Friday, February 29, 2008

JVC's Evil .MOD and .TOD Files

JVC has chosen for reasons known best unto themselves to use .MOD files for SD footage for their Everio camcorders and .TOD for HD footage (they're Program Streams...shhh). Basically this means on a Mac, with FCP it's a hassle to work with them. At the risk of dating myself, I thought they were audio files when I saw them on the camera.

The other day I had to get some clips off of one of these things so what I ended up doing was tossing the .MOD files into VisualHub and moving on with my life. VisualHub converted them to footage FCP could use.

Granted, the clips I needed were few and were only SD .MOD files but it worked. If I get a chance I'm going to test simply changing the extension of the files to .MPG and so on since .MOD files are really just MPEG2 files in disguise. I'm curious to see how VisualHub handles the HD clips actually.

JVC provides some software to use with a Mac but from what I've read people are less than pleased with it.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Super Fast Text Insert

Lets say you need to put some text into your project and want to use FCP's Text Generator. Here's a fast way to do it making a round trip from the timeline window, to the viewer full of text generating goodness and back to the timeline window without using the mouse:

1. Make sure your timeline is the active window so tap Command + 3 to bring it to the foreground. If it vanishes, don't panic, hit Command + 3 again to bring it back and make it the active window.

Now is the time to place the playhead where you want it with Left Arrow or Right Arrow (or if you don't want to move your fingers even that far use ; (semi-colon) and ' (apostrophe).

2. Now, lets set the target video track. Pick the one you want and hold down F6 then tap the track number you want in the top row of numbers on your keyboard.

3. Next, hit Control + X to bring up Text Generator in your Viewer.

4. Then, hit Shift + Command + ] (right bracket) to cycle through the tabs in the Viewer until you have Controls selected.

5. Tap Tab to highlight the "SAMPLE TEXT" you see there.

6. Type your text. The trick here to get out of typing mode and into a mode where you can overwrite or insert your text into the timeline is to tap Tab again. You'll see the Size text (number?) entry box's contents highlighted but ignore that for now unless you want to adjust the text size.

7. Tap F10 to overwrite or F9 to insert your text element into your timeline and you'll find the timeline window is already active ready for the next edit.

Use Your Flash Drive

Flash drive, thumb drive, tab drive, whatever you call them, if you're a freelance editor you really need one. Bigger is better, too.

Not only should you keep your plug-ins, various handy apps and documents on it but head over to User/Library/Preferences/Final Cut Pro User Data and grab what you find in there and dump it onto your flash drive. In there you'll find Window Layouts, Button Bars, Plugins (although this isn't the main plugin folder), your FCP prefs and Custom Settings. Keep all of this handy on your flash drive and you'll save yourself hassles later. I had to do this recently when an editing station I was at needed a reinstall. Luckily, I saved off my FCP prefs before the new HD was installed.

p.s. it's also not a bad idea to have some of your favorite music on there for iTunes ;)

AJA Kona vs. Quartz Extreme

...and "some video cards". And by some I mean ATI's 8800GT among others.

From AJA's support site:

(Release Date 2/14/2008, TAR archive)
This 5.1 NDD version is recommended for OS X 10.5.2 users. Note: The AJA
KONA driver version 5.1 NDD is the same as driver version 5.1, but removes
the Macintosh Desktop Display feature.

With the regular version of the 5.1 driver, some users may experience issues with Quartz Extreme, the behavior of their computer displays, and in some cases, kernel panics may occur with certain graphics cards installed. If any of the issues mentioned occur, the driver version 5.1 NDD should be used instead of version 5.1. Driver version 5.1 NDD is also the recommended version for use with the latest Intel Xserve with Xeon 5400 series processors, model (MA882LL/A).

Adjust your screen brightness

I was working on someone else's system the other day and the monitor was just too bright for my taste so a friend reminded me of DarkAdapted X, a screen brightness control app which has a free and a pro version.

DarkAdapted is an application program. It controls the amount of red, green, and blue in your screen gamma so that you may, for example, preserve your dark adaptation while using your computer.

DarkAdapted is being used by astronomers, planetarium operators, graphics professionals, medical professionals, airline pilots, air traffic controllers, and others worldwide to provide flexible, dynamic control over their monitor's screen color response. Users may define an unlimited number of gamma presets, and invoke them via global hotkeys, by menu selection, or by typing the first few letters of a preset’s name.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

VideoSpace Update

VideoSpace, a free tool from Digital Heaven which helps you calculate file sizes and duration of footage based on several parameters has been updated to version 2.5 for Mac OS 10.5.2.

Check it out here.

Image Capture & It's Greyed Out Scan Button

Okay, this isn't specifically a Final Cut tip but since you may need to occasionally scan in things for FC you may find yourself inside of Apple's free Image Capture app.

If you do, and you find it working perfectly except for it's Scan button is greyed out, here's the solution:

Click in the preview window and drag out a square for it to scan from.

Yes, that's it. It's that simple. Click outside the scan marquee square you just made to start over. This had me puzzled for far too long.