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Recycle computers and electronics

-February 19, 2003-

lafcpug went on the road for the February meeting and gathered amongst the bovines for the Creative Cow Convention at the Westin Hotel near the LAX airport. Despite being a million miles a way from Hollywood, a good crowd showed up and a good time was had by all.

First up as usual was Stump the Gurus with regulars Ken Stone, , Steve Martin of Ripple Training , and special guest Gurus, Codec Genius Marco Solorio , SF Cutters Co Founder Kevin Monahan, and 2-pop co founder and FCP Guru Ralph Fairweather. Some of the questions asked and answered were:

Q) I am having a terrible time trying to capture from my DSR11 in OS 10.2.3. Often FCP can't see it or I get the spinning wheel of death.
A) Try trashing not only the FCP Preferences file but the FCP plist file. That often cures this problem.

Q.) I have 100 mgbs allocated to FCP in OS9. Is that enough?
A.) No. Allocate at least 180000K to FCP in OS9

Q) Can I use 3.0.4 with OSX or just with Jaguar.
A.) 3.0.4 is just for jaguar.

Q.) I got a lot of media on a lot of drives and I need more space. Can I just compress my media to save space and then un compress it when I need it?
A.)No. You can make your project Offline RT to save space but easiest solution is to just buy more drives.

Q.) Using FCP Titler I can't see what kind of font I want to use because they do not show it like they do in a word processor pulldown.
A.) Yep thats right. Which is why you should use Title 3D the free boris titler that comes with FCP.

Q.) I want to use Peak as my external Audio editor and it doesn't work when I do that.
A.) You must set Peak as your audio and Video editor not just audio.

Next up newly Apple Certified Trainer Larry Jordan with everything you want to know about Offline RT which is a lot to know. Now the great thing about having Larry do demos at lafcpug is that he sent me his entire outline so I dont have to do it for him in this summary. Bless you Larry.

IV. What is OfflineRT?
a. Compression algorithm (Photo JPEG) that squeezes video ~ 8 times smaller than DV
b. Uses frame size of 320 x 240 (NTSC & PAL)
c. Doesn't change frame rate
d. About 40 minutes of video per Gigabyte.
e. Suitable only for rough-cutting, not finishing.

V. Who can use Offline RT?
a. Everyone who can use Final Cut Pro - however, slower systems will need to use the Media Manager to transcode media, rather than capture in real time.

VI. When to use OfflineRT
a. When you need to puts lots of video on limited disk space
b. When you want access to more RT effects
c. If you need to edit high-bandwidth video, i.e. Hi-Def, on a low
bandwidth hard drive, i.e. no RAID

VII. When NOT to use OfflineRT?
a. If you have plenty of disk space
b. When you need to do:
1. Color-correction
2. Compositing
3. Graphics
4. Other finishing
c. OfflineRT adds a significant layer of hassle into creating the final

VIII. Benefits of OfflineRT
a. Significantly reduced media size
b. Access to more media (I.e. documentaries)
c. Access to more real-time effects
d. Access to higher-bandwidth media (i.e. HD)
e. Easier to share projects and media between multiple editors or
f. Faster editing on slower computers

IX. Downsides to OfflineRT
a. No Firewire preview to an NTSC/PAL monitor
1. you CAN use the S-video out to a monitor
b. Image quality is not as good as original
c. All video in final project will need to be batch recaptured
d. OfflineRT still frames will NOT scale up
e. Colors are not accurate
f. Converting graphics and subclips is tricky
g. Not all motion settings convert properly

XI. Larry's Ten Tips
a. OfflineRT is better than an EDL
b. Create OfflineRT clips using Media Manager
c. Use OfflineRT for rough, not final, cutting
d. Use slugs for graphics and stills
e. Create all graphics at FINAL frame size
f. Un nest all subclips before recapturing
g. Use Media Manager to:
1. Create off-line version of project
2. Delete unused media
3. Recapture at full-frame
h. Do all color correction and compositing AFTER recapturing full-frame
i. Don't use OfflineRT if you don't need it
j. Do use OfflineRT if hard drive space is limited

Oh sure, Larry spoke during this demo but the above will get you started quite nicely. This and buying this meetings DVD.

Next up was our first Show and Tell of the evening and we welcomed Ghaffer Pourazar, an Iranian born "Englishman" now living in Beijing China and performing with the Beijing Opera. Ghaffer showed us clips from his performances, notably as the Monkey King in the Chinese Traditionalist Opera, "Havoc in Heaven."

So what did this have to do with FCP? Nothing really. It was more of a cultural exchange and more about the Beijing Opera's influence on what we now call "Movie Kung Fu," the martial art form being performed in so many American Movies today.

Ghaffer is one of just one of a handful of foreign performers allowed to perform with the Opera and spent a few minutes introducing us to this beautiful art form with many anecdotes covering it's history. Beijing Opera is not Opera in the Western sense. It is acrobatics, dance, martial arts AND song. Think of Pavorotti having to do three flips off a table top with 2 swords in his hand and landing in a split, plus continue singing. That's Beijing Opera.

You can reach Ghaffer in Beijing by writing him at

We always enjoy Tim Wilson when he comes to visit. He's always entertaining and we are always wowed by what he has to show. This night was no different. Tim showed us the latest from the Boris Continuum Complete package of Plug ins for FCP and they are flat out awesome.

Now understand that Boris is a third party application but also understand that Boris doesn't act like a third party application. It integrates WITH Final Cut Pro so you never LEAVE Final Cut Pro when you need to use one of the plug ins. Hey, just like the plug ins in FCP, huh? Right. Thats the beauty. You access the plug ins just like you do normally. And guess what? You're not opening up some foreign interface when you do access the plug ins. It looks identical to FCP's good ol' interface for filters and transitions.

There are 110 plug ins in Boris Continuum Complete and Tim showed us about 15 of them and each one with HUGE wow factor. But what is remarkable about this set is that it is so easy to use and requires so much fewer steps than comparable plug ins in AE or Combustion or Commotion.

This is a VERY powerful set of plug ins and when purchased with Boris Red, is practically free. I urge you to take a look at this package. Download the demo, play with it for awhile and then try not to buy it. You will love this package.

Time for a break which gave us all time to catch our breath and take a look at the new Apple Xserve Raid which was Jaw dropping wonderful.

Considered to be one of the most high-profile projects ever to be created on Final Cut Pro, the editing of "Cold Mountain" represents a major milestone in the history of this non-linear editing application from Apple.

Digital FilmTree, a Los Angeles-based Professional Applications Group, configured the systems and designed the workflows currently being used by the illustrious editor Walter Murch, A.C.E ("Apocalypse Now", "English Patient") to edit this major Hollywood feature.

Written and directed by Anthony Minghella ("English Patient"), produced by MGM and Miramax, "Cold Mountain" stars Nicole Kidman, Jude Law, Natalie Portman and Renee Zelwigger, among others. An international production with shoots in North Carolina, post work in Romania and support from Los Angeles, the editing of "Cold Mountain" on Final Cut Pro has already made big news in Hollywood.

Zed Saeed and Ramy Katrib from Digital Film Tree were on hand to tell us how they did all this and it's a great story with yes, a bit of drama.

So once upon a time the boys at DFT got a call from someone who was interested in using FCP to cut a big Hollywood Feature Film. Little did the boys know that this someone was famed Editor, Walter Murch. Until he showed up at their door one day. So Mr Murch asked a lot of questions and took the 3 day class on FCP and liked what he saw and told the boys, lets do it.

So now the work began. How do you develop the workflow for this picture which was to be the first MAJOR motion picture to use FCP. Could FCP handle it? Turns out, yes it could and a lot of why it could goes to the boys at DFT.

First thing to do was configure the hardware. What did the editing team need? They needed this:

4- Apple G4 2x1Ghz
6- Mitsubishi 22" CRTs
2- Monitor Graphics cards
4- Final Cut Pro
4 - Apple Cinema Tools
4 - Aurora Ignitor Studio Film Capture Cards
4- Stealth Serial Ports
8- Memory 256MGB RAM
4 - RS422 20ft Cables
4 - Key cap sets
4 - Fibre Channel PCI Cards
1- Rorke FC 1.2 Terabyte SAN
1- Rorke FC Warranty
4 - StudioNet VMS (San software)
1- Vixel FC Switch
6 - FC SFPs
2-5 Meter FC Cable
4-50 meter FC Cable
4 - pair Genelec 1029A (speakers)
4 - FCP Key Cap sets
1-A/V Cable
4- NTSC BlackBurst (4 outs)
1-4 port Ethernet switch
2- Mackie 1604VIZPRO
2 - Tascam audio mixer
4 -UPS for edit station
APC Smart -UPS 2200VA
3U Rack Mount
120V/230V IN 120/V Out
8- Surge Power Strips
4 - USB Floppy Drives (FLX)

Total Cost $110,000


Picture is shot on 35mm at 24fps
Sound recorded on a Nagra D 44.1khz, 30fps NDF 24bits
Sound captured to Aston InDaw to create BWave files
BWave converted to SDII files at 24bit
Dailies telecined to Betacam SP
Picture digitized into FCP via Aurora Card
Sound Files transferred and synced to picture in FCP
Take exported as one file and re imported into FCP.

Zed then took us on a tour of the Post Production facilities in Romania which included a Kodak film processing Lab in Bucharest. This was the fun part and included pictures of the post production team and Walter murch himself. Walter edits standing up by the way and places still pictures and colored cards of all the scenes on the walls in front of his edit station. Sort of like an elaborate story board.

Funny, how the facility was so sparse on such a big budget picture.

It isn't often we get to see a master at work even if only in still pictures. It reminds us that the art of movie editing is more than the tool, it is the person behind the tool. Wonderful presentation.

Last Show and Tell of the night was a very cool Music Video directed by Gregory Lemkin and edited by Aron Orton. Featuring the band Powder whose lead singer has as much charisma in her belly as Courtney Love has in her entire body it's a very fine piece of work by both Gregory and Aaron. Shot on multiple days using multiple DV Cameras and many effects from FCP and AE.

Gregory Lemkin a commercial director, editor, and partner in Tribe Digital
. His commercial for the Playstation 2 game, Everquest, is currently on air.

Aron Orton is a filmmaker, editor, and visual effects artist. He currently works as Senior editor at DGWB advertising in Orange County. The music video, Seat of My Pants, for the band Powder, was shot on prosumer cameras, several XL-1's , a GL-1, A PD-150 and a TRV 900, and edited in Final Cut Pro and After Effects.

World Famous Raffle was up next and we thank everyone for there generous donation to the cause.

3 FCP Keyboard Keycharts - Neotron Design
Boris Graffiti - Boris
ShuttlePro - Contour Design
2 Royalty Free Stock Footage CDs - ThinkStock
Free FCP 101 class - Digital FilmTree
5 $20.00 Gift Certificates - Poquito Mas Restaurants (Hey, we gotta eat) DV Companion for FCP 3 - Intelligent Assistance
TroubleShooter for Final Cut Pro - Intelligent Assistance
DVD Companion Pro Pack - Recipe 4 DVD
Various books - CMP Books
Final Draft - Final Draft
1 T-shirt -
2 copies of lafcpug DVDs - lafcpug

Special thanks must go to Chris Rogers, and Liz Radley for taking tickets. Ken stone for taking pics and of course Promax for footing the bill.

Michael Horton,