Saturday, June 21, 2014

MediaHuman Audio Converter

Here's a handy FREE app to convert Audio pretty painlessly.

MediaHuman Audio Converter

It's pretty straight forward in use. Drag audio files in, set output format and hit go.

Don't forget to head to preferences and set it's output destination to someplace you'd like first. I set it to source folder, the default is in iTunes' music folder.

Image Capture not showing Photos or Videos on connected Phone

I've run into this a few times. The solution turns out, while simple, is completely non-intuitive.

The problem:

You've connected a client's phone to pull off all the "tons of absolutely great" videos and photos they've taken to "help" with the project. And you, being the editor kinda-sorta have to use them because heck, the client themselves took them just for you for their project.

You connect their phone (or iPad or whatever) to your Mac via the cable and launch Image Capture and nothing shows up. Both the Mac and the phone just sit there. Wonderful.

The solution:

Launch iTunes.

Yep. It'll ask if you want to access the connected device. Hit "Trust" on the phone and they'll show up after a few seconds in Image Capture and you can just highlight them all and drag them off and "forget" to use them later on because they're useless and blurry and shaky.

ProTip:

If you want to "untrust" the phone on your computer or they insist they do (Security! they say, "It's the business phone and our IT guys need it to be secure.") what I think you do, is this mess:

Reset the Lockdown Folder.

Yes. Hard as it is to believe that's how it's done.

If you just want to Untrust the phone you just trusted just now, open the Lockdown Folder and then sort by date created and delete the most recent one.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

MediaPreview's 8mm Stock Footage Depot

In the past I reviewed MediaPreview's 8mm Distress Kit which is a pretty cool way to add 8mm film effects to your footage. Recently, they've opened up an 8mm stock footage archive which going by their sample footage has some pretty interesting glimpses into the past. Footage like this is immensely helpful for flashbacks, retro-projected footage for projects, tv footage, music videos or (good or bad) art installations, etc...

You can check it out here

Monday, March 24, 2014

Can't Open a PowerPoint to Import into FCP

I ran across this today and the fix is simple.

I have a powerpoint that's a .pptx PowerPoint file. That means it was created in PowerPoint 2007 or later. Now, .ppt is for earlier versions than I think 2007. A client sent me a link to a PowerPoint that was to be used in an edit and for some reason QuickView nor Keynote could open it. Keynote threw out an "Import Error".

I then noticed that the file was filename.pptx.ppt when it should have just been .pptx. Somehow the download  service that they used to send me the file for some reason appended on .ppt to the file.

Changing the file from .pptx.ppt to it's original .pptx file extension solved the problem of opening it in Keynote.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Time Machine has Slow Backups and Slows down the CPU

This isn't really a FCP tip per se, but I was editing -doing a favor which is another way to spell free- at someone's home recently helping them with a project and noticed after a while that their Time Machine back ups were taking forever; it seemed to be constantly running. It was using a bit of CPU and really thrashing a connected drive.

I checked the Console (Applications > Utilities > Console) and typed in "Starting standard backup" into the search box and looked at the times Time Machine had been running. Looking at the times between "Backup completed successfully" and "Starting standard backup" I saw that backups were taking near 50mins, meaning that Time Machine wasn't grinding away for only 10mins every hour.

I looked around a little bit and one thing to try to fix this, other than just turning it off as it's a problem from 10.6.x all the way to 10.8.x, is to perform a Safe Boot.

1. Reboot the Mac
2. Right after the Startup Chime (Bong noise) hold down the SHIFT key, this is called a Safe Boot
3. Wait for a while. You may see not only an Apple logo on the screen above a "Gear" wheel but below that you may see a progress bar as well. Keep holding down the SHIFT key
4. When it finishes booting (and log in if it asks you to) wait for it to settle down, don't launch any apps, then Reboot. This time don't hold down the SHIFT key.
5. Wait for Time Machine to run again or force it to run by selecting it from the menubar and selecting "Back Up Now"

In a backup or two you should see back ups moving along much faster. There's some complicated stuff going on here with UUID's and Deep Traversal but this is one quick thing to try to solve it before you delve into deleting backups or using another drive (which people often think fixes it but just starts a new backup which you could get by formatting your current Time Machine drive) or running repair utilities.

This process is for if you have a Time Machine back up drive directly connected to a Mac. I'm not sure how well or if at all, this would help a slow network backup.

Friday, August 23, 2013

PDF Colors are Black

I ran into this the other day and learned a few things about printing that convince me that understanding the Voynich Manuscript may be simpler than understanding printing "standards".

Ok, you get a PDF from a client and use Quicklook to look at it, or Preview or toss it into FCP 6/7 and some of the pretty colors the so-called "Creatives" over there made are now showing up as black.

This is also a problem on some versions of iOS it turns out but this post is about OS X.

Simple solution? Use Adobe's free PDF viewer.

The under-the-hood solution is that some versions of Mac OS and FCP and Preview don't understand things called Spot Colors. In a way Spot Colors are kind of like RGB and CMYK only they're different.

Bottom line is that in order to display the colors correctly update Mac OS to the latest, say Mountain Lion or open the PDF in Illustrator or Photoshop, you may have to add in a white or whatever background then save it out as a TIFF or Jpeg or something. Then dump it into FCP.

From the other side, a better but more complicated solution is to convert the PMS values to CMYK right in Photoshop or Illustrator.

Basically open the PDF in Illustrator and Save Adobe PDF and for Destination select something like "Document CMYK - US Web Coated (SWOP) v2" or something similar. Don't include profiles, may help. I'm not sure.

Another option is to select Edit > Edit Colors > Convert to CMYK then save the PDF.

What works consistently for me is this however:





Bleh.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Can't Empty Trash Error Code -8003

Several times now I've installed Box.com's BoxSync app only to find out after it's installed that I cannot empty the trash. I use Box.com a lot for clients and turns out they're using it more and more but Box.com's installer needs some work and I've emailed them a few times to let them know with not results.

What happens is you install the app, toss the installer into the trash and hit Empty Trash or your favorite key combo (mine is COMMAND + SHIFT + OPTION +DELETE) and the Mac yells at you about how it can't do that and tosses up an error code of -8003.

Rebooting then emptying the trash doesn't help.
Holding down option when you empty trash (see key combo above) doesn't work.
Trying to securely empty trash doesn't work.

What I've had to do a handful of times now on different Macs with different versions of the OS installed to delete BoxSync (this applies to anything that refuses to be deleted) is this:

1. Launch the Terminal
2. Type EXACTLY and without quotes "cd .Trash" hit return.
3. Type EXACTLY and without quotes "ls -al" hit return and see all the stuff that's in the trash.
4. After you confirm what you want to delete is in the trash type EXACTLY and without quotes "rm " that's lower case rm and a space(bar), then type the first letter, paying attention to capitalization of the file and tap TAB to auto complete it. This is for FILES not folders or packages!
5. Hit return and it should be gone.

If it's a package like Box Sync Installer is then step 4 is slightly different. Type EXACTLY and without quotes "rm -rf " thats lower case rm a space(bar) a dash and lower case rf then another space(bar). Then type a capital B and tap TAB to auto complete it. It should look like this:

rm - rf Box\ Sync\ Installer.app/

Hit return and it should be gone. Finally.

TECHNICAL STUFF:

If you really want to find the offending file and don't have a ton of stuff in the trash you can move items back where they were, meaning back on the same volume, drive, folder or whatever, just not in the Trash. I put stuff from one drive into a new temp folder I name "TRASH THIS!" so they're not loose all over the place on that drive.

Then put them in the trash and delete them one by one. Eventually you'll hit a folder or file that won't delete. Recently I had a file that was actually a package that wouldn't delete and tossed up the -8003 error.

Here's what I did once I found the file that refused to be deleted.

- Launch the Terminal

- Type "cd" space-bar then drag the folder that has that file into the terminal, it'll fill out the path then hit Return.

- Type "ls -al" to list the files. (If you want to get fancy type "ls -FaGlh" for a nicer looking file list in the Terminal)

- Type this EXACTLY, "rm" space-bar, then the first letter of the file that won't delete, then the Tab key. Hitting the Tab key will fill out the rest of the file name saving you from typing or worse, mistyping it.

EXAMPLE:

If the file is called roughcut.mov type "rm" hit the spacebar and type "r" then Tab key. The Terminal will show something like:

rm folder/roughcut.mov

Hit Return and it should delete the file.

If it's a folder, from inside the folder that folder is in (see "cd" above) it's in, add a -rvf to the command. This will show you all the things it's deleting.

-r will delete folders and their contents
-v shows you all the stuff it's deleting
-f tells the rm command to ignore files that aren't really there

If you want to confirm every file before it's deleted I think you can add an "i" to the string of switches like "-rvfi"

Careful with all this, using the rm command can seriously ruin your day if you're not careful. To read more about rm type this into the Terminal and hit enter:

man rm

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Suddenly Slow Exports

I noticed today that an export was going along smoothly then suddenly crawled to nearly a halt. Glancing around I just happened to notice that the hard drive the file was being exported to had only a few gigs left on it. Another case of someone putting something into the trash and failing to empty it.

After emptying the trash -and freeing up over 30 gigs of space- the export speed seemed to pick back up to what would be expected. I'm not 100% sure that was the cause, it could have just coincided with exporting (and rendering out since nothing was pre-rendered) a particularly graphic laden section or something.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Using .EPS files in Final Cut Pro

A client sent me a slew of images the other day and some were CMYK while others were RGB, yet most were .eps files despite me requesting that they send them as RGB .jpg or .tiff to save time (ermagerd duh deadlinez!) [This is the same client who thought we'd edit the video over the course of a normal workday...day...as in single 8 hour day even though we'd shot for over two full days weeks earlier and I still had no script so no VO]

 FCP prefers images to be RGB so I had to convert the CMYK ones in Photoshop (or Pixelmator) but since these were .eps files I had to save them as .Jpgs or .tiffs or something. For some reason some clients really really insist on .tiffs in video projects "They're uncompressed!" they'll tell me. Depending on my mood I'll correct them or just plod along mindless nodding.

Anywho, when you open a .eps file in PS you'll see something like this:


I changed it to something like this:

Since it's a .eps file you can bump up it's resolution while you're here and have something nice a big and hi-res to work with in FCP. Just save it out as a .jpg or if the client is particularly persnickety a .tiff, dump it into FCP and be on your way.

Your Startup Disk is Almost Full

I was editing on a computer that I don't normally use today and suddenly Mac OS X yells that Your Startup Disk is Almost Full, from out of no where.

Being on a machine I've never used before I had no way of knowing what had been done to it. Usually this stuff is caused by caches, render files or someone setting the capture folder to the wrong place, or a surprising amount of the time, multiple exported full-res versions of a project.

I looked around at macupdate and found an app called DiskWave which shows sizes of folders in a pretty simple to use format.

In this case it was Adobe's Cache folders in the user's Library folder, about 5 GBs worth. I trashed 'em without asking the client and went on working.

So if you run out of space this little free app is pretty handy.