Archives for January, 2009 | Main

January 31, 2009

What would YOU like to see on AdobeTV?

As you probably know, Jason Levine and I have been involved with a show on AdobeTV called Short & Suite, where we debut a new music video from Johnny Encore & the Acrobats, then Jason breaks down how the audio came together, and I discuss elements of creating the music video.
Pretty soon, Jason & I will be heading back into the studio to record some new episodes, and since Mr. Encore and his band have fled the country to study existential sitar meditation techniques, we’ll be doing the next series of episodes without the help of new music videos.
So, I pose this question to you, Dear Reader: What would you like to see in a new, revamped, Short & Suite series? More AE tutorial content? More audio tips & tricks? Dancing girls? I want to hear your suggestions! Please post a comment below. While not all comments will appear, I do take the time to read them all. Thanks!

January 30, 2009

More Books…

I got a lot of requests on more book recommendations for Production Premium users or beginners out there. Here are a few additional titles that I’d consider ‘essential’ reading.

For Shooting: The DV Rebel’s Guide by Stu Maschwitz Stu’s guide covers a LOT of tips and tricks how to get shots, from using natural lighting to taking advantage of inexpensive steadycam techniques.

Good After Effects Starter Guides:
Creative After Effects 7 by Angie Taylor. This book is a guide through everything you need to know about AE. While I’ve put this book in the “starters” category, it’s a full lesson in AE, including lots of advanced techniques. Angie also maintains a companion web site with additional tutorials found here.

Another good starter book would be After Effects Apprentice by Chris and Trish Meyer. Beautifully layed-out book that takes a lot of time with core theories of AE animation techniques. If you are trying to see what AE can do, this one will walk you through the basics of the different uses of the app, and it’s a good icebreaker into Chris & Trish’s more advanced AE book

More advanced AE Books:
Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects by Chris & Trish Meyer This, along with Angie’s book, are the bibles on what you can accomplish with After Effects. Highly recommended.

AE CS4 Visual Effects and Compositing Studio Techniques by Mark Christiansen This book focuses on tricks used in real-world studio situations, and every time I pick this book up, I find another pearl of wisdom. There are many ways to accomplish tasks in AE, but Mark shows how to do things fast and right the first time. And, these techniques have been battle-tested in real life situations. Good stuff for the advanced user.

Other useful books to consider:

Photoshop for Video by Richard Harrington Great book for getting the most out of Photoshop for video graphic design. Don’t overlook the bonus chapters on the DVD as well – lots’ of good stuff in there.

The Non-Designer’s Design book by Robin Williams This book is primarily geared towards the print world, but many people I’ve talked with in the video world have never taken a design class – this book is a great primer for understanding color theory, text design, and repetition in design elements. I think anyone designing lower third graphics or opening graphic intros can benefit from this book.

January 29, 2009

OnLocation Seminar Follow-up

Recently, I gave an online OnLocation e-seminar to over 200 people. I had a TON of questions at the end, and couldn’t get to all of them in the time provided, so here’s a follow-up to some of the more pertinent questions:

Do the Qt files recorded on the hard drive have the same timecode as the tapes in the camera?
The clips have the same timecode that the camera provides. This is a good reason to continue to use tape in the camera. Remember, OnLocation doesn’t impact the tape mechanism in the camera. It’s there, so feel free to use it! 🙂 If the tape isn’t running, and the T/C generator in the camera isn’t set to Free Run, then the recorded clips will all start with 00:00:00;00 timecode. OnLocation doesn’t generate it’s own timecode.

If you aren’t familiar with Free Run mode, it’s a great way to get unique timecode for each file, and not use tape. Many prosumer cameras like the DVX-100 or HVX200 have a free run timecode generator. you have to get used to the idea that the timecode generator is running whether you’re shooting or not, but it works well with OnLo.

Does it record native DV or a compressed file?
OnLocation records what the camera provides via FireWire, which is a full-quality signal, exactly the same quality as what’s recorded to tape. There’s no loss in quality using OnLocation.

Could you monitor REDRaw(r3d) files using Onlocation?
The RED camera doesn’t currently offer a compressed output via FireWire, which is what OnLocation CS4 requires to see a signal. There’s a lot of great development talks with RED right now, so maybe this will change in a future release.

Can you pull pre-recorded video into shot list? Or does it have to be recorded directly into shot list?
It is possible to pull some clips into OnLocation from other sources for comparison purposes, but not all files will be compatible. Simply drag/drop clips from an open window into the Shot List. OnLocation will tell you if the clip is compatible or not. I’ve found this is most useful when using multiple OnLocation projects, and wanting to combine clips from different projects into one project.

Is the metadata contained in a XML format?
The metadata is imbedded in the QuickTime or AVI file for DV format. For HDV recording, it is stored in a separate XML file.

You said that as you did takes in the “placeholder” screen the take # would change, but in your demo it didn’t change. Why is that?
Good question. Chalk it up to operator error. The shot list has two different modes of recording, which I showed: Shot-Recording Mode, and Take-Recording Mode. Somehow, at the beginning of the demo, I mistakenly selected the wrong mode. To utilize the placeholders, select Take-Recording Mode, as shown here: takemode.png
Later on in the seminar, I caught this mistake, and later clips do show the takes field incrementing, but I didn’t call this out. :p Bad Karl.

Can camera rec button start on location record?
YES! There’s a remote record toggle control at the bottom of the Field Monitor, shown here:
Turn this on, and OnLocation will begin recording at the same time as your camera begins recording.

Will OnLocation work with the HD-SDI IO cards?
Not in the CS4 release. As laptops continue to evolve, we’ll be looking at other signal formats, but for now, OnLocation only records signals transmitted via FireWire.

January 28, 2009

FCP Users: here’s a better way to use PSD’s!

For those who prefer to edit with FCP, one known challenge has been working with PSD files from Photoshop. The PSD importer in FCP sometimes causes some, well, unpredictable results.

Because of this, most FCP users settle for exporting out PNG files, but this can create problems down the road if you need to modify the graphic, update text, etc.

Now, there is a better way! Adobe just recently introduced a way to import your FCP project into Premiere Pro. This is a great way to still do the bulk of editing in Final Cut, AND take advantage of the powerful integration Premiere Pro enjoys with apps like Encore, After Effects, and, of course, Photoshop.

Here are a couple of examples:

I started with a lower 3rd PSD template that was made for an NLE shootout last year. In Photoshop, I made a modified version of the file, changing the font a little bit, and updating the text. I tried importing both the original file, and a modified version of the file, into FCP:



Completely different results for each file, even though the only thing I modified was the text and the fonts used!

I then exported my edited FCP project using the Export-XML command, and imported it into Premiere Pro. (There’s no special command to import the project into Premiere Pro. Just create a new Premiere project, and use File-Import, and point at the FCP XML file. Premiere Pro will do all the rest.)

Then, in Premiere Pro, I imported the same 2 PSD files. In Premiere Pro CS4, there’s a new PSD import dialogue box with several different options.


For this example, I just used the “Merge All Layers” option. However, if I wanted to, I could pick and choose the layers out of the PSD file, or import the PSD into a new timeline for layer-by-layer animation.



As you can see by the pix, both PSD files import with proper transparency and text. Using Premiere Pro as a tool to import PSD files means no concerns how the PSD will look on the timeline – what you see in Photoshop is what you’ll get in your project.

January 26, 2009

The Serious Magic Activation Tool

For the sake of convenience, I’m posting a copy of the Serious Magic Activation tool here: Download file Because some virus blockers tend to block anything with an .EXE extension, I’ve renamed it to a .123 file. Be sure to rename the extension to .EXE after you download it.

Please read all previous posts, and make sure you have any necessary updates to your legacy Serious Magic software installed before running this self-activation tool.

January 19, 2009

Production Premium Road Tours

Now is definitely the time to learn about Production Premium CS4! There are several different road tours either ongoing or coming up soon. here in North America, the tour started last week, and will be hitting up cities across America for the next few weeks. For more information, and to register for the tour, head to this link:

For those of you outside of North America, tours are coming in your region as well! My fellow Evangelist, Jason Levine, has a Nordic tour during the first 2 weeks of February. I will be in London for the Broadcast Video Forum from Feb 17th – 19th. March will have some new dates, possibly including my first trip to Moscow. I can’t wait! I will be posting more dates as they finalize.

In the world of Design, check out this new article from Rufus Deuchler on how the world of print is expanding into new territory.

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