New Compound Clip (press option + G). You can also select your highlighted clips, right click and select new Compound Clip. Similar to Avid Media Composer, I would have to “step in” to see the assets in the compound clip, and since FCPX doesn’t allow you to see multiple timelines at once, we’ll have to wait for further improvements.

Overall, the art of nesting a lot of content into its own sequence is something that comes in handy on small and large projects. Even with all the innovations made by these primetime NLEs, nesting is a technique that won’t be going away anytime soon. I strongly recommend you learn how to nest content into its own sequence in whichever NLE you use.

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New Features coming to Avid Media Composer and Adobe Cloud

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With IBC taking place in Amsterdam last weekend, users of Adobe Creative and Avid Anywhere were greeted with a slew of updates from their favorite programs. These updates include an interface overhaul, native support for many 4K formats, codec releases, and more. Although, currently, we are hearing more about the production side of things from IBC with new camera releases, I believe the next iteration of programs from Avid and Adobe will definitely make things more competitive for professionals in post. I want to highlight the updates coming for Avid Media Composer and Adobe Premiere in the coming months.

Avid Media Composer

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It was announced by Avid that they are bringing Resolution Independence to the next iteration of Media Composer. What that means for editors is that they will be able deal with 4K media faster and much more efficiently than before. Based on their new Resolution Independence architecture, editors will have the most complete and flexible end-to-end workflows when in post. Below is a list of new features coming to Media Composer that will definitely make it a viable option for 4K offline/online editing:

– AAX plugin support.

– Ability to mute individuals clips (similar to enabling and disabling clips in Premiere and FCPX).

– Disabling video tracks.

– Copying and dragging video segments.

– End of trim indicators.

– AMA media associated with projects.

– A new codec known as DNxHR (Digital Nonlinear Extensible High Resolution). It will support formats of 2K, 3K, 4K, and Ultra HD. There are five flavors of this codec which include DNxHR LB (low bandwith), DNxHR SQ (Standard Quality), DNxHR HQ (High Quality), DNxHR HQX (10 bit), and DNxHR 444.

– Proxy timeline which allows editors to change resolution more fluidly from your original media (and render your effects to proxy media) from full quality to either 1/2, 1/4, or 1/16.

– 4K Full screen playback support.

– Features to come include: background rendering, enabling Mac GPU acceleration, in addition to the existing Windows based GPU acceleration support. Seeing the list of features that are coming to Media Composer, Avid is showing that it is committed to maintaining their spot as the NLE of choice for high end post production. Looking at some of the features from the list, some of them have existed in FCP legacy and Premiere Pro for years. Some of these new features may be requests from switchers who felt that Avid needed to evolve to stay competitive with rival programs Premiere and Final Cut Pro X. I don’t know if that is for sure, but I know the features that are coming to Avid will alleviate the headaches that users may have endured over the years.

Adobe Premiere Pro CC 8.1

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Avid isn’t the only NLE that will see a massive update in features. Announced last week, Premiere (as well as other video/audio applications) will see a UI refresh, as well as a bundle of new features for high end workflows. Here is a list of features coming to Premiere Pro CC from the Adobe website:

– Search bins for allowing editors to build new bins automatically, based on metadata searches within a project, with results showing as aliases of the original project items.

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– Timeline search improvement which makes it simple to find and select clips within a sequence based on specific criteria, such as Clip Name or Marker comment.

– Multiple project workflows utilizing multiple Media Browser panels which can be open simultaneously, allowing fast browsing of other Premiere Pro and After Effects projects for easy access to their media and sequences.

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– Source Monitor Timeline View allows editors to preview sequences from other projects, getting direct access to their components to quickly bring into the current active project. Editors collaborating over shared storage will find working with each other’s projects is now a great deal easier.

– Consolidate and transcode project for archiving purposes

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– Render and replace clips and After Effects compositions when dynamic linking.

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– GoPro Cineform codec as an intermediate codec between platforms.

– Support for many 4K and Ultra HD workflows.

– Improved masking and tracking with a free Bezier path tool.

Without trying to sound to biased, I’m someone who leans more on the Premiere Pro spectrum than the other NLEs, and I’m especially excited for these new feature updates. Within four months of this new release, the Adobe team has provided lightning fast updates which shows the community that they are committed to making the user experience the best it can possibly be. Features I’m really interested in are the improvements to the Mask and Tracking feature, and the Render and Replace option. Being able to apply masks using the Pen Tool is a dream come true. The Render and Replace option will allow users to bring AE comps into Premiere and render them into codec without having to go to the render queue. Also, I’m interested in trying the multi-project workflows so I can bring in other timelines from other projects in read only mode and take what I need. That will definitely provide a better user experience in the long run. Overall, we’ve seen that the people behind Avid and Adobe are bringing updates that embrace a future of high resolution and efficiency for the post production community. Each have added features that will make the user experience more bearable as we embrace the 4K reality and beyond.

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Favorite New Features of FCP X 10.1

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With the update of Final Cut Pro X to 10.1 (as of this writing, it is currently 10.1.1), the program brought the goods in terms of media management, 4K capabilities, and much more. In my opinion, this update caused more professionals to accept Final Cut Pro X, and to finally start using it. I’m going to touch on some of my new favorite features that were introduced in 10.1.

New Library media management

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I will be honest in saying that when I first got a look at how FCPX managed projects as well as media, it was a complicated process to understand. Gone were the days of project files and scratch disks. These were replaced with events and projects in this paradigm shifting editing software. Events were a collection of media files, and projects were a combination of how you wanted things edited together. Overall, FCPX worked like a database system more than anything else. This method of media management was meant to make media readily available, reduce crashes from too many video clips, and change how an editor could get media from one project to another. While all the intentions of this new system were good, I personally found the process more complicated to get behind than the way FCP 7, Premiere Pro, and Avid Media Composer dealt with media management. What was also hard to grasp was the concept of using third party utilities, such as Event Manager X, to give me peace of mind when I worked on multiple projects. There were many flaws with the original media management system that were hard for me to wrap my head around. However, that all changed when FCPX 10.1 was released and introduced the Library bundles. Adopted from iPhoto, as well as the latest version of iMovie, a library is a container that holds media, events, and projects. If you want to break it down into NLE terms, it is a hybrid between a project file and scratch disk. Best part is, you can specify where to save when you first create one. With the new library model, the concept of projects changed as well. Now, they are treated more like sequences in FCP 7, which will definitely help people who may be on the fence to get behind this software. The folks from Ripple Training break down how libraries work in this clip below:

Through & Rolling Audio Edits

One of the cool new features of the 10.1 update is the ability to make through edits, as well as rolling edits on audio. Prior to this update, if you made a blade edit on a clip, it would split the clip into separate segments. Now, if you make a blade edit on a clip, you will see a dotted line indicating a through edit has been made. If you want the through edit to be joined to its original clip, you select the clip and choose Join Clips in the Trim dropdown menu. Larry Jordan explains these concepts of trimming in the video below:

Another nice trimming addition is the ability to make J and L cuts on audio. In previous versions of FCPX, you were able to make a rolling edit on audio. Now, if you expand the video and audio and use the trim tool, you can roll the audio of one clip into another, thus creating either a J or L cut. The folks at Ripple Training provide great insight into addition in the video below:

Active Clip Indicator

This is a cool new feature which I was glad to see added. The Active Clip Indicator is a white ball that is attached to the playhead. It reveals the effect parameters of the clip the playhead is over without having to select it. Ripple Training provides great insight into this feature as well:

Overall Performance

Under the 10.9 OSX Mavericks, FCPX 10.1 overall performance is extremely smooth; especially for people using either new iMacs, Macbook Pros, or even the new Mac Pros. At first, I wasn’t happy about having to update my operating system to accommodate one piece of software, but since I have, the speed is like nothing I’ve experienced with past Mac operating systems. While I may have my own thoughts on how Mavericks operates, I believe it was a smart move by Apple to make this version of FCPX available only on Mavericks. It gives users not only a next generation editing software, but a free update of their current operating system. With my specs on a 27-inch iMac, I have experienced nothing but smooth and efficient playback. Overall, I personally believe Final Cut Pro X has reached the place where professionals should give it another look. Despite its problematic release almost three years ago, the program has matured into a serious NLE platform that is more than capable of getting things done.

Sound Effects

Digital Rebellion Tools Review

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When I started my journey to becoming an editor, I wanted to know all the tools I would need to get the job done. I believed all I needed was a good computer, some software and footage to work with to do it. As I progressed in my journey, I was introduced to tools that not only made my job as an editor easier but also helped me troubleshoot issues that I may run into. One particular developer of editing tools I’m thankful for discovering is Digital Rebellion. Founded in 2007, Digital Rebellion has developed maintenance and workflow tools for Final Cut Pro 6/7/X, After Effects, Premiere Pro and Avid Media Composer. My first exposure to them was when I used the FCS Remover to remove Final Cut Studio 2 and reinstall it cleanly. Since then, I have purchased Pro Maintenance and Pro Media Tools and never looked back. These tools have helped me troubleshoot issues that I would have had to spend hours looking through forums to get the answers to. I can’t imagine editing without them. I’ll give a brief overview of some of the applications from Pro Maintenance and Pro Media Tools. Hopefully, you’ll either trial or purchase them after you know some of their capabilities.

Pro Maintenance Tools

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These set of tools were originally available for Final Cut Studio but have since expanded to include Final Cut Pro X, Avid Media Composer/Symphony and Adobe Premiere Pro. Within these tools are applications that can trash/store your preferences, analyze why your NLE crashed, repair your NLE, manage your plugins and more. Some of my commonly used applications are Preference Manager, Crash Analyzer, and Plugin Manager.

Preference Manager allows the user to save, backup and trash preferences from the aforementioned programs. This application is really helpful when you run into an issue that was potentially caused by your current preferences. Instead of going through the many Finder folders to locate your preference files, Preference Manager is able to do it at the press of a button. If you want to import preferences from another machine to yours, you can do it relatively easy by importing them.

Crash Analyzer looks at your editing application crash logs and attempts to diagnose why it crashed. In the application window, it will provide suggestions to help alleviate the problem so you can get back to editing. This application is a godsend for editors who have dealt with their editing applications crashing without knowing how to fix it. I can’t count how many times this app has helped me troubleshoot the crashes I get. The best part is that a widget at the upper right part of your screen will appear as soon as your editing application crashes giving you the opportunity to investigate further. If you get Pro Maintenance Tools, Crash Analyzer is an additional must have.

Plugin Manager allows you to easily and quickly organize your editing system plugins. With this application, you can install new plugins and enable/disable current plugins without having to worry about locating them on your computer. I’ve used this app to help troubleshoot some plugins I have that may be causing issues with Final Cut Pro that are hindering my ability to finish an edit. It’s useful if you just want to disable a plugin as oppose to completely uninstalling it. I haven’t had a chance to explore its further capabilities but I plan to in the near future.

Pro Media Tools

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This set of tools helps with the efficiency side of your workflow. There are tools to offload your media to multiple drives, set project folders, detect gamma shifts, handle QuickTime files, notify you of renders and more. Not all the tools in this set work across every editing application so if you are a single editing application user you’ll be limited by that. Some of the tools I find myself using often are Auto Transfer, Post Haste and Edit Detector.

Edit Detector is an application that can detect edits and scene changes in QuickTime movies. This application is helpful for when you have to take pre-edited video and break it up for things like color correction, visual effects and motion graphics. It also comes with a sensitivity slider that determines how in depth you want the application to detect cuts and scene changes. The user has the ability to manipulate edit points if needed as well as export into multiple formats such as individual QuickTime movies, FCP marker lists, EDLs and more.

Auto Transfer is a handy application that allows the user to transfer media from camera memory cards to your computer. You can set it up to transfer to multiple drives so you can ensure backups in case of technical mishaps. I use this application often when I deal with AVCHD media and DSLR media. It’s much more efficient than doing a copy and paste from folder to folder in my opinion. With the metadata options, I can tag relevant info to clips to aid in the logging process.

PostHaste has been my go to application for project organization since its inception. This application allows you to use and create project folder templates, which you can use to organize footage, project files, mograph assets and more. You can also import previously used project folders to create a brand new template if you want. I firmly believe that every editor should have PostHaste in their arsenal.

Overall, Digital Rebellion’s two toolkits are a must have for editors. They help in troubleshooting and helping editors keep things moving. Although it’s most available for Mac at the moment, the developers have plans to have these toolkits available for PC users in future updates. Digital Rebellion also has other great product offerings such as Pro Admin, Pro Versioner, Cut Notes, Edit Mote and CinePlay.

I’m the NLE Ninja with Audio Micro asking you to stay creative.

Sound Effects

Creating a Bin Structure Inside Your NLE

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One of the things I pride myself on having when I edit a project is a proper bin structure. When you are tasked with having a project that contains over 100 clips of footage, titles and miscellaneous assets such as photos, logos, motion graphics and more, your project browser can get very messy very quickly. Below is an example of a typical bin structure I utilize on projects. I add or delete bins based on my needs so this can change at a moment’s notice. I’m going to breakdown the significance of each bin and some of their sub bins so that you get an idea on how to structure your bin organization.

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Audio

In this bin it’s obvious what’s placed here. I have sub bins for royalty free music tracks and sound effects. If I need an additional sub bin for something like voiceovers, I would create another bin and title that VO. If I want to get even more picky and specific, I would create sub bins for audio formats such as .mp3, .wav or .aiff. I would create sub bins within the music sub bin and sound effects sub bin for each of those formats. The benefit of doing that is to know what format I’m dealing instead of grouping everything into one bin and being none the wiser.

Images

In this bin is where I place client images, artwork, logos and more. In this particular example, I have sub bins for many of the popular image formats such as jpeg, png, tiff, psd. With images, it’s really easy for it to become messy and confusing if you just import all your images into one bin labeled images. This sub bin structure is meant to help sort and differentiate between what I have to work with. In most situations, I may not need all these sub bins but I keep them in case I’m given more client images down the line.

Mograph

This bin is meant to hold any motion graphics elements I plan to use or any exports that were created in After Effects. I may have custom motion graphics I created and plan to use and the last thing I want is it scattered all over the place. AE renders is a base folder I would use when starting a project. I could add sub bins within that labeled client custom mograph or segments to reflect graphics exported from After Effects that need specific bins. The other sub bin you see has the name of some popular royalty free graphics developers I use on regular basis. This sub bin has a tendency to grow or shrink depending on the need of the project. For most cases, I usually have at least 3-5 sub bins in this section just in case.

Footage

By far the most important bin to have in any structure. This is where my footage will go but I usually have several sub bins with the Master Clips bin. I like to label my footage bin from what card and shooter/camera they came from so I can reference them in case anything goes offline. There are obviously different ways to go about this but essentially all footage will go here. If I plan on using sub clips in the edit, I would create a folder for that and place them there. I tend to rarely use sub clips in most edits I do because I have a different method of sorting my footage.

Sequences

It is in this bin where I’m extra picky and cautiously organized. I keep versions of my main sequences as the project progresses usually appending them with something like this: Project Name_Main_01. With the underscores, I am able to go back to the first cut of my main sequence in case I need to start over or pick an arrangement that worked previously.

The selects reel bin is meant to have sequences of my footage grouped by the following criteria: b-roll and sound bites. What I do is go through my master clips and drop them in the appropriate titled sequence. For example, if I come across footage that has interviews or dialogue relevant to my edit, I would drop them in my sound bites sequence. That way I no longer need to use my project panel to search for specific clips. I can go through my selects sequences for either interviews or b-roll and grab what I need. I found this method very efficient and it also allows me to move faster.

Conclusion

This bin structure is a useful base for which I organize most of my projects. With it, I can add or delete bins if needed and keep everything as organized as possible. It’s good to have an evolving bin structure as one structure may not always be sufficient and you need to examine how to make it better for any specific project. Overall, utilize a bin structure to maintain your sanity and have peace of mind when you are editing. I’m the NLE Ninja with AudioMicro asking you to stay creative.

Royalty Free Music

Using ClipWrap for Transcoding AVCHD footage

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In this day and age of managing media, editors are given a variety of proprietary formats to work with. Everything from P2, H.264, XDCam, AVCHD and more. Most editing systems have ways of converting these types of footage into an editable format or editing it natively. Final Cut Pro 7 has a Log and Transfer function and can transcode most footage if you have installed certain plugins. Avid Media Composer/Symphony turns your footage into MXF files for editing. Premiere Pro takes your footage and allows you to cut natively.

Sometimes, you may have to use a third party application to make that happen. For those of you who deal with AVCHD on a regular basis, ClipWrap is a wonderful and inexpensive third party Mac application that does just that. It can convert your footage into Apple Pro Res, Avid DNxHD, HDV and more. In this article, I’ll walk you through the steps of converting MTS files from your camera to an editable format for Final Cut Pro and Avid Media Composer.

Converting your footage into Apple Pro Res or Avid DNxHD

If you plan to edit in Final Cut Pro or Avid Media Composer, here are the steps you would take to convert your MTS files into a Pro Res or DNxHD format.

First, make sure you have dumped all the contents of your SD card onto a drive suitable for editing. It’s good to have this copied in case anything should happen to your converted footage and you need to start from the beginning.

Open up the Clipwrap application. You will see a dialog window, which shows you the following: empty clip name pane, output format drop down menu, output frame rate and a destination drop down.

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Set a destination for where for you want your converted footage to be by clicking on the Add New button.

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Once you’ve set your destination folder, you can import your MTS files. Click on the plus button at the bottom of the Clip name panel. Navigate to the folder containing your MTS files. Highlight all of them and press Open. ClipWrap has the ability to do batch encoding quicker than what most NLEs do.

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The next part involves setting up your editing codec. If you have the Pro Res and DNxHD codec’s installed on your system, you have the option of converting your footage to that. The other options that are available are DVCProHD, DV, HDV, Sony XDCam or don’t rewrap. If I were going to primarily edit in Final Cut Pro, I would choose one of the Pro Res codecs. If I were to edit in Avid Media Composer, I would chose either the DNxHD or Pro Res codec if I’m using Media Composer 6 and up. For this article, let’s set it to Pro Res LT.

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Output frame rate gives you the option to change the frame rate of your footage. It’s completely optional for you to use this but use at your own risk. In most cases, it’s best to leave it untouched.

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Once you’ve imported your files, set your destination folder and choose your codec, then press the Convert button.

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ClipWrap will go through each of your MTS files one by one and convert them into your chosen codec. Once it’s done converting, you will hear a bell ring sounding off its completion. Now your footage is ready to edit in whichever NLE you choose.

I’m the NLE Ninja with AudioMicro asking you to stay creative.

Royalty Free Music