Final Cut Pro Mobile: Touch Your Edit

It is with great excitement that I am finally able to make an announcement that has been eating at me for nearly a year now. In June of 2009 when the iPhone 3GS was released I had a flash of what the future could hold for editing, and it’s that moment of inspiration that gave birth to the product I’m announcing today.

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Our new groundbreaking product, Final Cut Pro Mobile, is now available on the iPhone 3GS. It will also be available on the iPad later this year. You heard me right – the full suite of FCPS apps have been ported to the iPhone 3GS, and in some cases, we’ve been able to add additional features not found in the current offerings from Apple.

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Much of our inspiration at SuiteTake.com to create this mobile suite was inspired by the growing interest in editing projects outside of the office. While the edit suite has been the traditional place to get your project done, technology no longer limits us to just a single location. And it was with that vision in mind that we marched forward with the project. Here is a quick overview of what the new suite includes.

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One Last Desperate Argument for DVDs


The talk of the future of home entertainment is largely about how we will never have to deal with having physical copies of movies anymore, as everything will just be digital downloads. This may very well be true, in fact, I’m sure it will happen at some point. That won’t stop me from grabbing my soapbox and megaphone to proclaim how much better I think DVDs are.

As a way to perhaps show how biased I may potentially be, I will say I am a full-on collector of DVDs. And not in a “yeah, I have 80 DVDs, my collection is pretty sweet…” kind of way. At the moment I’m typing this, I have 1,167 DVDs. I’m not joking.

But for the record, I’m not opposed to digital downloads. I think they are good in a certain way, but I also don’t think they are as amazing as they are said to be. I’ve even dabbled slightly in the downloading world, but in the end, I’m still a stubborn fan of the DVD. Let me state my case, and feel free to offer a rebuttal to any of my claims.

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Creating a chapter index automatically with DVD Studio Pro

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As promised here is part 2 of creating custom buttons and a chapter index automatically with DVD Studio Pro. You can find Part 1 here.

In this video tutorial we pick up right where we left off in the last tutorial and show you how to take the custom button we made and incorporate it into a custom menu. Then, with a little bit of setup, we take that custom menu, save it as a template and then use that template to automatically create a series of chapter index menus with one simple drag and drop.

A recap from part 1…

“One of the most tedious things to author in DVDSP is creating chapter index menus with links to all the various chapters within a project. If you’ve ever had a multi-hour long video with dozens of chapters, creating chapter index menus can take hours and be extremely frustrating, especially if you make a mistake or there are changes after the fact. This 2 part video tutorial will show you how to easily create custom buttons and menus, complete with video drop zones, save them as templates, and then automatically create a chapter index menu series with one simple drag and drop.”

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Review: Matrox CompressHD PCIe Card

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Video compression has come a long way from the days of using Cinepak on a Quadra 950 tower and the old NuBus slots. For the most part, the wars between online formats has been settled with Flash leading the way. But behind that Flash Player is often H.264 encoded video, ever since it was introduced with Flash 9 in December of 2007. Even video powerhouse YouTube is pushing out H.264 video wrapped in a flash player. If that’s not enough, one of the officially supported video formats for Blu-ray is H.264.

So from on-line video (SD or HD) to high end Blu-ray DVD’s, h.264 is a huge player. It’s all good, right? Well, mostly. Have you ever compressed an h.264 video file? It can be unbearably long. We first started running into this bottleneck when we switched from doing mpeg-1 client web approvals (something that was very fast to compress and widely compatible) to h.264. We switched mainly because we wanted to post high resolution web approvals for our clients at higher quality, and MPEG-1 just wasn’t cutting it. H.264 really filled that need. But even a shorter video, say 10-15 minutes could take 60-90 minutes to compress on a Quad Intel MacPro, and some of our videos are more in the 30 minute range. If you have the time, leaving it running overnight is no big deal, but most of the time we’re doing these web approvals close to 5 or 6pm and they needed to be posted and sent to the client that same day. Waiting around just to finish a web post feels like a waste of time (although we did minimize this to some degree using LogMeIn as covered in my previous post).

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After hearing others brag about how great it was, we finally decided to try the “to good to be true” Turbo.264 USB key from Elgato (the non-HD version). I really fought it because I had a hard time believing that a little USB key could do what my huge expensive multi-processor MacPro could not. But also because it did not integrate with Compressor, which is part of our workflow. For the price though, we decided to give it a try.

For what you end up paying, the Turbo.264 does a pretty good job. It is FAST for sure, and the output is not too bad, but it’s not perfect either. It gave us the speed that we wanted, but not the quality. One of the main reasons it’s able to do what it does so fast is that the very first thing that’s done is resize the video frame, and then pass it off to the USB key for processing. This is key, because the rest of the processing is done on a lower resolution frame instead of working with the original uncompressed frame. Great for speed, but not optimal for quality. But for many people, this might just do the trick depending on your needs and budget. You end up seeing compression artifacts in places that you wouldn’t when using compressor with similar settings, typically areas of fast movement, effects or dissolves. But it did take care of the time bottleneck that we were having. So we decided to sacrifice some quality for the sake of actually getting home on time but continued to look for other options.

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Creating button templates, menus, and a chapter index automatically with DVD Studio Pro

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Have you ever had a huge DVD project come across your desk that you just knew was going to be a nightmare to author? One of the most tedious things to author in DVDSP is creating chapter index menus with links to all the various chapters within a project. If you’ve ever had a multi-hour long video with dozens of chapters, creating chapter index menus can take hours and be extremely frustrating, especially if you make a mistake or there are changes after the fact.

Well, fear no more, there is actually a function built right into DVD Studio Pro that will create a chapter index for you automatically! All you need to do is either use one of DVDSP’s pre-made templates or easily create a template of your own then drag and drop; all the menus, buttons, text, and links are automatically created and set.

In this 2 part tutorial I’ll first show you how to make custom buttons, complete with video/image drop zones, that can be saved and inserted into any other menu. Part 2, coming later, will demonstrate how to incorporate those custom buttons into a custom menu, save it as a template, then create an entire 24-chapter index with one drag and drop.

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Multi-Language DVDs, So Easy Grandma Can Do It

Well, for this post I thought I’d show you how simple it is to create DVDs in DVD Studio Pro that utilize multiple audio tracks. We use it around here for making DVDs with multiple languages, so you could watch the same video in French, German, Portuguese, etc. This same theory can be applied to putting in director’s commentaries, or maybe you’re doing something awesome with audio tracks that I’ve never even heard of! I’m sure some of may think it’s really easy to do this, while others may have never attempted it so they don’t know where to begin, but the truth of the matter is that it is extremely easy.

There’s that saying that “it’s so easy that my grandmother can do it!”, well, I’m gonna prove that theory correct, as I have actually brought my Grandma Shirley here to the office on my lunch break to prove that even she can create multi-language DVDs!

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