Green screen in FCPX

I thought I’d share this project I worked on recently as going in to it I planned to do the animation parts in motion but I decided to try doing the whole thing directly in FCPX. I was pleasantly surprised how easily FCPX handled the key framing and the green screen key, I did make a few tweaks along the way but in general the keyer in FCPX is really good.

For the graphical elements I created photoshop files with a transparent background and imported them as multi layer psd’s allowing me to keyframe each graphical part separately. Opening and closing the video animation fly outs for each element was a bit of a drag, especially when there were a few elements stacked vertically but the app handled the animation with ease.

[update – 11/02/2014 – 13:24]
As noted by Ian in the comments it’s a little confusing as the hand shown in the video is on a white background. It was shot green screen because the client wasn’t sure if they were happy going with a white background so I had to be able to use imagery or another colour if required.

Reviewed: Shoot35 CINEfocus r3

The Shoot35 CINEfocus r3 is the latest incarnation of Shoot35’s follow focus offerings. 

I reviewed the original (r1) CINEfocus back in 2009 and although that version has worked really well over it’s lifetime the latest incarnation is a totally new design with a host of features that promise to make it more precise, more flexible and easier to use.  So lets start by opening the box and seeing what goodies are waiting inside…

 
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Senal SMH-1000 Headphones Review

When B&H Photo got in touch with me recently and asked if I’d be interested in reviewing the Senal SMH-1000 headphones I was intrigued, at first glance they appear to be almost identical to the Sony- MDR-7506 which are often regarded as an industry standard in the film and recording industries.

senal_smh-1000_vs_sony_mdr-7506_1

Read the full review to see how they stacked up against the Sony’s and also the Sennheiser HD25 II’s that I’ve been using more recently.

 

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Canon EOS C300 Firmware 1.1.1.1.00

Canon have just announced the release of firmware version 1.1.1.1.00 for the EOS C300.

EOS_C300_EF_Mount_body_CN-E85mm_T1.3_LF_Rear_3_4_Prov

Firmware Version 1.1.1.1.00 incorporates all the functions and modifications listed below:

EOS C300 Cinema EOS Camera & EOS C300 PL Cinema EOS Camera
1. Fixes a phenomenon where the previous Firmware Version 1.1.0.1.00 offered incorrect color balance.
2. Ability to move the magnification viewing area around the LCD using the MAGN Function.
3. Support for a 1440×1080/35Mbps recording mode.
4. ISO up to 80,000 has been added.
5. Added functionality to support the optional Canon GPS Receiver GP-E1.
6. A Key Lock menu setting has been added which now makes it possible to lock all operations, including the START/STOP button.
7. Using the optional Canon WFT-E6 Wireless File Transmitter, the camera’s remote-control application allows two users to access the same unit via a Wi-Fi® link providing simultaneous camera operation and control and metadata input simultaneously.
8. [Lens Exchange] and [ND+/ND-] have been added as functions that can be allocated to any assignable button.
9. A new Wide DR Gamma setting provides an expanded dynamic range of 800%.
10. Flicker Reduction has been improved.

EOS C300 Cinema EOS Camera only
11. Provides Push Auto Iris and One-Shot AF operation.
12. A new AE Shift function and the selection of various light-metering modes are now available when used with some Canon Cinema lenses (EF mount) and Canon EF Lenses.
13. Ability to assign the two control dials to operate either Iris or ISO sensitivity independently.
14. Peripheral Illumination Correction Data has been added for seven (7) Canon Cinema lenses (EF mount) and fifteen (15) Canon EF Lenses.
15. A function has been added to enable continuous focus and iris setting on a subject in the middle of the screen when one of the two EF STM lenses** is attached.
**[EF-S18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM], [EF-S18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM].

 

There’s certainly some useful additions in there, my favourite has to be the ability to move the magnification viewing area around in the LCD, a small thing that will make life a lot easier.  Just as a note, the lens needs to be switched to manual focus otherwise the viewing area remains locked to the centre.

Also features like one shot AF and Iris could be useful at times although it has to be said that I rarely use those on the C100 which has had them since launch.

It’s great that the C300 now also gets the [Wide Dynamic Range] picture profile, I really like that profile on the C100 but have rarely used it because I wanted both the C100 and C300 to produce similar results. I’ll do some testing over the next day or so to see how they match up.

Also of interest is the new [Lens Exchange] function. The C300 has been reported to be prone to failure when some lenses are removed while the camera is powered up so I always power mine down when swapping glass. By pressing the assigned [Lens Exchange] button for 1 second the C300 will switch to a mode that still allows lenses to be swapped without fear of damage because power is removed from the lens contacts. The main benefits of using the lens exchange feature over switching the camera off are that time code will continue to run and it’s also much faster. There’s almost no delay either going in to Lens Exchange mode and or coming out of it.

Here’s more detail from the updated C300 manual.

lens_exchange

 

 

Timelines in Final Cut Pro X

I’ve been using FCPX as my main editing application for over six months now and with the improvements that Apple have added via updates it has really grown on me. There are a few things that I would like to see improved but in general I think FCPX has made editing for me a much better experience, it seems to get out of the way and allow me to be more creative.

One of the things that takes a little getting used to with FCPX is the way apple have messed with our minds when it comes to naming conventions and how we manage our projects. What used to be Projects in FCP7 are now referred to as Events, and what used to be called sequences are now projects… not one of apples best moves in my opinion.

When using FCP7 or Premiere Pro you get used to creating sequences or timelines within your project but in FCPX the projects are separated from the events and are saved in separate folders. There is however a way to restore some normality to working with timelines in FCPX by utilising Compound Clips for your working timelines.

Compound clips are stored within the FCPX events much like timelines would be with FCP 7 and most of the functionality is the same as it would be in a project. The only exception is that it’s not possible to export an XML file from a Compound Clip, but then it’s a really easy and fast process to copy the contents from a compound clip to a project if you need to do that.

Watch this video from Richard Taylor at FCPX.TV for a great explanation.