Wednesday, May 23, 2007

#26 Wk18 - Final Cut Pro

Continuing with the Final Cut module, for the second week

I was looking for some new production video and audio podcasts on iTunes and was reading the comments when I got curious about this podcast's page. I checked it out and was surprised that there was a comment. The writer was very generous and encouraging and indicated that while he hoped one day he would be able to do some filmmaking, this podcast gave him a look inside the process of learning filmmaking. Just one comment, but I was both humbled and gratified. It doesn't take a lot of encouragement to lift your spirits.

I haven't done much since I began to promote the podcast and I know of several things I could do. Frankly getting an episode out each week is often a struggle in time and effort. I have yet to check my stats on Libsyn, my hosting site, to see what, if any number of downloads there have been. Occasionally I check the blogs to see if there are any comments and even rarely do I check my email. I think that's the least I could do. Already I'm making myself busy. I'll do better, I promise.

This definitely points out my main goal though, which is to create a journal of my school experience, regardless of anyone else's participation. I don't mean I don't give a damn if no one listens to this podcast, or sends me comments and emails. I've already said how good an experience that is. I mean that my primary motivation, apart from any other consideration, is to create the podcast consistently through the end of my program at CDIA and in the process incorporate the best production values that I can. I don't know how much time I could devote to developing a community, no matter how small, of people interested in talking about my experiences in school, or theirs for that matter, unless it were to happen. I do know that I can learn a lot from creating this podcast and using it to reflect on what I discover each week at school. I'm just as glad that other people can do the same.

More stuff about Final Cut Pro editing strategies. Placing shortcuts to menu commands using the Button Bars in the top of every window pane, Timeline, Browser, Viewer etc. Option-J brings up the Button command lists, Option-H brings up the virtual keyboard that displays all the command key combinations. Rendering, which applies a special effect to a selected clip and then writes a file that stores that effect, can be a big time saver, and at the same time a disk hog. You'll need to remove these files from time to time. The wise thing to do is to delete them within Final Cut Pro, as opposed to deleting them from the Finder, otherwise you could get headaches from persistent alerts that media files are missing. Use Command-R to generate a render.

By the way, I'll always refer to the Apple Command key as the Command key, not the Apple key as I hear it often referred to in class and by other students. Maybe it's just old school, but I can't think of it as anything else.

As far as transitions are concerned, there are four which are recommended for their consistently effective impact:
  • A Straight Cut
  • dissolve
  • Fade to black
  • Dip to Color
Finally I discuss a variety of export options, depending on the medium you're sending you film to. Most importantly, from an archival standpoint, send your film to tape (DV tape on your camcorder). Also I mention exporting using Current Settings, Flash for web and Audio to OMF.

Thursday night was the Practicum showing. Student projects that created products in their media for local non profit organizations under the direction of a professional filmmaker. Great professional looking work.

Finally I mention a recent episode of This Week in Media, show # 53, Learning to Learn. TWIM is produced by I listen to this podcast weekly, very new media oriented with an emphasis on filmmaking issues. This one is about learning strategies for professionals that help you keep current.

Leave a comment or send me an email.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

#25 Wk17 - Final Cut Pro

This is the first week of the Final Cut Pro module. Tuesday night was a special topic class, separate form the module.

Our speaker was Robert Patton Spruill, director of Squeeze and a documentary on Public Enemy which is in final production.

He brought some fresh perspective on how to live your life as an independent filmmaker. I also appreciated his perspective on the program at CDIA versus, Emerson College, where he teaches as well.

Federico Muchnik, the video program director is our instructor for the Final Cut Pro module. He has an easygoing style that he uses effectively to cut through all the mucky details and focuses specifically on the need to know stuff for filmmakers. We’re covering a lot of ground in a short time, the point is that we’ll do the real learning once we start cutting. I cover the things I think are most important to the editing workflow.

Somehow I got into a rant about archiving files. It’s definitely something you need to consider before you go to far into a project. Finally I bring up an important point about capturing video. Don’t capture video to an external drive connected via USB. Just don’t’.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

#24 Wk16 - Film Project 1

Click on the podcast title to link to a player of this post.

After a review of our footage from last week's shoot we returned to New Hampshire and spent the morning at the Jackson Estuarine Lab. We filmed the steps that will ultimately be a movie on how to make a genetic fingerprint.
This module has been an excellent learning opportunity. I have learned to check equipment before I leave the equipment room, to make a shooting list before going on locaiton and most importantly, I learned a valuable lesson about setting the white balance on a DVX100.

Finally I end with an insider's description of the Pixelcorps. This is an online community that serves video professionals through training, mentoring and job postings. There's a summer special of $50 for 3 months membership. It's a good deal.

Go to for a good source for production video podcasts.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

#23 Wk15 - Film Project 1

Our team chose to shoot both projects at the same location. In the How To, our guest biologist, Steve, who works at the Jackson Estuarine Laboratory, demonstrates how to devine the genetic fingerprint of bacteria The profile is on the very same lab which monitors marine biology on the coast of New Hampshire.

We had a number of temporary setbacks because we didn't check our equipment but we end up with quite a bit of usable footage.

I'm still recording using the built-in mic on my Mac Powerbook. I've discovered you can do some decent audio correction using the Channel EQ. I'll talk about that in the next post.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

#22 Wk14 - Film Project 1 and NAB Wrapup

This episode includes a wrap up of NAB. I focus on Apple and Adobe's new products and a little bit about the Red Camera.

Although I didn't attend the first week of the new Module, "Film Project 1" I lay out the details: get coverage for two 5 minute videos, one demonstrating how to do something, the other is a profile of an individual.

Check out these podcasts that provided a lot of live coverage of the NAB event: This Week in Media, FX Podcast and Digital Production Buzz.
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