The Manual Duck

Ahhh the age old struggle between Final Cut Pro and After Effects. For what seems like centuries now us Final Cut Pro editors have been struggling with finding an efficient and, moreover, convenient workflow between FCP and After Effects. Sure, products like Livetype and Motion have come along and made life easier for some tasks but when it comes down to real motion graphics work and serious compositing nothing beats After Effects. Have you ever put Motion’s Primatte RT side by side with a key pulled from After Effects Keylight? To me there’s no comparison.

Coming from an editor’s chair, not a designer’s, it took me a while to really get up to speed with After Effects. In the past I was using AE infrequently for several reasons: 1. I didn’t know the interface and key commands well, 2. I didn’t know the software’s capabilities well, 3. I was intimidated by the rigid workflow between FCP and AE. All these factors equaled inefficent workflow and so I just usually opted not to use AE in favor of a faster and more flexible option like Livetype or Motion.

However, in the past year the work we have been doing has called more and more for serious graphics design and compositing, Livetype and Motion were simply not going to cut it. So I buckled down and really learned the After Effects interface, key commands and it’s capabilities. Through that hard work I quickly became much more efficent with AE and started creating some really cool stuff. But all this new-found efficency with AE itself still did nothing to help with a round-trip workflow to and from FCP. And if we can assume anything about Apple and Adobe there will probably never be an intergrated roundtrip solution between the two.

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Sony EX-1/EX-3 and Final Cut Pro, What’s Your Workflow?

Late last year we added a new camera package to our offerings at Edit Creations. In part because we wanted to diversify the services we had to offer, and also because it played into a spinoff company we’ve been working on. That new company would be a lot more production based then Edit Creations currently is.

We looked at all the options out there in the sub 10K price range, and after weeks of research ended up with a Sony EX-1. That really surprised me because when we started the search I was pretty much set on the Panasonic P2 format and the AG-HVX200A model. Not only do I have experience with that camera, but almost everything else we do is shot in the DVCPro HD format, so we have a nice workflow in place. More then that though, I can’t stand editing in the MPEG-2 format. It’s fine for shooting and can capture great images, but once you get it into the edit system you can be assured you will rendering more then ever before. But in the end, the Sony EX-1 won hands down in image quality, built in features, and price. There was just no denying it.

So, what to do with the workflow?

On the first several projects we tried multiple different ways of attacking the projects. Everything from working in the MPEG-2 format natively to converting everything to ProRes and editing with the converted files instead. We also have extensive experience working with the Sony software, which includes XDCam EX Clip Browser and XDCam Transfer.

In addition to all of this trial and error, I was training a client on how to handle the workflow for his own project (he was renting our camera). But it seemed every time I met with him I was saying “OK, I know I said do it like this, but now there’s a whole new way to do it”. Nothing like learning on the job to keep everybody on edge!

So here we are now, about 6 months later, with what I believe is a solid workflow. So if you’re using EX-1 (or XDCam footage of any kind) you can learn from our mistakes and start off on the right foot.

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Photoshop Tips with King Reginald of Shropshire

 

Oh!  Hello!  I was not expecting thee so soon!  I assume thou art one of my many peasants, and I have a strict rule forbidding peasants to look me in the eye under penalty of death 😉  but I will make an exception for thee today.  So thou have probably never actually met me before, I am King Reginald of Shropshire, and I am your King.  Some of my hobbies include slaying dragons, drinking mead, and grilling up some hot dogs on the beach.  But recently, I had the local wizard MerMac create your mighty King a device which he has called a “computer.”  It has the light of a thousand candles!  My favorite thing to do on this “computer” is spend all day browsing FaceParchment.com, hooking up with some old warriors from knight school that I have not talked to in like FOREVER! (btw, Sir Gallahad has gotten faaaaaaat…!)  But MerMac only conjured up two programs for me, Minesweep and Ye Ole Photoshop.  Having gotten instantly frustrated with Minesweep, I then focused my attention on Ye Ole Photoshop, WHICH I FELL IN LOVE WITH.  Let me show thee what I’m up to today.

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Inspired Editing – CHIFCPUG Presentation Video

Have you ever been fear stuck while looking at an empty timeline, with no idea where to start? Are you sometimes creatively challenged and questioning your career choice? Have you ever wanted to learn how to fly a plane? If you answered yes to the first two questions, this post is for you. I can’t help with the third one.

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