May 2008

The Mac OS X 10.5.3 Update – What it Means to Media Folks.

I know a lot of folks who are hesitant to upgrade.... I admit, I've been burned by installing updates as soon as they come out... but hey, that's why I'm an early adopter. The latest Mac update looks to include several important bug fixes and enhancements. Here's a few that tip the scale in favor of installing.

  • Addresses an issue with stuttering video and audio playback in certain USB devices.
  • Fixes an issue in which certain attached hard drives may not show up in the Finder.
  • Includes additional RAW image support for several cameras.
  • Improves 802.1X behavior and reliability.
  • Improves reliability when using Time Capsule.
  • Fixes reliability issues with authenticated RSS feeds.
  • Addresses compatibility issues with Aperture 2.
  • Addresses reliability issues when performing a full restore from a Time Machine backup.

You can access the update through your Apple Menu.... I’ve been running it for several days and all seems happy. Additionally, several new pro digital cameras were added for Raw support.


Soundbooth Beta Open to Public from Adobe

Adobe Soundbooth is a great tool to fix everyday audio problems and production workflows. It works well for video or Flash workflows and is built around a fairly intuitive set of task-based tools. Adobe is giving its customers a chance to play with Soundbooth CS4. If you are already a CS3 owner, the beta works until after CS4 is released. If you don't own CS3.... then it only works for 48 hours.

Here are some of the core features worth checking out:
  • Arranging audio files on multiple tracks
  • Making quick edits and applying fades
  • Matching volume levels with a single command
  • Removing unwanted noises and background sounds
  • Adjusting tempo and pitch
  • Recording and polishing voice-overs
  • Adding effects and filters
  • Previewing MP3 compression quality
  • Easily creating customized music — without musical expertise
  • With the new Adobe Sound Document file format you can take “snapshots” of your work-in-progress and undo changes made to your audio assets.


Using Video Chat On Set

Author and video podcaster Richard Harrington explains how to use your laptop's video chat capabilities to create a live video feed from your location for remote viewing and interaction.


Get Photos from Aperture to Final Cut Pro

Sometimes third-party plug-ins fill obvious holes... this is truly the case here. Wouldn't it make sense to be able to quickly send photos from Apple Aperture to Final Cut Pro? You'd think that sort of thing would be built right in (its not). Fortunately the fine folks over at Connected Flow over an elegant (and free) solution.

“The Aperture to Final Cut Pro plugin lets you take your images stored in Apple's professional photo management application and send them directly to a video sequence in Final Cut Pro. From within Aperture, you can select photos, set their order and duration and select transitions between frames.”

The Aperture to Final Cut Pro plugin is a
free download and is provided on an as-is basis.


Timecode Burn-in and Encode in One Step

Timecode burn-in is used to assist in referencing back to parts of show. Typically this has been used on VHS tapes for producers so they can comment on shows, etc. These days it’s more common to use QuickTime files and DVDs for this type of work. Since you’re going to have to encode the video anyway (most likely using Compressor), why not add timecode burn-in at the same time?

Fortunately, a great new feature in Compressor 3 allows you to do this.
  1. Inside Final Cut Pro select the sequence you want to export.
  2. Choose File > Export > Using Compressor.
  3. Inside Compressor select the setting you’d like to apply to the file. With the setting active, select the Inspector window and click the Filters tab.
  4. Choose Timecode Generator.
  5. Change the settings for the Timecode Generator as you see fit.
  6. Apply the setting to the clip in the Batch window.
  7. Submit the job.

Note: If you’re trying to choose the Timecode Generator for an Apple preset you’ll notice there are no filters in the Filters tab of the Inspector. To be able to add the Timecode Generator to one of the Apple presets, you’ll have to duplicate it first (then it becomes a custom preset).


Like this tip? It comes from the book
Final Cut Studio On the Spot from Focal Press.



Author and video podcaster Richard Harrington explains how a teleprompter can help in your next video shoot, and covers a number of prompter options.


Useful Article About Online Collaboration

There's a great article over at Pro Video Coalition about using web tools to collaborate with other creative pros. The article is written by Steve Hullfish who truly knows his stuff...

“A few weeks ago there was a short but interesting thread on CML-pro (The Cinematographer’s Mailing List) about how to collaborate with other creatives on a production team using web-based tools. The original poster wanted a solution – a “group scrapbook” - that would allow a small pre-production team to share images, photos and notes. Expanding on the idea a little further, it would be good to be able to communicate across the group, share schedules, comments and video.
There were basically six good solutions presented by members of the list:
  • Google Sites – basically a free on-line website creator.
  • Celtx – free software that links to free shared web storage specifically for film and TV productions.
  • BackPackIt – subscription-based team collaboration website
  • BaseCamp – subscription-based team collaboration website
  • Picassa Web – on-line photo sharing
  • .mac account with iWeb – simple website creation with annual subscription for serving.

I examined each of these concepts for a project I’m beginning. There are pros and cons to each approach and I figure that you might benefit from all of my legwork.”

You can check out the
entire article here.


New Online Class – Photoshop and After Effects for Event Photographers

I've launched a new course over at Kelby Training called Photoshop and After Effects for Event Photographers. It's designed to help teach you new ways to show your images to clients? Learn how to quickly prepare images for use in video and on-screen. In this interactive lesson you'll learn how to prepare photos for PowerPoint, Keynote, and DVD slideshows as well as how to create attractive pans and zooms of your image.

You can watch the first three parts of the lesson for free and find out more on their site. The tutorial touches upon most of the Production Premium suite. You'll learn a bit about Photoshop, After Effects, Encore, Premiere Pro, Soundbooth, and the Adobe Media Encoder

I hope you enjoy it.


Near NYC? Check Out Rocketboom.

If you're near New York City, you might want to check out the NYC Podcasting Association event featuring Andrew Baron of Rocketboom.

When: Thursday, May 29, 7:00 PM

Meeting Description: We'd like to welcome Andrew Baron as this month's speaker. Andrew is best know for the hit videoblog Rocketboom. Andrew will talk about the current state of the industry; Where is the ad market at? Where is traditional media at in moving online? What options are avail to startups? What happened to Podshow and Podtec? What's wrong with Revision3 and Next New Networks?

Andrew Michael Baron is the creator and founder of the popular daily videoblog, Rocketboom. He is also the lead writer and producer of the show which has garnered international notoriety.

In Austin during the 1990s, Baron played in bands, ran a visual and performing art gallery and worked a variety of tech jobs. After receiving a BA in Philosophy from Bates College (Maine), Baron graduated with a Master of Fine Arts in Design and Technology in 2003 from Parson in New York City. He was teaching graduate classes at Parsons and MIT when the notion of Rocketboom came to him. Although he has little interest in television (and did not own a TV set during the past decade), Baron has always been inspired by the implications of the democratization of media.


Lighting With Cookies

Author & video podcaster Richard Harrington shows you how you can make "cookies" and use them to enhance the look of your sets or locations.


Episodic Viewing of Podcasts

Deeje Cooley from Adobe shares some interesting thoughts about episodic viewing of podcasts. Don't miss this great post on what's possible with the new Adobe Media Player.

“There is a better way. More and more, TV shows are being (re)distributed as RSS feeds, which allows for a completely "on-demand" experience. What's more, the coolest feature of Adobe Media Player, called "Storyline Subscriptions", takes advantage of the reverse chronological order inherent in RSS to deliver every episode of a show, in order, from the beginning, at a pace determined by each individual viewer.

Most video RSS aggregators will pull the most recent episodes of a show, which is great for news and magazine-style shows. But for story-based shows, viewers really want to start from the beginning, in order to follow the story arcs and character developments. When you subscribe to a show in Adobe Media Player, you can choose to either pull the N most recent episodes, or choose to pull N episodes starting with a specific episode, usually the first one. And of course you can change these settings, on a per-show basis, at any time.”
Be sure to check it out.


Nice Tutorial on Using Motion for Pan & Scan Effects

A trainer that I respect a great deal has released a free tutorial. Mark Spencer offers a free tutorial on Motion Control effects with photos:

“Animating photos is a staple effect pioneered by celebrated documentarian Ken Burns. In this tutorial Mark Spencer shows you why you should be doing these types of effects in Motion rather than Final Cut Pro.”

Click here to watch Mark's tutorial


Review of Premiere Elements 4 (4.5 out of 5)

“You might be thinking, “What’s consumer software doing in a pro magazine?” The short answer is that if you aren’t using the Adobe Master Collection or the Production Premium suite, you probably need Adobe Premiere Elements 4. Whether you work as an advertiser, designer, developer, or photographer, you most likely have an interest in making videos or DVDs.
Sure, Adobe offers the very capable video applications found in the Creative Suite product line but for many users, it’s hard to spring for the “whole enchilada.” When I sat down with Premiere Elements, I was immediately impressed. The product offers an easy-to-use toolset that addresses the needs of many users.

Here’s the lowdown: Premiere Elements only runs on Windows machines. If you’re a Mac user, you should be looking to iMovie and iDVD ’08 to fill the same needs. On the PC side, the market has been woefully underserved by offerings from Adaptec and Microsoft. With version 4 of Premiere Elements, Adobe clearly steps up to offer a dramatic redesign, combining power with ease of use (an Adobe trademark).”

You can read the rest of the review


NIN – The Times are Changing

One of the first bands I fell in love with during college was Nine Inch Nails (actually back then, it wasn't a band). The seminal record, Pretty Hate Machine was a mash-up of Prince Samples and Orchestral Scores from Stephen King and Clive Barker films (along with many other sounds). Since then Trent Reznor has continued to evolve/

Yesreday they‘ve releases The Slip—a new 10-track album—for free on The record is available in virtually every flavor of DRM-free digital format, all you need to do is give them your email address. The album will eventually be available in traditional formats as well. This move mirrors those of both Radiohead and Prince.


Fly! (Trim on the Fly)

It’s possible to trim on the fly. This way you can listen for an audio edit or look for a particular visual cue. Just make sure the Dynamic trimmimg checkbox is marked.

  1. Enter Trim Edit mode, and press the space bar to cycle your trim. The sequence will play around your edit point and loop. The pre-roll and post-roll are set in the Editing tab of User Preferences.
  2. When you reach the desired edit point, press the I key to move your In point.
  3. Press the up or down arrow to move through the Timeline to your next edit point.


Like this tip? It comes from the book
Final Cut Studio On the Spot from Focal Press.


On Set Printing

Author and video podcaster Richard Harrington explains the benefits of having a portable printer for when you need printed documents while on location.


Adobe TV at NAB 2008 – Production Premium CS3 for Final Cut Pro Editors

Caught a great presentation from Steve Martin at NAB. It's all about using Production Premium with other NLEs like Final Cut Pro. Steve is a popular trainer (in fact one of Apple's main instructors). This one is helpful...

If you want more free classes... visit the
Adobe TV site.