Saturday, April 4, 2009

.motn files render as black in FCP timeline

I've mentioned this a long time ago here, and this ridiculous bug still persists.

Basically, when you go from Final Cut Pro (6.0.5) to Motion (3.0.2) and then back again (via saving in Motion) sometimes the .motn file that is initially placed in the timeline will be completely black. Also, sometimes, when you open it in the Viewer, it's fine; putting it manually into the timeline it looks fine but unrendered. Render it and it's all black again.

Bizzarely, create a new sequence and place the .motn file into the timeline and it'll look fine, render it, and it'll be black.

Worst of all, export from Motion and the resultant Quicktime file will sometimes be all black.

There's another thread on this here.

Stranger still, in Motion, Export Selection... will do nothing when In and Out points have been set.

This must be some kind of rare bug (possibly confused alpha channels or frame rate mis-match) or settings issue with Motion or Final Cut that spans software versions, years (yes, years) and Mac models and graphics cards. I'm experiencing this issue on not only with a newer version of FCP than last time, but Motion as well, as well as a model of Mac that wasn't available at that time with a graphics card unavailable at that time.

The solution? For me at least, there is no solution, only a workaround of exporting out of Motion as an 8-bit Uncompressed file then import that into Final Cut Pro.

If you have any information, tips, hints or anything about this please let me know. I'm not the only one dealing with this issue judging from a few people I've asked about it.

Here are some links to threads about this issue (and similar ones) from some emails I've received:

FCP interprets .ipr & .motn files (correctly) with Black alpha. Since when?

Livetype problems since going to FCP 6.0.3 and QT 7.4.5

Livetype problems with K3

Live Type maybe fixed?

Livetype Effects misbehavin'

Suggested Possible Solutions:

01. Change the Alpha of the Motion files from straight to black (or vice-versa).
02. Go to the View menu and change the preset for playback to none or at least something other than what it is set to now.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

PAL to NTSC DVD Conversion

Here's another reason to lament VisualHub's passing.

A client needed a PAL DVD of dailies converted to NTSC that day. Looking at the structure of the DVD I saw that there were luckily no menus, just four VOB files.

I launched VisualHub, dragged the VOB files into it, told it NTSC, Author as DVD, Burn When Done and popped in a blank DVD. About an hour later I had an NTSC DVD for them.

So if you need a fast simple way to convert a PAL DVD to NTSC (that's not copy protected) and don't want to worry about 720x576@25fps vs. 720x480@29.97fps, VisualHub is a pretty straight forward route.

You can also name the DVD in the Advanced window and tell it to create chapter stops every 5mins or so if you'd like.

Here's looking forward to Transcoder Redux in the future world of tomorrow as a VisualHub replacement.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Looping Video Playback in the Timeline

Someone emailed me the other day asking how to loop video playback in FCP's timeline. After thinking about it for a little bit (and way over-thinking how to do it) it hit me and it's simple.

Set your In and Out points in the timeline. Don't bother with Option + A to select the portion of your sequence within the In and Out points. Tap Control + L to turn on Loop Playback, then hit Shift + \ (backslash) to just play the portion of the sequence between the In and Out points.

(Thanks to Josh for bringing this up!)

Monday, March 30, 2009

Digital Cinema Desktop Can Crash Final Cut Pro

Apple just noticed a long standing bug in FCP.

Changing system display settings causes Final Cut Pro/Express to quit unexpectedly

Wow. News.

Here's their solution:

Avoid making changes to the system display settings while Final Cut Pro/Express is using Digital Cinema Desktop. Set the display size, arrangement, and color profiles before activating Digital Cinema Desktop in Final Cut Pro/Express.

Here's the link.