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Recycle computers and electronics

-March 26, 2003-

"More Tips and Tricks Night"

Lots of tips and tricks in tonights meeting so we are calling it "more tips and tricks night" which sounds better than "FCPtips/tricks/Plugins/Effects/Film Look Night"

As usual Stump the Gurus was up first with regulars Ken Stone, Andrew Balis, and special guest Gurus, Steve Martin of Ripple Training , and FCP Guru, Larry Jordan. Some of the questions asked and answered were:

Q.) I have motion effect with lots of keyframes and I want to shift everything a frame or so. Is there a way I can move all the keyframes at once?
A.) Yes. Make sure motion and filter bar is turned on in your timeline and just click on the BLUE bar in between Video and Audio tracks and move left or right. By control clicking on one of the keyframes you can turn off certain effects for more control.

Q.) The manual says you can drag markers off and they will disappear from Timeline. That true?
A.) Not that I know of. Park on the marker, hit the M key and delete.

Q) How do you do a speed ramp in FCP?
A.) Not very well. Get one of the many plug ins available for that. Boris Continuum, Joes Filters, CGM all have these plug ins.

Q.) I have this EQ audio filter I apply and no red render line comes up nor does the filter seem to work.
A.) Well not all audio filters require rendering if you have enough real time audio tracks specified in your preferences. As for the EQ filter if you left it alone on it's default settings and did not change any of the parameters the filter will do nothing.

Steve Martin of Ripple Training was up next and Steve was here to show us how to make motion menus in FCP and import them into iDVD 3.

Steve started out reminding us that with iDVD3 you can import chapter markers just like you can with DVD Studio Pro. How do you make a chapter marker? Simple. Add a marker as you normally do in the FCP timeline by hitting the M key and then control Click on the marker and select ADD CHAPTER MARKER in the window. Do this for all chapter markers you wish to import into iDVD3. Trick here to make this all work is this:

Go to FILE menu and select EXPORT > FCP Movie.
Uncheck Make Movie Self Contained. (It's a ref movie now folks)
Select ALL MARKERS next to the Markers button. NOT Chapter Markers or DVD Studio Pro Markers or Compression Markers. Those wont work.
Now export

To create a custom menu is very simple. Do all your work in FCP and get your composite or whathaveyou like you wish and export as above and then launch iDVD 3 and click on the customize button on the iDVD3 window and choose whatever theme you like and just drag your file right into the window of that template. Done. But wait. You want your OWN custom menu. That one you created in FCP? OK. Click on the Settings button above all those themes you are playing with. Now just drag the cool motion menu you made into the IMAGE window and...Done. Sort of. Remember iDVD3 works with other iApps such as iTunes. Want to change background music? Click the Audio Button, and up comes your iTunes library. Choose your music.

You can add slide shows, more buttons if you wish and go crazy without going back to FCP and tweaking.

Marco Paloni from Digital FilmTools showed us the latest and greatest plug ins from their 55mm collection. Plus gave us a quick look at Zmatte and Composite Suite.

Marco started off showing us a demo reel with some of the plug ins in action. Movies such as Great Expectations, Anna and the King, How Stella got her Groove Back, What Dreams May Come and FireStorm all used DFTs plug ins.

55mm is a package of 20 plug ins that work inside FCP and include useful effects such as Mist, Fog, Faux Film, Skin Smoother, Bleach Bypass and more. "The filters are designed to keep you from fumbling around with glass filters when shooting. You can now precisely treat your images in a controlled digital environment with high quality, 16 bit processing." The plugins are not only useful but quite easy to tweak and the default settings of each are good enough in most cases to just leave alone. The faux film filter is among the best I have ever seen for a "Film Look" This plugin alone is worth the price of the package. 55mm works with After Effects or FCP in 16bits however FCPs render engine works only in 8 bits so there is a bit of a hit in quality if you wish to stay and render in FCP. Render times are fast for the most part.

Zmatte which Marco had only a little time to show is quite amazing and VERY easy to use for us Key challenged folks. Seems there are little elves in the program that allow you to create excellent blue and green screen composites even if your shot was really badly done. It has very cool De-artifact controls, matte manipulators and spill suppression controls, easily manipulated with sliders. You can treat multiple bad blue and green screen shots with Blur, Shrink and Wrap functions. Very Powerful.

Composite Suite which just shipped for FCP is also quite amazing and a HUGE time saver for those who dont wish to do their own composites assuming the effects you wish to do are in the Composite Suite. Well I be most of them are.

"Light" is simply killer. It gives you the ability to add light where none existed before. In as many shapes and patters as your head can imagine. What sunlight streaming through a shutter window? LIGHT does that. How about light through a crack in the door? Light does that too. Other plugins in this 28 effects package include Color Correct, Grain, TBC, Matte Repair, and optical dissolve which is as lovely a dissolve in default mode as you can find.

Go to their web site and take a look all three packages. Chances are you need something in there and chances are it will save you a heck of a lot of work in the future.

First Show and Tell of the evening was more of a "New Concept" Show and Tell then clips from a movie.

Brian Fleming directed and wrote the critically acclaimed and award winning "mock documentary "Nothing so Strange" which attempts to solve the mystery of Bill Gates assassination. Brian showed off his new DVD of same but this DVD has a bit of a twist. The DVD is not "Nothing So Strange" itself but rather a compilation of video and audio "evidence" related to the Gates assassination. And here's the kicker--you buy the DVD, you get the copyright. You can use any footage on it, including the Zapruder-like shot of the assassination, in any project you wish, without seeking permission. Inspired by the open-source software movement, Brian considers this an experiment in grass-roots marketing and distribution, and says, "I make no claim that I know exactly what I'm doing here." Film site:

Take a look at the site and and get your head wrapped around this new "Open Source" style filmmaking. I believe Brian has something here which deserves not only further study but participation.It's an interesting idea.

DV Companion author Philip Hodgetts was up next to show us how to do some cool effects using only what's inside FCP and NOT using any plug ins. The idea behind buying plug ins is that someone has done most of the work for you and you dont have to waste time doing it your self. BUT the reality is some dont have the money and are forced to do it them selves. AND you can do most of the effects you see in plug in packages with out having to buy them. Downside? It takes a lot of effort and a lot of work.

Intelligent Assistance just released a very fine CD Tutorial named "Great Visual Effects In Final Cut Pro Vol 1" which shows you how to do many cool visual effects working along side the include training movies. No reading required.

Phil showed us how, for instance to do an animated glow around a moving object, (skier going down a hill). This involves Mattes, keyframes, luminance values and the kitchen sink. The result? Very cool glowing skier gliding like an Angel down the slopes.

Another effect was 3D titles whereby all you need to do is duplicate your title onto the upper track, shift the top track a couple of frames to the right or left, select Composite > Multiply and BOOM, instant 3D. Course you can use Title 3Ds 3D text but what fun is that?

You can do dozens of effects in FCP without buying plug ins and Great Visual Effects will show you not only how, but make you understand the principles behind what you are doing so you can create just about whatever your imagination can come up with.

Time for a break and we all went into the lobby and raced across the street for 99cent Tacos from Jack in the Box

Perhaps the most requested presentation lafcpug receives is how to achieve a film look in FCP. Well Promax's JD Wilcox has 5 favorite methods and talked about them all.

JD began with his most favorite EXPENSIVE method which is the plug in Magic Bullet. Magic Bullet is a very powerful suite of "Film look" After Effect plug ins that work inside FCP but it sells for $999.00

Next came Cinelook from Digi Effects which has been around the longest, is OSX ready and costs $695.00. Film Damage is perhaps what Cinelook is most notable for.

Cinemotion, also from Digi Effects is the same as Cinelook but doesn't include Film Damage and Stock Match. it sells for $295 or on sale for $195. This plug in along with the above plug ins take a LONG time to render. Figure about 20:1 ratio.

DV Film has a nice "film Look" plugin called DV Filmmaker and it's a stand alone app which sells for $99.00. Much like Cinemotion it sells for much less money.

All these plug ins will achieve a very nice "film look" but they all cost money. What doesn't cost anything and arguably does a better job then these plug ins is to simply use the de-interlace filter included in your copy of FCP. Yep, thats right, the de-interlace filter. The look is similar to shooting in frame movie mode with a Canon XL1, only much better.

Understand the de-interlace filter works only with FCP 3 as the filter in prior versions was not so good, throwing out much of the resolution.

There are other techniques one can do that are free and can be found here.

Dv Creators Guy Cochran returned to lafcpug this time to show us how to create a motion favorite to apply to a range of clips for quick, smooth automated moves. This is a HUGE time saver folks.

Let's say you have a bunch of stills in your timeline and you want the stills to dissolve to the beat of this groovy music track you laid under the stills. Using the M key (Marker) park you playhead at beginning of sequence and play, hitting the M key everytime you hear the beat of the music. Result? A whole bunch of markers on the time line. Now select your ROLL tool and roll each picture to the marker so each picture will begin and end on a mark.

Create a Motion favorite. How? Easy. Park your playhead where you want your custom dissolve to go. Apply dissolve. Double-click on dissolve to open in viewer. Change duration to whatever you want and what your still clips can handle and look for that little transition icon in upper right hand corner of viewer window and drag it to your favorites folder in the browser. Call it something like "Dissolve 2 seconds." Now control click on this new favorite and select Default from the Pop up window.

Now for the time saver. Select all your clips by dragging your mouse around all of them and drag the entire timeline into the overlay window of the Canvas and drop into OVERWRITE with TRANSITION. Bingo. All your stills now have dissolves of 2 seconds each between every picture. Wait, thats not enough. How about adding a Ken Burns effect to each still to so the pics move into each other while dissolving. Easy.

Park your playhead on one of the stills and double click to open in Viewer and Canvas. Put Canvas in Wireframe mode. Apply keyframes to scale motion of still until satisfied then go up to MODIFY MENU > MAKE MOTION FAVORITE and that favorite will now be in your favorites folder. Select all the stills in timeline until all are highlighted and just drop the new favorite onto any of them. All stills will now have that favorite applied. Render and your done.

Next show and tell was "Derelect" from Bill Lippincott & Paul Kelleher who said; "We did this video for the Band 'Macho Pinto'. I am friends with them and for the past year they had been telling me "you are going to be our DERELICT ...if we ever make the video". Somewhere around Dec 7th or 8th I saw the LAFCPUG call for entries and I asked/told them I should make the video. They said yes, I asked Paul to help. then write, shoot, edit, boom drove it to your house on the 29th. So the user group inspired me to get us to complete our first '100% ours' project."

Derelict was shot on DV, expertly edited and fun to watch. The tune from Macho Pinto is very catchy but what this video shows is all of us need a bit of a push to get off our butts and make a movie. In this case Bill and Paul used the deadline of a DVD. The results are they completed their project. It's always a good thing to put a deadline on your self and meet it.

World Famous raffle was up next and we thank the generous folks who donated these raffle prizes.

2 FCP Keyboard Keycharts - Neotron Design
2 Royalty Free Stock Footage CDs - ThinkStock
Copy of 55mm Plug ins for FCP - Digital FilmTools
Free FCP 101 class
- Digital FilmTree
3 Color Correction for FCP DVD - Digital FilmTree
PowerStart Guide - Dv Creators
Tickets to MacGathering -Deborah Shadovitz
Secrets of Final Cut Pro -
Dv Creators
Free FCP or DVD Studio Pro or After Effects class at Promax Hollywood or Irvine - Promax
5 $20.00 Gift Certificates -
Poquito Mas Restaurants (Hey, we gotta eat)
DV Companion for FCP 3 -
Intelligent Assistance
Great visual Effects for Final Cut Pro - Intelligent Assistance
DVD Companion Pro Pack - Recipe 4 DVD
Various books - CMP Books
Free Tickets to MacGathering Expo - MacGathering
Final Draft - Final Draft
1 T-shirt -
2 copies of lafcpug DVDs - lafcpug

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

Michael Horton,