Scott Simmons – ProVideo Coalition A Moviola Company Sat, 24 Jun 2017 14:23:23 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Scott Simmons – ProVideo Coalition 32 32 An in-depth discussion about Magix VEGAS Pro Tue, 20 Jun 2017 13:00:41 +0000 This interview below is about Sony Magix VEGAS Pro! If you’ve worked in editing and post-production for any length of time you’ve probably heard of the non-linear editing package know as VEGAS. Most likely you remember it as SONY VEGAS but the package was sold to the software company Magix in 2016 and it’s moving

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This interview below is about Sony Magix VEGAS Pro! If you’ve worked in editing and post-production for any length of time you’ve probably heard of the non-linear editing package know as VEGAS. Most likely you remember it as SONY VEGAS but the package was sold to the software company Magix in 2016 and it’s moving forward under Magix’s wing.

Why a big multi-thousand word article about Vegas right here, right now? It goes back to NAB 2017 when I led a class called NLE Independence – Editing Beyond Adobe, Apple and Avid. This class wouldn’t have been complete without talking about VEGAS and since I had never used Vegas I had to find someone who was knowledgeable using this NLE.

That led me to Bobby Grubic who was kind enough to sit down and chat with me about VEGAS so I could speak somewhat intelligently on the subject. And Bobby did one better, dropping by the NAB class and speaking in person on Magix VEGAS.

I recorded the chat Bobby and I had just to be sure I didn’t miss anything but got to thinking after I was done … this would make an excellent blog post so I transcribed the interview (well … the fantastic SpeedScriber transcribed the interview, I just edited the thing) and posted it here with some VEGAS screenshots to try and make it all make sense.

The VEGAS editing product is available in a wide range of options from the low priced VEGAS Movie Studio line up to the $399 – $799 VEGAS Pro line. I think most reading this will be interested in VEGAS Pro unless you’re one of a small group of dedicated users out there.

VEGAS has a lot to offer and a read down the VEGAS Pro software comparison shows just how feature rich this tool is. I played around with it here and there in preparation for the NAB class and was impressed with what I saw. It’s really quite sad that Vegas hasn’t caught on over the years but that probably has more to do with how previous owner Sony marketed the tool … as in really didn’t (and we talk about that a bit below). With Magix at the helm Vegas has a new life but it’s living in a very crowded NLE market.

VEGAS is PC only so Mac users are out of luck. If you’re interested in this conversation below I would recommend downloading the 30-day free trial and following along with some of your own media and kicking the tires for yourself. The transcription below was from a pretty free-flowing conversation between Bobby and myself that wasn’t really meant to be read so please forgive any weirdness, but I’ve tried to edit it so it’s more easily readable.

Here’s Bobby Grubic and myself talking Magix VEGAS. The old-school NLE you’ve probably never seen. As I often do when playing around with a new NLE I edit videos of my kids first. It makes for great screenshots and they haven’t revoked my permission to use them … yet.

Magix VEGAS looks like a lot of other NLEs with a familiar two up viewer display and a timeline for track based editing.

Scott Simmons: Yea I’m an Avid, Premiere, Final Cut guy and we were pitching these sessions for NAB and I was like ‘you know these days there’s a lot more than just these three’ so I’ll pitch them a class on editing alternatives. I have dabbled with Resolve and play with HitFilm a little bit and hadn’t played with Vegas’s I really hadn’t really had a PC to use and I do now have a laptop and you know I was like Is this going to be a fun class and they were like “Yeah that’s a great idea let’s do it”.

I got to install Vegas and mess around with it I’m like yeah but I’m not going to be able to speak intelligently about its strengths you know. So I need to find someone who uses it. So I have reached out to the Magix Magix PR folks and yeah they give me you.

Bobby Grubic: I’m an Avid user too. I was actually educated in it  originally at university. And I used Premiere also back in the day. I still get my hands on Premiere, so I do not discriminate on other editing platforms.

Scott: I don’t either. I mean I’m a freelance editor so it’s kind of like you know what are you going to pay me to use I will use it that I care not. If I can pick I’ll pick different ones for different things. But if I can’t pick you tell me what you are going to use and I’ll sit down and use it and if it’s something new I’ll figure it out.

Bobby: At the end of the day it’s like how you tell the story as editor. Well of course you want to like what you see as your final product. But the editor makes it either flow or it doesn’t.

Scott: Yeah absolutely. I think they each have some strengths and weaknesses that you know for my money kind of depending on what I’m doing it can I can move faster depending on what the particular requirements of the job are. I often say “same buttons, different places” and once you figure out where the buttons moved you can use any of them pretty efficiently. But obviously you know someone who spent decades in front of Avid was just dropping down in front of Final Cut Pro X or Premiere and they’re going to have some problems to use they get up to speed.

My thing has always been to “educate on the differences and not debate the differences”. Even though I debate quite a bit I favor none. I enjoy them all. I guess it’s kind of my thing.

A little detail on a few of the tools available in Magix VEGAS Pro.

Bobby: They all have their advantages and as you said, it’s like what are you doing in the job? Are you sharing it with somebody, if you are sharing you know it’s a different fish and you have to be compatible and you know all of that is very important. Some are more compatible some are less compatible.

Scott: Absolutely. How much do you work in Vegas over the others?

Bobby: Well here’s the thing and again it goes back to a particular project. If I have something that has to be done quickly and I have to do audio on it too. I will stick with Vegas all the way through because it’s much easier. It’s quicker. It makes me 100 times quicker than actually trying to fix audio either in Avid or Premiere because you have to get out of it.

And that’s one of the huge advantages. Even like 10 years back with Vegas because you could apply picture or audio effects right on the timeline. You never have to leave it to actually accomplish either effects for the audio or some very similar things that you would be able to do in After Effects. I mean the editor is so good in manipulating with different formats that if I don’t share it, it makes me very quick.

Scott: Correct me if I’m wrong but did Vegas not originally begin as an audio only workstation and they added video?

Bobby: Yes so it was the Sound Forge original editing platform and then they added on top of that the whole video engine. That’s correct. So that’s why this platform to begin with had this very powerful audio engine and audio editing tools built in because it was an audio editing tool.

There’s a full suite of audio mixing tools in Magix VEGAS. The mixer is only part of it.

Scott: Now when you mentioned formats I have heard over the years as more formats came along and you know Premiere gained the ability to really edit with lots of formats and Avid finally you know started gaining even though it’s still struggling to edit multiple formats. Yes I have heard the occasional person say “oh well you know Vegas has done that all along”. And I think people think about OK really it’s Final Cut X is really the original NLE that has been built ground up and edits everything. But from what I’ve heard Vegas was editing everything long before anybody else was.

Is that true statement?

Bobby: Yes it is. And I don’t want to bash Sony, but they had something way ahead of everybody and I actually talked to some Sony people back in the day because I was really using it and I really wanted to have an even more powerful tool that I can share with more people within the project because he was not popular and Sony was just not good promoting that particular product. But now that Magix bought it I think it’s going to be a new life for this software because Sony did not advertise it whatsoever.

That’s why I always call it a Swiss Army knife. And you said you’re using Mac? I have used Mac all along. So I always buy the top end Macbook Pro dual boot and I only have two things on PC’s side. I have my Avid and my Vegas. Nothing else. And that’s always clean. I don’t even browse the web with it. And so I always have that available when I travel and I have either or. And like I said if I don’t share it, it’s Vegas first choice because I don’t have to go out of the program. I can finish everything. I can actually make DCP on that particular thing and ship it out to be shown on the big screen and not many people knew about that.

VEGAS has several different places to apply effects which is an important difference between it and other NLEs.

Scott: Forever we’ve known Sony Vegas it seems like Sony always preceded the word Vegas. But you’re right they didn’t do a lot to really promote it and get out there into the public with public knowledge. Like you I don’t quite understand it, then they sold it and they still have the Catalyst suite now which includes an edit tool. So it’s kind of like well sold one and you have another one a much different editorial tool it’s way different than Vegas that’s for sure.

You mentioned like staying in Vegas to do everything but I think a lot of people would argue especially with Premiere you can stay in PPro with the exception of like high end compositing and maybe the most detailed of audio work you can stay in Premiere from start to finish. You’ve got decent audio tools you’ve got you know a lot of really good effects stuff. You’ve got good color tools. What can you do from start to finish in Vegas easier and faster than you can do say in Premiere?

Bobby: Premiere in the last three years really caught up with some things that Sony Vegas had that they have now. But there are things that you can not do easily in Premiere which is… let’s say you have all the footage 4K. So I will set up my canvas to be 720 P. I’ll just drag everything of my 4K drop it right on timeline move it any way I want recrop, reframe all my footage. Right on the fly. And as I’m doing that I don’t have to prerender anything to see it. And that’s something that Vegas had for the last eight years and I’m still using that particular function. I can have five different sizes on my timeline that I can just manipulate, mix up and not pre-render one proxy.

VEGAS project setup will look familiar to seasoned editors as it’s got most all of the normal project setup things you might expect.

Scott: That’s very Final Cut X like in the sense that it seems to have a very good sort of playback engine architecture under the hood that it can do of a lot of real time playback without any rendering, any proxies. I’ve often heard that about Vegas.

Bobby: FCP X caught up. They realized that Sony’s not doing anything really. The latest Final Cut is the pretty version of Vegas. I like to try other things to see how they work but still it’s not as easy as me just grabbing all my different files. And lately you know you can have different formats. You can have MPEG, you can have RED. Certain things that actually are more demanding when you just don’t have one camera or one source of files that are exactly the same compression. That’s where Vegas actually does much better than any of those other ones because you can very quickly integrate those in without converting anything. So you can work with your native files without proxies on your laptop.

Scott: I’ve got it on my laptop right here. I’ve got some 4K I shot on a Panasonic DVX200. It’s quite buttery smooth. And I think one thing I don’t know about Vegas and I’m sure you can answer this, like in Premiere your timeline that’s what you base your resolution and frame rate off of in Avid it’s the project itself.

Bobby: Correct and that’s a huge difference. OK that’s another thing that’s very different that I also use very often so that if you master something I can very quickly change my canvas or my preview which is the same thing. Do you have Vegas open right now? So if you go up there where you have a preview window and you have your little what do you call it … I’m just going to open it too.

Scott: The left side that’s the source monitor. It’s called the trimmer.

VEGAS does have one COOL feature that I’ve been asking for in other NLEs: moving your mouse over the source side viewer skims/hover scrubs without having to click and drag to scrub in a mini-timeline below it.

Bobby: It’s not something that’s as great as Avid or Premiere. Honestly I do not use the trimmer as much because on a timeline by itself you can do frame by frame trimming and you can see it on the timeline exactly how much you are pulling back and forth. So trimmer doesn’t really do anything for me because it will just make one additional step to slow me down. If I’m preparing something and I have let’s say a 30 minute single file, yes I would use trimmer to single out my clips but if I have multiple takes trimmer doesn’t really do much.

Scott: One thing I notice is I booted up I’ve got my bin of clips I’ve imported and I go up to my folder, my bin or whatever and I double click a clip thinking it’s going to load up in the left side trimmer window but when I double click it throws it in the timeline. Wait a minute … this is not right… it’s just different.

Bobby: So if you go to project properties this is one thing that is really cool that you can change in that project so quickly and keep everything as is. So let’s say you’re working 4K and you’re doing both Ultra HD … so you start your project on that and you start your project let’s say on 29.97 frames per second.

Scott: Right.

Bobby: And you do your whole timeline let’s say with five clips and you go right back in there in properties and you change it to 720 24p. Vegas will make recalculations for you based on real time you will have to do very little adjustments or none. In most cases it’s 99 percent that I didn’t have to do any adjustments whatsoever to my timeline by changing the canvas or the project properties then export that natively out.

Scott: It seems very fluid like it kind of doesn’t really care what you’ve got. It’s going to adapt to what you want to do not what the media is.

Bobby: It’s very powerful.

Lots of stuff going on in the VEGAS track header. Like almost After Effects lots of stuff.

Scott: Of course that can be a problem if you’re 720 and you say make it 4K when you decide you have a 4K show because obviously we know you can’t magically manufacture pixels where pixels don’t exist and have high quality images.

Bobby: Once you create a project you’re not locked to that particular canvas and it will do a very nice calculation to downscale you and keep in proportion with everything you put on the timeline.

Let’s say you send this to Europe. So it’s going to be PAL DV for their standard television because they’re still airing the standard television so you’re going to apply that and make your canvas that or the project. Well now you’re going to go to one of your clips. Do the right click on your mouse. Over the clip … go to properties and make sure maintain aspect ratio is checked. And make sure disable resampling is checked.

Scott: Is this only a single clip in the timeline?

Bobby: Single clip. Video event. Oh yeah. You have a loop turned on so turn the loop off because you loop your file. That’s left from the audio engine you can technically loop your video forever just like you will be able to loop the audio file. You see that little icon next to that little slider? It’s called event pan and crop. So click on that and a new window will open which technically is a little boiled down version of something you have now in Final Cut Pro X. In Premiere it works slightly differently I think.

Scott: Yeah that looks like your intrinsic built in motion properties.

Bobby: Yes. So you’re going to do right click over that window on top of the footage on whatever picture is shown there. So if you say, match aspect ratio, you see what happens it matches the aspect ratio. But now you have a timeline that’s very easy to manipulate. Let’s say you leave it where it is and go to the very last frame. And take one corner and pull int towards the center. So we kind of pushed in. Right now you have that particular footage done and can animate it with a little motion on it.

Scott: That’s like Frame Flex in Avid or your effects controls tab in Premiere. It looks like it does a lot of the same stuff like you know we were talking before about same buttons different places but it’s just different.

Effects can be opened in their own modification window for animating and key framing. Notice the little clip timeline at the bottom of this window.

Bobby: It has everything. It had it 8 years ago. Magix didn’t add anything to it yet. They’re claiming they made it a little bit more stable. It was not crashing for me before. People have different cards and you know different drivers. So you find that clean system just for that. So we’ll see where they’re going with it. But anything that you have in the major three NLE programs you have this program.

Scott: I was going to ask you as you’ve worked in Premiere as well, what is it missing? Or maybe nothing.

Bobby: There are certain things in Avid where you have certain things like ScriptSync. I love ScriptSync. Yeah that’s one thing that is so unique for Avid nobody else has it.

Scott: You’re right that is a very exclusive Avid thing but you know that’s one of those features which isn’t sort of the must have in every NLE. I can go into Final Cut Pro X these days and still there’s a few little things I can’t believe it doesn’t have – dupe detection or audio dissolves. But as for things like that you’re saying in Vegas it’s all there.

Bobby: Yeah. I’m just trying to think. Is there anything like that we can do that you’re curious if this program can do? Maybe that’s the best approach to take right now. You can actually test it yourself and I’ll lead you through or I’ll say no you cannot do that.

Scott: I was flipping through the menus and stuff, it’s got multi-cam built in there. You can burn Blu-rays, it came from a background of being able to work with tape as far as ingesting and outputting. I see scripting. There’s a whole scripting tab which I don’t know how difficult or easy it is to write scripts for it but like under the scripting pop out there I see things like batch render, export, EDL, stereo to mono… So looks like you could do a lot of stuff and you can probably do most anything someone can write a script for.

Need to output to physical media? VEGAS has you covered.

Bobby: Yes. And there is a Vegas Source. There are guys that do the scripts and they wrote some very nice scripts for automation. And there is only one so far because again Sony did not promote this software and was not trying to put it anywhere. Sony was not aggressive like Apple and trying to put it you know in universities which is always a first step to actually get people educated. They were not interested in promoting it. I think it’s going to be interesting now that we know each other talk about this a year from now because you know if Magix really doesn’t do one of those aggressive things and try to promote it, it’s going to be one of those urban legends and die out.

The Scripting menu could be a useful place if people write scripts for it.

Scott: I don’t think they would have spent that money to buy it unless they were at least going to try to get out there and market it. And we’re marketing a little bit ourselves here and as I’ve said before I’m pretty agnostic on my tools and I’m happy to learn a new tool or to show people there’s a better way. I’ll tell you one other question that’s not a feature question but I think one thing that I noticed the first time I opened up Vegas is that it’s intimidating in the fact that I’m like “oh my god there are so many little buttons and switches all over the place”. And I fear not buttons and switches because in my mind button switches means it does stuff and doing stuff is what I want my tools to do. But Lord have mercy you’ve got this whole toolbar down the bottom and you’ve got obviously your transport controls under each of the windows, you’ve got the track header panel on the left side. There’s just so many little things in there. You’ve got the clips themselves in the timeline and I’m seeing these all the little red, blue, turquoise little things which looks like rubber banding. Then you’ve got the crop thing built in and it’s just that there’s a lot of stuff!

Bobby: That’s unique to it because you really have the ability to animate and affect your effects. And this is something that probably nobody explained to you or this is a good time to talk about this which I really like about it and I use After Effects too. And I played with Flame too. I remember the first time I opened Flame I was like oh shit. But what I like about the timeline … you can apply the effect on the timeline and it will affect whatever is in the timeline. It’s called Track effects. So you can put for example an effect that will affect all your clips on the timeline then you will go and apply individually effects to a clip.

Scott: It looks like an adjustment layer or adding an effect to filler in Avid.

Bobby: But I think it’s even better than what Avid has in a way that once you understand it you get so much control over applying an effect even when you grade. I mean this is kind of crazy for grading because you can apply one thing over that timeline. So let’s say you’ve done a cut and you want to export that cut out you bring it back into the timeline just to you know make it more efficient. And so you’ve got to have tons of clips and then you find particular places that you want to do more adjustments you apply. And this is one of my techniques you apply one grade across that will give you grain and a certain feel but it will sit on a top level and apply to everything else.

There are a ton of video effects in VEGAS. This is a list of Output FX that can be applied to the output of the timeline.

It’s a whole level of an effect application that really can come in handy. OK so I just gave you two levels now I go up there where the preview menu is you can see you have a video output with effects so you can apply another effect across all timelines. So now you have three different levels of actually applying and adjusting your picture. Nobody has this.

Scott: Oh video output effects right there. That little icon that looks to me like a trimming tool is actually the effect.

When those Video Output FX are applied you can see them in the little flowchart at the top of this Video Output FX dialog box. Clicking one brings up the effect controls.

Bobby: The little icon is a slider which represents effects in this program. And there is no pre-rendering.

Bobby: So if you want to have a true real time for certain things you will go to tools up there on top and build dynamic RAM preview or shift+B. Are you familiar with the little tool that you get with the Red Camera?

Scott: Redcine X.

Bobby: You know how they actually lowered the resolution of your preview? You can have a different quality of your picture right there. So based on your processor you can like go all the way down to draft.

Scott: If you had someone stepping into Vegas and like I mentioned the whole thing when you when you double click a clip in your bin it does not load in the “source” monitor, it just goes right to the timeline which is different. Different behavior but that’s just that’s just the way it is. But you can still drag a clip up into the trimmer or into the source side on the left mark an IN and OUT point and then insert or overwrite.

Bobby: Correct or there is a whole tool and this is what you have right now it’s default and you can actually adjust that for yourself. So you should go up there to options and there are several very important things on the bottom of that menu: custom toolbar, customized timeline bar, customized keyboard, preferences. So as you go to this customized keyboard and there is a trimmer bar in there and you can actually select which key is going to bring stuff to your trimmer.

Scott: So it’s very customizable. I think one thing I’ll advise people to do at the top of the article is download the demo of Vegas and go through that and bring it up for you when you read this article. I think that would help. You know another interesting thing that I noticed is that normally when I’m down in the in the timeline I would click in the timecode ribbon and drag my playhead. But I cannot drag the playhead … actually it will drag the playhead it just goes very slow. Like I was trying to figure out what’s the quickest most efficient way to grab the playhead and scrub around the timeline.

Bobby: You want to go quicker? So what you are going to do is use your arrows, left and right arrows. That’s number one. So this is very powerful too. You have up arrow on the keyboard and down arrow. Based on how deep you are and the timeline that’s how fast you’re going to scroll. So let’s say you go to pull all the way out and you see all of your clips. Your scrolling is going to go much faster when you click to the right so left or right arrow you’re going to go left and right and you’re going to scroll up to it … you should fly.

Scott: Interesting. OK I can see that now. And I noticed that if I drag in the space above the timecode ribbon it’s like dragging my in and out point and giving me an in and out range.

Bobby: And out and that’s creating markings. Yeah. That’s kind of cool.

Scott: And then I guess is sort of like an audio workstation if I drag a video clip left or right on top of another clip it’s going to create a dissolve.

Bobby:You can also set up what kind of result you have by the default the program creates for you. Or you can turn it off.

Scott: I saw a button down here called auto ripple which reminds me Resolve has sort of a ripple mode you can turn on and off. So when you turn that on it’s kind of a totally different behavior as you click and drag clips in the timeline than if that is turned off. Now is there a way that when I drag a video clip onto another that instead of creating a transition it actually overwrites it? Ok I just figured out I just turn off the automatic crossfade it does that.

These are a number of the different editing tools and modes at the bottom of the timeline.

Bobby: It’s funny I was thinking how to explain it to you but you already did it. I love it.

Scott: It’s kind of interesting it doesn’t actually overwrite the clip completely because when I moved that clip back out of the way the other clip is still there.

Bobby: What it does is it keeps the old clip under, but the other one takes priority.

Scott: That’s funky.

Depending on your Automatic Crossfades setting dragging one clip onto another can automatically create a dissolve.

Bobby: Also if you create another track, it just keeps tucking it under on a different track that you can actually tuck wherever you want to tuck your clip and it will just play as a top level clip and it will give you priority over the track position on the timeline.

Scott: How do you add another video track?

Bobby: Right click on the side, hit insert.

Scott: There’s this other thing I noticed here it’s next to the magnet called Insert Region or the R key and I was playing with that. What does that do?

Bobby: Honestly, I don’t know that because I don’t use it much.

I don’t know what the Regions are for but I’m sure they are useful.

Scott: I did it twice and I’ve got a region that’s marked with a 1 and a region that’s marked with 2 and I click it again I get a region of 3. That’s something I’ve never seen before.

Bobby: I don’t know, but I have something else that I use to mark the regions which actually is useful in the other tool which is the Blu-ray maker.

Scott: Track marker.

Bobby: Yes. So this is very useful because with those you can translate an export to scenes for a DVD or Blu-ray. It will honor those and seamlessly transfer out as scenes.

Scott: I see that now that’s a track marker and if I go down here and hit M just an insert just regular marker it’s a totally different type of marker that pops up.

Bobby: So yes correct. So you have different markers.

I do know markers and VEGAS has them. And you can put notes in them.

Scott: It’s got a lot of flexibility and I don’t want to say it’s complex but it has a lot of stuff. I think that may be what scares off people and I think that’s part of Apple’s goal when they built Final Cut Pro X which is: like “let’s make it simple” which I think is kind of a smart play in this day and age of media. It’s very simple but yet if you dig in it gets quite complex. Vegas on the other hand wears it’s complexity on its sleeve in a sense when you boot it up it’s like: look at all this stuff that you can do but you just have to kind of dig in and do it.

Now talking mixing… and to use Premiere as an example it has Clip-based mixing as well as Track-based mixing from what I can tell. Which makes sense if you’re from a big audio background as an audio tool. And you know as you said it’s audio mixing abilities are second to none.

Bobby: Everything that Pro-Tools has this program has and I’m not over-exaggerating. I mean that’s one of my degrees as I also have a degree in Recording Industry. So I use ProTools. Everything you can do in ProTools including using effects that they have in ProTools you can do here.

Audio effects can be applied and manipulated the same way as video effects.

Scott: I see that I have HitFilm effects. I don’t know whether I maybe installed them on this machine or they come built in. But the HitFilm effects are an option.

Bobby: They actually bundled up the latest version with it. It has a nice stabilizer. They just bundled it in. It also has a very powerful velocity tool which is like another timeline that you can just put over your particular clip.

Scott: And when you say velocity that’s like remapping speed effects?

Scott: Looking under the edit menu under the editing tool I see the normal edit tool for slip and slide and you’ve got a time rate. What is the shuffle tool? That’s a new one.

Bobby: Shuffle tool. I don’t use that. Sorry.

Editors will recognize many of the tools available in VEGAS. But the Shuffle Tool?

Scott: No it’s OK it’s under Edit > editing tool. And then you get slips and slides and all that and then shuffle. I’ve never heard of a shuffle tool.

You know in both Premiere and in Final Cut you have a toolbar where you click and you change your tool and and in Avid you kind of work in modes. But I don’t see a toolbar in the sense that Premiere has a toolbar.

Bobby: One thing that I actually like using from here it’s time, stretch and compress tool which also comes from the audio stations. So if you go up at the end of it and move beyond the the length of that clip it will actually time stretch.

Scott: Yeah that’s it. It’s like the rate stretch tool in Premiere.

Bobby: They also had this from a very long time ago.

Scott: What is the biggest project as far as like how much media and final delivery length have you done in Vegas?

Bobby: Probably 40 minutes to an hour. Something like that.

Scott: That’s a good length. I mean you’re not doing just like five minute corporate pieces or music videos and you’re doing bigger stuff.

Bobby: Yes I did several DVDs for different exercises and different yoga classes. And again it was a full solution for me. I didn’t have to go out of the program. It was all made, select scenes, edit, export, directly to DVD and it worked like a charm.

Scott: How did Vegas handle a 40 minute timeline? Any slowdown as you get more media stuffed into it or is it pretty able to keep up?

Bobby: Not at that time because the footage was HD. But I’ll tell you it was getting slowed down when I was working with RED. And I mean I cannot really blame it because I was working with 4K/5K. So I’m not creating proxies. I was working directly from it and it would start getting “tired” from time to time.

Scott: You know I’ve had this conversation a time on Twitter. People talk about “real time 5K on my own my laptop” in whatever tool and a lot of it is Premiere talk and you know I’ve worked off very fast RAIDs on very fast Macs and I often still can’t get true real time 4K playback especially once I get to dig deep into the edit. And I often ask questions like well “what is your playback set to”? And “there’s your little green drop frame indicator stay green or is it turn to yellow”? And the answer is always “Oh well I’m working at a quarter. The drop frame indicator goes to yellow” and I’m like OK that’s not real time 4K / 5K editing. If you drop frames and you have to lower the resolution in my mind you’re making a compromise. I think still working with some of this high rez media it’s just not feasible yet for most systems.

Bobby: I agree with you. True for 4K playback it has to be 4K displaying 4K on your monitor. And this program is not doing that precisely. It’s using let’s say raw 5K but I am downscaling my preview to a minimum.

Scott: Yep. And that’s OK when you do it well and it’s pretty seamless and fluid then that’s wonderful. It’s when you start getting lots of stuttering and you start getting pixelated to the point where it looks like shit then that’s bad. But you know from what I’ve just been messing around with here in Vegas it’s quite fluid. Now I’ve got 4K off an internal SSD on this Dell 5510 so it’s a pretty decent laptop system. But it “feels” good and that’s one thing as you play around with Vegas that feel that you get is part of the charm of it. It’s not like in Avid when you load up some 4K and you start clicking around it feels clunky and it just doesn’t “feel” good.

Bobby: And that’s what always brought me back to like I said I can fly.

One thing recently they added … pretty powerful exports which actually let you share Premiere projects and others.

VEGAS Pro offers many different import and export options project project interchange.

Scott: It really does it supports a lot of stuff there. You can go to the export menu and it says: Media Composer AAF, Premiere project file, Final Cut 7 or Resolve XML, Final Cut Pro X XML. I’m actually working on a documentary that the director has done some of the syncing and some of the rough assembly in Vegas and he’s exporting Premiere projects that I’m opening up. Now I have seen a kind of a glitch where if he’s done any kind of panning and scanning or cropping that it kind of messes up when it comes back to PPro or sometimes I can see the audio in the timeline but yet it won’t actually go to my output channel. We’ve sort of decided that’s a bug between Vegas and Premiere.

But you know the fact that it has these import and export options for all the other NLES built in is a kind of a testament to what I think Sony at least was thinking for years now it’s like we want to be able to get to anything and come from anything. Now I agree with you why in the world would all that functionality exist when it wasn’t promoted is beyond me. With FCPX XML export built-in now someone took some time to do some programming there because it’s a different XML than the old FCP7 was so that took some engineering if nothing else to make it work.

Bobby: Absolutely. I tried Final Cut X. It’s actually a very nice upgraded version of Final Cut that integrated all the best stuff that Vegas had. They did their homework and Sony just wasn’t using it anyway. And they really did a good program. Premiere was always good. They were always having their own things. Premiere I do like because you are integrated with Photoshop. You are integrated with After Effects. What I don’t like about Premiere is the audio part, it’s still very clunky and still very limited. There are things you just can’t do it there. You just can’t. And here with Vegas you can. And that’s a big difference for me. Not many editors clean up audio.

Scott: But this day and age you do more than ever before though.

Bobby: I was about to say they will have to. Those editors that are still resisting they will have less and less jobs because there are less the less jobs where you know you can afford to have an audio guy and a video guy and you know everybody wants it today and they want it for less money. And you know you have to eliminate something in the process.

Scott: And that’s what you do and often it’s audio and it’s often color so we editors are stuck doing everything.

Bobby we’ve been just about an hour any other like specific little you know things you want to champion about Vegas that some people might not know about or that I may not have asked about?

Bobby: It was a great chat.

Scott: I would definitely encourage people to download it and play with it because like I said I think everybody knows it exists but no one has ever seen it out in the wild. I think in my you know 15 years of being a freelance editor I haven’t been called to work on it but I was at a place where they had some edits suites and they were running Vegas. That said this job I’m doing as we record this the director uses Vegas and loves it. And so that’s twice in 10 or 12 years I have encountered it! But maybe Magix is going to do something with it like we haven’t been before.

Bobby: I really hope they do because you know honestly, the program is great. But everybody else has caught up with them. So they have to make another leap and improve even more on their CPU usage, because they cannot live from what they got from Sony.

Scott: Yeah. It’s almost like Sony like they had a golden opportunity at one point but they kind of squandered it.

Bobby: Yes. Yes. So even though it’s a great program I think Magix’s biggest challenge is to convince somebody at this point, who didn’t use it like I did, for you guys that use Premiere every day and Final Cut that this program is worth a look because it’s more than very similar. Why would I switch if it’s not substantially better?

Scott: Yep and I to become a great NLE. That have a great color corrector obviously but you know what is compelling about the NLE to make one move over from Premiere for instance and I think other than the color grading system you know at this point not a whole lot but if you need it and color is your thing then maybe maybe it’s a good choice to stay all in one NLE but if you know of color just a tiny little piece of your thing I don’t see a compelling reason to move from Premiere to Resolve at this point. But you know, Resolve is still young as an NLE so maybe there’s something amazing about to happen that and I don’t know. (Editors note: this was recorded before Resolve 14)

The thing I see here in Vegas is pretty amazing stuff. But at this point is it enough to make someone move from Premiere? The answer may be maybe yes for some people, no for others.

These color tools will also look familiar to most editors.

Bobby: But I just want to add one more thing that you just triggered. So color correction, and you just brought up Resolve. This is a very powerful color correction tool also which is quite amazing. So if you go at it again as we spoke about three different levels you can adjust the look of your picture so we’re not talking effects. Now let’s talk about strictly color correction and grading. If you go and pick any of your places that I showed you where you actually apply effects, you can see some of the tools they already have built-in without having to use third party tools.

Very powerful color correction tool and secondary color correction tool. And then you have Vegas HSL adjust and saturation adjust.

Scott: Does it have video scopes?

Bobby: You have everything. Yes, you can turn on the scopes if you go to View. Everything is fluid. You can actually arrange your desktop your working space any way you want to go by just dragging these components in whatever window you want.

Video scopes? Check.

Scott: So it’s kind of Premiere like in that since you’ve got a lot of options for setup.

Bobby: So there is a color match that was added in three years ago which is very powerful and which will quickly match color of two different clips by you just selecting it. It’s a very quick starting point for actually matching and color correcting your footage.

You can start if your footage is way off from something else and you do an initial match and then you can grade on top of that because you can create chain effects inside a clip. And then you can chain it on that particular track and then you can chain it on top as your master preview. So you can have three different places to manipulate your picture.

Scott: It looks like as you add different effects you get like a little effect flowchart chain that pops up which is kind of cool to help you see what you’ve put on there.

Bobby: That chain up there is a cool thing. So once you have the chain you actually have multiple things you have pan and crop or color matching or whatever by clicking through the chain. You’re actually quickly rotating through your different manipulation windows of effects and you’re really quickly accessing whatever you applied.

Scott: And it looks like you’re seeing the actual result immediately.

Bobby: And you just hit your spacebar and it’s playing.

Scott: Oh that’s cool. You play right from in there. Like I said it’s got some engineering underneath it which is kind of neat.

If you didn’t see the tool you were looking for in the images above maybe it’s in here.

Bobby: Yep it’s playing without you rendering anything. And again you have to downgrade your preview but you have it immediately. You don’t always need to see full quality picture and you agree you want to see the motion flow of your edit. Does the story tell anything and then later you need that full picture. But then you can use that tool which is dynamic RAM preview which gives you full time, full 4K preview all the way. But you have to pre-render.

Scott: It’s looks like it kind of adapts well to what you need during the during the offline, the creative part of the edit of which is good real-time but enough quality to see what you’re doing. And it feels like it’s got a good trade off to that.

Bobby: Yeah I would say that the trade-off is always part of the game. There was never a perfect system … we are always trading off something.

Scott: That we are. I would encourage people to go give it a download and there’s a trial if I remember correctly. So get on there and give a try.

Bobby thanks for chatting with us here. And keep on editing.

Bobby: And that’s what I say for you too.

This interview was transcribed with SpeedScriber. Sign up for alerts when SpeedScriber launches

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Avid’s slide about the future of Media Composer Fri, 26 May 2017 15:58:27 +0000 One of the most intriguing things I saw come out of NAB 2017 wasn’t on the show floor of NAB but rather an image that popped up on Twitter out of the Avid Connect event held in the days before NAB began. It was the result of an Avid Customer Association survey as to what editors

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One of the most intriguing things I saw come out of NAB 2017 wasn’t on the show floor of NAB but rather an image that popped up on Twitter out of the Avid Connect event held in the days before NAB began. It was the result of an Avid Customer Association survey as to what editors wanted to see in upcoming versions of Media Composer. Since this image was publicly tweeted out by Avid it’s worth dissecting.

I can’t remember another such detailed look at what is a potential roadmap for upcoming features and future development for any of the major NLEs. Usually this kind of thing is kept under wraps. I’m sure such a public discussion makes the engineers shudder in fear as there are a ton of things that can derail a planned feature release. Media Composer has been on a big update path in recent years getting a ton of much need features as well as some cool new stuff along the way so seeing what is on the horizon should give Avid editors more confidence in their tool. Kudos to Avid for showing this publicly.

But it is worth noting that as Avid moves forward into the future Media Composer isn’t one of their biggest money makers as they would much rather sell you server hardware than editing software but they’ll be more than happy to sell you Media Composer. Witness their recent ads touting that both FCPX and Premiere Pro “runs better on Avid.”

I didn’t hear a lot of buzz around this Media Composer slide that was shown at Avid Connect. I’m not sure if there was a presentation on the main Avid NAB stage where it was shown. Perhaps everyone was talking about the current Avid CEO’s new book The Storytellers Dilemma about media disruption. People were talking about it all right. But let’s take a look at what might be coming to Media Composer. And remember … all this is subject to change.

Background Save

Background saving is one of those features that I think most editors in 2017 wonder why it isn’t in every NLE out there. FCPX has it. Resolve 14 added it. Adobe Premiere Pro CC doesn’t have it. One shouldn’t confuse background save with autosave which is a different thing. Autosave creates a separate project file and editor can go back to while background save is a save of the existing project. And what we most want background save to do is not interrupt our work … which autosave often does.

Live Timeline

Personally I think this is the biggest and most important item on the list. There are few things that make Avid Media Composer feel more aged than jumping onto MC after working for weeks on Final Cut Pro X or PPro and not being able to do simple timeline things (zooming, muting clips, adjusting little things here and there) without the playback stopping. It just doesn’t feel as good. I was once told that this would be a big architecture change to the playback engine so I guess that is why it is listed as under investigation. I hope the research yields real results.

Render Engine Distributed Platform Service

I guess this means being able to use multiple machines on a network for rendering. That certainly can’t be a bad thing as the more power the better. We are living in more of a realtime world than we have been in years past so this might not be high on the single editor’s list but for facilities or finishing I’m sure it is huge.

Enhanced User Interface

I’m speculating here but I get that those voting for changing the user interface are a lot of editors coming from other platforms. The MC interface is a tried and true look and feel that isn’t flashy but it quite functional. Plus I’m sure the engineers know that any changes to the interface invites the wrath of the old school Avid editors who despise any change to anything whatsoever. What I would like to see is some way to better manage all of the many different windows one might end up with. While we do have the ability to save Workspaces there’s no way to easily and quickly adjust them without a ton of clicking and dragging. The fact you can’t adjust both the size of the Timeline and Composer easily with one click/drag contributes to that feeing of the interface being old.

Timeline Audio Effects

I’m honestly not sure what this would be since we already have a form of timeline audio effects. You can apply Audio Suite effects right to clips and RTAS effects to entire audio tracks. My guess this would be some kind of track based mixed where we have sub-mix buses as well as a master output that can take RTAS effects. That would be welcome as anything that could reduce the need for an audio mix down is a good thing.

Enhanced Color Correction

Since this says PLANNED 2017 RELEASE there are a lot of editors and finishers rejoicing. As awesome as Resolve is and as powerful as Baselight Editions can be there is still a lot of color correction done right in Media Composer and Symphony since the integration to the timeline is so darn tight. The color tools have long needed updating (much better video scopes anyone?) and I think many of us though that ship had sailed and Avid had conceded this tool to the third party.

Next Gen Title Tool

This was another surprise as many people though that the bundling of New Blue title tools meant that any new titling advancements in the future were going to lean on Avid partners and third party developers. I’m guessing Avid got a lot of blowback on this because the New Blue tools can be tricky to use and aren’t designed for quick and easy title creation. I think putting resources toward a “Next Gen” title tool shows how much network television is still finished entirely in Media Composer.

Enhanced Visual Effects Model

While personally I don’t have a ton of issues with the Effects Editor and the advanced keyframe graph (well maybe it just seems to create so damn many of those pink keyframes when things get complex) I don’t do a ton of Avid effects (how about a more robust path to After Effects?). There was a time when creating animations in Media Composer was much more difficult. Keyframing aside Media Composer does feel downright ancient when you begin stacking effects and working to build up layers of clips to create interesting composites which brings us squarely to the next one …

Transfer/Blending Modes

It’s borderline incompetence that Media Composer still lacks basic blending and composting modes. This should have been added natively years and years ago but alas here we are in 2017 without it. Yes there are plugins that can do transfer modes and yes you can work around this way and that way and get blending modes but that doesn’t make the fact they are natively missing from Avid Media Composer right. Because it isn’t.

Alpha Channel Support

There is some alpha channel support in MC already (creating a title in the title tool is based around alpha channels). But I’m guessing this goes beyond the importing of PNGs and TIFFs with alphas into more advanced codecs like ProRes 4444 maybe realtime alpha support without have to created new media files. But then again I don’t really have any idea so if you do please comment below. It says “in queue for 2018” so I guess we will see next year.

Multi-cam Enhancements

Like the Live Timeline mentioned above editors coming to Avid from any other NLE that has worked extensively with multicam often feels severely limited when working in Media Composer. Once your multicam groups are set up it’s not too bad but the age of Media Composer multicam shows when setting up mulitcam edits (you’re often limited to IN/OUT points and auxiliary timecode) and modifying mulitcamera groups (you can’t). Sure a perfect mulitcam shoot with matching timecode means it’s an easy setup but how often do we have that these days? While Final Cut Pro X gets much deserved kudos for its very well done implementation of multicamera editing I personally think Adobe Premiere Pro CC sits at the top of the multicam heap due to a few of its features like being able to create a multicam “group clip” from a sync map. Regardless I’m sure multicam editors everywhere are looking forward this “planned 2017 release.”

Improve Interop with Pro Tools

This is one of those things that when talking to both Avid editors and Avid engineers they will just gaze down at their feet and shake their heads. Let’s see: Avid owns and develops Media Composer. Avid owns and develops Pro Tools. Media Composer is the tool that cuts most of the films and television you see. Pro Tools is the tool mixes/sound designs most of the films and television you hear. Why can’t you easily get a mix back and forth between the two with literally a single click?

That might be a little harsh as Adobe hasn’t gotten the integration between Premiere Pro and Audition quite down to a one click back and forth yet but it’s a lot closer that the MC/Pro Tools integration. We also have to remember that Avid has owned both Media Composer and Pro Tools FOR YEARS AND YEARS. This should have happened long before 2017.

Real Time Collaboration

Collaboration is a huge thing these days and while Avid has long been the king of shared editing and productions I wouldn’t call that “real time.” If fact I don’t think anyone has cracked this nut as of yet though Adobe is trying to some extent with Team Projects. Blackmagic is also trying with their Resolve 14 update. As an editor I don’t know how “real time” I might want collaboration as I can’t imagine why I would every want to work on the exact same timeline as another editor because that just seems like frustration waiting to happen. But if you think about multiple editors on the same show you could have an assist working on a string out of the entire program while a finishing editor is working color and putting in graphics and another craft editor is making last minute changes. If that nut can be cracked then Avid has achieved something quite amazing.

Integrated MediaCentral Window

The Avid MediaCentral Platform seems to encompass so much stuff today that I don’t think anyone short of Avid CEO Louis Hernandez himself (hey did you read his book?) can explain it all. And even then I don’t think he can do it. But if you’ve ever used tools like Interplay (and from looking at the website Maestro) you can see that a lot of these products look very different than Media Composer. While an “Integrated MediaCentral Window” isn’t going to make them all look the same maybe this means they will all work more seamlessly as you won’t have to leave the Media Composer application completely to use them.

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Useful tools for editors: Go Predators edition Wed, 17 May 2017 14:00:10 +0000 It’s been awhile since we’ve visited the Useful Tools for Editors series so in honor of our Nashville Predators making it to the NHL Western Conference Stanley Cup Finals here’s a new batch of software, hardware, books, tweets and tips for editors everywhere. Go Preds! Art of the Cut book Most people reading this column have

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It’s been awhile since we’ve visited the Useful Tools for Editors series so in honor of our Nashville Predators making it to the NHL Western Conference Stanley Cup Finals here’s a new batch of software, hardware, books, tweets and tips for editors everywhere. Go Preds!

Art of the Cut book

Most people reading this column have probably been following Steve Hullfish’s long running ART OF THE CUT series here on PVC. It is by far the most expansive and in-depth interview series with the biggest names working in editorial in Hollywood today. While Steve’s series has published on PVC for quite some time you may not know that he recently published a printed, paperback version of Art of the Cut:Conversations with Film and TV Editors. 

I’m sure the first question asked is: Why would I every buy a dead tree version of this book when I can read them all online for free? For me there is still the pleasure of curling up with a good book and as an editor I learn something every time I read something like Art of the Cut. After a long day of editing I just don’t like to stare at more screens, even a Kindle (though a Kindle isn’t as bad as an iPad.) But the best thing about the book is that the interviews are organized by topic and not just by interview subject. I think this approach takes the linear approach to reading a book out the window as you can browse the table of contents and go to a section that is of interest. Since Steve is an editor first and foremost he does a great job interviewing his subjects and has worked very hard on the curation of hundreds of hours or interviews. Amazon is currently listing the book at $36.26 so click on over and get your own copy.

I really love how the printed version of @stevehullfish ART OF THE CUT book divides the interviews by topic.

A post shared by Scott Simmons (@editblog) on

Avid App Manager Closer

God bless Avid and their attempts at making Media Composer easier to install and work with but one downside of a modern Avid install is that both the background services and the Avid Application Manager seem to run all the time. While you can just quit the background processes the App Manager continues with a helper process that runs even after quitting (this is on a Mac, I’m unsure how this works on a PC). Yes you can force quit via the Activity Monitor or you can download the AvidAppManagerCloser thingy that will do it for you.

This little Automator script comes courtesy of the must-read Avid related blog 24p. Click on over there, give it a read and download it if you need it.

Editing Folders generator freebie

Many of us know and love and use Post Haste from Digital Rebellion to get us setup with a defined folder structure when we go to work on a new editing job. But editor Adam Schoales wanted to customize things a bit more and he created a Mac Automator workflow called Editing Folders that does just that and is available as a free download. It only asks you to name when you launch it and then creates a series of folders where you specify.

This is a pretty good set of folders to cover many different edit jobs.

If you want to customize the folders you can open the Editing Folders script in Automator and dig into the shell script a little bit and change those folder names and maybe even add a few more. I didn’t do this but since you can see those folder names in the script I’m guessing it should be easy. But since there’s not support  with this freebie you’re on your own.

Some free custom folder icons

If you just want some new, free custom folder icons then head over to Sam Woodhall’s blog and download his 2017 Post Production Icons. Pretty simple in concept but there is a lot of different categories in the sets Sam has created. The clean, modern design is just nice to look at as well.

Each of those folders you see on the left all contain subfolders of varying types to future organize your projects. They are some specific folders icons for Final Cut Pro X and Adobe CC apps but there is enough in there that any media professional will be able to find some stuff to use.

Sam also includes some blank folder png files so I suppose you could take those and make some of your own. One could also dig through all the folders and remove what you don’t want and create a template set that could be duplicated for each new project. I guess that’s sort of like the Automator script above only you don’t run an Automator script. Thanks to Sam for putting these together and you can thank Sam as well (or leave him a donation for these things) on his blog.







As a freelancer I always keep an eye out for time tracking apps because freelancers track a lot of time. And as one who works in multiple NLEs tracking between the different applications and projects can become tedious. This app called Timing was recently brought to my attention and I can’t wait to try it. It looks to have a lot of different analytics to track many aspects of what you’re working on. Timing also says it will track documents so my first test will be to see if it can latch onto an NLE project or Library and actually track it per job and not just per NLE.

Timing has three difference cost tiers ranging from $29 – $79. It looks like the $49 option is the sweet spot with a lot of useful looking options at that price.

 FindrCat (Pro)

Intelligent Assistance introduced a new app last last year called FindrCat. It’s an interesting little Final Cut Pro X app with a cool idea that kind of reverses that you might think in that it takes your Keywords applied in FCPX and turns them into Finder tags in the Mac OS Finder. Those keywords then travel with the files as metadata meaning they are searchable outside of FCPX. Philip Hodgetts talks a bit more about FindrCat on his blog post after the software’s introduction.

FindrCat is $20 and available on the Mac App Store.

Rampant Design NLE Templates

We all know Rampant Design as a creator of great special effects and overlays but they’ve gotten into creating templates for both Adobe Premiere Pro CC and Final Cut Pro X. They create After Effects templates as well but I’m always more interested in cool templates that work directly in the NLE (sorry Avid Media Composer but none for you right now). The PPro templates include things like VHS glitch effects, various promo and lower third designs as well as a slideshow. FCPX templates include some of the same but a few less. And the price is right running at around $20.

Some of these types of things are over the top for most jobs but depending on your need templates like these can save a ton of time if you’re in a pinch or a ton of headaches if you’re not a particularity strong motion graphic designer. And since these are project files you can most likely monkey around with them and do a good bit of customization to fit your need.

FX Factory

It’s always worth catching up with that’s new from FX Factory since the last edition of Useful Tools. There’s a few things I wanted to point out:

Yanobox Mosaic

I’m always by what Yanobox is doing. Their Nodes tools just blows my mind and now they’re released Mosaic for FCPX, Motion, Premiere Pro and After Effects. I can’t explain it so here’s YAnobox’s description: “Mosaic lets you create a wide range of effects based on real time pixel texturing and adaptive tiling. Mosaic includes several procedural recipes but the most exciting use comes with the import of your own motifs to create amazing graphic effects.”

Or better yet watch the video:

Kevin P. McAuliffe wrote up a little review here on PVC so check that out as well.

VideoDenoise and Echo & Noise Remover from CrumplePop.

A new entry into the noise removal category is VideoDenoise. This $99 option is optimized for OpenCL and CUDA which is a good thing as denoising is not for the small computer.

On the audio side both EchoRemover and AudioDenoise have added some new hosts including Logic Pro, GarangeBand, Davinci Resolve and Adobe Audition. I expect we’ll see more and more plug-ins supporting Resolve in the future. All of these CrumplePop tools are $99 and part of the FX Factory ecosystem. Update your FX Factory install and you can get a free demo of most all FX Factory tools as well as purchase the ones you need.

Red Giant Universe

Red Giant’s subscription effects service Universe has gotten an update to version 2.1. And with version 2.1 we get six new effects:

  • AV Club: Mimic the lo-fi, noisy text found on ancient video tapes, old infomercials and local access cable channel shows.
  • Luster: The 1980s are back! Give video text the retro treatment with Luster by applying a metal sheen to text – includes a refraction-based bevel for a glassy simulated 3D look.
  • Title Motion: Create text and shapes and then instantly add dynamic animations that bring them on and off screen. Great for titles, lower thirds, callouts and more.
  • Ecto: Inspired by the timeless film “Ghostbusters” and Netflix cult-hit “Stranger Things,” Ecto allows artists to create haunting, evolving titles with this glowing, fractal-based effect.
  • Long Shadow: Apply a colored, long shadow to text, logo or shape, for both classic and modern motion design.
  • Glow Fi II: Give text an ethereal moody look by instantly adding silky smooth, self-animating, fractal-based glow effects to titles. A simple UI make it easy to apply evolving, organic glows.

Universe is also a package that is supporting beyond the usual FCPX/Motion/Premiere Pro/AE as it also supports Magix Vegas Pro, Hitfilm and Davinci Resolve. Universe costs $99 / year or $20 / month.

Tools, Tips and Tweets from Twitter


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We don’t often think about exhibition … until it goes wrong Sat, 13 May 2017 13:08:12 +0000 One item of filmmaking and media production that people don’t often talk about a lot is the exhibition of the projects many of us work so hard to produce. I experienced a case really bad exhibition recently when I went to attend a Fathom Event at local Regal Cinema. Theatrical presentation is that one place we

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One item of filmmaking and media production that people don’t often talk about a lot is the exhibition of the projects many of us work so hard to produce. I experienced a case really bad exhibition recently when I went to attend a Fathom Event at local Regal Cinema. Theatrical presentation is that one place we all strive for yet we have the least control when it comes to the presentation.

It’s an exciting opportunity to get to see ones work on the movie screen (especially when you don’t work in theatrical).

If you’re not familiar with Fathom Events they are “live event” type movie productions that are shown in theaters all around the country in a partnership amongst a number of theater chains. They show things like sporting events; operas are a common one you often see a preview for; there are special event movies and documentaries and a lot of concerts. I had the pleasure of editing a recent documentary on comedian Chonda Pierce which was shown as a Fathom event. There was a premier screening on April 25 as well as an encore presentation two weeks later. I was at NAB when the premiere happened so I was excited to get an encore on Tuesday May 9.

When talking about the exhibition one wants perfect screening conditions for the film that they have directed, edited, DPed etc. Hopefully that includes comfy seats, pleasant temperatures, optimal sound and good picture. It’s funny to talk about exhibition in this modern world because so much media is consumed on cell phones and touchscreen devices but I don’t think people think about the perfect viewing experience be it in a well-equipped home theater or an actual movie house. This particular screening began with no picture as in the screen was black and we could hear a rather muffled audio playing in the theater speaker. I knew when the promos were over and the movie began because I could hear the opening score but still no picture. I left the theater and asked first employee I saw to check the problem and restart the picture. She said that they would do just that. After a couple minutes the picture turned on but the sound was still terrible. After a several more minutes of not restarting the picture I went back out on the same poor soul that had to experienced my wrath to tell them that things were still screwed up.

After another 10 or 15 minutes of the movie playing I could see someone up in the projection booth attempting to do something and something did happen. The production stopped. There were several attempts to restart as the Fathom Events promo began playing over and over but it still sounded terrible. After about 20 minutes of this the theatre management came in and announced that they would be unable to show the production because one of the amplifiers in the theater had been blown. Apparently they had shown a Bollywood movie in this smaller theater at some point prior and “those loud Bollywood movies” were never meant to be shown in a theater that size. The Bollywood movie was so loud it “blew the amp.” Why no one monitored that is beyond me but I guess with 27 screens you just program everything in and let it go.

Back behind that glass I could see someone actually trying to fix the screening.

I immediately wondered how many other movies they had shown in the theater with the blown amplifier since it sounded like this other screening was at least the day before. A Fathom Event plays off a file so I had assumed it would be easy enough to move the showing to another screen since the Theater has 27 of them. But according to management, complications around the business side of Fathom Events means they’re unable to ever move a Fathom Event from one screening room to another. I made several attempts to reach out to both Fathom Events and Regal Cinemas by their Twitter accounts letting them know what had happened but I got no response at all. To the credit of the theater they did offer full refunds (which of course they should’ve done since the Fathom Event tickets are nearly $20) as well as offering vouchers for any other movie any other time including special events and RPX screenings. The people running the theater, and it has to be very thankless job, were very sorry about what had happened but their hands really seem to be tied as far as having another screening. They were unsure if they would be able to make up this particular screening at a later time.

At least we weren’t the only ones having problems with this Fathom Event.

The problem with the audio was a very muffled sound with the music bed actually being listenable but the dialogue was very muted. If you listened really close you could kind of understand the dialog and I was amazed by the number of people in the theatre that seemed to want to watch the production even with the bad sound. I think that speaks a lot to the subject matter and fans of the artist as opposed to people just willing to watch bad exhibition.

As the editor I wanted the best screening conditions possible. I often think about poor directors and cinematographers in the modern era who do their best to attempt to bring beautiful, cinematic images to the screen only to have them viewed in suboptimal conditions. I once chatted with a friend who hated the movie There Will Be Blood and I couldn’t understand why he hated it so much. Come to find out he watched the entire 2 hour and 38 minute movie on his phone on an airplane. There’re a lot of movies I can think about that is not properly viewed on your phone on an airplane and There Will Be Blood is right at the top of the list.

But back to the screening in the theater; box office numbers seem to be up over the last few years even if tickets sales are trending down but theaters owners and exhibitors are becoming increasingly frustrated with Hollywood. There continues to be a push to lower the theatrical window or to even have movies released in the home at the same time they’re released in the theaters … but for a higher price. The consumer wants this but the theater owner does not. You can do this today if you’re will to pay up.

To continue to have success at the box office theater owners and exhibitors need to continue to offer up a premium experience to those of us willing to pay + or – $20 per person to go to the theater. A number of “innovations” have come along in recent years that helps with that: a premium viewing experience, dinner and booze, reserved seating and kicking out cell phone users are a good start. I think that most of us that go to the theater would be fine with phones being allowed as long as the movies are identified as such and we can avoid them at all costs. But beyond the viewing experience among those kinds of movie distractions it’s the filmmaker who cringes most at the idea of a jungle gym inside the theatre or talking when everyone else is trying to watch the movie.

There were a lot of $20 refunds and Regal passes given out after the screening. The theatre also let anyone at the Fathom event go see another movie that night and get free refills on their concessions. At least the inconvenienced crowd didn’t seem too upset at the inconvenience.

Back to the actual projection of the image to the screen. That is something the viewer can’t do anything about. We sit at the mercy of the theater management and some kind of almost-projectionist sitting in the booth manning a hard drive. Best we can do as theatrical consumers is complain loudly to the theatre when the exhibition goes wrong. Ask for refunds, call the theatre chain, hit them up on social media. And what the theatre chains can do is respond and reply and let the consumer know they are doing what they can do keep the customer returning to the movie house.

I tried to complain to Fathom via their Customer Experience Survey Monkey form that was advertised on-screen before the event began, but that was a bust both on mobile at the screening and on the desktop afterwards.

You know Fathom if you’re going to provide an Other category you should probably at least provide a button for Other so we could continue the survey after choosing Other … I mean … Other was my answer!

Regal doesn’t even have a category on their Send Us an Email contact form for projection and screening issues.

I never heard a reply back from either Regal Cinemas or Fathom Events after tweeting to them about the bad screening experience. Others have had similar experiences and from the several Fathom Events I’ve been to over the years it’s the ones with problems that stick out in my mind. Both Regal Cinemas and Fathom Events could take a page from some of these companies about how to handle customer service on Twitter. I guess I should have tweeted to Regal Problems instead but somehow I don’t think that’s an actual Regal Twitter account. I guess I’ll send this little rant over to them via their contact forms.

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Have a copy of my FREE updated DaVinci Resolve 14 keyboard cheat-sheet Tue, 02 May 2017 19:14:33 +0000 Back in 2015 I posted a copy of my DaVinci Resolve editing keyboard cheat-sheet. This was a little document I had made as a quick way to see the different editing menu and submenu items as I was playing around with Resolve. The thinking was that learning the keyboard shortcuts was made just a little

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Back in 2015 I posted a copy of my DaVinci Resolve editing keyboard cheat-sheet. This was a little document I had made as a quick way to see the different editing menu and submenu items as I was playing around with Resolve. The thinking was that learning the keyboard shortcuts was made just a little bit easier without having to use a keyboard overlay or constantly looking under the menus. That is until you decide to remap them!

One thing Resolve 14 did add is a way to SEARCH for a command in the Keyboard Mapping editor so until we get a visual keyboard mapping tool this will have to do if you want to remap the keyboard.

NAB 2017 brought DaVinci Resolve 14 with a whole host of changes so it seemed high time to redo that Resolve keyboard cheat-sheet. There’s a lot to like in Resolve 14 and PVC has some great coverage of this big update with coverage from Brian Hallett as well as the Five Killer DaVinci Resolve 14 Features from Steve Hullfish. I’m just starting to play around with Resolve 14 so I’ll have something similar soon with my own humble opinion but in the meantime I’ll use my updated keyboard cheat-sheet to keep learning.

This Resolve 14 keyboard cheat-sheet has grown to two pages along with the ever expanding Resolve menus. As editing and audio tools have been added to Resolve the engineers have had to add more menus and submenus to accommodate all the added features. This cheat-sheet is mainly an editing focused cheat-sheet but I also added the Color and Nodes menus this time but I had to make them smaller to fit everything in two pages. Feel free to download, print and pass these along to anyone that might find them useful. A thank you on Twitter @editblog would be appreciated.

Click here to download or save as on this link for PAGE 01 of the Resolve 14 cheat-sheet. (File, Edit, Trim Timeline, Fairlight, Color and Nodes menus)

Click here to download or save as on this link for PAGE 02 of the Resolve 14 cheat-sheet. (Clip, Mark, View, Playback, Workspace and timeline right+click menus)

A little update to this post as we were discussing on Twitter that you can actually export a text file from the Keyboard Shortcuts preference pane in Resolve that has all your shortcuts listed.

This isn’t a bad thing as I’m sure there are legitimate uses for this text file. I hadn’t actually seen what this file looks like so I did just that and wasn’t too thrilled with the results as it’s not something that is easily and quickly readable as you’re trying to learn the app.

I’ll take the menu cheat-sheet but it’s nice to know the export option is there if it’s needed for some reason.

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Scribeomatic and Chromatic coming for Final Cut Pro X Sun, 30 Apr 2017 13:27:09 +0000 One bit of information worth mentioning that came out of NAB is a couple of upcoming products from CoreMelt. Roger Bolton of CoreMelt announced both of these new tools in separate presentations as the Lumaforge Faster Together stage. Like most FCPX products from CoreMelt these go beyond the Motion template level of simple animations and

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One bit of information worth mentioning that came out of NAB is a couple of upcoming products from CoreMelt. Roger Bolton of CoreMelt announced both of these new tools in separate presentations as the Lumaforge Faster Together stage. Like most FCPX products from CoreMelt these go beyond the Motion template level of simple animations and overlays and will add some deep functionality to Final Cut Pro X.


Not to be outdone by Digital Anarchy’s Transcriptive, CoreMelt’s Scribeomatic will add cloud-based transcription services right inside of FCPX. Roger has posted his presentation and answered a number of questions about this upcoming tool on his website but you can watch the video embed below.

I sat with Roger during a very loud party and got a demo of Scribeomatic and just as expected it looked very cool. The time to transcribe during the demo was just about real time for a 5 or 6 minute clip that Roger was using. There looked to be a number of ways to integrate the transcription but the one that really caught my attention was bring the transcription back into the timeline as markers (as you can see in the image below).

Scribeomatic appeared to insert the transcription as set intervals on the clip. While I’m not sure of those intervals (or if they can be changed) what you do get when the clip is in the timeline is the ability to view and search the content via the FCPX Timeline Index. This gives some Avid PhraseFind-like abilities to FCPX and could have many uses depending on the job. The big question everyone will be asking is price but that will be determined closer to release. Scribeomatic is just entering beta.


The other announcement from CoreMelt was for the upcoming color grading tool Chromatic. Roger answers a few questions about Chromatic in his blog post.

One question that might be asked is why do we need another FCPX color grading tool when we already have Color Finale? I think the short answer is choice and Chromatic will operate a bit differently (as different as a traditional color grading tool can operate) and add a few more tools to the mix. CoreMelt is one of the original FCPX third party developers as well and they will work hard to create a proper plug-in and not just a cheap Motion-template ripoff of an existing tool as we’ve seen from some other developers.

I really liked seeing the different curve grading options during the demo that I saw of Chromatic. And not just traditional RGB Curves but the vs. curves that Resolve users might be familiar with. In the above image you can see a Saturation vs Hue curve. These types of curves are one of the things I miss most when not working in Resolve as you can do some simple corrections very quickly. We also have to note that CoreMelt’s SliceX mocha-based masking and tracking will be part of Chromatic and that’s a big feature addition right there. Good masking and tracking controls are a must for serious color grading work so Chromatic will take grading to the next level in FCPX.

Keep an eye on CoreMelt’s website for more details on when the betas are in full swing as well as pricing and availability.

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Transcriptive – A transcription panel coming to Adobe Premiere Pro CC Tue, 25 Apr 2017 00:33:33 +0000 I only spent a few minutes walking the NAB show floor today but a trip by the plugin pavilion and I saw an old manual typewriter in the Digital Anarchy booth. A closer look reveled an upcoming extension panel for Adobe Premiere Pro CC called Transcriptive. This tool should go into beta soon and it looks

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I only spent a few minutes walking the NAB show floor today but a trip by the plugin pavilion and I saw an old manual typewriter in the Digital Anarchy booth. A closer look reveled an upcoming extension panel for Adobe Premiere Pro CC called Transcriptive. This tool should go into beta soon and it looks to add a nice little addition to the PPro toolset. It was a few versions ago that Adobe removed the old built-in transcription tool that wasn’t very accurate. Transcriptive will use cloud services (the user will get to choose which service to use with their varying costs) to do the transcription and the Transcriptive tool will be what integrates the transcription back into Premiere.

These modern cloud services are much more accurate than what Adobe had built into the old versions of Premiere. Digital Anarchy is claiming 96% accuracy with good quality audio. If all goes according to plan then buyers of the $249 Transcriptive tool will be able to choose between Speechmatics ($.07 / minute) and IBM’s Watson (which currently offers 1000 minutes free per month). Once the video is transcribed the fun begins in the PPro Transcriptive panel.

Yes it’s a picture of a brochure but you can at least get an idea of the Transcriptive interface.

There will be a number of things that will aid in the often tedious process of working with and cleaning up transcriptions. Things like speaker identification, timecode support, punctuation identification, text search and full Premiere Pro marker support means a lot of options. I love the idea of being able to read the transcription in a panel and then jump right to that part of the clip via the transcription.

If you squint real good you might be able to read a bit more detail about this new tool. Hopefully available soon.

No word on a ship date yet but beta testing will begin soon. Keep an eye on the Digital Anarchy website as more information become available.


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The Free Media Composer | First might finally ship in June Sun, 23 Apr 2017 02:06:01 +0000 Today at the Avid Connect event that precedes NAB 2017 Avid announced Media Composer | First. This will be a free version of Media Composer targeted at “aspiring creative professionals, students, and those just starting their professional careers.” And no, you’re not having deja vu. Avid actually announced this free version back in 2015 but

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Today at the Avid Connect event that precedes NAB 2017 Avid announced Media Composer | First. This will be a free version of Media Composer targeted at “aspiring creative professionals, students, and those just starting their professional careers.” And no, you’re not having deja vu. Avid actually announced this free version back in 2015 but here we are 2 years later and it looks like it will finally ship on June. You can sign up and get notified when it finally drops. And hit up the Media Composer | First FAQ for more questions answered.

You’re also not having deja vu back to the early to mid–2000’s when Avid had another free version of a Media Composer-like editing application called Avid Free DV. So Avid isn’t new to this entry level, free software. They also make Pro Tools | First as well so that’s for the entry level audio folks out there.

Our friends at Going Postal Show were there at the Avid Connect event and got a few video clips of the Media Composer | First demo.

Media Composer | First is a good thing and I don’t understand what took them two years to finally get it out (assuming it ships in June). And it’s not a moment too soon. While Media Composer is still the kind of Hollywood I don’t think it’s the king of young editors anymore. I’m teaching an intro to editing class at a university in Nashville and they require students to learn Avid as they are gearing the program toward Hollywood. But 75% of these freshman have good experience in either Adobe Premiere Pro CC or Final Cut Pro X. Many of the have a real difficulty grasping the Avid-way of editing and why a number of seemingly simple tasks are either way more difficult in Media Composer or takes a lot more steps. Hopefully Media Composer | First can at least get more eyeballs on Media Composer before potential media creation students are forced onto it in school.

It will be welcome.

What’s the limitations of Media Composer | First? We won’t know for sure until it ships but these are the bullet points from the notification page:

  • Edit at the speed of your creativity with a streamlined tool that makes video creation fun and easy for aspiring and beginning storytellers
  • Unleash ideas across four video tracks and eight audio tracks, enabling you to quickly cut together layers of video, dialog, music, and sound effects to enhance your story
  • Easily share content with the world and get recognition for your work with one-click publishing to social media, including YouTube and Vimeo
  • Get professional results with little effort using many of the same tools the pros use to create your favorite movies, TV shows, commercials, and video games

While there will be some serious limitations Media Composer | First looks like it will be an easy way to get your feet wet with this industry standard NLE. That is if it actually ships this time.

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Adobe updates Premiere Pro CC for April 2017 Wed, 19 Apr 2017 16:00:45 +0000 Here we are on the cusp of another NAB so like we’ve seen for the last few years that must mean we are on the cusp of a big update to Adobe Premiere Pro CC and the whole Adobe Creative Cloud video suite (check out the After Effects update here). 2017 is no different …

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Here we are on the cusp of another NAB so like we’ve seen for the last few years that must mean we are on the cusp of a big update to Adobe Premiere Pro CC and the whole Adobe Creative Cloud video suite (check out the After Effects update here). 2017 is no different … but there is one big difference this year: we won’t have to wait until sometime late summer to get the update as it should be available much sooner, probably today … maybe right now as you’re reading this (check your Creative Cloud app as it might take longer to populate to some users).

As what seems to be the tradition here on The Editblog I’m going to try and peer beyond the press release and take a look at some of the stuff editors will most be interested in.

The Tools and the Toolbar

Take a trip to the toolbar first thing upon launching the April 2017 version of Adobe Premiere Pro CC. It’s been condensed and a number of the tools have been moved into wells that pop out to reveal similar tools. If you’re a mouse-based editor it might take an extra second or two to access a tool that used to be a faster single click. The advice then is to learn the keyboard shortcuts as that is how you should be accessing the tools anyway.

You’ll want to take note of those keyboard shortcuts as a few of them have changed to facilitate the new type tools (more on those later). This redesign also brings PPro more inline with the other Adobe CC app as far as the toolbar goes.

And if you’re coming from another NLE you may notice that each tool still has a unique shortcuts. For example, hitting the B key repeatedly won’t cycle through all those trim tools that are housed in the above well. This is kind of a bummer as that seems like it would be easy to do.

Updated Preferences

While the new toolbar will be the first thing editors notice I think one of the most important things that isn’t going to get much press in the wake of the flashy new features is a number of changes to the Preferences including a tweak to that eternal bag of hurt the Media Cache.

Media Cache

Media Cache has been broken off from Media in the preferences which is great as it is a separate thing. The engineers have added 3 options to help manage the media cache a bit better. Depending on your work, deleting old files might make the most sense but since the Media Cache default goes to your system drive the second option to delete cache when it exceeds a size might make the most sense on a laptop.

And if you look under the Media Cache Database the old Clean button now says Clean Unused. While that seems like a good change I now wonder if that is unused as far as the projects that aren’t open or unused over a time span.

Regardless it’s some change to the Media Cache which is welcome even though I still find the media cache one of PPro’s weak links. This media cache blog post from 2011 is still one my most often read posts to this day. That tells me people don’t understand it. For more education on the media cache this article from Screenlight does a great job explaining it all.


The Timeline gets its own Preference tab now. Nothing new there as all of those preferences used to be under the General tab.


The other new category is Graphics which I guess is now a necessity with all the new graphics functionality.


The old Default Scale to Frame Size check box preference is gone and that’s now handled under Media with both SCALE and SET to frame size as options. What’s the difference? Dylan has the answer. To this day I still get those confused.


The last preference change I want to point out is the Pause Media Encoder queue during playback. This is the default behavior in older versions as pausing left more computer resources to playback video in PPro. If you uncheck this new preference Adobe Media Encoder can keep churning away in the background to get that encode done. Beware this might affect the performance of Premiere Pro. But it’s nice to have options.

The Type Tool

With the April 2017 release of PPro Adobe has completely rebuilt the type tool and taken it from a somewhat passive way to add text and shapes on the screen to what is essentially a new container that can do a whole lot more. I was never a hater of the PPro title tool, in fact I once wrote an article defending the CS4 title tool when compared to Final Cut Pro Classic and Avid Media Composer. But that was 2009 and this is 2017 and apparently the old PPRo title tool was just too old to really have any future so Adobe engineers decided to give it a rethink.

Get to know the new Type Tools in the new toolbar as you’ll spend a lot of time in them if you do a lot of typography in your video editing.

You don’t “open” the title tool anymore (it doesn’t exist) as text and shapes are created right on the Program monitor. Hit the T (or click the Type Tool if you must), click somewhere in the Program monitor and begin to type. Clicking and dragging draws a text box. If you want shapes then the Pen, Ellipse and Rectangle tool lets you draw just like you’re in Photoshop or Illustrator.

The big thing to really know about this new way of working with type and graphic elements is that a lot of time is going to be spent in the Effects Controls tab when it comes to design and manipulation of the elements. Each element you put into a design becomes a text or a shape layer in the Effects Controls (with intrinsic Transform controls like Position, Scale, Rotation and Opacity) built into each layer. If you want to change the order a Send to Back is handled by dragging to rearrange the layers. Depending on the element they might have different options available.

Shapes have simple design options like Fill, Stroke and Shadow. This is just the first implementation of these new tools so I would bet they will get further refined in upcoming versions.

The stuff you’d expect from type formatting is there too: font, style, alignment and the various typographic controls. I’ll miss the centering buttons of the old title tool (unless I’m missing them in the interface here somewhere)being front and center but you can find those in the new Essential Graphics panel. More on that later.

The other big change in this new Type tool to wrap your head around is how it operates in terms of clips vs master clips. When you create a new piece of text in the Program monitor you get a new CLIP on the timeline. That is a graphic container. As long as you have that clip/container selected in the timeline any new element you add with the new type tools go into that container. Want a new, separate graphic container/clip? Be sure any other graphic contenders are deselected in the timeline and new creations go onto a track above. PPro will auto-create a new video track if it needs to to accommodate a new graphic element.

When new graphic containers are created they are created only in the timeline. Copy/pasting those will let you create new versions independent of each other. If you want a graphic element to be a new master clip in a bin then drag it from the timeline to a bin. This will turn a named-text clip into a Graphic and it will then behave like an old-school piece of text. If you want to new, independent version of that master graphic just duplicate it in the bin. If you get a Copy 01 in your clip name then you have two different graphic elements.

We get a new Graphics menu item that has a number of rather self-explanatory options. You can use this menu to add graphic elements without using the tools. It’s worth noting here that if you have a graphic container selected in the timeline using this New Layer option will add that new layer to the existing comp in the selected graphic element. If nothing is selected you get a new graphic element!

  • New keyboard shortcuts exist for Select Next / Previous Graphic but they are unassigned by default
  • Once an element becomes a Master Graphic it seems best to edit that from the Source monitor
  • Many elements of a graphic container can be animated
  • Using the selection tool in the Program canvas will grab and manipulate individual elements of a graphic container, not the whole thing
  • You can move and manipulate an entire graphic container by using the Motion fx parameters in the Effect Controls
  • Layers can be added to graphic containers From File… so there’s a lot of possibilities for custom art and logos to be imported for design use

This new way of working with type and graphics in Adobe Premiere Pro CC April 2017 is quite different and quite powerful. If you come from a design background and have used other Adobe tools it’ll make sense pretty quickly. For others it will take some trial and error to really understand how graphic containers work, how duplicating of them affects relationship to others and how the Master Graphics concept works.

Essential Sound Panel

In what is a further melding of the features across the entire Creative Cloud suite the Essential Sound Panel comes over from Audition to PPro. If you’ve used it in Audition it works pretty much the same way.

  • Many elements of the Essential Sound Panel are independent of the clip settings. Changing the Volume>Level slider doesn’t raise or lower a clip’s rubber band automation.
  • Unfortunately the Essential Sound > Music > Duration option is the amazing Remix feature found in Audition but rather just a way change the audio playback speed with pitch shift.

Motion Graphics Templates and the Essential Graphic Panel

These are two separate new features in the April 2017 release but I think they go hand in hand. Motion Graphics Templates are … well … templates created with text and shape layers that are saved out for later recall and use.

Motion Graphics Templates are a new .mogrt format for graphic elements that you can build with the new Graphics engine in PPro and export as a template. Send those to another editor, use them in another project … whatever you want to do with them.

But the big news on Motion Graphics Templates is they can also be created in After Effects which means the motion design possibilities are much greater that just Premiere alone. In the hands of a great AE designer and animator a whole new world of possibilities open up.

Those possibilities come to life with the addition of the Essential Graphics panel which is where editors will interact with these new templates.

Before these new Motion Graphics Templates the After Effects integration was limited to mainly changing the text but this new workflow will enable a lot more customization for the editor as “text, color, size, layout or mood of the motion graphics” will all be editable depending on how the motion graphics artist sets up the template. One note from the press materials says this: “To work with Motion Graphics templates created in After Effects in Premiere Pro, After Effects (trial/license) must be installed.” Most everyone will have the full CC license so a download of AE might be in order but if you are working with a single app license of PPro you might have to install an AE trial to get Motion Graphics templates from AE to work.

I can hear the Final Cut Pro X/Motion folks already dismissing this workflow as just a copy of the FCPX/Motion integration where Motion becomes an effects and template generating powerhouse tool for FCPX. I guess it is pretty similar and since Apple did it first it could be looked at as a copycat but the PPro/AE relationship is a very natural one that had only continued to evolve over the years. Maybe Apple will add “dynamic linking” to FCPX/Motion one of these days!

  • A bunch of prebuilt Motion Templates come preinstalled in the April 2017 release so we’ll get a good place to start from.
  • I don’t think there’s an Adobe-sanctioned method or marketplace for third parties to sell Motion Graphics Templates to the world but I can’t image there won’t be some coming through Adobe Stock or enterprising designers who won’t just do it anyway.
  • Move your mouse over the Font pop-up in the Essential Graphics panel and a two finger drag on trackpad will scroll through the different fonts.

  • There’s yet another destination added to the ongoing mess that is Premiere’s Scratch Disks and caches. The destination for Motion Graphics Templates Media means there’s yet another folder to get unintentionally saved to the unintended destination.

  • Above is one of the installed templates editing in the timeline. You can see how it breaks down in the Essential Graphics panel. The two lines of text are changed not in the panel but with the Type Tool in the Program monitor. All the circles are made up of shape layers. Each of the elements have Align and Transform as well as Appearance parameters that can be changed.
  • You can share Motion Graphics templates via CC Libraries so that means that feature might actually get some use from a lot of us video people.

Another little addition to the April 2017 release of Adobe Premiere Pro CC is a bit of help for the new editor. Depending on your setup you might see a new welcome screen that is a video that is designed to walk the new editor through the editorial process. Most over that screen and there are options for Watch, Get Started and Explore.

If you don’t see the screen pop up just go to Help > Welcome Screen and you can find it. If you choose Get Started you’ll be taken to a new Let’s Get Started import box to get that first bit of footage loaded and move on to editing.

Choose Explore and PPro will open a pre-buit project called Going Home that is an edit of that background video. 

If you look closely above you’ll see that video was loaded into a tutorial directory in the Shared user profile. Looks like Adobe might be downloading that automatically with the update. It’s just over 165 MB so it’s not too big. Add this tutorial project to the new Essential panels and you’ve got Adobe making a push for the new user.  It truly is a video world that we are living in.

And speaking of that you can now publish right to Adobe Stock as a new encoding destination.

Plus a few more bullet points straight from the Adobe release site:

  • New audio effects & improved integration with Adobe Audition – Send audio effects and keyframes used in Premiere Pro to Audition without any rendering.
  • Ambisonic audio output for VR-enabled platforms such as YouTube and Facebook.
  • Support for Apple MacBook Pro Touch bar and Microsoft Surface Dial.
  • Support for new formats.
  • Enhanced support for Team Projects Dynamic Link.
  • Motion graphics Enhanced 4K 60p performance.
  • Improved support for Apple Metal.
  • Video preview of Stock footage within the Libraries panel and much more.


Those are the big features updates as I see them in this April 2017 update to Adobe Premiere Pro CC. As mentioned above it’s a big change to have this update ready for download day and date of the announcement. It goes without saying that you never update in the middle of a project but if you do then do it the right way. And make special note that Premiere Bro says there is not option to keep the previous version of PPro installed as there has been in the past. This is different from previous updates so PROCEED WITH CAUTION.

And since this is a patch that updates the old install this video below can help find any previous version if you need to do a complete uninstall.

The post Adobe updates Premiere Pro CC for April 2017 appeared first on ProVideo Coalition.

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Blackmagic Design introduces two new color grading panels for DaVinci Resolve Thu, 02 Mar 2017 22:39:56 +0000 In what was a pre-NAB post-Christmas big bag of goodies Blackmagic held a live-stream press conference on March 2 and introduced a batch of products that most would have thought to be the cornerstone of their NAB announcements. While I’m sure the new URSA Mini Pro will be all the talk it’s the two new color

The post Blackmagic Design introduces two new color grading panels for DaVinci Resolve appeared first on ProVideo Coalition.

In what was a pre-NAB post-Christmas big bag of goodies Blackmagic held a live-stream press conference on March 2 and introduced a batch of products that most would have thought to be the cornerstone of their NAB announcements. While I’m sure the new URSA Mini Pro will be all the talk it’s the two new color grading panels for Resolve that are of interest to many of us in post-production.

I’m not sure I believe Grant Petty’s statement in the press conference when he said “more people are editing now on DaVinci now than actually doing color correction” but okay. There’s no denying that BMD are wanting editors to edit in Resolve and these new panels might just push some full workflows into Resolve for creative offline if they know they can now affordably use panels with Resolve. It also might mean there’s a few dedicated colorists out there shaking their fists in anger.

The full press conference is available below.

It’s a good watch to see these panels demoed and hear the reasoning behind their creation. To get a more detailed look at the new Resolve panels check them out here. You can get your credit cards out and buy them now.

DaVinci Resolve Mini Panel

The $2,995 DaVinci Resolve Mini Panel is a scaled down version of the OG, big-boy DaVinci Resolve Advanced panel. It’s biggest advantage over the smaller Micro panel is that is has a number of one-button controls built in.

Some of the features of the Mini include:

  • 3 high resolution weighted trackballs
  • 12 control knobs dedicated to the powerful primary color correction tools
  • 18 dedicated navigation and transport keys
  • an upper deck with two 5” screens
  • 8 soft knobs and 8 soft buttons
  • dedicated keys for switching tools, working with nodes, grabbing stills, navigating the timeline
This is the right side buttons of the new Resolve Mini panel
This is the left side of the Mini

According to Grant these panels have the look and feel of the $30,000 Advanced panel so it should be a pretty seamless transition from one Resolve panel to another.

DaVinci Resolve Micro Panel

Features of the Micro include:

  • 3 high resolution weighted trackballs
  • 12 control knobs for advanced primary color correction
  • 18 dedicated navigation and transport keys

The $995 DaVinci Resolve Micro panel is by far the most affordable Blackmagic panel and takes aim squarely at Tangent as the “cheapest” grading panels out there.

A detail of the left side of the Micro panel.
Detail of the right side of the Micro panel.

You can buy these new panels now at any of those places you buy Blackmagic products.

What about Tangent?

It seems like Blackmagic is taking aim at Tangent and their affordable panels like the Ripple, Wave and Element system. In fact the press release even mentions “cheap panels on the market.” I don’t think it’s quite the dig that it sounds as Grant made it a point to mention in the news conference that BMD appreciates that these “cheap” panels have brought color grading to even more of the masses. That translates as bringing more people to Resolve as well as there wouldn’t be as many dedicated Resolve users out there if it wasn’t for the Tangent panels which have been around for years.

Tangent made a big splash at NAB 2016 when they introduced the Tangent Ripple. It truly was (and still is) the most affordable grading surface out there. I don’t see the Resolve Micro Panel killing off the Ripple as the Ripple has a few advantages:

  • The Ripple (and Wave and Element) can be used with more grading software beyond Resolve
  • At $350 the Ripple is still cheaper

But Grant is right that the Ripple is plastic and will feel like a lower quality product. Since it doesn’t have extra dedicated buttons it really is a panel you’re using mainly for the dials and trackerballs. I see them as different products that can co-exist though when you do see them side-by-side they look quite different.

The real questions is how will the Tangent Wave and Tangent Element fare again the Resolve Micro and Mini. I think those Tangent panels are most vulnerable in the market with these new Resolve panels out in the wild. But they still have the advantage of working with software beyond Resolve. As Adobe Premiere Pro CC continues to mature and update the Lumetri color tools we can expect to see more products using it and staying in the Premiere pipeline as that Resolve conform is something many will try to avoid. I can’t help but wonder if someone somewhere somehow will make these new Resolve surfaces work with Premiere Pro since it can support color control surfaces now. Sure the buttons and knobs wouldn’t be quite the same but a lot of if would.

UPDATE 3-3-17: Alexis Van Hurkman has taken an early look at these new panels and this is what he says about non-Resolve software support:

“The only caveat I would mention is that this panel only works with DaVinci Resolve. If you’re someone who uses a variety of panel-aware applications and you want a panel that can drive them all, you’ll want to look to Tangent Design, Avid, JL Cooper, or OxygenTec.”

The other real question is what does Blackmagic have left to introduce at NAB 2017? An affordable grading monitor? Their own Blackmagic branded drone? A Resolve-branded PC with Resolve-branded GPUs? The Resolve RAID? The Blackmagic Car? Maybe they’re just taking a different approach to NAB now and getting out ahead of the scrum of new NAB products. But I bet they still have something new that they will show us.

The post Blackmagic Design introduces two new color grading panels for DaVinci Resolve appeared first on ProVideo Coalition.

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