March 29, 2009

RED Post – an Easy Way

In RED Post – the Easy Way Oliver Peters gives you an overview from the perspective of an editor on 2 recent commercials.

Oliver also links to the recent outline of RED post production paths by RED's Ted Schilowitz, Simple Post Production Options for RED ONE. Ted demonstrated Shooting with the RED ONE Digital Cinema Camera in a movie posted last October on MacVideo. For a bit of a reality check, see Matthew Jeppsen's On Set with Red: A Weary AC’s Rant.

Similar tips were by posted last week by Mark Christiansen in 5 Tips to Maintain Sanity in RED Post; more RED info can be found through these posts.

Update: There's a thread on Oliver's article on FinalCutPro-L.

Update 2: Mark Christiansen has another tip, Apply Color Adjustments to RED QuickTimes, for when colors are not quite right working natively with QuickTime files linked to R3D files.

More metadata, search, yada yada

Metadata and metrics may be the talk of the town but "discovery" (search results) seems important when housewives can't find shows and times using digital cable and the web. Maybe Google will make even more in ad money from the confusion. Debra Kaufman at Studio Daily has a report from the recent Future of Television conference in Hollywood. Here's an excerpt from her Online Video: Room to Grow:

'At the Future of Television conference in Hollywood, a group of panelists debated the global opportunities and challenges of distributing and monetizing online video. ...Online video has become a huge commodity, and these experts discussed the obstacles they currently face to make it bigger than ever. Metrics and metadata were two of the most talked-about issues.

... The moderator pointed out that metadata also has its complications. “If you buy something in the US, my metadata will be in English but it might have to go to a German audience,” he said. “How do I cope with this complexity in international distribution?” Metz said that “as an entertainment metadata company, Macrovision has been researching how to take metadata, prioritize markets and translate.” She revealed that the company is already partnering with a provider in Japan, but she notes that key to the issue is starting with quality data. “At the end of the day, the data without the guide is irrelevant,” she said. “We’re looking at how you look ahead to what the market needs worldwide and create enough depth to facilitate search and discovery.”'

Additional perspectives can be found in an AEP post, Metadata, search, analytics & monetization, and in other posts.

March 27, 2009

1001 Adobe After Effects Tutorials

You may remember FilmmakerIQ for such lists as 144 After Effects Plug-Ins, 202 Final Cut Pro Tutorials, 202 DIY Filmmaking Tutorials, 202 Sony Vegas Tutorials, & Horror Filmmaking: From Script to Scream.

Now they list 1001 Adobe After Effects Tutorials. It's composed mostly of the usual suspects, but there's got be something for someone in there -- like Ko Maruyama's 12-parter on advanced keying from Total Training CS3 on AdobeTV.

Update: Embedded link but not fully listed by FilmmakerIQ was this DNM post from not so long ago, 300+ Free After Effects Tutorials: Professional After Effects Training Clips, Tutorials and Quick Tip.

CineGobs Spill Suppression: free AE filter

Bo Johansen of Denmark has released CineGobs Spill Suppression, a free AE filter for Windows. It's "simple effect plug-in(8/16 bit) that enables you to remove spill from red, green or blue backgrounds. I think the result looks better than the standard spill suppressor included with After Effects. For more advanced control this plugin is able to create an alpha matte, based on the areas where spill is detected. Using that matte f.inst. as a track matte, you can replace the spill with the contents of another layer."

He's also released a 32-bit capable cross-platform version in Pixel Bender format for AE & Photoshop CS4, CineGobs Spill Suppression Pixel Bender. He cautions that the PB version is less user-friendly than native AE filters (every parameter is a number/slider) and slower except in 32-bit.

...via the The DV Rebel's Guide Rebel Cafe.

Particles + Orientation in Trapcode Particular

Particles seem to be in the air.

Wondertouch will finally release an After Effects version of particleIllusion, which they'll show at NAB 2009. Also showing at NAB is version 2 of Trapcode Particular, which is the current particle system of choice for AE users.

Studio Daily posted a video by Harry Frank on Particle Orientation in Trapcode Particular, where he "demonstrates how to get around the particle orientation limitation in Trapcode Particular wherein particles always face the camera. Using camera trickery and expression magic you can see the particles at an angle."

It's hard to tell if this is another part of Frank's bundle Complete Training for Trapcode Particular. Anyway, Studio Daily has 2 more video demos on Particular from that training set on Layer Grid Emitters and Advanced Physics.

And if you can't get enough of particles, check out 15 Inspiring Particle-Based Tutorials from Around the Web at AETUTS and the recent lovely additions to the Trapcode Gallery (see picture above).

Update: In Better Compositing with Particles Aharon Rabinowitz uses Particular to show "you a technique for placing layers inside the middle of a particle system - crucial to truly integrating your CGI effects with your live action footage or motion graphics."

March 25, 2009

Gesture-controlled displays

A 2007 AEP post, UI control via webcam, mentioned XTreme Reality 3D, "a piece of software that works with your webcam to let you control applications and games with your hand in real space." It turns out that others were working on similar controls for TVs, according to NewTeeVee in Hands On with Softkinetic’s Hands-Controlled TV. Here's an excerpt:

"We write a lot about how the world of content available through your television set is undergoing a dramatic change. But the changes happening to your TV aren’t just what’s on or how it gets there, but also the way you interact with your TV set. Forget remote controls and buttons when you’ve got hands to change the channel and adjust the volume. We’ve been following this gesture-controlled TV trend for a while and recently sat down with Softkinetic to get a demo of their solution."

Here's a few demonstrations of the trend:







Update: via a blog without comments, CNET/CBS adds another example, but doesn't seem to acknowledge other reports or previous examples:

Cisco & Flip: video editing on the cloud

Cisco recently bought the San Francisco company that produces the Flip camera for $590 million.. Ok. But Lost Remote notes Flip’s surprising share of camcorder market -- 20 percent!

At Capria.TV, Frank Capria was quick to see Where Cisco wants to take video, perhaps because he works for Avid, which own Pinnacle and its line of consumer video products. He pointed out that Flip has easy editing and sharing software to match it's easy-to-use hardware:

"As GigaOm noted, it can eliminate the computer. Shoot, push to the cloud, and edit on the cloud. No Macs. No PCs. What Polaroid did for photography 50-some years ago, Cisco can do for videography. It can make it instant, inexpensive, and fun.

Cameras preloaded with editing software will be a minor disruption to business as usual. Editing on the cloud is where this is all going, and the industry will be turned on its head."

Perhaps, but online video editors like Adobe Remix and others faded since the excitement of a few years ago.

In any case, the Flip Video camcorder records or "captures" video in MPEG-4 advanced simple profile format, saved as an AVI file. Flip includes the 3IVX codec to work with the AVI files in QuickTime. The Flip Video program uses a starter version of muvee AutoProducer for its automatic stylizing "movie mixing," and this feature so far is not on the Mac.

Of course, Cisco/Flip will have competition from smart phones and still cameras that do video. GigaOm and TechCrunch have background; here's GigaOm's take on on Cisco's buy:

"If Cisco can integrate or transfer the dead-simple Flip software and camcorder into its Scientific Atlanta boxes, and tie the Flip camcorder to its Linksys router, it can offer PC-free telepresence to consumers. This combines Cisco’s hope of wresting control of the digital home from the PC and putting it in the network with its love of video conferencing.

Telepresence, even more than the 2 million Flip cameras out there shooting short videos, would drive the amount of video content on networks sky high. Cisco estimates that a good HD telepresence experience requires speeds of 24 Mbps and requires quality of service guarantees — both of which Cisco equipment could help ensure. Cisco has already indicated its plans to add $20 billion to its bottom line with a focus on video, and it has launched products around the what it calls the “medianet,” to deliver video from the content provider to the consumer. Driving content in the other direction — from the user back up to a content provider — also makes sense, and the Flip cameras offer Cisco control of the consumer video-producing endpoint."

Update: Part of the cloud is metadata, which should help with editing and search results, as noted by Contentinople in Gotuit Enables Video Mashups With Metadata.

Update 2: In case you wonder what online video editors like Adobe Remix were still around, Lonnie discusses a few in Where to Edit Video Online for FREE.

March 19, 2009

Live video streaming tips + marketing

via News Videographer, the blog Innovation in College Media has a post with thorough tips for doing live streaming video using Mogulus; see Mogulus live streaming tips.

The post includes reasons why they used Mogulus over Ustream; for more see Ustream vs. Mogulus: Which Live Video Streaming And Broadcasting Service Is Better? at MasterNewMedia.

Still unanswered is Who Will Be The YouTube Of Live Video? And now, there's an added question of how much of this will be from mobile phones -- see this AEP note from last August, Broadcasting live video from phone.

Lifehacker tips sometimes help me shove off free tech support requests from friends. Here's a one that helped: Strobist's How to Improve Your Cheapo Webcam Picture Quality.

Update: P Diddy adopted live video with Ustream.tv as a way to drive his audience, according to Mashable and Watching TV Online.

Also, Ustream has "signed Oracle, Duke, Sun, UC Berkeley and Sling as customers for its paid white-label live video service, called Watershed, which launched only a month ago," according to NewTeeVee. Liz Gannes continues, "The company is also adding mobile broadcasting capabilities, which it released to consumer users a few weeks ago. While many broadcasters might be interested in white-label mobile broadcasting, at this point the Ustream/Watershed service is limited to high-end Nokia handsets. Competitors in the consumer space like Qik have moved onto other platforms, such as BlackBerry and Windows Mobile."

Update: Promotional notes in comments are fine, but they should address specifics in the particular post and link to web pages of specific concern.

YouTube's live video is March Madness in Silverlight +

NewTeeVee reported that YT's live video coverage of March Madness is displayed through Silverlight, with the same embed UI and quality as/from CBS Sports. See March Madness! YouTube Gets Live Video Via Silverlight.

And Coke Zero wants you to, umm, taste the madness.

Update: Check out Alex Zambelli’s blog and Ben Wagonner (at Microsoft awhile now) who gives you some details on the March Madness web video, the Silverlight player powering it, and resolutions and data rates used. Via Andy Beach, now at Inlet, which is the first company to make use of Microsoft’s Smooth Streaming initiative.

After Effects intro videos in 6 languages

Todd Kopriva points the way to video tutorials in several languages in his recent post, After Effects video tutorials, esercitazioni, tutoriales, didacticiels, Lehrgänge, チュートリアル. In English, he points to searches for videos using Adobe Community Help and to the Adobe AE Help page Services, downloads, extras, and video tutorials, which organizes Adobe (and partners) video tutorials into categories forming a comprehensive introductory "course."

Another free intro course (in English) is Basic Training, offered by Andrew Kramer and Video Copilot.

MC: 5 Tips to Maintain Sanity in RED Post

Mark Christiansen, fresh off a preso on RED @ SFMOGRAPH, provides the latest intel on RED starting points in 5 Tips to Maintain Sanity in RED Post: Lose less life working with R3D source. Mark summarizes:

"If there’s one key take-away from this article, it’s this: for the vast majority of projects, preserving full 4K (or even 3K) data is not your main goal; you will find the greatest success by converting to a format that keeps only what you need."

If you have not been reading carefully, you may have missed that "the RED camera records 12-bit images, so a 16 bit linear TIFF or 10-bit log DPX has more than enough headroom to handle the image data at a fraction of the R3D size."

Note: Adam Wilt has some advice for using large files like RED format in Play Ping-Pong for Faster File Flipping: Separating source and destination disks can really speed thing up.

Previous RED news items and links are here.

March 18, 2009

Ethereal Morphing Letters

Satya Meka posted a cool method to Create an Ethereal Morphing Letter Canvas over at AETuts.com. He cleverly uses the Radio Waves filter built into After Effects to control Autotraced text masks.

March 17, 2009

Customizing pixel aspect ratios in AE CS4

Chris Meyer explains the new corrected pixel aspect ratios in After Effects CS4 and how you can deal with some of their ramifications in the New Pixel Aspect Ratios, a free video in the Lynda.com After Effects CS4 New Creative Techniques series.

But some people have problems with the new CS4 pixel aspect ratio (PAR) when working with other video systems and apps. If you can't live with the new PARs, there are undocumented and unsupported workarounds to:
  1. add custom PARs
  2. disable the automatic interpretation of PAR
  3. add anti-aliasing to pixel aspect ratio corrected comps
First, via Joost van der Hoeven, you can add custom PAR to the popups (pictured above) in Interpret Footage and Compositions Settings using interpretation rules. Here's example text to add to the file "interpretation rules.txt" that adds custom CS3 NTSC and PAL 601-SD PARs to the list in CS4:

# adds custom pixel aspect ratio to the PAR popup for CS3 PAR
0, 0, 0, "0000", * = 648/720/"D1/DV NTSC (CS3)", *, *, *, *, *
0, 0, 0, "0000", * = 768/720/"D1/DV PAL (CS3)", *, *, *, *, *

You can find the "interpretation rules.txt" file here:
  • On Mac OS: Applications/Adobe After Effects CS4
  • On Windows: C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe After Effects CS4\Support Files
Next, Chris and Trish Meyer have already explained how to flip a switch in the Preferences to disable the automatic interpretation and allow you to continue to work with the old PARs in CS4. This will still leave you with a command to Upgrade Pixel Aspect Ratios (under the File menu when you follow their instructions). See Make It Go Away! Undoing the PAR and color management enhancements in After Effects CS4 at PVC.

Finally, in Non-Square Strategies: Suggested workflows when dealing with non-square pixels and anamorphic formats, Chris Meyer expands on the Lynda.com explanation, and shows you the secret text preference which enables high quality PAR correction in After Effects (with a performance hit). The Throttle script by Lloyd Alvarez works with the new multi-processing system in CS4, and also exposes the hidden preference that allows you to set the quality of the Toggle Pixel Aspect Correction button in the Comp View (After Effects needs to be restarted after changing the PAR quality).

Additional info and background on pixel aspect ratios can be had in these resources:

Revenge, Irish style

A favorite Simpsons segment is in the Treehouse of Horror XII episode (Season 13), where Homer catches a leprechaun to nullify a gypsy curse. There's a video here for now.

Another fav is Homer's daydream of a visit to the Land of Chocolate and taking a bite out of a chocolate dog; video here.

March 16, 2009

Metadata, search, analytics & monetization

A recent Beet.TV interview with Delve Networks bumps them up in awareness, but it's an older interview that really lets Delve explain how they see the semantic web, metadata, and video will work:



That interview is good background to understand the early March Adobe & Time-Warner announcement of "a strategic alliance to foster collaboration on the development of next generation video and rich media experiences." In the Beet.TV interview below, Adobe's Jennifer Taylor explains the alliance, mentioning planned collaboration on implementing Adobe's video ecosystem ('from planning to playback') and on digital rights management, metadata & search, and audience measurement & monetization. And on his blog John Dowdell fleshed out some aspects of the announcement that seemed a bit vague. It seems that DRM is wanted before HBO rolls out The Sopranos, The Wire, and Entourage, etc.



There's not much for regular users from Google or Adobe on this front quite yet, though you can find a Delve example of speech metadata exposed in Speech-to-Text metadata in web video. If you want to understand Adobe's video metadata pipeline, Dan Ebberts' recently posted an article at Adobe that nicely steps you through current metadata and speech features, XMP metadata in Creative Suite 4 Production Premium (see that article's comments for alternative method for After Effects).

There's more background on metadata in previous posts here.

Update: Contentinople notes that Gotuit Enables Video Mashups With Metadata:

"Video metadata management firm Gotuit is signing up media customers by enabling them to chop up, mix and match, and create interactive video mashups...

QuickKicks allows users to view video feeds from each game -- broken down into categories such as game highlights, goals, and saves -- and will include specific player highlights from each team. The site also includes the ability for users to create their custom playlists and share those playlists with friends.

While the ability to create video mashups isn't particularly new, Gotuit has taken a novel approach to the feature, by enabling content companies to use metadata to define where video clips start and stop.

In other words, rather than editing the full-length video of a soccer match into multiple smaller video files, Gotuit works by allowing content owners to create "clips" by marking start and end points within the larger video file. The publisher can then identify what's happening in those clips with certain pre-defined metadata tags, for easy search and discoverability"

Convert H.264 Quicktime to mp4 without recompress

Prolost shows you how to Convert H.264 Quicktime to the PS3 format without recompressing.



Update: Untested but seemingly useful comments on the post include,
  • You can use a lot of freeware to bring MOV to an MP4 container, they are pretty close. For example YAMB.
  • I can take a quicktime H.264 with aac audio, simply rename it with a ".wmv" extension, and it plays on my xbox360 just fine. Windows Media Player on my computer won't play it, but the xbox does.

March 15, 2009

Photoshop adbusting on Berlin billboards

via Motiongraphr weblog, via Gizmodo, via Notcot.org, etc...
Photoshop adbusting on Berlin billboards

As a bonus, Smashing Magazine organizes and pumps up 50 Stunning Photoshop Text Effect Tutorials.

Lightroom and video

From Twitter's 5tu (Stu Maschwitz, who proposed a Universal Color Metadata format in 2007):

"@TheLightroomLab Tom Hogarty [Adobe’s Lightroom Product Manager] mentions in this interview that Lightroom might get some kind of video support: http://bit.ly/15BEE3"

Let's hope the Lightroom team talks to video/film people seriously, and borrows from the ease-of-use of Magic Bullet Looks and from others for secondaries and such, or at least bathes a bit with The Art and Technique of Digital Color Correction by Steve Hullfish.

And someday we may also see something like Lightroom's Develop Module in After Effects. About a year ago Adobe announced CinemaDNG, which got coverage from Wired:

'Adobe Product Manager for After Effects, Michael Coleman, tells Wired.com that “Adobe is working with the camera manufacturers to design the format to ensure that it can be used as a capture phase.” Coleman says that the company believes that “would be the ideal workflow,” and also added that Adobe is “planning a conversion solution for cameras that don’t support it.”

While CinemaDNG is theoretical for the moment, and Adobe hasn’t set a timeframe for it’s release, the company did say that it plans to support the CinemaDNG format in future releases of After Effects and Premiere Pro.'

Keying with Toolfarm

Professional Keying with Keylight is the latest video training from Toolfarm's Expert Series. It takes you through pulling tight and clean keys with Keylight in After Effects and shows you how to overcome problem areas like wispy hair and textures on edges. There's also tricks for making composites believable and a greenscreen shot and background plate, for $39. An excerpt reminds me of some of Matt Silverman's methods for developing mattes procedurally in the now defunct Commotion.

And available soon is Greenscreen Made Easy: Keying and Compositing Techniques by Jeremy Hanke and Michele Yamazaki. Harry Franks says, "If you are looking to get started with greenscreen production as a hobbyist or a professional, this book has everything you’ll need to hit the ground running. If you are a motion designer and visual effects artist with little exposure to the “other world” of production, including cameras and lighting, you’ll want to grab this book for a great primer on the subject." For flavor, see also an earlier article by earlier article Noise and Artifact Suppression Tips by Michele Yamazaki.

More on keying can be found in the recent AEP post Greenscreen Primers.

Passive-aggressive tech support

via the Twitter cloud... You too can engage in passive-aggressive tech support with a fun service, Let Me Google That For You.

Plus, a repeat movie on Helpdesk support back in the day, with English subtitles.

March 14, 2009

'Light Transmission' + 'Natural Light Effects'

Lynda.com just released After Effects: Light Transmission, a short video tutorial set by Trish and Chris Meyer:

"Projecting one 3D layer onto another is useful for creating film and video projections as well as stained glass effects. In After Effects: Light Transmission, instructor Chris Meyer demonstrates the required steps, including mastering shadows and the Light Transmission parameter. He teaches numerous tips and tricks for building 3D worlds (including using seamless tiles), grouping together layers and lights, softening or sharpening projections, and using "negative light" to remove unwanted light leaks from a scene.
"

If you don't have a Lynda.com subscription, click here for a free 7-day pass.

This set appears to be the funner video counterpart to a text-based tutorial at Artbeats mentioned in the recent post AE tutorials for projecting, reflecting, & arranging 3D layers.

Update: Lynda.com is also carrying After Effects Natural Light Effects, which tackles "volumetric lighting effects, such as light rays and glows, [which] are susceptible to two common problems: They can look too synthetic, and they are prone to banding when compressed for DVDs and the web. ...Chris Meyer shows how to make light look more realistic by adding dust or swirling smoke, creating natural imperfections that help with compression. He demonstrates how to do this using stock footage of this natural phenomenon or the After Effects Fractal Noise and Turbulent Noise effects."

Talking points on 64-bit performance

The advocacy for 64-bit OS installs continues with a new Adobe white paper on 64-bit Performance. Todd Kopriva notes the paper and adds this and more for AE users:

"The trick to making maximum use of the RAM in your computer with After Effects is to set the Memory & Multiprocessing preferences, including Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously."

Paying $300 just for a 64-bit OS doesn't make that much sense, but investing in a new machine might, even if CS5 is nowhere in sight. A Gateway quad-core with Vista 64-bit, 8 GB RAM, an nVideo GT120 with 1GB, and an HDTV tuner with Media Center DVR is less than $800 at stores (recently $900 with 22" screen). That's half the price for just the same CPU performance as a new iMac according to GeekBench scores. Those prices should come down further as the Intel Core i7 and DDR3 memory take over on both platforms, along with the release of both Apple Snow Leopard and Windows 7 this year. In any case newer hardware and software platforms should be reasonably stable by the time CS5 ships.

More info on 64-bit performance and Production Premium can be found in previous posts.

Also, the SF Cutters' 9th Anniversary meeting March 17th is featuring a talk by Adobe Systems' Simon Hayhurst & Karl Soule on "64-bit optimization in Adobe CS4."

March 13, 2009

Inverse kinematics script for After Effects + update

[Update: Some of the links in this AEP post maybe broken but you can route through the new website for Duik Tools.]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Via Sebastien Perier, a top contributor to After Effects Community Help, is DuDuF IK Tools for After Effects, a free script that does Inverse Kinematics (IK). The script is from Duik Tools, a website in French (English translation).

Sebastien says it seems pretty decent, and that you can even add bones to puppet pins. For specifics see the Overview and Help sections.

Update: nabscripts from Charles Bordenave has a good number of expressions and scripts (English package download and French), and he even has a script to help you translate expressions. It translates expression controls names in the language of the running version (supports English, French, German, Italian and Spanish).

Update 2: A commenter noted Dan Ebberts and Brian Maffitt's techniques for IK using expressions; see Dan's Inverse Kinematics and Inverse Kinematics Redux. Ko Maruyama also had sections on IK and the Puppet Tool in his Total Training set. Also, you can see Adobe's implementation of IK in Flash CS4 in an AdobeTV clip.

Update 3: A new version was posted 15 March 2009 (changelog); also, it's now distributed under the under the GNU General Public License.Update 4: Everything is supposed to be translated into English now.

Cartoonification at Artbeats

In Cartoonification at Artbeats, Chris & Trish Meyer have tips for getting better results from the "much-loved" cartoon looks plug-ins:

"just slapping these plug-ins at their default settings onto any piece of footage rarely gives satisfying results. In this article, we will discuss which clips are better candidates for cartoon treatments, walk through using the Cartoon effect that comes with After Effects CS4, and suggest ways to pre- and post-process the footage to achieve more interesting results.

The After Effects tutorial portion of this article uses Artbeats clip TEL130 HD from their Teen Life HD collection, which is available free to their newsletter subscribers in March 2009; see the bundled After Effects CS4 project files for compositions that contain some of the treatments discussed herein. We will also include examples from several other clips to give you a broader idea of the possibilities."

By the way Version 2 of Red Giant ToonIt will debut at NAB 2009.

Extrude AE text into 3D redux

The Adobe Beginner Classes Episode #13 (project file) and Episode #14 from Dennis Radeke show you how to extrude text into 3D in After Effects. Dennis credits Danny Princz and FXPHD.com for this refinement of the old duped layers on Z-axis technique.

Previous posts Advanced Extrusion with Shatter and Maltaannon extrudes AE Shapes discussed other tutorials that extrude layers into 3D without 3rd party filters like Trapcode Echospace, Boris Continuum or Zaxwerks Invigorator. Yet another option is Photoshop 3D text extruded with bevels beyond Illustrator, like Zax, with Swift 3D PS.Here's the Adobe tutorials (full size at AdobeTV; #13 starts at 5:00 & #14):





Update: Harry Frank posted a free graymachine 3D preset to create 3D extruded text in his video tutorial Retro Style Graphics.

More on Quicktime’s H.264 gamma bug

In The Quicktime Conundrum, Art Adams riffs off of Chris Meyer advice (using X264 codec popular on the PC) on how to get around Quicktime’s H.264 gamma bug. In the 2nd post on the topic, Art talks about reader comments:

"...Brandon Cory suggests that exporting a Quicktime reference movie from Final Cut Pro in the Animation codec and then running that through Compressor’s H.264 encoder should retain the proper gamma settings...Apparently using the right codec, one that doesn’t mess with gamma on export, is still a key to successful H.264 encoding.
david@kosmos pointed out ...the easiest way to make an H.264 Flash file from an H.264 Quicktime file is to change the extension from “.mov” to “.f4v”. That’s it. On the Mac I had to go into the H.264-encoded file’s “Get Info” properties and change the “Open with” attribute to Adobe Media Player..."

Just passing along anecdotal reports (untested here); the original poster didn't mention reference movie just an export. But hopefully no more fancy footwork or gamma stripper will needed to fix h.264 gamma.

Update: The QuickTime Gamma Bug, posted on December 31, 2010 at vitrolite, is a thoughtful and deltailed an any article I've seen

March 9, 2009

SF Cutters 9th Anniversary March 17th (free)

The SF Cutters 9th Anniversary Meeting is on March 17th at Adobe in San Francisco. RSVP is required; seating is limited so this event will sell out. Full details and registration can be found here. Doors open at 6:30; arrive early for refreshments. Presentations include:

Kim Salyer & Video Arts team: Beijing Olympics Adidas Spiral Theatre, Coca Cola Pavilion

Blackmagic Design: "How Blackmagic Design makes the vital connections - a basic 101 - what cards and devices to use, what different workflows require."

Frank Colin of Equilibrium Sneak Preview: "New Service for Monetizing Content on Any Website"

Adobe Systems' Simon Hayhurst & Karl Soule: "64-bit optimization in Adobe CS4." CS4 Production Premium has been partially re-architected for 64-bit operating systems to use large memory more effectively (up to 20GB of memory for Premiere Pro alone, up to 64GB of memory for a large Production Premium workflow). Benefits include:
  • Faster editing performance in Premiere Pro, especially when working with high resolution files.
  • Better multi-core rendering and longer RAM previews in After Effects.
  • Run multiple Production Premium components simultaneously, and leverage new integration like Dynamic Link to move content between them.
  • Projects can scale further in resolution and complexity, taking advantage of the additional available memory.
Raffle prizes for the event (you must be present) include a copy of Production Premium donated by Adobe.

Mastering the Render Queue in AE

Chris Kelley posted Mastering the Render Queue on The Mograph Blog, aimed at giving you a comprehensive overview on how to become an After Effects Render Queue power user. The article has already attracted some helpful comments.

Cloud tank effect with Scott Squires

Scott Squires posted some of the details of the Cloud Tank effect he used for the movie Close Encounters.

He also spoke a bit about this -- and more -- in a recent interview for The Masters of the Craft series from fxguidetv (#044). Fxphd has some related earlier items including Cloud Tanks and Realflow added - more cloud tanks.

March 5, 2009

Greenscreen + Keying Primers

Alex Lindsay has his Greenscreen Primer at PVC, which begins to show you the benefit of using video scopes to get a good key and maximize dynamic range.

Other helpful resources include:
Purely personal observations include: 1) for some reason converting to uncompressed picture formats can help you better key some compressed formats, and 2) under a deadline duplicating a layer with a-bit-too-aggressive key on hair can help give the hair some extra blending detail.

March 4, 2009

Chromatic aberrations, seperating RGB

This post has been superceeded by a 2014 roundup on PVC: Chromatic aberration: creation and fixes with After Effects.

ALT link: http://www.provideocoalition.com/chromatic-aberration-fix

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

While Creative COW's Carl Larsen explains and shows you how to remove chromatic aberration using After Effects, Lloyd Alvarez at AETUTS helps you keep 'em separated with Shift Channels in Learn how to Create Chromatic Aberration.

A few days earlier Maltaannon blogged about his work on a CustomEffect wrapper for a Pixel Bender experiment he did that would help in Separating RGB channels -- and Forging Fire posted an AEP (After Effects CS3 Split RGB Channels) so you wouldn't have to wait. It uses the Shift Channels filter of course.

Also, it seems like Video Copilot Twitch might make quick work of a task like this. And literature on filters like Tinderbox 2 Lens, Magic Bullet Looks, and Panopticon Lens all say they work with this effect (none were tested here).

Update: Satya Meka has a new free AE filter for this; see New Pixel Bender plug-in: Separate RGB.

Free online font generators: YourFonts + FontStruct

via Motion Graphics 'n Such...

YourFonts.com is a free online font generator that lets you make an OpenType font (Mac, Win, Linux) from your own handwriting. Fonts generated by YourFonts.com can be further improved with the associated High-Logic FontCreator.

Update: There's also, FontStruct, a free font-building tool by FontShop that lets you create fonts constructed out of geometrical shapes arranged in a grid pattern, like tiles or bricks. FontStruct then generates TrueType fonts for Mac or Windows.

Update 2: via Make Better Media is Flipping Typical, a possibly useful website that shows a phrase of your choosing in the popular typefaces you have on your computer.

'Extras' on how to win an Oscar

From Flippant News:

"...Rickie Gervais in this video clip from his show, “EXTRAS.” The whole clip is funny but if you just want the meat and potatoes, go to 3:20: minutes and seconds in, to see what the winner of this year’s best actress has to say."

There's also an echo of something from Entourage just a bit later in this YouTube clip, Kate Winslet's Evil AlterEgo - How to Win an OSCAR video:

March 3, 2009

New After Effects customer survey

The AE team is asking everyone to take a New After Effects customer survey, but only take the time if you want input on features and fixes, like better scaling, color correction or masking improvements like B-splines, improved user interface performance, node-based compositing, 3D warping & volumetric lighting for layers, etc. You could even write in a request for better disc caching and rendering.

There's more info at Michael Coleman's Keyframes.

Mocha shape & mocha AE v2

Imagineer Systems announced two new products, mocha for After Effects version 2, and a new plug-in, mocha shape for After Effects. Mocha for After Effects v2 adds:
  • Exports any resolution, per point variable edge width roto shape data in the mocha shape format;
  • Allows users to export tracking data as After Effects CornerPin with motion blur;
  • Is compatible with Adobe After Effects CS3 and CS4.
For visual ingestion, they have quick intro videos for mocha shape and mocha AE v2.

Update: Ben Heusner of Curious Turtle details the workflow for removing an actor in After Effects with roto and mocha shape plug-ins for After Effects.


Tutorial: Advanced workflow: tracking and roto for fter Effects on Vimeo.

Maltaannon's House of Form

Red Giant is hosting a video tutorial from Motionworks training DVD 'Making it Look Great 5.' In "Form Face" Maltaannon creates a push pin toy effect as seen in the Radiohead “House of Cards” video using Trapcode’s Form plug-in -- which is being promoted with a 30% off sale.

While Trapcode Form is cool and deep, a poor man might approximate this effect by finessing built-in AE filters, easier said than done with Ball Action (with Brighten Twist) and some tinting & maybe displacement. On another tangent Toolfarm has a nice older tutorial by Harry Frank called "Rippling Circles" that uses Ball Action and other Cycore plug-ins.


Update 1: Form Face: Judgement Day… er… Part 2 is available.

Update 2: from India's Festival of Colors:




Update 3: the Maltaannon tutorials made it onto Adobe.TV, where you can see them in HD. Here's Episode 12: Form Face - Part 2.

Update: the blue must be doing a number on the senses, since this stuff doesn't seem that different from Ball Action plug-in stuff as in 3D Ball Dispersion with CC Ball Action, or Audio Analysis in After Effects by Satya Meka, done with built-in tools,

The State of Online Video: Tuesday March 3

Adobe is sponsoring Beet.TV event on March 3: The State of Online Video, An Executive Roundtable Live from Adobe in San Francisco.

You can tune in through Ustream.TV to the live three hour webcast Tuesday, March 3, beginning at 9 AM Pacific Time.



Update: NewTeeVee has a summary, @Beet.TV: News Video Is a Different Beast, as does CNET in Web video round table sheds light on upcoming problems.

Look for various videos from the event over the next few weeks at Beet.TV.

March 2, 2009

Watching TV Online

Last month saw 2009 Lists of Video Search & Video Sharing sites, now TV Crunch and Gizmodo have guides to watching TV online in the US, while Sidereel and LocateTV also leverage more worldly resources. According to the blog Watching TV Online:

TV Crunch has posted a comprehensive list of the third party websites (free and pay-for) that stream TV online [in The Ultimate Guide To Watching TV Online].

Not included in the list are the network sites that stream their own shows. You can find that list on a Gizmodo Guide called Internet TV Remote. Both of the above lists are accessible to US viewers only.

European and Asian viewers watch TV online on video sharing sites because the networks and third party websites are still working out international copyright agreements. The best link-site by far is Sidereel.com.

Update: Along with hundreds of others, Hacknmod has yet another list, and also references a video Build Your Own Open-Source DVR. For more on DVRs, see Comparison of PVR software packages at Wikipedia.

Update: All Things Digital has some related info in Web Video Winners: YouTube, Hulu…and MegaVideo?

The h.264 year in review

Jan Ozer looks at the state of h.264 in The Future's So Bright: H.264 Year in Review for Streaming Media. More can be found in previous posts.

Ozer also looks at YouTube 720P HD using H.264 at his blog, Streaming Learning Center.