Archive for June, 2009

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).

Sony Vegas: FX Chain Saving

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

From []:

  • To save an FX chain
    • Click the “Plug-In Chain” icon (found in the upper right of the Video Event FX window).
    • Click “Save As” in the “Plug-In Chooser” window that comes up,
    • Give it a name
    • Save it.
  • When you want to use this chain again:
    • click the Video FX icon on the event
    • Click “Filter Packages” on the “Plug-In Chooser” window that comes up
    • Click the one you want.

Compaq laptop ethernet broadband “Limited Or No Connectivity” fixed

Sunday, June 28th, 2009

Problem: laptop ethernet connection to broadband via router didn’t work, but connection via WiFi (to another router) did work.   The “didn’t work” behaviour expressed itself in the form of:

  • Took ages “acquiring network address” (ultimately failed)
  • Error message: “Limited Or No Connectivity”.
  • Attempted use, e.g. web browser access to Google, failed.

The solution, from

  • ” 3) Check your network card to make sure its configured correctly and working properly. Many times setting the network card to 10Mbps/Full Duplex will solve this issue. To do this, open Control Panel, System, Device Manager. Go to the properties of the Network card, click on the Advanced tab and find the Link Speed and Duplex section. Change it from Auto Detect to 10Mbps/Full Duplex.”

Auto audio leveller – beyond simple normalization/compression

Monday, June 22nd, 2009


Discovered at:

The Levelator is a freeware application (for various OS)  that automatically evens out multiple audio sources:

“It’s software that runs on Windows, OS X (universal binary), or Linux (Ubuntu) that adjusts the audio levels within your podcast or other audio file for variations from one speaker to the next, for example. It’s not a compressor, normalizer or limiter although it contains all three. It’s much more than those tools, and it’s much simpler to use. The UI is dirt-simple: Drag-and-drop any WAV or AIFF file onto The Leveler’s application window, and a few moments later you’ll find a new version which just sounds better.”

“So how do we calculate levels and process audio for The Levelator?  We first isolate segments that are silent and remove them from the calculations. We define silence as audio segments which have no subsegments of 50 ms or more where the RMS is greater than -44.0dB. We then compute the RMS value of the remaining segments and normalize them to our target RMS level of -18.0dB.

The above is actually a drastic simplification of The Levelator’s processing, which takes into account a number of subtleties when dealing with certain real-world sources. For example, the silence threshold of -44.0dB is not reasonable if the audio before normalization is already very quiet. The -44.0dB value is therefore used only after the overall RMS is first normalized to near that target. This requires an iterative calculation. The Levelator processes an entire audio file, not a continuous stream, so we have the advantage of infinite lookahead and the ability to make multiple passes over the data in large and small chunks.”

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.

Backup & Archive to Multiple External Drives: “Retrospect Backup” tracks what’s where

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

Once captured, the next problems are backup and archive.  Here is one man’s solution:

  • We capture to a 2TB drive and edit from it as well. Then once it starts to get full, we use Retrospect Backup software to move files from the 2TB drive to smaller removable drives. Retrospect keeps track of the drives and once they fill up, you can just add another one. The main reason we do it this way is that Retrospect keeps track of all the data so that it’s very easy to find and restore projects. You can view them by the date you saved them or you can simply do a search…even for individual files. Plus, because they are firewire 800 drives, the restore process is very quick (at least it is right now with standard def DV footage….HD footage will take up more space)
  • [
    • It also has other useful info e.g. the transfer rates experienced in practice.


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.

Interacting with Windows from a Mac Environment

Friday, June 5th, 2009

Mac OS and Windows machines can now interact over a shared network.

The link below mainly covers:

  • Connecting to Active Directory with Directory Utility
  • Using Entourage with Exchange
  • Communicating via Messenger and OCS
  • Bridging the platforms with virtualization


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.


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.” []