Nov 2008

90 Percent of Problems are Cable Problems

Most people assume the worst when their edit system starts acting up. If you’re getting a signal or device control problem, it might not be your machine (or even your software). A $10 cable can tear down an entire edit session. Follow these steps:

  1. Shut down the computer to avoid any improper dismounting of media drives.
    2 Isolate the suspected “problem” device.
  2. Be sure to reseat both ends of the cable.
    4 If that doesn’t work, try swapping out the cable.
  3. Continue to add devices until the problem recurs. Then repeat this cycle.

You might be surprised how many times this works.

Remember, there’s more than just FireWire cables; there are USB cables, RS-422 cables, monitor cables and extensions, and fiber-optic cables. Even your audio and video cables (RCA, BNC, XLR) could be culprits. “What, no video? Oops, my RCA came unplugged.”


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


Editor's Retreat – "Virtually Free"

If you’re an editor, be sure to check out the Editors Retreat. This great event is a lot of fun and a wonderful learning experience (I’ve been 5 times its that good). The price is lowered, but you need to put a reservation in ASAP.

“With respect to the current economic times and in response to your requests, we are pleased to announce a price reduction for 2009 Editors Retreat. By shortening the length of the Retreat by one day, we’ve managed to cut the price from $3,150 to $2,300 without losing any of our key sessions.

The Retreat now includes:
• 4 days and 3 nights of sessions and activities
• All-inclusive resort stay
• See more here

And, a package of give-aways for each attendee worth $2,400 to include:
• A Full Pass to the 2009 NAB Post-Production World Conference in Las Vegas! (Valued at approx. $700)
• An Adobe Creative Suite 4 Production Premium! (Valued at $1700)

With all of the give-aways and savings you actually receive more than the price of the retreat!

Join us for an amazing conference of advanced sessions, networking, creative workshops, award winning keynotes, raffles and unlimited access to representatives from Apple, Adobe and Avid!”
Registrations must be submitted before December 10th, 2009 with a 30% down payment. Visit www. for more info.


Tech Shopping Deals

There are lots of shopping deals this weekend.... Here are a few that I’ve already taken advantage of.

Delkin Devices25% off and free shipping. This includes a Blu-ray burner, multiple types of card readers (I ordered a 4 card reader to load from 4 Compact Flash cards at once)! Use the code HOLIDAY during checkout.

equinox – Makers of useful software utilities like Coverscout (to get iTunes artwork) and several templates for OSX mail. I ordered the tube stick bundle for $99 that lets you record over-the-air digital TV signals to your Mac, then transcode them for use on iPod or iPhone. Several bundles that are 50% off.

Mophie Get the JuicePack for iPhone and iPod Touch. Doubles your battery life and makes for a long day of web work on the device. Take 25% off this weekend. Use the code gobblegobble3G.

Hop you enjoy... I get nothing from links... this is just what I spent money on and thought the deals were good.


Final Cut Help - Animating Text with Keyframes part 2

Join Apple Certified Trainer Mason Dixon as he shows you how to animate text with keyframes in Motion. Part 2 of 2.

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Apple Releases Pro Apps Updates

Apple has just released a set of Pro Applications Updates which improve reliability add add new features. The applications included in the update: Final Cut Pro 6.0.5 Compressor 3.0.5 Color 1.0.3 Shake 4.1.1. Here are some of the highlights of the updates (the full list is here).

Improved High-Precision Rendering – This means improved reliability and quality when rendering still images and footage in high-resolution formats.
Improved AVCHD Support – This affects the Panasonic AG-HMC150 C and the Panasonic HDC-SD9 Camcorder
Improved Support for Metadata Imported from P2 Cards
Improved Format Support for Color –
Color 1.0.3 provides support for XDCAM 422 media and for the RED plug-ins for Final Cut Studio.
Improved EDL Handling – Accuracy and reliability during EDL import have been improved.

To Download Files


Square vs. Non-Square Pixels

Author and video podcaster Richard Harrington explains the difference between square and non-square pixels and how to make sure your web videos are properly sized.


What’s That Exclamation Point?

A lot of new users call us up asking about that exclamation point or nice green check mark on their image. We tell them that Final Cut Pro has an Artificial Intelligence engine, and it’s approving of the shot or edit. Or, if there is an exclamation point, then there’s content that’s inappropriate for people younger than 18. They thank us and hang up the phone.

After about five minutes, they call us back and ask if we were pulling their legs. Well, Final Cut Pro does have a secret AI engine. If we told you more, we’d be put on double-secret probation, but the exclamation point and checkbox actually mean something

They’re used to determine if your video is broadcast safe/legal. An exclamation point means you’re not broadcast safe, and a green checkbox or one with an up arrow means you’re okay. Now how did this get turned on? Well, the keyboard shortcut for this is Control + Z, so people often accidentally hit it when trying to do an Undo (Command + Z) or a Fit to Window (Shift + Z).


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


Final Cut Help - Animating Text with Keyframes part 1

Join Apple Certified Trainer Mason Dixon as he shows you how to animate text with keyframes in Motion. Part 1 of 2.

Like the podcast? Subscribe for FREE.
Want more training? Check out our


Blogging with Lijit

Author and video podcaster Richard Harrington shows you how to maximize your video blogs with Lijit (


Podcasting is NOT Dead

I just need to rant for a second... I am sick and tired of people claiming that podcasting is dead. The truth is that it is far from it. While the names and flavors may change, podcasting is alive and well. Here’s what I have spent the past week doing.

I spoke in New York City for 3 days at the
NY Post Conference. I was joined by great podcasters like Paul Vogelzang of MommyCast, Dusty Wright and Richard Burns from Culture Catch, and Alexandra Gebhardt from Inside Mac. We had healthy crowds with great questions. There were also big companies there, like TiVo and HP, as well as representation from several universities. I also had some great meetings with Apple and mDialog... two great companies with cool things coming.


Aperture 2 Quick Tip – Now on iPhone

We’ve partnered with the cool folks over at mDialog to bring you our Aperture show... now on Apple TV and the iPhone. To view our episodes on your phone, just download the free mDialog application from the iTunes App Store.

“The mDialog application is always available as a free download worldwide from Apple's App Store on iPhone and IPod Touch, or at or click on the link on the mDialog site.”

Be sure to download and try it out.... it works great and is absolutely free.


Scott Kelby's Holiday Gift Guide is Great

Noted author Scott Kelby has released his annual gift guide. What’s great about the list is that there are some really cool tools on there for photogs and even hobbyists. It’s nothing but the coolest photography and Photoshop gear.

“Since many of you are new to the gear guide, I wanted to let you know how I make my picks each year, and why I think it’s different than most other guides you’ll find out there these days. Put simply, every item in here is stuff I actually use, it’s stuff I’m crazy about, and now it’s become stuff I can’t live without (which is sad, in a way), and it’s the same stuff I recommend to my friends (well, my friends with room on their Visa cards).”

I agree with several of his picks, already using things like the Hoodman Loupe and Boda Bag myself. Be sure to check it out.

Lighting Diagrams with Omnigraffle

Author and video podcaster Richard Harrington as he explains the importance of lighting diagrams and shows you how to make them with Omnigraffle.


Double Your iPhone Battery

I know some of you hate iPhone posts (sorry)....

But here’s something I just had to gush about.... The
mophie Juice Pack iPhone battery is shipping. I had the original battery pack, but with the new form-factor for the 3G phones, I had to upgrade. Here’s the specs:

  • Standby Time – Up to 350 hours
  • Talk Time – 6 additional hours on 3G | 12 hours on 2G
  • Internet Use – 6 additional hours on 3G | 7 hours on Wi-Fi
  • Audio Playback – 28 additional hours
  • Video Playback – 8 additional hours

This device is absolutely
awesome and lets me get through a long day of business.



Richard Harrington takes a look at a wide variety of video accessories in the Hoodman ( booth at Photoshop World '08.


Adding Captions to Flash Video

Looking to make your web video more accessible? Then be sure to check out this great article on adding open captions to Flash video. If you are doing video work for the government, then this is often an absolute must.

“The really great thing about this feature, from our perspective as designers and developers, is how simple it is to accomplish and manage. If the timing is out or a caption is wrong, you simply change a few words or numbers in the XML file.”

This tutorial makes it really easy and I suggest you check it out.