Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

.NET e.g. v4 to support Lubbo’s fan utility

Saturday, March 27th, 2010

Seems  .NET v4 is needed in order to support Lubbo’s Fan Control utility.


The Eye Diagram in digital broadcasting & communications test-gear

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

 What is an “Eye” in the sense of an “Eye Diagram” in the digital broadcast world?  I saw an advert mentioning one in TV-Bay magazine.

    • The eye diagram provides a powerful visualization tool to interpret the behavior of the received waveform regardless of the pulse shape.
    • The eye diagram reveals important performance metrics for a communication link, including noise margin, ISI, timing sensitivity, and zero-crossing jitter. In addition, the eye diagram shows the optimum sampling time for the receiver to regenerate a bitstream from the received signaling waveform.
  • From my interpretation of a figure in the article at the above link:
    • The vertical size of the eye’s “iris ” is noise margin (amplitude), the horizontal size of the “iris” is timing error sensitivity.

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

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]

Mac – Finder Alternatives that I am evaluating

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

I downloaded these ones, for trial:

  • PathFinder []
    • “Path Finder’s goal is to fill the gap between Apple’s Finder and the command line environment by integrating many different features usually found in external applications into a single, powerful interface.”.
    • Not sure I need it.  And for sending files to applications, QuickSilver may be better.
  • Leap []
    • Intriguing, because (like I have imagined for myself) it allows the user to cut/slice files from a multitude of perspectives.  You can go down the folder hierarchy or have a flattened view of all files, filtered by tags (that you define).  Many variations on these ideas.
  • Rage Macintosh Explorer []
    • Is very like Windows Explorer, comfortable to use and clear.  And the path is always displayed, in editable form (so it can be copied).  I like it.

Ringed Planet in Boris RED

Saturday, January 2nd, 2010

Problems when I first tried it (ultimately I just adapted a pre-built project by a much more experienced user):

  • Wrap % only goes to 100%, can’t use that to stretch a strip to repeat itself twice – is there another way to do that?
  • Tried specifying a bitmap to go round the sphere.   File “world.topo.200407.3x21600x10800.jpg”.  Image size is 21600×10800.  Fails: image too large.
  • Using separate graphical editor (Gimp 2), scale the image to width 4096 (height locked by aspect ratio is 2048)
  • Boris now accepts it but scales-up the sphere to accomodate the image rather than scale-down the image to match the existing sphere size.  So it now fills the screen…
  • Enter X-scale 40 (Y and Z are linked to this).  Sphere now looks good match in size to the belt.

Avid training – ClassOnDemand

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

Avid training by ClassOnDemand, Steve Hullfish:

A video-ad for it at gives a coupon-code.

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:



Pre visualization – StoryBoard Artist (

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

Heard about it at, which said: “People are using existing multimedia tools for previsualizing projects,” … “One exception to this trend is PowerProduction Software’s StoryBoard Artist drawing package, which helps automate the drawing of storyboards by non-artists. The software comes with a collection of pre-made characters, props and backgrounds that can be viewed from various camera positions and animated.

I checked it out and it looks to me mainly aimed at contemporary scenes, not for example english period drama.  Within its own context, it looks extremely slick (hence quick) to use.  Nothing that can’t be done by more general tools but just plain handy, all there and convenient; less technical fiddling to distract from the creative process.  Quick & simple is what you want when the previz needs to be adaptable (e.g. is part of a dialog or things turn out differently than expected) rather than a fixed plan.

Of the three products I saw at that website, the StoryBoard Artist  product ( seemed most appropriate.  It has a timeline for soundtrack etc..  Also “Multi-angled, multi-positioned characters with overheads and expression.”.  And  “Non-linear linking storyboarding for DVD and iTV prototyping”.   Or indeed uncertainty…

I’ll keep an eye on it.

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.
  • 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.

“Carry On” Soundtracks – at Amazon

Monday, July 6th, 2009

Avid on Athlon – sometimes possible

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

Un-advised by Avid but the people are doing it anyway…

  • []
    • Avid® Xpress® DV 3.5 FAQ (2003)
      • Avid does not recommend Athlon systems. While some users are reporting good success with these systems, many more are having problems. If you are going to get an Athlon, make sure you or your dealer install all the latest BIOS upgrades and chipset patches prior to installing Xpress DV (2003)
  • [] (2009)
    • “New Nested Effects Technique in Media Composer 3.5” (article, May 2009))
      • MC 3.5.1, HP dv9605ea, Vista Home Premium, AMD Athlon 1.8 GHz, 2 GB RAM, nVidia GeForce 7150M, Conexant HD Audio, G-tech 500GB G-drive
  • [] (2006)
    • “I have two editing systems, the HP xw8200 with a Quadro FX card, and the d4100e Dual Core Athlon 64x, with a ATI x1600 video card, I had installed Avid Xpress Pro 5.6.2 with Mojo on both machines, for my surprise I do not get any errors on the System with the ATI video card and Athlon Processors. I am able to capture, edit, export and playback audio and video without any problem.” (2006)

Avid -> Vegas: File Transfer

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

Avid -> Vegas File Transfer:

  • How can I use files that were made with AVID within Vegas?

Vegas does not support OMF, but Vegas 6.0 (and newer) now supports AAF (“Advanced Authoring Format”) which is a new format that builds substantially upon OMF.  With that being said, use the AAF format rather than OMF for Vegas.  If you are using an earlier version of Vegas, below is a solution that should work well for you:

  1. Export your audio tracks from AVID to .wavs or .aifs, along with a low-rez video proxy file.
  2. Export the AVID tracks dry (no EQ). You might consider doing only a synch/dialog (and maybe scratch music) track in AVID, then exporting only those tracks. Do all the FX, ambient, ADR, etc stuff in Vegas so you’ll have more control of your audio. It’ll also be worth it to re-layin the music, but your scratch music track will make it easy to synch this up. Edit/Mix in Vegas, using the proxy video in Vegas as your reference picture.
  3. When you are done with the mix, save out “Left” and “Right” .aif files, and open those back up as LeftMix/RightMix tracks in AVID.
  4. Synch them to (AVID) picture (should be easy if you saved out from “timeline start” in both apps). If you are lucky enough to have AVR77+ you could playback right off the timeline and record to tape and be done. If you are adding this media online, create a Video only edl, dump the mix to your deck (match the timecode) and auto assemble your video over the top.


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)

Mac read/write access to NTFS

Friday, June 5th, 2009

“To get work from Mac to PC, don’t use HTF, use an NTFS formatted drive running NTFS-3G for Mac OS X  [] on the Mac.   Then the files will transfer without issue. “.

This advice was found on the CineForm thread at []

NTFS-3G is a read/write NTFS driver for several operating systems including Mac OS X.

System requirements:

  •     * Mac OS X 10.4/10.5, running on an Intel or PowerPC computer.
  •     * MacFUSE 2.0.2/2.0.3 or later installed.

The package has been tested with Mac OS X 10.4.11/Intel and Mac OS X 10.5.6/Intel.


Credentials/Claims []:

  • The NTFS-3G driver is a freely and commercially available and supported read/write NTFS driver for Linux, Mac OS X, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenSolaris, QNX, Haiku, and other operating systems. It provides safe and fast handling of the Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows 2000, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008 and Windows 7 file systems.
  • NTFS-3G develops, quality tests and supports a trustable, feature rich and high performance solution for hardware platforms and operating systems whose users need to reliably interoperate with NTFS.
  • The driver is used by millions of computers, consumer electronics devices for reliable data exchange, and referenced in over 35 computer books.

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

Apple Color is incompatible with QuickTime (allegedly)

Friday, June 5th, 2009

According to CineForm NEO HD FAQ [] as of 2009-05-05:

“Color does NOT support QuickTime codecs. Instead, Color only allows
certain codecs that have been compiled into the code to be used.  Apple
is aware of this limitation, but they haven’t been to quick to solve
the problem.”

Whaaaaat!?!?!   If so then that’s astonishing(-ly uncool).

On the Mac, Cineform uses the QuickTime wrapper, hence:

“CineForm files currently do NOT work in Apple’s Color application.”

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.


HD (compressed & uncompressed) and Computer (Capture & RAID) Bandwidths

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

I like to have a feel for bandwidths – roughly how big these things are and why.  Especially when I start running out of storage space and having to purchase additional disk drives etc…   Also I like to get a handle on how adequate my RAID will be for capturing uncompressed HD.  Google-search & calculations:

  • In the case of HD-SDI (1080i50), bitrate is around 1.5 Gbps []
  • In our case we have 720p50, but that apparently has about the same uncompressed bandwidth as 1080i50, namely 1.5Gbps []
  • My system has a RocketRaid+ProAVIO RAID5 arrangement.  I have not yet tested its uncompressed capture ability (I havea BlackMagic card), but it (if I’ve calculated it right), it looks like it should handle it easily.
    • RocketRaid themselves report tests [] involving an AJA capture card and a RAID5 array (as is mine) giving read and write speeds at about 400MBps (=3.2Gbps, because B i.e. Bytes = 8*b = Bits). 
      • If I understand this right, my system has a capture bandwidth twice that an uncompressed HD signal.  Plenty of headroom then.
  • ProRes’s 123 Mbps is not far off the “100Mbps” figure often mentioned in relation to the Convergent Design flash memory recorder, at which level the recording, compressed (as is ProRes) in a variant of MPEG2, is regarded as almost indistinguishable from uncompressed.

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.”

      Plan the next steps

      Sunday, April 26th, 2009

      This is now a usable system.

      However, for education and possible flexibility, I next intend to identify benchmark tests for both Mac and Windows, run them as-is on standard disks, GRAID and ProAVIO RAID, attempt install MacDrive (via workaround to dodge RAID driver compatibility issues), retest, also try other cross-filesystem tools. Also, for the ProAVIO NTFS partition, want to identify a reliable filesystem synchronizer. ABSynch comes to mind but I have not used it before.

      Success: Both Mac and Windows can now use the RAID !

      Sunday, April 26th, 2009

      The result was exactly as intended, an MBR partitioning system containing an HFS+ partition and an NTFS partition. Mac OS X was able to read the contents of both partitions. Windows (BootCamp XP) was able to read and write to the NTFS partition.

      Convert GPT to MBR (non-destructively via iPartition)

      Sunday, April 26th, 2009

      Now the question is: Can I non-destructively convert the RAID’s partitioning system from GPT to MBR? Non destructively here means I don’t have to wipe the disk (through reformatting etc) and recover the data from backup. The answer is YES! The Mac-based iPartition app does exactly that.

      iPartition 3.1.1 (154) did it fine, taking around 6 or 7 hours.


      iPartition the RAID

      Saturday, April 25th, 2009

      Used iPartition (3.1.0, 153)  to split the existing RAID into separate volumes for the existing HFS+ volume and additionally an NTFS volume, the latter for use by the BootCamp-XP system. (more…)

      WinClone OK After Windows Pruned

      Saturday, April 25th, 2009

      WinClone worked fine once the BootCamp system disk size had been reduced from 250 GB to 30GB and de-fragged. (more…)

      Back-up the System Volumes

      Friday, April 24th, 2009

      Backed-up to my new RAID1 USB drive:

      • Backed-up Mac volume to “Macintosh HD 2009-04-21.dmg”. Presumably I did this via Disk Utility from bootable CD.
      • Tried backing-up XP volume by using WinClone. Normally a smooth process but this time I ran into difficulties.


      How to Partition the RAID

      Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

      The “separate partitions” workaround should be simple to try and will provide a basis for a baseline speed test against which to compare the other workarounds.  iPartition can be run not only from its own bootable CD but also from Mac OS. Only under the latter can it see the RAID. Before doing anything though, back-up the system disks, Mac and Win (BootCamp-XP).


      Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

      Regardless of which product is to blame, what work-arounds are there?

      1. Split the RAID into separate partitions for Windows and for Mac filesystems.
      2. Alternative RAID card e.g. by Promise Technology.
      3. Convert the filesystem itself between Windows and Mac formats, by using iPartition (which I already have).


      Mac: HFS+ accessibility to BootCamp-XP

      Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

      OK so the RAID itself is now accessible to Windows (BootCamp-XP) but since it is formatted as HFS+ the filesystem does not mount as a Windows disk. Reseller helped investigate this further.At first, attempted use of MacDrive 7. a product that (as I understand it) lets Windows apps see HFS+ filesystems (e.g. disks). However after installation, windows kept booting then BSOD then rebooting etc… Exited by forcing a safe boot then uninstalling MacDrive. A query to MacDrive suppliers confirmed it was not compatible with the RR driver: (more…)

      Mac: RocketRAID accessibility to BootCamp-XP

      Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

      Tues 2009-04-21 visited reseller (PV) to get RAID made accessible to Windows (BootCamp-XP) as well as Mac.RR card flashed to disable its BIOS.  I think I was told that this mod was needed because the RAID config (BIOS) assumes keyboard present, but it’s a USB keyboard and Mac boot order hasn’t enabled USB at that stage.   Also got a new driver (.dmg) file for the RR.  As a result, RAID (ProAVIO) now visible in XP Disk Manager.

      DV->AviSynth->VFAPI Problem solved: DV Codec & RGB24

      Monday, April 13th, 2009

      Had an AviSynth script which used to work OK on my old PC but not on my new one.

      The first problem was that AviSynth’s AVISource command failed to find a codec for the DV (AVI) file I was trying to read.  DirectShowSource worked OK but AVISource didn’t, implying that there was no VFW codec for DV functioning on the new PC.  Indeed, the new machine had no DV Codec installed – because there isn’t one as default in XP.  When I installed the MainConcept’s DV Codec then the problem went away.

      Next issue was when I put the AviSynth scipt thru VFAPI, it produced an audio-only stream.  Indeed in retrospect when I had dragged the file to VFAPI the video options had been greyed-out.   Same script worked OK on the old PC.   GSpot revealed that it worked on the old PC because that PC included an “RGB Color Space Convertor” DLL, namely LMVRGBxf.DLL.  This turned out to be part of Nero, which was indeed installed on the old PC but not the new.  Begs the question of whether such a file should ideally be on a PC and if so what are the choices?  Regardless, taking note of the “colour space convertor” description, guessed (correctly) that all I had to do was alter the end of the AviSynth script to use ConvertToRGB24 instead of ConvertToRGB32.

      With those two fixes, VFAPI processed both video and audio aspects of the DV file and consequently the resulting *_vfapi.avi file was now fully (video and audio) playable in both Media Player and Sony Vegas.