HOW TO GET YOUR FINAL CUT PRO TRIM MODE TO ACT LIKE AVID’S (SORT OF)…

The point of this blog post is to explore the Final Cut Pro TRIM MODE (and Premiere Pro‘s). Many people think the Final Cut Pro TRIM MODE sucks. I don’t believe it does. In fact, I think it’s pretty damn usable. Am I the first person you’ve heard say that? I’m not crazy, I promise. Just check out the video below and see what I mean.

But before you do that, I want to cover a few things. It seemed to me that many people saying that the Final Cut Pro trimmer sucks don’t know that you can actually play the media while in trim mode. You can. Watch below. Also, I believe the Premiere Pro trimmer needs work. It’s worse than the Final Cut trimmer, as you cannot play your media while in trim mode.

You may also want to watch the video in 720p so you can see the screen clearly.

Watch it here in HD – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xrym5N26x5s

Also, here is a QUICK overview of the Avid interface/trim mode. A lot of people are not familiar with how Avid works or have “tried it once and hated it.” You need to spend more time with it, use it the way it was intended, and not try to get it to work the way Final Cut or Premiere work. Avid is a different way of editing.

Oh and by the way, you can also hit “U” on the keyboard to enter trim mode in Avid. I forgot to mention that in the video.

Watch it here in HD – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mhNxSDjduRM

HERE IS THE LINK for the remapped Final Cut Pro keyboard settings for better editing efficiency. It’s from THE EDIT BLOG ON PVC. The link to download the keyboard layout is at the end of the article (page 2) but I suggest you read the entire article before you download it.

Enjoy and happy trimming!

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Doritos Spec Commercial Now Up!

Triple E Productions Doritos Spec Commercial

DORITOS SPEC COMMERCIAL

Ok, guys. So now that the Superbowl is over, here is our entry into the Doritos Crash The Superbowl Contest.

PRODUCTION

The process was amazing. We arrived at our Manhattan apartment “set” (kindly donated by Anna Grady who is in this short spec) early in the morning (the time escapes me – all I know is that I was very tired).

So this was our first shoot with our new camera. I think I’ll refrain from saying which one because it’s the content that matters. Gear matters to some extent, but with so many choices for so little money, you can pick whatever works best for you.

So I set up the laptop so we can dump off the footage. My brother had an extra memory card but it was only 4GB so Dave (also in this spec, as well as in the rest of my work) went out to get a new one. He got the wrong type and that scared us both. 4GB only allows about 11:30 minutes of 1080p footage. We were scared it would take forever to dump off. Fortunately, it took only 2 minutes. Those breaks were welcome, although I now own a 16GB card that records 29:59 minutes of footage and I’d highly recommend getting a few of these so you’re not stopping every few minutes to dump footage.

The shoot went smoothly, and we (especially me) really enjoyed the tapeless workflow. It just felt so cool and modern haha. Aside from that, it was nice not to worry about dropped frames, dirty playheads, etc. We ended the shoot around 3pm.

POST PRODUCTION

Driving back to our Long Island office, Dave and I got some food (KFC – I know, I know. I’ll go to Whole Foods next time). We loaded up on some coffee and stuff so that we could pull an all-nighter to get this badboy done before the deadline. The first thing we did when we got back was to dump A COPY the footage off to the computer hard drive (it’s WISE to keep more than one copy when you’re working tapeless – I recommend 3 if possible). From that point, I used Adobe Media Encoder to transcode the footage into ProRes 422 HQ for editing in Final Cut Pro (HQ might be overkill – someone let me know). I set a WATCH FOLDER so that it would process the footage and separate the original files from the newly transcoded ProRes files automatically.

Dave and I sat around for approximately 3 hours waiting for this stuff to finish transcoding. Definitely not the workflow we’re used to coming from the Panasonic DVX100a. I hate waiting. I really do believe waiting kills creativity. Maybe purchasing a MacBook Pro or Mac Mini to have on set to transcode this stuff while we’re shooting would be a good idea. Again, I could dump the footage to a specific folder (set as a WATCH FOLDER in Adobe Media Encoder, and Adobe Media Encoder would transcode whatever was dumped into that folder, separate the files, etc. automagically!).

Once the transcoding was finished, we edited until 2am or 3am. I then brought the audio into Soundtrack Pro for the audio mix. Personally, I really dislike Soundtrack Pro. I’m just not comfortable in it and I feel like I can’t work fast enough. The keyboard shortcuts are weird and the way it does certain things is odd for me. I mixed the 30 second spot in it, but later (1 month later) went back and mixed the 1 minute spot in Nuendo. Much easier and faster! I still love mixing my audio in Sony Vegas though, but I only had the 64bit version of Sony Vegas 8 and for some reason they disabled all AAF input and output so I opted to mix it on a Nuendo system. The audio in the 1 minute spot, in my opinion, sounds a lot better than the 30 second spot.

So around 5am, I finished the audio mix. I then brought the video into Color. In Color, something happened that I did not like. There was A LOT of noise due to high ISO and underexposure. I was a little upset and I wasn’t sure what was causing this but later tests revealed that it’s best to keep the exposure pretty high on these cameras because the darker areas got very noisy.

Ok, so I just realized that there’s no point in me hiding the camera at this stage because it’s pretty obvious. I figure many of you could benefit from knowing so that you can be aware of what to look out for. We shot on the Canon 7D. Later tests revealed that keeping the skin exposure around 1 on that little exposure bar on the 7D LCD gave the best results without getting too blown out in other parts of the image. Even at high ISOs like 1250, you can still get a decently clean image if you exposure it properly. If you fall below the half way mark on that little bar, you’re asking for trouble in the form of nasty, blocky noise.

So back to Color. I graded it anyway and when Vimeo converted it down to 720p, there wasn’t much of an issue with noise because it seemed to reduce the amount of noise significantly. (Vimeo didn’t support 1080p at the time of upload for the 30 second spot).

Once I finished the grade, I set it to render and knocked out for a few minutes on a table in the office. Yes, a table. TIP: Using your jacket as a pillow really increases your comfort level by at least 25%. At least.

Once we finally got everything finished, rendered, uploaded, etc, it was around 8am or 9am and people were coming in to work for the day. We were leaving…

WRAPPING IT UP

I drove Dave to the train station, went home and knocked the hell out. It was such a great experience. I hadn’t had that much fun since making FALLOUT and doing those crazy hours like we did when we shot that film. It was such a great experience and the cast I had was incredible. Everyone brought soooo much to the table and I thank all of them for their hard work and being so great and easy to work with.

Here is the cast:

Nick Calhoun
David Doumeng
Dawn Doumeng
Anna Grady
Jennifer Kaminski
Greg Lay

VIEW THE SPOTS

So now that I’m done rambling, you can check out the two spots below!

This is the full 1 minute version:

This is the 30 second version:

Coming soon…

After

Before

After

Before

After

Before

New short film coming soon!

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SCARLET YAY! UNTIL THEN, KEEP MAKING MOVIES!

RED SCARLET ANNOUNCEMENT – NOV 30th

Ok, so RED has finally made an announcement about the 2/3″ Scarlet system and the s35 Scarlet. There are plenty of reason we should be excited, and plenty of reasons why you SHOULD NOT WAIT to shoot your film. I can’t decide for you, nor should I. Only you know what you need. Only you can decide. I can only talk about what works for me.

EXCITED I AM

Guys, we’re getting REDCODE 100 for $4750 (fixed lens) or $2750 (maybe more like $6000+ with all the “extras” you need in order to shoot properly) for a fraction of the price of what a true digital cinema camera typically costs. If you have worked with RED footage, you know that the RAW format is awesome for color correction. It would be great to have this accessible to us on a cheap Scarlet.

I don’t want to hear people complaining about the 2/3″ imager. People in Hollywood, even Oscar winners, have been shooting on 2/3″ systems since the beginning of this (soon to be last) decade. You can still achieve shallow depth of field with these systems with a little trickery. Most people overdo this stuff anyways. Obviously, for indies, this option is great, but some Hollywood or “pro” people may hate the 2/3″ size. That’s fine, because when you’re at that level, you can just get a RED ONE (remember that cam?) or any other expensive cam and shoot with that. The Scarlet is not so much targeted toward those people as it is for lower budget indie films. Not for a main cam anyways – B cam, different story.

So basically, what I’m excited about is the REDCODE 100/RAW format and the 3K image size / higher rez. Guys, if you’ve seen Sin City in theaters (digitally projected) you know that 1080p is more than enough (in my opinion) for a great image so 3K is perfectly fine since we’ll be getting high rez, plus a bigger frame size for VFX work. I don’t see a reason to whine about no 4K. 3K is more than I’ll likely ever need, even if a film of mine has a theatrical release. This is all assuming that we’re getting all/most of that resolution instead of the size without the resolution, like the Panasonic HVX200.

So aside from the RAW format and high rez, plus proper monitoring solutions, there’s not much else for me to get excited over. Oh wait, I forgot sync sound 🙂

Just remember who this camera is geared towards. You most likely wouldn’t shoot a typical Hollywood feature on a Scarlet, and whatever “shortcomings” (and I use that word VERY LIGHTLY) that the Scarlet has, I’ll deal with. C’mon guys, we’re indie filmmakers! We’re used to that!

ON THE OTHER HAND, BLAH

I’m NOT dissing RED here, trust me. What they’re doing is amazing. But guys, at the level us indies are at, we don’t need 6, 12, 18, 123432K footage in order to make a good film. Get your grimy little hands on a Canon 7D, a 5D, or the 1D MK4 if you’re willing to spend that much, and GO OUT AND MAKE A MOVIE NOW! Why wait until next summer. If I waited, I would not have the collection of films I have now that I’m currently showing off in order to get MORE WORK and MORE OPPORTUNITIES. Get a 7D/5D/HMC150/EX1, etc. if you have the money and start shooting NOW. The Summer 2010 date on the Scarlet is temporary. Why risk important opportunities NOW?

Brian Ramage shot his film on an HMC150 and he’s (as far as I know) gotten interest from some big names (Brian, if you’re reading this and want me to link to your film, EMAIL or TWEET me with the link and I’ll link it up). I’ve shot stuff on my DVX that’s done some decent things and STILL continues to get work/investors interested in my future projects. I suggest you do the same!

I’m not going to discuss the tech stuff here because you can hit up any message board and read people’s arguments with each other on why one camera is better than another. I suggest that after learning a camera’s shortcomings, make your decision and go shoot. There are plenty of cameras out there that will give you amazing pictures, dare I say Hollywood quality even, if you handle them properly and skillfully. Don’t get drawn in to all that technical debate over which camera resolves 11.5 lines more resolution than the next.

Like I said, if you can’t get one of the current cameras to make your non-techy friends go, “dude, it looks like a real movie,” then don’t expect a “real movie” look from a Scarlet, or even a Panavision Genesis. Leave the numbers and theories to the techs and scientists out there. That’s not you. That’s not your job.

Your job is to have an engaging story and to get enough people to be engaged in your movie so much, that they don’t care about the tech shit or if you edited on Sony Vegas or if you shot on a Sony 1/3″ HD camera.

“It has set the record as the most profitable independent film ever made having earned over $100 million with a production budget of $15,000.”The proof is out there!

Your audience doesn’t care about the tech. Why should you?

You’re a filmmaker. Now go out and make a film.

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UPDATED COLOR CORRECTION REEL

My company, TRIPLE E PRODUCTIONS, updated our color correction reel. CHECK IT OUT HERE. On another note, keep on the lookout for a blog post about our Doritos commercial shoot!

Until next time!

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FILMMAKING PODCAST & NEW CAMERA

What’s up, ya’ll.  Yes, talking to my friend Brad Parler (http://www.PoweredProduction.com) from Texas has rubbed off on me. Actually, no, cuz he doesn’t even talk like that, but I digress. A few new things to talk about.

PODCAST

First off is Kenn Bell’s (of THE DOG FILES) new podcast called Mac Media Tech. Search for it on iTunes. I was a guest on it with Paul Zadie, Matt Jeppsen and Kenn Bell. We discuss many interesting topics including filmmaking.

NEW CAMERA PURCHASE3175361941_039a615e31

Recently, we made a new camera purchase for our upcoming projects, as we have sadly outgrown our trusty PANASONIC DVX100a. Now, we have moved up to high def with a bigger sensor so we can be more artistic with our projects. The thing is, we’re not going to discuss which camera we purchased. Why not? Because it doesn’t matter now. What matters is the story, the characters, the FILMMAKING and STORYTELLING. With all the different camera options out now, anyone can make great images if they know how to rock the equipment. Let’s stop worrying so much about gear and concentrate on compelling stories and storytelling.

Expect to see a lot more content coming from us in the near future!

Until then, keep making interesting stories!

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COLOR CORRECTION TUTORIAL & CASE STUDY – GRADING ELKE BLASI’S FEATURE THRILLER “STAR 69”

s69_1

Over on TripleEBlog.com, we have posted a great COLOR CORRECTION tutorial using APPLE COLOR on Director Elke Blasi‘s feature length thriller STAR 69. I think this is a very helpful tutorial. It is definitely something all of you filmmakers should check out.

CHECK OUT THE ARTICLE/TUTORIAL HERE.

And if you’re looking for EDITING or COLOR CORRECTION for your films, my company TRIPLE E PRODUCTIONS provides this service. Check us out at www.triple-e-productions.net.

Also, stay tuned for more information on DIRECTOR ELKE BLASI‘s “STAR 69.”


***FOR DIRECTING, EDITING, COLORIST SERVICES – Email Me Here***

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