Archive for March, 2006

The Voodoo Science of Color Correction

Yesterday, I had the priviledge of spending some time with noted industry journalist & author Jan Ozer. We got into a deep discussion on color correction — how it’s still a big mystery to most of us — and eventuallly we started talking about the uses of a Waveform/Vectorscope.

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The YC Waveform Scope in Premiere Pro 2.0

Waveform/Vectorcopes generally only come into play when you’re editing something for broadcast. There are legal limits on luma (brightness) and chroma (color) ranges in broadcast signals. Even if you’re not going to broadcast, if you plan to make VHS copies you’ll wind up with that “buzzing” on the audio track if your luma range is too high.

The general idea is that you need to keep your luma between 7.5 and 100 IRE. Looking at the Waveform Scope above, you can see that the luma (represented in green) is within the legal limits, while the chroma (represented in blue) is pushing below 7.5 (in Premiere Pro’s Waveform Scope, above, the green and blue lines on the right show you the luma & chroma ranges in the image). So in this example, I’d need to look at the Vectorscope to analyze my chroma and make sure everything is in the safe zone (I’ll do a posting on the Vectorscope shortly).

There’s a lack of easy-to-understand training material on this subject. One book I highly reccomend is Color Correction for Digital Video by Steve Hullfish and Jaime Fowler. It’s got a very clear explanation of how to read Waveform/Vectorscopes, and while not extensively detailed, gives you the basic knowledge you need.

Think Outside The Rectangle

A few years ago I was at one of the trade shows and the crew from Macromedia were wearing these shirts that said “think outside the rectangle.” The whole idea was to encourage people to look at things that could be done with video on the web that didn’t just involve a video playing on a webpage or inside a Flash movie.

Here, in the second “Flash Video Inpiration” posting of the day, I bring you the website of Agencynet, an interactive production company based in South Florida.

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The little people in the above screencap of their hompage are actually Flash Video clips within the Flash Movie. Click here to view the site, it has loads of interactivity, and uses video in some very unusual ways.

Pardon Our Appearance

Finally got some time to work on the CSS for the blog (CSS, or “Cascading Style Sheets”, define how the pages on the blog appear). Please bear with the constant style changes that are bound to happen today as I continue to tweek away in Dreamweaver and rebuild the pages. Should have it in decent shape by the end of today.

Great Example of Video in Flash

I’m always searching the web to find cool things people are doing with our software and just discovered this little nugget right in my own backyard, on adobe.com. It”s a piece about Flash in mobile phones & consumer electronic devices.

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Really simple, elegant, but very clever (especially the navigation — mouse over the thumbnails at the bottom to see what I mean). Seems more “dvd-esque” to me than a Flash piece.

Another Reason Why I Live Here

I decided to take a long lunch today with my buddy Tom who is visiting from NYC (Tom happens to be a very talented web developer — his company is called Local Galaxy). Anyhoo, I decided to take Tom up to one of my favorite spots in the Bay Area, the Marin Headlands.

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It took me exactly 25 minutes to drive from my office, which is completely on the other side of San Francisco, to where I took this photo. ‘Nuff said.

Just over the bridge is The Presidio, where George Lucas has his brand-spanking new production facilities. Along with Lucas-owned Industrial Light & Magic, there are a handful of large & small production and post-production companies, such as The Orphanage.

I Can See Clearly Now

And no, this has nothing to do with my winetasting jaunt through Napa Valley on Saturday. This is a tip for those of you running After Effects 7.0 on Windows XP.

AE7 uses the ClearType technology found in WinXP to smooth the appearance of fonts in it’s User Interface. Here’s how to make sure you have ClearType enabled:

1) Right-mouse-click anywhere on your desktop and select “Properties”. The Display Properties dialog appears.

2) Click on the “Appearance” tab and then click on the “Effects” button. (screencap below)

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3) In the second pulldown menu from the top, select “ClearType”, and click OK.

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This’ll keep the AE UI smooth, smooth smooth, regardless of the “After Effects of Weekend Hijinks”. Oh that’s just sad.

Apologies for Browser Errors, Signing off for the Weekend

To those that have written me about the blog showing up with a white background on certain browsers and the light grey text being impossible to read:

1) Thanks for the heads-up, I’m only using IE currently.

2) I’m still learning by trial & error how to modify the CSS to get the pages to look like I want, in all browsers so please bear with me.

I’ll probably switch to one of the stock CSS templates on Monday, when I resume my posts. Signing off for the weekend — I hope yours is fun & relaxing.

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Saddling up for the ride home. Am I a total dork or what?

P.S. – It hailed in San Jose today, for about 5 minutes, just as I was leaving HQ. Hailstones the size of peas — one of my colleagues noted that she’s been living in SJ for 20 years and had never before seen snow nor hail there.

Exporting Flash Video from After Effects 7.0

A tutorial I wrote for Studio Monthly magazine on exporting Flash Video from After Effects 7.0 is now online at Studio Monthly’s sister web publication Studio Daily (let’s see how long it takes for “Studio Hourly” to show up).

Read the tutorial here.

BTW, Studio Monthly is an excellent magazine that has more tutorials per issue than any other magazine. You can get a free subscription here.

Ripple Effect

We’re starting to see the fruit of our steamroller trip through AsiaPac. Wee Ling Tan, of Adobe Singapore, just sent us a video of the interview we did for Straits Times Interactive (The Straits Times is the #1 english-language newspaper in Singapore).

You do need a subscription to STI to watch the video, so here are a couple of screencaps:

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Jim provides the “big picture.”

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I show some of the new Adobe Production Studio features to reporter Melissa Kok.

I also did an interview with the South China Morning Post (#1 english-language daily in Hong Kong) which I’m looking forward to seeing.

We’re going to put the archived webcast of the Sydney Production Studio Launch Seminar on adobe.com within the next few weeks, so everyone will get to see what the follks in Asia & Australia got to see earlier this month.

Mooooooo

One of the best online resources for tutorials on Adobe’s Video & Audio products is Creative COW (mooooooo) — COW actually stands for “Communities of the World”, so it’s really “Creative Communities of the World”. They still use a cow as their logo, and give away neat promotional items like “Bovine Bessie’s Chicken Sauce” at trade shows. The COW’s founders, Ron & Kathlyn Lindeboom, are extremely smart, creative industry vets who have built one of the best onine user forums for Video & Audio on the planet. I used to host the forum for a competitor’s editing product there before I started working at Adobe, and if you seach the archives you’ll see some of the product reviews & industry reports that I did for them over the years. Ron also happens to be a mean drummer and despite being extremely busy running the COW still manages to produce records & do session work now & then.

Here are direct links to the COW tutorials for After Effects, Premiere Pro, and Audition. In particular, there are some really good ones for AE7 and Premiere Pro 2 for those of you starting to work with the new versions.

They also just started a print magazine which you can get a free subscription to, and they have a podcast, hosted by Franklin McMahon, which discusses creative & business issues in our industry. Well worth checking out.