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COW Blogs : Little Frog in High Def : adobe
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APP FOR FCP TO PRINT YOUR CLIPS AND MARKERS

Well, about time this came out. Too bad it had to be third party, but hey...at least we have it now.Final Print 1.6To quote:"A standalone application which prints a list of clips in a bin or markers contained in a clip or sequence. This provides a very useful workflow enhancement when handing off a project to someone else for further work.""- Displays a list of clips/sequences in a bin or a list of markers found within clips/sequences.- Flexible customisation of columns including thumbnail.- Customise print output with colour of header text and your own company or production logo.- Print marker list to paper or PDF."Downloading demo now...

Posted by: Shane Ross on May 22, 2008 at 12:13:42 pmComments (1) adobe, final cut pro
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THE FIRST HICCUP

Last week, on Thursday (March 13th for those who really want to know) we needed to output the rough cut of the first show and send it to the network. In actuality it was the SECOND show, but episode one was still being edited...but that's besides the point. So on Thursday I was pulled off my editing of a segment for show one (EP 101) and assigned to cut the tease for show two (102). "Cut the tease"....sorry, that always makes me giggle a little.Anyway...this was the beginning of a series of "missteps" that caused a couple complications with the assembly of the show. For the record, we are editing DVCPRO HD footage mainly shot with the Varicam, at 720p 23.98 This footage was captured via the Kona card and not via firewire, as firewire capture throws the audio off sync by two frames...audio leading by two frames. Instead of adjusting the sync on each and every clip we drop in the timeline, we captured via HD SDI from the Kona 3 ensuring perfect sync. Because of this, the Easy Setup we chose was AJA KONA 3-720p 23.98 DVCPRO HD Varicam:OK...that in mind, let's move on to the series of events that caused a few complications. We are in an XSAN environment. Each machine connected to shared storage, with multiple editors editing sections of the final show. One editor handling two segments, another on the third, and me working on the tease. When we were all done and ready to "stitch the show together," something odd happened. The lead editor opened our projects on his system, copied the contents of our sequences then pasted them into his main sequence and...the aspect ratio and dimensions of the clips were off. They were wrong from both me and the editor working on the third segment. The image was squished and stretched. And when we looked at the MOTION tab of one of the clips, the scale was 133%, and it was distorted at -33. Hmmm...odd. Why was this? Well, I looked at my sequence settings, and they were...well...wrong:1280x720...not 960x720. Square pixels...compressor was 8-bit uncompressed. What the...? How did this happen? Well, I looked at my Easy Setup...I chose the wrong one. AJA Kona 3-720p 23.98 8-bit Varicam...8-bit UNCOMPRESSED, not DVCPRO HD. That means square pixels, uncompressed timeline. And that any clip dropped into this timeline would be scaled to fit that timeline. But you ask "how could this be when FCP 6 prompts you to change the sequence settings to match the clip settings? Surely THAT would have made the sequences right...right?" Well...yes, that does happen, but only when you CUT or OVERWRITE footage into the timeline. This DOES NOT occur when you copy and paste footage into the sequence, like I did. I was cutting the tease...meaning that I culled scenes and soundbytes from the main sequences from each segment...copy and paste. And then we have the great OPEN TIMELINE of FCP 6. Because of this, I can put footage that doesn't match the sequence settings into said sequence and NOT have to render. No more RED render bar...dark green. A very unnoticable dark green I might add. So I copy and pasted merrily along blissfully unaware that I was doing anything wrong.THIS is the proper sequence settings I should have used:The other editor was in the same boat. Apparently he too had the same Easy Setup (I believe I set up that computer as well...ahem...) and he took bits and pieces of a couple sequences full of selects to start building his cut. So too did not get the "settings" warning.Whew. OK then. Now we need to fix this. We fixed one clip...scaled to 100%, distort back to 0. Then we selected the clip, hit Apple-C to COPY, then highlighted the other clips and hit OPTION-V, Paste Attributes, and chose BASIC MOTION and DISTORT. This fixed the other clips. We had to do this carefully, as not all the footage in the sequences were DVCPRO HD. We have plenty of archival footage that was captured at DV resolution, and loads of stills with moves applied to them. Fixing the DV clips was easy, just did the same Paste Attributes thing. But the stills...the moves were now all wrong, so we needed to fix those.Needless to say, editing went on longer than anticipated and we missed FedEx (started the final assembly at 5PM for a 5:30 PM output to be gotten to the LAX FedEx drop off with a late drop of deadline). Since we missed the deadline, we took a little longer to tweak the show and then output it as H.264 that we then uploaded to an FTP site for the network to download and view.Oh, and when I say "we did this" and "we did that," I mean the OTHER editors did most of this fix and output. I had to leave at 6PM sharp to get home to watch the kids as my wife had an important meeting to get to. So I got to miss out in all the fun. At least locally. I was on the phone for a bit of this.This is the sort of thing that happens when one is deep in the "creative" aspect of cutting. You attention is so focused on story and content that you aren't really paying attention to the technical. When I was an assistant I'd notice this a lot in the other editors. They would render to the wrong drive, or mix AVR (Avid Video Resolution) formats in the timeline, typically titles rendered in the wrong format, causing the WRONG FORMAT error to pop up. Now that I am the editor, I am the one not paying attention causing the WRONG FORMAT errors.Needless to say I won't make THIS mistake again.COMING UP: On the next episode of Little Frog in High Def...Shane's edit station goes from the occurance a few small minor annoyances to a complete system meltdown.

Posted by: Shane Ross on Mar 19, 2008 at 12:31:06 amComments (2) editing, documentaries, adobe, final cut pro
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TIME MACHINE...and other things.

Here is the Kona KBox mounted on the back of my IKEA "rack." I had to add an extra piece of wood to the side, but the 2U rack brackets fit nicely.Now...onto TIME MACHINE. In my MacPro I have 5 drives. The system drive is in Bay 1, I have three Seagate 500GB drives in the other 3 bays. One stands alone as a work drive, where I store show exports, imported footage and other odd and ends that I transfer to the server. The final two are RAIDED as RAID 0 and I use them to capture media too before I transfer it to the XSAN.I have a fifth drive installed in this MacPro. The fifth drive resides in the normally empty second optical bay. It is connected to the computer via one of the two spare SATA connections on the logicboard (accessed by removing the fans) and a 3.5" to 5.25" adapter kit. I use this drive as my TIME MACHINE drive, since I am using Leopard. Already this has saved my behind.There was a small bit of temp footage that we had in the system that was accidentally ripped from the DVD as h.264. When I added this to the timeline, it required rendering...a clue to me that it was not an editing codec. So I copied the file to my computer, used Compressor to convert it to DV, and copied the DVD file back to the XSAN. I then went to reimport this clip and dropped it into the timeline and..it STILL recuired rendering. HUH? I looked at the clip and it STILL said it was h.264. Somehow it was still referencing the clip on my desktop, or in the trash...somewhere. So I dragged the clip to the trash and tried to empty it. It couldn't...FCP was still referencing it. So I quit FCP and then emptied the trash. To make sure that it linked properly, I also trashed the converted file on my drive. Then I opened FCP and...and...the clip was offline. I looked at the file I copied over and it was corrupt...zero KB.It was gone. Crap. Here I am, Sunday night and hour 10 into a 12 hour shift, and I lost media and I don't know where the DVD is, and it is footage I need. Crap crap crap.Then I remember that I have Time Machine running. What the heck, I'll check. So I open my desktop folder and then hit TIME MACHINE. I go back one notch and...YUP, there it is...on the desktop. So I copy the DV file over...RESTORE it...and drop it on the XSAN. Import that into FCP and all is good. I like Time Machine.But this also points to an issue with my connection with the XSAN. I know something is up because I have to type in my password any time I want to copy footage to it...AUTHENTICATE it. And I can't create folders on it, nor set it as my scratch disk. I gotta call the IT guys and get them to look at it.

Posted by: Shane Ross on Mar 11, 2008 at 11:21:25 pm editing, apple, adobe, final cut pro
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STRANGE HISTORY-FIRST 3 WEEKS

The official title of the History Channel Series I am working on is STRANGE HISTORY. The stories will mainly deal with taboos, cultural and sexual, and strange cultural practices from around the world. There, now you know.The first week there I was working on one of the rental systems. Because my computer hadn't come in yet and because they didn't play on renting my system for a few weeks yet. Now, this rental system was a bit lacking. Sure, it had the Octo Mac 3.0Ghz and a LARGE Mackie Mixer (that you would find on an Avid system) with 16 channels, 4 of which we use. Two for FCP, two for the deck...oh, 5...one for the microphone (temp VO). It had a Kona 3 card, was on one of those HUGE editing desks, was nestled in a rack, and had big HD LCDs. Not color correctable ones, but an early model Sony Luma series that was fine for producers to look at. The computer monitors? Lacking....WAY lacking. 17" square LCDs...brand I haven't heard of. SMALL, to say the least. I suffered on these for two weeks. The third week I was on my system. The rental didn't start on it until THIS week, but I wouldn't allow myself to suffer any more.About the mic. We had it plugged into the Mixer, but then, how to get that audio from the mixer into the computer? The Kona 3 cards only have AES EBU audio in, so what do we do? Well, I happen to have the Griffin iMic, a device that takes an audio input via RCA and plugs into the computer via USB. This shows up on the INPUT list in the VO tool just fine. ISSUE...I had one, but Griffin no longer made the iMic. So for 3 weeks we have been shuttling back and forth from bay to bay. I finally searched EBAY and found a few. We will be getting them in soon. Why not get a USB mic and be done with it? Well, we already had mics, and to control them from the mixer is a breeze, so why not just get the $20 tool that allows you to use that?Now for the types of footage we are working with. Plenty of Varicam DVCPRO HD 720p24 footage. A few 32GB cards worth of P2. Then comes the temp footage. DVDs with screener footage, temp stills, FLASH MOVIES from the internet...VHS screeners. Hoo boy...where to start. DVDs we are ripping using DVDxDV. I find it much more stable than MPEG STREAMCLIP, and the encode process is fast and very clean. I have the PRO version on mine, because one show I worked on had DVD as a master, and I needed to encode it uncompressed SD to match everything else. The flash video (odd that we have to do this, but the clearance people said that is where they were directed) presented a problem. We tried FFMPEGX but that didn't do it. And we tried iSquint, but that didn't encode to an editable format. I could have gone with Visual Hub....but our budget was tight, and we had other fish to fry. OH, and FIRST we had to get them off the web using a few website services that did this. SO I did a test capture using iShowU and that worked out very well. I took the result into Compressor and used the Advanced Conversion presents (DV/NTSC) to upscale it and make it into a workable codec and all was good. And because of the open format timeline, we could mix DVCPRO HD and DV just fine without rendering. Mind you all of these DVD rips and internet downloads are ALL temp. WE are putting reel numbers that indicate that they are TEMP only. When we lock picture, THAT is when we order the master footage and capture it properly.OK...now on to how I spent my days. The first 3 days I spent looking at footage of female boxers. Figuring out how to use markers to mark and name the footage, then use those markers to subclip the master tapes. The other editor just went with the markers, but I liked the actual subclips. Of course this presented me with a few issues in dealing with these subclips...which I talk about on the Apple forums. Then I was presented with a script...well, semi OUTLINE with interview soundbytes paraphrased...and no transcripts. So I then spend the next two days listening to interviews and making a few selects. The BIG producer came in and said that this segment wasn't going to be in the first episode anymore, they have changed the order of a few things, so I was asked to start looking at footage for another segment. Again, no script, just interviews, so I listened to them.The next week I was told to move onto yet ANOTHER segment, as it had more stuff to get into. And it did, the other one had no b-roll, it was all interview. It had to be, the story takes place in communist China in the 1970's. There would be generic b-roll, but we didn't have any yet. This other segment had more, and the producer had more of an idea about what points he wanted to hit, so I moved onto that. I spent the rest of the week cutting up the 3 hours of interviews into a 15 minute story. On Friday, I was handed a script. I was off.Did I mention that the first rough cut for the first show was due the FOLLOWING Friday? I didn't? Oh, well either did they. I find this out on Tuesday. Well, I can't go into details, but the delivery was pushed until Monday, then after a screening it was pushed to Tuesday, because huge structure changes needed to be addressed. What looked good on paper didn't on TV...which is typical. So I came in on Sunday and worked for 12 hours, then came in on Monday and worked hard until I finished my segments at 3. WHEW. All we needed now was a quick tease, to tie the segments together and find a bridge...or leave that alone for now. Just need to get the network something to show how we want to approach things. Then I come to find that we need more changes, and delivery was pushed until this Friday.WHEW.So today I was back on boxing girls until I get a new script. Mind you, this is all very typical for this kind of work. I grow to expect it. And I know that all the effort I put in on the weekend might get tossed aside in favor of a new approach. BUT, that work still served a purpose. To find out what works and what doesn't. Knowing what doesn't is a pretty big thing. Now all we need to do is find out what does work.

Posted by: Shane Ross on Mar 11, 2008 at 10:50:07 pm editing, television, documentaries, adobe, final cut pro, workflow
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HALF UP FRONT

Last December I was asked to edit a trailer for a documentary.  This trailer would be used to solicit finishing funds.  And while they couldn't pay much, they could pay.  Since I wasn't doing anything in January and halfway thru Febuary, I took the job.  The client asked how they should deal with the payment  I said that I would like half up front, and half when I deliver the final.  That sounded fine to them, so I received half the payment and the tapes to begin editing.I worked on the project for about 3 weeks, and delivered a rough cut.  Then I waited...and waited...and waited.  Finally two weeks ago I received word from the director (the guy who hired me).  The producers partnership had split due to philosophical differences in the way they wanted to approach the documentary.  So not only was it on hold, but it might be shut down altogether.  At least the one that I was asked to edit.  The producers might end up with separate docs...but for me, the project was done.Now, I am glad that I got half up front, because the doc was DOA.  I am darn sure that trying to get partial payment after what happened would be darn near impossible.  Who would want to pay for nothing?  This is a lesson I learned the hard way on a previous project.  Getting paid is VERY important.  If you don't arrange weekly payments, you need to arrange some sort of payment so that you can have something to live off of while you work.  

Posted by: Shane Ross on Mar 6, 2008 at 11:22:20 pmComments (1) editing, documentaries, adobe, business, indie film
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FAILURE

A couple posts ago I pointed out the great PSA "Indie Fever" that Scott Simmons of the EditBlog made.In what seems like perfect timing, I found myself watching a great short documentary on IFC on Monday called Failure. I stumbled on this by accident. My wife and I always watch the Henry Rollins Show and before I could change the channel, I saw the lead in to this documentary. I watched it...and it was hilarious. It was a documentary all about this guys attempt to make an independent film. In short, it was a disaster...and from the scenes he showed, I wondered what the heck it was about, because none of the scenes made sense. And he seemed to fall into every single pitfall that beginning filmmakers make...well, there was no "dream sequence," so he avoided one. But it showcased a lot of the points made by the Indie Fever PSA...and what was really neat is that the documentary was VERY GOOD. The movie he was doing was so bad, yet this was great. He spent three years making this, and it shows. Lots of time to fine tune it. Pure joy to watch. Because I have made a



or two in my time and this seems all to familiar to me.While I am linking like a mad man, I might as well link to the FAILURE Myspace page.


Posted by: Shane Ross on Feb 29, 2008 at 8:54:16 am documentaries, adobe, indie film
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Nacelle on the 101

I love this town...LA. Every now and then I see some character actor in the park or in the store. I cut off Danny DeVito in front of Warner Brothers my first week in town...got an earful. I walked thru the airplace crash set of the new WAR OF THE WORLDS one week before they shot, because the production I was working on was just up the hill on the Universal Lot. During my lunch hour from jury duty I walked into the Bradbury Building where they shot a lot of Blade Runner scenes. Snuck onto the lot at Warner Brothers and walked down the street where they shot Seinfeld.Then today, I am driving to work on the 101 Freeway, on the Barham pass near Universal City, when I come up behind this semi truck towing a flatbed trailer with a large tube on it. I took small notice, thinking it was some large pipe for some sort of underground irrigation. Then I start passing it as I approached my exit into Hollywood and I look closer and notice that it isn't a pipe, it looks like some sort of rocket. So I speed up to get a closer look and then I see what it is.One of the nacelles from the U.S.S. Enterprise. Most likely a LARGE SCALE model for the new movie...no doubt on the way to the Paramount lot. This thing was HUGE! As long as a light post. I quickly whipped out my iPhone and snapped a couple hasty pics.What is this? Where does it go? This is a nacelle:OK...I'm done geeking now.

Posted by: Shane Ross on Feb 29, 2008 at 8:53:34 am movies, adobe
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