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Recycle computers and electronics

-July 24, 2002-

It was Corporate Video night and I for one was expecting it to be very boring. I could not of been so wrong and so pleasently surprised. It turned out to be one of the best shows of the year.

First up as usual was another round of Stump the Gurus with Ken Stone, Andrew Balis and special guest Guru, DV Companion author Philip Hodgetts. Some of the questions asked and answered were:
Q) - When I export a still frame, all I get is a white screen.
A.) - Likely explanation is that you have Range Check ON when you export.
Q.) - Are there any specify setting for "day to night" in the color corrector?
A.) - This is really something your DP should be doing before you bring into FCP. Otherwise fiddle with the white and mid levels.
Q.) - I can capture fine with my camera but when I use my Sony DVMC with it's takes forever to open L and C window and capture etc.
A.) - The Sony DVMC is not compatible with OSX yet. Your problem might be related to the box itself.
Q. I have scanned pics that are between 12-25 mgbs and when I bring into FCP and render I get out of memory errors.
A.) - Your pics are too big. 4000x4000 pixels are the maximum size you can bring into FCP. Neotron Design has a great FREE ScanGuide so you can scan your pics perfectly for Video. You can get it in the lafcpug Store
Q.) - I'm getting dropped frames errors now that I have 6 video tracks and 8 audio tracks.
A.) - Increase your amount of RT audio tracks and make sure your audio quality settings are set to Low or Medium.
Q.) - I have a really big FCP Project File (61 mgbs) and FCP is slowly to a halt.
A.) - You might want to break it up in chunks. You might be running into the limitations of the app. At the end bring the chunks into a single timeline.
Q.) - On certain fonts the diagonal part of the font is cut off.
A.) - Could be the font itself. You want to always use Bold fonts such as Arial. Rule of thumb if it's a boring font it will probably work or use Title 3D from Boris which is vector based. Also make your fonts at least 24pt.

DV Creators Josh Mellicker was up next with this months Tip/trick of the Month and for those of you who are fans of the "PowerStart Guide" or "Secrets of Shooting Great Video" CDs and marvel at the innovative way these CDs are constructed, well Josh showed us how they do it. And it was a perfect demo for this Corporate video Night.
The idea here is that training tapes or CDs that show JUST people talking and demoing are boring. DVCreators doesn't do that with their CDs. They enhance the video with graphics and text which are synchronized with the video. How do they do that? With Go Live, that's how.

So Josh to us on a step by step process on how to do this. And it's not as complicated as you might think, but you DO need to know Go Live to make your life easier.
Did you know Go Live has a Timeline you can edit with? It does. It's a bit crude but it's fine for dropping your edited FCP video into.

Josh showed us how to add background images, graphs and text and manipulate picture tracks and generally enhance ones training Video all within Go Live. VERY Powerful and all done within Go Live. All this in Real Time too. Heck the program will even do compression.

If there is a more eloquent speaker on the "art" of Industrial/Corporate Video then I sure dont know who that is. lafcpug Member Bill Davis who runs a successful production company in Phoenix AZ flew in to talk about and share his expertise on why corporate videos are made, strategies for finding potential clients, and strategies for retaining clients once you've got them.

Now obviously there wasn't enough time to cover all of this in depth but for the short time Bill was with us, he sure did give us food for thought.

Bottom line, according to Bill, is that you as the Producer/Director are there for one thing and one thing only. To solve your clients problem. Ok. So how do you land the job so you an get the chance to solve the problem? Bill says it's not about the killer reel, (although that helps) or big time credentials, it is about generating trust. The moment you walk through the door you begin the process to convince that person(s) to trust you. And then to convince then that you and you alone can solve their problem.

Where can you find these people who need to have their problems solved? Lots of places. How about the newspaper for a start. Look for people who just got promoted. They got problems now. Look at Help Wanted ads. Make yourself stand out. LISTEN to the client. Every second they are talking and you are listening you are winning. The moment you begin talking about what YOU need is the moment you begin losing.
So you win the client, and how do you keep them? Solve their problem. They'll call back.

Bill then showed us a very fine video he did for PetSmart. He asked everyone to guess what the point of the video was and what problem it solved. No one guessed correctly. When Bill did tell us what the problem the video solved, it was apparent it did indeed succeed.

Bill covered many more topics including billing but if there was a theme in his talk it was simply Solve the Problem and you will succeed.

Our first Show and Tell of the night was Brian Gary of Flying Chaucer Films who showed us a series of commercials edited on Final Cut and they ranged from jeans to sheets to Apple Computer to cellular phones. Each showing off different styles and each very eye catching with very inovative uses of graphics and camera moves. You can reach Brian here if you have any questions

Our next guest was filmmaker Larry Jordan head of Corporate media at Alcatel and who was the person most responsible for the evening, having giving me the idea of Corporate Video as a theme a couple months ago. And I'm so glad he did.

Larry began by introducing Cade Rhudy, Senior Project manager from AGF Media, who focused his presentation on pre-production of corporate Video Live events. Cade covered a ton of helpful tips such as know darn well what's going to become of your production. It might be a live event today but could become a training video tomorrow. Know your audience. Get everyone on your side and know your site before you get there. Cade showed us pictures of Live events his company produced and boy, these ain't your fathers live corporate events. More like U2 concerts.

Larry then got up and began an excellent how2 on lighting for interviews and if there is any reason to get this months DVD, this is it.
Here's a few of Larry's ideas which he showed us on the big screen, and yes Virginia they DO work.
1. Turn out room lights
2. Use the natural Light to justify your lighting.
3. Move the subject away from the background
4. Add texture to the set lights
5. Use an ND filter to decrease depth of field
6. Be careful of Background action.
7. Get the subject out of his cube and into his environment.
8. Shoot room and subject at an angle
9. Key Light from Wide side of frame
10. Warm talent, Cool background adds depth

Larry then brought out a very cool way of logging your media which he claims is 800,000 times faster than logging with Final Cut and who am I to argue especially after seeing it.
It's a simple Excel sheet and you can download it HERE

Finally Larry brought up Rick Pratt of EB Productions to show us some excellent uses of FCPs effects in a video they did for a College damaged by the 9-11 disaster.

The set of this show consisted of five large video screens on a stage each fed by it's own beta deck each projecting images timed synced with FCP.
How? Simple. They took each sequence from each beta deck and captured to FCP and then nested the tracks and outputted back to each beta deck. Well, yeah it's a bit more complicated then that, but it worked.

Rick then went on to show us how he specifically used FCP to generate effects for a video for Alcatel presentation by first showing the finished video which was very impressive. Filled with lots of text effects and graphic images and on lined in FCP it was as, Rick says a very cost effective and very powerful way of producing a finished work on one system.

Apple Distinguished Educator Marco Torres and a few of his students from San Fernando High School' s SFETT was up next to talk about the Can Student Film Fest and show a trailer the students created for the event. Yours truly decided to check out the fest and was very impressed with the level of work the student s are doing over at this remarkable center. You can check out some of the pictures HERE. For those of you who don't know about SFETT you should check it out HERE.. It's a great story.

Time to take a break where we all went into the lobby, hung out, stretched our legs, solved a few of each others problems and generally got to know one another.

One of our favorite presenters and a lafcpug regular, Tim Wilson of Boris FX, was up first after the break and as usual did not disappoint.

Tims demo focused on enhancing your corporate videos using Boris Red and it's infinite amount of effects. Why Boris? Simple. It's the ONLY effects package that works within FCP. No going out of Final Cut to say AE to do your special effects. Makes a big difference in ones workflow.

Tim began by telling a few anecdotes about his life as a Corporate Video Director before working for Boris and one can understand why he took the Boris gig after some of his experiences.

Tim showed us Boris Reds keying ability (which is awesome BTW) by opening the Chroma Key filter in it's default mode. VERY impressive in three clicks keyed an image that to my eye showed no spill at all. In DV no less.

To Illustrate Boris's ability to keep PowerPoint Presentations out of your life and how easy it is for anyone to actually build, Tim brought up a very special Pie Chart complete with flying 3D text and very special chunks of the pie that I cant and won't tell you here as small children and their animals read these summaries.

So Tim went step by step and showed us how he did these cool effects including importing Illustrator files, YES, ILLUSTRATOR files into Boris, making them 3D, and animating them, again all with Boris Red. and within FCP. Whew.

Tim still wasn't done and thought it might be a good idea to show a little of Boris's Motion Tracking capabilities which are powerful and very easy to use, to say the least. Think Commotion with a smaller learning curve.

Now most people would bring up a clip of say - a person running from a cop and place one of those soft spots on the face of the suspect to show motion tracking. Not Tim. No way. That wouldn't be entertaining enough for a demo at lafcpug. No, Tim went outside the theatre prior to the show with a digital Camera, and had some poor sot take shoot him with his shirt off running around the street. Huh? Sure, it's perfect. Cause, Tim has the worlds largest nipples and you want, no NEED to mask those things and so Tim did...with a couple clicks of the mouse. No one was the wiser.

One of those demos you have had to see to appreciate and as always we appreciate Tim Wilson

Next show and tell was from lafcpug member Phil Ohler and Producer Ed Roth who did a short film on 2 of the sportscasters of the San Diego Padres one of whom was brand new to the Job. The whole idea about this video was to introduce San Diego to the "new guy and assure the public that he's the right man for the job." Judging from the video, Phil and Ed succeeded.

Last Show and Tell of the evening was from Director and editor Beth McElhenny who brought up her crew and stars to introduce her latest short, "Mixed Marriage" which concerns itself with a ...well, mixed marriage between a Cave Man and a modern suburban woman who are having marital troubles and visit a psychiatrist to sort out their issues.
Seems the world has the ability to time travel now and mates are being brought together from different eras.

This is a very funny short, and shows good sense of comic timing by both director Beth and her fine actors.

World Famous Raffle was up next and we gave out the following prizes. Thanks to all for your generosity.

Prizes include:
One 5 day VIP Pass to the LADV show -
Mindshare Ventures
2 FCP Keyboard Keycharts - Neotron Design
CGM Vol 2 Transistions and Filters - CGM
Copies of "After Effects in Production" and "Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects" - CMP Books
Final Cut Pro 2 Editing Workshop - CMP Books
2 copies Final Cut Pro 3 Editing Workshop - CMP Books
Boris Continuum Complete - BorisFX
Professional Video Producer package - Hal Landon, Video University
Free FCP 101 class - Digital FilmTree
5 $20.00 Gift Certificates - Poquito Mas Restaurants (Hey, we gotta eat)
1 T-shirt -
2 copies of lafcpug DVDs - lafcpug

Special thanks must go to Chris Rogers, for the pre show loop, 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,