Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Elasty HD

Elasty HD is a bit of software that's hard to categorize. It does common tasks like flip and retime but it has some advanced tracking and stabilization effects that don't look too bad in their sample gallery, although I wish the clips were longer. It feels a bit like a filter set that's run as a separate application.

It's odd that they're charging $39.95 for a beta version with the final version's price set at $59.95. For quick effects or as an additional option to things like Motion and After Effects it could be handy but I'm not sure.

The GUI reminds me of Pixelmator a bit which is a good thing. I'm keeping my eye on Elasty HD but I'm not ready to hand over any money just yet.

You can check out some screencasts of the app in use here.

Convert .swf to .flv for cheap

A friend asked me if there was a way to convert .swf to .flv for free. So here's my thinking:

Requires: Snow Leopard

1. Launch Quicktime X (yes, yes I know...but it's useful for this one thing)
2. Hit Control+Command+N for New Screen Recording.
3. Hit the downward-pointing arrow and set your recording settings to what suits you.
3. Play the .swf
4. Hit Command+Control+Escape to stop the recording.
5. Bring the h.264 into FCP and crop it.
6. Export then transcode to .flv.

The file will likely be larger than the original .swf since .swf isn't a video format per se, and .flv is.

Burning Client DVDs

Here's a small tip that has saved me from some post-project frustration: When the client asks for a DVD of a project...hand them two. Or three. The more the better because the more you hand them the better your odds of not getting a call a 7am asking for "one more copy" because they've already lost the one you handed them 18 hours earlier and their presentation is going to start in 30mins. Oh, and if you can, hand them to at least two different people. If you spread the irresponsibility around there are more of them to blame than you.

Wanna further increase the odds in your favor? Hand them a data-DVD with the project in some format they can handle or transcode. Heck, put differently encoded versions on there.

If you have the means toss the video online for them and email them a link to download it. Or barring that, toss it up on Vimeo and allow downloads.

A bonus tip, find media you like and is reliable for you. I like Maxell and Memorex but run your own tests and remember: "a least one client won't be able to play anything."

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


SimpleMovieX is a little video editor from Areo Quartet that's compares nicely to Quicktime Pro (not the icky and useless QT X) and has some tricks QT Pro doesn't.

The demo version is free and mostly non-crippled: Demo version has the same feature set as full working version, except slower saving and limited number of chapter markers. There is no time limitation.

Check it out (and some screenshots) here.

Areo Quartent is the same company that does movie file repair, which has saved a few friend's projects in the past.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Moving an item and all its motion Keyframes all at once

Lets say you have a still image keyframed to move across the screen from point a to point b over so many seconds via it's Center positions. But, you need it to move in the lower portion of the frame rather than the top as it is now.

Easy. Hold down Shift+Command and then (you'll see the cursor turn into a hand - without arrows) hold them down while clicking and dragging your image along with it's keyframe paths all together to a new location.

You may have to zoom out of the canvas a bit to see both ends of your keyframe path. It will set extra keyframes along the path but they shouldn't alter the motion.

How much room is left on that drive?

Sometimes you run out of room on your drives. There's no real quick way to find out how much room is left on a drive without spinning it up and looking or hitting Command+I on it.

However, if you fire up the Terminal and type in "df -h" (sans quotes) you'll see how much space is left (and used) on every mounted drive. Handy for when you need some temp storage space for large files.