All Posts Tagged With: "Final Cut Pro"

Turn Project Archives Into Real Money – BRU Producer Edition

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In my continuing effort to find a solid, reliable and affordable solution for long term archival of our editing projects, I have spent the last 12 months testing and creating a workflow for yet another product solution. Unlike when I reviewed the Cache~a a few years back (the positive review since removed from the site), I decided to spend a lot more time really running it through the paces. I learned my lesson the hard way with the Prime Cache and made changes to my review process.

The product that I’m reviewing this time is the “Edit Bay Production Desktop” software and hardware package from the Tolis Group. It has turned out to be quite the winner, and I’m excited to share our experience with it. While they do offer several different solutions of hardware/software or software only solutions (you provide the hardware), I’m going to focus on this one all in one package. It’s my feeling that this is the best fit for the small to medium sized post house with 1-5 workstations. To see some of their offerings, check out their website.

http://www.tolisgroup.com

What’s Included – Installation

What I liked about the “Edit Bay Production Desktop” package right from the onset was that it was a complete solution for your Mac. You provide a G5 tower, Xserve or MacPro computer with a open PCIe slot (must be a 8x slot), and they provide you with everything else.

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In your open PCIe slot you will install a SAS host bus adaptor. The card they provide is the ATTO ExpressSAS H680, and it was as easy to install as a video card. It’s as simple as removing the side panel of your tower and adding the card to your open slot.

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(Above is the Expansion Slot Utility that is on most, but not all Power Macs. Because the system we have the card installed on (a quad G5) does not support this utility, I took this snap from a different computer in the office just to show the utility. So don’t be surprised that in this shot the ATTO card is not listed. This utility allows you to configure the speed of your slots by dividing up the bandwidth in whichever way best suits your setup)

Once booted up, you install a driver for the ATTO card from the included CD, reboot again and the card is ready for use.

After that, turn the machine off and attach the LTO drive. Depending on the package that you choose, you will receive either a LTO-4 or LTO-5 drive. Both are HP drives in a external case. We have the LTO-5 drive.

With the LTO drive attached and the machine booted up, install the BRU Producer Edition software (from here on referred to as BRU PE) . This is really the heart of the product and is written for OSX specifically. Installation is as easy as mounting the included CD ROM or downloaded .dmg disk image and running the installer. Now you’re ready to start.

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.

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.”

The Traveling Editor

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Ahh the joys of being a freelance editor. You get to make your own schedule, take time off whenever you want, sleep in on weekdays, pick and choose only the best, most highest-paying jobs, live the jet-set lifestyle hopping from post-house to post-house all across the country…

ZZZZZZCHHHHSSSSSWOOOOSSSSHHH (sound of vinyl record scratching)!

Wait, that’s not what it’s like at all. Probably back when you were in film school some eccentric tweed-jacket-with-the-patches-on-the-elbows professor filled your head with romantic notions like that. Then what happened, you got into the real world and found that most of the time you had to scrounge for any job you could get, from cutting your uncle’s boss’s LARPER themed wedding to that gastric surgery post-operative care demonstration video.

It seems like it was just yesterday

It seems like it was just yesterday

But that’s not the point, the point is that either you’re doing what you love or you’re considering cutting the cable and going out on your own or just graduating and still have that un-blemished innocent vision of the wealth of opportunity that awaits you out there. In any case, as a freelance editor, you need to focus on three main objectives: being a good editor, being mobile, and getting hired again. To do this you need to have a slick and portable system in place that enables you to jump from place to place, dive right in a get to work without wasting a lot of time getting situated. After all, your client is paying you to edit, not set preferences and adjust your chair.

Here are a few things you can do to make your setup time at a new place quick and easy and add value to your service.

The SuiteTake App Store

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And now, introducing the SuiteTake App Store! Well, ok not really. It just seams as though everybody is getting rich selling apps these days so why not jump up on that band-wagon? The proliferation of the iPhone App Store, and the many others imitators from Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, and on and on, it’s important to take a step back every now and then and remember that they still do make cool apps for regular computers too. And it may be hard to believe but some of them actually aren’t flashlights.

The following is a brief list of 5 cool apps that we just love to have on all our Macs. All 5 are what I would call utility and workflow type apps, they’re not things like After Effects or Firefox, apps that are essentially the core function of your Mac. These are little ditties that just make life, and work, that much easier.

Everyone goes through a learning curve when it come to technology and computers. You begin as a novice and learn more and more over time until you become very streamlined and efficient with the tasks you do everyday, whether it’s crunching spreadsheets or compositing layers. Even though the latest and greatest versions of OSX and Windows have come a long way to improving upon the efficient user experience they still leave a lot of things up to third parties to fill in the gaps. For most of us there will come a time in our learning curve where we have become so advanced and efficient that our software actually gets in our way, we can think and process what we want to do much faster than we can type and click. These few apps go a long way in solving these types of problems.

Getting the most out of those fancy-schmancy online tutorials

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Isn’t it annoying these days that there seems to be a new “how to” or “tutorial” blog about the video industry popping up every other day? Places like SuiteTake.com, those guys think they know everything and are the Steve Jobs’ gift to mankind…oh wait….

But seriously, these days there are a ton of free and very useful sites out there that offer a wealth of education about all things audio and video. And ok, I’ll admit that here at SuiteTake there are a few things we don’t know. (One writer, who shall remain unidentified for now, was railed by readers for not knowing what the “extend edit” button does, sheesh.) Whenever we have some down time here at SuiteTake worldwide headquarters I always cruise the tutorial sites looking for new ideas and techniques. But, it’s one thing to watch a tutorial and just think to yourself “wow, that was cool. I should try that sometime.” and another to actually advance you skill-set and knowledge through the tutorial. Here are a few things I do when watching or reading tutorials to get the most out of them.

Cut It Out!

Ah, the words of Dave Coulier have never resonated stronger in my life than in recent days. Sure there were times on the playground in 4th grade when Full House lingo may have been more frequent, but not until I started editing did I consider Uncle Joey’s catch phrase to become a way of life. In a situation where a nice After Effects sequence or a Motion graphic project could jazz up a portion of a video that needs a little jazzing, I look to my go-to secondary editing program: Photoshop.

You could say that I’m not skilled enough in After Effects and Motion to utilize them enough so I resort to Photoshop. Well, that would be mean to say, and you know what, I think your shirt is ugly and you have poor taste in restaurants. I like to think that I use Photoshop in a good enough way that it could be the program I look to for sprucing things up, just by cutting up and rebuilding photos. So despite what my Dad insists, Photoshop can be used for more than eliminating red eye in pictures of his dog.

Windows on a Mac…Not the Microsoft Kind

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Ok ok, the title may be a little mis-leading but what’s the harm in trying to drive a little Google search traffic? The windows that I am referring to are the Final Cut Pro kind, not the Microsoft kind. I’ve always made a big case for workflow and editing efficiency here and no detail is too small when it comes to working smoothly. In fact, I’ve found that it’s often the little things that help the most when they are streamlined or annoy the most when they are clunky and rigid. If you never take the time to experiment and rearrange your FCP window layout and button bar arrangements you’re probably missing out on workflow efficiency gains. Here is my window layout and button bar arrangement and why I have things the way they are.

Keeping your sanity…Working with Producers, Clients, and other “experts” at your job.

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If you’re an editor you work for somebody.

Even if you’re just a one man freelance shop – Johnny’s Productions – if you have work, you are working for somebody. You, or your sales staff, or your producer closed a deal and got you a gig, and that means you work for somebody. That person is your client.

Whether you just landed your first real job and are scrambling to actually learn how to use After Effects by tomorrow morning, or you’re “celebrating” your 20th year in the biz by reminiscing about the good old 1-inch days, the manner in which you interact with your client will determine whether or not they will be your last.

It’s no secret that being polite, listening, and working cooperatively are all necessary when working with clients but to keep the passion alive and the creativity flowing year after year you really need to develop relationships that work in harmony together and truly mutually benefit each other. We may hate to admit it but we do actually need our clients input and direction if we are to create a successful piece for them.

During my career as an editor I have found that there really are 2 primary ideas that need to be balanced when dealing with a client. No matter what your skill and experience level, and, more importantly, no matter their skill and experience level –  keen attention to these ideas can make all the difference between a great working relationship that brings you work for years to come or just another edit from H – E – Double Hockey Sticks.

The Top-Ten Things I Wish I Knew About Final Cut Pro…Ten Years Ago.

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I’ve been an editor for a while now at several different shops. Through those days and places I have mostly been self taught until I ended up here with SuiteTake. At SuiteTake training and skill development is not just encouraged, it’s part of our daily responsibilities. Therefor, in the recent past my learning curve has increased dramatically.

The Top Ten things I wish I knew:

10. Shift and option dragging

9. Quick Ken Burns effect

8. QuickTime vs Quicktime Conversion.

7. The Black and code button.

6. Option 1,2,3 for transition alignment

5. Esc, tab, spacebar to navigate windows

4. Apply normalization to audio in FCP

3. Disable dropped frames warning.

2. Disable rendering with caps lock.

1. Map your keyboard.

The SuiteTake Take?

If you’re an experienced editor you probably know most of these already, however, if you’re just starting out like me so many years ago you’ll be putting yourself ahead of the game by learning these tricks now and not 10 years from now.

The following video tutorial demonstrates a list of 10 efficiencies and workflows with Final Cut Pro that I wish I had known from the start. If I had these often simple tricks in my pocket from day 1 I would have saved myself countless hours and heaps of frustration.

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.

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.

iTunes in a Final Cut Pro workflow? Are you crazy?

Believe it or not the built-in tools in iTunes can be useful in a Final Cut Pro working environment. In this quick video tutorial I’ll show you some hidden features in iTunes that can help you maximize your efficiency and better your organization when importing music tracks into FCP projects.

Keyboard Shortcuts with FCP’s Log and Transfer Tool


With more and more media being shot and delievered these days with tapeless media formats such as Panasonic’s P2 and Sony’s SxS, efficency with Final Cut Pro’s Log and Transfer tool is more valuable than ever.

In this video tutorial I’ll show you how to log and transfer all of your tapeless media using only keyboard shortcuts. Once your clips are loaded into the Log and Transfer window you’ll be able to log the entire batch without touching the mouse once. 

XDCam Import Plug-In for Final Cut Pro

If you’ve ever had to edit with the Sony XDCam format, you already know that the work flow can be a challenge, especially if you’re using Final Cut Pro. While the Panasonic P2/DVCPro HD format integrates very well with the Log and Transfer tool, XDCam has had many shortcomings. That is, until now. 

Sony recently released version 1.0 of their log and transfer plugin that works with both XDCam and the newer SxS solid state media cameras like the EX-1 and EX-3. 

Installation is very simple, and no restart is required except for relaunching Final Cut Pro. When you open the Log and Transfer tool, you won’t find anything visibly different, but when you select XDCam media, either from a hard drive or directly from a SxS card, the footage now loads, and you can log and transfer the same way that you can P2 footage. 

In limited testing, we have found it to work as expected. The only downside is that you can’t transcode the footage into another format during import. This would be a helpful feature since editing in the XDCam format less then ideal. But for now, we’re pretty excited to see Sony improving the workflow and look forward to future upgrades. 

You can find more information by visiting Sony

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