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Monthly Archives: May 2014

A couple of months ago Red Giant innovated the visual effects plug-in market by launching the public beta of Red Giant Universe. With the official release, members are now able to experience all the components of Red Giant Universe.



Red Giant, the provider of many industry standard visual effects plug-ins, created Red Giant Universe as a community that gives its members free access to an ever expanding suite of  plug-ins. It also serves as a subscription based platform for a host of premium tools, many being long standing Red Giant plug-ins and effects which are now streamlined and upgraded to take advantage of today’s CPUs. Red Giant currently consists of 31 free tools, made up of 22 effects and 9 transitions. Premium subscribers also gain access to 19 premium tools, consisting of 12 effects and 7 transitions. The free tools include a variety of blurs, glows, and popular effects like a simple RGB separation. The premium tools offer some popular plug-ins like Knoll Light Factory EZ, Holomatrix, and ToonIt.

Red Giant Universe Labs

One part of Red Giant Universe that was under wraps but is now out in the open is the Labs. This is an area in which Red Giant developers share what they are working on and Universe members can vote on what they want to see. The initial vote is between two effects, one is a Compound Blur, the other is an Edge Glow. It is evident through the sharing of the development process that Red Giant is actively working to expand the offerings of Red Giant Universe.


The free membership includes a wide range of tools that compatible with Adobe Premiere Pro, Adobe After Effects, and Final Cut Pro X. All updates are conveniently managed through the Red Giant Link utility. Premium membership in Red Giant Universe costs $10 per month, $99 for an annual membership, or a lifetime membership for $399.


Article in VideoMaker by Chris Gates 


Editing Procure multimedia


It’s easy to get into a routine when video editing and as a result form some habits, and not necessarily good ones. Video editing is an art form with rules, or more realistically guidelines, that help define the difference between what’s good and what’s bad. Even though what is considered good or bad for video editing is subjective and somewhat arbitrary, there are some basic principles that can be followed to help make a video successful. When bad habits break the rules there’s trouble to be found. Here are 10 video editing habits to give up as the New Year rolls around.

1. Winging It

A lot of creative people like to wing it, take things serendipitously and let a project unfold as they work on it. This is a habit that’s easy to fall into as a video editor, footage shows up and the editor sorts it out as they go. The danger lies in the fact that a project may consume more time than necessary when a video editor is winging it, and they run the risk of missing the point. Instead of shooting from the hip, be prepared and make a plan. Learning to have a few contingency plans that can apply to multiple projects will a make a video editor more productive and help them to stay on task.

2. Scaling It Up

The excitement of a new project is exhilarating and it’s easy to jump right into the mayhem of video editing. This is the problematic habit of starting before the project’s ready. To avoid it, know what the goal of the project is and most importantly, know the deliverables. Ask, “How is this project going to be delivered? How long should it be? At what resolution and format does it need to be?” A project that runs too long and is in the wrong format presents a world of problems that are avoidable with some simple knowledge up front.

3. Keeping in a Cluttered Workspace

It’s no lie, video editing can be messy. It’s also a bad habit. That doesn’t mean a video editor has to like it or live there. A video editor who keeps their workspace, virtual space, and their projects well organized will be more proficient.

4. Overusing Transitions

Transitions are a fundamental element of video editing and every video editor has their favorite go to method of moving from one shot to another. It’s easy to get into a groove, use editing defaults, and transition the same way between different shots. A video editor should consciously break the habit of default transitions and use what the project calls for, not what they’re comfortable with.

5. Using Jump Cuts

Speaking of transitions, jump cuts still abound in the world. Sometimes a video editor gets complacent with the lack of footage that they have in their edit bay or there is the habit of being lazy, just doing enough to get the job done. Be prepared and ready, always think of interesting ways to cover jump cuts. Use b-roll or an interesting transitional device, such as a custom graphic, to avoid the jump cut.

6. Ignoring Audio

Audio is one half of video and it doesn’t always get the attention it deserves. Mixing audio as a rote technical process is a bad habit that kills a lot of good videos. A good audio mix is a skillfully crafted element of video editing. A video editor should at the least make sure that there are no audio cutoffs, that audio levels remain appropriately consistent, and that any music bed used enhances the edit.

7. Underutilizing Graphics

Graphics are now an integral part of a video editor’s arsenal. This adds one more hat to the video editor’s ever growing list of roles, that of graphic designer. Not every video editor is a graphic designer and that’s okay. The danger is that an editor picks up the habit of using the same graphics and graphic techniques over and over again. When the habitual graphic gets used one too many times or grows old, past its stylistic lifespan, the video editor walks into trouble. The best way to avoid this habit is to be a perpetual learner and always try to come up with something new and fresh.

8. Abusing Effects

Just like graphics, effects are used regularly in the edit bay. A well crafted effect adds a certain amount of flair, flourish, and polish to a production. Effects can also be habit forming and used gratuitously, becoming ineffective. Don’t use effects for effects sake, use them sparingly to make a point or subtle exclamation.

9. Stealing Ideas

The great thing about the internet is that it’s easy to learn just about anything, including video editing techniques. A bad side to the internet is that everybody is learning the same thing, including video editing techniques. Self-improvement is a good habit to have but straight out imitating others is not such a great habit. A video editor should be mindful of what they learn when watching tutorials. A carbon copy effect or graphic from an online tutorial can be spotted a mile away. Personal growth is accomplished by incorporating a technique learned from a tutorial and taking ownership of the finished result, while making it wholely unique.

10. Attempting to use Every Shot

A video editor’s job is to edit, to reduce, repurpose, rearrange, and craft elements into a cohesive message. A bad habit that many young editors form is they like to paint the world. They want to use everything they’re given. If there’s a good shot, they make sure to include it in the final edit, even if it doesn’t fit with the overall message or takes away from the finished piece. This is where good videos go on to become extended pieces, with montages of unnecessary footage. Break the habit of painting the world by only using what’s needed, be selective and don’t feel the need to use something just because it looks good.


Article in VideoMaker by Chris Gates

Chris “Ace” Gates is a four time Emmy Award winning freelance writer and video producer.


Hard to believe, but FCP X is well over three years old and already into its 10th iteration.

Its popular multicam tool arrived with version three a year or two ago. In the past 2 years  no less than four new versions have been released, bringing dual viewers, a unified import window, support for native REDCODE RAW, MXF, Sony XAVC (up to 4K) and optional Rec. 709 display of ARRI ALEXA ProRes captured in Log C.

Recent improvements also include a handy freeze-frame tool, chapter markers for QuickTimes and DVDs, better audio channel editing tools, and FCPXML 1.2 to facilitate audio and metadata export/import. (FCPXML uses Extensible Markup Language, or XML, to exchange Project and Event data and metadata between FCP X and third-party applications.) Plus, there are a host of bug fixes and performance improvements.

Apple claims its 64-bit FCP X has outsold all previous 32-bit versions of FCP combined, and there’s no reason to doubt this, for two reasons.

FCP X is faster and less confusing to set up than FCP 7, to which I can personally attest. It better hides the sprawling technical complexity of today’s HD, 2K and 4K formats. In fact, in conversation over the past year with several popular digital video experts — recognizable names all — I’m struck by the fact that all admitted using FCP X, at least for basic editing. One mentioned — and I think this is key — he felt guilty because using FCP X was too easy.

Many “pros” still dismiss FCP X out of hand, typically with no experience using it, and I’m reminded of “serious” PC users who once vehemently disparaged Mac owners (like me) because real computing required command-line entry. A mouse-driven GUI was for amateurs. Not that long ago, really.

Consider this: FCP X is a feature-rich 64-bit pro app with a challenging learning curve (I’m still climbing), which, at the same time, provides a relatively easy interface for those otherwise intimidated by professional NLEs. This includes a worldwide market of young media makers, many without editing preconceptions or prior professional experience, a new generation who often shoot with DSLRs or tablets or smartphones, and who wouldn’t object to editing on tablets or smartphones either, technology permitting.

A broad, new user base, growing laterally and exponentially. That’s reason No. 1 for FCP X’s mushrooming popularity.

Reason No. 2 is its low price: $299. Apple offers a free trial, too. For 30 days only, FCP X is as gratis as DaVinci Resolve Lite (which, with a superficially similar user interface, plays very well with FCP X). If broke, cut fast!

Convenience, too, plays a role: FCP X is readily downloaded from Apple’s App Store, while subsequent notices of version updates (always free) are automatically pushed to your Mac. This way, every FCP X user stays up to date.

FCP X shares effects files called Smart Motion Templates with Apple’s motion graphics app, Motion 5 ($50). These include most of FCP X’s built-in effects. Smart Motion Templates can be created from scratch or customized in Motion, which has given rise to Internet swapping of homebrew FCP X effects. That’s how, in a pinch, I downloaded a free 8-point garbage matte a year ago. Saved my bacon.

This summer, I edited two unusual projects in FCP X. In one, I shot 4K with a Canon C500, recorded as 4K ProRes to an AJA Ki Pro Quad. Thanks to Thunderbolt, eSATA and USB 3.0, I was able to edit and view 4K ProRes on my 17-inch MacBook Pro. Upon import, I also made low-res 2K “proxies,” which are mostly what I edited. I graded the flat Canon Log images in FCP X as well. You can see my workflow depicted and footage displayed in the video below.


I also shot a 22-minute reel for Canon and Cooke Optics demonstrating the “Cooke Look” obtained by mini S4/i primes on a Canon C500. The results were recorded as 1920 x 1080, 12-bit, uncompressed, again using Canon Log. The extremely high data rate required a Codex S onboard recorder. Using Codex’s Virtual File System, I backed up both original uncompressed files and also ProRes 4444 copies with a 3D LUT applied. I edited with the latter.

My early 2011 17-inch MacBook Pro, tricked out with an internal SSD and 16GB of RAM, kept up just fine. Over the course of both edits, I had only one crash, which happened immediately after final review of the second project, just before rendering for output. Yes, I was backed up. But one of the most extraordinary features of FCP X is one of the least mentioned: Crashes are rare but when they do occur and FCP X is restarted (after automatically sending a report to Apple), not a keystroke or edit is missing. I consider this close to magic.

Admittedly, if this summer’s 4K shoot were repeated now, I’d entertain an alternative, more capable FCP X workflow. On the horizon — in a matter of weeks — is a new release of FCP X to accompany the introduction of the radically reconceived Mac Pro workstation previewed in June at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, with the possibility also of a new 4K Thunderbolt Display.

You’ve probably seen pictures of it: black, barrel-shaped, 10 inches tall. Hollow like a chimney, which is what it is, its airflow facilitated by a silent turbine hidden under the top. The whole thing is about six-and-a-half inches in diameter.

Inside are up to 12 cores of CPU horsepower, dual GPUs with up to 6GB of VRAM and third-generation PCI Express with 40 Gigabyte/sec internal bandwidth to support internal flash storage that’s 10 times faster than today’s 7200 rpm SATA hard drives.

In other words, 7 teraflops of computing power. Remember Cray supercomputers? Top speed, circa 2004, Cray Inc.’s massive X1 (size of a Sub-Zero fridge), developed with NSA funding, naturally, was 5.9 teraflops.

I/O includes six Thunderbolt 2.0 ports (25 times faster than FireWire 800, twice as fast as the original Thunderbolt), four USB 3.0 ports, two Gigabit Ethernet ports, and the very latest HDMI, version 1.4, which carries a 4K signal to a 4K monitor in a single cable. Per Apple, the new Mac Pro drives at least three 4K monitors at once and permits daisy-chaining up to 36 devices via Thunderbolt 2.0.

New horizons indeed for FCP X.



David Leitner