Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Quickly find out what media an optical drive can burn

A few times I've been someplace editing and have no idea what kind of burner is in the Mac there. Being pro-Terminal mostly, I tend to fire up the terminal and type in "drutil info" and hit Return. You'll see something like this:



You can also use System Profiler (Hold Option when selecting the Apple menu and you'll see About this Mac turn into System Profiler...) or use something like Toast but launching the Terminal and tying a simple command is reliable and fast.

Smoothcam Bug in FCP7?

Some people are finding that smoothcam when exported from FCP 7 doesn't export as seen in the viewer or canvas.

A friend just ran into this issue and is now reverting back to FCP 6 and then Leopard (10.5.x) to see which causes the problem if either.

Wintertime & Coulomb's Law



In the winter the air is dryer and that means electrons like to jump around causing static electricity which while fun for siblings and spouses isn't for cats and computers.

If you're switching a lot of cables around, plugging in cameras, etc...try and reduce your static potential with a humidifier. I leave mine running pretty much 24/7 near my editing stations in the winter. Here are some more tips on reducing static electricity.

Remember, the lower the relative humidity the higher potential the static is...potentially 21,000+ volts which hard drives really don't appreciate.

Friday, December 25, 2009

FCP Versioner Updated

I don't use it but it does offer some interesting features.

The $60 (single license) FCP Versioner saves projects as XML files* (which FCP already can do, so I'm not sure of the benefits there) but it also provides a change log between saved versions of a project (which can be handy if you're not already familiar with XML, diff and the terminal) and allows for greater flexibility of number of saves per some length of time. I like autosaving every 15 mins so after an 8 hour day you have 32 saves with only 15mins of work between them. For longer projects or when they're closer to completion I usually change that to about one every hour.

There is a 15 day trial here.

*FCP Versioner's Autosave requires FCP7.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Remove the U3 partition on USB SanDisk flash drives

I use flash drives for quick, cheap and small backups of FCP save files. I use Dropbox but when the client doesn't have an internet connection or it'll take too long to download 800MBs of save files I like to use a flash drive.

But, on some SanDisk flash drives they have this annoying U3 partition that seems impossible to get rid of.

Here are two links about how to remove that partition on a Mac.

Link 01
Link 02

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Final Cut Pro 6.x + Snow Leopard means your gamma is wrong


FCP's Viewer vs. Quicktime Player 7

If you use FCP 6.x and Snow Leopard your Gamma onscreen in the Canvas and Viewer is likely wrong. Here's some more info about it.

FCP corrects for viewing at 2.2 gamma, so when you're using Leopard or earlier which has 1.8 gamma everything is okay. But, since Snow Leopard defaults to 2.2 gamma, FCP is over correcting the gamma.

If you have FCP 6.x and Snow Leopard check it out yourself. Open up a file in FCP, then also open it in QT 7 and compare the images. Toggle "Enable FCP compatibility" in QT Player 7 as well. Compare the gamma of the images.

Bottom line, if at all possible correct your work on a broadcast/production monitor or just burn off a DVD and pop it into your player and take a look at it.

Conversely, you may see a similar issue with FCP7 and Leopard.

If you don't do anything else, at least learn to use the Vectorscope and Waveform Monitor and correct using those.

Viewing small movies at correct size in Quicktime X

I really really really don't like Quicktime X.

Here's a rather unusual tip to view small movies at their correct size since QTX resizes and scales up smaller movies.

"To quickly view a movie without this restriction, I drag it into a new mail message. The player used in Mail has the old-style controller at the bottom, and plays the movies at the correct size."

It may be further evidence that QTX is just window dressing to the old standard QT core technology that's been around for a while now.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

VLC for Mac Losing Developers



VLC for the Mac may be dead due to lack of active developers.

If you can help out or know someone that can, head over to their developer page.

by Rémi Denis-Courmont on Sun Dec 06, 2009 11:00 pm

There are now effectively zero active developers for MacOS.

As an immediate consequence, the 64-bits releases for MacOS has already been put on hold.
I don't need to mention the stale status of the MacOS user interface.
If it goes on like this, MacOS support may be discontinued as of VLC 1.1.0. There is nobody to make the necessary updates to the MacOS support code, for instance to support the new VLC video output architecture.

Taking into account the learning curve to VLC development, I think it is fair to say that the situation is now critical.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Microsoft Abandons Indeo Codec

Microsoft has decided to disable a 17-year-old video codec in older versions of Windows rather than patch multiple vulnerabilities, according to the company's security team.

The update targets only the oldest editions of Microsoft's operating system: Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 already bar the Indeo codec from loading. Intel introduced the codec in 1992.


You can read the article here. I'm sure that at some point, with some client this will be an issue.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Western Digital's Advanced Format for HDs

Western Digital has something called "Advanced Format" for hard drives that increases their usable space anywhere from 7 to 11%. You can read about it here. Looks like it's transparently compatible with OS X.

I guess it's another way to keep increasing HD space while skirting the issue of superparamagnetism.

Shoot Underwater on the Cheap

I don't have an iPod nano 5G that does video so I can't test this out but a company called H2O Audio has an underwater case for the iPod Nano 5G which lets you shoot video underwater.

The iPod Nano 5G lets you shoot 640x480 30fps in H.264 but at $79.99 if you already have a 5G nano this could be a cheap way to get some underwater shots for youtube videos and what not.

A company called DryCase makes one for the iPhone (which I can't test either since I still don't have an iPhone) or any electronic device which costs only $40 or so and is vacuum-sealed with a headphone jack on the outside.

As a kid I'd wrap my 8mm Video camera in Saran Wrap and jump into the pool with it which was cheaper but considerably more adventurous.

Or you can just do this:

Audio Waveforms Only Display When Zoomed

In FCP 6.0.6 I've mentioned the audio waveform display bug before, but here's a new twist to an old problem.

In the Timeline one set of audio will display the waveform while another one won't. They're identical as far as I can see and in fact, were recorded at the same time only on two separate yet identical cameras.



That's what it looks like in the Timeline. The upper channels are flatlined, but if you load that audio clip into the Viewer you'll see something like this:



Now, if you zoom in one more iteration you'll see the waveform:



Most of the time quitting and relaunching FCP (6.0.6) will clear this up but not always. Trashing the waveform cache can help as well but it's not a 100% guaranteed fix.

AUgraphicEQ's Battle of the Bands



I've never been able to get the AUgraphicEQ audio filter's 10 Band setting to work. It's either a bug or something I'm unaware of. When I set the pull-down to 10 Bands nothing changes...the sliders aren't reduced in number nor are they linked so it's effectively only 10 bands.

I have heard from some others that it works in other applications but not using those apps I have no idea really. It may just be a filter in those apps with the same name. In FCP, the 10 band setting seems to have no effect.

QUICK TIP: While playing back an edit and having this or other filters active, you can use a mouse like the Mighty Mouse to adjust the sliders in real time during playback when normally it would stop if you click and drag on a slider. Just position the cursor over a slider and use your scroll wheel/ball...just don't click or playback will likely stop.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

View .mkv files with Quicklook

Macosxhints has an interesting tip on how to enable viewing of .mkv files with Quicklook. It involves Perian and NicePlayer and a bit of Terminal magic.

An alternate way to do the same thing with fewer installs is here.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Verbatim's InSight USB External HD with Display

Testfreaks.com has a review of Verbatim's interesting "always on" external USB drive.

They have a small LCD screen on them that shows you the remaining capacity even when they're not plugged in. I wonder what the capacity they report is based on, base 2 or base 10...

Anyway, they could be really handy in a shooting/editing environment if they were firewire and held more than 500GBs. Kinda like a firestore only reasonably priced with bigger capacity. I can imagine the hassled avoided by just having a pile of these on a shelf and grabbing one based on it's remaining capacity by glancing at the display.

It would save a lot of masking tape labels. At least for me. Verbatim's page on the drives is here.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Big List of Ejecting Stuck Discs

Ever burn a disc and after it's burnt it seemingly vanishes? No noise, no icon in the Finder...nothing?

I've mentioned it before but there are a few things to try (even some from Apple) when you can't eject a disc from your optical drive.

Here's a list:

01) Hold the Eject key on your keyboard for a few seconds.
02) Drag the disc to the Trash
03) Highlight the disc and hit Command + E
04) Right-Click on the disc in the FInder and select "Eject [disc name]"
05) Launch the Terminal and type "drutil eject" and hit Return. You can also try "drutil tray eject".
05.1) Type in "drutil list" and then after you ID the optical drive you want to eject type "drutil tray eject 1" where the number is the number matching the optical drive.
06) Launch Disk Utility and highlight the disc and then the Eject button at the top of the window.
07) Restart and while booting keep the mouse button held down but may not work with all wireless mice (this worked on the Mac 128K for floppies, btw...I'm old)
08) Intel Only - Boot while holding Option down, then hit Eject on the keyboard. (Holding Menu on your remote while booting may also bring you to the Option menu)
09) Boot while holding the Eject key on the keyboard until disk ejects. (Likely won't work for Bluetooth keyboards)
10) Use FREE 3rd-Party software like DiscEject.
11) IF your Mac supports Open Firmware boot with Command + Option + O + F held down, then type in "eject-cd"
12) You can try your F12 key to see if that does anything. (It can be the eject key on some keyboards/Macs).
13) Navigate to System/Library/CoreServices/Menu Items/Eject.menu and double click it to enable a menu eject item. (Tip: Command drag it out of hte menubar to get rid of it)
14) AT YOUR OWN RISK: If you hear the disc spinning seemingly endlessly, put something in the drive to stop it form spinning and it should, in theory, eject.
15) AT YOUR OWN RISK: If it's a Mac Mini you can gently press down on top of the computer to stop the disc from spinning but this is probably a very very bad idea.
16) If it's a bay-mounted disc burner/reader you can try the physical eject button a few times.
17) It it's a bay-mounted disc burner/reader you can gently but firmly push an unbent paperclip into the eject hole. You may hear some scary sounds if the disc is spinning while you do this.

Note: Disk generally means Hard Drive/Disk and Disc generally means Optical Discs...who knew?

Soundtrack Pro "Unexpected" results when exporting multichannel

From Apple's Knowledge Base article updated on Dec 9th '09:

Symptoms
Exporting tracks, busses, or submixes may include unintended channel selections of multichannel clips in the exported file. After exporting, unintended channel selections of multichannel clips may be included during playback.


Resolution is to set Audio MIDI Setup's built-in output to 48K. The article is here.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Enable the Lock Screen menu item



Sometimes I find myself editing while on the road or in some building and I can't always be sure that the computer I'm editing on won't suddenly be seen as merely a convenient Facebook or Twitter access node so, provided I have admin access, I like to enable the Lock Screen menu item.

01) Hit Command + Shift + U to open up the Utilities folder.
02) Tap "K" to highlight Keychain Access.
03) Hit Command + O to launch it.
04) Hit Command + Comma to open the prefs.
05) Tick "Show Status in Menu Bar".
06 Hit Command + W, then Command + Q to close out and quit Keychain access.



Now you can just go there, click and select Lock Screen and walk away knowing there's at least something between you and any idle fingers.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Finder's Clipboard & FCP's Clipboard

Here's something I just noticed.

When you have something copied to the clipboard from within FCP (at least with Snow Leopard) then you go to say, TextEdit and copy some text you'll have two different things in your clipboard.

If you goto TextEdit (or any text editor) you'll paste the text, then without copying anything new if you to FCP you'll paste what you copied from within FCP.

Maybe this is some feature that's been around that I'm unaware of but it's really handy.

The Clipboard vs Multiclips



Here's an odd behavior: When you have a sequence with edited multiclips/multicam and you set an IN point in the Timeline right in the middle of a cross-dissolve and an OUT point somewhere else, the contents of the clipboard may not be what you expect.

If you've previously copied a section of the Timeline to the clipboard that copy will remain untouched in the clipboard if the new copy's IN point is on a cross-dissolve. The new copy won't be on the clipboard. You'll paste the older previous contents.

To copy from the IN point you want on the cross-dissolve you seemingly need to remove the cross-dissolve and then hit Command + C again. Or, copy from an IN point that's not on a cross-dissolve.

Likewise, if the OUT point is on a cross-dissolve the clipboard won't copy the current selection but will retain the previous copy.

Bug or something I'm doing wrong or expected behavior? I dunno. It makes sense in that at a cross-dissolve in an uncollapsed multicam Timeline FCP can't know which camera angle you want, but should (in theory) just copy what's on screen mid-dissolve but this would require it to make an non-affiliated clip in the process. Yikes.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Drobo Dashboard updated to 1.6.6

Drobo Dashboard has been updated to v1.6.6 and resolves a 64bit issue.

DamnVid Video Converter



Not a recommendation (because I haven't played with it much) but rather just a mention:

DamnVid is a cross-platform FREE video converter.

What is DamnVid?

A video converter, first and foremost. It makes use of the wonderful FFmpeg library, used in other software like VLC Media Player or Google Chrome.
A video downloader. While DamnVid can convert local video files just fine, it can also download video streams from most video sharing websites. But what gives it the edge over other video downloaders and converters is that not only it does both the downloading and the converting, but it does them at the same time: it converts as it downloads, making the whole process much faster.
A cross-platform software that sucks less.

What isn't DamnVid?

A video editor. While it can do basic things like change the resolution, aspect ratio, or volume of the video, DamnVid is by no means a video editor.
A video player. DamnVid never plays anything.
A media library. DamnVid organizes its videos into customizable folders, but it stops there.
A DVD ripper.
A stable program. Seriously. It just sucks less. Everything is relative.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Quickly Move Through Multiple Clip's Filters Via Keyboard


Let's say you need to make some differing adjustments to a series of color correction 3-way filters for some clips in sequence in the timeline. Rather than sit there and double-click through each one try this:

01) Double-click a clip to load it into the Viewer. (Alternately, highlight it and tap Enter)
02) Then (with the Viewer window having focus) use "Go to Next Edit" on the keyboard. It's Shift + E or Control + 8 or (Apostrophe).
03) As you move to each Next Edit per keystroke, the Viewer's Filter's tab will update to represent each clip the playhead is at the beginning of in the Timeline. The Viewer will act as though you have Open or Gang enabled in the Playhead Sync menu.

You can also use Up and Down arrow while the Viewer is highlighted.

So you can make quick adjustments to the filters as you cycle to each clip (per edit point so not each key press will go directly to a clip, but rather an edit point). The other thing to be aware of is if you have a cross-dissolve or something, while you progress through edit points the Canvas will just show the middle of the cross-dissolve and then move to the next edit point so mentally, you may miss a clip.

Bonus Tip: Since there are three keyboard commands for the Go to Next Edit command two of these are ready to be reassigned to something else if need be.

Just Two Scopes



FCP (6.0.6) doesn't provide a way to view just the two most important scopes Waveform Monitor and Vectorscope. So here's a way to just have those open that's simple but may be so simple it's overlooked.

In FCP hit Option + 9 to open up the scopes ("Tool Bench") then hit Option + 9 again to open another identical window as a tab in the first.

Set that tab to Waveform Monitor and drag it out of that window and put it where it works for you. Change the underlying window to Vectorscope and put it near the Waveform Monitor. This way you have the two most useful scopes onscreen simultaneously without scopes you don't need or which may eat up some CPU during playback.

5DtoFCP

I don't have need of it and can't test it, but I ran across this FREE app listing today.

5DtoFCP - 5DtoFCP is a complete FCS workflow package to get footage from a Canon5DmkII/7D/1D into Final Cut Pro at 25fps. Custom droplets, correctly configured sequence settings and flow chart included to make getting the HD H264 files into FCP easier & quicker.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Jump Forwards in the Timeline Without the Mouse

Control + 8 will "Go to Next Edit" in the Timeline, not terribly exciting since it's an additional key press compared to apostrophe key or down arrow, but instead try:

Control + 9 for "Go Forward 2 Edits". I use this a lot when sipping tea while looking over a project's color consistency.

Shift + right arrow or left arrow will advance the playhead 1 second forwards or backwards respectively.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Waveform Indicator Brightness Slider Bug



If you have a Mighty Mouse and you scroll left or right over the Video Scopes' Display and Scales brightness adjust slider the slider will move to the far left and right but the brightness of the actual Video Scopes won't be adjusted.

Just a quickie a friend noticed under 10.5.6 and FCP 6.0.6 and emailed me about.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Handbrake 64 bit requires VLC 64 bit

23X Blog has an interesting post on using Handbrake since Handbrake requires VLC for some operations.

Could be helpful to know if you routinely need to copy project or reel DVD's for clients.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Free Tool for Matroska Files



Matroska files are becoming more and more popular. What is it?

The Matroska Multimedia Container is an open standard free container format, a file format that can hold an unlimited number of video, audio, picture or subtitle tracks inside a single file.[1] It is intended to serve as a universal format for storing common multimedia content, like movies or TV shows. Matroska is similar in concept to other containers like AVI, MP4 or ASF, but is entirely open in specification, with implementations consisting mostly of open source software. Matroska file types are .MKV for video (with subtitles and audio), .MKA for audio-only files and .MKS for subtitles only.

I'm a fan of open standards and in my other life I use Ubuntu a lot for this reason. So if your client asks for an .mkv file or you need to monkey with them MKVToolnix, a FREE app to deal with Matroska files may be of some help.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Adjusting the Color Corrector Wheels



A quick one: You don't have to click on the tiny button to make adjustments. Clicking anywhere within the wheels is the same as clicking on the tiny button itself.

Also, holding Command lets you drag the button around faster.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

FCPkeystrokes


I'm not on Twitter (Wha?) Yup, but I found out there's a keystroke a day at FCPkeystrokes which is cool because I'm quite the habitué when it comes to the keyboard and keyboard commands. Check it out.

X29-Renamer

X29-Renamer is created to take those OS X "unfriendly" long names and truncate them, including and respecting any file extension, to the 31 characters that OS 9 accepts. In addition, to avoid name conflicts, the program will uniquely number each file or folder before the extension up to a maximum of 999.

This FREE software could be handy if someone is still using an OS9 based Avid or worse and you need to share files between the two. ;)

Sanyo H.264 Green MP4 Fix

Sanyo H.264 Fixer automatically "swaps" the H.264 component from the old (7.3) QT with the new one. Nothing is changed, except it can now play videos from the SANYO XACTI HD camcorders. This is a fix for the "green MP4 of death". NOTE: If your video is choppy, it means your computer is not fast enough.

Thought this was interesting although I've never run into this problem but here's a FREE app to help out.

Friday, November 20, 2009

AutoDesk Smoke 2010


Autodesk Smoke is coming to the Mac. It'll be ≈ $15,000.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Hard Drives Keep Spining Down

Western Digital MyBook external drives are notorious for having a mind of their own (firmware) which spins them down seemingly every other minute (actually every 10mins). During a 60min export a friend called and asked me why it was failing repeatedly seemingly in the same location. Could the files be corrupted somehow? Asking about his set up I knew the problem when he mentioned there were two WD external drives connected to the system.

There are a few things to you can do to stop this.

01) Boot into Windows and alter their firmware with Western Digital's own tools. Good luck with this.
02) Pay $10 for No Spin. Which I haven't tried.
03) Install the FREE Keep Drive Spinning but under Snow Leopard it'll require Rosetta.
04) Download the FREE Disksomnia, which I've mentioned before, but in order to download it you must provide your email address (they email you a link to download it...evil) which opens you up to spam, their newsletters and other junk. Also, the Disksomnia installers requires your admin password which I never like. Pacifist shows that all it installs is the app and then sets it as a log-in item.

I don't like log-in items and just need the app. Yay for pacifist.



05) Mac OS X Hints has a Bash Script to keep the drives spinning. Your luck may vary with this.

This has become such a bother for me that I'm no longer using or accepting WD External drives for editing from clients.

Some suggestions I've received are essentially variations on the same idea: Put a media file on the drive and keep it playing in a loop. Small .mov, .mp3, etc...

Syncing Two Mics...after the fact


You know about sub-frame audio editing but let's say the audio has already been edited into your timeline and a re-edit isn't feasible.

FCP (as far as I know) has no simple way to adjust audio in the timeline in less-than-a-frame increments. If you adjust the In and Out points of an edited-in audio clip with Shift held down to alter it by a sub-frame it'll just adjust the length of the clip and reset the In point provided there's space available in the Timeline.

A handy way to get two mics that are ever so slightly out of sync into sync is to apply the AUSampleDelay audio filter to one of the audio clips.

Get your audio as close to synced as possible in the Timeline.

01) I like to turn off Snapping (tap the "n" key), then tap the "s" key for the Slip Tool.

02) Click on the audio clip that you want to get closer to being into sync and after you click and hold, hold down the Command key to enable more precise adjustments. Move your audio clip one frame to the left or the right (trial and error to see which sounds better).

03) Now, head over to Effects > Audio Filters > AUSampleDelay and add it to your clip. Then start adjusting the "in to out delay" number by increments of 1000 or so until your audio is pretty much in sync. This, again, will be some Trial and Error. (some prefer to call this Trial and Improvement...sigh)

What AUSampleDelay does is tell the audio of an audio clip it's applied to to hold it's horses for a little bit before it starts playing. So if the other mic's audio is running ahead of the second mic's audio, you can tell it to wait just a fraction of a second before it starts so they both start simultaneously.

Quick Tip: Hit Command + 5 to get Focus on the Effects Window, then hit Command + F and type in "AUSample" to quickly get to the filter.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Drobo vs 32Bit Snow Leopard

A lot of you out there have Drobos and are running Snow Leopard with Drobo Dashboard; if you are and are running under 32bit there may be performance issues with your Drobo. Mac OS X Hints has some more info on this and a solution.

Clients DVD-R's Lifespans

OSTA says that the average lifespan of a burned CD-R and CD-RW is about 5-10 years. DVD-R's likely have a similar lifespan.

So you have a few options when it comes to storing your digital data:
Optical Media you burn.
Professionally made Optical Media.
Tape Backup
Mechanical Hard Drives
Solid State Hard Drives
RAIDs
Offsite RAIDs and Vaults
and now DiamonDiscs.

Cranberry says they only last 2-5 years so they've come up with an optical burnable disc that they claim lasts 1000 years. Yes, one thousand.

How's it work?
A Cranberry DiamonDisc is a DVD made of high tech stone.
Memories carved on a DiamonDisc will last as long as the pyramids. No reflective surface. No ink layer. No fading. Problem solved. The Library of Congress is studying our technology for storage of the national archives. It’s the only solution for permanent, digital storage.


The hitch is you have to buy an expensive ($5000.00) proprietary burner or send them your data and have them burn the discs for you. Their product page is here.

One thing I like on their site:

We need your money. How's that for transparency? The technology behind the DiamonDisc is so expensive that we cannot make much money selling you the DVD. We need you to subscribe to the DVD vault service so that we can pay the bills.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

HHD vs SSD


I've been asked more than a few times on what I think about HDD (spinning mechanical hard drives) vs SSD (solid state drives).

I've noticed a difference between the two during heaving editing. Dropped frames, longer seek times etc...but my experience is pretty limited, too limited to form a complete opinion yet. I did however run across this nice introductory article on the differences and limitations of SSDs compared to HHDs.

The two points that really caught my eye are:

As a primer for the following, we mention two major issues with SSDs:

1) HDDs can be put into storage for a decade and then, provided that there are still systems out there that support the interface, they can be plugged in and the data will be readily accessible. NAND flash-based SSDs will lose their data over time, even if they are powered down and in storage.

2) HDDs will show some degradation of performance over time, primarily relating to filling up of the outer diameter tracks and fragmentation of the drives’ media but a defragmentation will restore the performance since it is defined by spindle speed and media area density and those parameters never change. SSDs will show some initial extreme performance but degrade rapidly after heavy usage.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

HDRtist - a FREE HDR image application



Looking around for a way to make an image I've used way too much in a series of commercials look somehow different I ran across HDRtist, a FREE application that is a one-stop shop for creating an HDR image or making a pseudo-HDR image from one single image.

If you're unfamiliar with HDR photography you can read about it (and Tone Mapping) here. And for some photoshop how-to, check out this.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Add Audio Edit ... only

Here's a potentially time-saving tip that maybe isn't all that obvious.

If you're mostly editing audio (taking out the Director's long loud direction, timing beeps, etc...) but don't want to adjust or edit the video and you're in the habit of using Control + V like I am to edit all you need to do is turn off Auto Select for the Video tracks and Control + V away to just edit the audio tracks.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Lock & Load Stabilizer

A new stabilizer called "Lock & Load" was updated to 1.0.4 today. It purports to be the world's fastest and more intelligent than SmoothCam, the free stabilizer that comes with FCP, but Lock & Load is $149.00. There's a video of it in action and a free 15 day trial (with water mark) here.

I haven't tried it yet. If I do I'll report back here. It may be fun to run a comparison of the two on the same footage.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

FCP's Scroll Box Bug

Here's a quickie:




When you scroll while audio is playing in the Viewer with Apple's (now EOL'd) Mighty Mouse the display in the Viewer will be clean. However, if you scroll with the Viewer's Scroll Box slider you'll usually see artifacts like those above. I'm not sure what causes the redraw issue. Maybe some combo of hardware.

8mm Distress Kit Review

I had the opportunity to review Mediapreview's 8mm Distress Kit which is a $35 series of 28 clips to make your footage look like you shot it with your favorite Yashica 8-E III or Argus 8 back when 8mm meant split 16mm rather than 8mm video tapes.

What you get are two .mov files at 720x480 at 29.97fps. Every editor (and audience practically) is familiar with Artbeat's film looks so it's good to get some fresh material to work with and using them couldn't be simpler. Mediapreview has posted instructions here to help you out.

The first 60sec file has 14 clips strung together with numbers between each bit of footage so you can find one relatively quickly. My assistant thought that it would be easier to have them all as separate clips rather than two long files you have to shuttle through but I guess it's six of one really. I think it's simpler to scrub though two long clips rather than load up each one separately to find one that suits your needs. The second file has the other 14 clips and runs about 52 seconds.

The clips themselves run from leaders, mis-aligned, off-register, green keyed sprockets, dirty, grain, etc... but sadly, no burn throughs so this kit won't help you with your remake of Two-lane Blacktop. Another dificiency is the inclusion of just one dirty gate matte as item 13 on clip number 1.

However, the clips that are included are excellent at nailing that classic look of your old home movies or 1970's PSA's on PBS; they're really spot on. If you're out to re-create the healthy joys of Mulligan Stew in your backyard this kit is for you.

Basically, all you need to do is overlay the kit's clips atop your footage and choose an appropriate compositing method. I ended up using Screen a lot while playing around with the kit with some interesting and authentic results although stretching the clips to fit 16x9 footage to give it that 8mm look was pretty amusing.

For only $35, if you need that retro look and don't want to reuse the same clips that have been around for years, you really can't go wrong with Mediapreview's kit.

You can get some sample clips here and watch a demo here.

I'd like to see some more choices for mattes of dirty gates and some longer clips but the but the mood the material that is there already creates is pure authentic Radiant Screen ready fun. And yes, if you got all the references in this post you're old. Like me.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Digital Cinema Desktop Preview tearing on Snow Leopard

Apple has released an update that addresses this.

"Fixes cases in which tearing can occur with Digital Cinema Desktop Preview on Snow Leopard."

You can get the update here or with Software Update.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

ReelDirector for the iPhone 3GS from Nexvio

ReelDirector is a video editor made by Nexvio for the iPhone 3GS and it's pretty impressive. Hopefully, the next Final Cut will similarly have a more refined and approachable -yet not dumbed down- interface.



ReelDirector makes it simple for everyone to create movie right on iPhone 3GS. With a drag-and-drop timeline, multiple text watermark styles and 27 pro grade transitions, you'll turn your scattered video clips into polished movies in just minutes.


It's $7.99. Yes, 8 dollars.

Note to self: Get an iPhone...

Monday, October 19, 2009

New Final Cut Studio 3 Rumors

From Hardmac:

...the suite is being entirely re-written and its interface will be deeply modified. First, all applications forming the suite will not be indepedent as currently, be integrated inside a single super-application. The main interface will be using the concept of rooms...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Removing Hardcoded Subtitles



This is an interesting problem. Someone emailed me asking about recutting an OLD training tape (VHS, 1980's, pastels, big hair, fun) rather than just reshoot the thing to update it and looking around I found VirtualDub MSU Subtitle Remover because the tape they have has hardcoded subtitles.

It seems that it's algorithm essentially clone tools whats near the hardcoded subtitles and then tries to smooth it out a bit. They have example screenshots at their site.

I haven't tried it because I'm not taking the project but it's an interesting bit of software. I wonder if anyone has ever tried it on this.

Yes it's a crime that it's not available for Mac or even Linux.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

When Renaming Clips Goes Bad

Sometimes, and I have no idea really what the cause is, but FCP can essentially get a file's info "stuck", almost like there's a symlink between it and a particular clip.

For example, take a look at this:




You can see that clip 6 has the exact same duration as clip 10. Only it shouldn't. And FCP will still treat it as if it's that length by playing black past that point. What happened here is that clip 10 used to be named clip 06.

An editor came along and simply renamed clip 10 to clip 06 and for some reason FCP still thinks it's the duration of it's former self. I don't know if this editor used FCP's renaming function or did it in the Finder, however.

Either way, you can highlight the clip in the bin and then goto Tools>Analyze Movie>Clip and see that FCP knows the actual duration of the clip, but in the bin, in multiclips and in the timeline it will seemingly forever play it back with the wrong duration.

The solution is to treat the clip as if it were symlinked. So you have two options:

01) Delete the errant clip from the Bin. Then either...

02) Copy the clip in the Finder to another place or folder or drive, then copy it back to where it should be, overwriting (or after tossing out) the original file. Then drag it back into your Bin. Or...

03) Simply, (after deleting it from the Bin) move it to another location, drag it back into the Bin, confirm the duration is okay, then delete it from the Bin, move it back to where it should be, then drag it back into the Bin.



For me for one particularly stubborn clip step three was completely necessary. FCP kept thinking it was the wrong clip until I told FCP it was now here, then there in the Finder.

While I'm not sure what causes this behavior, it seems likely it's the result of a multiclip project going from Leopard to Snow Leopard with a renaming session in between.

Be Careful When Reconnecting/Renaming Multiclips

When you have a multiclip already in a sequence, be aware that if one of the clips (or more) was renamed since it was edited into the Timeline, FCP can get confused and attribute TWO file names to one clip.

This will result in all manners of strangeness. For one, even though all the footage in your bin will be properly connected, a multiclip in the sequence in your timeline may still report a red bar over it, and if you hover your mouse over the red bar you'll see FCP complaining that one of the clips is offline...but it's not...it likely it just has two file names attributed to it. One of them being the old file name that's no longer available to FCP.

The solution is to 2nd click on the clip in the timeline, select Reconnect Media and then after connecting the properly named files, ignore the improperly named one(s). You should see the red render bar turn green nearly instantly.

This can happen if the files were initially named incorrectly and an editor renames them from within FCP or in the Finder late into a project's life.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

iaian7's Ratio Widget

iaian7 has a pretty nifty FREE Dashboard widget to help you quickly calculate screen resolutions. You can check it out here. It even has support for iFrames already.

Beware when buying an EXT HD to replace an INT one

Xlr8yourmac.com has a brief story on what's inside an external HD case if you plan on buying one and swapping it out with the SATA drive in your laptop for more capacity, higher speeds or what have you.

It turns out that some HD manufacturers are putting their own connectors on HD's that essentially render them useless for laptop swaps. Western Digital being one of them with their 1TB Passport Essential SE USB. The drive doesn't have a SATA connector but rather a USB Mini-B (or Micro-B, I always get them confused).

Tip to use older Firewire devices under Snow Leopard

Macosxhints.com has an interesting tip on replacing a newer ktext file with an older one to get some older firewire devices to mount/work under Snow Leopard.

I haven't had any firewire devices that fail to work under Snow Leopard but this is good to know if you run into the problem.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Motion 4: May be unable to open projects

Here's a handy tip if Motion 4 refuses to open a project for you after installing Snow Leopard and FCS 09:

To address this issue, be sure Motion is not running. Then, open Terminal (located in ~/Applications/Utilities), and run the following command:

sudo touch /Applications/Motion.app


The Knowledge Base article is here.

What's Touch do? From it's Man page:

The touch utility sets the modification and access times of files to the current time of day. If the file doesn't exist, it is created with default permissions.

Apple's iFrame Announced



Apple has announced something called iFrame in a Knowledge Base article.

What's iFrame?

The iFrame Video format is designed by Apple to speed up importing and editing by keeping the content in its native recorded format while editing. Based on industry standard technologies such as H.264 and AAC audio, iFrame produces small file sizes and simplifies the process of working with Video recorded with your camera.


So it's essentially:

960x540
30fps
H.264
AAC

iMovie 8.0.5 suports it. And only two camcorders. No word on when FCP will support it.

9to5mac.com has a representational image comparing frame sizes here. Their brief article is here.

Appleinsider has a more in-depth article here.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Snow Leopard and Desktop Preview - Main

A few people (including me) have noticed quite dramatic artifacts when playing a project using Desktop Preview - Main under snow leopard. The artifacts look like quickly flickering horizontal lines which do not hold their positions when you stop and then start playback again.

I'm not sure what the exact combination of things causes the artifacts but it's something that appears for some people when under 10.6.1 but doesn't when booted from 10.5.8. Using either FCP6 or 7 doesn't seem to matter, it seems to be related to Snow Leopard.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Should People Wait to Buy FCS3?

Hardmac is reporting a rumor that one of their sources claims Final Cut Studio 3 is a "temporary/transition" version mainly released for Snow Leopard compatibility and that at NAB in 2010 (April 10th through the 15th) a more complete version will be announced.

Friday, October 2, 2009

What Model Mac Are You On?

If you're troubleshooting a Mac and aren't sure what exact model it is...so you don't know what firmware this or that needs...there's an easy way to find out not only the model designation but the type of CPU as well.

Fire up the Terminal (From the Finder hit Command + Shift + U, then T, then Command + O) and type in:

sysctl -a hw

Then hit Return.

You'll see fun info like:

hw.activecpu: 2
hw.physicalcpu: 2
hw.physicalcpu_max: 2
hw.logicalcpu: 2
hw.logicalcpu_max: 2
hw.cputype: 7
hw.cpusubtype: 4
hw.cpu64bit_capable: 1
hw.availcpu = 2
hw.machine = i386

but most importantly:

hw.model = Macmini2,1

If you want to see the exact CPU type, type in:

sysctl -a

and hit Return then look for something like:

machdep.cpu.vendor: GenuineIntel
machdep.cpu.brand_string: Intel(R) Core(TM)2 CPU T7200 @ 2.00GHz

QuickTimeMPEG2 Component vs Snow Leopard



If you install Snow Leopard and have the QuickTime Mpeg2 component installed, Snow Leopard will likely delete it. So, before you install Snow Leopard back this file up:

/System/Library/QuickTime/QuickTimeMPEG2.component

If you have already installed Snow Leopard and are now missing this file there are three things you can do to get it back:

01) Go to your Time Machine backup and restore it.

02) Head over to Apple and see if you can download it again if you bought it there under your account in Downloadables.

03) If you initially got it via Final Cut Studio then pop your FCS Install disc back in and then in the Finder hit Command + Shift + G (for Go to Folder...) and head to /Volumes/Final Cut Studio/Installer/Packages. Look for QuickTimeMPEG2.pkg and install it.

And this is curious, if you Right Click on the QuickTimeMPEG2 Component in Snow Leopard and choose Open With... you'll see the odd option KoreanIM as the default. If you try to open it with KoreanIM you'll be greeted with "Hangul cannot open files of this type."

Fun stuff.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Final Cut Pro 7 Professional Formats and Workflows



If you haven't yet grabbed a copy of Apple's 132 page Final Cut Pro 7 Professional Formats and Workflows PDF, you should. There is a mountain of useful information in it.

Quicktime Player Launcher preventing always "Open With" QuickTime Player 7

Try this in Snow Leopard:

01) Get Info on a typical .mov file.
02) Set "Open With" to QuickTime Player 7. (which will be in your utilities folder...)
03) Hit "Change All".
04) Watch the Open With pulldown magically change to QuickTime Player Launcher...which will launch QuickTime Player (X)...sigh.

What is QuickTime Player Launcher? It's an application INSIDE the QuickTime Player 7 app. Right Click on it so Show Package Contents to see it. Then if you want, do that again on QuickTime Player Launcher itself.

What does it do? I have no idea other than seemingly prevent a Snow Leopard user from opening their movie files in something other than QuickTime Player (aka QuickTime X). Seems a little heavy-handed to me coming from Apple.

Here is a thread about it:
Setting .mov files to play in QuickTime Player 7



There is a workaround but I have no idea how "safe" it is.

01) Right-Click on QuickTime Player 7 in your Utilities folder and Show Package Contents
02) Goto Contents>Resources and locate "QuickTime Player Launcher".
03) Right-Click on it and select Compress "QuickTime Player Launcher". The resultant .zip file may appear on your desktop because you probably don't have Write permissions to this folder. Just drag it into the folder and Authenticate when it asks you to.
04) Drag (or highlight and Command + Delete) the original QuickTime Player Launcher to the trash. Authenticate if needed.
05) Empty the trash. (Command + Shift + Option + Delete)

Now, Get Info on a .mov (or whichever) file and tell it to Open With QuickTime Player 7 and Change All and then all of those files types should (so far for me) open with QT7.

The only issue you may see are some messed up QT icons in the Finder, either blank or the generic Unix app icon. Possibly because the OS thinks QT now has an unregistered extension.

I'll update this post if any weirdness happens.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Toast Video Player



Just a quick note when trying to play some troublesome files, mainly older ones like SVCDs (mpgv) and so forth which may crash both QT7 and MPEG Streamclip and VLC likes to display scrambled and green; you may have a "hidden" video player (and converter) for these files with Toast. I'm not a huge fan of Toast overall but it has a handful of things that are helpful.

Go to your Toast icon, right click on it and select Show Package Contents then navigate to Contents>Resources>Toast Video Player and drag it to your Dock.

Bonus video player.

Also, don't forget that usually whatever Toast Video Player can play, Toast can convert to something useful.

XMLEditor for FCP XML Exports



XMLEditor is an interesting way to look at your XML exports (or one a client sends you). It's free and can actually help with some troublesome FCP XML saves if you know what you're doing.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Speeds of Bad Firewire Cards

I thought the difference in speed between an iffy PCI FW card on an emailer's G5 and the built-in FW800 using the same hard drives and same cables was intersting. It's the difference between a 3+hour copy and a 22min one. I'm not sure what the cause is as they're still trying to troubleshoot it.

Good Speed:


Bad Speed:

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Quickly Preview High Playback Quality frames in Multiclip

Here's a quickie.

When you're editing a multiclip sequence and have RT set to Low or something other than High and you want to check the focus of a shot or something that requires seeing it at High Quality, simply tap Control + Z to toggle Excess Luma on and off. When it's on -and you see the green check mark or yellow exclamation point- you'll be viewing that frame in High quality.

Unfortunately, it won't stay high quality for playback if you have RT set to something like Low Quality playback.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Snow Leopard and Firewire Problems

From xlr8yourmac.com: (there's no direct link to the posting, sorry)

Reader's workaround for Snow Leopard Firewire problems - My main work machine is still running 10.5.8, but have 10.6.1 running on other Macs and I've not seen any FW issues like this so far, but only used a FW HD dock with them once. (As far as external drives, I've primarily been using an eSATA JMB360 Expresscard connected eSATA HD dock with the 10.6.1 MBP.)
" Firewire and Snow Leopard
Since installing Snow Leopard I had problems with two Firewire DVD burners, one would not mount disks and the other exhibited read problems. They worked fine when connected by way of USB and had worked fine under Leopard. My Firewire hard drives worked OK, although others have had the problem with hard drives as well.
The problem is with a Firewire extension in Snow Leopard IOFirewireSerialBusProtocolTransport.kext

Replacing it with the extension from 10.5 seems to solve the problem. (but does that work w/64bit kernel boots?)
Some people have replaced all five Firewire extensions with those from 10.5. Results have been mixed. For some it is successful, for others the thing that works is replacing only the one extension.

One caveat. Be sure to repair permissions BEFORE restarting. If you don't, for some reason the replacement extension(s) may not be recognized despite repairing permissions after a restart and then restarting again.If this occurs you would have to repeat the entire process.
-Ken"


I haven't seen any issues with 10.6 and Firewire yet but could be helpful for someone.

SyncTwoFolders

SyncTwoFolders is a simple FREE app that will sync two folders. I've gotten mixed up with a project that's messy, to put it nicely, and while FCP's media manager is great, in this particular case just hooking up the various hard drives and syncing up the folders is what's needed initially before the real media management can take place. And by various hard drives I mean the occasional USB flash drive. Seriously. Messy.

So looking around I found SyncTwoFolders today and it's not bad. Plus, it's free. It wasn't originally written in English so keep that in mind when you find an odd phrase or word choice in the app.

Go To Meeting's proprietary G2M3 codec

If someone hands you a video that's a .wmv but won't play no matter what you try it's likely a G2M3 format which is Go To Meeting's proprietary codec and Mac users are essentially out of luck.

If you need just the audio that's okay, VLC and flip4mac will play the audio but the video will not work. Go To Meeting has it's own page about Mac support here but it doesn't mention much about video formats and I'm not installing anything to find out. Perian won't help either.

From what a friend told me, he thinks that there is a way for Windows users to initially record video to a codec that's not G2M3 but I have no idea really.

Here is a helpful post but it doesn't specifically address playback or transcoding on a Mac.

Basically, you'll need Windows, Windows Media Encoder and possibly a little thing called TMPGEnc.

QuickTime X Preference Pane

MCS (Megabyte Computing Solutions) has created an unofficial Preference Pane for Quicktime X.

You can see it's known issues which are significant in the 1.0 release here.

I'm always leary of 3rd party stuff so I haven't tried this out yet but it's good to know it's there if you dislike using the terminal since it's just a GUI for "defaults write".

(You can start learning about terminal commands for QTX here.)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

More FCP Timeline Graphical Glitches

FCP has a handful of graphical glitches like leftover playhead lines etc...but here's a fun one:



Apparently (the email was a little difficult to follow) it was caused by making a series of visual adjustments to the timeline like changing the height of the audio tracks via the Option key and then dragging down the split until the Video track section didn't have a scroll box...and then scrolling the video track section with the mouse's scroll wheel.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Mighty Mouse Gunk and How To Clean It

I love my Apple Mighty Mouse. I've become so accustomed to it that editing without one makes a substantial difference now even though I'm a Key-Command fanatic. It has to do with the trackball on it and how it scrolls and controls all manners of things in Final Cut.

However, I've had to clean my Mighty Mouse maybe a dozen times since I bought it. Apple doesn't make it easy; in fact, the thing is glued together so if you really want to get in there to clean it you have to break it. That site recommends you re-glue the bottom ring back on, but for me, I just use some sticky tape since I know I'll have to take it apart again to clean it soon enough.

What gets so dirty in there that the trackball stops scrolling?



The gunk-encrusted roller there is usually the top one which senses when you want to scroll up. Mine gets pretty filthy regularly.

Power Dongles


I loathe power dongles. Remember when Steve Jobs showed off power-dongle-free Firewire drives at Macworld back in 1999? Well that never really happened.

Btw, he also told us there would be start-stop streaming video and the infamous dual-bus video feed (one camera to two Macs):


Anyways, I saw a simple solution to the typical power dongle vs power strip problem today and thought I'd pass the idea along:

Thursday, September 3, 2009

QuickTime X's Plans

Here's a really interesting article from arstechnica which may allay some trepidation about QTX (although it's still not useful to Pro users at all).

As anxious as developers may be for a full-featured, 64-bit successor to the QuickTime 7 engine, Apple itself is sitting on top of one of the largest QuickTime-riddled (and Carbon-addled, to boot) code bases in the industry: Final Cut Studio. Thus far, It remains stuck in 32-bit. To say that Apple is "highly motivated" to extend the capabilities of QuickTime X would be an understatement.

Nevertheless, don't expect Apple to rush forward foolishly. Duplicating the functionality of a continually developed, 18-year-old API will not happen overnight. It will take years, and it will be even longer before every important Mac OS X application is updated to use QTKit exclusively.

FCP AutoSave

If you haven't adjusted your AutoSave prefs in Final Cut Pro here's a suggestion:



It was suggested to me by a friend who was working on a particularly tedious edit. They said that they'd like to have a record of changes throughout the day for the client so setting AutoSave to trigger every 15mins and saving 40 of them will basically keep a record of your average day's work since there will be 32 saves in 8 hours so you can always go back and load up snapshots of your edit in 15 minute increments.

Free Two-Column Word Processor

TextEdit.

You already have it and it does basic tables which are good enough for simple two-column scripts. Apple even has a knowledge base document on it here (at the bottom).

To create a table, from the Format menu, choose Text, then Table. In the resulting Table window, enter the number of rows and columns you want, select the text alignment, choose the cell border thickness and color, and choose a background color. Your TextEdit document updates as you make changes.

If you want to use Pages there are some tips on two-column format in a previous post of mine here.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Static Electricity vs Firewire

What does static electricity zapping a Firewire cable look like during a livefeed recording session?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

More QT X Failure

You can't export more than one thing at a time even with QT7.

- While it's exporting some people say you can't even use QT7 at all for other functions.

- All of QT7's capabilities are available to other apps, like the pro app series but QT X does not have access to them.

- You can no longer hit a button to jump to the beginning or end of a video in QT X.

- Control + Clicking on a QTX Video will remove the title bar and floating control window (moving the mouse will bring it back) allowing you to take a clean screenshot of the window with Command + Shift + 4 then Spacebar.

- QTX does not seem to be able to play DV footage while QT7 can.

- You can't export a frame as a still image.

- You can't click and drag out a Movie Clipping.

QuickTime X's Titlebar Obscures Content



See the Mac's menubar under the titlebar of the QuickTime X window? What a horrible design. If someone was watching a screen recording and paused it to see what menu was clicked on they wouldn't see it clearly.

myDVDEdit

Back in 1984 I used to use a small program on my Atari 800 XL called Phase Edit which allowed sector-by-sector editing of files on 5.25 floppies.

Then later on when I got into Apple hardware there were (and are) things like ResEdit and HexEdit which let you mess around with the inner guts of files.

Now, along comes the free myDVDEdit which:

My hope is that myDVDEdit will be to DVD's what ResEdit is to programs on the Mac, a tool which allows you to understand and even to modify the content of a DVD, at the deepest level.

It was created to enable you to understand how DVDs work, to help you create new DVDs step by step, and make DVD changes which cannot be made with the traditional authoring tools.

More Ways QuickTime X Fails

1. The title bar of a QT X window seems to obscure part of the image. It will fade away revealing the portion it covered when you mouse away from the window. Fading away is a large problem. When sitting with clients looking over versions of an edit, I can already hear their confusion as they can no longer see the Title plus Version Number plus Date of the two side-by-side clips we're watching. Editors and clients need to see which playback window is what version at a glance. Clients won't like this.

2. The floating controller window does not resize when you resize the video's window. This can lead the floating controls covering a large portion of the video.

3. Just the fact that the controls are over the video is an issue. Any time you want to adjust the video in some way, some portion of it will be obscured. I'm sure this will reap havoc with subtitles.

4. When you begin playing a video the controller is there for a few seconds no matter what, again, blocking part of the image.

5. QT X cannot play all open videos simultaneously apparently (I haven't tried it yet, this is from an email), which makes playing multiple versions of a video simultaneously to compare them impossible.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Final Cut Server vs Snow Leopard Server

Final Cut Server versions 1.1.1 and 1.5 (the only two versions that work as of this posting with Snow Leopard) need a little nudge to play nice after a 10.6 upgrade:

On your Final Cut Server, after upgrading Mac OS X Server to Mac OS X Server v10.6 Snow Leopard, perform the following steps to configure your FInal Cut Server system for use. If these steps are not taken you may encounter an ''Object not found" page when attempting to connect to your Final Cut Server client download webpage.

Snow Leopard Tips (or why QuickTime X sucks)


When you install Snow Leopard (which you shouldn't in the middle of a project, and best to test on a non-mission critical system) there are a few things to be aware of.

1. It won't install QuickTime 7 by default. It will however, keep it installed if you already have a pro-app license which is good because QT 7 can live side-by-side with QT X. You can install it later from Apple if you don't install it during a clean 10.6 install. Oh, and QT 7 has more export options than QT X. Yup. You can also install it from Optional Installs on the Snow Leopard install disc. Btw, after it installs QT7 the player app will be in your Utilities folder of all places. That makes sense...not.

2. Snow Leopard calculates drive sizes using base 10 not base 2 anymore. Seriously. Apple's reason is here. MacFixIt's take on it is here. Lifehacker's take is here.

3. When you eject a volume and it's in use by something, Snow Leopard will tell you what's using it. Ejecting is more reliable overall, or at least that's what Apple claims.

4. Snow Leopard defaults to a Gamma of 2.2. Read the link.

5. GPU Accelerated video encoding :)

6. QT Player no longer adjusts the size of the player's window incrementally when you adjust it while holding down Option. I use this little-known feature extensively to know what the logarithmic sizes of a video are to export a movie as for clients at say half or quarter of the original size. However...this function isn't completely gone in QTX, now you just have to hit Command + I to see the Info Window and then use Command + + (plus) and Command + - (minus) to scale the video player's size incrementally. A small change but old habit's die hard for me.

7. Command + J "Show Movie Properties" is gone. If you need it (and as a Pro user you likely do, for text layers and such, stick with QT7). I don't even know if it's possible to access it with QTX, it may be somehow.

8. Holding down Shift to change a player window's aspect ratio is gone. Stick with QT7.

9. There's a bug in QTX where if a movie is playing and you drag the playhead around the movie may stop playing rather than continue on from the point you release the mouse.

10. QTX does let you make screen recordings, that's pretty cool.

11. QTX, when you tap Command + F for full screen mode still has the annoying occasional bug where an item's label in the dock will remain onscreen despite the mouse being nowhere near it. (FCP's Command + F12 full screen preview is notorious for this bug. Version 6.x at least)

12. QT X doesn't seem to have any preferences available from the Player App.

13. You can't set In and Out points in QT X anymore.

14. Quicktime X seems to have a minimum screen size of 478 x 359 pixels. Videos smaller than that are scaled up fuzzily.

15. QT X seems to have an issue opening SMIL files.

If you're Terminal-friendly here are some commands to alter some of QTX's preferences.

Apple's QuickTime Feedback page is here.

I haven't tested FCS3 with 10.6 yet but I'll get around to it. I may just wait until QuickTime X Pro, if Apple even bothers. Seems like now is a good time to install VLC if you haven't already.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Preference Manager Files

The new (version 2.0.3) Preference Manager backup tool from Digital Rebellion stores it's Final Cut backups as .pmb2 files which are simply "Directory" according to the File command. What this means is that you can access the files backed up simply by right-clicking on a .pmb2 file and selecting Show Package Contents.

I'm unsure how well these backups will transfer over email or via Windows systems, though.

One more quick note: if you try and use a / (slash) in a backup's name Preference Manger will not create a backup and not warn about it since / is an illegal character in OS X's file naming system.

For info about the old file format look here. Apparently your old backups are converted to the new package type automatically when you run the app for the first time.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

When Multiclips Angles Suddenly Go Blank

Today, while working on a multiclip started by another editor one of the clips in a multiclip segment was visually blank. The audio was there, and it played fine in QT Player but just before the In point (in the Viewer) which was set it would go blank.

An odd behavior was that dragging this angle to the timeline only showed about 1min's worth of footage rather than the full 4+ minutes of the clip. While I'm still not sure what is going wrong -it must have been visible when the original editor was working with it since it's synced up as a multiclip and cut into the Timeline- I solved it by doing basically two things:

01) I simply duplicated the clip in the Finder by Option + Dragging it (old habit, Command + D would have also worked).

02) After appending the name of that clip with "_COPY_", I brought it into FCP's bin, set an identical In point as the original bad clip, then dragged it to the Multiclip open in the Viewer atop the bad angle and waited for moment for a contextual menu to pop up and selected Overwrite Angle.

If you don't see the Overwrite Angle option, check to make sure that the angle you're trying to overwrite isn't currently used (displayed) in the Canvas via the Timeline. You'll have to switch to another angle, Overwrite Angle, then switch back.

Keep an eye on your audio track sources if you encounter this problem and use this solution. They may still come from the "bad" angle clip.

Then I saved the project and everything seemed fine. I'll update this if I find out exactly why FCP suddenly doesn't like that one multiclip angle.

Another potential solution, which didn't work for me, was deleting the clip from the bin and re-dragging it back in. One last thing you can try is to simply re-import the clip which I unfortunately don't have the option of trying with this project.

Update: Another thing to try, and this just worked for me on a project, was to close the project, reopen it, and then Re-Connect all of the media. Maybe just reconnecting the errant media in the timeline would also work. But, it's another thing to try.

The important thing to remember is that you shouldn't get any mis-match errors about "media start and end" when you try and reconnect your footage. If you see that message, hit Try Again and...try it again.

In the reconnect window "Amount with conflicts" should read 0 (zero) if you're trying this fix.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

You Need Music



Sometimes you need music for a project and there's really nothing new in your library. One place to check that's often overlooked is ccMixter from Creative Commons.

You can preview and download a bunch of tracks from there that you can use for a variety of projects. Just make sure you follow the licensing agreements and understand them before using the music.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Updates, when it rains...

In two days, four updates.

SheerVideo gets two updates today, Monday, along with MPEG Streamclip (still awesome).
Yesterday, VideoVangelist (still "in progress" 102MB update!?) gets an update.

iVideo Converter gets an update today as well.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

AVI Repair

I was having trouble with an .avi a client sent me a while back and today a friend mentioned DivFix++, a free app I've never heard of before.

DivFix++ is complete rewrite of "DivFix" program due it's bugs and low performance. This program designed to repair broken AVI file streams by rebuilding index part of file. This is very useful when trying to preview movies which has no index part...


It purports to fix avi files and while it didn't fix the bad .avi I've had from a client for a while now, it could be useful to someone perhaps. I'll keep it around in case it's needed later on but without a broken .avi to test it on I have no idea if it actually works or not.