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#1 Steve Douglas

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Posted 27 March 2006 - 12:52 PM

For those of you who are Apple Mac and Final Cut people, some may not be aware of where you can find help and info. The number one site in my mind is www.kenstone.net where you will find loads of tutorials, reviews of hardware, software,books etc all written by people really in the field of editing. Their discussion forum is the absolute best as you will probably get answers to your questions or problems within the hour. I'm a bit prejudiced in favor of this site as I also write a great many of the reviews here.
Another excellent editing site is the www.lafcpug.org site where you will find more of the same fine forums and reviews, many reprinted over from the kenstone.net site.
Then there is 2-pop.com which was the original Final Cut Pro website, I find this one a bit difficult to manipulate with its quirky log in system but it is still a great source of information with its many application deliniated forums.
Hope this helps some
Steve Douglas B)

www.kenstone.net
www.lafcpug.org

Steve Douglas
steve-sharksdelight@cox.net

I have worked as an unpaid reviewer for the editing websites since 2002. Most all hardware and software is sent to me free of charge, however, in no way am I obligated to provide either positive or negative evaluations. Any suggestions I make regarding products are a result of my own, completely, personal opinions and experiences with said products.


#2 shawnh

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Posted 28 March 2006 - 09:02 AM

Steve,
Thanks for the valuable links. I have been reading your reviews for sometime now and find them to be quite helpful...thanks! I am shoting UW with the FX1 in the LMI Housing...I am very happy with the performance so far.

I have just made the switch from Premiere Pro to Final Cut. I am now a "newbie" to the FCP solution and I am looking for some getting started tips.
-I have just purchased and MacBook Pro as my primary editing platform. I deliberated on this for some time (desktop vs laptop). Because I travel a ton, the laptop was the only real option..even given the performance sacrifice. I am now waiting for FCP to be ported to the Universal OS. I plan to add an external 400gig, 7200rpm firewire/usb2 drive and a 24in or 20in monitor. For travel, i will use my 80gig laptop ext drive.
Question: Any additional configuration recommendations (do's, don'ts, optimizations)

-I am currently on a borrowed G4 notebook (pretty slow) until my FCP is universalized. I am trying to order the "Getting Started with FCP" from Ripple Training but their store keeps crashing on me.
Question: Are there any free sources of getting started information so I can get moving now.

-Color correction: I read the artcile on kenstone.net on color correction (very helpful). I am looking for specific guidance on how to improve my UW shots color. I have found that with the blue saturation and diminishing red associated with UW footage, "correcting" color seems to be a matter of artistic taste (more blue vs mor color, reality vs. brilliant).
Question: Do you have any workflow recommendations to getting stunning results for UW footage.?
Much appreciated.
-shawn
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#3 Steve Douglas

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Posted 28 March 2006 - 11:34 AM

If your working in DV, DVCam, DVCPro or one of the other DV-25 formats you should be fine as long as you use a PCMCIA Firewire card in the laptop. Since ALL Macs share a common Firewire bus (regardless of the number or type of Firewire ports), adding the card will create a second Firewire bus inside the Mac. This will help to eliminate dropped frame issues on capture and playback/viewing. Connect the playback device (VTR or camcorder) to the card and the external drive to one of the built-in ports or vice versa.
If your working with one of the higher formats, you may need an external SATA RAID, depending on the data rate requirements of the format. Unfortunately the new MacBook Pro no longer has a PCMCIA slot which has been replaced by the ExpressCard slot. At this time, there are no cards for the ExpressCard slot.

I have contacted Steve Martin of Ripple Training about your problem with the store and am awaiting a reply. Unfortunately, he is often very difficult to reach but will let you know when I do.
I strongly recommend Lisa Brennies book Final Cut Pro for Mac OSX...it is the absolute best reference book for FCP. It is not a tutorial type book and there are several good ones there for that as well.
Color Correction is a difficult field, and I, being color blind, have a special difficulty doing it but I seem to manage. Ripple has a well recommended disc on color correction though I have not used it Get used to properly white balancing under the water every time your lighting changes from either depth or moving your lights around the subject. Not 100% possible to do all the time but getting into good shooting habits pays off in the end. I do recommend buying the Vortex Media Warm Cards, they are an excellent and inexpensive productl. I use the Warm Card 1. Unfortunately, my review of them was not my best writing but it was a 2 person review.

If you should have questions about how to do something with FCP, let me know or post it on the kenstone site and I will be happy to help.
Have to go but will address more later this afternoon.
Take care,
Steve B)

www.kenstone.net
www.lafcpug.org

Steve Douglas
steve-sharksdelight@cox.net

I have worked as an unpaid reviewer for the editing websites since 2002. Most all hardware and software is sent to me free of charge, however, in no way am I obligated to provide either positive or negative evaluations. Any suggestions I make regarding products are a result of my own, completely, personal opinions and experiences with said products.


#4 Steve Douglas

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Posted 28 March 2006 - 12:33 PM

Okay, I've a bit more time here to address work flow issues. Lord knows there are many and most editors have their own style. Some, in my opinion, developed work flow habits out of sheer laziness or, in some cases, ignorance. Let me start; I've known lots of shooters of different abilities who love to shoot but hate the editing process. Tooooo bad as they are missing out on the most rewarding aspect of the process. Me, I love to edit, absolutely love to create something worthwhile out of a melange of clips. Where an editor gets lazy is often in the very beginning when they must log and capture their footage. I know several who will L & C the entire tape and go from there. I emphatically say this is the wrong way to do it and will add both time and eventual possible confusion later on. Most decent NLEs have a Batch Capture feature which should be taken advantage of. Go through your tape and log both the in and out points of each clip allowing at least 30 frames of footage both before and after the clip you want. Next, NAME THAT CLIP and log it. This may take some time to do but it will be worth it in the end. After you have done that for each clip from the tape that you want, then you can hit the batch capture button and let the computer do the work. Once captured, all your individually named clips will be in the logging bin with timecode from the tape you used. Hit SAVE, and hit it again every 5 minutes or so....it will save you heartache in the end. Hitting Save will save you hours and hours of post production work should your computer or application crash. If you don't, all the work will be lost within the time period of your last auto save or manual save to the time it crashed on you. I very, very rarely will have a crash but it is an important habit to get in to. Logging and capturing is the only part of the process I don't care for but we all have to do it.

You do not need to learn all your keyboard shortcuts but learn the ones you will be using regularly like, close gap, ripple delete, lock video layers, lock audio layers, zoom(z) and, the j,k, & l keys for playback and forth purposes, also learn the select timeline layer shortcuts(t) and the blade tool-B. Use the A to change back to the select arrow.

Don't fall in love with your footage. If you have 3 hours of great shark shots, it doesn't mean that you should use them all. Boredom will be the name of that game. I generally fast forward through my footage(saving time) when something really good catches my eye, I then go back over it and decide if it is a clip I want to use. Its rare I take a more than a few minutes off an hours tape. This can save tons of time as well. It doesn't mean I have wasted the tape. I may have other clips on it for a later and differently themed piece.

Have a general storyboard idea in mind for when you are ready to put clips in a timeline. I once produced a video off of a song that kept playing over and over in my head. Thus, I had the song before I ever had the footage. It all came together and won a competition or two.
I could bore you to death talking about editing, I love to do it and learn more about it and I encourage others to do the same. So, if there is anything specifically more you wish to know, let it fly and I will try to help.
Steve

www.kenstone.net
www.lafcpug.org

Steve Douglas
steve-sharksdelight@cox.net

I have worked as an unpaid reviewer for the editing websites since 2002. Most all hardware and software is sent to me free of charge, however, in no way am I obligated to provide either positive or negative evaluations. Any suggestions I make regarding products are a result of my own, completely, personal opinions and experiences with said products.


#5 shawnh

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Posted 28 March 2006 - 01:08 PM

Steve...wow!
That is just the stuff I am looking for. I am work right now so will need to do a thorough read tonight. The log and capture discipline is an arear I am lacking in. As more footage is added, i can imagine the backlog of untagged footage getting huge. Right now I am talking with a company that is interested in a wide array of my prior footage but alas...it has not been logged. So now I must go back and do that...i think I need to invest in a proper capture deck.
Anyway, once i review your info in detail, i'll shoot any additional questions your way.
Thanks a bunch for the insight.
Shawn
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#6 NickJ

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Posted 28 March 2006 - 04:29 PM

Steve – great input – I’m also lazy in the capture process and have traditionally just captured the whole tape and then tried to sort and name the best clips afterwards. I'm beginning to realize that this is not time efficient in the long run, although it makes the capture process really easy!

I'm trying to understand your batch process better. Do you play and watch the tape in FCP marking in and out as you go, and if so do you have the flexibility in FCP to back up and reposition these in/out points (rather like working on a clip in the viewer and rolling back and forth with in/out); or do you watch the whole tape first to get an impression, and then do a 'once through' (no rewind) marking in and out once each?

Also, does the naming of the clip happen at the batch selection point or after the batch capture?

Also, understanding the 'don't fall in love with yr footage' advice, do you ever go back to tapes where you re-look at the non-batch captured bits, or do you tend to batch capture most of the 'useable' material and then make the final selection in the editor? I’m sure that once I have captured a tape I’ll never look at it again (although I save and don’t tape over - just in case …)

I think I am perhaps in danger of 'loving' some of my poorer stuff and hate the idea of never seeing it again in a non batch captured portion of the tape! For instance I have often used an 'OK' topside or reef diver shot as a short segue into another sequence because it fits and was 'there' in my FCP browser for the current project. If I had not captured it in the first place I wouldn't have had the choice to use it later!

Are you using FCP for all your archiving and clip referencing for 'future' projects, or are you using a third party application? (I know there are some clip archive programs around, but have had no experience)

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#7 Steve Douglas

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Posted 28 March 2006 - 05:08 PM

Nick,
I always keep my FCP media files on an external hard drive while my project is on my main harddrive. This way,if I ever lose a project, my media, render and important info is saved.
To answer your questions, I try to avoid looking at my footage on the boats which I see others doing all the time. I do not like multiple passes on tape as I believe it is risky to the tape and drop outs will just ruin things. I really don't like showing off raw footage, maybe its my own ego but I prefer to show footage only after it has been edited to something I am really proud of. And we all know that raw footage has more bad in it than anything worthwhile. Its cutting out the good stuff and making something of it that makes me happy. Its not like I never look, especially the first day of shooting just to check on my settings and lighting, however, I usually wait till I am at the editiing bay a week or so after I come home. This way, it is fresh and new to me and I can be more objective. I am definitely my own harshest critic when it comes to looking at my stuff.
When it comes to log and capturing, I name the reel which avoids timecode problems when a 2nd tape is put in. I create a logging bin and then set the logging bin so that all clips from that tape will go to the same bin. With another tape, I would have created and set another bin. I will put the tape in my deck and when I see a clip I like, I back it up about 30-60 frames prior to where my in point would be and do the same at the end of the clip. I go to F2 which is the FCP shortcut for logging the clip and then name it and continue on with the rest of the tape that way. When I am done, I go to batch capture and make sure to click on "All clips in the logging bin" and let the computer have at it. Just remember to hit SAVE when the batch capture is done or you will have to reconnect all your media which is a real pain to do.
I can't say that I look over old tapes much but I have gotten in the habit, after all the tape clips from a destination have been l & c, to create a new and final bin from a project. I name this bin
"Best of" and then duplicate all clips into this bin. This I place, in no particular order, onto a new timeline sequence and then run it back out to tape. This way, should I ever want to go back to a destination's tape, I can skip the original masters and have the very best already on a new tape which I can l&c again for any new projects I might want.
One final word(I doubt it) on clips. FCP needs handles at the end of each clip in order to be able to receive transitions that you might want to place on them. This is why I always L & C clips with extra frames both before and after the actual footage I may want. Once the clip is in the bin, you can bring it up in the Viewer (to the right of the Browser which contains the bins) and set new in and out points for the footage that you want before dragging or inserting it to the sequence timeline. These clips may now have a transition applied if you desire.
Hope this helps some,
Steve B)

www.kenstone.net
www.lafcpug.org

Steve Douglas
steve-sharksdelight@cox.net

I have worked as an unpaid reviewer for the editing websites since 2002. Most all hardware and software is sent to me free of charge, however, in no way am I obligated to provide either positive or negative evaluations. Any suggestions I make regarding products are a result of my own, completely, personal opinions and experiences with said products.


#8 NickJ

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Posted 28 March 2006 - 05:55 PM

It helps a lot Steve thanks. I'll start learning how to use the batch capture feature in FCP now you have given me the incentive to get to the next step. It's often like that isn't it? You see a feature that looks cool but also complicated, so you put it on the back burner until you are pushed a little. I think you just pushed me :o

I also like the idea of a separate bin for each tape - I have had challenges with multiple tapes in the same bin, and then trying to sort on time code etc. Your solution is simple and practical.

I understand the issue on handles - you learn that the first time you try and transition a clip that is at its 'end' ;) Actually I really like the way FCP handles transitions and fades, it doesn't mess with your timeline! Unlike my old Windows ULEAD setup which would eat into my timeline every time I made a transition as the dissolve or whatever would cannibalize the clip's in and out points.

It seems I'll still have to capture all 'possibly useable' clips with your method, as you have confirmed that most logged tapes just go into storage, but that is fine as well. With experience only workable material should be captured anyhow.

Agree with you on learning the most essential hotkeys. Also I use the keyboard manager to add new shortcuts occasionally. In addition I use a video editing ‘shuttle’ http://www.contourde...uttlexpress.htm for quick navigation and editing and this combo with the keyboard shortcuts makes for very fast work editing the essentials

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#9 Steve Douglas

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Posted 29 March 2006 - 06:43 AM

I'm interested on your use of the shuttle pro. Because of the reviews I write for the kenstone site, the company sent me one hoping I would review it. Due to a backlog of reviews I lent it to a friend who said that he didn't care for it. What do you think are its strengths and weaknesses? Its just taking up space and collecting dust on my shelf right now.
Steve

Ps Yes, the keyboard manager is a great way for you to actualize new shortcuts. I've dragged a few down into my sequence; specifically the ripple delete and the lock audio and video tracks.

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Steve Douglas
steve-sharksdelight@cox.net

I have worked as an unpaid reviewer for the editing websites since 2002. Most all hardware and software is sent to me free of charge, however, in no way am I obligated to provide either positive or negative evaluations. Any suggestions I make regarding products are a result of my own, completely, personal opinions and experiences with said products.


#10 NickJ

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Posted 29 March 2006 - 04:51 PM

I actually use the older model CAVS 'SpaceShuttle' but it looks like the circular one on the URL above.

I love it for quick editing, it has five buttons arranged in a semicircle and two central dials - inner 'finger dial' for jogs and single frames back and forth, and an outer 'ring' dial for faster scrolls.

Every button and every position of the dials is fully customizable, and for FCP I have setup the buttons from left to right as follows:

1) Set IN Point
2) Insert
3) Play/Pause
4) Delete
5) Set OUT Point

The finger dial is set for <- and -> ie one frame left or right. The ring dial is set for scrolls left and right, but I hardly ever use this as the scroll input is faster than the Mac can respond and I end up overshooting.

So - with shuttle in left hand and mouse in right I can whisk through a fast and dirty sequence compose without touching the keyboard. Obviously tweaking later needs a lot more keyboard input.

I also have set up similar controls for DVD Studio and Motion. Works for me ;)

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#11 shawnh

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Posted 30 March 2006 - 11:51 PM

Steve,
I have started using some of the Ripple training materials...really great stuff...thanks for the pointer on that one. I have good editing experience on PCs but this really is helping me bridge the basics in my transition to FCP without bothering others with embarrasing questions:)
shawn
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#12 Steve Douglas

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 06:35 AM

Shawn,
Glad I could help. Still haven't heard back from Steve Martin of Ripple but he is one busy guy. The Ripple Training tutorials are excellently produced. There are lots of others out there that are also good. Go to software/tutorial reviews on the kenstone site to get an idea. Also, while I try to answer as many questions as I can on ken's discussion forum, whenever I have my own questions or problems I also post them there and the feedback and responses are always helpful to me as well. Its a never ending learning process
Steve B)

www.kenstone.net
www.lafcpug.org

Steve Douglas
steve-sharksdelight@cox.net

I have worked as an unpaid reviewer for the editing websites since 2002. Most all hardware and software is sent to me free of charge, however, in no way am I obligated to provide either positive or negative evaluations. Any suggestions I make regarding products are a result of my own, completely, personal opinions and experiences with said products.