Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Apple Updates Final Cut Pro X to 10.0.2

Apple has updated FCPX to 10.0.2 with:

"What’s new in version 10.0.2:
  • Fixes an issue in which a title may revert to the default font after restarting Final Cut Pro X
  • Resolves an issue that could cause files recorded with certain third-party mobile devices to play back incorrectly
  • Addresses a stability issue caused by changing the start time on a Compound Clip"
Helpful stuff unless you've already moved on to Premiere.

The weird thing is that a place I freelance at switched to Premiere recently jumping (after evaluating) over FCPX entirely which means either I learn Premiere or I don't freelance there anymore occasionally. They've abandoned Final Cut Pro entirely; all 10 edit stations.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Adapter - Another FREE transcoder

I've been busy lately, and part of the reason I've been so busy is clients like to revive long dead projects so they can play them on the latest and greatest outdated video servers at TV stations.

When A client asked for a project that has been planted firmly in the video graveyard several years ago to be converted to "an mpeg two" I eventually got around to it.

Looking around I ran across a transcoder that I hadn't heard of before called Adapter. It's FREE and isn't all that bad for transcoding stuff. Here's the list they provide when they say "Convert anything to anything"

"3g2, 3gp, 4xm, RoQ, ac3, alaw, asf, asf_stream, au, audio_dice, avi, crc, daud, dc1394, s, dv, dv1394, dvd, ea, ffm, film_cpk, flic, flv, gif, h261, h263, h264, idcin, image, image2, image2pipe, imagepipe, ipmovie, m4v, matroska, mjpeg, mmf, mov, mov, mp4, m4a, 3gp, 3g2, mp2, mp3, mp4, mpeg, mpeg1video, mpeg2video, mpegts, mpegvideo, mpjpeg, mulaw, nsv, null, nut, ogg, psp, psxstr, rawvideo, redir, rm, rtp, rtsp, s16be, s16le, s8, sdp, shn, sol, svcd, swf, u16be, u16le, u8, vcd, video4linux, vmd, vob, wav, wc3movie, wsaud, wsvqa, yuv4mpegpipe"

As always, your milage may vary, but it's handy to know about and since it's free it's worth a shot.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

8mm Distress Kit goes HD

Back in 2009 (remember 2009? Your iPhone wasn't quite 3 years old yet and Slovakia just adopted the Euro) I reviewed a pretty spiffy piece of kit called the 8mm Distress Kit. Back then in the before-time™ it was in SD.

But, now, in the future world of today when your iPhone 4S shoots 1080HD footage the kit's gone Hi-Def, and only for a modest increase in price. What was then in then dollars was $35, is today, in today's dollars only $59.

In the virtual box you'll get 2 files which contain 28 clips sized at 1440x1080 running at 29.97 or 25fps if you swing that way.

The crazy thing is that this comes at the perfect time for me for a documentary that I've been working on for the past 86 years (well, it feels like 86 but if you want to get down to brass tacks, it's technically closer to 85) which involves super-8 footage and I wanted something to help me obtain some visual interest with some bland-talking-head interviews I've been handed which run the gamut from HD all the way down to SD DV tapes to even some (hold on to something) Flip footage. *gasp*

I think Mediapreview.net's HD 8mm Distress Kit is not only going to help make the documentary look like it cost more but I'll be able to invoice for more since it looks like it costs more which will make it cost more so it's all honest that way.

Check it out, give it a spin; there are some samples to play around with, a nifty little tutorial and more on their site. And with film going away, but people still having an intense interest in it's qualities (look at Instagram, lomography, me taking well over 11,000 photos with my nearly 8 year old cell phone just because they look "lo-fi" and cool), and the feature film Super-8, it looks like the super-8 look as well as the clean-slate innocence of that bygone time which accompanies it won't be forgotten soon.

It's funny; my assistant has never shot or touched film, never placed a needle on a phonograph record and has only seen 8-tracks on tv. He's never used a pay-phone or adjusted rabbit-ear antennas, either.

But there is something that speaks to us visually through the ages with film; there's a strange personal investment -or perhaps connection is a better word- in it when we see something shot on film, especially older formats like 8mm, super-8 and 9.5mm (look it up). There's some manner of ephemeral hypotactic permanence with it that digital just can't obtain. Sure digital is beautiful, the future and in many many ways better than film but the tangible hic et nunc of it is difficult for our minds to grasp; you have a pocketful of little digital cards or "files" tucked away in the dark recesses of a hard drive, unlike film where you can simultaneously see and hold history and memories and movement literally right in your hands...without needing any batteries.

Maybe it's the analog simplicity of it that encourages us to capture (and indeed slow down and notice) the simple things in life, and for that matter life itself. But then again, I'm old and have an 8 year old cell phone.

Give the kit a whirl and see how it changes the flavor of your footage, not just stylistically, but perceptually. To me it gifts digital footage with an import that it otherwise doesn't have. That's the language of film at work; that's why tilt-shifted footage looks miniature and in my mind and for my money, adding effects like what's in the distress kit makes footage as large as life.

Friday, October 14, 2011

box.net and 50 GBs FREE storage

If you're anything like me clients are forever loosing the projects you hand then on DVD, Data-DVD, CD, Flash Drives, copy to their hard drive, hand them hard drives, upload to their FTP server, can't figure out file hosting sites CAPTCHAs, etc... ad infinitum.

SO...it just happens that box.net, a competitor to DropBox is offering for a limited time a full 50 GBs of storage FREE just for signing up.

You see where I'm going with this; while box.net doesn't have the Finder integration that DropBox does (and face reality, the client likely can't figure out anyway) it does have oodles of storage and an easy to use web interface and iOS compatibility (meaning your iPhone and iPad and iPod Touch).

You can upload a completed project to a box.net account, send (email) the client a URL to the file for them to download and then wait for the inevitable codec incompatibility calls to come in as per the usual.

But, at least they'll have the file and an email (which they'll lose) with a link to the file. Just make sure you Subject the email with the project name and the word "download" and yeah, I just used subject as a verb.

Better yet, create a box.bet account FOR THEM using their company so later on you can blame it all on them.

Update: To get the free space you may need to sign up with an iOS device like an iPhone or iPad, if you don't have one try it on a friends or run into an Apple store and set up the account.

I'm like that :)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Video Inspection Tools

If you get lots of strange formats and weird incompatibilities you've likely used a video inspector app before, maybe VideoSpec or Media Inspector.

A friend tipped me off to another one that's also FREE called iMediaHUD which is current and pretty spiffy. It even does folders of video clips.

I mention this because I had two clips allegedly from the same camera and one would become out of sync in the Timeline while the other wouldn't. Comparing the two with iMediaHUD showed some differences and I was able to sort it out.

It's free. Give it a whirl if you like to see some interesting specs on your video clips.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

ProApps Update

Apple is forging ahead bringing the new FCPX up to closer match the features and capabilities of the old FCP. Today there's a codec update here.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Final Cut Pro X Update (and free trial)

Yep, Apple had decided to actually update FCPX (the big thing is XML import from FCP7 as well as export XML, no word yet on how FCP7 handles FCPX's XML) and a free 30 day trial.

Good news or not? I have no idea. I suspect that the divide of love vs hate will remain about the same but the numbers on each side will increase. That is, depending on how well FCPX imports FCP7's XMLs I guess.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Final Cut Pro Freaks Out

Here's a fun Final Cut Pro Viewer glitch:


Apparently it has something to do with waking a Mac from sleep while a hard drive was spun down and some planets were aligned, or something.

A relaunch of FCP fixed it.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Apple's Help Library Search

I get random questions fairly often about some tricky or hard to find or downright hidden, annoying or absent stuff regarding Final Cut Studio.

Often times a simple Google or Bing search will find the answer as one of my adages is "If you have the problem, chances are someone else has and has solved it." I tend to used "licked" rather than solved in certain company however.

Another great resource other than this blog and further down the line big box search engines is Apple's very own humble Help Library Search which resides here.

This spiffy thing is that you can essentially search the manuals for all of Apple's stuff simultaneously, drill down to just a few app's manuals or get crazy and just search one.

The results are kinda-sorta real-time when you click the checkboxes even and how cool is that?

Bookmark it for later; you'll need it.

And you can finally find out what that Hue Direction Control really does.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Final Cut Studio is Resurrected

Macrumors.com has this to say:

"We confirmed with an Apple telesales representative at 800-MY-APPLE that Final Cut Studio, part number MB642Z/A, is again available for $999 (and $899 for educational customers). The product is only available through the 800-number and is not available in Apple Retail Stores or on the Apple Online Store."


Complete article is here.


I'm no fan of FCPX at this point so I'm glad to see Final Cut Studio return even though I think it's nuts to continue to charge $999 for it at this point given the reception FCPX has received; it should be $499 or $599 at most but then that makes FCPX at $299.99 look overpriced. (I think it is)


Final Cut Pro X has, as of this post, 1961 ratings for an average of 3 out of 5 stars. Yikes.


Buy a copy if you can and let Apple know that Final Cut Studio (if you agree, that is) still out features FCPX by a long shot.


UPDATE:


The Loop says:


"As we’ve done before with many end-of-life software products, we have a limited quantity of Final Cut Studio still available through Apple telesales to customers who need them for ongoing projects,” an Apple spokesperson told The Loop."

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Official VisualHub Update for Lion

Really.

It's here.

It's official.

It's free.

There have been a few (pretty complicated) ways to update VisualHub to get it to run under Lion and Kagi did somethings that maybe weren't really thought out well (and charged for it) but now there's a real-deal update that's free.

Unfortunately, it's likely the last update ever.




Monday, August 8, 2011

DVCHDPROAudio.plugin Console Error

I'm sure you've seen it if you've ever launched your Console and looked at All Messages. Something like:

8/8/11 12:50:03 AM Mail[212] Error loading /Library/Audio/Plug-Ins/HAL/DVCPROHDAudio.plugin/Contents/MacOS/DVCPROHDAudio:  dlopen(/Library/Audio/Plug-Ins/HAL/DVCPROHDAudio.plugin/Contents/MacOS/DVCPROHDAudio, 262): no suitable image found.  Did find:
/Library/Audio/Plug-Ins/HAL/DVCPROHDAudio.plugin/Contents/MacOS/DVCPROHDAudio: no matching architecture in universal wrapper

You'll see it for VLC, Mail, loginwindow, SustemUIServer, UserEventAgent and a bunch of other stuff.

You don't need it. Or at the very least, it's highly unlikely you'll need it.

So what to do? Since Apple has never really clarified what's going on here and it's a LONG STANDING bug/error/incompatibility and older versions can't even load on Intel machines (there is a universal version from 2007 of the plugin) I went to where it was, zipped it, trashed the original and left the zip file sitting there.

It's located in /Library/Audio/Plug-Ins/HAL

What is this thing anyway, you ask?

I think it's a USB driver for 1:1 audio connections that apps like Reason, Audacity, Cubase and Logic use; or at least used to.

If you want to poke around the file you can take a look at it in the Terminal: copy and paste in:

ls -IR /Library/Audio/Plug-Ins/HAL/DVCPROHDAudio.plugin

and you'll see some helpful-ish information:


drwxrwxr-x  6 root  admin  204 Apr 20  2007 Contents


/Library/Audio/Plug-Ins/HAL/DVCPROHDAudio.plugin/Contents:
total 24
-rw-rw-r--  1 root  admin  1258 Mar 30  2007 Info.plist
drwxrwxr-x  3 root  admin   102 Apr 20  2007 MacOS
-rw-rw-r--  1 root  admin     9 Mar 30  2007 PkgInfo
-rw-rw-r--  1 root  admin   514 Apr 20  2007 version.plist


/Library/Audio/Plug-Ins/HAL/DVCPROHDAudio.plugin/Contents/MacOS:
total 2456
-rwxrwxr-x  1 root  admin  1254748 Mar 30  2007 DVCPROHDAudio

So it's not a permission's issue.

Then you can try: (again, copy and paste into the Terminal)

file /Library/Audio/Plug-Ins/HAL/DVCPROHDAudio.plugin/Contents/MacOS/DVCPROHDAudio

and you'll see some slightly more helpful things like:

/Library/Audio/Plug-Ins/HAL/DVCPROHDAudio.plugin/Contents/MacOS/DVCPROHDAudio: Mach-O universal binary with 2 architectures
/Library/Audio/Plug-Ins/HAL/DVCPROHDAudio.plugin/Contents/MacOS/DVCPROHDAudio (for architecture ppc): Mach-O bundle ppc
/Library/Audio/Plug-Ins/HAL/DVCPROHDAudio.plugin/Contents/MacOS/DVCPROHDAudio (for architecture i386): Mach-O bundle i386

So, hey, at least the version you may or may not have is Universal.

And you can even right-click on it and Show Package Contents and dig around. You can open the DVCPROHDAudio file in Contents/MacOS with something like Hex Fiend and confirm that it's an audio driver for some obscure and some fairly outdated stuff.

Bottom line is you'll know if you need it. If you don't know, then you don't need it and likely never will. For my system it seems okay to zip the original package in the HAL folder and trash the original plug-in. This way it won't load (because it's not a .plugin file) and should the occasion arise when you do need it, just double click it to unzip it right where it needs to be.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

ffmpegx updated for Lion

I'm still not on the Lion train (officially) but some friends mentioned that ffmpegx has received an update so it's compatible with Lion, right here.

MakeMKV Updated

I love MKV and I have hopes that one day in the distant future people will standardize on it since it's such a great container format and an open standard.

I've been pushing mkv on clients for a while now and some who play things I do for them in lobbies on big tvs or on video boxes like WD TV Live or something don't care because it just works. Which is what I tell them, "Yup, .mkv just works," I'll say subtly pushing it into the recesses of their brains so they hopefully end up parroting it later to others.

Anyways, MakeMKV was just updated. Yayz! (and it's currently FREE)

Friday, August 5, 2011

Converting .MOD files for Final Cut Pro and Multiclip

I've been handed a few SD cards with .MOD files that eventually need to be edited as a multiclip sequence.

Joy.

I've talked about these problematic files before here and here but never really got into the meat of the best way to transcode them for use in Final Cut Pro. Silly me thought I'd never have to deal with them again.

Here's something to keep in mind about .MOD files (from the wiki page):

"Standard definition video can be recorded in 4:3 and 16:9 formats. Some video decoders do not interpret the aspect ratio information in the media file header correctly, so 16:9 video may appear squeezed horizontally when viewed.[4] Software that is shipped with camcorders is capable of processing the aspect ratio information correctly, aided perhaps by the metadata stored in MOI files. There are also third-party tools for modifying the wide-screen aspect ratio information in the media file header so that it satisfies decoders which would otherwise fail to interpret this information correctly in an unmodified MOD file.[5][6][7] Some tools such as MediaInfo can correctly report the aspect ratio of widescreen MOD files, but media players may or may not display them correctly depending on the capabilities of the video decoder that they are utilizing at the time."

Sure are a lot of May, May Not & Somes in those paragraphs; there's even a perhaps!

These are some weird file types.


In order to nail down the workflow for transcoding these things (which, btw are Standard Definition in this particular case) I've been running some tests using MPEG Streamclip to transcode them and here's what I've discovered: (you'll likely need the MPEG-2 Component for Quicktime in addition to MPEG Streamclip)

A: Renaming the .MOD to .MPG or .mpeg and then transcoding with MSC (MPEG Streamclip) doesn't make any difference.

B: The top listing of the two ProRes exports in MSC is a HQ variety. (You may or may not see doubled up listings in your MSC exports listing depending on your setup/system etc…)

I transcoded a sample .MOD file (of about 24 seconds) to various formats, with various settings and then set up a 3 camera multiclip sequence and tested how well it played and if it was the correct aspect ratio.

What I found -after MANY MANY transcodes then importing those into FCP, setting up a multiclip sequence, then exporting and opening with Quicktime Player 7- was that what worked best for me for these files is to transcode them into:

DV25
16:9
De-interlaced

Then setup and edit your Multiclip project and export to Quicktime Movie…

Then open up your export in Quicktime Player 7 and hit Command + J for "Show Movie Properties" and hit the Presentation button and tick "Conform aperture to: Clean". 

See the transcodes from MSC will have this option ticked, but after you export the multiclip from Final Cut Pro this little checkbox will no longer be ticked but will still work. In my tests this checkbox has no effect on .MOD files transcoded to ProRes which would have been nice.

Now with an edited export at the correct aspect ratio you can transcode it to H.264 or whatever you need and it should retain the aspect ratio.

Why DV25? Well the original files are MPG2 in a .MOD wrapper and taking data per pixel, data rates and all that there's not a whole heck of a lot of quality loss (a couple of percentage points?) going to DV25. I suppose DVCPRO25 would work just as well.

Now, keep in mind this is what works for me right now, with .MOD files with this setup that I'm sitting in front of at the moment. The resulting file will be high quality and at the correct aspect ratio.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Burning Multiple Discs in DVD Studio Pro

Today I was burning off a handful of copies of a DVD for a client when someone asked what I was doing since they "hadn't seen that before" in DVD Studio pro.

There are two basic ways to burn multiple copies of a DVD project in DVD Studio Pro.

1. If you only need to burn off a few copies, say less than 10, I usually get everything ready to burn and then hit Shift + Command + F to Burn a disc, test it then proceed if nothing goes wrong.

See, once you Burn off a test disc you've "Built" it, now all you need to do is "Format" it which really means burn off the Built project to a disc. There's no need to hit Burn again because that just rebuilds the disc and wastes time. So...after the initial test Build-n-Burn…

Hit Command + F for Format.

Pop in a blank disk.

Hit Return.

It's quicker than building each time and if there are only a handful of discs to burn - like I said, less than 10 it's not a bad way to go.

2. If you need to burn off many copies (but less than what a dedicated disc copier would be needed for) in DVD Studio Pro hit Command + F (this is after your test burn) and at the bottom of the Build/Format window change Output Device to Hard Drive and tell it where you'd like a disc image of your project saved.

Hit Okay.

After a bit you'll have a disc image of your project.

Launch Disk Utility or Toast and set it to multiple copies and that's about it.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

You can apparently install Quicktime 7 on 10.7 Lion

Hardmac is reporting that it is possible to install Quicktime 7 (7.6.9) on a Lion system.

Hopefully this is true (I haven't side-graded to Lion yet and likely won't on business editing machines for some time) because Quicktime 7 is immensely useful compared to the debacle that is Quicktime X.

UPDATE: Apple just made it official.

Rendering High-Precision Requires A Graphics Card with More Capabilities

Have you ever seen that?

Without getting into great detail, with that Final Cut is telling you that it can't render what visual effect you want (have applied to a clip or nest) in high-precision because of one of two things (or both).

1. Your graphics card simply can't handle it. You'll need to upgrade.

2. If you're lucky you can adjust a setting and render in slightly less than "high-precision" with some caveats.

A: Highlight the sequence that has the troublesome clip & effect in it in the Browser and hit Command + 0 for Sequence Settings. Fortunately, in here, changes you make DO apply to the current sequence.

B: Click on the Video Processing tab and you'll see something like this:


See the four radio buttons on the left? Try setting your sequence settings to something other than it currently is. RGB is usually good for this problem.

But read the two paragraphs of text to the right there. Rendering with different Video Processing settings can cause colors to go all wonky.

C: Hit OK and test, test and test some more.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Telephone Voice Effect

I needed to do a quickie telephone effect to someone's voice in FCP and found this way was quick, simple and contained within FCP:

1. Apply the AUHipass filter to the audio clip. It's in Audio Filters > Apple
2. Set the cutoff frequency to between 1900 to 2000 and the resonance to about 18.

Keep in mind that these numbers are what worked for me. Your audio may need drastically different numbers.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Rescuing Dark Footage

Sometimes you'll get footage that you absolutely have to use but it's far too dark as is.

One quick way to possibly rescue the footage is to double it up.

1. Place your dark footage on one track.

2. Color correct and brighten it as best you can (using some filter like Color Corrector 3 Way). Don't worry if it's not perfect, and don't forget to bump up the saturation if you bump up the mid levels a fair amount. The brighter something is the less saturated it tends to be.

3. Option-Click on the clip in the Timeline. (Option-Clicking will just select the Video portion of a clip with linked Audio) then while keeping Option held down, add Shift. Drag the video clip straight up to the track above it and let go of the mouse. You've duplicated the video portion of the clip atop itself.

4. Right-Click on the top video clip.

5. Select "Composite Mode" then "Add". If your clip now seems WAY too bright don't worry. Next step:

6. Bring the opacity down to about 50%. I like to hit Option+W in the Timeline for Toggle Clip Overlays then drag the line over the clip to around 50%. (If you want to get it exactly at 50% using this method hold down Command while you drag the Opacity Overlay Line down and you'll be able to adjust it in single digit increments, cool huh?)

7. Double-Click (or hit Enter with it highlighted) the top clip in the Timeline to load it into the Viewer. Goto the Color Corrector tab and start adjusting the Mids slider to the left (less bright) until the image in the Canvas is more to your liking.

None of this is set it in stone, so feel free to monkey with the method here all you want. It's the general idea of overlaying a clip atop itself, compositing it, lowering it's opacity and then adjusting it's levels that's important.

Around here, since so much of the footage we've received is incompetently underexposed, we've started to call this restoration method "bottom up pattern telegraphing" just to confuse the clients and not hurt their feelings too badly.

Toggle Range Check and Canvas Gamma and Brightness

You may notice that when you turn on Toggle Range Check (Control + Z) the gamma of your canvas will change, generally becoming darker with Toggle Range Check on. Why?

It has to do with FCP 6/7's insistence that it pretend it's a studio monitor. You'll see the same kind of shift when you go into System Settings… (Shift + Q) and click on the "Playback Control" and toggle Gamma Correction from "Approximate" to "Accurate".


FCP's Toggle Range Check is in effect emulating a Broadcast Monitor when Toggle Range Check is on, that's the main reason you'll see a gamma shift.

If you set Gamma Correction to Accurate, FCP will shift the gamma of the canvas to emulate a broadcast monitor and you'll see no change in gamma when toggling Toggle Range Check because it's already in "emulation" mode, as I like to call it.

Accurate is pseudo-emulation mode.
Approximate is semi-WYSIWYG.

Toggle Range Check is pseudo-emulation mode.

Btw, strange as it may sound, if you're not using a TV or studio monitor setting this option to Approximate is more accurate. You may see your footage look a bit less contrasty but that's likely more accurate in most cases. FCP won't apply a bit of gamma juju and jump from 1.8 to 2.2 because it won't assume everything is 1.8.

I like to keep this setting to Approximate because in my case, with my setup, it's more accurate to what's been actually loaded into FCP and more closely matches the raw footage. Exporting to Quicktime is another matter entirely.

None of this holds a candle to a real broadcast monitor or decent TV though for gamma/color grading/correction.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Smart Converter

SmartConverter [app store link] is a FREE transcoder that outputs to many popular formats.

It has some good reviews and could be handy for quickie conversions.

It'll transcode (sometimes just re-wrap which is really fast) to:

Apple TV
Google TV
iPod
iPhone
iPad
PSP
Playstation 3
Sony Barvia TV
Xbox 360
Windows
Android Tablet
Android Phone
Music (just audio)

It's super simple and you can click on the thumbnail to get some info about the video you want to convert.

It'll tell you what it thinks the transcoding speed will be in terms of Slowest > Fastest (if no transcoding is needed, just a re-wrap).

I didn't try to see what happens if you drag less common formats into it without Perian installed but with it installed it seemed to like an .avi (mpeg4 with mp3 audio), an .mkv (H.264), and a random .flv. It even accepted a .FLAC file.

After converting it automatically "sent" the audio file to iTunes but displays a "Show File" button which is handy because it kind of buried the transcoded audio file in ~Movies/SmartConverter/ which I probably wouldn't have found right away on my own.

VisualHub and Lion (OS 10.7)

A friend just sent me an interesting email about VisualHub.

Although Universal, VisualHub doesn't work in OS 10.7 Lion.

"VisualHub:

      Version: 1.34.1
      Last Modified: 8/6/08 1:53 PM
      Kind: Universal
      64-Bit (Intel): No
      Location: /Applications/VisualHub.app"

Btw, to see what apps you have that are PowerPC (which will not run under Lion) paste the following into the Terminal and then open up the resultant "MyFileTypes.txt" on your desktop.


system_profiler SPApplicationsDataType >~/Desktop/MyFileTypes.txt


It may take a moment to write out the file. Look for the "Kind" section to see if an app is PowerPC or not.

Anyways, it is possible to run VisualHub under Lion by modifying VisualHub's package a bit.

Specifically, three files need to be modified:

buttons.scpt
main.scpt
snippets.scpt

Once modified (check around on Google for more info because I'm not sure of the legality of all this and you do so at your own risk) it'll patch into ffmpeg 0.6.4 and should be good to go until some Lion update breaks it.

One note of caution however; my friend tells me that the .scpt files are locked and "run-only" so you can't easily see what they are or do.

Or you could just try (again, at your own risk) an updated, patched and faster version of ffmpeg. More info here.

Or you could just use iFFmpeg or ReduxEncoder. Neither are free and ReduxEncoder seems a little unstable in my testing but iFFmpeg isn't a bad alternative to VisualHub.

Honestly, it's easier to compile your own FFmpeg binary and use it alone or with iFFmpeg, in my opinion.

Monday, July 11, 2011

MakeMKV gets an update

The FREE MakeMKV was just updated. I tend to use it for client videos where they show the video via some hardware box like WesternDigital Live or PS3 or something.

MakeMKV is a simple and FREE transcoder to transcode vids into MKV. Give it a whirl if you get the chance.

"WHAT'S NEW
Version 1.6.12:
  • MKV engine fixes:
    • Some MKV files produced from h.264 AVC blu-ray discs were not seekable
    • Subtitles were displayed too short on some players
    • Occasional errors on titles with forced subtitles
    • Improved compatibility of produced MKV files
  • Added workarounds for new DVD protections
  • Miscellaneous stability and UI improvements
"

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Fixing Quicktime's Gamma Export Problem with H.264

For a LONG time now Quicktime has had an issue exporting to H.264 where it'll bump up the gamma and make your exports look brighter than it did originally. It's a long-standing bug that I'm fairly shocked hasn't been addressed yet.

A simple-ish fix is to install x264encoder from here. It's FREE.

After installing it, re-launch your export software and select "x264Encoder" from the export options and before anything else, hit the Options… in the lower left.

From there hit "Tagging".

At the top left checkmark "Add gamma 2.2 (SD/HD content)".

This will dramatically fix or at least help the gamma H.264 shifting problem.

x264encoder seems complicated but since there are some really great presets you can get amazing results, small files sizes with only a few clicks. Exports will take longer to encode though sometimes so be aware.

A great article on this is here which goes into much more detail.

For curiosity a deprecated method (in case you don't have x264 installed or have don't a connection on location) is here. x264encoder is something you should have on that flash drive in your pocket, btw.

Thanks to IK for reminding me I never posted this after mentioning it ages ago.

Friday, July 8, 2011

FCP 7 is mostly dead

AppleInsider has some interesting news here about how Apple is still considering selling FCP7 to enterprise clients.

Some of the more interesting bits:

 "The Cupertino, Calif., company did confirm at the meeting that Final Cut Studio 3 has been discontinued. Wiggins noted that Color and all the other apps have been "killed off." AppleInsider exclusively reported last month that Final Cut Express, Server and Studio had been marked "end of life" by Apple."

Which means Final Cut Studio is the dead. But as for Final Cut Pro X:

 "During the briefing, Apple promised a range of updates in coming months, with XSAN support arriving in "the next few weeks." Some of the updates will cost money, while others will be free. The addition of multicam support will reportedly be a free upgrade, though Wiggins noted that Apple's employee may have said it "accidentally."

Accidentally? Its' been mentioned before from Apple. Could it mean however that multicam may not be a free update? It can be interpreted both ways, at least to me.

Which means that Final Cut Pro X, after it's all said and done and matches FCP6/7 features will not be "only" $299. As we pay for features to bring it up to par with FCP6/7 it builds upon the initial $299 price Apple wants us to pay. Users shouldn't have to pay for each feature that is standard now. Apparently Apple is going to nickel & dime us about this.

Then there's this:

 "Attendees at the private briefing, which took place on Wednesday, reported that Apple is looking into the legal ramifications of reopening enterprise licenses of Final Cut Pro 7."

Apple realizes (and I suspect we'll hear more about this soon enough) that Final Cut Pro X is seen as a bit of a joke in the pro industry and has to do something once FCP7 can't run on OS X dot whatever in the future, or can't run on whatever new hardware is out, to prevent many many FCP7 users from jumping ship to Premiere or Avid.

A few people I know are already hedging their bets and have bought and begun to learn Avid and Premiere in preparation for that day since Final Cut Studio is their current bread and butter.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Final Cut On iPad Rumors Begin

Running some kind of version of Final Cut on a near-future iPad are already starting to appear.

My hunch is that a future iPad will have an SD slot or something like a redesigned Camera Connection kit and allow import and editing of DSLR H.264 footage.

Hopefully it'll output to the card as well.

Friday, July 1, 2011

ProRes Plays Back Brighter in Viewer and Darker When Paused

Have you noticed this?

Load a ProRes clip into the Viewer in Final Cut Pro and it looks a little dark. Hit play and it brightens (gamma) until you pause, then it goes a little dark again.

I'm not sure why this happens but I see it regularly with ProRes clips. Some say it's the data rate being lowered for slower drives, others say it's the type of compression the timeline is using (highlight the sequence in the Browser, hit Command + 0 (zero) then look at QuickTime Video Settings in the lower left).

There's a brief discussion of it here on the Apple boards.

For me the difference in a clip that does it seems to be the size.

A ProRes clip which is 854 x 480 does have the brightness playback issue.

A ProRes clip which is 720 x 408 does not have the brightness playback issue. (Inconsistent though; some clips have the issue while others do not)

A ProRes clip which is 720 x 480 does not have the brightness playback issue.

That's the only difference I can determine between the two clips.

Playing the clips in QuickTime Player does not show a gamma shift.

Gamma while Playing in Viewer

Gamma while Paused in Viewer

I don't know a solution to this and really, it's just an annoyance overall; but it's good to be aware of it.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Soap Opera Look (and how to avoid it)

I had a client call the other day complaining that the HD final edit they were sent looked like "it was shot on video" when they showed it in their lobby. After many phone calls and questions I found out that the problem was their giant plasma tv itself.

It turns out that it had a non-user controlled "look" to it to interpolate frames between frames which makes the footage look (in effect) like it has more frames than it does, hence the video look…like a soap opera.

There's an interesting little discussion here about it which is well worth a read. The salient point is this:

"Most film is recorded at 24 frames per second, but your LCD TV probably either displays at 60 fps or 120 hz (hertz is just a measurement of frequency per second). There are three main ways to cope with this.

First is to simply display each frame longer, this is the oldest technique in LCD tech. However, its undesirable side effects include the possibility of motion blur, or of judder. Judder is an artifact of adjusting the framerate and it looks like a sort of stutter in movement that would otherwise be smooth (a slow pan, for instance).
 
The second technique is one used on Plasmas and CRT TVs. Instead of showing a bright image the whole time, they display the frame, then a short frame of either darkness or a very dimmed picture. This alleviates much of the issue with judder and motion blur as it allows your brain to fill in the gap faster than you can consciously notice. It is also an old technique, and is used in theaters. It provides the traditional cinema feel.
 
The most recent and advanced technique is motion interpolation. Motion interpolation is a process by which your TV analyzes the current frame, and the next frame, then creates an average. It inserts these averaged frames in between. The result is extremely smooth motion with no motion blur and judder becomes almost non-existent. There are a few technical issues with this, including the possibility of ghosting or artifacts in rare cases. Also the smooth movement this creates is slightly disconcerting."

Which is taken from this page (also worth reading).

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Final Cut Pro X - How To Hide Events in the Event Library

Apple has decided with Final Cut Pro X that you should see all projects all the time in the interface. Some people don't like that. Say for example you edit training videos for two rival companies. It's okay for you so see the proprietary stuff but it's not really the best idea to let one company know you're working for their rival as well.

So, Apple has revealed how to "hide" (remove) a project (event) in Final Cut Pro X. They posted a document about just this one issue here.

Basically you move a project's media (event) from the folder Final Cut Pro X looks in to find events to another folder so Final Cut Pro X just doesn't see it. It's like hiding your car keys in the sun visor.

How hard would it be to add a Visibility Toggle or something within Final Cut Pro X? I mean really.

Apple Posts FAQ About Final Cut Pro X

Apple is slowly responding to all the hullaballo over Final Cut Pro X and it's debacle of a debut. They've posted a FAQ about Final Cut Pro X here.

The good news is that Apple itself says FCP 7 will work with Lion.

In my opinion the Media Management section is the most interesting (and going to be the biggest hassle).

Ron Brinkman - Former Shake Product Designer on Final Cut Pro X

Ron Brinkman (former product designer for Shake) has some things to say about Final Cut Pro X and Apple in not caring about the professional market here.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

AudioCapture - Another Audio Recording App

There are myriad audio recording apps for the Mac now. Some are (kinda) built in like Quicktime Pro's "New Audio Recording" and some are expensive like Final Cut Studio's ability to record directly into Soundtrack Pro and Final Cut Pro.

A new FREE audio recorder is AudioCapture [app store link] It records to these formats:


But it does so as a .mov which while not a deal breaker is a bit of a hassle. Still, it's free.

Final Cut Pro X Can Almost Import Final Cut Pro XML Projects

MacMagazine has discovered [google translation link] that the ability to import a Final Cut Pro XML file is kinda sorta already in Final Cut X but isn't working. Either it's going to be implemented in an update or will work in tandem with a stand-alone app that converts Final Cut Pro XML into something Final Cut X can import.

Either way, there's a little teeny tiny bit of hope.

Apple Refunding Some Final Cut Pro X Purchases

The Next Web is reporting that Apple is apparently issuing refunds to some people who have purchases Final Cut Pro X and have been less than satisfied with it.

So there's hope if you've been trying to log tapes, or cut multicam projects or open FCP6 or FCP7 projects in FCPX.

Monday, June 27, 2011

RoaringApps Final Cut Studio Compatibility Check with Lion

Wondering if Final Cut Sutio 2 or 3 works with the upcoming Lion OS?

RoaringApps tries to keep track of what works and what doesn't with Lion, you can check out the F lettered apps here. Currently FCS 2 is untested and FCS 3 has some issues but they seem to be Quicktime ones, not specifically FCS 3 issues.

Worth checking once in a while to see how things are going.

UPDATE: Apple says FCP7 will work with Lion here. No word on FCP 6 from them however.

Blackmagic Disk Speed Test

I mentioned this FREE app [app store link] to a friend the other day and was surprised they hadn't heard of it considering they work as an editor for a tv network.

Anyways, Blackmagic Disk Speed Test stress tests a selected hard drive to determine what kind of read & write speeds it can handle and subsequently what kind of video playback performance you can reasonably expect. Check out the included manual for a quick explanation of what everything means.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Dvice has an article on Final Cut Pro X

Dvice has an article titled "Final Cut Pro X: Apple's biggest mistake in years?" which you can read here.

Randy Ubillos Emails about FCPX

There's a lengthy thread here with all manners of comments after Randy Ubillos apparently returned an emailed question about FCPX.

Josh Mellicker talks FCPX

Josh Mellicker has a quick write up of his thoughts and history of FCPX here.

Friday, June 24, 2011

David Pogue talks Final Cut Pro X

Pogue weighs in on professional editors weighing in on FCPX.

Pogue's review of FCPX.

Conan O'Brian On Final Cut Pro X

FCPX made an appearance on Conan O'Brian.

Youtube link here. Second link for backup here.

How To Run Final Cut Pro X on Non Open CL Capable Cards

Hardmac has an article up describing how someone discovered that, while slow, FCPX and Motion 5 can run on a Mac without a video card that supports Open CL.

"Yesterday I was unable to install Final Cut Pro X on my Dual-Core Mac Pro Intel Xeon rev. 1.1 (from September 2006) because the graphics card is not compatible with OpenCL. I created a session with my name on a friend's recent MacBook Pro and bought it with my iTunes account to test it on his computer and buy it on mine after would have changed the graphics card.
Today I put the MacBook Pro in target mode to transfer some video files.
Then, from my Mac Pro, opened the Application folder of the MacBook Pro and I was able to launch the Application!
I then copied it in the application folder of my Mac Pro and tried to launch it again, it worked!
I went to the software update menu and the other softwares were installed!

For Motion, a 10 seconds animation is read in 23 seconds in Motion 5 on the Mac Pro.
Graphics cards are important, but since I am not a professional, it is plenty enough for me. I understand that Apple didn't want that lower performances with older hardware would be officially possible.
On the MacBook pro 5.2 (Intel Core 2 Duo 2.66 GHz), the animation is read in real time, 10 seconds."



I'm unure of the complete legality of this but it's pretty interesting. It would likely be too slow to be of any real use though in real-world editing.

Apple has a support document here which lists cards that do support Open CL.

The Clip's Master Clip Is Not Present - Error

FCP has a long standing bug where when you have the playhead in the Timeline over a clip and hit SHIFT + F for Reveal Master Clip, you'll inexplicably see this:

Restarting FCP will not help.
Reconnecting the clip will not help.
Trashing prefs hasn't helped me in this case.

Bizarrely, the clip will be fully visible in your Browser and/or Bin yet FCP will simply not be able to find it. It may be able to find other clips in the Timeline that reside in the same Bin as the errant clip, though.

I have no solution but it's an irritating, frustrating bug.

See, with the Timeline in the foreground and placing the playhead over a clip and tapping The F Key will perform a Matchframe where the frame -and Master Clip- that the playhead is over will appear in the Viewer.

But, hitting SHIFT + F with the Timeline in the foreground and placing the playhead over a clip and tapping F will perform a Reveal Master Clip; only sometimes it will just stop working. I have no idea why.

A workaround this to find a Master Clip and have it load into the Viewer is, like I mentioned, just place the playhead over the clip, make sure the Timeline is in the foreground (active) and tap the F key. You won't see the clip in the Bin or Browser but you'll be able to scrub around to see what else the clip holds footage-wise.

It's an incomplete workaround however especially if you need to see the following and preceding clips around the clip you're interested in. You'll likely find yourself doing this a lot while cutting a documentary and know that the footage is listed chronologically; a Reveal Master Clip would show you where the clip rests in accordance to the order the clips were shot in.

Another quirk is that if you do hit OK to "add a master clip to the browser" it'll do just that; and it'll find it if you load that into the Timeline (or Viewer, Reveal Master Clip works if the Viewer is the active window as well) and perform a Reveal Master Clip. Frustrating.

So there is a solution if you're willing to add a master clip to the browser (at root level) for every clip that suffers from this bug. But there's no guarantee that it won't randomly happen again. In fact, if you do add a master clip to the browser, place some of  it in the Timeline, then for fun delete the newly created master clip from the Browser, FCP will toss up the Master Clip Not Present error.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

RIP Final Cut Server & Final Cut Express

Apparently Apple has killed off Final Cut Server and Final Cut Express according to Appleinsider.

What Final Cut Pro X Can't Do

I'm keeping a list as I run across things. Don't expect this to be complete, always accurate or exhaustively detailed.


Here we go: (this is for the dot zero release, btw and keep in mind I haven't played with FCPX very much yet)


1. You cannot currently import FCP6/7 projects into FCPX (see #4)
2. There is no Multiclip/Multicam.
3. Many plug-ins currently do not work.
4. Currently there is no XML Import or Export.
5. Currently there is no native OMF Export or Export to Logic.
6. Doesn't currently work natively with R3D or XDCAM (they need to be re-wrapped first).
An update has already addressed this somewhat.
7. There are no longer distinct Canvas and Viewer windows.
8. You cannot set In and Out points for tape capture nor (AFAIK) is there a batch tape capture ability.
9. You cannot "Save As" to duplicate a project (at least not that easily).
10. Apparently you can't Print (output) to tape, anymore.
11. Currently there is no support for EDL Import or Export.
12. You can't easily open two projects at once and drag media, sequences or custom filters between them.
13. Apparently lacks support for HDMI Input and Output
14. Apparently lacks support for SDI Input and Output
15. Not compatible with many, if any 3rd party video (capture?) cards
16. Timeline seems to always start at 00:00:00
17. Can you keyframe effects? I can't find it.

Apple vs. Final Cut Pro X User's Reviews

There's been so much backlash against the new version of FCP (FCPX) that Apple may have removed not just some but as of this post, all or nearly all reviews on the App Store (not to be confused with Amazon's Appstore, btw).

They're back up as of now.

9to5 has a post about it here.

Daring Fireball has more info about FCPX's reception in general here.

Arstechnica has some more reactions and comments from Apple on FCPX here.

Appleinsider has an article on reactions to FCPX here.

Installing FCPX and Final Cut Studio Side by Side

Apple has posted a rather interesting support document about how best to install FCPX along with Final Cut Studio.

It's here, and well worth a read if you plan on installing FCPX while having FCS also installed.

They recommend you re-partition your boot disk but if you don't, make sure to launch Motion 4 first. Sound messy? I thought so too. It's very un-Appley in my opinion.

Disk Utility and Invalid Content in Journal

Yesterday while switching around external hard drives to media manage some old projects that are going to be handed off forever (yay!) to a client I accidentally unplugged the wrong firewire cable and disconnected a drive that was mounted but not currently in use.

I don't think it was spinning at the time but I can't be sure. However, plugging it back in I found that it wouldn't mount. I tried a few times, tried using USB but it refused to mount. All the spin up, head alignment noises were there but it didn't mount.

Running Disk Utility showed an "Invalid content in journal" error. Now this wasn't a FCP drive, just a storage drive of mine. It's good practice to not journal your render drives (if you use an external one) for reasons such as this, speed, etc…

But this storage drive was journaled and apparently something went poof when its firewire was unceremoniously unplugged.

Running repair in Disk Utility showed:

The volume BLAHBLAH was repaired successfully.
Volume repair complete.
Updating boot support partitions for the volume as required.
Repair tool completed

But Disk Utility lied. Running Verify or Repair showed the same "Invalid Content in Journal" error every time. And it still refused to mount.

I decided to give Disk Warrior a go even though my version is out of date and after it's 10+ step process of rebuilding and replacing the directory the drive mounted.

Out of curiosity I rechecked it with Disk Utility and found no errors but I did notice that apparently Disk Warrior had turned off Journaling on the external drive.

Just to see what would happen I re-enabled Journaling through Disk Utility and re-ran Verify and again, no errors.

So if a drive won't mount, and you see the "Invalid Content in Journal" error in Disk Utility give Disk Warrior a try. Looking back I wonder if I could have just disabled Journaling on the un-mounted drive and then mounted it.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

FCPX - Removed Comments & Reviews

Apparently, Apple is removing negative comments and reviews from the discussion page and the App Store review site. I've seen two reviews removed from the App Store and I've noticed some posts and comments are no longer on the discussion site.

FCPX Options for Ingesting Media from Photo-Based Devices

Apple has put up a page covering the basics on ingesting and importing media from "photo-based devices" into FCPX which really means SD cards and DSLRs.

Adding Arrows Super Fast in Final Cut Pro

I'm working on a video that has lots of little intricate things that are pointed out in the text. Arrows on screen definitely help in this specific case.

A super fast way to add graphical arrows in Final Cut Pro is to use the Windings 3 font. Yup, a font.


You can launch Font Book -which is in your applications folder- to see exactly what arrows are available but for basic ones use the FGHJKL keys.

Now you can manipulate them as you would any graphic. Resize, alter color, rotate, keyframe etc…

FCPX and Supported Cameras

Apple has a pretty nifty page up here that lists supported cameras.

FCPX Requirements

Can your Mac Run FCPX?

- Mac computer with an Intel Core 2 Duo processor or better
- 2GB of RAM (4GB of RAM recommended)
- OpenCL-capable graphics card or Intel HD Graphics 3000 or later
- 256MB of VRAM
- Display with 1280-by-768 pixel resolution or higher
- Mac OS X v10.6.7 or later
- 2.4GB of disk space for Final Cut Pro
- 2GB of disk space for Motion
- 685MB of disk space for Compressor

More specific info about requirements and graphics cards is here.

What do you have?

1. Hold down the OPTION key.
2. While holding it down click on the Apple logo at the top left of the Menubar.
3. It'll read "System Profiler…"
4. After System Profiler launches click on "Graphics/Displays" under Contents > Hardware in the left column. Your graphics card(s) will be listed in the right-hand pane.

FCPX Questions and Answers

FCPX has dropped into the App store along with Motion and Compressor. Those links are App Store links, btw.

Many initial questions are covered here. It's well worth a read.
Macworld has an article on it here.

However, right off the bat with the dot zero release:

1. You cannot currently import FCP6/7 projects into FCPX (see #4)
2. There is no Multiclip/Multicam.
3. Many plug-ins currently do not work.
4. Currently there is no XML Import or Export.
5. Currently there is no native OMF Export or Export to Logic.
6. Doesn't currently work natively with R3D or XDCAM (they need to be re-wrapped first).
An update has already addressed this somewhat.
7. There are no longer distinct Canvas and Viewer windows.
8. You cannot set In and Out points for tape capture nor (AFAIK) is there a batch tape capture ability.
9. You cannot "Save As" to duplicate a project (at least not that easily).
10. Apparently you can't Print (output) to tape, anymore.

Panasonic's P2 Card and the Format Error!

Hopefully you'll never see this:


The error message blinks which is why it looks faded here.

It's a FORMAT ERROR! (I think it actually reads "FORMAT ERR!") which can occur very rarely on P2 cards for seemingly no reason. Recently we had one while on location.

What happened was someone forgot a standard USB cable to load in footage from an HVX200 camera to a Hard Drive - I've had extremely bad luck with going directly from the camera to a hard drive in the past so I avoid it at almost all costs now - and since we were on location with pretty much nothing around us in the way of stores and rummaging around through everyone's bags and equipment cases looking for a USB cable I decided to load in the footage via Firewire.

Now this camera and another we've been using have had Firewire issues in the past. Namely extremely slow and getting slower over time Firewire transfers. Resetting the cameras and restoring the Firmware seems to have no effect. USB xfers are multiple times faster than Firewire at this point so I've been going with USB regularly, often and without issue when there's no card reader available.

So, finding a Firewire cable and setting the camera to be a Firewire device and hooking everything up I began the copy from camera to laptop. While slow -as expected- it was going and I told everyone to take a coffee break while it copied over.

About 400MBs into the copy there was a Finder Read/Write error, I didn't have permission for something or other and it konked out. I suspect it was something to do with the "LASTCLIP.TXT" file which is locked by default.

So I tried to unmount the camera with no response and ended up just power cycling it since it was completely unresponsive and the Finder on the laptop couldn't unmount it even after waiting 5+ mins.

Powering it back on I saw the dreaded "FORMAT ERROR!" in red on the screen.

Now this is a very rare error and unfortunately there's not much you can do about it on location. Some people have had luck with a few power cycles and mounts and unmounts, others have had luck with Disk Utility repairing it but I wasn't one of them. I'm reluctant to have the Mac do anything to the cards but we were desperate and the director said go ahead so I tried a few repairs with the Terminal and Disk Repair but nothing seemed to help.

We ended up calling and overnighting the card to Panasonic who was able to recover the footage in their labs. They copied the footage back to the same card of ours and shipped it back to us. Panasonic was amazing, fast and helpful.

So the bottom line solution for us, upon seeing FORMAT ERROR! was to just ship the card to Panasonic and have them recover the footage.

My new rules for loading footage from a P2 card when you have to use the camera as a reader is to:

1. Lock the card with the write protect switch before mounting it on the Mac.
2. NEVER use Firewire. USB only from now on.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

MacBook Pro 2011 Not Recognizing SanDisk Class 10 SD Cards

A few people are reporting that a Class 10 SanDisk SD Card won't be reliably recognized in a 2011 MacBook Pro.

What does seem to work as a temporary workaround is restarting the Mac with the card already inserted. But even then it's not recognized if you remove the card and then reinsert it or another similar card.

"I use a Sandisk SDHC Extreme Class 10 SD Card and have problems getting it to read through the inbuild SD card reader.

I tried the following:

Reformatting on Disk Utility
Reformatting on my Canon 450D
Restarting Laptop
Resetting PRAM
Resetting SMC
Repairing Disk Permissions
Repairing Disk

All of these did not solve my problem. I have a card reader which when plugged into the MBP, works fine and detects the card.

The Weird Part

I plugged the card into a friend's iMac and it detects it every time. And then right after I do that, I plug it into my MBP, and it detects the card, but the problem is once I eject it, and slot it back in, it fails to detect again! However if I try this method again (Slot to iMac, remove, slot back to MBP), it will fail the second time.
"



Someone tried a card in MacBooks at an Apple store and:

"They had me EFFA back the machine, and provided me with a new one. I tested the new one right out of the box and it worked fine, but after Migration, it no longer worked. Restoring using the included disk back to factory specs DID NOT restore the ability to read the card.

In checking random machines at the apple store, only 1 on the entire floor recognized that a card was inserted, when I tried the Sandisk SDHC Extreme Pro 8GB 45MB/S card.
"



Apparently Apple and SanDisk are aware of the problem but if you use SD Cards for production or have them sent to you for editing it's a good idea to be aware of this issue. I've not seen it as I've been using an external USB card reader. Hopefully it'll be addressed soon with a software update.

Friday, June 17, 2011

FCPX Apparently "Not Ready for Professional Use"...yet.

"Whenever you've got something which is that big a re-write, stuff gets changed, stuff gets left out, stuff gets added later because they can't get it all re-written and I guarantee you that on day one when the dot zero release ships it will not be ready for professional use. 

Apple has a very poor track record of perfect dot zero releases. So for those of you saying: "this is without a question the second coming, I'm going to bet the ranch, I'm buying this the day it's released and God help me I'm plunging forward whether it's ready or not" -- I want your clients. 

I think there is only one company on the planet that could rethink non-linear editing like this. I think it's Apple. It's not ready for prime time. First it's not ready because it isn't shipping, then when it is shipping it's time for us to experiment."


Larry Jordan said recently.

Later on he expanded upon his remarks but said some interesting things:

"Based on what I learned during my conversations with Apple, I believe this release provides us with an opportunity for a large step forward."

An opportunity (to me at least) is not the same as the actual "large step forward."

Wait till it drops and I think your jaw will drop for one of two reasons at the dot zero release of FCPX.

Of course, a few months from now, after some FCPX updates all of this will be moot, but fun to look back on.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Locking (Protecting) P2 Cards Before Ingesting

We've been having a problem with one of our P2 cards here on location which may warrant it's own post in the near future but one suggestion I've been reading about (and talking to friends, thanks, you know who you are) is that it's generally good practice to Lock your P2 cards before you mount them on your Mac.

Why?

I've been told that the Mac will write files to the P2 card upon mounting in the Finder so I decided to find out. Here's what I did to test:

1. With the camera not connected to the Mac format a P2 card.
2. Shoot a test clip.
3. Turn off the camera.
4. Switch the Lock switch on the P2 card to PROTECT.
5. Turn on the camera and mount the P2 card on the Mac.
6. Fire up the Terminal and type in (with out quotes) "cd" hit space bar then drag the icon of the NO NAME P2 card to the Terminal and hit Return to Change Directory to the P2 card.

Your Terminal should read something like this: cd /Volumes/NO\ NAME

7. Type "ls -a" which lists all, including hidden files.
8. You should something like this:

.
..
CONTENTS
LASTCLIP.TXT

Ok, cool, so with the Write Protect tab ON that's what's on the card from the camera untouched by the Mac.

Let's try it with the Write Protect tab set to OFF.

Just mount the card like you normally would but leave Write Protect off. Now, with the unlocked card mounted run the Terminal steps again. After "ls -a" you'll see:

.
..
.Spotlight-V100
._.Trashes
.Trashes
.fseventsd
CONTENTS
LASTCLIP.TXT

So there you have it. The Finder WILL write to a mounted P2 card without you having to do anything. Has that caused a problem for me in the past for the thousands of cards I've loaded in in my life? No, but the possibility is there that the Panasonic camera may not like the files that are on the card after mounting.

My new rule of thumb is to lock the cards before mounting them in the Finder…just in case.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Even More FCPX Screenshots

No telling how long they'll be up. Take a look here.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Streamago for Video Streaming and Serving

A friend showed my Streamago the other day and while I haven't really played with it too much, it looks like it could be a handy (largely FREE) resource to stream video and post videos of limited size.

Ya know, for when Youtube isn't "classy" enough for a client or for when Wistia isn't cooperating with some browser.

Macrumors Posts FCPX and Motion X Alleged Screenshots

Have a look here, before they get pulled. They were already pulled from the original source apparently.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Uploading Videos to File Sharing Sites

Here's a quick tip: When a client wants you to upload some selects or some rough edits to some video sharing site, many support multiple simultaneous uploads.

Try highlighting (using Shift or Command) more than one video in the upload window and then hit send or upload or whatever the button is and see if you can upload more than one at a time.

It saves time but I was a bit surprised that more people don't try it.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Loader organizing software

Loader from Digital Heaven…


"…works alongside Final Cut Pro (launching and quitting automatically) and appears as a small tab on the left side of the screen. When tracks from iTunes or files/folders from the Finder are dragged onto the tab, it slides out to reveal a list of projects currently open in Final Cut Pro. After dropping the items onto the desired project, Loader copies them in the background to the assigned media folder linked to that project. In addition, those audio file formats that don't play nicely in Final Cut Pro (.caf, .m4a and mp3) are automatically converted to an AIFF file before import. When the copy is complete then the copied files are sent to a new bin in Final Cut Pro. 

Loader also offers the ability to sort copied media into subfolders according to the file extension. By default, subfolders are automatically created for audio, graphics and movie file types and settings can be changed at any time to suit specific requirements."


also

"Some types of audio formats don't play very well with Final Cut Pro so if you drop an mp3, AAC or Core Audio Format (.caf) file onto Loader then it will automatically convert it to an AIF file."





It's $79.00 but if you find yourself in FCP and doing lots media ingesting and organizing this could be a fairly handy timesaver. I haven't tried it yet and it seems a tad pricey and word on the street is that it copies all your media which could be an issue if you have large assets and limited space but it could eliminate some hassles which is always a good thing.

Check it out here.