Archive for the ‘After Effects’ Category

RE:Vision’s FieldsKit ReInterlacer

Friday, May 16th, 2014

In Summary:

Purpose of FieldsKit ReInterlacer:

  • Transforms progressive video (e.g. HDp25 frames/sec) into spatio-temporal interlaced video (e.g. SDi50 fields/sec).  It achieves this by estimating the fields that would have been shot (had the original video itself been shot as interlaced) between each frame of the progressive video, via a process of motion estimation.
    •  Most NLEs do not use this “perfectionist” method, instead they at best simply combine (ghost-blur) successive frames, with no compensation for time/motion.
    • On an interlaced display, such as an old analog TV or projector,
      • The “NLE-simple” approach may lead to dynamic (changing e.g. moving) scenes and objects appearing flickery.
      • The “perfectionist” approach will instead typically avoid such flicker.

Configuration of  FieldsKit ReInterlacer:

  • Field Order: [Lower First]
  • Output Type: [= Create motion estimated fields]
    • This is not the default (oddly).  But it is the only proper way to get the expected “perfectionist” reinterlacing to happen!
  • Source Layer: [Video 1]

Supplier’s website:


NLE Adulteration of Source Media: Potential Workflow-Issues

Friday, September 13th, 2013

I highlighted in (10 months ago) that Adobe Premiere etc. can adulterate media files, in terms of metadata and/or sidecar-files (depending on user-configurations of these applications.  I indicated that, regardless of the reasonableness of at least some of these actions, this could potentially cause problems to other applications.

Validating that concern, I note a post (2012-06-12) by Matt Davis on Philip Bloom’s website, stating (my italics):

  • …if sharing assets with FCPX and Adobe Premiere, Adobe ‘touches’ (resets the modification date) of each file without doing anything else to it, but also sprinkles sidecar files into directories of transcodable files for metadata, thus sending any returning FCPX activity into a tailspin, requiring a re-linking session. It’s oddities like these which haunt the implementation of FCPX in a wider system and make system managers wonder if FCPX is actually worth implementing in its current state.

That was over a year ago, and so the issue may or may not exist for the current version of FCPX.

As users, whether or not the actions of one application adhere to standards and another don’t, what we as users ultimately care about is workflow, which in this case translates to “does it connect up with my other tools/processes?”.  So we have to maintain a “situational awareness” of potential interoperability pitfalls.

Incidentally, I recall that FCPX’s predecessor (in history at least, if not development-line) FCP7 could adulterate source directories with its own sidecar files, produced by its SmoothCam effect.  Not knowing anything further for sure, I nevertheless wondered (at that time) what it might be doing “under the hood” of the QuickTime [.mov] wrapper.

Adobe CC Suite (Premiere etc.): Migrating the Effects Plug-ins

Saturday, August 17th, 2013

I installed the new Adobe CC (which I had expected to be called “CS6.5” or “CS7”) suite of video production applications, primarily Premiere and After Effects.

However when I opened an existing project in Premiere, it gave error messages about missing effects, expected by that project. Ah yes, “that old chestnut…”.


  • From [C:\Program Files\Adobe\Common\Plug-ins\CS6\MediaCore]
  • Copy missing files to [C:\Program Files\Adobe\Common\Plug-ins\7.0\MediaCore]
    • (Incidentally, the FieldsKit3 plugin effect was already there)

Tried opening the project once more, and yes there were fewer error messages, but one remained: SpiceMASTER.

  • Search for [SpiceMASTER] in [C:\Program Files\Adobe]
    • Found in [Adobe Premiere Pro CS6\Plug-ins\en_US]
  • Look in CC’s equivalent folder
    • Note the files already there
    • From CS6 folder, copy over the missing files.

Yes that seems to have worked: The project now opens with no error messages and the expected effects are now all present in the Effects list in Premiere.


LightWorks: Will it Coexist with Adobe & Avid?

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

I expect so…


Using Mocha to Stabilize/Lock onto an Object

Saturday, July 20th, 2013

Can use Mocha either stand-alone and export result as an image-sequence, or in combination with AE in order to export as a movie-file.

Some points:

  • Go to Track tab
  • Put In/Out points over the useful bits (e.g. not overexposed bits).
  • Put playhead in middle of duration, note Frame-Number, then track both forwards and backwards from this point.
  • Go to Stabilize tab.
  • There is a Stabilize button to preview what it will look like.
    • Must select a Layer (tracked-region) first
      • (in principle, could have more than one tracked region).
    • Remember to disable this button before attempting to track again.

If exporting for Registax, then it is sensible to use TIFF format, but it must be with no alpha (otherwise Registax 5 gets its colors weird).

If using Registax (5) then:

  • Align=None
  • Drizzle=25%
  • Limit
    • (just in order to get to the next stage0
  • Stack
  • Wavelet
    • Default (not Gaussian), Linear (not Dyadic), most sliders near full.
  • Do All
  • Save Image
    • Save as a TIFF, so can manipulate levels in Gimp etc)


Rearranging Video Tracks (in various NLEs)

Sunday, July 14th, 2013

The ability to rearrange the order of video and audio (etc.) tracks in an editing-project in a Non-Linear Editing project.

It’s one of those basic things I assumed all NLEs would allow.  But not so.  Some have workarounds involving the creation of new Sequences and pasting in contents from original Sequences, in which case why haven’t they simply automated that workaround?  Bizarre!


Best Workflow for High-resolution Master (e.g. HD or HDV) to Multi-Format Including SD-DVD

Saturday, July 13th, 2013

What is the best workflow for going from a high-resolution footage, potentially either progressive or interlaced,  possibly through an intermediate Master (definitely in progressive format) to a variety of target/deliverable/product formats, from the maximum down to lower resolution and/or interlaced formats such as SD-DVD ?

Here’s one big fundamental: Naively one might have hoped that long-established professional NLEs such as Premiere might provide high-quality optical processing based downscaling from HD to SD, but my less optimistic intuition, about the un-likelihood of that, proved correct.  In my post I note the BBC Technical standards for SD Programmes state: <<Most non linear editing packages do not produce acceptable down conversion and should not be used without the broadcaster’s permission>>.

Having only ever used Adobe (CS5.5 & CS6) for web-based video production, early experiences in attempting to produce a number of target/deliverable (product) formats proved more difficult and uncertain than I had imagined…  For a current project, given historical footage shot in HDV (1440×1080, fat pixels), I wanted to generate various products from various flavors of HD (e.g. 1920x1080i50,  1280x720p50) down to SD-DVD (720×576).  So I embarked on a combination of web-research and experimentation.

Ultimately, this is the workflow that worked (and satisfied my demands):

  • Master: Produce a 50 fps (if PAL) progressive Master at the highest resolution consistent with original footage/material.
    • Resolution: The original footage/material could e.g. be HD or HDV resolution.  What resolution should the Master be?
      • One argument, possibly the best one if only making a single format deliverable or if time is no object, might be to retain the original resolution, to avoid any loss of information through scaling.
      • However I took the view that HDV’s non-standard pixel shape (aspect ratio) was “tempting fate” when it came to reliability and possibly even quality in subsequent (downstream in the workflow) stages of scaling (down) to the various required formats (mostly square-pixel, apart from SD-Wide so-called “16:9” pixels, of 1.4568 aspect ratio (or other, depending where you read it).
      • So the Master resolution would be [1920×1080].
    • Progressive: The original footage/material could e.g. be interlaced or progressive, but the Master (derived from this) must be progressive.
      • If original footage was interlaced then the master should be derived so as to have one full progressive frame for each interlaced field (hence double the original frame-rate).
        • The concept of “doubling” the framerate is a moot point, since interlaced footage doesn’t really have a frame rate, only a field rate, because the fields are each shot at different moments in time.  However among the various film/video industry/application conventions, some people refer to 50 fields/second interlaced as 50i (or i50) wile others refer to it as 25i (or i25).  Context is all-important!
    • Quality-Deinterlacing: The best way to convert from interlaced fields-to-frames is via motion/pixel/optical -based tools/techniques:
      • I have observed the quality advantage in practice on numerous projects in the distant past, e.g. when going from HDV or SD (both 50i) to a variety of (lower) corporate web-resolutions.
      • This kind of computation is extremely slow and heavy, hence (for my current machines at least) more an overnight job than a real-time effect… In fact for processing continuously recorded live events of one or two hours, I have found 8 cores (fully utilised) to take a couple of 24-hour days or so – for [AviSynth-MultiThread + TDeint plugin] running on a [Mac Pro > Boot Camp > Windows 7].
      • But (as stated) this general technique observably results in the best quality, through least loss of information.
      • There are a number of easily-available software tools with features for achieving this, Adobe and otherwise:
        • e.g. AviSynth+TDeint, (free) After-Effects, Boris.
        • e.g. FieldsKit is a nice convenient deinterlacing plugin for Adobe (Premiere & After Effects), and is very friendly and useful should you want to convert to a standard progressive video (e.g. 25fps), but (at this time) it can only convert from field-pairs to frames, not from fields to frames.
          • I submitted a Feature Request to FieldsKit’s developers.
    • Intermediate-File Format: A good format for an Intermediate file or a Master file is the “visually lossless” wavelet-based 10-bit 422 (or more) codec GoPro-Cineform (CFHD) Neo
      • Visually lossless (such as CFHD) codecs save considerable amounts of space as compared to uncompressed or mathematically lossless codecs like HuffYUV and Lagarith.
      • I like Cineform in particular because:
        • It is application-agnostic.
        • It is available in both VFW [.avi] and QuickTime [.mov] varieties (which is good because I have found that it can be “tempting fate” to give [.mov] files to certain Windows apps, and indeed not to give it to others).  The Windows version of CFHD comes with a [.avi] <-> [.mov] rewrapper (called HDLink).
        • Another advantage is that CFHD can encode/decode not only the standard broadcast formats (and not only HD) but also specialized “off-piste” formats.  I have found that great for corporate work. It’s as if it always had “GoPro spirit”!
        • CHFD Encoder Settings from within Sony Vegas 10:
          • These settings worked for me in the context of this “Sony-Vegas-10-Initially-then-Adobe-CS6-centric” workflow:
    • Technical Production History of a Master for an Actual Project:
      • This is merely for my own reference purposes, to document some “project forensics” (while I still remember them and/or where they’re documented):
      • This was a “Shake-Down” experience, not exactly straightforward, due to an unexpected “hiccup” between Sony Vegas 10 and AviSynth-WAVSource.  Hiccups are definitely worth documenting too…
      • The stages:
        • Sony Vegas Project: An initial HDV 50i (to match the footage) Intermediate file, containing the finished edit, was produced by Sony Vegas 10 Project:
          • [Master 021a (Proj HDV for Render HDV)  (veg10).veg] date:[Created:[2013-07-01 15:30], Modified:[2013-07-03 20:07]]
          • Movie duration was about 12 minutes.
        • Audio & Video Settings:
          • Project Settings:
            • HDV 1440×1080 50i UFF 44.1KHz
              • The audio was 44.1KHz, both for Project and Render, since most of the audio (music purchased from Vimeo shop) was of that nature.
          • Render Settings:
            • I believe I will have used the following Sony Vegas Render preset: [CFHD ProjectSize 50i 44KHz CFHD (by esp)] .
              • Though I think there may have been a bug in Vegas 10, whereby the Preset did not properly set the audio sampling frequency, so it had to be checked & done manually)
            • The CFHD Codec settings panel only offered two parameters, which I set as follows: Encoded format:[YUV 4:2:2], Encoding quality:[High]
          • The result of Rendering from this Project was the file:
            • [Master 021a (Proj HDV for Render HDV)  (veg10).avi] date:[Created:[2013-07-01 15:30], Modified:[2013-07-01 18:58]]
              • Modified date minus creation date is about 3.5 hours, which I guess accounts for the render-time (on a 2-core MacBook Pro of 2009 vintage winning Windows 7 under Boot Camp).
        • The next stage of processing was to be by AviSynth.
          • However AviSynth had problems reading the audio out of this file (it sounded like crazy buzzes).
          • To expedite the project, and guessing that Vegas 10 had produced a slightly malformed result (maybe related to the audio setting bug?), and hoping that it was just a container-level “audio framing” issue, I “Mended” it by passing it through VirtualDub, in [Direct Stream Copy] mode, so that it was merely rewrapping the data as opposed to decompressing and recompressing it.  The resulting file was:
            • [Master 021a HDV Mended (VDub).avi], date:[Created:[2013-07-08 18:22], Modified:[2013-07-08 18:30]]
          • Since that time, I have discovered the existence of the Cineform tool CFRepair, from forum post at DVInfo: which itself provided a download link as
            • Worth trying it out sometime, on this same “broken” file…
        • This was processed into full HD progressive (one frame per field, “double-framerate”) by an AViSynth script as follows, its results being drawn through VirtualDub into a further AVI-CFHD file, constituting the required Master.
          • AviSynth Script:[HDV to HD 1920×1080.avs] date:[Created:[2013-07-04 18:13], Modified:[2013-07-08 22:05]]
            • I used AvsP to develop the script.  It provides helpful help of various kinds and can immediately show the result in its preview-pane.
            • Multi-threaded:
              • To make best use of the multiple cores in my machine, I used the AviSynth-MT variant of AviSynth.  It’s a (much larger) version of the [avisynth.dll] file.  For a system where AviSynth (ordinaire) is already installed, you simply replace the [avisynth.dll] file in the system folder with this one.  Of course its sensible to keep the old one as a backup (e.g. rename it as [avisynth.dll.original]).
            • Audio Issue:
              • This particular script, using function [AVISource] to get the video and and [WavSource] to get the audio, only gave audio for about the first half of the movie, with silence thereafter.
              • Initially, as a workaround, I went back to VirtualDub and rendered-out the audio as a separate WAV file, then changed the script to read its [WAVSource] from this.
              • That worked fine, “good enough for the job” (that I wanted to expedite)
              • However afterwards I found a cleaner solution: Instead of functions [AVISource] and [WAVSource], use the single function [DirectShowSource].  No audio issues.  So use that in future.  And maybe avoid Vegas 10?
          • The script was processed by “pulling” its output video stream through VirtualDub which saved it as a video file, again AVI-CFHD.  Since no filters (video processing) was to be performed in VirtualDub, I used it in [Fast Recompress] mode.  In this mode, it leaves the video data in YUV (doesn’t convert it into RGB), making it both fast and information-preserving.  Possibly (not tested) I could have simply have rendered straight from AvsP:[Tools > Save to AVI].  When I first tried that, I got audio issues, as reported above, hence I switched to rendering via VirtualDub, but in retrospect (having identified a source, perhaps the only source,  of those audio issues) that (switch) might have been unnecessary.
      • The resulting Master file was [Master 021a HDV 50i to HD 50p 1920×1080 (Avs-VDub).avi] date:[Created:[2013-07-08 21:55], Modified:[2013-07-08 22:47]]
        • “Modified minus created” implies a render-time of just under an hour.  This was on a [MacBook Pro (2009) > Boot Camp > Windows 7] having two cores, fully uitilised.
  • Quality inspection of Master:
    • Check image quality, e.g. deinterlacing, via VirtualDub.
      • VirtualDub is great in a close-inspection role because its Preview can zoom well beyond 100% and, vitally, it displays the video as-is, with no deinterlacing etc. of its own.
        • e.g. zoom to 200% to make any interlacing comb-teeth easily visible.  There should not be any, since this Master is meant to be progressive.
  • Premiere Project: Make a Premiere project consistent with the Master, and add chapter markers here.
    • Make Premiere Project consistent with the Master, not the Target.
      • …especially when there is more than one target…
    • Don’t directly encode the master (by Adobe Media Encoder), but instead go via Premiere.
      • I have read expert postings on Adobe forums stating that as of Adobe CS6, this is the best route.
      • This appears to be the main kind of workflow the software designers had in mind, hence a CS6 user is well-advised to follow it.
        • It represents a “well-trodden path” (of attention in CS6’s overall development and testing).
        • Consequently, (it is only in this mode that) high-quality (and demanding, hence CUDA-based) algorithms get used for any required scaling.
        • Not knowing the application in detail, hence having to adopt the speculative approach to decision-making, it feels likely that this workflow would have a greater chance of reliability and quality than other, relatively off-piste ones.
    • Premiere is the best stage at which to add Chapter Markers etc.
      • Chapter markers etc. get stored as ??XMP?? and are thereby visible to Encore (Adobe’s DVD-Builder)
      • Better to place such markers in Premiere rather than in Encore, since:
        • In Encore, Chapter markers act as if they are properties of Assets, not Timelines.
          • If you delete an asset from a timeline, the chapter markers disappear also.
        • Encore (CS6) Replace Asset has some foibles.
          • In Encore, if you were to put an [.avi] file asset on a timeline, then add markers then try to replace that asset with a [.mpg] file, you would be in for a disappointment; if the file extension differs then the markers disappear. If required, then the markers would have to be re-created from scratch. Same again if you subsequently replaced back to a new [.avi] file.
          • The Foibles of Encore (CS6)’s Replace Asset function, in more detail:
            • Good news: If the new asset has the same file extension then any existing markers are retained.
              • This possibly suggests that they are transferred from the old asset to the new one.
            • Bad news: If the new asset file extension differs from the old one, then:
              • You get an error (popup): ???
                • e.g. it refused my attempt to replace an [.avi] file by a [.m2v] file).
              • Partial-workaround:
                • You can instead delete the existing asset from the timeline, prior to dragging another asset there..
                • ..BUT as a side-effect that deletes any of the old asset’s markers also…
                • …and furthermore Encore has no way to copy a set of markers from one asset to another
                  • …which would otherwise have been a nice work-around for the above side-effect.
  • Premiere Export: Export / Render to Target Format.
    • You may wish to render to a number of formats, e.g. SD-Wide DVD, Blu-Ray Disk (BD), YouTube upload format, mobile phone or tablet.
      • The most efficient strategy is to Queue a number of jobs from Premiere onto Adobe Media Encoder (AME.
        • AME can run some things in parallel (I think).
        • AME has a [Pause] button, very useful for overnight silence or prior to travel (Windows Sleep/Hibernate).
    • Menu:[File > Export > Media]
    • Export Settings:
      • For targets of differing aspect ratio (e.g. SD-Wide derived from HD master):
        • Source Scaling:
          • e.g. for HD -> SD, use [Scale to Fill] since this avoids “pillarboxing” i.e. black bars either side.
      • For DVD Target, use inbuilt preset MPEG2-DVD
        • Ensure [Pixel Aspect Ratio] and interlace sense etc. are as required.
        • The [MPEG2-DVD] preset generates two files:
          • [.m2v] for the video
          • [Dolby Digital] or [MPEG] or [PCM]
            • [PCM] option results in a [.wav] file of 16 bits, 48 KHz (there is no 44.1 KHz option).
      • Maximum Render Quality
        • Use this if scaling, e.g. down from HD Master to SD Target.
      • File Path & Name.
        • Where you want the export/encode result to go.
    • Click the [Queue] button, to send the job to the Adobe Media Encoder (AME)
  • Quality Inspection of Result (intermediate or target file):
    • Check the quality of the encodes via VirtualDub, e.g. for DVD-compatible video media, the correctness of interlacing and for progressive media the quality of deinterlacing.
      • For interlaced downscaled material derived from higher resolution interlaced, the combs should be fine-toothed (one pixel in height).  A poor quality result (as expected for straight downscaling by any typical NLE such as Premiere, from HD interlaced to SD interlaced) would instead exhibit combing with thick blurry teeth.
      • VirtualDub is great tool for a a close-inspection role because its Preview can zoom well beyond 100% and, vitally, it displays the video as-is, with no deinterlacing etc. of its own.
        • In the past I have searched for and experimented with a number of candidate tools to be effective and convenient in this role.  VirtualDub was the best I could find.
        • e.g. zoom to 200% to make the teeth easily visible.
      • Plain VirtualDub is unable to read MPEG2 video, but a plugin is available to add that ability:
        • The [mpeg2.vdplugin] plugin by FCCHandler, from
          • It reads straight MPEG2 files, including [.m2v], but not Transport Stream files such as [.m2t] from the Sony Z1.
          • For [.m2v] files, VirtualDub may throw up an audio-related error, since such files contain no audio.  Fix: In VirtualDub, disable audio.
        • Its ReadMe file contains installation instructions.  Don’t just put it in VirtualDub’s existing [plugins] folder.
  • DVD Construction via Adobe Encore.
    • Name the Project according to the disk-label (data) you would like to see for the final product.
      • If you use Encore to actually burn the disk, this is what gets used for that label.
      • Alternative options exist for just burning the disk, e.g. the popular ImgBurn, and this allows you to define your own disk-label (data).
    • Import the following as Assets:
      • Video file, e.g. [.m2v]
      • If Video File was an [.m2v] then also import its associated Audio file – it does not get automatically loaded along with the [.m2v] file.
    • Create required DVD structure
      • This is too big a topic to cover here.
    • Quality Inspection: [Play From Here]
      • Menu:[File > Check Project]
        • Click [Start] button
        • Typical errors are actions [Not Set] on [Remote] or [End Action]
          • I plan to write a separate blog entry on how to fix these.
        • When everything is ok (within the scope of this check), it says (in status bar, not as a message): “No items found”.
          • A worrying choice of phrase, but all it means is “no error-items found”.
    • Menu:[File > Build > Folder]
      • Don’t select [Disk], since:
        • May want to find and fix any remaining problems prior to burning to disk.
        • May want to use an alternative disk burning application, such as ImgBurn.
          • From forums, I see that many Adobe users opt for ImgBurn.
      • Set the destination (path and filename) for the folder in which the DVD structure will be created.
        • At that location it creates a project-named folder and within that the VIDEO_TS folder (but no dummy/empty AUDIO_TS folder).
          • I once came across an ancient DVD player that insisted on both AUDIO_TS and VIDEO_TS folder being present and also they had to be named in upper-case, not lower.
      • Under [Disk Info] there is a colored bar, representing the disk capacity
        • Although the Output is to a folder, the Format is DVD, single-sided, which Encore realizes can hold up to 4.7 GB.
      • The [DVD ROM] option allows you to include non-DVD files, e.g. straight computer-playable files e.g. ([.mp4])
        • These go to the root of the drive, alongside the VIDEO_TS folder.
      • Finally, click the [Build] button.
        • On one occasion, it failed at this stage, with a “Encode Failed” or “Transcode Failed” (depending where I looked) error.  Solution: Shorten the file name.
          • Ok it was long-ish but I didn’t realize Encore would be so intolerant to that.  The suggestion of it only struck me later (the appearance of this guess was thanks to years of experience with computing etc.).
  • Quality Inspection of the DVD
    • I have found Corel WInDVD to show results representative of a standard TV with a DVD Player.
    • I have found popular media player such as VLC and Windows Media Player (WMP) to behave differently to this, hence not useful for quality-checking.   Problems I found included:
      • False Alarm: Playing went straight to the main video, didn’t stop at the Main Menu (as had been intended).  However it worked fine on a standard physical DVD player.
      • Hidden Problem: In one case I deinterlaced improperly, resulting in “judder” on movements when played on TV (via physical DVD player).  However it appeared fine on both VLC and WMP.
  • Metadata
    • In the case of WMV files, just use Windows Explorer:[aFile >RtClk> Properties > Details] and edit the main items of metadata directly.
    • For DVD generated by Adobe Encore, the Disk label (data) is the same as the Project name.
      • ImgBurn, a popular alternative to Encore as regards actually burning a disk, provides a way of changing this disk-label.

After Effects (etc.) CS6: Workflows for XDCAM-EX Footage

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

As remarked in an earlier blog entry, I was concerned about how best to import/use XDCAM-EX footage in an After Effects CS, especially when that footage could be spanned across more than one [.mp4] file, especially given that their contents can overlap.  In Premiere this is not an issue, because its (new) Media Browser feature provides instead a higher-level view, of clips rather than lower-level [.mp4] essence-files.

Sadly, as yet, AE CS6 has no equivalent of the Media Browser.

Best workaround:

  • In Premiere, use Media Browser to import an XDCAM-EX clip, then copy it and paste that “virtual” clip into AE.

Workflows involving Adobe Prelude:

  • The web-search record (below) not only provides the foundation for the above statements, it also contains an explanation of the different workflows (e.g. whether or not to sort/trim/rename clips in Prelude).  Some workflows are best for short-form (typically involving tens of footage-clips) while other workflows may be more appropriate for long-form (hundreds or thousands of clips).


Adobe After Effects CS6: XDCAM-EX Readability Glitch (Solution: Reboot)

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

While editing an Adobe Premiere CS6 project based on XDCAM-EX footage (from an EX3), I thought I’d enhance the footage in After Effects (where more sophisticated enhancement effects than in Premiere are available).  Should be easy I thought, taking advantage of the CS6 suite’s Dynamic Link feature.

In Premiere, I selected the relevant clip and did [RightClick > Replace With After Effects Composition].  As expected, this opened After Effects, with the appropriate dynamic link to Premiere…


All I got on the Preview in After Effects, and indeed back in Premiere,  was Color Bars.  I assumed this indicated some kind of failure in After Effects.

Naively, I concluded that, on my system at least, After Effects CS6 could not read XDCAM-EX.  A brief web-search (further below) revealed user experiences and video convertor article-adverts implying that I was not alone with this problem.  But an Adobe blog entry suggested that no such problem existed in AE CS6 and some and Adobe documentation (pdf) said so explicitly.  For the moment then, I was confused…

Then I rebooted and tried again.  This time it worked.  I succeeded in making AE projects both by directly importing the footage (as mp4 files) in AE and via Dynamic Link from Premier.

The direct import dialog was slightly weird though: it claimed it was listing “All Acceptable Files” but these included not only [.mp4] files but also e.g. [.smi] files, which, when I selected one of these it complained: “…unsupported filetype or extension”.   Incidentally, the reason I tried it at all was that XDCAM-EX is a spanned format, where a single recording can be spanned/split/spread over multiple [.mp4] files. Furthermore, there can be an overlap of content from one [.mp4] to the next (in a span), so in principle (I haven’t tried it), simply placing one [.mp4] after another on the timeline would give rise to a (short) repetition at each transition (from one [.mp4] to the next).

But this is already over-long for a single blog-post, so I’ll deal with that issue in a separate post.


SonicFire Pro (DVD Writer): SmartSound Music

Saturday, February 16th, 2013

Just now I opened SonicFire Pro on and a popup appeared with the following announcement:

This version of SonicFire Pro can interact with the following applications:

  • Adobe Premiere CS5 and up
  • Adobe After Effects CS5 and up
  • Avid Pinnacle 15 / Studio and up

If you use any of the programs listed above, you can access an advanced set of features that make it even easier to add customized SmartSound music to your productions.

Something to maybe look into, when I get time.  But right now I’m focusing on burning some DVDs.  So I click the [Later…] button.

MBR Color Corrector: Update to Version 2

Wednesday, December 26th, 2012

MBR Color Corrector, by Matt Roberts, is a plugin Effect for Adobe Premiere and After Effects, to automatically color correct movie clips / footage featuring a Gretag MacBeth / X-Rite ColorChecker chart or card in-shot, e.g. at the beginning or end of a scene or take.

This provides an alternative to manual (hence subjective and probably iterative) color adjustments in conventional Effects in the editing application (Premiere or After Effects).

When applied appropriately, the workflow-result can be improved productivity and quality, with reduced (as opposed to avoided) dependency/demand on Colorist expertise and accurate color monitors etc.  It not only handles typical color temperature issues but also, to a useful degree, non-linear luminance and color “twisting” inherent in certain cameras and lighting conditions.

In addition to color correction, MBR Color Corrector can also be used for color matching, e.g. to match a mood, as previously established in an example prepared by a Colorist, provided that example likewise contains some frames featuring a Gretag Macbeth / X-Rite color chart or card.

The new version (v.2) features:

  • Mac support.
  • An improved, more intuitive, user interface.
  • Keyframes on everything that effects the output.

The free (gratuit) functionality is almost complete (no watermarks etc.) and in my experience has certainly been useful on real projects.  The paid version has greater efficiency and functionality, and encourages the developer to keep developing.  See the product web-page for more details.

See images in corresponding entry in my main blog.

Mocha & AE for Tracking & Stabilising

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

In fact there is an excellent-looking series of tutorials at

Adobe CS6: Encoding Presets Migration and Exploration

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

Having created my own additional presets for encoding formats on one system, I want to copy them to another.   As it happens, these “systems” are the Boot Camp Windows and the Mac OS sides of the same MacBook.

So how do I copy them?

As it happens, Adobe Media Encoder has menu options:

  • Preset > Export
  • Preset > Import

Nevertheless, looking behind the scenes…

Each Preset is stored as an [.epr] file.  So where are the [.epr] files kept?


  • Google:[adobe premiere presets location]
  • Explore my own system:
    • Mac OS: (just a few examples)
      • /Volumes/BOOTCAMP/Program Files/Adobe/Adobe Premiere Pro CS6/MediaIO/presets
      • /Volumes/BOOTCAMP/Program Files/Adobe/Adobe Media Encoder CS6/MediaIO/systempresets/
      • /Volumes/BOOTCAMP/Program Files/Adobe/Adobe After Effects CS5.5/Support Files/(MediaIO)/systempresets/
    • Windows:
      • /Volumes/BOOTCAMP/Program Files/Adobe/Adobe After Effects CS6/Support Files/(MediaIO)/systempresets/
      • /Volumes/BOOTCAMP/Program Files/Adobe/Adobe Premiere Pro CS6/MediaIO/systempresets/
      • /Volumes/BOOTCAMP/Program Files/Adobe/Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.5/MediaIO/systempresets/
      • /Volumes/BOOTCAMP/Program Files/Adobe/Adobe Premiere Pro CS5/Settings/EncoderPresets/
      • /Volumes/BOOTCAMP/Program Files/Adobe/Adobe Media Encoder CS6/MediaIO/systempresets/3F3F3F3F_44505820

Adobe Templates for Diwali

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

I’m producing a video of a corporate event celebrating Diwali – the Indian Festival of Lights.

I wondered whether anyone had made an Adobe Premiere or After Effects template for Diwali.

I tried searching on [Diwali] in Adobe Exchange, but nothing was found.


Adobe Missing Title and Encore Templates: Download

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

 I had Adobe Production Premium CS6 installed, but when in Adobe Premiere I tried to make a Title, there were no Title Templates present.

A Google search on [adobe premiere cs6 title templates download] produced the answer, as follows, in the form of a downloadable installer.  In addition to Premiere Title templates, the add-on also includes Encore templates.

Some people had problems downloading and installing, discussed here:

Boris FX Webinar Gems

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

SternFX for Adobe AE & Boris eg Broadcast Templates

Boris Broadcast Templates:

Boris TV:

My GPU is Definitely Too Old for Adobe Mercury Engine

Sunday, September 16th, 2012

  • This hives “hacks” for “unlocking” the use of a non-approved GPU card by Adobe’s Mercury Engine – though obviously at one’s own risk…
  • However the current GPU in my desktop, Geforce 8800 GT,  is not recommended for such action, as it has insufficient RAM, namely 0.5GB.
    • This is implied from the fact that the Geforce 9600 GT is specifically “Not recommended” on precisely that basis.

Chromakeying in After Effects (e.g. linked to Premiere)

Monday, September 3rd, 2012

  • Put the two layers in Premiere tracks
  • Send it to AE
    • [Replace with AE Composition]
  • In AE use Keylight (offers more control than Premiere’s Ultra vector-keyer)
  • Simply switch back to Premiere, it’s already in the timeline
  • {BUT … does that constitute “Dynamic Linking”, which I have heard is inefficient on cpu/speed?}

Adobe Production CS6 – Cache & Render Files and their Locations

Saturday, September 1st, 2012

When I start-up any application, I like to understand at least the main side-effects it’s having on my system.  In the case of Adobe’s primary video-editing apps, Premiere and After Effects, my experience (on Windows 7) is that they save intermediate preview-renders to the system volume.  This causes me the following concerns:

  • System Volume may serve poorly as a media drive.
    • Larry Jordan, at least in the recent past, advises against using the system drive for media read/write.  On the upside, such drives may have high-bandwidth to the system, but on the downside, the system can interrupt their use with highest priority, whuch may (I guess) pose a risk to smooth playback (though I am aware that buffering may possibly reduce this risk, I haven’t done or seen any such calculations).  Cache files are indeed media files that are written and read.
    • On the other hand, an informed representative of a well-known UK supplier of video editing laptops advised me that in his experience, most users of laptops with only a single internal drive (as system drive) do use that drive in this way (for portability).
  • System drive can become “clogged up”
    • System drive can become clogged-up by many or large video files of which that the user is only partially aware, their creation having happened implicitly during their use of the NLE etc.  Like temporary files only worse!
    • Ultimately the system drive can even become full, making the operating system itself sluggish or even less stable (and video playback less smooth.
    • Backup of a system drive that includes media files will typically require significantly greater archive space and will take significantly greater time (than a clean system).
  • Migrate-ability is reduced
    • I like the idea of a video project being a free-floating data-object.  That is, it should not be tied to any particular instance of a data storage volume, let alone a particular computer (system).  It should be possible for all files relevant to a project to be stored on any volume, migrated to any other volume, plugged into any computer having appropriate installed applications, and everything to work the same way as when the project was on its original volume being edited on the original system.  That includes not only the source media files etc. but also the intermediate rendered files.

So what do the Adobe editing applications provide to enable my preferred working arrangement?

  • Premiere:
    • [Edit > Preferences > Media]
      •  This defines the location of the folder [Media Cache Files], which contains pseudorandomly-named files.  Example Files:
        • [929_4372_01-125eeda9-ba0d-a8ea-4418-3480000001f0.ims]
        • [Rendered – 68721ea9-25e9-4f56-8430-4ca10101ace7-04602910-cd54-1a45-a5d7-557b000001f2.ims]
      • Default location: [c:\Users\…\AppData\roaming\Adobe\Common]
      • [Yes] Save Media Cache files next to originals when possible
        • e.g. for my XDCAM-EX files, inside a CLIPR folder (which contains the EX’s “essence” (.mp4) files, in this case [929_4491_01.MP4]), appeared the following files:
          • 929_4491_01.MP4 (9.2 MB)
            • Unknown, but the “48000” and the “a” on the end of “cfa” are suggestive of audio.
          • 929_4491_01.MP4 48000.pek (37KB)
            • Simply the peaks (waveform graphics data) file for the audio component of the essence-file.
        • Experience:
          • I clicked the [Browse] button and selected an area on my external media drive (a GRaid Mini) as: [H:\_App_Specific\Adobe].
          • Consequently, at my specified location the following folder appeared: [Media Cache Files]
    • Media Cache Database
      • Note:
        • When Premiere Pro imports video and audio in some formats, it processes and caches versions of these items that it can readily access when generating previews. Imported audio files are each conformed to a new .cfa file, and MPEG files are indexed to a new .mpgindex file. The media cache greatly improves performance for previews, because the video and audio items do not need to be reprocessed for each preview.
        • When you first import a file, you may experience a delay while the media is being processed and cached.
          A database retains links to each of the cached media files. This media cache database is shared with Adobe Media Encoder, After Effects, Premiere Pro, Encore, and Soundbooth, so each of these applications can each read from and write to the same set of cached media files.
      • Location: [c:\Users\…\AppData\roaming\Adobe\Common]
        • [Browse]
          • If you change the location of the database from within any of these applications, the location is updated for the other applications, too.
          • Each application can use its own cache folder, but the same database keeps track of them.
          • Example Experience:
            • I clicked the [Browse] button and selected an area on my external media drive (a GRaid Mini) as: [H:\_App_Specific\Adobe].
            • In response, a prompt came up saying “Move the existing media cache database to the new location, or delete it (Buttons: [Move] [Delete] [Cancel] ).
            • I clicked [Move]
            • Consequently, at my specified location the following folder appeared: [Media Cache]
      • Purging
        • [Clean]
          • This removes “orphan” cache files.
          • To remove conformed and indexed files from the cache and to remove their entries from the database, click [Clean]. This command only removes files associated with footage items for which the source file is no longer available.
            • Important: Before clicking the [Clean] button, make sure that any storage devices that contain your currently used source media are connected to your computer.
      • [Yes] Write XMP ID To Files On Import
        • Check this box to write ID information into XMP metadata fields.
        • e.g. hence [929_4491_01M01.XMP] sidecar-file (containing XMP metadata) got written into the CLIPR folder containing its associated media  file, here an XDCAM-EX essence file, [929_4491_01.MP4].
      • [Yes] Enable Clip And XMP Metadata Linking Check this box to link clip metadata to XMP metadata, so that changing one changes the other.
    • Intermediate-Preview Render Files
      • None of the above measures affect where intermediate/preview files get rendered to…
        • I proved this (in Windows 7) by deliberately causing a render then searching on “Huge” (>16MB) files created “Today”
        • Rendered files location was:[C:\Users\…\Documents\Adobe\Premiere Pro\5.5\Adobe Premiere Pro Preview Files\Untitled3.PRV]
      • A brief Google revealed several articles where the (sadly now obsolete) solution was a setting under [Edit > Preferences > Scratch Disks]
      • Eventually discovered that in CS5.5 these settings now resided in: [Project > Project Settings > Scratch Disks]
        • Here, all settings (affecting Capture and  Preview) were set to [Same as Project]
        • As it happened, my project location was [C:\Users\David\Documents\Adobe\Premiere Pro\5.5].
      • Experiment with a different project location:
        • Save As: [H:\_Media\_Projects\MyProject\030 Projects\Adobe\Experiments]
          • The file [Expt A v001.prproj] appeared in it, but that was all.
        • Save a Copy: [H:\_Media\_Projects\MyProject\030 Projects\Adobe\Experiments]
          • The file [Expt A v001 Copy.prproj] appeared there, but that was all.
        • (The file open within Premiere remained as the original, not the copy)
        • After a while, the project file was joined by: [Adobe Premiere Pro Auto-Save]
      • Experiment to migrate the Preview-Render files:
        • In Windows Explorer, I created a folder named [Adobe Premiere Pro Preview Files]
        • Into that folder, from the similarly-named folder on the system volume, I dragged the existing folder [Untitled3.PRV]
      • Experiment: Premiere “knows” when render-files have gone, and prompts for their possible new location.
        • I deleted the project-specific render-files folder on the (external) project-drive.
        • I re-rendered, resulting in a fresh such folder, re-populated.
        • In Premiere, I Closed the project
        • Then in Windows I renamed the project-specific render-files folder, then back in Premiere I re-opened the project.
          • Premiere prompted with Browser titled: “Where is the File ‘Rendered – 5ac…..228.mpeg’?”
          • I selected the stated file in its newly-renamed folder, Premiere then found all the others there.
        • Result: the timeline render-region went green (i.e. “probably playable”).
      • Experiment: Once render-files are regarded as “gone”, they cannot be restored.
        • I closed the project, ensuring I did not save changes (such as the new location of the render files), then re-opened it.
          • As in the previous experiment (since I did not save changes), the render files folder could not be found.
          • Premiere thus prompted with Browser titled: “Where is the File ‘Rendered – 5ac…..228.mpeg’?”
          • This time however I simply used the [Skip All] option.
        • Closed the project.
        • Renamed the rendered-files folder back to its original name.
        • In Premiere, re-opened the project.
          • The timeline region remained red, indication no render-files were associated.
      • Experiment: Tidy migration of a project to a new location.
        • Warnig: in the case of doing a Copy (which is Windows’ default drag operation between different volumes), take care to ensure the Project (file) is not simply referencing the original preview files at the old location…
        • Drag both Project and its folders (including render-file folder) to a new location (e.g. on a new disk).
        • If name and relative location of folder are unchanged (as they ought to be, in good practice) then the files will be automatically detected and used, not even a user-prompt.
          • Just be sure though that the project isn’t simply referencing the render-files in their original location, if they are still present there.  Premiere is “lazy” in this respect.
      • Experiment: The relative location of the Rendered Files folder does matter (relative to the project file).
        • Tried putting the render files in a non-standard location.
          • The “Locate/Browse” prompt appeared
          • I located the file
          • All at first appeared well, and the corresponding section of the timeline went green
          • However, the “Composer” window simply displayed “Media Pending”.  That never went away.
      • Experiment:
        • When migrating, also need to move (or copy):
          • The Media Cache directories
            • Actually I’m not so sure about this. I tried exiting Premiere, renaming these directories and opening Premiere.  It created and repopulated the same directories in their original location, which in my case was an external drive.
          • The Source Media files
      • I suggest marking each external with the drive letter that the user assigns to it, say Z:\. Then, whenever Z:\ is plugged in, it will always be seen as Z:\. This way, the NLE can keep up with where the Assets are located, starting with the drive letter.
      • If one is migrating Projects between computers, they will repeat this exact process in the OS of each computer.
      • Note: when doing the migration, ALL Assets, Scratch Disks, and the Project file, MUST be included on that external

Work Procedure for Migrate-ability:

  • By associating cache and XMP files with the media (or its essence), Adobe projects are migratable.  However adding such files into the BPAV/CLIPR folder structure is considered by some applications to be an adulteration of that structure, requiring their deletion.   However, such deletion on an as-needed basis is not too onerous – given it is easy to do and in any case this situaion should rarely arise in practice.
  • When using different disks, remember to re-define (in Preferences) the location of cache files etc.
    • One work-around would be to -re-set the cache location before opening any individual project.
      • Might be hard to remember to do when opening a project from within the NLE, easier to remember when double-clicking a project file in Windows Explorer.still
    • I’m not 100% sure what to do about these…
  • As noted earlier:
    • When doing the migration, ALL Assets (Sources), Scratch Disks (Renders), and the Project file, MUST be included on that external.
      • I note that this says nothing about Cache Files etc. …

Adobe CS6 Upgrade Alongside Existing CS5

Saturday, September 1st, 2012

Q: Can I install CS6 alongside CS5.5

A: Yes (it seems so, though I’ve yet to confirm it)


Cineform and Alpha Channels

Friday, August 31st, 2012

The full (paid) version of GoPro-Cineform Neo (as I have) does support alpha channels.

(A colleague initially thought otherwise – but that impression turned out to be based on info from old forum threads)


Chroma Upsampling (Chroma Interpolation)

Friday, August 31st, 2012

Shooting green-screen onto a 4:2:0 chroma-subsampled format, intending of course to use it for chroma-keying.  Obvious disadvantage is green-ness of green-screen only gets sampled at quarter-resolution.  Not a show-stopper, given my target deliverable is standard definition, but anyhow, towards perfectionism, is there any way to up-sample to 4:4:4 i.e. full definition colour?

It does occur to me that something more sophisticated than chroma blur ought to be possible, broadly along the lines of edge-following methods employed in resizing. What’s out there?

  • Simplest method, that most people seem to use, is chroma-blur.  That’s only the chroma, not the luma.
  • Searching around, Graham Nattress has analysed the problem and seems to have produced a more mathematical approach.  But it’s only available (at time of writing) for Final Cut (which of course is Mac-only at present).

Some tools that “promise” upsampling, but I wonder by what methods:

  • GoPro-CineForm intermediate.  The codec settings include an option to up-sample to 4:4:4
  • Adobe Premiere, but only if a Color Corrector effect employed.
    • But the crucial thing here, regarding the usefulness of this, is whether it uses any better method than chroma blur.

Some questions:

  •  Does Adobe have anything built-in to do something Nattress-like nowadays?
  • DaVinci Resolve?
  • Boris?


Adobe CS6 – “What’s New” Videos

Saturday, April 14th, 2012

Matt Roberts (MBR’s) Automatic Color (Chart) Corrector

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

How about an After Effects plugin for automatically grading any footage featuring a Gretag Macbeth color chart in-shot (e.g. at the beginning and/or end of shot)?  Matt Roberts’ new plugin, still “steaming off the press”, works in Premiere as well as After Effects, and has been tested in CS5 and CS5.5.  You simply pause on a frame featuring a color chart in-shot, place corner locators to identify that chart, and ‘Go”.  It not only fixes white balance but also adjusts for saturation and compensates for certain kinds of “color twisting” defects such as can occur in cameras.    Subsequent “expert tweaks” can then be made if preferred, e.g. 20% saturation reduction for “film look”.  The free version works in 8 bits, the paid (£50) one (in the process of being made available on works in 32 bits, multithreaded etc.  To find out more and to download it:

Example: Canon 7D Video Footage:

Canon 7D before correctionCanon 7D after correction

So what’s the point of this plugin?  Greater quality, reliability and productivity, as compared to traditional color correctors, as explained below.

Those with an eye for accurate color reproduction from video footage will be familiar with traditional tools such as 3-way color correctors and meters such as waveform monitors and vectorscopes.   All proper Non Linear Editing systems (NLE’s) have these.  Generally-speaking such tools work well, but sometimes in practice the situation can become confused when for example a subject’s “white”(assumed) shirt is in fact off-white, or when tinted light mirror-reflects off skin or results from camera filters.  Easy to understand in retrospect, but initially can cause “running round in circles” of interative adjustment and re-checking.  Furthermore, some cameras have peaks, pits, twists and ambiguities (e.g. infra-red) in their colour response that many such correctors cannot correct in a straightforward manner.   Not only can time be wasted but it is quite possible to end up with an image that “looks” right to most people but which in fact has done something inexcusable such as altering the very precise color of a corporate logo.

One way to reduce the potential fo such confusion is to incorporate a color chart in shot.  Various types exist, including Gretag Macbeth (GM) and Chroma Du Monde (CDM).  The GM card, while primarily targeted at photography, is also in widespread use for video.   That chart consists of a matrix of colored squares, one row of which represents (steps on) a grey-scale.  It also includes some near-primary colours and some approximate skin colours of a few types.  The simplest use of such a chart would be to use the grey-scale row for white balancing and the other colours for “by eye” grading/tweaking.  The more experienced will probably make use of vectorscopes etc. but that can still be a nuisanceful if not cumbersome process.

Enter Matt Roberts’ Automatic Color Corrector.  We tried it out on some footage from his own Canon 7D and from my Sony EX3, the latter fitted with a slightly green-tinted infra-red filter, on a snowy day.  We even tried it on an image (featuring such a chart, as well as a model with lots of fleshtones) on Canon’s website ?URL? for their C300 camcorder.  In all cases, the correction was achieved in seconds.  We were particularly confused as to why Canon’s web-image image was so off-colour, but it certainly was, and the Corrector fixed it.

Once again, the link:

3D Worlds in After Effects

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

I want to put someone inside a virtual world (based on their own paintings), ultimately to be rendered out as a Stereographic 3D movie, but with development in progressive stages/generations, initially based on readily available standard tools and techniques, later proceeding to specialist 3D modelling apps etc.  How to proceed?  Some possibilities that come to mind are:

  • Initial development using only “Planar 3D” as in After Effects
    • I believe this is possible to some extent, using native features of AE.
    • In my earlier post on Adobe Production Premium CS5.5 – Orientation, I noted the existence of Mocha LE, a tracker, included inMocha 2.6, the awesome roto program with a tightly integrated planar tracker.
      • {The planar tracker is (primarily?) ..used as a “roto assist” to speed up the roto process…
        ..and also the tracking data can be exported to a wide variety of programs such as Nuke, After Effects, Combustion and many more for corner pinning, stabilizing, and match move that suite.
  • Subsequent development using “Full 3D” as in Blender etc.  Some relevant previous entries in this blog are:

So I did a web-search: Google: [after effects 3d]

World / Object Creation:

    •  Real (green screened) rap artist and audients, where the rap artist appears on a virtual a giant stage surrounded by replicated audients.
    • Explains the conceptualization, storyboarding, and high-level aspects (no screenshots) of designing a world capable of representation in After Effects, along with building and testing experiences.
    • How to make a truck out of a single flat surface with cut-out sections and folds.  Like you would make one out of a single sheet of cardboard (like a cornflake packet).
    • Links to tutorial and support-files.
    • Similar to the truck, flat sheet (“texture”, obtained from an actual photo, realigned and stretched to remove perspective effect in photo) folded into a 3D building object.
    • Video tutorial and project files are provided.
    • { has both free stuff (tutorials etc.) and pay-stuff.  Well-worth a check-out.}


  • DaVinci Resolve Lite – free
    • Re: After Effects Tracking (by Todd Kopriva, Adobe Tech. Support, on Jul 10, 2011)
      • If you have After Effect CS5, you have mocha—and it’s often the easiest and best way to do tracking for the purpose of compositing.
    • Q: “Mocha, or Camera Tracker?” (by andrew donaldson on Sep 8, 2011)
      • {Mocha (LE) comes with CS5.5, Camera Tracker is a third-party add-on}
      • I need to create something similar to this:
      • …. would liked to use similar techniques, especially with the web pages tracking the buildings in city shots.
      • I have tried to use mocha to track the side of a building, but its not proving ideal. Obviously the motion tracker inside AE won’t give me the depth/perspective.
      • So what’s the best way to do this?  … Is Syntheyes/Camera tracker the way forward?
    • A1: (by ben g unguren on Sep 8, 2011 )
      • The general rule of thumb is that Mocha works great if your graphics are ATTACHED to an EXISTING surface (like a logo on the side of a building, or changing the words on a sign). If you’re trying to add something in 3D space (like graphics that “hover” around the building, and seem to actually be there), then you need a 3D solution.
      • Mocha and AE’s internal trackers give you 2D solutions. Mocha’s solutions are a bit more sophisticated, producing corner-point information that mimics 3D, but [this is key] it doesn’t produce a 3D camera.
      • Syntheyes and similar apps will give you an animated 3D camera as well as target points that simulate the world you’re tracking (target points for the ground, buildings, etc — whatever you’ve managed to track and can get a 3D “solution” for). This is A LOT more information than what Mocha or AE’s internal tracking can get you.
      • One other point: when the camera is only panning and tilting (not actually changing it’s own position) then a 2D solution can (sort of) mimick a 3D camera solution. So if all you’re doing is panning and tilting, then you could track that in Mocha, then use that data to animate objects (that are given perspective, for instance). You would be able to achieve a lot of the graphics in the video you linked to using that technique, as they’re using a lot of static cameras.
    • A2: (by Tudor “Ted” Jelescu on Sep 8, 2011):
      • I agree with Ben.
      • In most of the shots from your example Mocha can be used. I suspect that some of those shots where not really video files, but still images cleverly transformed in a 2.5d comp where camera moves can be animated in AE – so no tracker there.
      • Here’s a good tutorial for what Mocha can do:


Adobe Production Premium CS5.5 – Orientation

Saturday, January 28th, 2012


  • What should and does it consist of?
    • Including anything non-obvious e.g. “tucked away”, “additional Downloads”, “obscure” etc.
  • ???

Answers (as far as I can tell…):

  •  _Support & Communities
    • Looks at first sight like any application’s Help dialog, but on deeper inspection is also connected web-wise and answers to questions are not restricted to Adobe products.
  • After Effects
    • In contrast to Premiere, which is for conventional light-touch editing, this is for heavier effects and compositing etc.
      • …AE is a “2.5d” application. The worldspace is 3d, but any imagery you have (discounting 3rd party applications such as Invigorator and such) is “flat”.
        • (As opposed to 3D Modelling apps such as 3dsMax, Blender)
  • After Effects Render Engine
    • Render farm: Network rendering with watch folders and render engines.
    • Previously, it was possible to install render engines on as many machines as wished, but not so under CS5.5, where a separate serial number must be obtained for each machine.  For small guys like me that makes it pretty useless.   It seems likely that a more flexible option will exist in future versions.
  • Audition
    • Audio editor, derived (many years ago) from CoolEdit.
  • Bridge
    • A combination of media file manager, media manager, metadata editor, also does some kinds of media processing.
    • Can be run standalone or from within apps e.g. Premiere: [File > Browse in Bridge…]
  • Color Finesse
    • A multi-host (including Premiere & AE) plugin that goes above and beyond typical NLE color correction.
    • On my system it only appears to be available under AE.
  • Device Central
    • Simulates media appearance etc. on a range of devices such as cellphones.
  • DigiEffects FreeForm
    • Manipulate a flat object into almost any shape using displacement maps and meshes in 3D space.
    • Examples: flowing cloth, animated loose filmstrips, rippling fluids, terrain flyovers, welded metal, morphs, reveals.
  • Encore
    • DVD authoring.  Menus can be created in Photoshop (using special layering techniques).
  • Extension Manager
    • Manage extensions (broadly like plugins) associated with various Adobe programs.
  • ExtendScript Toolkit:
    • Adobe workflow command-script editor
    • An IDE (along the lines of Visual Studio) for scripts in Adobe Bridge, itself serving to automate workflows involving multiple Adobe applications.
  • Flash Professional
    • A multimedia authoring program to create content for Flash-enabled platforms/devices.
  • Flash Catalyst
    • A designers’ tool for creating the user interface for Rich Internet Applications.  Primary function of being a GUI composer for Adobe Flex components.
    • Can import Photoshop, Illustrator, Fireworks, or Flash XML Graphics (FXG) files.
  • Help
    • A help resource not only with local help-documentation but also capable of searching beyond, even beyond Adobe, to find solutions.
  • Illustrator
    • Vector graphics editor e.g. useful for typesetting and logo graphics design. It is the companion product of Photoshop.
  • KeyLight
    • An advanced chroma-keyer, tackling reflections, semi-transparent areas and hair.
  • Media Encoder
    • Encodes audio and video media content.
  • Mocha
    • <<Stand-alone tracking and roto tool to help solve problematic shots challenging the built in tools of After Effects and Final Cut by bringing advanced planar tracking and matte creation tools>>
      • Planar tracking
        • Track a plane(-ish) surface in 3D space e.g. as it translates, rotates, perspective changes.
          • Typically more robust and capable than points-tracking.
          • Great for moving subject or tracking camera.
          • Overkill when the only (relative) motion is due to camera pan/tilt.
    • e.g. select an area then it uses any detail there including texture to get a fix, and follows changes in translation, rotation, perspective etc.
  • OnLocation
    • Direct to disk recorder / logger also acting as monitor with waveform monitor and vectorscope.  And no doubt much else.
  • PhotoShop
    • Such a big noun that it became a verb…
  • Premiere Pro
    • Primary editing app, with emphasis on productive cutting and smooth playback etc., minimising the need to render, leaving heavy effects and compositing etc. to AE.
  • Story
    • A collaborative script development tool/service. There is an application for working alone on an offline version and a web-based service where you can sync up with an online version.
  • Ultra
    • Vector-keyer (simple-to-use effective chroma-keying) that was once a standalone app by Serious Magic, now available as a plugin within Premiere (but not AE).  I get the impression it is regarded (or at least branded) as simple to use but ultimately less sophisticated/capable than KeyLight (???).
    • Serious Magic used to highlight its capabilities regarding reflections, semi-transparent areas and hair…
  • Utilities
    • ExtendScript
      • An integrated development environment (IDE) for the creation and debugging of JavaScript code for Adobe Bridge, to facilitate workflow-enhancing automation of tasks between elements of Creative Suite.
    • PixelBlender
      • A simplifying basis for implementing image processing algorithms (filters or effects) in a hardware-independent manner, taking advantage of parallel processing / GPU etc.
      • Downside to commercial developers is that code using it may be more visible / understandable.

Apple Mac & FCP -> Windows & Adobe

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

Adobe After Effects (AE): Tutorials e.g. on AE Fundamentals

Thursday, January 5th, 2012
    • i was self taught for after effects, as many were before non-linear editing became so affordable that any school could afford to start up a digital media program (even jr. high/middle schools).
    • you might look into an after effects book by chris & trish meyers called ‘creating motion graphics’ (i actually didn’t have that book when i was learning, but i’ve since heard that it’s one of the best for learning ae).
    • total training has a good series after effects of tutorials
    • is good resource too.
    • and, of course, there are lots of ae tutorials here at the (creative) cow.
    • aharon rabinowitz has many geared towards the fundamentals of ae. look into some of his workflow tuts and other earlier ones where he covers some basic essentials.
  • Book: Motion Graphics with Adobe Creative Suite 5 Studio Techniques, Richard Harrington and Ian Robinson

Velocity Remapping/Retiming by Motion Estimation: Alternative Tools

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

What tools are available for this?  What are their relative merits / costs (in all senses)?

  • First I tried Boris RED but encountered issues.
  • Next I investigated AviSynth, discovering two approaches:
    • MSU’s Frame-Rate Convertor (FRC)
    • MVTools2-based scripts; the latter was the more complex but for me it worked best.
  • Next I looked at MotionPerfect, which I purchased years ago from Dynapel back in Standard Definition days.
    • Nowadays sold by Gooder Video
      • They sell version 4.3.1
      • I have version 4.3.0
      • I updated it to 4.3.1
        • That shows a different icon/logo to the Dynapel version of that same product.
        • It works the same as far as I can see.
  • Another day(s):
    • Boris RED (4 & 5) via NLEs
      • Adobe
      • Avid
      • VegasAfter Effect
    • Kronos ??
    • Twixtor ??.
      • Some people claim this is the fastest motion-estimation-based method.
    • Avid ???
      • e.g. locate the (years-old) Avid velocity / warp envelope demo featuring a surfer ???


Boris: Retiming: Initial Websearch (Orientation / Terminology)

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012


Adobe CS5.5 Production Premium: Launch in Boot Camp Windows 7

Tuesday, December 27th, 2011
  • Installer for CS5.5 Production Premium
    • For viewing the license conditions, it offers language choices including [English (North America)] and [English (International)].
      • It’s not clear what the difference is.  I wish it showed some examples in each.
      • I’m not the only confused one, e.g:
          • Peter Spier
            • 3. Jan 14, 2009 10:21 AM (in response to rpollack-2)
            • Re: CS4 English International vs English US
            • To add to the confusion, I think the difference is in the default dictionaries and the spellings in the interface, i.e. it presumes you want British-style spelling (as you have), and has nothing to do with licensing.
            • I have no clue how to change that election other than to re-install. If you can live with the funny spelling in the menus, you can set the default dictionary to US English in InDesign, and probably other apps.
            • With nothing open, click the text tool and set the control panel to character mode options. Change the language in the dictionary dropdown near the right end. This is also available from the character panel (which which is where you’d change it in Photoshop, it’s in the prefs under Hyphenation in Illustrator — and you may be able to reset the interface language in the Photoshop prefs, too)
      • I chose [English (International)]
    • Next it asked for:
      • Serial Number or else check the Trial button.
        • I did the latter
      • Also it asked for Language
        • I assume this to be the operating language for the app
        • Again I chose [English (International)]
    • Next, [Install Options]
      • Apps:
        • Flash Pro CS5.5
        • AIR for Apple iOS Support
        • After Effects CS5.5
        • Audition CS5.5
        • Encore CS5.1
        • Flash Catalyst CS5.5
        • Illustrator CS5.1
        • OnLocation CS5.1
        • PhotoShop CS5.1 (64..)
        • PhotoShop CS5.1
        • Premiere Pro CS5.5
      • Location:
        • [C:\Program Files\Adobe]
    • Next it began calculating the total time for install and began installing.  After a few minutes it returned its time estimate as around half an hour.  This (initial conservative estimate?) rapidly dropped to around 20 minutes.
    • Next it asked for web browsers to be closed
    • Finally it displayed what looks like a Launcher window for the Production Premium suite, withbuttons labelled akin to Periodic Table elements, except that one of them [Ps] (PhotoShop) appeared twice, identically labelled.
      • On mouse-hover it emerged (from tooltip text) that the second [Ps] was 64-bit, the first then presumably being 32-bit, though its tooltip text did not confirm this
  • Possibly unrelated, Kapersky AntiVirus reported
    • <<Detected a potentially dangerous modification of the application BMDSTREAMINGSERVER.EXE without a digital signature>>
      • That application was installed yesterday, as part of DaVinci Resolve Lite for Windows.
      • (I got distracted by domestic events)
      • The Kapersky prompt appeared to time-out, I don’t know whatit assumed/did…
  • The Launcher highlighted the followingTutorials link:
  • From Launcher, ran Adobe Premiere
    • A “First Use” dialog came up
      • Requested mu Adobe ID
        • Ientered it.
        • Response screen said: <<By providing an Adobe ID, you have set up access to Adobe CS Live Services during your trial period.
        • It also indicated it had sent email verification.
    • I received two emails.
      • First email
        • <<<
        • Thank you for providing your Adobe ID and downloading your Adobe Creative Suite® software trial. During your software trial, you will have access to CS Live services that further extend the capabilities of your Adobe Creative Suite software. Accessed from within your software, CS Live services enable you to accelerate creative reviews, streamline cross-browser testing, and easily host online meetings.
        • For quick and easy access to CS Live services, here is some important information you will want to save:
        • Your complimentary CS Live services subscription will expire with your product trial.
        • >>>
      • Second email:
        • Verify email address
          • Strange that this was sent after the email containing Personal Meeting Room address etc.
    • Thank You dialog gave link to tutorials:
    • I clicked the [Done] button
  • Adobe Premiere started up
    • Popup stated: <<Adobe Premiere Pro requires updated video card drivers for CUDA accelerated rendering.  Please download and install current drivers for your video card.>>
      • That’s what I was afraid of.  It’s making the same demands as DaVinci Resolve.  I cannot satisfy those demands, all updates are under Apple’s control – it is normal that laptops (as my MacBook Pro is) have customized versions of graphics card drivers…
      • I closed the popup.
    • Premiere prompted for [New Project] etc.
      • I clicked on [Help]
        • The Help panel, once populated (after a minute or so), included a [Getting Started and Tutorials] link.

Adobe CS5.5 Production Premium: Download for Windows

Monday, December 26th, 2011

Given my poor experiences on my [MacBook Pro (2009) > Boot Camp > Windows 7] with Boris Blue and with DaVinci Resolve, it is by no means certain that [Adobe CS5.5 Production Premium] will fare any better.  But it’s worth a try.

So I downloaded a trial.  As part of that I had to first allow [Adobe Download Assistant] to be nstalled and executed.  It prompted for my level of expertise.  I answered: <<Novice: I could use all the help I can get>>.  In response it gave the following link:

The download is apparently 7.116 GB, estimated download time between 5 and 8 hours. Overnight in other words.

Adobe After Effects – Setup Tips

Thursday, December 1st, 2011


Adobe CS5.5 Production Premium on Windows and Mac OS (Possibly)

Friday, November 11th, 2011

I bought a discount copy of Adobe CS5.5 Production Premium, because (after much discussion with others) its feature-set seems to match my typical and forseeable production requirements more than those of other NLEs, including my current mainstay, Sony Vegas 9 (which I am still trying to wean myself off, but when any proper job comes along, I tend to fall back on the familiar and trusted, for low risk including avoidance of learning-delay).

Being (so far) a one-man-band who is traditional Windows user, I purchased the Windows version.  But, confirming what I had heard, it does seem that most media people I have met use Macs.  So should I have purchased the Mac version?  Are the versions exactly the same or have they different functionalities?  Is there an option for the license to cover installing the same product on both Windows and Mac OS provided only one of them is run at a time? (e.g. when on the same physical machine).  Ideally at zero or negligible cost of course.  For example Avid Media Composer does have this flexibility.  While the uncertainty remains, I will not open the box (in case it turns out that I need to exchange it).

Here is what I have learnt so far (mainly from web-searching, unverified information):

Differences between the OS-Specific variants:

  • It appears that for CS5.5 Production Premium (at least), the Windows variant has slightly greater functionality.
  • However it remains to be seen what will be the case for CS6, when it becomes available.

Some options are:

  • Volume licensing.
    • Intended not only for businesses but also for individuals.  If the “volume”is for two licenses, they can be for each of the OS’s.
  • Crossgrade.
    • But as far as I can tell it’s intended only for one-off (or infrequent) crossgrades, requiring “destruction of the software” on the old machine each time.  Shame it isn’t simply happy with repeatable deactivation/reactivation on each machine / OS.


Adobe After Effects: Introductory Tutorials and Articles

Sunday, September 4th, 2011

Tutorials & Articles:

Avid: After Effects EMP

Monday, August 15th, 2011

Avid After Effects EMP is an Avid-supplied plugin for Adobe After Effects allowing that application to use a DNA family video output box such as Mojo or Nitris to provide External Monitor Preview (EMP) on a monitor.  Helpful in order to make use of that Avid box for the Adobe After Effects application, both for convenience and consistency.  Unfortunately it does notwork with the more recent DX family, such as the Mojo DX box.