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Recycle computers and electronics

-Aug 28, 2002-


Tonight we devoted most of the evening to "Things that make your life with FCP just a bit Better" featuring demos of DV Companion for OSX, CGM Transitions and Filters, the AJA KONA Capture card, Gorilla, Keyboard shortcuts, show and tells, and of course World Famous Raffle.

First up was our monthly Q and A we like to call Stump the Gurus with Ken Stone, Andrew Balis, and special guest Guru, film editor Michael Alberts. Some of the questions asked and answered were.

Q.) My Photoshop files look very bad and show artifacts and brightness shifts after I bring into FCP.
A.) Check to make sure you are rendering in YUV and check to see if you have the RAD DV extensions installed. If so trash them.

Q.) How to do get to the end of a clip in the Timeline by a keyboard short cut.
A.) The down arrow and then the left arrow . Or "end" or Shift-end and back minus one (left arrow.)

Q.) I'd like to edit on the fly in the trim window but I can't seem to do it.
A.) You can edit on the fly but not like you can on the Avid in trim mode. You can ripple on the fly in the viewer too providing you have the ripple tool selected when you hit your I or O points. Same with Trim Window. If it's not working then something is wrong.

Q.) I use Capture Now and it saves the clip to the desktop. Then what do I do?
A.) Just drag it into FCP's Browser and save.

Q.) I'm running FCP 3 on OS 10.1.5 and after Software Update did it's thing I am getting repeated Unexpected Quits. What's up?
A.) Try booting up with the OSX CD and running the Disk First Aid. If that doesn't work, reinstall FCP and QuickTime. If that doesn't work, reinstall the OS.

Q.) I cant seem to do a custom install of QT 6
A.) You cant. No longer needed. QT 6 installs all you need.

JD Wilcox of Promax Hollywood was up next with this months Tip/trick of the Month. However we threw out the tip/trick and replaced it with the TipS/trickS and JD gave us an earful of very cool Keyboard shortcuts and modifier keys you need to know to not only function faster in FCP but actually do tasks that you might not otherwise be able to do with out knowing the shortcuts.

JD started out with the Option key and Control key. Now the Option key plus whatever keyboard shortcut you choose, will 99 out of 100 times perform the opposite of what you perform. For ex: In the Timeline with your playhead parked on a clip hitting the X key will perform and in and out point. Option-X will remove it.

The Control Key plus mouse click will, depending where you click your mouse, will bring up a gazillion hidden menus that are useful and very handy. Control click in the Viewer Browser, TL and see what comes up. You'll be amazed and it will cut your work time considerably.

Next JD talked about his ten favorite Keyboard Shortcuts, or what he calls, ten shortcuts you should know.
1. Apple-Option-S = Save all (saves all projects)
2. F-12 = Toggles External Video On/Off (great to go in and out of RT)
3. F-2 = Log Clip (great when in L and C window)
4. Control - C = Batch Capture
5. F-10 = Overwrite Edit - (fast way to drop into your TL after setting in and out points in your Viewer)
6. Shift-U = Fit to Window (Arrange you windows the way you want it. Holding down option key, go up to Window menu and select Custom Layout 1. Now when ever you need to snap back to your layout after maybe overlapping windows, hit Shift-U)
7. Control-K = Add keyframe (adds keyframe to all motion properties at once)
9. Option-C - Nest items (select all items in TL hit Option-C)
10. Apple-Z = Undo.

JD showed us a couple resources to go to if you want to learn keyboard short cuts and the absolute free place is the back of your FCP manual. Also the HELP menu while in FCP. You can print it out. (9 pages plus) Also Loren Miller's Keyboard KeyGuide.

Next up was Intelligent Assistant's Phil Hodgetts who showed us the brand new, hot of the press, DV Companion, now compatible with OSX.
The Intelligent Assistants are a different way of learning software and after seeing and playing with DV Companion you will ask yourself why is there ever a need for books or CDs when learning software. Well, there isn't really unless you spend a great deal of your time away from your computer, or you like holding something in your hand.

Philip calls DVC a compliment to your training but I call it a replacement.

DV Companion is essentially the same version as OS9 but it now works with OSX. It is "help at the point of need." Meaning it's there when you get stuck and you use it when you need to use it. You have a question? Bring up DVC, ask it, get it answered (all questions (non troubleshooting) are guaranteed to be answered.) Can't figure out how to do a roll edit? Bring up DVC and follow along with the "do it with me movie."

The app floats in small or large windows over FCP when ever you bring it up. Get rid of it in a click of the mouse.

It is a must have helper for everyone who uses Final Cut Pro. You can learn all about it by reading Ken Stones review of the product. You can also purchase it from the lafcpug Store for $99.00

Next up was Beverly Baroff who showed us a clip of the upcoming "& Thou Shalt Honor" a PBS special airing Oct 9 on most PBS stations. Beverly was the editor and has been working on this project since June of 2001 and says the show was basically shaped in the editing room as the producers and director were not sure of the exact nature of it's length. Beverly convinced the producers to allow her to cut on FCP for the following 3 reasons
1. They could own the system for the price of renting an Avid
2. They could skip the whole online process with DV in and DV out
3. She would have an excuse if things went bad with FCP as everyone told her to that FCP wont be able to handle a project of this size or complexity.

There were a myriad of problems during post that included drop frames, HDs not mounting, crashes etc, but in the end it came together. Beverly credits producer Atta Shaw with saving her more than once during the long project.

This is a sensitive portrayal of dozens of heroes in America selflessly giving and caring for others. Check your local PBS schedule for times. For more information go to the web site

Filmmaker and Filemaker Pro Guru, Aaton Cohen-Sitt was up next with a demo of his suite of affordable software tools designed to assist the creative individual in making a film, called Gorilla.

Gorilla is everything you need for pre production through post production of your independent Movie. Think Movie Magic only affordable and all in one package.

The program comes with a series of modules which include Story, Contacts, Calendar, Budgeting, Scheduling, Accounting, Editing, and Film Festivals.

Aaton took us through each module and I'll briefly write about each here.

In the Story Module you can log all you characters with detailed info. You are also able to link your actors included pictures and all info to the characters in your movie. Plus MUCH more

"Contacts" will house all info for your crew and keep track of everything related to the production of the movie.

"Enter the Budgeting module and start entering numbers. When you are done Scheduling and Budgeting your project, move on to figuring out how much money you are going to make using the Distribution of Profits module."

"Gorilla also has a complete calendar and datebook to enter your location scouts, rehearsal schedules with your actors, and other meetings. When you are ready for post, you can enter all your scene notes in the Editing/Scene Notes module. And when you are ready to submit to film festivals, enter the Film Festival module to view and enter hundreds of festivals all over the world"

What is remarkable about this program is it's affordability and how flexible it is. Plus if you know any Filemaker Pro, you'll learn this program with very little effort.

For more on this excellent program go to the Gorilla web site.

Andrew Balis, was up next with a demo of the brilliant CGM filters and transitions Vol2 for FCP.

Many users of FCP 3.0 don't even know they have CGM Vol 1 included free on the FCP install CD. Well you do and if you are not using them or haven't installed them, do so now. You most likely will never use FCP's transitions or filters again. Especially if you add the Vol 2 library of filters to your plug in folder.

Vol 2 is a set of 35 filters and transitions for use in Final Cut Pro 2 and 3. In addition to the professional plug-ins the package also includes a series of Final Cut Pro workshops and 67 "soft wipes" and is compatible with Final Cut Pro 2 (OS9) or Final Cut Pro 3 (OS9, OSX)

Andrew took us through a few of the plug ins, some of which mirror FCPs own, but because they render at the sub pixel level and contain many more parameters for adjustments they work so much better than FCPs native plug ins. Which is the reason to get them.

We looked at the difference between FCPs native plug ins and CGM's and the difference is indeed noticeable and sometimes striking.

CGM Vol 2 is available at the lafcpug Store for $174.00 and worth every penny.

It was time for a break and boy did we need it and so we took one.

The AJA Kona SD capture card is the new Card on the block and the only one as of this date working with OSX. It's gotten a lot of positive buzz so we thought it might be a good idea to show it to everyone.

So we brought in Ramy Katrib and John Taylor of Digital FilmTree, who are long time beta testers of the Kona Card to give us the low down on this highly flexible card.
John Taylor is currently working on "Project X" which is using the Kona HD card but tonight we concentrated on the SD card.

With the Kona SD one can capture DV as you normally do via Firewire but in the end when you are finished you can output via SDI to say, Digital BetaCam in Real Time which is great especially if you have many titles and effects that often break down in DV. Digital Beta is simply a much more robust system. You dont even have to change settings. What's also nice is that you can mix uncompressed Beta and DV in the same timeline.

The KONA also comes with an offline P-jpeg capture resolution that is just flat out impressive in its quality with a file size less than DV. So impressive that when Ramy and John showed a clip captured at P-jpeg resolution and the same clip captured at uncompressed, you virtually could not tell the difference. Ramy calls this codec a "Modern" Compression.

With this codec you can now edit on a PowerBook looking at your image as though it were uncompressed and you dont need SCSI drives.. Although Ramy and John did not show the KONA's ability to do variable compression it now can with the latest release.

The Kona also allows you to capture at 24fps with its Film Option which is a free upgrade for Kona Card owners.

The Kona also includes several uncompressed RT transitions including cross and additive dissolves, brightness and contrast filters and many more and adding more and more all the time.

There is a great deal of info on both the Blackmagic web site and the AJA site so go on over there and take a look. Very impressive card.

Les Perkins was up next with clips from the DVD he authored on "The Music Legacy of Paul Smith" who was the legendary composer of many great Disney films including Cinderella, Pinnochio and many many others.

Paul took a great deal of advantage of Final Cut's motion control, compositing, and transition tools and the end result is very impressive and stayed in uncompressed mode using the CineWave capture Card.

Les Perkins does many "bonus" materials for Disney and this was for the upcoming DVD re-release of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and is very well done, and so nice to see Paul Smith get the recognition that he deserves.

The last show and tell of the evening was a dandy. Tom Sanders is producer, writer, director, special effects wizard of the internet web series, "Dark Commandos." Filled with impressive CGI it is available on the internet only.

Season One, consisting of six 3-8 minute episodes, was shot over four days on a green screen stage in Burbank. 90% of the series features entirely virtual sets, and even the location footage shot in Griffith Park is enhanced with a computer generated helicopter and underground aircraft hangar. Nearly every shot in "Dark Commandos" involves a special effect of some kind, and all of it is produced on a shoestring budget using software such as Final Cut Pro, Commotion, AfterEffects, and Lightwave. Check out the series at: It's quite amazing.

We are grateful to those who generously donated the following prizes for our World Famous raffle which wrapped up a very long and very informative evening.

Prizes included:

2 FCP Keyboard Keycharts -
Neotron Design
ScanGuide Pro - Neotron Design
Free FCP 101 class - Digital FilmTree
Free FCP 101 class - Moviola
Free FCP 101 class Weynand Training International
Free FCP 101 class - Christy's/Absorb Media
Free 2-Day Basic to Intermediate Final Cut Pro class - Promax Hollywood or Irvine
5 $20.00 Gift Certificates - Poquito Mas Restaurants (Hey, we gotta eat)
1 Copy of Gorilla Pro -
1 copy Compression for Great Digital Video - CMP Books
PowerStart Guide CD -
Secrets of Final Cut Pro CD -
Secrets of Shooting Awesome Video -
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 of course Promax for footing the bill.

Michael Horton,