Posts in Category "Premiere Pro"

Legal Matters

If you started in video after the mid-90’s there’s a good chance you never used a tape-to-tape, linear, A/B Roll system or a flatbed (I’ve used the former but not the latter, which gives my wife bragging rights in that department). Today, for most people, the definition of “post production hardware” is a computer and maybe some bits and pieces plugged into it, but in the old days you needed a roomful of expensive and complicated gear to get anything done.

Software like Adobe’s DV Rack simulates a lot of the gear you’d find in an old-school edit suite like a broadcast monitor and waveform/vectorscopes.


The first thing you learned in old-school editing school was how to read those scopes –they’re key to making sure your video is broadcast legal. You’ll also find them in Premiere Pro by opening your Reference Monitor (from the Program Monitor’s flyout menu) and selecting the scope you want from its flyout menu (the flyout menu is the little round button with the triangle inside it that’s in the upper-right corner of every panel in Adobe’s video & audio tools).

The YC Waveform Monitor and the Vectorscope in Premiere Pro.

The basic idea is that TV screens, unlike computer screens, display an image comprised of Luma (brighness) and Chroma (color). The three channels that make up a video signal are Y (Luma) Cr (Chroma Red) and Cb (Chroma Blue), also referred to as YUV. Broadcast legal for NTSC video is within the range 7.5 IRE and 100 IRE on the waveform monitor (IRE stands for “Institute of Radio Engineers” for those of you keeping score).

7.5 IRE is black, and 100 IRE is white, and everything else needs to fall in between in order for video to be “broadcast legal” (exception is in Japan where they use NTSC with 0 IRE black). You can see the IRE scale on the right hand side of the YC Waveform Monitor in the image above.

If your video isn’t broadcast legal it will not be aired, and even if it will never be broadcast it will cause many TV sets to produce an annoying “buzz” in the audio.

Now you may be thinking “my videos aren’t for broadcast, they’re not even for a TV set, and I don’t need to worry about this.” Well, one reason you should care is that video looks completely different on a computer screen than it does on a TV screen and if your video is going to be viewed on a computer monitor (e.g. on the web) or a handheld device (e.g. iPod) you should color correct it. Computers display images in terms of RGB or Red (R) Green (G) and Blue (B) so if you want your video to look its best you’ll need to compensate.


In computer land, 0 RGB is black and 255 RGB is white. The problem is that when you convert video black (7.5 IRE) to computer black it actually translates as 16 RGB, not 0 RGB where it should be. Likewise, video white (100 IRE) translates to 235 RGB, not 255. So what you wind up with is less contrast, and blacks & whites that aren’t true. Color correcting your video can fix this and here’s a quick and easy way to do it:

If you’re editing in Premiere Pro, once you’re finished and done apply the Levels effect to your entire sequence. Start by nesting your sequence in a new sequence by clicking the New Item button and selecting Sequence


Accept the default settings in the New Sequence dialog, then drag your existing sequence from the Project Panel into the Video 1 track in your new sequence (this basically flattens all the layers in your original sequence so you can apply the Levels effect to the whole thing at once).

In the Effects panel, type “Levels” in the Contains field, and drag the Levels effect onto your nested sequence in Video 1. Open the Effect Controls panel and twirl down the controls for Levels


Since your video has levels of 16 black and 235 white, change the settings for (RGB) Black Input Level to 16 and (RGB) White Input Level to 235. See the difference?


Your blacks & whites are now where they should be, and you’ve regained the full contrast range in your video.

In After Effects, the same thing can be done by creating an Adjustment Layer, dragging it to the top of the layer stack in the Timeline, and applying the Levels effect to it (using the same settings above).

Remember, if you have graphics, photos, or other elements in your Premiere Pro edit or After Effects comp, you’ll have to take that into account when applying the Levels effect – but for many cases this is a great way to make video look its best on a non-TV viewing medium.

Mac To The Future

I’ve been a Mac user since 1988, when I bought my first Mac Plus with a whopping 1 megabyte of RAM and a 20 megabyte external hard drive the size & weight of a couple of bricks. The Mac was, more or less, the only platform I used until a few years ago when I worked at Anystream who develops only for Windows.

I love using Premiere Pro and Encore on Windows (as well as the rest of Production Studio), but I’ve always had a fondness for the Mac OS. This is why I’m personally excited, on so many levels, to be able to show you this:


We announced today that Adobe Production Studio is coming to the Mac. That’s Premiere Pro on the Mac above, and we’ll also have Encore and the rest of Production Studio available for the Mac when we release the next version (that’s expected to ship in mid-2007).

All the features in the Windows version will also be in the Mac version (including some new ones, but it’s still too early to talk about that . . .). True cross-platform, baby. It’s the first time Premiere Pro and Encore have ever been on the Mac (of course the original Premiere had its beginnings on the Mac, but that was a completely different app than Premiere Pro) and the tight integration between all the apps in Production Studio, with features like Dynamic Link which let you drag & drop your After Effects compositions into Premiere Pro and Encore without rendering, can now be enjoyed by Mac & Windows users alike.

You gonna be at Macworld next week? Stop by the Adobe exhibit and see the first ever demos of Production Studio on the Mac, being given by the venerable Dave Helmly.

I’ll be at Macworld as well, so if you see me make me buy you a beer or something. I live here in SF and know some pretty good places to get thrown out of…

The Mask of Shame

When the “Cops” style shows were at their peak of popularity, flipping through the TV channels was like it is with poker tournaments today — you couldn’t get away from ‘em. Quite often a few of the faces involved in whatever scuffle was being shown would be blurred out “to protect the innocent” (or, more likely, to protect the broadcaster from getting their pants sued off for the lack of a signed “talent release”).

Well, thank goodness that fad has mostly died out (although the poker tournaments are still with us like a bad hangover on a red-eye home from Vegas). But there are still situations where editors need to obscure something (or someone) in a shot, and there are a few different ways to do it. How it gets done depends on if your subject is moving.

I’ll start with an example that answers a question posted in a comment here a few weeks ago (BTW, for those of you posting comments, I need to personally approve the comment before it shows up on the blog, and due to the massive volume of “comment spam” I get on a daily basis I’m only able to sort through and find the real, non-spam comments every week or so – that’s why it can take so long to see your comment appear). The writer of said comment had a project where he was shooting a computer screen with a spreadsheet on it and he wanted to blur some “sensitive” parts out. I assume this was shot locked-down with a tripod (if not, it should be) so this would be a non-moving subject. We can take care of this one in Premiere Pro.

I’m going to use a different visual example, a locked-down shot of a car with a licence plate I want to get rid of. You need to start with a clip that’s already cut into a timeline. Locate that clip on your timeline, click to select it, then select Edit>Copy. Move the Current Time Indicator (CTI) to the first frame of your clip, and select the video track above it by clicking on the track’s name (it will turn highlighted indicating that it’s selected). Select Edit>Paste, and you’ll have a duplicate copy of your clip sitting right above the original.


Go to your Effects Panel, and in the Contains field type “Gaussian Blur”. Locate the Gaussian Blur effect, then click & drag it to the duplicate copy of your clip on the timeline. Then, go to the Effect Controls Panel and twirl down the controls for Gaussian Blur. Change the Bluriness value to 30 (or whatever value sufficiently obscures your shot).


Now, it’s time to crop this layer so only the area we want blurred out is blurred out, and the un-blurred original copy of the clip is visible below. Go back to your Effects Panel and type “Crop” in the Contains field. Drag the Crop effect to the duplicate clip in the timeline, and then in the Effect Controls click the name of the Crop effect to select it. This will reveal the direct-manipulation Crop controls in the Program Monitor (it’s the outline around the frame with the boxes at each corner). Drag the corners of the Crop controls to isolate only the area you want blurred out.


And that’s all there is to it, as long as you have a locked-down shot with a non-moving subject. If you are dealing with motion, though, it’s time to go over to After Effects. You can select your clip in the Premiere Pro timeline, select Edit>Copy, then Edit>Paste it right into an After Effects timeline.

Over in After Effects, I’m going to use a shot with some actors walking around and blur one of their faces out. The way I’m going to have the blur follow the face as it moves around the frame is by using the Motion Tracker. If you’re using the Standard version of AE then you don’t have the Motion Tracker – so if you need to do this sort of thing you should upgrade to AE Professional.

First, create an Adjustment Layer above the video layer in your AE timeline by selecting Layer>New>Adjustment Layer. Then, go to your Effects & Presets Panel and type “Gaussian Blur” in the Contains field, and drag the Gaussian Blur effect to the Adjustment Layer. Select the Adjustment Layer, go to the Effect Controls, and change Blurriness to 30.

Then, go to the Toolbar and select the Elliptical Mask Tool by holding your mouse button down on the Rectangular Mask Tool and selecting the Elliptical Mask once the pop-up appears.


Make sure your CTI is at the first frame of your timeline, then in the Composition Viewer draw a mask around the face you want to obscure.


To soften the edges of the masked blur, click on the Adjustment Layer in the timeline, hit the letter “F” key on your keyboard to reveal it’s Mask Feather property, then change the Mask Feather value to 8 or so.

Now you’ll need to move the Anchor Point of your layer to the center of your mask (because that’s where we’ll need the motion to be centered). Click on the Adjustment Layer in the timeline once again, then select the Pan Behind tool (it’s the one just to the left of the Elliptical Mask Took). Click-and-drag the Anchor Point of the layer, which by default is dead-center in your Comp, to the center of the mask.


Then, deselect the Pan Behind tool by hitting the letter “V” key on your keyboard.

Okay, now it’s time to motion track our actor’s face, then apply the tracking data to the masked Adjustment Layer so it follows the actor as she moves through the shot. Call up the Motion Tracking workspace by selecting it from the Workspace pulldown menu in the upper-right corner of the interface. Select the video layer in your timeline, then, in the Tracker Controls panel, click the Track Motion button. The Layer panel opens (should be nested with the Composition Viewer) showing the video and a Track Point. Drag the Track Point on to the nose of the actor (or whatever point is appropriate).


It’s worth mentioning here that you’ll have different tracking challenges based on the footage you’re working with, and you’ll want to try and find something to track that has a good amount of contrast. If your track point moves out of view – e.g. the subject turns their head away – you can always track your shot in sections.

Making sure your CTI is at the first frame of the timeline, click the Analyze Forward button in the Tracker Controls – the button that looks like a “Play” button.


The Motion Tracker plays through the shot and tracks your subject. If it isn’t tracking well on your footage, try adjusting the sizes of the inner and outer boxes of the tracker, or clicking on the Options button and checking “Track Fields”. More info on tweaking the AE Motion Tracker for optimal results can be found in AE’s help system by selecting Help>After Effects Help.


Once you have an accurate track, click the Apply button in the Tracker Controls to apply the tracking data to the masked Adjustment Layer (you may need to click the Edit Target button in the Tracker Controls first to make sure that the Adjustment Layer is selected as the target). Click OK in the dialog that appears and your masked blur now follows the motion track.


If you need to get your finished shot back into Premiere Pro, simply use the Dynamic Link feature – drag the Composition from your AE Project Panel and hover it over Premiere Pro on your Windows Taskbar, then drop it into the Premiere Pro Project Panel.

Motion Tracking is a major timesaver for tasks like this (imagine having to manually keyframe that mask over a really long shot) as well as any situation where you want to have an effect or a layer or any other part of your composition follow a moving object within footage. It can also be used to replace entire elements, such as an ad on a moving bus or the contents of a computer screen, by using the Perspective Corner Pin tracker. It’s definitely worth learning how to use, and you’ll be able to say “we’ll fix it in post” with a much higher degree of confidence.

Just Got Booted

I’m still giggling as I write this, as I installed Production Studio on my brand new 17″ MacBook Pro this morning. No, we didn’t come out with a Mac version, I’m running it on Windows XP with Apple’s Boot Camp Public Beta.

Premiere Pro on this hardware? Believe it!

Well, this machine is theoretically the same as an Intel-based machine you’d run WinXP on anyway, so theoretically Production Studio should work (I draw your attention to the words theoretically and should as I’ve yet to do extensive testing). So far it’s working the same as it does on my Dell XPS, with the one exception that the graphics card in the MacBook doesn’t support high-fidelity OpenGL in AE7. That’s OK, I can deal with that one for now.

I just finished capturing 30 minutes of DV footage via the MacBook’s native Firewire port into Premiere Pro with DV scene detection and it worked flawlessly. Also tried a 4-angle multicamera edit in Premiere Pro (using DV footage) and it worked great.

So I’ve got some more testing to do. Stay tuned for results, so far it looks really promising. I’ve spoken with so many Mac users that want to be able to run Premiere Pro, Encore, and Audition — the components of Production Studio that are currently Windows only. With an Intel-based Mac and a copy of WinXP Pro (around $299) this could be the way. I’ll be posting my findings over the next couple days. If you decide to try this yourself, please let me know how its working, and please remember that this is in Beta and is in no way guaranteed to work and could potentially even mess your system up so until more results are in back up all important data!!! Don’t say I didn’t warn ya.

The basic procedure is that you download the Boot Camp Public Beta, make sure your Mac OS & Firmware are up-to-date (instructions are included with the download on how to do this), and run the Boot Camp Assistant which helps you create an NTFS or FAT partition on your hard drive, burns a CD with all the drivers WinXP will need to run on your Mac hardware, then prompts you to install your WinXP installer disc. After WinXP is installed, you install the drivers from the burned CD and you’re done. When you start the machine, holding down the option key brings up a screen where you can select which OS you want the system to boot with.

On a different note, last week was FITC Hollywood, the Canadian Flash festival’s first event in the epicentre of entertainment (I had to just go back and retype “epicentre” 4 times because Word kept automatically changing it back from the Canadian to the US spelling. I guess it doesn’t like my subtle humour . . . jeez, just had to go back and retype “humour” 4 times . . .) For some reason I always wind up speaking at Flash conferences in a less-than-optimal state – this time it was the day after my birthday, and getting up at 4:30am to fly to Burbank didn’t help either. But I needn’t have worred since the attendees were in much worse shape than I — the party the night before having claimed several victims (I’ve gotta hang out with the Flash crowd more often). Thanks to all who attended my session on 3d in After Effects – for more learnings here’s a link to a great tutorial by Aharon Rabinowitz on Creative Cow on effectively using the Z-scale property on a 3D layer.

I’ll be in NYC next week for some “non-disclosable” business – and while there will be reveling in watching Mets playoff games on TV with other Mets fans for a change (it’s lonely here in SF). But tonight I go to the Oakland Coleseum to watch the ALCS (thanks Mark) and hope for an A’s, Mets World Series that I can try and scam tickets to on both coasts.

[updated on 11/6/06]

Well, as we all know by now I was on BOTH losing ends of that equation . . .

“San Francisco Bob” vs. “New York Bob”

2 playoff games on 2 coasts in 1 week. Met fans still kick butt more than anyone (and if you were sitting in row “U” of the upper deck at Shea like I was then you have to be a real Met fan, the view of the game is so freaking bad).

The Ben Kurns Effect

There’s nothing more boring than something just sitting there on a movie or TV screen doing nothing. Think test pattern here – boy, I remember being a 5 year old, sitting in front of the TV at 6 in the morning waiting for that test pattern to go away and for Davey & Goliath or New Zoo Review to come on (if you watched D&G as a kid and haven’t seen Moral Orel on Adult Swim yet, you neeeeeed to go see it right now, don’t ask questions just do it).

Documentary filmmakers have long known this, because they often have more archival photography available on a subject than film or video footage. They use a technique called “pan & scan” (also known as “pan & zoom”) to do camera moves on still images to make them more interesting to the viewer. You’ll often see this referred to as the “Ken Burns Effect,” as his documentaries (the one on Jazz, in particular) use this technique extensively. But it’s been going on for way longer than Mr. Burns has been around. We used to do this with camera stands, which you still find in the odd studio here & there – basically a flat, well-lit surface where you lay the photo with a video camera mounted on a pole, pointing down to the photo. The signal from the camera runs to a tape deck, and the camera is either panned & zoomed manually or mechanically, depending on the sophistication of the particular camera stand. Some of them are pretty tricked-out, with the ability to control the camera’s position & zoom with precision via remote control.

Hardly anybody uses camera stands anymore – it’s much easier to scan the photo and do the pan & scan in software. You get more precision, can experiment more easily, and you don’t have to purchase & maintain the camera stand itself. Of course, if you’ve got a digital photo then this is the only way to go.

You can pan & scan high-resolution photos in both After Effects & Premiere Pro while maintaining their full resolution. This means you can zoom in on details without having the image get all pixilated and cruddy. If you’re editing a piece that involves using stills, then it’s better to do the pan & scan in Premiere Pro. The steps are basically the same whether you do it there or in AE.

First of all, import your photo using the standard File>Import command. Premiere Pro imports photos at a duration of 5 seconds, but you can change this.

The project panel tells me that my photo is 2592 X 1944, which will let me zoom in very close at full resolution.

If you’d like your image to run for a longer or shorter duration, right-mouse click on your image file in the Project Panel, select Speed/Duration, and enter your desired duration.

Then, cut the image into your sequence in the same way you would a video clip. Once it’s in your timeline, click it and then open the Effect Controls Panel (usually docked behind the Source Monitor), and click on the triangle to the left of “Motion” to twirl down the Motion properties.

If you don’t see the Current Time Indicator on the right side of the Effect Controls, click the white button with the 2 left-facing triangles to reveal it.

For this example, we’ll start out zoomed in real close, then zoom out to reveal the entire image. If you want to start zoomed out you can do the next steps in reverse, but before you do anything you need to make sure that the Anchor Point is set on the object you want to zoom out from or zoom in to. When you click on the word “Motion” in the Effect Controls, the Anchor Point (the little circle with the “X” in the middle) appears on the center of your image. To move it over your “object of focus”, click & drag on the Anchor Point values in the Effect Controls until the Anchor Point is centered over your object (or face, or whatever).

Now you’re ready to animate. We’ll begin with a basic camera move, and then you can modify to your taste. Let’s have the image start out still for 1 second, then zoom out over the course of 2 seconds. Move the Current Time Indicator (CTI) in the Effect Controls Panel ahead by 1 second (use the timecode in the lower-left corner as a guide). Then, set initial keyframes for Position, Scale, and Rotation by clicking on the stopwatches to the left of their names. Double-click the Rotation value and set it to -40 degrees, or something similar. This is the starting position of your camera move.


Next, move the CTI ahead by 2 seconds. Set Rotation back to 0, and click-and-drag on the Position and Scale values to “zoom out” to your final camera position. Premiere Pro automatically adds new keyframes at the current CTI position.

Go ahead and roll back in your timeline to the shot right before your panned & scanned image and play back to see how your camera move works in the context of the timing & pacing of your edit. You might want to adjust the duration of the camera move, which can be done simply by moving the keyframes, or you might want a more fluid camera motion. By default, Premiere Pro creates a camera move that starts & stops on a dime – in other words it’s not particularly elegant. Now, if you’re cutting an MTV-style piece with really fast pacing, this might be what you want, but in most cases you’ll want the camera to ease out of its initial position and ease in to a smooth landing. Start by clicking-and-dragging across the initial 3 keyframes to select them all. Then, right-mouse-click on any of them and from the pop-up menu select Temporal Interpolation>Ease Out.


Repeat for the ending keyframes, this time selecting Ease In. Roll back and play your adjusted camera move.

At this point you can treat your image as you would any video clip – e.g. you can add effects and transitions if you wish. With some photos, you might notice a certain degree of “interlace flicker” as the image pans & scans. If that’s the case, increase the amount the Anti-flicker Filter in the Effect Controls and that should make it look much nicer.

Action !

Oh, those old cliche movie making terms crack me up in the sense that they’re still being used today. And how about the good old clapboard slate, the fodder of so many slapstick gags over the years. That thing still has major practical value in traditional filmmaking, where audio is recorded separately and needs to be synchronized with picture in the editing suite. The smack of the clapboard, along with the visual refence of it snapping shut, makes for a real easy sync point.

Looks like this guy came within an inch of losing his nose.

Even if you’re recording audio direct to your camcorder, you can make use of the clapboard when shooting from multiple angles. By recording the “clap” on each camera simultaneously, you make it easy to sync your different angles to do a realtime multicamera edit in Premiere Pro 2.0. For each angle, load the clip into Premiere Pro’s Source monitor, and navigate to the frame where the clapper hits. Then go to Marker > Set Clip Marker > Next Available Numbered. Repeat for your additional angles.

Make sure the clapboard markers are numbered the same on all your clips.

Then, once you have each angle of video on its own track in a timeline, select all the clips, right-mouse-click, and select Synchronize. In the Synchronize Clips dialog, select Numbered Clip Marker and click OK.

Of course make sure the clip number is selected correctly in this dialog.

Clapboard slates are easily obtainable from photo supply houses like B&H, but you can also make your own clapper out of 2 pieces of plywood and a hinge. Just make sure that all your cameras can see it closing cleanly, and your camera mics get a good audio signal of that “smack”. And keep those dang things far from your talents’ noses.

On another note, today is Flash’s 10th Birthday, happy birthday Flash!

These Are The Breaks

I got a call today from a friend who was recapturing footage into her Premiere Pro project that had gone offline. She was capturing from tapes that had timecode breaks, and was trying to figure out why some the clips that she was recapturing didn’t grab the right footage from tape. Oh, the footage was there alright, but it was taking the wrong frames from the wrong part of the tape and what gives?

Well, this is one of those “Wacky Workflow Bloopers” that keep people like me employed (hey, there’s gotta be problems in order to make solutions, no?). Seriously, if you edit video you’ll find yourself in her shoes eventually (if you haven’t already) unless you heed some simple advice. So here’s the situation — as I mentioned, the tapes had timecode breaks, meaning that the timecode had reset to “00;00;00;00” at a certain point (or points) in the tape. This usually happens when a cameraperson rewinds to view a shot and winds up rolling past the last shot frame so that the record head is over blank tape. This causes the camcorder to start the timecode from zero again.

Now here’s why this is a problem — when you capture a clip into Premiere Pro, data such as the tape name and in/out timecode are attached to that clip. This makes it so that if the media (i.e. vlideo and audo that’s on your editing system’s hard drive) goes offline (i.e. is deleted or moved from the drive) you can recapture the media from the original source tapes in a time saving batch process. So, for example, Premiere Pro knows that clip “X” is located on the tape called “Exterior Shots” from timecode 00;03;30;14 to 00;03;45;11. But what if there is more than one place on the tape that has those timecodes due to a timecode break? Well, you have to manually go to each of the instances of that timecode on the tape, and try and figure out which one makes sense based on the context of the name of the clip and where a logical in/out point would be. If you need to do this for a lot of clips, then not only do you have your work cut out for you, but you’re also going to have to do a lot of shuttling back and forth on your tape and that can really wear it out (or even break if if you’re using the notoriously light-gauge Mini DV format).

So, to avoid this scenario (which I experienced myself when editing “Monkey And The Rooster” some years ago) what you should do when capturing footage into Premiere Pro from a tape that has timecode breaks is to give each section of timecode it’s own tape name. For example, you can call the first section “Exterior Shots A”, the Second “Exterior Shots B” and so on — and make a note on the tape label or slip one in the box explaining this as a courtesy to whoever might need to recapture the footage down the line.

By the way, this friend I referred to earlier didn’t want to be mentioned in this blog — I always like to plug talented friends here, but last time I spoke to her she said “I don’t wanna see my name in that freaking blog, I don’t want people Googling me and reading about me and there are certain people that I don’t need to find out where I’m working so just keep me out of it.” That, delivered in a single breath — thus I was instantaneously (and involuntarily) transported back to New York City.

Your Virtual Logging Assistant

One of the most tedious aspects of film & video editing, by far, is logging & capturing your footage. All these cans of film or video tape show up all of a sudden, and you’ve got to digitize or capture them all onto your hard drive, organizing all the individual clips into bins that will make it easy for you to locate them later on.

It used to be that we had assistants for this task. Unless you’re lucky enough to be working in a high-end post-production environment, you’ll wind up doing this yourself (aaah, coffee). Today, I’m going to share with you a major time saver for logging & capturing footage shot in either DV or HDV.

The “Logging” tab in the Premiere Pro 2.0 Capture panel.

Open the Capture panel in Premiere Pro by selecting File > Capture, or hitting the “F5” key on your keyboard. On the right side of the Capture Tool you’ll see the “Logging” tab, and at the bottom of that the “Capture” options. Simply click the “Scene Detect” checkbox, and Premiere Pro will break your tape into individual clips based on where you stopped & started your tape when shooting.

Both DV and HDV camcorders put a marker on your tape whenever you start recording, stop recording, or pause while recording. Premiere Pro uses this information to break a tape into clips based on the location of these markers. So the easiest way to capture footage is to make sure “Scene Detect” is selected, and then click the “Tape” button in the Capture section of the Logging tab. This will capture the entire tape, creating individual clips at the start/stop points recorded on the tape. Of course, make sure to give the tape a Tape Name in the Clip Data area first.

If you have a tape with timecode breaks (i.e. the timecode restarts from zero at more than one point in the tape), you’ll need to capture each section of timecode separately. In this scenario, it’s a good idea to give each section of timecode it’s own tape name, so for example if you have a tape called “Exterior Shots”, you’d call the first timecode section “Exterior Shots A”, the second “Exterior Shots B”, and so on. You’ll avoid all kinds of headaches down the line by doing this.

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.

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.