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April 22, 2009

Cross-Continental Collaboration with Adobe Clip Notes

The new season of our AdobeTV show, Short & Suite, has begun! In this episode, we’ve moved away from our work with Mr. Johnny Encore to go out on the road, and Jason Levine shows how he can collaborate with the other Evangelists from anywhere in the world using Adobe Clip Notes technology. Watch it here:

April 20, 2009

Premiere Pro 4.1!

Today, Adobe is announcing a new free update for Premiere Pro CS4 users. The 4.1 update contains a number of new fixes and features that will benefit a wide variety of users.

One of the most exciting new features is the new enhanced RED support. Anyone using the initial release of the RED plug-in knows that Premiere Pro uses a ‘virtual proxy’ system, where Premiere Pro imports and works with the full resolution R3D files, and the plug-in tricks Premiere Pro into thinking the files are a lower resolution (chosen by the user) for a good editing experience on different levels of hardware. I’ve edited full 4k files on my laptop (using 1/8 resolution) and had a great experience. However, the initial plug-in required Premiere Pro to shut down in order to change the working resolution of the clips.

The new plug-in and support in 4.1 eliminates all of the bothersome restarts to change the working resolution. It’s all handled now in the Source and Preview monitor menus directly, and can be switched on-the-fly in the middle of editing without closing the app. Plus, the media browser now understands RED card structure, making it even easier to preview clips. Lastly, it also enables the ability to alter the color profile of the RAW clip directly in Premiere Pro! There are color, ISO, and White Balance sliders in the Source Settings panel for creating custom color profiles, and applying them across multiple clips simultaneously.

In addition to RED support, there are also new features for Avid interoperability, including support for AAF sequence import from Media Composer without having to rerender media. There’s also some nice architecture fixes that finally enable CS4 to work with HD capture boards from AJA, Black Magic, and Matrox video cards.

April 2, 2009

Using the Trial Version of Production Premium…

I just exchanged emails with a creative individual named Sunny Thaper. Sunny was attempting to use our trial version of Production Premium with his Canon HV30 camcorder, and ran into some difficulty.

The difficulty, unfortunately, was on our side, and I want to bring this to everyone’s attention in case others have run into this. There’s a small notice on the trial download site that often gets overlooked:

“The trial versions of Adobe After Effects CS4, Flash CS4 Professional, Adobe Premiere Pro CS4, and Soundbooth CS4 do not include some features that depend on software licensed from parties other than Adobe. For example, some codecs for encoding MPEG formats are available only with the full version of these products. HDV, XDCAM, and AVCHD formats and sequence presets are not supported in the trial for both Mac OS and Windows®. Adobe Media Encoder export does not include MPEG-4, MPEG-2, MPEG-2 DVD, or MPEG-2 Blu-ray as export formats in the trial. The file importer does not recognize file types that are not included in trial mode (such as MPEG and XDCAM files). HDV is not included as a capture format in the Mac OS version of the trial.”

What does this mean? Unfortunately, many of the codecs that are included in the full versions of the program are NOT INCLUDED with the trial version. This is due to licensing issues – these codecs are licensed from other companies, and those companies do not allow us to distribute them freely with the trial versions of our software.

If you are trying to evaluate any of these formats:

You will NOT be able to use the trial version of Production Premium to do so. Those codecs and timeline sequence presets don’t even show up in the trial version of the software. I would recommend going to an authorized Adobe dealer and getting some time there with the full version of the software.

This is an unfortunate situation to be in, and Adobe is looking into ways we can enable customers to get a better trial experience. Many other NLE makers no longer supply trial versions because of these licensing issues. However, Adobe has been committed to keeping a trial version available.

March 17, 2009

Cleaning out the green on green screen photos

My friend Rufus Deuchler recently gave me a challenge. I started in video production working with virtual sets and chromakeying over a decade ago. I’ve used many different technologies over the years to remove green screens and blue screens, and found various techniques for preserving the original colors in the remaining video. However, I had never used Photoshop to do it before. It’s actually quite easy using the new Adjustments and Masks panels in Photoshop CS4.

Let’s start with a picture of Rufus, where the green has already been removed. Look at the color of the edge of the hair, and the side of Rufus’s face. It has a green tinge to it.


Start by loading up the ESSENTIALS workspace in Photoshop CS4. This includes the Adjustments Panel, and the Masks Panel is in a tab in the same location.

Go to the Adjustments panel, and add a new Hue/Saturation adjustment layer. Click the check box to colorize. Set the saturation to about 65, and the Lightness to about 60. The Hue used will depend on the type of color spill in the original image. If you picture a color wheel, what we are doing is adding the opposite color to the image. So for blue spill, use a lemon yellow color – something around 60. For Green, use a magenta – something around 270.

Now, let’s mask the color. With the Adjustment Layer still selected, go to the Masks panel, and click the button to Create a Pixel Mask. Click on Color Range, and in the Select drop-down menu, select Green. This will give us the start of our mask.

Now, go back to the Hue/Saturation panel, and play with the saturation and lighting. You want to add enough Magenta to the image to cancel out the green, but not so much that the hair turns purple. There may be areas that are not affected yet – that’s because the mask isn’t perfect. We’ll fix that in the next step. For now, worry about the areas that are being affected, and get the saturation value in the right ballpark.

Select the mask in the Layers panel by clicking on the mask icon in the adjustment layer.

Select the paint brush, and set the brush color to white. Set the opacity to about 10%. Paint over any remaining areas where green is still showing in the hair or skin. For example, in this image of rufus, the right edge of his face is getting a touch of green spill that isn’t currently being affected enough by the adjustment layer. Paint over this area. If you overpaint, and his face turns magenta, switch the brush color to black and repaint. Also, play with the opacity of the brush if necessary.


March 13, 2009

Need more info on 64-bit and Production Premium?

Adobe has just released a white paper on how Adobe is currently supporting 64-bit memory addressing in the video applications. Check it out here:

I’m currently recovering from a ROCKING event here in Moscow, and I’ll be traveling back to California tomorrow to attend the SF Cutters user group and talk more about 64-bit support there. Then, Jason Levine and I will be shooting new episodes of Short & Suite, our AdobeTV show. More blog soon!

March 9, 2009

Hands-on with Core i7 and 64-bit Vista

My co-conspirators, Jason Levine & Rufus Deuchler, had the opportunity at CeBit to play with CS4 on some smoking-fast new systems.

Read about it all here:

I’m running out the door to catch a flight to Moscow! See you later in the week!

March 8, 2009

What kind of performance boost does 64bit get you?

If you haven’t seen this yet, Jan Ozer at EventDV posted an article with some personal tests he did comparing CS4 Production Premium running both under 32-bit Windows and 64-bit Windows. The difference was astonishing.

“After correcting for the 18% difference in processor speed, the 64-bit system was 67% faster on my standard DV test file, up to 63% faster on HDV-related tests, up to 50% faster on AVCHD tests, and up to 227% faster on tests using footage from the RED camera.”

Read the whole article here:

March 5, 2009

Another great article on Adobe’s 64-bit-ready apps

Dennis Radeke just posted another great article on how the Adobe Production Premium applications can take great advantage of using a 64-bit operating system today. Here’s the link:

As I said a few weeks ago, it’s the perfect time for Windows users to start migrating over to 64-bit. Hardware makers have really started to embrace making drivers for 64-bit, and with up to 128GB of RAM available, the benefits far outweigh the limits.

For Mac users, you can see all the benefits today just by adding RAM to your system. 🙂

February 25, 2009

Next Adobe TimeSaver Video is LIVE: Going Tapeless with a Tape-Based Camera.

Watch a bigger version here:

February 20, 2009

Why you should use Adobe OnLocation…

This past week, I had someone at Broadcast Video ask me why we have a product like OnLocation, since the capture utility in most NLE’s can capture live video from a FireWire port. Oh, let me count the ways:

1. Monitoring Tools. OnLocation is much more than a direct-to-disk capture program – it also helps set up shots, detects potential problems in shots, and can make you a better shooter overall.

2. Calibrated Field Monitor. By running a short calibration routine in the Field Monitor, what you are looking at is accurate. Compare this to the average LCD display on a camera, which doesn’t display accurate brightness, color, or contrast, and on many cameras, cuts off 10% of the picture.

3. RAM Buffering. Adobe OnLocation uses some great under-the-hood coding to ensure that it won’t drop frames. As the video comes in, it’s buffered into RAM first before going to the hard drive. Unlike the capture or log & transfer function in your NLE, OnLocation is an application that was designed as a field recorder first and foremost.

4. Live Waveform and Vectorscope monitors. These scopes and monitors are VITAL for seeing problems that may not be noticeable to the eye. If you don’t know how to read these scopes, you NEED TO LEARN. They are very easy to read once you understand what you’re looking at. It only takes about 10 minutes, and the benefits are huge. Go to the OnLocation Help to find out, or keep checking here for some upcoming examples.

5. Quick Back-and-Forth between record and playback. OnLocation is designed as a field recorder, so it’s very easy to review shots, then keep shooting. Instantly review what you just shot. You’ll stop shooting “one more for safety,” and you’ll leave sets with the confidence you get what you came for.

6. Continuity checking. OnLocation has a Split Screen feature that can help match recorded shots with a live camera, making it very easy to dial in the camera to match.

7. Adding Metadata. OnLocation makes it easier to add metadata into your recorded footage during acquisition. The sooner you get metadata into your assets, the more you’ll benefit. Using the Shot List placeholders, you can have metadata in OnLocation before you even shoot, so you won’t have to type it in later.

See what I mean? Once you start using OnLocation for shoots, you won’t want to go back. It’s included with Premiere Pro, Production Premium, and Master Collection for BOTH Mac and Windows, so go check it out!

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