Archive for the ‘Final Cut’ Category

Adobe Premiere: H264 Markers: Work in Quicktime but not MP4

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

(Updated as of 2014-03-20)

  • H264 supports chapter markers (in some form) in principle, but Adobe Premiere is unable to utilise this (at least as of 2012, and I can’t see a way of doing it in February 2014).
    • If the H264 is encoded into a QuickTime [.mov] wrapper/file (as opposed to a [.mp4] one), and that [.mov] file is played in a QuickTime player, then those chapter markers will appear in (the bottom-right corner) of that player.
  • Apparently FCP (both 7 and X ) can also do this.
    • Presumably


Shared Storage Options for Windows & Mac Video Editing Collaboration

Friday, October 18th, 2013

In summary:

There’s no magic option, each workstation needs a local storage volume with block-level data access (as opposed to simply file-level access) and formatted to a file system that is native (doesn’t require translation) to that workstation’s operating system.  Migration and collaboration imply file copying/synchronization, which implies read-access to the “foreign” file-system.  Mac OS can read NTFS, Winows can only read HFS+ via third-party add-on utilities.  Furthermore, for speed and responsiveness appropriate to video editing, the local storage should ideally be RAID or SSD.  In either case, it is possible to split the local storage (e.g. via partitioning) into more than one file-system.  At least, that worked on the mutiple occasions I have taken that approach, and have not been aware of any issues.

In greater detail:

Consider the challenge of setting up a shared data storage volume (e.g. RAID array or SSD) for video editing, such that either Windows or Mac computers can connect to it, and a video project started on (and saved to) on one of those operating systems (OS) can be continued on the other (and vice versa).

My current solution is to split the drive into separate volumes, one for each OS.  For example I have done this on RAIDs of various kinds and on an internal drive for Mac systems bootable to either Mac OS or (via Boot Camp) to Windows.  In the case of RAIDs I was advised against this by my system supplier, but got the impression they were just being defensive, not knowing of any definite issues, and to my knowledge I did not experience any issues.

It is is not practical to have just one volume (necessarily in that case, one file-system format), because:

  • Mac OS on its own is able to read NTFS but cannot write to it.
    • This is a show-stopper.  Some of the major video editing applications (e.g. NLEs), slightly disturbingly, may use (or for some functionality, even depend on) read/write access to source-files and the folders containing them.
      • I initially, naively, imagined that video editing systems etc. would only ever read source media files, not write to them, or to the folders containing them.  However that proved very naive indeed…
        • In Apple/Mac’s (erstwhile) Final Cut Pro 7 I regularly used their (moving) image stabilization effect, SmoothCam.  Its analysis phased was typically slow and heavy – not something one would wish to repeat.  The result was a “sidecar” file of similar forename to the analyzed source file, but a different extension, placed in the same folder as the source file.
        • I’m not certain, but got the feeling that maybe the source file (or folder) meta data, such as permissions or somekind of interpretation-change to media files in the quicktime ([.mov] mmedia format.
      • Certainly, Adobe (on Windows and Mac) could adulterate both files (by appending XMP data – being an Adobe media metadata dialect in XML) and the folders they occurred in (depending on uder-configuration) in terms of sidecar-files.
      • Sony Vegas also generates sidecar-files, e.g. for audio peaks.
  • File system translation add-ons can add Windows read/write access to HFS+ (ordinarily it could not even read it) and add Mac OS write access to NTFS (ordinarily it could only read it), but not sufficiently transparent/seamless for big real-time data access as required for demanding video editing endeavours.
    • File system translation add-ons (to operating systems) exist, such as MacDrive, to allow Windows to read/write Mac OS, or Tuxera NTFS, Paragon NTFS or Parallels for Mac to enable it to read/write NTFS, but these (reportedly, and in part of my experience) only really work well for standard “Office” type applications, not so well for heavy (big andd real-time) data applications such as video editing, where they can impede the data throughput.  Doh!
    • Some people have experienced obscure issues of application functionality, beyond data-movement speed issues.
    • {Also, I am concerned over the (unknown/imagined/potential) risk that the “alien” operating system and/or its translation utility might alter the file system in some way that upsets its appearance to the “home” operating system.}
  • FAT is universal but is a riskier option:
    • FAT is un-journaled, hence risks loss not only of individual files but of whole volume (integrity).
      • In video editing, corruption could be disastrous to a project, not only in terms of possible data-loss or time wasting and project delays on data recovery, but also in terms of “weird” effects during editing, such as poor responsiveness to commands, whose cause the user may not appreciate. or even an increased risk of unacceptable flaws in the final product.
    • FAT32 is essentially obsolete, because its maximum file size is (1 bit under) 4GB.
    • exFAT, a kind of “FAT64” is practical, and indeed a big successful corporate Mac-based production company once supplied me with many GB of footage on an exFAT-formatted external disk.
      • The largest file I have so far stored there is 40GB.  No problems.
  • NAS (Network-Attached Storage) sounds at first an easy option, but in my experience they impede big real-time data throughput (as stated earlier for “file system tyranslation” add-ons). Double-Doh!
    • Such devices only permit file-level access.  Consequently, the client systems can e.g. create or retrieve folders and files, but cannot e.g. format the device or address it in terms of lower-level data structures.
    • A likely explanation for the “impedement” of a NAS (to data responsiveness and throughput) is that such devices store in a local format (typically they run linux) that is invisible to the client, then translate to an appropriate protocol for each operating system accessing it.  They normally incorporate a bunch of such protocols.  As always, translation => overhead.
    • Other options, such as SAN and iSCSI, instead of providing file-level access to the client systems, instead offer the lower level of data block access.  Thus they appear to the client system as would any local storage device, and can be formatted as appropriate to the client system.
  • One suggestion I saw was to use a Seagate GoFlex drive, which can be used (read/write) with both Mac and Windows.  But the supplier’s FAQ (about that drive) indicates that it depends upon a translator utility for the Mac:
    •  If you would like to be able to “shuttle” data back and forth between a Mac and a PC, a special driver needs to be installed onto the Mac that allows it to access a Windows-formatted drive (i.e. NTFS). Time Machine will not work in this case, nor will Memeo Premium software for Mac. However, if you want your GoFlex solution to also work with TimeMachine, the drive will need to be reformatted to HFS+ journaled.

So I guess there is no “magic storage” option, my main work setup will have to remain based on separate volumes for each OS.

When transferring an editing project from one OS to another, the following actions will be necessary:

  • Copy any absent or updated files across.
    • e.g. via a file-synch utility such as Syncovery.
  • Allow time etc. for possible file re-linking, re-indexing, re-preview generation, re-“SmoothCam” (or equivalent).
    • This aspect is down to the editing application etc., as opposed to the operating or file systems themselves.
  • Ensure any effects used in the edit are present on both systems.
    • If so then these should presumably still work…


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.

GenArts Sapphire Upgrade & Migration

Sunday, July 14th, 2013

I have an existing GenArts Sapphire v.2 installation, as a plugin to Final Cut Pro (FCS7/ FCP7).  I upgraded it to v6 with a view to using the licence instead for plugin to After Effects (AE), since I no longer use FCS, only Adobe Production Premium (CS6).  Before activating for AE, I need to deactivate for FCP.  How to do that?  A Google-search for [final cut pro sapphire deactivate] gave no obvious useful source of information.

Then it found, leading to, as follows:

  • How do I uninstall Sapphire from my current machine?
    • {I was initially concerned by the title, that if I simply uninstalled the application then that might lose me the opportunity to deactivate (and get a deactivation code or whatever GenArts’ process involved…) }
    • To uninstall:
      • On Mac, go to /Applications/GenArtsSapphireFXPLUG folder and double click on “Uninstall Sapphire”.
        • {Actually it was [GenArtsSapphireFxPlug] }
      • If your machine is not connected to the web, then select “Display an uninstall code to register on another computer’s web browser”. Follow the instructions to register the uninstall via another machine.
        • {My machine was connected to the web, and presumably therefore, no opportunity was given for me to select such an option}
    • {Aha! So uninstalling gives you an uninstall-code!  Or decrements my license install-count (presumably held at GenArts), though if it does that, it does it invisibly (which is disconcerting – I’d prefer some explicit confirmation of the resulting install-count)}
      • {I won’t know for sure this worked as intended until I try to apply the serial number on my new After Effects plugin}.

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?


Apple Mac & FCP -> Windows & Adobe

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

FCP MultiCam: PreRes not always the best standard?

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

When multicam-ing in FCP 7, one user reports <<I have found it much better to convert the 5D footage to the XDCAM EX codec instead of converting the EX footage to a ProRes 422 as the file sizes are absurd and there is still a gamma shift problem)>>.  It’s the gamma-shift that would bother me.

Additionally the user explains how to convert DSLR footage to XDCAM-EX format:

    • To Convert the DSLR Footage:
      • Copy the exact file structure from the 5D card to the desired place on your hard drive.
        • Example tree should read:  5DCAM/”DCIM”  ”MISC” (both of the previous words in quotes are two separate folders as one will see in the native card structure)/100EOS5D/”MVI_0001.MOV”  ”MVI_0001.THM” (Again…multiple files in this folder)
      • Open MPEG Streamclip (Just google it to find and download the free program) and go to “File”, “Open Files” and select as many of the .MOV files from your hard drive that you need to convert for a multi-clip.
      • Go to “File”, “Export to Quicktime”
      • At the top of the dialog box where it says, “Compression” choose one of the XDCAM EX compression methods that fit with how your footage was shot.
      • Example:  I shot at 1920 x 1080 at 24 frames per second so I will choose, “XDCAM EX 1080p24 (35Mb/s VBR)” since this also matches the settings of the EX footage.
      • Make sure your frame rate in Streamclip on the lower right area is set to 23.98 if you shot at 24fps in your session
      • Click “Make Movie” and select your target destination
    •  The following will explain how to get the footage into FCP
      • After using Log and Transfer for your EX footage, simply select “Import” under the “File” menu and browse to your new media.
      • Double click your EX clip so it opens in the Source window.
      • Go to a point you would like to use as a sync point, stop playback and hit the letter “I” for “In-Point”  Repeat this exact process with your 5D clip.
      • Select both your 5D and EX clip in the Project area where your clips are listed, right click and select, “Make Multi-Clip”.
      • Select for the clips to be synced using In-Points and you now have a multi-clip.
    • Editing in Multi-Cam Mode
      • Drag the new multi-clip into the main timeline.
      • In the main timeline, click the “RT” button to the upper left of the video tracks.  Make sure that “Multi-clip Playback” is checked.
      • In the source window, look for the button with two playback heads and an “X” between them.  It is located at the top of the window directly in the center.  Click this button and choose, “Open”.  This will sync the source and canvas windows.
      • Double click your multi-clip in the main timeline; this should open both camera views in the source window.
      • Click anywhere in the main timeline and hit the space bar.  You should now see both videos in the source window playing and available for you to click on the angle you want.
      • When you’re done you should highlight everything in the main timeline, right click and select, “Collapse Multi-Clip”.  Don’t worry, you can easily turn it back on to continue multi-cam editing; this will just save on RAM.

XDCAM-EX to ProRes: How

Saturday, December 10th, 2011

I have a Sony XDCAM-EX clip at 1280x720p25 to be transcoded to ProRes, so it can be used as source for iMovie (for another user on another machine).

In principle it should be very simple: go on Mac, use Compressor to transcode the XDCAM footage to ProRes.  But as usual, things are pernickety…


  • First tried dragging the XDCAM [.mp4] file into compressor.
    • Not recognised.
    • Likewise the BPAV folder.
  • Next, I transcoded the XDCAM footage to “MXF for NLEs” format, using the Mac version of Sony Clip Browser
    • Not recognised.
  •  Next, opened the XDCAM Transfer app.
    • In this app, open the XDCAM’s BPAV folder.
    • The footage displays OK but how do I export it to a QuickTime [MOV] file?
    • Looks like I can’t.  It only offers to export to an [MP4] file.
    • Instead, I guess I’ll have to open it from FCP.
  • FCP
    • I opened a random existing FCP project.
    • The footage is 720p but the project/sequence settings are arbitrary (unknown to me)
    • FCP: File > Import > Sony XDCAM…
    • It imported to somewhere … but where?
    • FCP Browser: file > RightClick > Reveal in Finder
    • It was at [/Volumes/GRm HFS+/_Media/_Projects/2010-05-30 (Esp) Alison Doggies/020 Source/Sony XDCAM Transfer/SxS_01]
  • File System:
    • In other words, at whatever destination was last used by some app – presumably XDCAM Transfer or possibly FCP
    • The destination path was in fact specified in XDCAM Transfer, under its Menu: [XDCAM Transfer > Preferences > Import]
    • Moved the file instead to [/Volumes/GRm HFS+/_Media/_Projects/2009-11-22 (JRM) Lady of the Silver Wheel]
  • Compressor:
    • Open it in Compressor
      • Drag it to the “job-strip” (my term) in Compresor.
    • Compressor displays data about that clip (e.g. 1280×720, 25 fps)
    • Select jobstrip settings:
      • Select Setting
        • Settings: Apple > Formats > QuickTime > Apple Pro
          • Name: Apple ProRes 422
          • Description: Apple ProRes 422 with audio pass-through. Settings based off the source resolution and frame rate
      • Apply (Drag) Setting to Jobstrip
    • Destination
      • Leave destination unspecified.  Then it will be the same folder as Source.
    • Processing (transcoding) of this footage (1280x720p25) took about 3 minutes (on MacBook Pro 2009).
    • Result was not that much bigger than the original:
      • Originally recorded [.MP4] file: 1.19 GB
      • Rewrapped [.MOV] from XDCAM Transfer: 1.14 GB
      • ProRes [.MOV] from Compressor: 1.97 GB

Training: Den Lennie’s “Music Video” Experience

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

I attended, working on one of the camera units.  Had a great time, learnt lots, at all sorts of levels.  Even how to make good use of the Movie Slate application on my iPhone!  Link:

Avid Basics (not only for Final Cut Pro Users)

Saturday, September 24th, 2011
  • Avid Basics re Projects, Bins, Users, User-Settings
    • Notionally “Avid for Final Cut Pro Users” but generally useful introduction, complete with pragmatics.
    • Overview:
      • In this set of tutorials, it is assumed that a Shared project called “Tempest” will be edited by two people, Laura and David, one on day-shift (say) and the other on nights.  They can each select eithers’ settings (editor configs) via the Project Window’s Settings tab, under the User dropdown.  No need to log-out of Avid or indeed to switch User login sessions.  I guess a given user could create several configs e.g. default, david, david_temp
      • Module 1, Lesson 1 – Creating a Project
      • Private/Shared etc., User Settings (independent of User logged-in), Film features
      • Module 1, Lesson 2 – Intro to Project Window – Avid for Final Cut Pro Users
      • MenuBar: [Tools > Console] brings up a text logger where progress can be recorded by users (as far as I can tell from the tutorial)
      • Module 1, Lesson 3 – Where to find Avid files
      • Explains where the Avid files are stored on the computer’s hard drive, and how to take your settings from system to system.
      • Module 1, Lesson 4 – Project Differences
      • Explains Avid Projects, Bins and how one can move & create stuff equivalently in Avid or in Windows Explorer (etc.)
      • Also explains some ways it differs from FCP.

Migrating Media (and Projects) from FCP to Avid

Saturday, September 24th, 2011

Migrating Media (and Projects) from FCP to Avid:

NLE Handling of 10-Bit Recordings

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

There exist various HD-SDI device to record 10-Bit 422 video data.  10 bits is useful for shallow gradients especially when expanded (steeper contrast curve) by grading, while 422 gives better detail, that can matter when pixels are big (e.g. when close to a big screen or when digital zoom employed in post).  In any case, such recorders tend to compress less than on-board camera systems, or in some cases not at all, improving the quality.  But to what extent can the various NLEs cope with this?  From my web searches it seems that the answer is “sometimes”.  For example some NLEs will accept 10-bit only in their own favourite formats, otherwise they discard two bits, interpreting the footage as 8-bit.  One might (naively) have thought the way to be sure was to experiment – but there is plenty of room for confusion when doing experiments, for example Avid’s color correction tool allegedly only displays to 8-bit resolution even when it is importing/processing/exporting at 10-bit.  Other “loopholes” may exist, like it seems (if I understand it correctly) that if you AMA or import 10-bit ProRes then Avid only sees 8-bit, implying one needs instead to transcode ProRes->DNxHD externally (e.g. via MPEG StreamClip?) and import that.  But even that might not be possible, as one post suggested DNxHD 10-bit encoding could only work from Avid, not external apps.   Furthermore, whereas all ProRes formats handle 10-bit, for DNxHD, only formats with an “x” suffix do; the only one I know of is DNxHD 220x.  There exist further subtleties/loopholes/pitfalls, hence more research to be done on this… and I’ll tread very carefully…



Sunday, September 4th, 2011

Free open-source pro-class NLE: .  Well-received by many.  Glimmers a little bit like FCPX, but more flexible user interface, including keyboard-compatibility options with AVID and FCP7.  Register to download it (just over 40 MB).  Further links:

Sony Vegas: Compression Formats for Digital Intermediates

Monday, August 8th, 2011

Compression formats for Digital Intermediates when using Sony Vegas:

    • Cineform for highest quality (smart-renderable)
      • Cineform (is great for transfer) between After Effects and Vegas.
    • MXF for almost the same quality at a fraction of the size.
      • MXF previews beautifully off small bus-powered USB 2 drives.
    • Quicktime .mov with png compression for anything with a transparent alpha layer.
    • Quicktime .mov with Avid DNxHD codec for Handbrake encoding intermediary and for working with the FCP world.

Details (again from the above link) about use of MXF:

  • The big thing with MXF is to make sure that you use it interlaced even (if) you are using progressive footage.  …set it using one of the interlaced templates but set the deinterlace method to none.
    • The reason this is important is that Vegas will only smart-render .mxf footage flagged as interlaced. If you set the MXF render properties to progressive, it won’t smart-render. If you set the properties to interlaced and select either blend fields or interpolate, it will screw up resizes and renders to other formats.
  • MXF with a smart-render is very cool. The format looks wonderful and no damage is done as you smart-render sections into a final piece.
    • MXF without a smart-render isn’t really good enough. MXF will not hold up to successive rerenders like Cineform or a lossless codec.

Apple: Final Cut: Color: Tutorial

Saturday, July 16th, 2011

Apple: Final Cut: Motion: Tutorial

Saturday, July 16th, 2011

iPhone to FCP – video conversion (& droplet)

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

  • Suppose you shot video on an iPhone and want to edit it in FCP:
    • iPhone records to 720p24 h.264 with 44k aac audio+
    • FCP can part-handle the H264 but not any kind of compressed audio.
      • It will play H264 video but not any Real Time (RT) effects.
  • Transcode it e.g. by using Compressor:
    • Drag your video file into Compressor
    • Under Settings type LT into the search box.  The top hit should be for Apple ProRes 422 (LT).  Select it.
    • Duplicate it (since only a duplicate can be altered).
    • Fix the audio:
      • Select the duplicate in the top window and the inspector will light up.
      • The first Inspector tab is for the Summary – we need to press the second one to get access to the encoders.
      • On the Encoder tab, switch the audio from Pass-through to Enabled.
      • Then, to its left, press the Audio: settings button.
      • Change the Format to Linear PCM, Stereo (L R), 48kHz, sample size 16 bits. Press Okay.
  • How to make a Droplet to do this conversion:
    • In Compressor’s Settings window, Clear the Search field.
    • Open the Custom Group (not essential)
    • Select the iPhone to FCP (ProRes LT) and press the button at the top left of the Settings window that looks like a video file with a down arrow.
    • Save the droplet to your desktop (say).
  • Now you can drag your iPhone movies to the droplet (no need for Compressor to be open), it’ll throw up a dialog box, press submit and Compressor will transcode them to a ProRes format suitable for FCP.

ClipFinder for Final Cut

Sunday, June 12th, 2011

Final Cut Pro X (ten) – FCPX

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

Final Cut Pro X (ten) – FCPX.  Wannit now!!!

FCP: HD Footage to SD DVD: Best (& Worst) Practice

Saturday, March 19th, 2011

  • DON’T:
    • Don’t edit HD footage on a SD timeline.
      • Pasting into an SD timeline is the worst thing you can do. FCP is terrible at conversion of HD to SD. At the very least send your HD Quicktime movie of the timeline to Compressor and have Compressor make the conversion.
      • A much MUCH better way would be to invest in something like an AJA Kona board which does full broadcast conversions in realtime.
    • Don’t ever down-convert HD to SD before encoding to MPEG2. It’s not only completely unnecessary waste of your time, it’s an unnecessary re-compression step that will make your DVD hideous.
    • Don’t “Export using Compressor” directly from the timeline.
      • you can keep editing in FCP while Compressor encodes
      • Compressor is faster when working from a single file, because it avoids the look ahead clip by clip encoding features of VBR encoding that pretty much creates more problems than it solves.
  • DO:
    • File > Export > Quicktime Movie.
      • Leave it set to “Current Settings”
      • You can export a Reference movie if you’d like, meaning leave “Make Self Contained Movie” UNchecked.
    • Take that Quicktime movie into Compressor.
      • Choose the DVD Compression of your choice, such as DVD 90 Minutes High Quality.
        • Compressor will create a Standard Definition 16:9 MPEG-2.
      • Also select the Dolby Digital Audio to create the AC-3 audio file.
    • Launch DVD Studio Pro and bring the MPEG-2 and AC-3 into your project.
      • Now create a DVD!
      • DVD Studio Pro will create a DVD in 16:9 widescreen format that will automatically play Letterboxed on a 4:3 TV and full screen on a 16:9 widescreen.

Mac OS 10.6.6 – Upgrade? (No)

Friday, January 7th, 2011

Some people have reported problems:

  • <<I upgraded to 10.6.6 from 10.6.4. I installed 10.6.5 a few weeks after it was released and cause under exposing in all Final Cut Studio programs so I downgraded back to 10.6.4. I was hoping that 10.6.6 would solve this issue but it has not!  >>
  • << while I edit, I got a “Out of Memory” Error and an “Invalid Operation”. Can’t reopen the sequence on my MacBook but it opens with no problem on a Mac Pro.>>
  • << Did a fresh install of 10.6.6 and no luck. Still the same error. Reverted back to a vault version of the project and worked slowly with it. No errors so far. Seems if I import in a particular PSD file, that out of error message comes back eventually. >>

Apple Motion

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

At startup (by default), in addition to “new project” options, it offers:

On my system at least, these load surprisingly slowly, then if either of the above are selected then the Motion GUI closes, leaving the Motion app active (but, as far as I can see, useless).  Maybe I’m missing something?

Apple Compressor – Start-Up Hangs – Fixed

Saturday, December 18th, 2010

On MBP, I tried starting-up Compressor but its icon just bounced up & down (on the task-bar) for ages.  Attempts to right-click it revealed a “Not Responding” condition.  So I searched for a solution.  I discovered a check-list Compressor: Troubleshooting basics at  From that check-list, the fix that worked was to delete my account’s Preferences for Compressor, as follows:

  • In the Finder, go to ~/Library/Preferences
    • (where the tilde (~) represents your Home folder).
  • Remove the following files from the Preferences folder:

I discovered the checklist at, which also gave some more tips.

Final Cut – Lightweight Intro & Basics

Friday, December 17th, 2010


Final Cut – Markers

Friday, December 17th, 2010

One of the uncertainties holding me back from weaning myself off Sony Vegas to FCP for real projects is over Markers.  In Vegas I can do everything easily, and routinely use markers to identify cue-points, ideas, problems, all kinds of things.  I use them at media, timeline and project/sequence levels, sometimes promoting them from one level to another.  So how easily can I follow a similar practice in FCP?  Google: [fcp markers]:

  • markerTool
      • markerTool … allows to move markers from clips to the sequence level, from sequence level to selected tracks, moving an arbitrary selection of sequence markers in time, exporting the marker settings to the clipboard and finally creating sequence markers with data from a tab delimited text file.
      • It also does allow to collect all sequence markers from nested sequences.
  • Markers
      • All about Markers in Final Cut Pro, by Sandy on September 1, 2009
      • Varieties: Chapter Markers, Compression Markers, Scoring Markers, Sequence Markers, Clip Markers, and the list goes on
        • Clip Markers are Pink, Sequence Markers are Green
          • …with Final Cut Pro 7:
            • …you can … color-code clip and sequence markers of your own.
            • You can add notes while the clip is playing and when you export your marker list, your custom names are exported also.
        • … default marker is the Note Marker.  This is the marker that is created when you add a marker to a clip or a sequence.
      • Markers can be used for making comments, synchronizing multiclips, adding DVD chapters, and even making subclips.  Usually, markers are placed only on a specific frame, but you can also create a marker with a longer duration.
      • To add markers:
        • …add markers to clips or sequences by hitting the “M” key.  To name your markers or add comments to them, simply hit the “M” key twice.
        • …you can also go to the Mark Menu > Markers and add them from there.
      • Varieties in more detail):
        • Our default marker is the Note Marker.  This is the marker that is created when you add a marker to a clip or a sequence.
          • Wonder if can have different colours for different purposes (e.g. problems, opportunities, suggestions, review status).  Looks like FCP7 might alow this.
          • Ideally would like user-defined type where each type had customizable look (size, colour, font, whatever) and one could filter the display to only show the required combination of types (e.g. via list-of-types checkboxes).
        • Chapter Markers automatically become DVD chapter markers to be used in DVD Studio Pro
        • Compression Markers can be added to tell Compressor or DVD Studio Pro that it should generate an MPEG1-frame during compression.  You want to add these where there is an abrupt visual change from one frame to the next within a clip, to improve MPEG compression.
        • Scoring Markers are used to make visual cues to sync music to and can be exported to Soundtrack Pro
        • Audio Peak Markers, when you have them activated, can show you where in your clips that the audio level should be reduced at that point.
          • Sounds highly useful.  In Vegas I instead preview everything and watch the meters.
        • Long Frame Markers can be added if your clip has long frames that you might want to avoid using in your sequence.

Mac Cinema Tools to “Conform” (alter fps playback rate)

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

Suppose you have footage shot at one rate e.g. 25 fps and require it to be played at a different rate e.g. 24 fps.  Possible reasons: you shot at 25 fps and want to edit on a 24 fps timeline, or maybe want a crude but quick way to alter footage duration or to speed up or slow down the action that was shot.  The process below lets you alter the metadata  in video files so that they play back at a different fps to that at which they were shot.  That’s all it does, there’s no frame interpolation etc involved here.  This is a destructive process, the selected files have their metadata altered, to specify the required playback rate.

I’ve only just discovered Cinema Tools here, thanks to Den Lennie’s Creating the Film Look course, and quite clearly have only just scratched the surface.  Looks like its main function is to serve as a database for translating digitaal edits into film edits.  Not something I’ve been involved in thus far.

FCP Project Startup – Steps

Saturday, November 20th, 2010

Steps: (may be useful for making a checklist?)

  • (Day-book 2010-08-16 12:30)
    • Did it at office.

FCP “Additional Easy Setups”

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

I was initially unable to find some required Easy Setups in FCP.  Eventually I did locate them in the menu, it was just that they didn’t appear by default – I had to select the right (from FCP’s point of view) frame rate or something (I forget now).

  • But before I discovered that, I googled lots, coming up with the following conclusions, which I am no longer sure about – whether they still apply or are obsolete.  Maybe informative somehow anyway, so I’ll post it for posterity at least…

In Final Cut Pro menu: [Final Cut Pro > Easy Setup], if select Format [Apple ProRes 422] then Use only offers 720p50 ???.  However, further options do exist, they are just hidden away as “Additional Easy Setups”.   (Huh?  I thought Apple philosophy was to make things easy???).  For example there is the additional setup that I need, namely [Apple ProRes 422 1920×1080 25p 48 kHz.fcpre].  The fix for this is:

  • The Format/Use combinations are stored as [.fcpre] files.
  • The main folder for [.fcpre] files is [Macintosh HD>Library>Application Support>Final Cut Pro System Support>Custom Settings].
    • That’s the only place (to my knowledge) that FCP looks.
  • Additional [.fcpre] files are to be found in [Macintosh HD>Applications>Final Cut Pro Additional Easy Setups>English].
  • Manually copy required files from the latter to the former.


FCP inherent (unwanted) level & gamma changes – unlike Avid’s AMA

Monday, August 30th, 2010

Someone noticed that XDCAM-EX footage imported to FCP appeared different as compared to Avid (AMA import).  Addressed in an Avid forum thread started May 2010, referring to FCP 6.06 and Avid 4.02:

  • What AMA gives is, is _exactly_ what the camera has captured. What FCP shows you, is a remapped image, most often with a gamma shift. 
    • (For Avid AMA imports, Avid settings for RGB or 601 etc. make no difference – it’s always as-recorded).
    • … imports (to FCP) will look different (to expected), because FCP/QT “corrects” the gamma when bringing in footage (even if you would not want that).
  • Most people seem to agree that FCP works in 0-235, not 0-255, not 16-235. And without the option to leave things untouched. So if you import something into FCP, there’s no getting it back to the original levels anymore.

I guess I’d better do some experiments with ramps & scopes etc…

FCP, Spreadsheets & XML: Some web-links

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

Wondered whether there was a way to integrate spreadsheets with media logging and importing (transferring) etc. in FCP.

Sony XDCAM Transfer

Monday, August 16th, 2010

What happens when Sony XDCAM Transfer is used, within or without FCP, to import XDCAM footage (BPAV folders etc.)?  The following is my best guess at the moment, based on my experiences and web-searching.

  • Logging is best done via ClipBrowser.  That updates the meta-info of this “master source”, which may then feed downstream to other formats (mxf?  mov?)
  • The main function is to re-wrap to [.mov] files.
  • Each time you start XDCAM Transfer, check the settings in Preferences, in particular for Import Location.
    • The Cache location can instead be an application-specific, project-independent location.
  • To import to FCP:
    • Start XDCAM Transfer, by doing one of the following:
      • From FCP, do one of the following:
        • Menu: File > Import > Sony XDCAM
        • Browser: RtClk > Import > Sony XDCAM
          • Sadly, only ever imports to root of project, not to bin you right-clicked from…
      • From MacOS:
        • Start [XDCAM]
        • Optionally, in Preferences, tick [Open imported files with: Final Cut Pro]
    • Can mark-up selected clip(s) – e.g. OK/NG – affects all (selected) clips straight away (no ‘go’ button…).
    • XDCAM Transfer is not just an application but a package, including File Access Mode (FAM) Driver (for XDCAM disks), FCP Import and Export plugins and FCP Sequence presets.
    • It can import not only raw BPAV folders (etc) but also MXF-Sony (I tried it).
    • There is a Fetch Metadata option, but I have yet to see it have any effect – because as far as I can see all the metadata is displayed anyway.  Possibly only useful for obscure situations e.g. if some data or thumbnails fail to appear or for a “clip or disc that contains modified essence marks”
    • Opinions are divided on whether or not to retain BPAV folders, but the balance is in favour of doing so []

    Final Cut (FCP) – Background Export/Render

    Saturday, August 14th, 2010

    Searching on Final Cut info generally, discovered some things that were added in the version 7 release of FCP and indeed the greater FCS 3, about a year ago.  I am attempting once again to wean myself off relying so much on (my traditional) Sony Vegas.

      • Apple Article: Bradley Buecker: Editing Eat Pray Love
        • The editors (used) ProRes 422 (Proxy) … introduced with Final Cut Pro 7.  As soon as dailies arrived … Assistant Editor Doc Crotzer would transcode the files from ProRes 422 (HQ) to ProRes 422 (Proxy), organize the footage into bins, and prepare the material for editing.
        • Using background exporting, another new Final Cut feature, Crotzer was able to continue editing even as he was compressing the files.
          • What is “background exporting”?
        • (He) cut in Proxy and in a few simple keystrokes (was) reconnected in ProRes 422 (HQ) to output for a screening.
          • How set up / do that?
    • Google: [“background exporting” fcp]
        • Studio Daily blog, July 2009
          • Thursday surprise with Final Cut Pro 7 and new Final Cut Studio By Scott Simmons
            • Post-article forum pulls apart the details and interpretations of the new features in this version.
              • e.g. Per-Project Capture-Scratch (etc) ?
                • Q: have they moved the capture scratch and render drive settings to be saved WITH the project for this release?
                • A: (Doubtful.)   Check out the Preference Manager from Digital Rebellion as it lets you do something similar if not exactly that.
                  • How best integrate this into my workflow?
                    • Search on this topic another time, e.g. [“preference manager” “capture scratch” “per project”]
        • Article “Final Cut Pro 7, Did They Listen?” by Dan Rubottom
          • when you undo, you don’t lose renders
          • Export, render and publish in the background using Compressor.  You can use Apple Qmaster QuickCluster for even quicker rendering
    • YouTube: [final cut 7]

    Reading Avid DNxHS into FCP

    Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

    I installed the (free) LE version of Avid’s DNxHD onto bothWindows and Mac, in order to round-trip between Sony Vegas and FCP.  Having received no responses to my threads on forums for Sony Vegas and for FCP, I tried Avid’s forums.

    • The “Avid on Windows” Forum:
      • PC MediaComposer to MAC FCP
        • Thread from August 2009.  Might well be out of date now.
        • If you export DVCProHD from your PC Avid you’ll want to check the “Use AvidDV Codec” box.  This will encode the file as AvidDV100 (which is Avid’s DVCProHD codec).  With the Avid codecs installed on your FCP system you’ll be able to read them.
        • Why don’t they mention DNxHD ?
    • The “Avid on Mac” Forum:
      • Search on [fcp dnxhd]
          • Error while loading DNxHD QT .mov into FCP
          • Someone with same issue as me: they rendered from Sony Vegas to DNxHD to import to FCP, and the media wasn’t recognized.
          • Thus far, that thread is inconclusive, with suspicions focussing on the precise format settings etc. and the fact that the media was rendered from Sony Vegas (as I guess the latter is relatively “unknown territory” to the Avid/DNxHD folks).
          • I copied this info (& thread link) to the Sony Vegas forum  Useful replies:
            • …a smalll but critical point; the codec DNxHD does all the encoding of the video stream, vegas does not touch the encoding process. At most, vegas may update the file headers and starting meta data as it closes the file. If Sony has an issue it will be there, but I would question FCP file handling when it opening the file.
          • ?

    Glide-shots: Steady-Shot / Smooth-Deshake-Stabilize / SteadyCam

    Sunday, July 25th, 2010

    Which is best?   Depends on the camera, scene and shot dynamics I guess.  The same point is queried at the following thread:

    Some general advice from a computer-post-savvy author: definitely use the camera’s SteadyShot:

    Limitations of post

    • Stabilization necessitates motion estimation and image reconstruction, which are extremely CPU-heavy, hence really slow to execute.
    • Most stabilization apps (in post) can’t currently cope with motion-blurred edges or parallax effects (though both should be possible in principle, by deconvolution and 3D modelling both informed from multiple frames).
    • For rolling-shutter-ed footage (e.g. CMOS sensors as in Sony Exmor as in Sony XDCAM-EX e.g. EX1 & EX3), there exist options to reduce the effect (don’t expect perfection, but may suffice):

    My experiences:

    • Stabilizing Tools:
      • Gunnar Thalin’s Deshaker works really well.  And it is multi-threaded, really speeds up the process.  The author says it is more intended for handheld pans etc. than fast-shaking shots from vehicles etc. (but has nevertheless seen good results in such situations).
        • The author says [] to try “to stabilize only on the most distant parts in the frames, since the moving inwards-effect is less there”.  And “you should probably increase the value for [discard motion of blocks that move > X pixels in wrong direction]. That’s to allow the blocks to move “freely” a little, since Deshaker can’t handle the “moving inwards”-effect.
        • Possibly equally applicable to other smooth/stabilize/deshake tools ?
      • Boris’s Optical/Motion Stabilizer (in Boris Red 4.3.3 on XP) is only single-threaded and I find it slower, clunkier and less intuitive than Deshaker.  Has a Smooth mode, which is like the others here, as well as a Stabilize mode (try to keep frame static, no good for motion then).  The other tools can be configured to do the same thing.
      • Mercalli in Sony Vegas has no mode for 720p50 but otherwise is pretty good and very intuitive and configurable.
      • FCP’s SmoothCam Effect worked best for a challenging clip for wobbly-hand-held camera tracking close past an object (a Formula-1 car) hence huge degree of moving-inwards effect.  The default settings worked straight away.  The result quality was way above that of the other tools.  On the other hand sometimes it’s not the best (sorry, forgot the exact situation).
    • Cameras & Shots:
      • Historically, using a TRV33 DV HandyCam indoors (hence low-light hence long shutter time):
        • Way back in the past, using a (now ancient) TRV33 DV handy-cam (which has huge sensor margin i.e. spare pixels), when I shot big zooms to lecture audience individuals (e.g. question-time) I had the camera’s steady-shot (digital, not mirror) enabled  and used Gunnar Thalin’s Deshaker (VirtualDub plugin) also.  The result was astoundingly steady.
        • The same arrangement worked OK with hand or shoulder mounted cam for walk-throughs past nearby objects (e.g. walls, people, furniture).
        • An attempt to do the same thing without steady-shot enabled on the camera resulted in seriously motion-blurred edges.
      • Now, using a Sony EX3:
        • With camera Steady-Shot set to Medium, hand-held pans and motion past nearby objects seem to acquire a positional instability, as if the camera feedback mechanism needs greater damping. Maybe the camera’s internal mirror “suspension” has to be tighter (than the TRV33 digital equivalent) because it lacks the generous pixels margin of the TRV33?  or maybe something to do with the mirror’s inertia?  Or (real-time-constrained) processing-power?
          • Experimentation is needed with the camera’s other SteadyShot modes (High, Low).
          • In the absence of more generous sensor pixel margins, I wish it could be loosened-up e.g. to allow black borders (to crop in post) so as to permit smoother rides overall.

    PC Windows <--> Mac OS X RoundTrip (Round-Trip)

    Monday, July 19th, 2010


    • In Windows I export from Sony Vegas to AVI (CineForm).  In OS X I read the file into FCP and apply the SmoothCam effect, then export to ProRes.  In Windows, Sony Vegas, I replace the original file with the smoothed one.  The levels/gamma are wrong.

    Solution (Search):

    • Sony Vegas forum
      • Use DNxHD
        •  Couple of tips re DNxHD:  709 color level assumes 16-235, and RGB assumes 0-255.
      • Force it back again:
        • But this presumably implies getting re-quantized twice (the roundtrip issue and the forcing), which for 8-bit footage I imagine could reduce the quality (banding).
    • Uncertainties
      • Where and how does this gamma get applied?  In FCP I didn’t (knowingly) alter the levels (eg until it looked right), I just applied the SmoothCam filter.  So I guess it would look wrong on the (pre-SnowLeopard) Mac but I wouldn’t care.  Wouldn’t FCP then export back whatever it got but smoothed?  This one is really confusing.    Experiments needed (when I get time…) I guess.

    Avid MC5 vs Adobe CS5 vs Apple FCP 7 (FCS 3)

    Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

    • Great article comparing their pragmatics for various kinds of business and workflow situation.
    • Also speculating on their likely future developments.

    Setting-up FCP Folder Structure

    Monday, May 17th, 2010

    This is how I’m doing it today:

    • Local System Disk
      • Render Files
      • Thumbnail Cache Files
      • Waveform Cache Files
    • Local RAIDs (One stationary, one portable)
      • _App_Specific
        • Final_Cut
          • _Projects (just for misc [.fcp] files)
          • Audio Render Files
          • Autosave Vault
          • Capture Scratch
          • Render Files
      • _Media
        • _Library
        • _Projects
          • 2010-04-30 (Client) Event
            • 010 Preparation
            • 020 Source
            • 030 Projects
              • FCP
                • EventTitle v001.fcp


    • I would have put everything on the RAID but for the Final Cut Settings interface, which only allows the first three items above to be on one location.  In contrast, the other items can be specified in a small set of possible locations, each of which can be toggled (enabled/disabled).
    • The structure below [Projects] should mainly branch by function then by application.  But it will vary from (real-world) project to (real-world) project.

    Deleting (decommissioning) a FCP project and all its Media

    Monday, May 17th, 2010

    From [] and own experiences, my own advice to myself is as follows.  Note however:

    • It is not guaranteed to be correct or complete!  Just my own best-practice, so far.
    • It will only delete from scratch areas it actually knows about i.e. as defined in FCP’s System Settings.
    •  Even then, it doesn’t seem to delete everything.  After allegedly deleting all render files of all projects, I went through afterwards and found (and deleted) a number of files under [Render Files/Constant Frames].  Maybe a result of my messy initial novice practices – who knows!

    My process:

    • Open the project in Final Cut Pro
    • Delete Project’s Render-Files:
      • Tools > Render Manager.
      • Use checkbox in the Remove column next to the name of the project whose render-files you wish to remove.
        • Warning: Do not check other projects or those projects’ render files will also be removed.
      • Click OK.
    • Delete Media Files in the Browser:
      • Activate the Browser window.
      • Select everything you want to delete (e.g. Select All).
        • Warning: Don’t select any clips, images, audio or anything else that is used in another project, or is used by another application (a photo that you are also using in a DVD project, for example), , as you will not want them to be deleted.
      • Modify > Make Offline.
      • Click the Move Them to the Trash button.
      • Click OK.
      • Close your Final Cut Pro project (and don’t bother saving!)
    • Delete the Project File
      • Drag it to the Trash after you have quit Final Cut Pro.
        • But how do I know where it is located, e.g. if it was the latest project, auto-loaded into FCP, I might not remember where it is.
          • Save Project As reveals the project file name e.g. [LenWed RecepLine Expt 001 copy.fcp].  Expanding the Save..As Finder reveals it is in a directory called [FCP Projects].  But not obvious where that folder is located.
      • There may also be project files in the AutoSave Vault(s).
        • In my case, this vault is on the System drive, because I save my main project files to real-world-project -specific folders on a separate Media drive (a local RAID).
    • Check any scratch areas etc. on other disks, e.g. System disk, in case anything got (accidentally) written there, e.g. if system was accidentally powered-up when RAID was not running.
    • Empty the Trash

    FCP Project Folder Structures: Advice

    Saturday, May 15th, 2010

    What’s a good folder structure for FCP?  I read and heard lots of tips from great sources, but some of them (e.g. keep [.fcp] files on local drive not Media drive) sounded questionable, at least from my context, and anyway I always want to know the underlying reason for anything.  So it’s research-time again…

    • .

    There are several aspects:

    • .


    • Participants
      • Individual, small team or large team
      • Standards-based, methodical or haphazard
    • Application(s)
      • Apple (FCS etc.) -centric?
      • Combination of several apps e.g. several makes of NLE
    • Media
      • File size and value.
    • Storage system(s)?
      • Local
        • Normal or (relatively) slow drive
        • Fast drive e.g. RAID
      • Remote (probably shared).
        • Exceedingly Slow (e.g. web via standard broadband)
        • Slow (e.g. NAS such as WD MyBook)
        • Fast but with possible latency (e.g. “Fibre Channel” / SAN)
      • Integrated
        • Final Cut Server giving seamless access to all storage including near-line (easily-retrievable archive)?


    • Tidy organization
      • Easy to find stuff, including serendipitously.
      • Easy to manage stuff, e.g. archiving / shelving and reinstating.
    • Performance
      • User-level.
        • Keep
      • System-level
    • Security

    My Conclusions (so far):

    • The typical professional situation involves multiple users on a SAN.   In this case:
      • Each user should configure their apps (e.g. FCP) to save small and transient files to local disk.
        • Local disk has less latency and minimization of small-file traffic on SAN improves its performance to all users.
      • An individual (or item) -specific project file, which counts as a “small and transient file”, should not be saved routinely or automatically to shared media server but only saved there on an occasional basis (e.g. at end of day or project).
        • Restricting this operation to end-of-project might “discourage” users from corrupting each other’s files, though really that’s what Permissions are for (in Mac OS X / unix).
    • Much advice relates to the “typical professional situation”, not all of it is appropriate to other situations.
    • .


    FCP Project Folder Structures: The (Non?) Fragmentation Issue

    Saturday, May 15th, 2010

    Reading book “Final Cut Pro Workflows” by Osder & Carman, 2008.  On page 284 it relays advice that it is best to put Project Files [.fcp] on a separate drive to the Media Drive (e.g. Media Drive= XSAN), due to:

    • Safety – not all on one drive
    • Avoid fragmenting the media drive (project files, cache and to a lesser extent render files) are written often (transient files?)

    I’m not immediately convinced by these arguments:

    How to view degree of fragmentation on an HFS volume:

    • []
      • Command-line app to report a variety of storage-volume statistics, including fragmentation.
      • After download, can check the sha1 checksum, but this is of the executable, not the download itself ([.dmg] file).  The ‘sha1’ command is inbuilt to Mac OS, as: [/usr/bin/openssl sha1].  Note the last character of ‘openssl’ is a small ‘L’ niot a ‘1’.

    FCP: Migrating, Consolidating, Tidying…e.g.bat ving…

    Sunday, May 2nd, 2010

    Sometimes the media files for a project are stored in several folders on one or more scratch disks. This happens if you selected a different scratch disk each time you captured media files, or when the name of the project file changes (this often happens when you save often to different filenames).  It would be tidier to consolidate all the media files for a project into one folder.Of course it may be better to avoid making a mess in the first place, as per this person’s advice: <<<I set up each project in its own folder so and then set up capture scratch render files and everything else. This way if I need to move anything you can move the folder onto the hard drive and you dont have to worry about what stuff to move.  >>>There are two approaches (I am aware of):

    • Manually copy/move the relevant files (project, source media, renders) then Reconnect the consequently offline media.
      • May only have to reconnect one file, provided the reconnect all files in this relative path option is checked.
    • Use Media Manager.  This is more efficient, because all of your clips are reconnected automatically after the media files are moved.

    The Manual Approach:

    • The Project file.
      • This is the most important file.
        • If all the media in your project came from external media or generated media like titles or color mattes, this is the only file you actually need to move to another computer.  Everything else can be re-imported (e.g. batch-captured) or re-created (e.g. re-rendered).
        • But usually you’ll want to bring other files with you, as below.
    • Source Media files.
      • Recordings e.g. captured video and audio clips. These are usually stored in your Capture Scratch folder in a folder with your project name (unless you saved them elsewhere or moved them). If you move these to another computer, you should only have to reconnect one file, if you have the reconnect all files in this relative path option checked.
      • Other media/project files – you might have Motion or LiveType projects, Photoshop graphics, After Effects animations, or any number of other media files for your project- obviously you’ll want to move these over to the new system, and you might want the original project files also.
    • Render-files.
      • There are exceptions, but it is best not to move render files – this can lead to problems.
      • It’s better to rerender on the new system. If you must move them, they are in the “Render Files” folder.

    The Media Manager Approach:

    • OS X:
      • Ensure there is a destination folder for the project.
    • FCP:
      • In the Browser, select all items in the project.
      • Make sure the Browser window is active.
      • Menu: [File > Media Manager]
      • Set the required options e.g. handles (margins), select the destination folder (mentioned above) and press [OK].
      • Files created by the Media Manager:
        • [<Destination Folder>]
          • Project File [<projname>.fcp].
          • [Media]
            • [<projname>]
              • <Media Files>
      • This structure is a bit mad but it’s the FCP convention…


    How migrate FCP projects between systems

    Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

     By “systems” i chiefly mean file systems, but also computer systems i.e. instances of FCP.  For simplicity, I ignore here the possibility of different versions of FCP.

    • Google: [migrating “final cut” disk]
        • “You can add multiple scratch disks in FCP, or just change it to relate to your current project, or when you import the new project put the all the media in the relevant location to your current scratch disks…”
          • “When I take my portable disk to the other machine to work, rather than work from the portable disk, I want to copy the entire project folder to the other machine’s drive. It’s the main workstation where the work will ultimately reside, so my portable drive is simply the “rough-in” drive. I work from home on this drive, then take what I’ve done over to the main machine and copy everything over. “
          • “…it worked. I didn’t need to change that machine’s scratch location. I just copied the folder over, launced the project file and boom. No rendering necessary. “
        • .
    • .

    Final Cut – Online & Virtual Archive via “Quantum”

    Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

    The following has a nice explanation and diagram of the arrangement, showing Final Cut Server being used to interface to both online and archive material.

    FCP importing AVCHD – How

    Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

    QuickTime 7.6.6 – skip/wait ?

    Saturday, April 17th, 2010

    Others have found issues with it.  Maybe worth skipping or waiting for a compatibility fix for pro apps in that case.

    FCP “Lock & Load” image stabilizer

    Saturday, February 20th, 2010

    Lock & Load imagestabilizer for FCP, allegedly 12 times faster than SmoothCam and more featureful.

    FCP Grading Filters – Desaturation & Levels (non-intuitive but useful)

    Friday, February 19th, 2010

    The real image manipulation happens with the desaturation and level filters. Desaturation affects the richness of colors and level (via a un-intutive set of controls) will adjust the black point, white point and distribution of brightness across the whole image. The settings of these filters will depend on the scene and the camera you have.Set Desaturate to -50. This will boost the colors just a tad. Adjust to taste. Set the level controls as follows: input = 0 input tolerance = 100 gamma = 1 output = 50 ouput tolerance = 80 Ken Stone agrees the Levels filter is non intuitive:[ ] <<< The Levels filter is supposed to be a more advanced version of the Brightness/Contrast filter, offering separate controls over highlight, midtone and shadow areas. In addition this filter offers the choice of working the image in RGB mode or any one color channel independently, Red, Green or Blue.However this filter is poorly implemented and is clumsy at best. It has five slider controls; input, Input Tolerance are used to lighten the image. The Gamma slider controls the midtone areas and Output and Output Tolerance used to darken the image. What makes this filter so difficult to understand and use is the fact that the filter opens with the default settings of the Input Tolerance and Output Tolerances sliders set at 100. With these two settings at 100 neither the Input Slider nor Output sliders work. It is necessary to lower either the Input or Output Tolerance sliders then start adjusting the Input or Output sliders. The real problem is that the highlight and shadow areas have two sliders each for control. Photoshop has a Levels filter but it is a different animal. Levels in Photoshop also has a ‘Histogram’ which gives a graphic display of all the pixels in the image based on their brightness values. The ‘Histogram’ display is essential to setting levels but the Levels filter in FCP has no ‘Histogram’. To be honest the Levels filter in FCP does not work for me at all – I just don’t get it. The Proc Amp filter does basically the same thing and works well. If you want to play with this filter I suggest that you set either Input or Output to a setting of 20 then start lowering the Tolerance filter down from 100. As you lower the Tolerance settings more effect will be applied. If anyone can offer any insight into this filter I would love to hear about it. >>> 

    FCP Levels & Gamma Conventions e.g. for Stills

    Friday, February 19th, 2010

    Things To Remember []

    • Still images are RGB in a 0 to 255 range
    • Levels above 100% FCP, 100 IRE or code 235 are called “super white”
    • Final Cut Pro automatically converts images to fit into the 0% FCP to 100% FCP range when it is set to “White”.
    • Final Cut Pro automatically converts images to fit into the 0% FCP to 100% FCP range when it is set to “Super White”.
    • Final Cut Pro only looks at the 0% FCP to 100% FCP range upon still image export, and maps this range to 0 to 255 RGB.
    • Picture information can be lost on still image export if you have picture information in the 100% FCP to 110% FCP range.
    • Final Cut Pro always applies a gamma correction of about 0.8 to imported still images. If necessary, this can be corrected by applying a gamma correction of 1.2 in Final Cut Pro or 0.8 in Photoshop.
    • Don’t preempt Final Cut Pro’s conversion of still images by setting your blacks in Photoshop to 16 and whites to 235. Final Cut Pro expects you to use the full 0 to 255 RGB range.
    • “White” and “super white” settings only effect the import of still images.
    • “White” and “super white” settings do not effect video or video rendering.

    FCP Grading Filters

    Friday, February 19th, 2010

    List of FCP Filters/FX

    Friday, February 19th, 2010

    AVID vs FCP – a current and thoughtful discussion (at last!)

    Sunday, February 7th, 2010

    Horses for Courses – Avid vs. FCP:

    Mobile eSATA (via ExpressCard) for MacBook Pro

    Sunday, February 7th, 2010

     Mobile eSATA (via ExpressCard) for MacBook Pro.Sonnet Fusion F2.  Up to 1GB (when configured as Striped i.e. RAID0).  Sustained Read/Write of 126MBps=1008Mbps.


    It connects via two eSATA cables to ExpressCard adaptor and also via a FireWire connector purely for the power (no bandwidth).  The intention is that the FW bandwidth is still free for use by other devices e.g. “AJA’s Io external capture and effects box – which requires all of the FireWire bandwidth to itself”. []

    • Note – for Sony EX1 and EX3 users the Fusion F2 uses th Express 34 slot on the MacBook Pro, meaning one would need to transfer SxS data to either a FireWire or USB drive and then across to the Fusion 2.

    Thinks: It works as Software RAID for the Mac.  Is there any practical way to also use it from Windows?

    SxS Card Driver for Mac OS X “Snow Leopard” 10.6

    Thursday, January 28th, 2010

    In a post at Matt Davis links to Sony’s page offering the latest SxS driver which is compatible with Snow Leopard.  Also he points out is bugs/features, irritating rather than show-stopping.   There is also a driver for Windows, I’ll try it under Boot Camp.

    The following has a FAQ about it:

    WMV from FCP

    Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

    To export from Final Cut to WMV, this can’t be done natively, you need to install a third-party app such as flip4mac (“Studio” or greater).

    “When you do install something like flip4mac you will be able to export from FCP using quicktime conversion and choose the options for WMV” or can export a QuickTime (self-contained) and use a separate app (incl. QT Pro) to convert it [;id=61821;n=0]

    YouSendIt from Final Cut (file export plugin)

    Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

    •  Convenient file sending right from Final Cut Pro!
    • 25% faster uploads than the Web application
    • Add additional files and folders of any kind to the same upload batch
    • Resumable upload- handles network interruptions
    • Includes all standard YSI features like password protection, certified delivery, and file expiration control
    • Convenient drag-and-drop and right-click sending options
    • You must be a registered user to download and use this plug-in.

    (Discovered via forum at

    FCP AddOns: Versioner & Maintenance Pack (fromDigital Rebellion)

    Sunday, January 10th, 2010

     Utilities for FCP from DigitalRebellion, found them serendipitously while googlingfor other stuff, bear them in mind.   In any case wait for any new versions for FCP7 and Snow Leopard).

      • FCP Maintenance Pack
        • Detects bad things (projects, plugins or footage) that may crash or confuse FCP.
        • Interprets FCP crash logs to suggest the probable real-world cause/fix.
      • FCP Versioner
        • Automatically saves projects (in XML) as different versions (as opposed to just overwriting each save)
        • Each version has a change-log, listing exactly what changed.
          • (e.g. “New filter added: Time Remap”)

    FCP – Great set of free (TipWare) tutorials

    Friday, January 8th, 2010

    This guy, AppleShakeguru, is knowledgable not only in the tools & features but also the practicalities.  His style is to first walk thru at pedestrian pace, sometimes fumbling (as any new user might), so the details can come out.  Then he runs thru afterwards, so it all clicks together.

    Mac Workflows – YouTube Tutorials

    Friday, January 8th, 2010
    1. iMovie rough-cut to XML to FCP to QT (reference) to Compressor
    • ScreenFlow for screen captures
      • e.g. 5 minutes exported as ProRes 422 gives 10GB
    • iMovie:
      • Rough edit in iMovie
        • Trims, cuts and AutoAdjust (for levels)
      • Share > Export Final Cut XML
    • Final Cut:
      • Refined cuts, transitions etc. and add soundtrack
        • e.g. Soundtrack Pro (STP), find music etc from library, reveal in Finder and just drag to FCP project, no obligation to make an “official” STP project.
      • Export to QuickTime – uncheck the “Make self-contained” option if only to be used on same system (e.g. to send to compressor for render-on to some other format).
    • Compressor:
    1. x

    FCP7 Dialog Audio Levels matching

    Thursday, January 7th, 2010

    “The feature that elicited the most “OMGs” in the room was a new dialogue level matching option. Allows you to quickly, automatically, intelligently match levels on separate snippets of dialogue, without increasing the levels of noise or non-dialogue sound sources. You can save levels and use them as standards in future projects. This saves a TON of time on a frequent issue that crops up for low-budget web productions that can’t afford to hire sound guys for every field shoot. This was a big deal for a lot of us.”


    FCP iTheatre: play an FCP timeline straight into a chat

    Thursday, January 7th, 2010

    Geographically separated team members of a Final Cut project can collaborate via iTheatre.   Suppose an editor is discussing with a client via Apple’s iChat.  Then the editor can play out of FCP straight into the iChat session.   It’s in FCP: View > iChat Theatre Preview.


    There are some reputable video people covering this topic:


    But iChat is only available for Macs.  What if the client doesn’t have a Mac?  I did some googling:

    • iChat is an Instant Messenger.
    • It is only available for Macs but it is compatible with AIM (AOL Instant Messenger), which is available for Windows.
      • ” iChat is only available on OS X” []
    • .mac accounts are just AIM accounts. Enter your .mac username with at the end while configuring an AIM account. []
    • Whatever is playing in your Viewer or Canvas window is sent via iChat to your remote viewer. []
    • But can the iChat Theatre option be used with Windows users?
      • This person believes it is not possible to interact with Windows users (I wonder if they know of the AIM option or whether it handles iTheatre) []
      • “If your collaborators are on Windows and don’t have access to a Mac, you’re out of luck.” []
    • “for iChat Theater Preview to work, both the host and remote computers much be running Mac OS X version 10.5 Leopard or later. Both computers must have iChat accounts and the remote user’s account must be added to the host computer’s buddy list (more detail from Apple here). ” []
    • []
      • “… is it possible to make videoconference between a PC using google video and a MAC using ichat ?”,
        • “No, it is not possible.  Video chat is only between Gmail chat users.” and furthermore “You need … the Newer Version interface of Gmail”
    • It has screen sharing, so both parties can observe and control a single desktop

    Some links about iChat itself:

    • iChat itself:
        • Overview and context wrt other Instant Messengers (IMs).
        • Has great list of add-on tools e.g. encryption.
    • How to converse with Windows users
      • []
        • “I wish MSN Messenger was supported natively as hardly anyone I know in the UK uses AIM. I’ve only got 10 AIM buddies. I have to go through a Jabber server with an MSN transport to use it”
        • “I am same as the others. I use Adium as I have MSN and Google Talk friends mostly and very few on AIM.   Sure I can use iChat fo Google Talk”
        • “It seems most of us are using Adium because iChat doesn’t connect to MSN and/or Yahoo Messenger.”
        • “Skype doesn’t intereact with any other software as far as I know but for internet-based phone video calls, it is the best because so many people use it and it is on Windows as well as Mac.”
      • []
        • Adium is what Pidgin should be.
        • Adium is based on Pidgin’s libpurple (libgaim), which is already used in Pidgin on all three platforms.
        • Adium is the Cocoa client of libpurple. Pidgin is the GTK client, finch is the CLI client, etc… Same IM backend, multiple GUIs.
        • “AIM [] is about as close to iChat as you’re gonna get on Windows. That said, a better option would be to go with something more flexible like Pidgin. []”
    • AIM
      • []
        • If you’re using the AIM service, make sure you have port 5190 open on your router, NAT, firewall, cable modem, or DSL modem. You’ll need it open for incoming connections to send and outgoing connections to receive (yes, that is the right way round: the recipient connects to the sender).
    • Pidgin
      • Is open-source, has sometimes debatable deadlines and capabilities.  Many consider Adium better, and it has been stated that they are both front-ends onto the same core.
      • (formerly GAIM) []
      • [] “Pidgin is a chat program which lets you log in to accounts on multiple chat networks simultaneously. This means that you can be chatting with friends on MSN, talking to a friend on Google Talk, and sitting in a Yahoo chat room all at the same time.  Pidgin runs on Windows, Linux, and other UNIX operating systems”
      • There are third-party plugins for other protocols such as Skype and Twitter.
    • x

    Post FCS3 install – Apple Software Update

    Thursday, January 7th, 2010

    After having installed FCS3 (feat.FCS7) and its XDCAM Transfer plugin, I did an Apple Software Update.  As expected, this detected an available update for “Pro Applications”.  Among those updates listed was one for Soundtrack Pro, described as “Fixes issue with installer”.  What does that mean?  I already installed it.  Should I uninstall and reinstall it ?  I’ll do nothing until I find out for sure.

    After that update , there were no further updates.

    Add the XDCAM Transfer plugin to Final Cut

    Thursday, January 7th, 2010

    The XDCAM Transfer plugin allows FCP to easily ingest footage in the format generated by XDCAM-EX cameras such as the EX3.   Unlike FCP6, where it was also advised to load a “FAM Driver” (as a separate plugin), this is not appropriate for FCP7 (explained below)

    From the ReadMe phase of the ‘Install XDCAM Transfer’ installer dialog:

    XDCAM FAM driver and tool.
    Mount Professional Discs in XDCAM devices connected by FAM (i.LINK) in the Finder.
    Note: The XDCAM FAM driver and tool are not compatible with Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard and are not installed.
    •    XDCAM Transfer main application.
    Preview clips from XDCAM and import your selected material as QuickTime movies. XDCAM Transfer supports the PDW-U1 XDCAM Drive unit and Professional Memory Cards recorded with the PMW-EX1 camcorder.
    •    Sony XDCAM Import and Export plug-ins for Final Cut Pro.
    Initiate transfers from XDCAM directly into a Final Cut Pro project and render your Final Cut Pro sequence directly onto a connected XDCAM disc.
    •    Final Cut Pro XDCAM presets.
    Configure your sequence and export settings to be compatible with XDCAM. The XDCAM HD422 presets replace those installed by Final Cut Pro 6.0.3.
    •    XDCAM Transfer User Guide.
    Found in the Documentation folder of this disk image and also available from the Help menu of the XDCAM Transfer application after installing the software.

    Installed Final Cut Studio 7 (FCS7) Upgrade (on new machine)

    Thursday, January 7th, 2010

     As a first experiment (with how well or not FCS3 would run), I installed the upgrade to a new machine.

    Groundless concerns:

    • There is no hassle over installing it on a second machine.  The license allows it and there is no Deactivation etc required.  Only if both machines are on the same network will it complain.
    • It was not necessary for the target machine to have the previous version of FCS installed.

    The update physical form was a cardboard box measuring about (by eye) 5x5x1.5 inches.  Its main contents were 7 data-DVDs, a nice concise booklet and some formal documentation, one of which had the serial number printed (twice).   Installing the system took a few hours.

    The main installation disk additionallycontained electronic documentation.  I copied it to :

    • Boris Calligraphy User guide
      • Makes fancy text.
    • Exploring Final Cut Pro 7
      • Same as the booklet that came in the box.

    It also contained “Extras”, as follows:

    • AppleQmasterNode.mpkg
      • Allows a computer to act as a node in a render-farm, in support of Compressor.  If you are unsure which role each computer will play in your network, just install the Apple Qmaster software on each computer in your network. You can sort out the details later. []
      • I started its installer but it asked whether I wanted to let this computer be used as a rendering node.  I had already been asked that question when loading the main FCS3.  So maybe it was loaded already.  Decided that FCS was probably best left alone in this respect, so I aborted the install.
        • CORRECT: While following QMaster tutorial [] I checked existing System Preferences for QMaster and they were already there, it was already enabled for sharing.
          • In contrast, when I checked the same for my older machine running FCP6, its QMaster was not enabled for sharing.  Of course I fixed that immediately.
        • BUT in both cases (both machines) the options were greyed-out.
        • For the newly-installed FCP7 machine,  Options for selected service (Compressor) said “Selected Service On (2 instances).  Sounds like it’s using both cores OK.
        • For the older FCP6 machine, it said “Selected service On (1 instance)”.  But its an 8-core machine.  So maybe something is not quite right…
        • Then again it might be a “feature”  of no significance, just run a render and check Activity Monitor to see if all cores are being used [].  The discussion (like some others) also suggests not using all the cores available.
    • DVX-100 Audio Sync Tool
      • DVX-100 is a camcorder by Panasonic. Broadly EX3-like and film-ish e.g. 24P)
      • I don’t need this, so I won’t install it.
    • Head Leaders for Cinema Tools
      • Countdown etc.
        • A number of prebuilt QuickTime clips have been included to use as head leader in your edited sequences. Using these head leader clips is preferable to selecting the “Start with 8 seconds of leader” checkbox in the Export Film Lists dialog because these clips also contain Picture Start, countdown, and an audio pop at the 2-second mark. [‘Head Leaders Read Me’ file]
      • I guess they’re intended to be copied somewhere (?).  I put them at […/Documents/Final Cut/FCS 07]
    • Spotlight Importer
      • Spotlight importers should be provided by all applications that support custom document formats. A Spotlight importer parses your document format for relevant information and assigning that information to the appropriate metadata keys. []
      • In other words, it allows Spotlight to search withinapplication-specific files.
      • But when I tried installing it, it said “The domain/default pair of (, loc) does not exist”.  Don’t know what it means but it sounds broken…   Either way, I can’t install it, so must abandon it.
    • Template Intro Movies for DVD Studio Pro
      • Blocks, corporate, mosaic, stripes, smoke…
      • I guess they’re intended to be copied somewhere (?).  I put them at […/Documents/Final Cut/FCS 07]

    Free tutorials for FCP and for Boris

    Saturday, January 2nd, 2010

    Final Cut Pro – some YouTube tutorials I visited

    Thursday, December 31st, 2009

    Some good stuff I picked up from some randomly visited Final Cut Pro (FCP) video tutorials on YouTube.   Now that my main project, based inside Sony Vegas, is finishing, it’s time to start getting far more familiar, comfortable and effective with Final Cut.This tutorial (by a child, re Lego “brick videos”) shows how to use the 3-way color corrector for secondary color correction.   What’s nice is he shows where this feature is (slightly) “hidden” and how the source hue-space can be aggregated by eyedropper shift-clicks.  His slightly uncertain demonstration encourages me to blunder about – not to be frozen by uncertainty!

    The following tutorial assumes you know what a 3-way color corrector does so takes that for granted.  Instead it concentrates on how to do it efficiently in FCP, by virtue of FCP’s handy bits and pieces such as Favourites effects-folder and CopyFrom(clip-1..-2) and CopyTo(clip+1..+2) buttons.

    This one explains when you would want to use Sequence Nesting.  Some of the reasons are not immediately obvious.  Looks much slicker than Vegas’s nested projects (though I have yet to experience for real).  Also it shows handy way of creating nested Sequences on-the-fly i.e. you don’t always have to pompously do [FCP:File>New>Sequence] etc.   On the side, it demonstrates some generic “handy working” features of FCP.  For example, instead of tree-climbing down to find a filter/effect, you can use [FCP:Help>Search], it works like Spotlight, e.g. if you type in “Level” or “3-way” it puts you there in the effects menu, ready to drag.  Another handy feature is [Clip:Option-DblClk] to get a timeline clip into the viewer (no need to laboriously drag it there).

    FCP can be installed on >1 machine (tech & license)

    Thursday, December 24th, 2009

    I wanted to know, if I bought a MacBook, could I run my existing copy of FCP on that too.  The answer appears to be “yes”, and thankfully without the hassles/risks/worries of having to activate/deactivate etc.

    According to []

    • There is no technical limit to the number of installations. There is also no deactivate function in FCS as there is in Adobe products.
    • The whole point of the agreement allowing (1) Desktop and (1) Laptop is that Apple acknowledges that some people will use FCP on a MacPro for primary use, but when they travel they need to use it on a laptop. So in this case the one copy is on two machines, but will only be used on one machine at a time.
    • The user cannot have it on the desktop machine and use that while another editor in another bay uses the laptop with the same copy. That is not allowed.
    • The language in question is “so long as both computers are owned and used by you.”
    • (the license) does specifically state that the software can not be used over a network by multiple users at the same time, but it does not specifically state that one user can not use the software on a desktop and laptop at the same time.

    Great FCP7 article by Nepal man

    Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

    Codecs for Mac/PC/linux & FCP/Avid transfer

    Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

    Eugenia recommended ([] as of September 2008) DNxHD and ProRes, among other codecs, for transfer between PC and Mac.   She also advises Lagarith for transfer to/from linux, though it sounds slightly tricky.According to BobRusso (Applications Specialist at Avid) []:<<< 

    You can install the ProRes decoder on a system without FCP:


    Make sure you have the latest version of the Avid codecs. They can be downloaded here:

    I suggest using MPEG Streamclip to convert the files:



    Aja KiPro records 10-bit 422 ProRes; can Avid use it?

    Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

    The Aja KiPro captures HD (& SD?) from analog or SDI to 10-bit 422 to QT-ProRes (ordinaire and HQ).   In comparison the Convergent Design products currently capture to 8-bit 422 (hi-bitrate Mpeg2).  ProRes is particularly suited to (aimed at) Final Cut.  But since ProRes decoder is freely available, including on Windows, the KiPro could be used with other NLEs.Presumably (haven’t yet tried) once the ProRes is  copied to the editing system’s media drive, it can be simply dropped into an Avid project (bin/timeline).  Some seem to find it OK e.g. “I import ProRes straight into MC all day, no problems. You’ll need FCP 7 to have access to the new 4444 codec though..” [].  But some people are cagey about this (on principle?) “…if I were you I would reencode the quicktimes to an Avid codec” [].  One re-encoding option [] is Mpeg StreamClip [].  Not sure what the advantage is (or whether it is real) but some people complain of problems with levels [] and metadata.  I would hope that Avid’s “New Thinking” would render any such problems historical, but experience will tell.One slight nuisance – Avid doesn’t work directly with the Aja KiPro.  That is, the KiPro is not a device type recognized by Avid’s Advanced Media Architecture AMA [ ].  Not a show-stopper, but definitely a tilting force (from Avid to FCS/FCP).The KiPro is bulkier than the Convergent Design products.  It can record from more kinds of input to more kinds of storage medium. I haven’t looked at power consumption or robustness yet. Links: 

    Mac video production: Framerate Conversion Strategies & Tools

    Friday, November 27th, 2009

    Gleaned from Philip Bloom’s presentation on using a 30p native cam to produce to other standards (e.g. 24p):

    • Edit native, convert the edit result, not the source (rushes). Saves render time (& space)
    • Don’t edit H264 – current machines are not fast enough to avoid jerkiness.
      • Before edit, convert to ProRes (standard is sufficient, no need for HQ).  If disk space at a premium then could instead use XDCAM EX format but that is not compatible with Cinema Tools.
        • Conversion to ProRes is done twice as fast by Mpeg StreamClip (free) than by Compressor.
          • Mpeg StreamClip:
            • [File > Open Files, File> Export to QuickTime, choose format ProRes 422, change top-slider to Full 100% Quality (default is less)
            • Can also use it to batch-convert, result can be either separate files or all concatenated in sequence.
    • (DO THE EDIT)
    • FrameRate Conversion:
      • Simplest: speed change – change the timebase (the rate at which the existing frames are presented).  OK when speed change does not matter (e.g. static scene).
        • Can be done e.g. via Cinema Tools.
          • Stages: Analysis then select desired new framerate then Conform.
          • (or [Cinema Tools: File > Batch Conform],  select a folder containing set of files, select any example file in it, Open, change speed, go: all the files are done)
      • Speed-preserving frameRate conversion can be done by Compressor or by JES Deinterlacer (free)
        • Compressor
          • Open Compressor
          • Drag file to job-strip
          • Create a Setting if needed
          • Geometry (5th icon along) – set Frame Size to “100% of source” (to ensure Compressor setting doesn’t re-scale)
          • Frame Controls: Unlock
          • (ignore settings that don’t apply e.g. resize method)
          • Rate Conversion: choose the fastest you can get away with
          • It is not compulsory to set a Destination.
            • (what happens if not? same directory as source?  what filename gets generated)
              • If no destination specified then file goes to same directory, auto-named as the original filename plus the name of the export format Setting.  Example: From TRV 12-39 it generated TRV 12-39 AvidGrade-QT ProRes, where QT ProRes Interlaced was a compression setting (previously defined by myself).  Incidentally the QT-DV was 35MB, the generated QT-ProRes was 47MB.
        • JES Deinterlacer
          • Choose >  (input your file)
          • Output > Compressor > Export
            • (nothing to do with Apple’s Compressor, at least I assume…)

    How to export a FCP7 project to FCP6

    Friday, November 27th, 2009

    Based on info from Rick Young’s Blog at, 16 Nov 2009

    How to export a FCP7 project to FCP6:

    • Export XML from the FCP7 project – choose Apple XML Interchange Format, version 4 (not 5).
    • Open this in FCP6 then manually reconnect the media.

    Alternatives that don’t work:

    • Export a project as Apple XML Interchange Format, version 5  then import this into Final Cut Pro 6 – it asks for a Template.
    • Export EDLs from the FCP7 project and try to bring these into the FCP6 project – doesn’t work.

    Avid & FCP on Mac – Coexist?

    Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

    Reports and advice vary:

    • Some advise “No”.
      • []
        • “What about installing other video applications such as Premiere Pro or Canopus Procoder?
          Installing other NLEs such as Premiere, Vegas or Edius is seriously not a good idea. You will definitely run into huge problems and this may even result in having to reformat your system in order to fix things. Transcoding applications such as Sorenson Squeeze, Canopus Procoder, CinemaCraft and Media Cleaner are fine. “
        • “There are many software programs which you can install safely on your system without affecting performance or stability. However, our view is that your Avid system should be used for video editing only. If you need Photoshop or After Effects, feel free to install them. However, the problem is that the more software you install, the more likely that something somewhere will have a negative effect on performance. Using your Avid system as an office PC is not a good idea. “
    •  Others say yes:
      • []
        • “There was a problem where FCP would act up if the Avid codecs were installed (installing Avid installs them), so maybe that’ll be a problem.  Otherwise, install both and try it–if they don’t run, uninstall and pick your editing poison.  Ghost your drive before hand in case you run into problems.  It’ll be faster than waiting for “definitive” reply.” (2007-05)
        • “I’m running them both, w/no observable deficiencies.  At least on Avid.  I can’t say I’ve used FCP for more than 10 times or so.  I really air out the Avid 2.7, so I can say it’s solid w/the FCP install. ” (2007-05)
        • “I’ve got both on the same cpu and I haven’t noticed any difference. They both seem to work fine even if they are both running at the same time. That is if I’m doing a major export or render on the Avid I can still edit on FCP with Avid working in the background. I would suggest that you keep your media on separate drives though.” (2007-05)
      • []
        • “I run both systems on one partition of my Adrenaline system. There really is no problem. The only thing to be aware of is the capture card. If you are using an Aja card, you’ll need to disable it when launching the AVID by holding down the SHIFT key.” (2006-06)

    FCP only half-likes CineForm AVI – try Cineform MOV instead.

    Tuesday, June 30th, 2009


    • In FCP I imported [File>Import] a CineForm AVI file residing on an NTFS disk.   It showed up in FCP’s browser OK.  I dragged it to Viewer and it played there OK.  I dragged it to timeline and it displayed there as a clip i.e. as a long pale-green block.


    • When I tried to play teh timeline the Canvas screen remained blank.
    • Also the timeline clip-block had no thumbnail (which, given my configuraton of FCP, I would normally expect)


    • Mac support for AVI is said to be half-hearted.  This is probably what is happening here.


    • Try re-wrapping the Cineform AVI file as a CineForm MOV file.
    • This can be done via Cineform’s bundled tools as follows:
      •  On the PC by using HDLink
      • On the Mac by using ReMaster
    • (I have not yet tried this)

    Compressor “feature”: Read-only source drives not accepted

    Tuesday, June 30th, 2009


    • In a Compressor job I defined a file on an NTFS drive as source.  That was because I had a file of graded video on that drive which was being used in a Sony Vegas project and I wanted to use FCP’s excellent SmoothCam effect to de-shake that video.  For that Compressor job I defined a destination on a separate drive that was HFS+ hence read/writable by Compressor.


    • Compressor gave an error to the effect that the source drive was not writable hence not a valid destination.  Even though it wasn’t the destination…


    • Sounds like a bug to me!


    • Workaround: copy the source media file from NTFS drive to HFS+ drive and use that as source instead, no other change.  Worked fine (apart from wasting my time and disk space).

    Pluraleyes: Multicam auto-sync (based on audio)

    Monday, June 22nd, 2009

    Mac/FCP add-on to automatically synchronize multicam clips based on their audio content.

    Discovered in article at:

    The article says: “…PluralEyes … syncs up multi camera footage without use of timecode. It’s in beta and you can download and try it out yourself.  (In the article author’s tests) it worked on about two out of every three clip pairs. When it worked, it was perfect, effortlessly lining up and then converting clips into a multicam clip in the browser.”


    System Requirements:

    • OS X 10.4.11 or later
    • Final Cut Pro 5.1.4 or later
    • PluralEyes™ analyzes the audio content, so all clips to be synced need to have an audio track.

    EX-to-FCP Ingesting Tips

    Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

    Forum thread on how to ingest EX footage into FCP (via ShotPut and XDCAM Transfer).

    It includes a cool screencast video tutorial by Matt Davis:

    The point of doing it his way is that it makes thinks more foolproof than the more basic “just load it in” approach and does so in a fashion that is semi-automated.

    Sony XDCAM EX and Apple ProRes (QuickTime) ARE accepted by Color (allegedly)

    Friday, June 5th, 2009

    According to a CreativeCow thread [], with the right updates art least, it is possible to pass both XDCAM EX native files and ProRes derived from them into Color.

    Now I am well-confused, because:

    Being fully-engrossed on PC-based projects, I am unable to verify any of these

    To send a clip from FCP to Color – must be in a Sequence

    Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009



    Posted: Nov 24, 2008 1:57 PM

    • Problem:
      • I have FCP Studio w/ Color loaded, as well as Soundtrack and Motion, however when I right click on the clip and choose the “send” to option Color is not part of the drop down menu where Motion and Soundtrack both are.
    • Solution:
      • Only Sequences can be sent to Color, not individual clips
      • You can either send the whole sequence to Color or create a new sequence (command+N) copy and paste your desired clip/s and send that new sequence by either control/right clicking the new sequence in the browser>send to> Color or go to File send to>Color.
      • You can still send your highlighted clip to Color and the application will open keeping your clip highlighted but the rest of the sequence will show up too.
      • Please note that communication between FCP and Color is handled thanks to XML transfer.


    MultiClips don’t work with Apple Color (allegedly, as of March 2008)

    Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

    In forum [], Christopher Landy said (March 2008): “I have a multicam/multiclip dance performance project which I have completed editing and want to grade in Color. I collapsed the multiclips (per user’s manual) before sending to Color.  I completed the grade, but when I sent it back to FCP6, I received a warning that the in/out points had changed and may effect the sequence and clips, so, I canceled the send. … Apparently Color and Multiclips don’t mix. Had to color correct the old fashioned way.”

    XDCAM EX usage in Final Cut – An experienced user’s explanation, confirmation and tips

    Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

    “Final Cut 6 (with an update) will recognize XDCAM footage more or less in it’s native format. You import the footage using the Sony Transfer software and it merely puts a QuickTime “wrapper” around the XDCAM footage. It’s still Long GOP like HDV but a better codec. You can render it into discrete frame codec as you say but it is not entirely necessary. I sometimes do and often don’t. I do a final render out in a full frame/intraframe file and then send it to compressor to munch it into whatever final form I need it in.” []

    Sequence Renders: What & Where?

    Sunday, May 31st, 2009

    Suppose you added an effect to the timeline and as a result it shows a red “Unrendered” (or “Needs Rendering”) line above it.  You press Command-R (say) and rendering happens and now you can play it in real-time.  But what exactly is this rendering?  What format is it in and where does it go, i.e. what file(s) in what folder(s) ?

    •  The rendered file appears in a project-specific subfolder of the Rendering folder of FCP’s Scratch area.  In my case I defined the latter to be on the RAID.
      • Location was: [RAID_ProAVIO/App-Specific/Final_Cut/ FCP_Scratch/Render Files/Voda 2009 Estab 001/]
      • Example file name is: “Sequence 1-WP1-00000001
    • The coding format is ProRes 422 – Standard, not High Quality (which would be overkill).  This is good news!
      • VideoSpec displays its FourCC code to be “apcn”
      • The rendered file’s bitrate, according to VideoSpec, is an average of 123Mbps, around four times that of the HDCAM EX high-quality mode (35Mbps).  Nevertheless a great reduction on the uncompressed bitrate (around 1.5 Gbps) and broadly comparable to Convergent Design’s 100Mbps, judged by some to be virtually indistinguishable from uncompressed quality.  So it bodes well.

      Final Cut Effects for Video Denoising

      Sunday, May 31st, 2009

      Denoising: We’re talking video here (not audio), with twinkling speckles, e.g. due to low exposure or high gain hence a poor signal to noise ratio.   There aren’t any video denoisers built in to FCP, but plugins exist, both free and commercial.  There is some discussion of these at DvInfo forum [].  The best one I have found so far, at the cost of money and rendering intensity, is Neat Video,  available for most of the major NLE’s, including FCP.

      •  The “Too Much Too Soon” (TMTS) filter package [] includes a denoiser.  And it is free.
        • Didn’t remove much noise for me, despite setting it to max denoising.
      • Joe’s Filters (filter package), commercial, includes a Smart Denoiser.  
        • This worked reasonably well.  It removed most othe dynamic (twinkling) noise but left static pixel variations, presumably associated with pixel variation in the camera’s sensor which as a result were more obvious.  The result was like looking at a clean moving image through a dirt-patchy glass.
        • It was found to be best placed after the levels&colors adjustments, i.e. at the bottom of the filter chain.
      • Neat Video [], the best denoiser I have ever been able to find on Windows, is now available for FCP on Mac.
        • Tried the FCP version.  Totally outclasses the ones so far seen.  At the cost of money and (intensive) rendering time.  Well worth it though if you need the highest quality.
        • There is a free demo download but it is crippled to only affects a central rectangle of the image.  So don’t judge it by what happens at the margins region, rather use it as a basis for comparing the denoised central bit.
      • CHV – the Repair filter collection, including a denoiser, at []
        • (I have not yet tried this)

      Final Cut – Find/Try the Basic Enhancement Effects

      Sunday, May 31st, 2009

      Basic effects from my point of view are color curves, color correction and denoising.  Indeed the test footage I had was in dire need of all these enhancements.  Here, I began seeking how to do a simple levels adjustment, hoping to move on afterwards to S-Curves as in Sony Vegas.  However even for simple levels adjustment the process in FCP turned out not to be as simple as I hoped…  Probably the best solution was FCP’s 3-Way Color Corrector.  Had high hopes for using Apple Color (the application, not a fruit-specific effect) but for some reason FCP’s “Send to Color” option was greyed-out.

      •  .

       To begin with, here are some handy tips: 

      • FCP: FCP > User Preferences: Undo Levels -> 99, Recent Clips -> 20 (max poss)
      • Playing the Unrendered: Some kinds of effects cause a red line to appear above the affected part of the timeline, meaning essentially that the effect is so heavy on CPU that it can’t be played in real-time and must first be rendered (e.g. hit Command-R), then the red line disappears and it plays smoothly.   For me, such renders typically take a minute or two – boring and frustrating when all you want to do is experiment with settings etc.  There is however an alternative: Alt-P for “force rendered playback”.  Not so smooth but far less boring.  Reference: []

      Now the actual Effects experiments:

      • Levels Adjustment – Attempt 1 (works but awkward): The in-built Levels effect.  This effect is not what I expected – it is a little weird and non-intuitive.  Others agree.  
      • Levels Adjustment – Attempt 2 (easier): Joes Filters [] makes a (commercial) filter with 5-way controls (min & max input & output plus gamma) as in Vegas.  The sliders are tiny and fiddly – but presumably that’s an Apple thing (?)
      • Levels Adjustment – Attempt 3 (failed so far): Apple Color.  That’s reportedly far more sophisticated in capability than FCP’s filters and allegedly [] includes S-curve levels adjustments equivalent to Color Curves as in Sony Vegas. It is advised by some [] to use that instead.   Allegedly [] a good instructional DVD on it is Creative COW Master Series : Stop Staring and Start Grading with Apple Color by Walter Biscardi.
        • So I tried to use Color, as follows: [FCP: (Sequence) > (RtClk) > Send To > Color].  However Color was greyed out (unavailable).  Why?  Color is installed OK and can be started up as an app in its own right.  Tried doing that then “..Send To” it again, but no difference – still greyed-out.
      • Some other people [] had some other difficulties in FCP<>Color exchange.  Though not exactly as mine, it illustrates kind of the fiddly fussiness that can become an issue.
      • Yet others [] suggest instead using the Low/Mid/High levels sliders of the 3-Way Color Corrector to achieve the same effect as an S-Curve.  
        • There is a free tutorial for this at Creative Cow, explaining not only levels adjustment but also my standard “face cropping & vectorscope” method of flesh color correction.  There are plenty more FCP tutorials there of similar calibre.  
        • I tried the 3-Way and yes it is by far the easiest method, very simple and intuitive, though once again the (Apple-standard?) sliders are a bit too small and fiddly.
        • A further advantage of using the 3-Way is that it also in Apple Color and can an even (in some sense) be migrated from FCP to Color, if that’s where you later prefer to work on the grading.
      • Still wish I had a proper interactive S (or Bezier) levels/colors curve effect though…

      Import Sony EX XDCAM 720p50 into Final Cut: On a Surer Footing

      Sunday, May 31st, 2009

      Following advice passed on from Sony (by Obi Lidobe/Ejukene), I installed latest Mac versions of Sony XDCAM support software [from under Tools/Downloads], namely:

      • Final Cut Pro XDCAM Transfer v2.9.0
      • Clipbrowser v2.5
      • SxS Device Driver
      • XDCAM EX Log&Transfer Utility v1.0
      • This set of items presumably constitutes the “separate plug‑in from Sony … required to enable (the XDCAM EX) features”.

        Tried using FCP to see if the new XDCAM EX features are now available:

      • FCP: FCP >Easy Setup: The nearest obvious template was “XDCAM HD”.  But does that cover “XDCAM EX” or only their older optical disk based XDCAM ?
      • FCP: File > Import > Sony XDCAM Transfer
      • Transfer: required setup of cache folders etc.  Default was on personal area of Mac HD.  Chose instead to put it on my RAID: [/App-Specific/Sony XDCAM Transfer], with subfolders /Cache, /Import, /Export Scratch.  Can change these later on under [Sony XDCAM Transfer > Settings]
      • Transfer: File > Add Sources.  Can select multiple files.  Can access NTFS-captured files in original Sony (BPAV) folder structure.  Automatically queues job to build thumbnails (only does that, doesn’t convert the files to anything yet).  
      • Transfer: Thumbnails appear.  Can multi-select them.  
      • Do [Transfer: (Files) > (RtClk) > Import].  This generates equivalent QuickTime (“.mov”) files to the Import folder you specified earlier under Settings.  QUESTION: Does one have to define such settings individually for each project?  How best to organize their location?  The size of this equivalent file is almost identical to that of the original “.mp4” file (in the EX’s BPAV folder).  Presumably it is the same codec (data), just re-wrapped.  QUESTION: Would it be better to import them to ProRes (since this – unlike the XDCAM EX format – is a non-GoP format)?
      • Incidentally, the [Transfer: (File) > (RtClk) > Export Clips to Folder] option generates equivalent “.mxf” files, again broadly the same size, prompting for the destination folder.  QUESTION: Is this intended for foreign NLE’s such as Avid or Vegas rather than FCP?  Is it “export” in the sense of “from FCP to outside world”?
      • As a result of the [Transfer: …Import] operation, “.mov” files exist in the Import folder (as defined in Settings) and also they are listed in FCP’s Browser (top-left pane). 
      • FCP: Drag one of these files to Timeline.  Prompts: “Not the same format – change?”.  Say YES.   So I guess my doubts about the appropriateness of the HDCAM HD template were justified.  QUESTION: What format is it now then?
      • FCP: (Sequence) > (RtClk) > Properties: 50fps, 1280×720, Compresor = (XDCAM EX 720p50 (35 Mb/s VBR) ).  QUESTION: Does that imply that when the Sequence is rendered (as in getting rid of the “Needs Rendering” red line), it is rendered to this same format?  QUESTION: To reduce generational losses (in this highly compressed format), would I be better off setting this to be ProRes, and if so then what format?  Presumably if the original clips had been imported to ProRes, I would have been automatically prompted for that Sequence setting when I dragged those imports onto the Timeline (from FCP Browser).  
      • Also presumably the ProRes approach would benefit external (to the FCS system) workflows e.g. enhancement in VirtualDub (via the Windows read-only version of the ProRes codec, just a “Dec”oder).  In that scenario, the external Windows app would have to write to some other broadly equivalent format such as Cineform.  Is there a Cineform decoder for Mac?  If I had it, would the [FCP: File > Import] or some other way be able to import (convert to FCP-friendly format) that format?   Not just a case of re-wrapping but re-compression.  Would I have to use Compressor in principle – and is it capable of it in practice?

      Import Sony EX XDCAM 720p50 into Final Cut: Websearch

      Sunday, May 31st, 2009
      • Googled for any well-known solution to the lack of 720p50 support.  An article from Nov 2007 at the Aulich & ADamski website [] said that the previous (to then) lack of 50p support in FCP had been addressed in updates (at that time) to Final Cut Pro, Motion, DVD Studio Pro, Color, Cinema Tools, Soundtrack Pro and QuickTime Pro.
      • At [] the Release Notes of Final Cut indicated that XDCAM EX support had been added in FCP version 6.0.2.  This support included for XDCAM EX 720p50 VBR as per my footage.  
      • Notes also said: “Important: A separate plug‑in from Sony is required to enable these features”.  But no actual link etc. was stated…
      • Notes also said: “Once you ingest your XDCAM EX footage to QuickTime media files on your scratch disk, you can simply choose the XDCAM EX Easy Setup that corresponds to your footage and edit as you would with any other native format in Final Cut Pro”.  So at least now I know my footage should be ingested to QuickTime not MXF.
      • Notes also said, re “50p Support”: “Along with support for a number of recent 50p video formats, Final Cut Pro 6.0.2 includes support for 50 fps timecode in all timecode fields and project properties. A new 50 @ 25 timecode format has been added for deck support and EDL compatibility with 50 fps formats.  Note: Motion, Color, and Soundtrack Pro now support 50p footage as well.
      • Notes also said, re “Updating Motion and Motion Templates”:Final Cut Pro 6.0.2 master templates require Motion version 3.0.2 or later. By upgrading to Motion version 3.0.2 or later, you take advantage of important fixes and improvements made in the Motion application and templates.”
      • I checked the version of my installed Motion and it was indeed 3.0.2.
      • Setting up an FCP project (though not specifically XDCAM EX): article at []
      • Organizing FCP project disks/folders/files in a tidy fashion: article at
      • How to render for a DVD []: “Make sure you sequence is rendered and then export a Quicktime using current settings with compression markers and do not make it self-contained (assuming you compressing on the same machine). In Compressor pick a DVD setting that works for you delivery.”

        Import Sony EX XDCAM 720p50 into Final Cut: Initial Stumbles

        Sunday, May 31st, 2009

        Initial Stumbles 

        • Shot footage on an EX3 suitable for DVD and web.  Following advice of “gurus” such as Alister Chapman, shot it in 720p50 mode.  Having done so, wanted to get it into Final Cut for editing etc.
        • Initially, used ClipBrowser (v2.0) to ingest the footage.  Didn’t know if I should do it the same way I did on Windows for Sony Vegas, that is by generating a “.mxf” file or by generating a “.mov” file.  Tried both.  These are containers, not codecs.  The “.mxf” file is Material Exchange Format while “.mov” is QuickTime.
        • Wanted to know more about the contents e.g. the codecs used and their settings.  To get this, used VideoSpec – a video analyzer broadly like GSpot on Windows)
        • MXF contents: FourCC “mpg2” (MPEG-2), Bitrate 35000 kbps,  fps 50, 1280×720, PAR 1:1, DAR: 16:9, Chroma subsampling format YUV420p.
        • MOV contents: FourCC “xdva” (XDCAM), Bitrate 34900 kbps, fps 50, 1280×720, PAR 1:1, DAR 16:9, Chroma YUV420p.
        • In FCP, tried to find a standard setting suitable for this, but nothing matched. In particular there were 60p formats but not 50p formats – frustrating.   Instead made a “best guess” at the most closely matching format and customized it.  I think I ended up with format “HDV 720p50” but was concerned that HDV may have different standards (e.g. number and aspect ratio of pixels) to that of my EX XDCAM footage.