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Recycle computers and electronics

June 26, 2002

Happy Birthday

It was the 2 year anniversary meeting and about 400 people showed up to celebrate with us and what a celebration it was. Complete with confetti supplied by Kerry Millerick of Artistry in Motion, food and drink by Promax, world premieres by Avid and Automatic Duck, and raffle prizes worth thousands of dollars, it was a good time had by all. Well, except for the LA Film School who had to clean up the mess afterwards.

As usual we started the event with another round of Stump the Gurus, this time with Apple's Paul Saccone, film editor Dan Fort, and lafcpug regular Ken Stone. Some of the questions asked and answered were:

Q) Is there an easy way to delete all your media files including render files after completing your project?
A) Just find your capture scratch folder(s) and drag them to trash.
Q) I want to cut my media at 24 fps but I can't afford Cinema Tools. Any other options?
A) Well, Digital Film Tree will deliver your media at 24fps on a DVD-R but it will probably cost you more in the long run. The Aurora Film Card is another option. After Effects might do the pull down. But Cinema Tools is probably your most inexpensive bet.
Q)I'm running FCP 3 in OSX and I constantly get memory errors when importing PS files.
A) This is a known issue with OSX. You must be sure that there are NO empty layers in the import.
Q) I'm getting this weird sound when I pause during logging in OSX. I don't get it in OS9. What's up?
A) Make sure your speakers are hooked up to your deck not your computer.
Q) When I encode in Cleaner it takes FOREVER. If I use the MPEG 2 encoder in QT it takes so much less time. Why?
A) The encoder in QT is multi-processor aware and is velocity enhanced.
Q) I make changes in my nested sequence and sometimes when making changes in the "daughter nest" it doesn't reflect in the "parent."
A.) You can't go into the browser and select your "daughter" sequence. you must double click the nested sequence in the timeline.
Q) I want to shoot 24P and master on FCP. Can it handle that?
A.) Yes. Right now the Cinewave Card is the only one that is shipping for HD. AJA and Digital Voodoo will be shipping soon. Also using Cinema Tools you can bring your down converted tapes into a 24fps timeline and edit. When your done you can go into a HD system, recapture and finish. No EDLs.

Our good friend Steve Martin was back with this months Tip/Trick of the Month and since we all need to learn OSX, we thought it might be a good idea for Steve to show us a little about the "ins and outs" of it. So he did.
Steve first asked the audience how many were still using OS9. About 90% raised there hands. He then opened the presentation with a very cool trick whereby if you shift-click the yellow button on any window it will SLOWLY pull back into the Dock. Neat effect, but useless. He then showed us the various views one can use in the windows with "Columns" being his favorite. Using columns you can preview all your files including your Quicktime movies in the column. You can also drag your folders to the top of the window for easy access.
Creating users is a bit of a confusing subject to new OSX users. Steve showed us how to do this easily. He likes Automatic Log In off for security reasons. You can set up privileges for other users too for individual folders. Steve also ran us through the different User Modes and what they really mean.
Steve opened up FCP and showed how if you option-click on a file in the browser it will open up in it's own window in the viewer and you can drag those individual windows to the Dock for easy access. Handy if you are doing a multi camera edit.
Option-click on the desktop brings you to the finder and hides FCP at same time.
Want to import files into FCP quickly without going to File>Import> navigate to files> Save? Just click the Mac face icon on the dock which will superimpose your hard drive window on top of FCP. Find your media files and drag them to your browser.
Steve went on to cover more cool things about OSX and we will continue to cover this important topic in future meetings.

Next up was our good friend Wes Plate from Automatic Duck with the World Premiere of his latest must have app, with the really bad name called Automatic Sequence Export PRO which is a new plug in that allows FCP to export into Avid via OMF 2.0. Yes folks, this spells the death of EDLs and we were first to see it in action.
Despite technical problems with the PowerBook causing the screen to dim several times, Wes got the message across and like Automatic Ducks other app "Automatic Composition Import FCP PRO" we saw a FCP Timeline export and drop seemlessly into an Avid Timeline.
So what's supported in the export? How about this? Dissolves
Motion Effects / Speed Changes, Freeze Frames, Log Notes to Comments, Nested Sequences and Subclips. Wes states that this is not Total Conform as you would get by going from XpressDV to Symphony but the point here is to rid your life of EDLs and this app does it and does it seemlessly.
Wes showed us a 9 video layer, 4 audio layer sequence in FCP and all you have to do to export your sequence is select your sequence, then go to the File menu and select Export>Automatic Duck Pro OMF. This brings up a standard navigation window which allows you to tell it where to save your OMF file and at the bottom a little box which states "Make Avid Compatible." When you are ready to export, just click SAVE and off you go. Export is VERY fast as you are not exporting Media only metadata thus making your OMF file very small.
OK, now all you have to do is open up your Avid (supported are Symphony, Media Composer, Express, and XDV in NTSC and PAL. DS does generally work but is not fully supported yet. ) and select Import, and find your OMF file and boom, like magic your exported FCP Timeline drops in. VERY cool.
This amazing app is now shipping and you can get it in the lafcpug Store for $395.
For gobs more information go to Automatic Ducks web site.

Next up was film editor Michael Friedman who is currently cutting on a show called "Small Shots" airing on TNN, and Michael found a nifty and simple way to do an explosion effect in 10 easy steps. So he showed us.
The scene is at a bar where Superman is getting drunk feeling that no one needs him anymore and in a fit of rage throws a glass at the TV and the TV explodes, The idea here is to use FCP to create the exploding TV.
Using a 4 point garbage matte he cut out around the TV. He then found the spot on the timeline where the glass hits the TV. Having an explosion effect already handy as a file he simply put it over the TV and added sound effects and instant explosion.
The point Michael was trying to make with this demo is that FCP opens up compositing elements to the editor in a very easy way. One doesn't need to be "smart, " says Michael. One need only "think different."

Avid XpressDV 3.5 is quite probably the most talked about new NLE since it was announced several months as coming to the Mac and tonight Avid premiered this app to the World and it is indeed impressive.
Product Manager Steve Chasin got up and said a few words about the history of Avid and the Mac and assured everyone that yes, Avid "loves the Mac" and are committed to it.
The XDV will run on ALL G4s and is multi processor aware and velocity enhanced. Steve then thanked Apple for showing Avid that indeed you can put a professional NLE on a PowerBook and XDV will work quite well on one. And finally, the reason XDV is now called 3.5 instead of 3.0, Steve showed presented us with a glance of the Symphony inspired Color Corrector which Steve says brings the best of the Symphony CC and brings it down to the software level. XDV also has over 100 customizable Real Time (Preview) effects, supports multiple, simultaneous streams on ALL G4s. You can completely customize the work space and that includes mapping the keyboard. Steve also mentioned the Avid Codec which is now available to the public free. Any QT aware app can use the Avid Codec. The XDV ships with installers for BOTH the Mac OSX and Windows XP.
Steve then introduced XDV Product Designer Doug Hansel who flew in from Tewksbury MA just for this demo and Doug took us on a brief tour of what's cool in XDV 3.5. Beginning with customizing the work space Doug showed us that you can customize EVERYTHING in this app. Not just windows and keyboards. Steve showed us Trim mode is very much like Media Composers with many of MCs functionality.
Doug then showed us XDV's RT capability which depending on your processor can do multiple layers in RT. We saw 4 layers with motion effects play smoothly.
Time was running out and Doug opened up the new Color Corrector and gave us a quick tour of it's capabilities and it is quite striking, one has to admit. Also the RT Audio Mixer is quite nice although key framing might be a bit confusing to FCP users.
All in all Avid has done a very good job with this brand new app and it is worth everyones time to look further into it. See something you like in it, well then, tell Apple.
As we all know competition is a good thing not a bad thing and we welcome the XDV 3.5 into this "DV revolution" We can all only gain from it and we probably will.
XDV 3.5 retails for $1699 and $2499 with PowerPack
Visit Avid's web site for more info.

Time for a break so 400 people crammed into the lobby and no one passed out.

Up next was Michael Friedman once again, this time along with Robert C Rodriguez and Dan Fort to discuss working with FCP and OSX in a real world production environment.
Michael started us off with a couple things specific to FCP in OSX. First and most obvious in the window views as Steve Martin showed us. Keyboard commands dont transfer either which might be frustrating. You loose your apple menu yet you can make one and put it in the Dock or copy your HD and put that in the Dock.
When sharing on a network you can create a "public folder" and that and only that can be shared.
The Menus have changed in FCP. The first menu is now the application menu NOT the File menu. No labels is a frustrating item for Michael as well as no Window Shade. You can however get free apps that replace these but Michael prefers you just get used to it.
Robert Rodriguez finds using the ATI Radeon card to go out to a TV to preview RT effects works nicely. Big improvement over ADR3. Thats what they do for the ShowTime movies.
Robert says Showtime uses Cinema Tools in OSX and cuts in 24fps and captures dailies to a satellite station doing the reverse telecine to a FW drive and shuttling them to the editors station.
Kernal Panics were discussed as something that Mac users must deal with and trouble shooting must be handled similar to PC users. Also Robert found problems with SCSI and FW drive mounting issues.
All in all these three professionals have been very satisfied with OSX and although there is a curve to learning it, it is worth learning. Heck, let's face it, you have no choice. This is also a demo where you really need to get the DVD to really appreciate.

Our first Show and Tell of the night was from Tony Mark who shared the stage with his cameraman Courtney Jones and showed us clips from his unfinished feature film, "The Mailman." Shot with a Canon XL1 using FilmLook, it's the story of a Mailman who seems to deliver more than letters and as a result of the trailer, Tony found distribution and is gathering pre-sales as we speak. Congrats.

Final Show and Tell was from Mike Stathopoulos and Dan Whitehill who showed their short film "The Delivery." Shot with a Canon XL1 with CineLook it's the story of a young woman preparing for a "trust" with a delivery man who turns out not to be who you think he is. A song track from some unidentified group plays throughout the movie and fits the mood quite nicely..

World Famous Raffle was up next and what a raffle it was. Thanks so much to all of you generous people who donated.

Copy of Avid Express DV with PowerPack - Avid
2 ProMax QuickStart Final Cut Pro 3.0 Training CDs
- Promax
2 Promax QuickStart Avid Express DV Training CDs - Promax
SteadyTracker Lite - Promax
1 Two Day Hands-on XDV 3.5 class - Promax
1 Two Day Hands-on class FCP 3 - Promax
1 Cobra Crane - Promax
Copy of Automatic Composition Import FCP - Automatic Duck
One 5 day VIP Pass to the LADV show - Mindshare Ventures
5 pack of Sony Mini DV Tapes - TapeStockOnline
3 pack of Panasonic Mini DV Tapes - TapeStockOnline
10 pack of VHS Tapes - TapeStockOnline
Sony DVCAM Tape - TapeStockOnline
2 FCP Keyboard Keycharts - Neotron Design
Final Cut Pro 3 and the Art of Filmmaking - Sybex Publishing
Copies of "After Effects in Production" and "Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects" - CMP Books
Final Cut Pro 2 Editing Workshop - CMP Books
PowerStart Guide 2/3 - DV Creators
ShuttlePro - Contour Design
2 Free FCP 101 class - Digital FilmTree
5 $20.00 Gift Certificates -
Poquito Mas Restaurants (Hey, we gotta eat)
1 T-shirt -
3 Copies of "Speed Truck Challenge" -
Darren Purcell - (Grand Prize)
2 copies of
lafcpug DVDs - lafcpug


Special thanks must go to Chris Rogers, and Chriss Horgan 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,