Archives for February, 2009 | Main

February 9, 2009

OnLocation Split-Screen Keyboard Shortcuts

My buddy Mark Mapes, who works on the OnLocation team, made a comment about a recent blog of mine. He pointed out that last week’s blog on the Split Screen feature failed to point out the keyboard shortcut available for the Opacity setting. Using the value in the Monitor Settings panel is sort of limiting, because you cannot adjust the area of the split while adjusting the opacity value.

The way to fix this is by assigning and using the keyboard shortcuts. Go to Edit-Keyboard Shortcuts, and scroll down in the list to the Field Monitor settings. There are a couple of unassigned keyboard shortcuts for the Split Screen Opacity.

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Set these values to whatever works for you, and you can adjust the opacity of the Split area without having to open up the Monitor Settings panel each time. Thanks, Mark!

February 7, 2009

8 random facts about me…

Welcome to one of those blog posts where you get to hear a little bit of non-work related info about me. I hope to dazzle you with facts that very few are aware of in the halls of Adobe. Here we go:

1. I am an authentic hippie lovechild. Mom met my father working at a book store at 1800 Haight Street in 1969. I spent the first few years of my life at various communes in Northern California and Oregon before Mom settled down in the Sacramento region. In fact, my birth name (changed when I was 3) was Rashied Karl Delaney. Go figure.

2. My music tastes are all over the board, shifting from techno/ambient/trance to folk music in the blink of an eye. I grew up listening to a lot of 60’s/70’s classic rock, but when I hit my late teens, I had a huge penchant for punk that kicked in – Pistols, Dead Kennedys, Ramones, Black Flag. I really loved the musicianship of the early Police mixed with some punk energy – songs like “Next to You” and “Dead-End Job” are all-time favorites. Right now, I’m listening to a lot of Nickel Creek and Kings of Leon, with some Bowie thrown into the mix for good measure.

3. I would never consider myself a musician, although I try. I bought my first bass guitar when I was 17. This past year, I bought a mandolin, and, while still very much a beginner, I’m seeing progress made. I used to keep the mando handy during rendering of clips, but sadly, with CS4, I’m doing a whole lot less rendering. 🙂

4. I still love traveling, even after all these years on the road. Getting to travel internationally for Adobe fulfills one of my life-long goals of seeing the world. Seeing new places is always a thrill – I’ll be in Eastern Europe and Moscow in the next few months – but I’m always looking forward to returning to places I’ve been before.

5. I’m attempting to learn Mandarin Chinese. Wo bu shuo hao Hanyu.

6. The biggest creative weakness I’d love to overcome is the ability to draw. My skills of an artist are woefully lacking, and it hampers my creativity sometimes.

7. I am super-sensitive to caffeine. I’m not sure why, but coffee, tea, even cola can have a profound effect on me, more than the average person. however, this sensitivity doesn’t last long, and I very quickly can get into a multi-espresso-per-day habit. At least once a year, I take an extended break from the caffeine just to get back to baseline.

8. I have 2 webbed toes on my left foot. Yes, I can swim like Patrick Duffy.

February 6, 2009

NLE Shootout shows the flexibility of Premiere Pro

I meant to blog about this earlier, but it slipped my mind. A couple of months ago, Dennis Radeke represented Adobe at an NLE shootout in the Boston area, where all of the top players were in attendance – Avid, Apple, Grass Valley, and Sony.

Part of the challenge was to import a BUNCH of different types of media on a timeline, create some picture-in-picture effects, animate a PSD file, import some audio clips, and make the whole thing play without rendering. needless to say, with Premiere Pro’s very flexible playback engine, it accomplished the task in about 5 1/2 minutes.

Here’s what Dennis had to say about the experience.

February 5, 2009

Nice Premiere Pro article on PDN Gear Guide.

Go check it out.

February 5, 2009

FCP Users: Using Premiere Pro is not cheating!

Last year, at the IBC trade show, I had someone come up to me and say, “You know, Premiere Pro CS4 looks absolutely fantastic! Unfortunately, I’m a Final Cut Pro editor, and can’t use it.” I inquired further, thinking it was a training issue, and he told me that since he defines himself as an FCP editor, he won’t use other NLE tools. I was left speechless.

Another story took place at an FCP user group meeting in San Francisco. A gentleman approached me after my presentation to ask how to get Encore by itself. He was a current user of Photoshop and After Effects. When I suggested Production Premium would be the way to go, he said that would be impossible, since that meant buying Premiere Pro in the package, and he couldn’t do that. What?!?


1. Using an NLE does not make you married to that NLE. There’s no ring on your finger, no marriage license, no “until death do us part.” (at least I hope not. I haven’t read all the latest EULAs.) I can see sticking with the tools you love to use, but you are not cheating on your NLE if Premiere Pro is installed on your system.

2. Use the tool that’ll get the job done right, fast, & cheap. If you limit yourself to one palette of tools, you’re limiting your creativity. You’ll have to sacrifice quality or speed without the best tools. Practicing monogamy to your NLE won’t help you get the job done faster.

Now, for the big question: WHY? Why, if I’m happy with the way I edit on FCP, why would I want to even open Premiere Pro?

I’ll give you one big reason – Integration. CS4 Production Premium is much much more than a collection of programs. One of the big advantages is the integration found between those programs, and the interoperability. Import a PSD file? Premiere does it right. See After Effects compositions mixed with footage right on the same timeline? Yep, Premiere can do it as well. Import an unrendered timeline sequence into Encore for Blu-Ray authoring? Guess what to use – that’s right – Premiere Pro.

Adobe just recently (in the 4.01 update) added a new Final Cut importer into Premiere Pro. Using the XML Export option found in Final Cut, you can now edit in FCP, quickly export/import your project USING THE SAME MEDIA, and then take advantage of the integration that Premiere shares with After Effects, Encore for Blu-Ray authoring, and even better use of PSD files. Premiere Pro becomes more than a competing NLE – it’s your gateway to faster workflows, more capabilities, and better creativity.

In case you do need to make some editing tweaks after exporting, Premiere Pro has keyboard shortcut presets for FCP users, AND you can customize any shortcut to match what you are used to. Just go to Edit-Keyboard Customization to change to a different preset, or choose your own set of shortcuts.

Look, if you still feel like you’re being unfaithful to FCP for using Premiere Pro, don’t think of it as an NLE – think of it as the “Adobe Production Premium Final Cut Importer.”

If you use After Effects and Photoshop already, getting Production Premium is the cheaper way to upgrade to CS4. Plus, you’ll get these added benefits. If it doesn’t make you more productive, FCP won’t divorce you, or hit you over the head with a frying pan. It’ll still be waiting there for you. 🙂

February 4, 2009

On Christian Bale, and behaving on a hot set…

Over the last 10 years, I’ve had the privilege of being on a couple of Hollywood sets. While my career has kept me (for the most part) away from big-budget Hollywood, I have a respect for the way things are done down there. A lot of lower-end productions still utilize the Hollywood method because it’s tried and true.

Right now, there’s an audio clip floating around that features a very-upset Christian Bale screaming out a young Director of Photography. The clip makes Bale sound like he’s a monster, and coupled with other news stories, it’s painting a picture of him being out of control. That’s not how to interpret that clip.

The world of high-end production is a very high-strung one. There’s a production schedule to keep, scenes have to be completed, sets struck, new sets built; it’s a pressure-cooker of an environment for everyone involved because there’s just not enough hours in the day to get things done. Every job is segmented and broken down into smaller jobs so that everything can go just right. Actors are the center of it all, and if they are trying to portray an emotionally filled scene accurately, many of them feel the actual emotions of the scene.

From what I just read, the scene being shot just prior to Bale’s tirade was just such a scene, and the tirade came after the DP decided to fiddle with lights during the take. Not once, but TWICE. We aren’t hearing the polite, “Don’t do that anymore.” We are hearing an actor, having been polite before, saying enough is enough. Is it pretty? No, but I’ve heard plenty worse. If anything, the DP should’ve gone and hid instead of continuing to confront Bale – it sounds like the DP was in the wrong here.

I’m curious – how many of you have ever seen or heard a director, actor, or producer just lose it over a mistake? I can probably name about 5 times in my pro career where I’ve seen it happen, and not one of them was undeserved, considering the circumstances. Luckily, only one of them was ever directed at me. 🙂

February 3, 2009

How to Match Cameras and Recorded Clips using OnLocation

One hassle of the production process is trying to go back and get additional shots that match older footage. Those of you who shoot interviews know what I speak of – I’ve had to cut together a TON of interviews over the last 10 years, and every time I’ve had to go back and reshoot, there’s always something different about the new footage. B-roll footage can be used to cover the jump, but it’s not the same. If you want to use a jump cut or quick dissolve, there’s nothing more annoying than seeing the microphone move positions, or the camera framing being off, and the subject’s head gains 5 kg because of a closer camera angle.

Adobe OnLocation contains a feature to combat this problem, and it’s also useful for dialing in cameras in a multi-camera shoot. It’s called the Split Screen Feature.

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Here’s a shot of me from last week’s eSeminar on OnLocation. Notice the lovely garish shirt I’m wearing. For the sake of this tutorial, I’m going to try to match this scene with my live camera.

I’ve made things simple enough by wearing the same lovely shirt. I had to dig the shirt out of a box buried in the back of the garage this time. I need to be sure to ask the wife about why the shirt keeps disappearing like that.

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To get Split Screen dialed in, click on the flyout menu on the Field Monitor, and choose Display Settings.

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The opacity of the Split is set by default at 50%, but for this exercise, I’m going to crank it up to 100%. Anything less than 100% will cause an Onion Skinning effect, which can be useful, but in this case it’s too much information. Using 100% makes it clear what’s from the still and what’s from the live camera.

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Here’s the tricky part – you MUST click on items in exactly this order: Double-click on the pre-recorded clip. Pause the clip on a good frame to compare. Then, click the Split button. Click the Stop button. clicking Stop should switch left side of the screen back to the live camera.

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Use the on-screen controls to adjust the size and area of the split. To match up my camera angles, I’m going to use the CS4 logo hanging on the top left corner of the green screen. Adjust the camera position until everything lines up. I’ll take this moment to ditch the hat, which I can see wasn’t in last week’s shoot.

Just from the field monitor, I can see that the brightness of my camera isn’t what it was when I shot the previous footage. Be aware that the Split is also active on the Waveform Monitor as well. I need to adjust the iris/exposure of my camera to match. With the Fv at 1.8 and the Exposure cranked up to +1, I’m seeing similar brightness values in the Waveform monitor and in my Field Monitor.

The one thing this technique won’t help me with is removing the new curry stain on the shirt. Fortunately, with this shirt, it’s almost impossible to notice. 🙂

This same technique works well in Pre-production on a multi-camera shoot. Point cameras at a common object. Hook OnLocation to Camera 1. Dial in white balance, iris, exposure, etc. Then, record a reference clip. Go to camera 2, hook up OnLocation, and compare the live feed from Cam 2 with the recorded clip from Camera 1. Split, use the Waveform Monitor, and adjust Cam 2 to match. Rinse and repeat for Cam 3, 4, etc.

February 2, 2009

Super Bowl Commercial News

In case you missed it, Hyundai ran some commercials during yesterday’s Super Bowl for their new Genesis Coupe. There’s a contest at that uses Adobe Premiere Express technology. You get to edit your own commercial for the Genesis, and post it online. Prizes ensue.

If you haven’t seen Premiere Express before, it’s an online editing technology based around Flash that enables putting together video clips, music, transitions, titles; basically all the pieces necessary to edit together a video. At the end of the process, you “publish” a playlist of your finished movie. There’s no rendering involved – the player just loads your playlist of media and plays it in the Flash player.

If you’d like more information about Premiere Express for your website, check it out here:

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