Saturday, December 18, 2010

DualEyes Beta Available For Mac

Singular Software has launched the DualEyes for OS X public beta program. Winner of TV Technology's 2010 Mario Award for its breakthrough technology, DualEyes is a standalone application for the automatic synchronization of video and audio clips in dual-system audio production. Designed to work alongside any video editing application, DualEyes is streamlined to accomplish the task of replacing in-camera scratch audio with separately recorded high-quality audio.

The DualEyes for OS X public beta program is available for Mac OS X 10.5 and later, and can be downloaded here:

My review of the PC version can be found here: DualEyes for Windows

Friday, December 17, 2010

VideoQ&A: Changing the Sequence settings in Final Cut

Here's a follow on from the question earlier in the week dealing with Flip footage that was in a Final Cut Express sequence set to DV-NTSC 32 kHz Anamorphic (I suggested he change the sequence to Apple Intermediate Codec 720p 30)...

I didn't know I could change existing sequence settings - huge revelation! Thank you. So I changed the settings to Apple Intermediate Codec 720p 30. Then my sequence, which had the video filling the frame, changed to look like this:

So you can imagine I'm like, "Whu?" Maybe a different setting? Or...?

A test export looks great, and is 1280 x 720! But I can't afford to start from scratch at this point. Recommendations?
I'm not sure if there's a quick way to change it (i.e. change everything with a click of a button.) I feel like someone once told me about doing that, but I can't remember how; though it might have been in Final Cut Pro!

The slightly easy way to do it is this in the sequence;
  • double-click the clip to select it
  • Click the Motion tab in the Viewer window
  • Under Basic Motion item (click gray arrow to expand), look at Scale. Ideally, it should be at 100. If it's not, click the red x button that's under "Nav" across from the Basic Motion title, the settings for that should now be reset to 100
  • Under the Distort item, Aspect Ratio should be 0. If it is not, click the red x button across from Distort to clear it.

Reset button

The clip should now fill the screen in the Canvas, though note that if you are also using clips that aren't 1280 x 720, those won't fill the screen, and you'll have to Scale them up to do so.

Go to next clip in the timeline and rinse/repeat

This should let you scale all your clips up to the correct size without having to re-cut or re-add transitions.

Daily Color Tips

Aaron Williams, DI colorist, filmmaker, drummer and self-described "all around nerd" [as if drummer wasn't bad enough] says that "in order to be useful for once on Twitter" he plans to post daily tips on colorizing of the things he's learned over the years. Some examples:
1: Order of Operations 1. Match shots within scenes 2. Create your look 3. Use windows to fix specific problems & distractions. Stick with that order and you'll never leave a time limited session with an unfinished product/unhappy client
2: *always* watch the footage all the way through before coloring. then your looks will fit & change w/the mood of the film. You'll also be able to grade faster since you know what's coming up & will already know the problem shots/scenes
Follow Aaron at: @videoaaron
Home Page:

Thursday, December 16, 2010

PHYX Color

I've been playing with color correction in Final Cut Pro using the Three-Way Color Corrector for some time now, and though I'm getting better at tweaking things the way I want them to be, I still have a long way to go to get really good at it. And never mind Apple Color...

Which makes the idea of a preset bunch of color correcting filters somewhat appealing. Phyxware has released the color filter set PHYXware Color, which runs within Noise Industries FxFactory (FxFactory is both a collection of video filters, as well as a filter engine that other developers can develop and sell their own filters for.)

PHYXware Color consists of five filters: BleachBypass, Glow Dark, Selective Saturation, Shift Suppress and Techni2strip. The first two provide a wide range of general image manipulation, while Selective Saturation and Shift Suppression adjust a specific color range within the image. The Techni2strip film simulates the Technicolor 2-strip process first introduced as the Technicolor System 1 Additive Color Projection in 1917, Technicolor was used for films such as ‘Gone With the Wind’, ‘Ben-Hur’, ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ and‘The Wizard of Oz’.

Selective Suppression and Shift Suppression, used in small amounts, can manipulate the color balance of  the image. I think the trick here - like all color correction - is too work in small amounts.

In truth, the filters I was really drawn to are BleachBypass and Glow Dark. These ones sort of encourage you to go a bit crazy with the different settings. I particularly like the somewhat painterly texture that the Glow Dark filter can add to your image. Techni2strip will probably be most useful for special effects/projects.

Settings for BleachBypass

Manipulation of the filters is reasonably easy, since you're mostly working with sliders to adjust parameters. There's only two to five parameters to adjust, though even those can offer a lot of variables. I particularly like their online help; each filter has it's own help page which shows both what the filter does in general terms, and explains each of the parameters.

Help for BleachBypass

The parameters for each of the filters is listed below.

  • Saturation
  • Gamma
  • Bleach High - Controls the 'high clip' of the Bleach process. Lower this value to crush highlights.
  • Bleach Low - Raise this value to crush dark areas.
  • Bleach Lift - Raise this value to boost the processed image brightness
Glow Dark
  • Dark Glow - Control the size of the darkness to glow. Increase this value to increase the size of area effected by the glow.
  • Glow Size - Control the size of the glow in pixels. Increase this value for larger glow.
  • Glow Amount - Control the amount of Glow Dark applied to the effected image.
Selective Saturation
  • Sample Color - choose the color to sample (using an ink dropper, or color picker dialog)
  • Saturation
Shift Suppress
  • Presaturation - Control the amount of saturation pre-shift/suppress.
  • Color - choose the color to shift or suppress (using an ink dropper, or color picker dialog)
  • Method - [Shift] to shift the color toward the color selected above, or [Suppress] to suppress or remove the color selected above.
  • Amount
  • Method - [Method A] more accurate method of simulating the two-strip additive process, or [Method B] a similar effect, through less authentic.
  • Blue Shift - (Method A only) Controls the amount of 'blue shift', used to recreate the blue channel missing from the two-strip process.
  • Amount

Sample clip with filters

PHYX Color costs $99 and a free trial is included in FxFactory 2.5 (which can also be downloaded and used in trial mode.) At the moment they are offering a 10% discount on PHYX Color.

Phyxware: PHYX Color
Noise Industries: FxFactory

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

60D Firmware 1.0.8

Fixes a phenomenon in which captured images may become overexposed when using the camera’s built-in flash or an external Speedlite in combination with the lenses listed below:
  • EF300/4 L IS USM
  • EF28-135/3.5-5.6 IS USM
  • EF75-300/4-5.6 IS USM
  • EF100-400/4.5-5.6 L IS USM
Canon: Download page

2010: Year in Rewind

2010 was an exciting and interesting year. The year where HDSLR's went from strange oddities to acceptance in television and film work. We saw many firsts, including the first TV episode shot on an HDSLR, the first consumer 3D video cameras, and the first iPads. Not all the action was in the budget and consumer end of things, with the arrival of products like the ARRI Alexa, Zeiss CP.2 lenses, and AutoDesk Smoke.

But it wasn't all clear sailing for manufactures, with RED having problems trying to keep ahead of increasing competition, while several manufactures - Redrock and Tiffen to name two - announced products and then seemed unable to ship them.

The consumer electronics industry wanted this to be the year of 3D, but it truly was the year of HDSLR video. And now with Panasonic and Sony poised to release new large sensor video cameras, we may be in for even more changes.

An amazing year. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Sony adds support for SD cards to their consumer video and still cameras; the world still spins on it's axis
  • Sony says goodbye to HDV and reveals new pro HXR-NX5u and semi-pro HDR-AX2000 videocameras recording to AVCHD
  • 3D is big, big, big at CES!
  • Tiffen announces a Steadicam for the iPhone and Flip; the Steadicam Smoothee! But the end of the year arrives and there's still no sign of it
  • Adobe starts talking about the cool new features to come in Premiere CS5, especially the Mercury Playback Engine


  • If Sony can support SD cards, then Canon can go ahead and do something mind blowing too; a firmware update for the 5D III to support 24fps. Many people are stunned
  • OK Go does another amazing video
  • Panasonic announces the G2
  • 9 out of the 10 documentary features at the Oscars are edited on Final Cut Studio
  • Canon rolls out the Final Cut Pro EOS plugin for importing Canon HDSLR content into Final Cut
  • With interest in DSLR's in film and video gaining steam, books and training classes start to appear: From Still to Motion released
  • Zacuto puts together an impressive comparison of HDLSRs to film cameras in the web series: The Great Camera Shootout

  • Apple rolls out the iPad
  • The 3D backlash begins when Crash of the Titans turns out not to be Avatar II
  • Canon says good bye to HDV and announces their own 3-chip video cameras,  XF300 and 305 which record 4:2:2 video, though they cost quite a bit
  • After months of leaks, hints and previews, Adobe Creative Suite 5 is officially pre-announced
  • The end-of-season episode of House is shot on the Canon 5D
  • Steve Jobs says the next version of Final Cut Pro will be awesome
  • PluralEyes for Adobe Premiere announced


  • Small portable digital recorders get smaller and cheaper when Zoom announces the Zoom H1
  • Apple releases iMovie for iPhone: Unlike the iWork Suite for iPad, it's shockingly underwhelming
  • For those looking to sync audio to video but don't have an editing app that supports PluralEyes, DualEyes is announced.
  • I do a car review
  • Boston SuperMeet is held, Rodney Charters speaks.





  • With the expected shipping of the Panasonic AG-AF100 just a month away, Sony rolls out its own professional large-sensor camera, the PMW-F3
  • And for those on a budget, they also announce the NXCAM 35mm, though no firm details or price yet
  • Final Cut users get restless, and start thinking of Premiere Pro.
  • Amazon rolls out Amazon Studios to mixed-reviews
And that's just some of the highlights!!
Let's all take a breath over the holidays to absorb it all. And then on to 2011!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

VideoQ&A: Burning Flip video to DVD

A recent question arrived about how to burn video captured on a Flip to a DVD. You'd think it would be pretty straight forward, but...

Earlier this year I got a Flip. I tend to use it for family videos. I'll take bits of footage and edit it together in Final Cut Express, and then export little 400 x 225 movies via the QuickTime Conversion / MPEG-4 export option (H.264). Then I email those mp4 files to grandparents, etc. The files are nice and small, look good, and everyone (Mac and PC users) can see them - works out great!

So my problem: It's the time of year where I make DVDs to give to family members. In the past, it's been 640 x 480 video and I've used iMovie and there have been no problems. This year I'll be exporting 1280 x 720 sequences, via Final Cut Express. I'm wondering if you can recommend a formula for exporting from Final Cut Express so the video will look good on DVD? I've been trying Quicktime Conversion / MPEG-4 / H.264 and, even with the data rate jacked up pretty high, the footage looks crunchy compared to the source files.

When I make DVDs from HD material, this is what I do:

If editing in Final Cut Express, I go to File>Export>QuickTIme Movie... to export the edited movie. This saves it in the same format as the Sequence you've created; it doesn't recompress it to the MPEG2 format that will appear on the DVD; I leave the MPEG2 compression to iDVD.

The output movie probably has the same/similar settings as the Flip Movies. You can open it in QuickTime player just to check that it's what you think it is i.e. 1280 x 960.

If using iDVD, go to Preferences, and choose Encoding: Professional Quality. Go to File>New Project and then in the New Project dialog, choose Widescreen (16:9), since your video is HD. Add your video(s) and then burn a DVD. iDVD will/should create a video that is in 16:9 format and should look pretty good.

Make sure you test the DVD on a Television; its not going to look as good on your computer as the HD source files do, but it should look pretty good on a TV.

The follow-up revealed that I'd assumed something; it turned out the movie was being edited using the wrong settings...
I do have more questions, if that's okay. 

1) I exported a sequence via File> Export.> QuickTime Movie. The default application to open the file is Final Cut Express- when I do that it displays the video in 16:9. But when I open it in QuickTime Player the image is squished. Does this mean anything, or will it look okay on the DVD end? (I'll be using Adobe Encore by the way, if that matters.)

2) Going to "Get Info," I see that the exported video is 720 x 480. Guess that explains the squish. So, my settings in Final Cut Express are probably to blame? I've been using DV-NTSC 32 kHz Anamorphic, via Easy Setup. Should I be using a different setting, given the Flip footage is 1280 x 720 size?

3) And, if so, how does one easily move edited sequences from one setting to another?
Personally, I wouldn't use the DV-NTSC 32 kHz Anamorphic format with the Flip video, even though your final video is going to an NTSC DVD. I'd probably try the Apple Intermediate Codec 720p 30 setting. That's if you're sure your video is 720p (1270 x 720).

Then, export to a QuickTime movie and it should not be stretched when played in the QuickTime Player. (The opening by default of the QuickTime file in Final Cut Express rather than the player, while annoying, is expected behavior.)

Re; whether DV-NTSC Anamorphic would look okay on the DVD; the answer is "maybe"....while it's true you do want the video to end up compressed anamorphically on the DVD as that will give you the best image quality for widescreen material, the DVD uses MPEG2 not DV, so it still have to be recompressed to MPEG2. I'm assuming Encore will handle that for you, but you should give it the best source material you can. Note that DV is a different compressor to MPEG2 that in some situations does not produce as high a quality as MPEG2 (which is why I wouldn't use it as an intermediate compression format.)

Now, I don't use Encore, so I don't know what it wants or can handle. It may be that you have to export to something like DV-NTSC Anamorphic to give it a file that it will accept, though I doubt it. iDVD will accept any QuickTime file, so I just give it the HD file on the theory that it will produce the best result from that. Admittedly, there may be better MPEG2 compressors out there, but I've been happy with the results I'm getting.

I would recommend doing a quick test disc with a short video segment; create a New Sequence, or change the existing one (by going to Sequence>Settings... and choosing the Load Sequence Preset... button) to Apple Intermediate Codec 720p 30 in Final Cut Express. Export the file as a QuickTime movie, then put it and the DV-NTSC Anamorphic file into Encore as separate movies on the same disc, burn the disc and then play it on a TV and see what you get. If there's no visible difference, then stick with the settings you are currently using!

Let me know what happens!

Final Cut Pro vs. Adobe Premiere Pro: Round 3

In the early rounds it looked like Adobe Premiere CS5 had scored a knock-out blow with it's ability to easily edit H.264 files without need for transcoding. Though you can edit H.264 files from DSLRs in Final Cut without transcoding to ProRes first, it can get tedious as the program constantly wants to Render the content before playing.

I admit to being biased; as a long time Premiere user who switched to Final Cut when Adobe stopped Mac support a few years back, I've been loath to jump back, but I kept hearing these good things about Premiere CS5.

Another important detail; I'd heard some time ago people saying that you shouldn't edit natively in Final Cut because of issues with decompression/recompression, and I had wondered whether Premiere had any of the same problems. But when I didn't hear anyone mention it, I assumed not...

So at the risk of being too easily lead by my own prejudices, I am intrigued by this article from Paul Joy where he tries exporting a video from Final Cut and Premiere, and then compares the results. Paul started with the thesis mentioned by many Premiere supporters that "recompression always makes it worse; therefore Premiere must do a better job," but what he found was that the results he got were better from Final Cut.

Let the battle continue...

Paul Joy: HDSLR Encoding Wars – Premiere Pro vs Final Cut Pro

RED GIANT one day "Secret Sale"

Red Giant Software is having a one day 40% off Secret Sale today, and you can get the discount prices at AV3 Software (this site is an AV3 affiliate.) Sale is today only.

AV3 Software: Red Giant Software 40% off

Monday, December 13, 2010

Ben Brownlee Webinar on FxFactory Plug-In Technology with Final Cut & After Effects

Noise Industries and present a 90-minute FREE webinar on FxFactory plug-ins tomorrow, Tuesday, December 14th at 10:00 AM PST

Hosted by VFX artist and guru Ben Brownlee, attendees will be guided through the more than 160 visual effects plug-ins of FxFactory Pro, from motion tracking, to creating 3D splines, stunning lighting effects, unique 3D filters and transitions, and more.

Tune-in live on Tuesday, December 14th at 10:00 AM PST to to catch the free FxFactory plug-ins webinar. The webinar will be placed on-demand shortly thereafter, free to all viewers. NOTE: two attendees will win a full copy of the Noise Industries FxFactory Pro application.

Tiffen Smoothee

The Tiffen Smoothee, the Steadicam for iPhone's and Flip cameras, is still not available, though a recent email from Tiffen says that "The first Steadicam Smoothee unit will be available for the Apple 3Gs iPHONE camera very shortly. Really!"

The Smoothee will cost $199.95, which includes the Smoothee, Camera Mount Device, Carry Bag and Quick Start Guide. In January they will have the Smoothee for the iPhone4, new iTouch and Flip Mino. The mount is interchangeable, and according to Tiffen will be available separately for $24.95 (so you could use your iPhone and your Flip with the same Smoothee.)

You can sign up to be notified when it's available at this page: Tiffen: Reservation For Steadicam Smoothee