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Recycle computers and electronics

-April 24, 2002-

It was FCP does Film Night so we demoed the brand new CinemaTools, the "Film Look" plug in Magic Bullet, showed you how to make your own "Film Look" without third party software, compared low cost "Film Look" plug ins, discussed self distributing your own digital movie, showed some cool movies, solved some problems, and raffled a bunch of prizes. All before 10:30PM

As usual we started out with our "game show" Stump the Gurus, where regular panelists, Andrew Balis and Ken Stone joined this months special guest Guru, Walter Shires of Digital FilmTree, in a FCP troubleshooting Q and A giving a chance for someone in the audience to win a raffle prize if they stumped the Gurus.

A few of the questions asked and answered:

Q.) I captured at RT offline res and then after editing I used the "Make Offline" feature to get rid of all my un used media to recapture at DV resolution and when I did this everything was out of sync and the TC now read frames.
A.) Use the Create Offline option, not Make Offline. Use the Media Manager
Q.) Can I change Stereo to Mono?
A.) Yes. Option + L
Q.) I get this "Codec not Found" error when I try to render a Pic in my sequence.
A.) Try re-installing QT Pro using Custom Install>Select ALL.
Q.) I have three versions of FCP on my iBook but when I try to open 3.0 I get a "Missing System ID" error
A.) You need to actually throw away the System ID file located in System Folder> Application Support> Final Cut Pro Support folder. re start.
Q.) I have a 16X9 sequence that runs and looks great but when I apply the three way color corrector and broadcast safe filter, I see artifacts, and flicker and look is much worse.
A.) It might be you are just too perceptive. Any time you render something it the look will change. Also we think there might be an issue with the broadcast safe Filter. Try applying a filter with 0 settings and render and see if you get the same results.
Q.) Why does DV Start/Stop Detection work sometimes and not work other times?
A.) DVSS looks for time/date stamps in the DV stream. When it detects them it puts a mark. Sometimes in, lets say rerecorded material it gets confused. It will then not detect scene changes. It also get confused and hangs when there is TC breaks.

DV Creators Josh Mellicker was up next with this months Tip/Trick of the month and Josh went three better and showed us 4 tip/tricks of the month. Being FCP does Film night Josh concentrated on making your video look more like "film." using no 3rd party plug ins.
Drop your video into the timeline and duplicate the V1 track to V2. Now select the V1 clip and add a Gaussian blur. Bring blur up to about 4 or where you like it. Now select top clip and apply a composite mode to blend both tracks into each other. Now play with those composite modes. Start with ADD and maybe check out Soft light or Overlay. Use the one that looks the best to you.
Not good enough for you? How about adding some noise?
Go to the generator pop up and select NOISE. Drag it over to canvas onto the Superimpose window. Select the Noise clip and apply a composite mode to blend with the lower two tracks. Turn on clip overlays and drag down noise level until you get the look you want.
Next Josh showed us a couple of nifty filters in QT to use for that "film look."
Export that sequence you just created File>Export>QT Movie
Call it something Click on Options and select Photo Jpeg and 29.97 frame rate. Now click on the Filters tab and select Film Noise. Play with the settings until you get the look you want.
Then Josh showed us how to make a "down and dirty film leader."
Create a new Sequence and choose a preset of offline RT. Now pull up sequence settings and change the frame size to Custom and set it to 4000X320.
Select TEXT from the generator and drop it into Timeline. Type some gobbly gook. About 5 or six words worth using characters with descenders such as 'Q" and "K" and "P" etc.
Choose a font like "Kid Print." To blur the text a bit scale it up until you like it. Make sure text remains in the middle of your 4000x320 space. Now (make sure you are in Wire Frame mode) take your sequence in the Canvas Window and make it Vertical as opposed to horizontal as you see it now. Drag the whole thing down and set a key frame. Drag it up through the scene set another key frame. Render. Your own film leader.
Josh also showed us how to simulate shallow depth of field and a film flash which are a bit involved to go into here so you will have to just get the DVD to see how he did it. <grin>

Apple's brand new CinemaTools (formerly Film Logic) was up next and we brought in three of the very best talents in LA who know a whole lot about this app which allows you to bring in your telecined Film to FCP to cut at 24fps.
Film editor Dan Fort, Negative Cutter Edvin Mehrabyan, and Apple's Paul Saccone gave us all a brief glimpse of what this program can do.
So what IS CinemaTools? Well Paul Saccone showed us slides covering the basics, all of which you can find on Apple's web site. CT is a "plug in/separate app" that simply allows you to import Industry standard telecine logs, including ALE, ATN, FLX, and FTL. It converts 29.97 to 24fps. It generates cut lists and those cut lists include optical lists, titles, dupe lists, scene and pull lists and missing elements list. It also exports audio EDLs. It supports 24P High Def. It's essentially a database program and works only in OSX
Dan and Edvin then discussed a bit of CT's workflow using clips from the soon to be released "Rules of Attraction" from Lions Gate Films and the first major film to use CT.
Dan Fort has been with this program since the beginning and is somewhat responsible for getting CT author Loran Kary to write it in the first place. Dan was instrumental in talking Hollywood into taking a chance on FCP as a tool for Filmmakers and Showtime used it and still uses it and the rest is history.
Edvin then showed us CT in action and described his experience working on Rules of Attraction with CT/Film Logic as flawless.
CT will be shipping in May for a price of $999.00 and is available at the Apple Store.

First show and tell of the night was from Jason Apuzzo who showed us his USC MFA thesis short titled San Pedro a film now showing on and is currently the most viewed student film on ifilm to date.
Film takes place on last night of Democratic Convention and involves, money, intrigue and Al Gore. It's a very moody piece of filmmaking with blown out lighting, a Film Noir composition and the use of a plethora of digital tools to enhance the look of the story.
Shot on a budget of $3000.00 with a crew of 2 people and shot with a Canon XL 1 and cut on an IMac. PhotoShop and Delirium were used and Sound effects were had from
We only got to see 5 minutes of this 30 minute film so when I got home that night I logged onto ifilm and watched the whole thing. I suggest you do too. It's a very fine piece of filmmaking.
You can hear Jason Talk about San Pedro over at the DVGuys


The film look Plug in "Magic Bullet Suite V 1.0" from the Orphanage has had a lot of attention lately so we thought it might be a very good idea to show it. So we brought n Author and Filmmaker Scott Billups to show us what this thing can do, and boy it's powerful. "Magic Bullet Suite v1.0 works by de-interlacing standard and high-definition video and converting it to a variety of progressive frame rates including 24p, while removing undesirable artifacts to enhance the final image. The software also provides an extraordinary range of tools to create and apply sophisticated looks that precisely emulate traditional motion picture film stocks, lens filtration, lab processes, and advanced telecine color correction techniques."
Using footage from his latest High Def film Scott wrote and directed titled "Mid Century."

which concerns computers taking over the earth, he opened up this AE plug in and gave us a glimpse of what it did and will do for his movie, now in post production.
Scott opened up a clip of a lovely young lady in front of a blue screen and showed us how Magic Bullet can get rid of the jaggies and any interlace artifacts with a click of the "gun." Very powerful.
Scott then opened up a close up of Leading Lady Faye Dunaway and showed us how easy it is for Magic Bullet to smooth out the skin eliminating all traces of wrinkles.
Magic Bullet comes with a bunch of pre set "looks." which turns your clips with a click of the mouse from harsh to warm and fuzzy and so many more. All of which you can modify.
Other suites in Magic Bullet include Broadcast Spec, LetterBoxer, and Opticals, all of which Scott showed us.
This is a very powerful program well worth a look at and we were very fortunate to have Scott give us a glimpse of what it's capable of.
You can purchase Magic Bullet at for $995.00

Editor Deeder McDaniel was up next with "Until Morning" a feature length movie shot in the Dogme 95 school of filmmaking meaning that a strict set of "rules" applies to the story telling including; no artificial light, must use hand held cameras, no sound effects, no music, straight cuts, and generally nothing artificial to enhance your story.
Using a group of 10 actors, the film was entirely improvised, which of course proved difficult for the editor who had to try to match takes.
We were able to only see a snippet of this film which included the trailer and a couple clips.
Shot with two PD 150s with an on board mic and a boom, no audio sweetening allowed.
Dogme is a very controversial form of story telling but is a grand exercise in discipline. Every filmmaker ought to try it at least once.

Break was up next so we all went out to the lobby to hand with the folks from AJA and watch Lisa Brenneis pack up empty boxes from PeachPit having sold her entire allotment of the latest version of the 'Visual QuickPro Guide for FCP 3'

Dv Companion author Philip Hodgetts was up next to show us a comparison of low cost film look plug ins available for FCP. The idea her was not a contest to see what looks best but simply a "here are some looks, what do YOU think looks best."
For the demo we picked CGM's Film Look,, Joe's Mallers Field Blender,, and Digital FilmTool's FauxFilm
Using a side by side comparison all seemed to do what they claimed to do and all did different things in different ways.
Digital FilmTools Faux Film was the only plug in that didn't pull the light down when applied. In fact it actually brightened up the clip in it's default mode.
CGM seemed to this eye to be a bit cleaner and less grainy but this was only after playing with the controls. Joes Filters Field Blender was quite clean and very natural looking.
This is a demo that has to be seen rather than written about but suffice it to say all behave very well all take a long time to render and all are worth considering.

Filmmaker Steve Payne went up to the "Burning Man" festival in Nevada last year and before he did announced he would make a completed movie of it and show it at the LA Film School soon after he got back. And he did.
Since then Steve received permission from the Festival organizers to show his film anywhere and attempt to make a profit from it. So Steve has done just that.
Steve began by buying a $2000.00 projector and started to make phone calls asking if he could show his film. Most said sure. So armed with his movie and a bunch of DVDs he pressed he began screenings which took him from basements of Clothing Stores to Community Theaters, to Bars and Restaurants, anywhere that had a screen and a desire to see his movie. And Steve began to profit. He has not done a screening that has lost money. Seems every screening he has done their are people who buy copies of his film.
He says one of the reasons this film works is because he tapped into a known audience that also shared his enthusiasm for this particular festival and thereby lies a secret. Know you audience and go after them.
For more on the Burning Man and Steve go here.

In August of 2000 Alessandro Mercuri showed us a clip of his then work in progress called Alien American. It's now finished and has been showing to great acclaim around the world. Alessandro showed us a clip from this expansive work and I couldn't describe it if I had too. Not because it's indescribable but because taken out of context with the rest of the movie it leaves you scratching your head in a kind of "what the heck are you trying to do" way. Now since I've seen much of the rest of his movie and understood the context of this particular clip,I can tell you if you ever get a chance to see Alien American, for goodness sake do. It's a wonderful blend of David Lynch meets Frank Capra.
More on Alessandro here.

Finally World Famous raffle rounded out the evening and the following were given out to those lucky enough to grab the right ticket.
Many thanks to all you generous people who donated and continue to donate prizes.

Prizes included

Automatic Duck - Wes Plate and
Automatic Duck
2 copies of MovieWorks Deluxe for OSX -
2 DV Companions for FCP 3 - Intelligent Assistance
PowerStart Guide 2/3 - DV Creators
2 copies Visual QuickPro Guide - PeachPit Press
1 Free FCP 101 class - Digital FilmTree
5 $20.00 Gift Certificates -
Poquito Mas Restaurants (Hey, we gotta eat)
Promax T-shirts -
3 copies "Final Cut Pro 3 Ugrade Essentials" - Friendsof Ed
1 T-shirt -
Copy of "Speed Truck Challenge" -
Darren Purcell -(Grand Prize)
"Six Pack" of wickedly cool CDs -
Sound Adventures
3 "I-Can T-shirts - Marco Torres and the SFETT

Special thanks must go to Chris Rogers, and Doug Lindeman for taking tickets. Ken stone for taking pics. Mark Havener for doing the lights and Dan Brockett for taping the show, and of course Promax for footing the bill.

Michael Horton,