Saturday, May 21, 2011


If a client gives you a video clip that they want on DVD you'd do well to check that it's NTSC before you convert it to DVD or something, especially if it's something long.

Recently a client handed me a .mp4 file of a long interview that they received from the interviewer. I let it encode in Compressor to DVD only to find out that it was PAL when I went to import it into DVD Studio Pro.

The quickest way to check if something is PAL is to open it in Quicktime and then hit Command + I to open the HUD Info Window. If you see "FPS: 25" it's likely a PAL video.

In compressor, after you've brought the video in, and set it's settings and destination(s) in the Inspector hit the Encoder button (second from left) and you'll see this:

Hit the little lock/gear button to the right of the grayed out PAL drop down and it should default to NTSC like this:

You should be good to go with your NTSC encode/conversion.

Compressor Won't Stop Compressing

Say for some reason or another you've cancelled a Compressor job but noticed that your temp is still up (if you use something like SMC Fan Control)  and the Mac is sluggish it's likely because Compressor has been told by Batch Monitor to keep compressing a file even though you've told it to stop, trashed the output file and anything else. The job's in the que and Compressor is determined to finish it in spite of you.

You'll even find that if you quit the job in Activity Monitor it'll just relaunch and keep on compressing. It'll even keep compressing across a reboot. What do you do?

Launch Batch Monitor (likely in your Utilities Folder, Hit Command + Shift + U to open that folder from the Finder) and hit the nice X stop button (in-between the Pause and Info buttons) to cancel the job. Ignore any complaints from Batch Monitor and just hit the X button again if it does complain.

Friday, May 20, 2011

ProRes Cheat Sheet

I ran across this the other night and thought it was kinda handy.

ProRes Cheat Sheet

It's from here and can be handy when someone asks what all the different types are good for.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Batch Convert Images Without Photoshop

I forgot to mention how I batch resized images from some Timelapses we've been working on since Photoshop CS4 won't open .NEFs from a Nikon D7000.

Use Preview. Yup.

0. Launch Preview and hit Command + (comma) to open it's preferences and under General make sure either "Open all files in one window" or "Open groups of files in the same window" are ticked. This is important.

1. Drag the folder containing all the images for the Timelapse onto Preview's icon.

2. After Preview opens all the images in one window hit Command + A to highlight them all.

3. Goto Tools > Adjust Size… and type in the resize you want or need.

4. Hit Okay, and wait for Preview to do it's thing.

5. Hit either "Save All…" or "Save As…" as per your need.


Monday, May 16, 2011

How To Create A Timelapse with Quicktime Without A Black Screen

We've been shooting some timelapse with a Nikon D7000 and the stills are .NEF files which Photoshop CS4 doesn't like and apparently there's no update to open these particular files so yeah, there's that. Photoshop requires that it be CS5 to open the D7000's .NEF files. Thanks Adobe!

So the basic workflow for these sorts of Timelapse is this:

1. Shoot with the intervelometer setting on the still camera.
2. Bring the stills into the Mac (either while shooting or load them in afterwards).
2a. Monkey with them in your image editor of choice. (Optional)
3. Launch Quicktime Player 7.
4. Hit Shift + Command + O (letter o) and select the first image in the sequence and hit Open (Return). This is "Open Image Sequence…"
5. Let Quicktime Player do it's thing then Export it to the format of your choice.


However…I noticed an interesting quirk in all this while assembling timelapses from the Nikon D7000.

A native .NEF file from the D7000 is 4928 x 3264, and while you can open them willy-nilly with Preview and Aperture, Quicktime Player 7 really doesn't like them because they are rather large. You'll see a black screen. Converting them to something else, like a .TIFF doesn't seem to help.

So I tried an experiment to see what the maximum size is that Quicktime Player 7 can handle by opening the .NEF file in Preview and making it a bit smaller then saving it as a .TIFF and found that (for me at least on this one Mac) 41% reduction works.

42% didn't.

2020 x 1338 will open in Quicktime Player 7 while 2070 x 1371 will not.

So in order to load them into Quicktime Player 7 as an image sequence you'll need to reduce them by 41% en masse.


A workaround to this is to use a little-known keyboard command in Quicktime Player 7: Option + Resize.

Open your image sequence as you would normally, as outlined above. If you see a black screen don't panic. Hold down Option and Resize the window to a size you like. Resizing the window with Option held down steps the resizing to multiples of the original frame size.

Once you get the Quicktime Player 7's window to screen size go ahead and make the quicktime movie despite it appearing as a black frame; the output video will have an image.

Keep in mind when you hit Export in QT7 you can then hit Options and then hit Size... and choose from a pre-selected list of commonly used sizes. Since these are smaller than the gigantic images you've imported as an image-sequence your video won't be a black screen once it's finished exporting.


I've been messing around with timelapses again and discovered you can use the very handy MPEG Streamclip to make timelapses as well (even though the image size bug will still exist with MPEG Streamclip.

1. Launch MPEG Streamclip.
2. Highlight all your timelapse images and drag them into MPEG Streamclip's main window. NOTE: You may just see a neon-green image preview in MPEG Streamclip. Don't Panic. (also if you have a large number of images this can take a long long time)
3. In MPEG Streamclip's menu head to Export to Quicktime...
4. Select the size you'd like for the video. I tend to choose 1920x1080 (HDTV 1080i) because as I found out above the max image size for a image sequence in Quicktime is about 2020x1338.
5. Hit Make Movie and tell it where to save it.

Note: For some reason the "Options..." button in MPEG Streamclip will not do anything some of the time.

Another option is to hit Export to Other Formats and then hit the Options... button and select your frame rate.

How To Open Nikon D7000's .NEF files in Photoshop

We've been shooting a bit on a Nikon D7000 (I'll post about it's video capabilities later on) and the stills look amazing. However, Apple Digital Camera Raw Compatibility update which lets Aperture and Preview (and Quicklook) open the files, doesn't let Photoshop open up the D7000's .NEF files. Weird right?

Looking around you find this page at Adobe. Which has a plug-in to open all sorts of still image formats.

But if you read the page you'll see this:

"The Camera Raw 6.4 plug-in is not compatible with versions of Photoshop earlier than Photoshop CS5."

"Camera Raw 6 is not compatible with Photoshop CS4."

What that means is that Photoshop CS4 can't natively open the D7000's .NEF files.

What to do?

You can check here what the minimum version of the plug-in is needed to open files from your camera; in this case it's 6.3.

Next, you look here to see what the highest version of the plug-in your software supports is; in my case CS4 supports up to version 5.7. So, I'm SOL.

If this is you, you need to install CS5 in order to open them in Photoshop or convert them to something Photoshop can open which kinda defeats the purpose of shooting Raw in the first place. Nice right?

What and how to convert?

Head over to here to download Adobe DNG Converter software. Although it does retain all the information post conversion, I think this is a bit nuts; making me convert all the stills after importing them, it's an extra step and I don't like extra steps. So my solution is to get the production to buy a copy of CS5 which they actually did. Crazy.

So if you have Photoshop CS4 and a Nikon D7000 you basically have four options:

1. Don't shoot Raw format.
2. Shoot Raw format and convert them all to DNG.
3. Upgrade to Photoshop CS5
4. Use Aperture instead of Photoshop.

The Price of Blank Optical Discs Is Going Up

Hardmac has an interesting post about the rising prices of blank optical media. Apparently as people use them less and less the idea is to raise prices to compensate while making fewer at the same time.