Understanding Avid Media Composer 8

Understanding Avid Media Composer 8

Avid Media Composer 8.1 was recently released, which has brought with it a bevy of new improvements, which you can find out all about in this post. But if you are on an older version of Avid and still haven’t moved to one of Avid’s new licensing options to get the upgrade, is now the time to do so? These questions will be answered too.

But before we get to all that you should definitely check out the latest Avid Rough Cut with Alan Bell A.C.E. on editing the VFX heavy The Hunger Games: Catching Fire in Avid. (Though you will have to hand over your contact details for the privilege.)

Avid Webinar with Alan Bell ACE

Should I Buy Avid Media Composer 8 Subscription?

When Avid announced Media Composer version 8, it was also the start of a new era in how you can actually buy the software. Like Adobe before them, Avid have moved to a subscription model which starts at $49.99/month for an annual contract or $74.99 for a monthly rolling contract. Whether you should sign up to Avid’s new subscription model depends on a few factors.

If you already own Media Composer 6.5 or 7 and you want to keep getting the updates that will arrive in 2015, then you will want to wait to pay for the $299/year support contract till sometime in late December, that way your 1 year support contract clock will start at the last possible moment, but you do need to do it before the end of 2014!

If you don’t already own any version of Media Composer the annual subscription is the cheapest way to purchase the software at $599/year. If you buy Media Composer as a perpetual license it will be $1299 + $299 for every year you want to keep it up to date.

So after 3 years the price difference is only $98 with $1799 (3x annual subscription) Vs $1897 (perpetual+ 2 years of support). Oliver Peters’ has an excellent breakdown of the different options and scenarios which is well worth a read.

Let’s say you bought Media Composer with the Symphony option – $1299 + $749. Hypothetically, by the end of the first year, Media Composer | Software has moved up to v8.5 and then you decide not to renew. From that point on, your version is “frozen” and cannot be upgraded. A year later, Media Composer | Software v10 comes out with enough compelling features to get you back on board. You cannot renew your v8.5 software license to upgrade, but instead have to purchase the current version Media Composer and Symphony again. Now you have two licenses: MC v8.5 and MC v10. Both work, but the older one is not upgradeable while the newer one is, as long as you renew its support contract after the end of the first year from the time of purchase.

If you want to rummage through Avid’s FAQ on Media Composer 8 and the new licensing options jump here. You can even download a pdf of the different licensing options and their price comparisons. Below is a playlist of 20 How-To tutorials on all things related to the new options. Click through for the new features in MC 8.1, tutorials and much more!

Posted in AVID, Colour Grading, Editing, Tutorials, Workflow | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Inside The Edit – Editing Course Review

Why you should spend £4000 on Inside The Edit

The reason you should seriously consider spending £4000/$6,600 on Inside The Edit is because it’s a career changing new way of learning what it means to be, not only, a skilled editor, but a competent filmmaker too. Someone who understands what it takes to craft a story from start to finish and tell it well, someone who is dedicated enough to commit their time, money, energy and passion to that artistic and professional end.

In the video above, I was fortunate enough to get to chat to Paddy Bird, professional editor and founder of Inside The Edit, 5 days before the launch of the course. (Available from today – August 20th 2014). As it’s my first Skype interview please excuse the initial few visual hiccups (!) but do enjoy the content of the chat, in which Paddy talks through how the course works, what’s involved and why there’s nothing else like it out there. Thanks to Paddy for giving me so much of his time!

UPDATE: Due to huge demand, three new pricing options have been introduced to help more people take advantage of Inside The Edit. Now if you’re a student you can access the course at massive 75% discount of the original price. There are also now two volume pricing options and if that wasn’t enough they have extended the 25% (£1000) launch offer too!

Our new Student Price of £1,000 is available to anyone in a degree-granting or certificate-granting course. We are also introducing volume license pricing for Educational Institutions, Broadcasters, Post houses and Production companies to cope with the serious lack of pro level creative training within the post-production sector.

Thus far the internet generation of filmmakers (myself included) are used to finding a plethora of free tutorials online (some of them very good, some of them terrible) on how to do X or Y in this piece of software, or an interview or two with a professional on this or that part of their career. We’re all hungry to learn and sometimes we’ll even pay for content if we think it might contain enough valuable insights we can’t otherwise get for free.

But I’m not sure we’re quite prepared for the scale and scope of what Inside The Edit offers, as it is categorically different from everything else out there. Click through to read the rest of the review!

Posted in AVID, Business, Documentaries, Editing, Editor's Tools, Free download, Interview, Tutorials, Workflow | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Davinci Resolve 11 Colour Grading Tutorials

DaVinci Resolve 11 Colour Grading Tutorials

DaVinci Resolve 11 is now out of beta and available to download for free, either as the Lite version or as a free upgrade for fully paid-up customers. In this post I’ve gathered together a bunch of DaVinci Resolve 11 tutorials but please note: Not all tutorials are created equal! Some of these tutorials are from amateur colorists finding their way through the software or sharing how they do things. With the internet you generally get what you pay for, and these are free. So if in doubt, trust an expert and pay for some training.

In these three 2 minute tutorials Tristan Kneschke from Premiumbeat.com shares some quick tips on how to make the most of the new group grading functions in Resolve 11 as well as how to perform soft clipping and using the chroma dark preset to fix messy images.

Photographer Curtis Judd continues his series of grading tutorials in Resolve 11 with this 11 minute tutorial on the new colour match feature, which allows you to automatically conform your grade to a pre-shot colour chart.

Click through for 14 more Resolve tutorials

Posted in Books, Colour Grading, Craft, Creativity, DaVinci Resolve, Free download, Tutorials, Workflow | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

5 Great Books For Business-Minded Artists

5 Great Books For Business-Minded Artists

As a fairly entrepreneurial creative I’m always on the look out for great books on improving the business side of my artistic endeavours. After all if you want to be around long enough to get good at what you do, you’ve got to find a way to make it pay it’s own way. Here are 5 books I’ve really enjoyed recently and would highly recommend that involve this theme.

Creativity, Inc. – Ed Catmull with Amy Wallace

Creativity Inc ReviewSome books you enjoy slice by slice, others you devour. I devoured Creativity, Inc. The story telling is engaging and the lessons easily absorbed. It’s a good mix of a semi-biographical narrative of the history of Pixar and a series of concrete lessons in managing a creative culture.

“Don’t wait for things to be perfect before you share them with others. Show early and show often. It’ll be pretty when we get there, but it won’t be pretty along the way.” – Ed Catmull 

Although this book might appeal to anyone managing and leading people in almost any business context, it is of course especially valuable to creative teams in creative companies. That said as an individual freelancer there was plenty for me to absorb for my working world, especially in regard to working with others in a smooth and productive fashion.

“If you give a good idea to a mediocre team, they will screw it up. If you give a mediocre idea to a brilliant team, they will either fix it or throw it away and come up with something better.” – Ed Catmull

A lot of Catmull’s lessons focus on the people skills needed to create great work, breakdown the power structures that block creativity and ultimately make any organisation better than the sum of it’s parts. Whatever insights you might personally take away from Creativity, Inc. it’s well worth a read as a fascinating inside look at the life of one of Hollywood’s most successful companies. (P.S. – The Pixar Touch is also an excellent read)

NoiseTrade.com has a free download of the first 50 pages, although the meat of the book really kicks in in the following chapters.

Buy on Amazon.com | Buy on Amazon.co.uk

Getting To Yes – Roger Fisher and William Ury

Books on negotiationI stumbled upon this book in a charity shop recently, and if there is one art that a lot of creative freelancers shy away from it is the art of negotiation.

I tried to include the best of what I know about negotiating higher rates, dealing with difficult clients etc. in my ebook How To Be A Freelance Creative, but Getting To Yes is a classic of the genre (if there is such a thing) and is a brilliant read.

Within the paperback’s 200 pages there is absolutely zero-waffle and delivers a fast and educational experience. In Getting To Yes you can learn how to negotiate to the benefit of all parties, the kind of things to say to help improve what’s on offer and much more.

Negotiation is an integral part of every day life, but often we only have to engage with it fully at career shaping moments, but will you be ready to handle them well? Read Getting To Yes and you’ll be far better equipped!

Buy on Amazon.com | Buy on Amazon.co.uk
Click through to discover the other books

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How To Be A DIT – Part 10

How To Be A DIT – Tutorials, Tools & Workflows

In the 10th instalment of my How To Be A DIT series I’ve put together an extensive round up of valuable insights from around the web for those looking to become Digital Image Technicians (DIT) or anyone else seeking to deepen their knowledge of the technical side of post-production.

To check out the rest of the How To Be A DIT series hit the entire DIT category here.

The hour long video kicking off this post is from the New York Post Alliance’s first seminar of 2014 with a panel of DITs and Assistant Editor’s talking about how the two sides of post fit together. Well worth a watch!

DIT on set post production

If you want a first-hand look at a working DIT’s on set workflow using Scratch Lab on a Microsoft Surface Pro then this interview with Colorist/DIT Lorne Miess is a great read and full of plenty of technical details.

What will happen is that when we need to figure out how we’re going to make a shot happen I can load an image from the set onto the Surface, and then create four or five different grades for the master shot. Michael can look through them and make an informed decision around what’s going to work best for his vision… When I was using other tablets, they were just still images on a non-calibrated screen. Using the Surface you can calibrate the display using Spectracal’s Calman Software, and I can bring either a clip to set or a series of stills and I can leave the Surface on-set while I take what I need via the USB stick.

For a very simple end-to-end overview of an intricate digital cinema then this page from an extensive post on the ASC website guides you through the Gravity project pipeline. If you like that, then check out my very lengthy making of Gravity round-up.

DIT Training and more from Light Iron Digital

Light Iron CEO Michael Cioni delivers this excellent talk on how Alexa XT 4:3 shooters can get the most out of their 3K sensor for a 4K workflow.  Scroll down to the DIT Workflows section below for even more on working with Alexa footage.

In this 6K DI Diary case-study you can learn how best to manage, move, manipulate and monitor 6K footage (a la the RED Dragon), which is 9 times larger than 2K footage. This relies on some seriously high-end hardware from Quantel (Pablo Rio systems) that can throughput 8GB a second! This post is huge, click through to check it out!

Posted in Adobe Premiere Pro, AVID, Baselight, Colour Grading, DIT, Editor's Tools, Free download, Interview, RED, Tutorials, Workflow | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Features in Premiere Pro CC 2014

Learning Premiere Pro CC 2014 – New Features

The latest release of the Adobe Creative Cloud applications are now available for immediate download and as an editor I’ve already updated to Premiere Pro CC 2014.

But wait? Isn’t it a post production crime to upgrade in the middle of a project?

Yes, yes it is. But as you’ll soon discover the latest release installs side by side to the original CC versions, which means you can safely play with the new features, whilst keeping your current projects ticking along on the original CC version of the apps.

upgrading to adobe creative cloud 2014

I’ve blogged about 2 other things that you also might want to know about upgrading to the 2014 release of Premiere Pro CC over on Premium Beat, which if you’re in the habit of making FLV files you’ll definitely want to check out. In the video at the top of this post you can check out a very chirpy Al Mooney demonstrating some of the new features at the Las Vegas Supermeet. You can get more of the official Adobe news on PPCC 2014 here.

For a fuller run down of the new features in Premiere Pro CC 2014 then Josh from retooled.net has an excellent 25 minute video covering some of the major and minor updates. Strypes in Post has written up a great top 8 new features post over on his blog, and has some great instructional images on how to make the most of them.

Audio pitch shifting in Premiere Pro CC 2014

Studio Daily also has a concise run down of the new features you might be interested in learning about in Premiere Pro, After Effects and Speedgrade. Lastly Scott Simmons original NAB post, when most of these features were announced, is well worth a revisit here on Pro Video Coalition.

Premiere Pro CC Tips and Tutorials

In this video Jeff Greenberg gives you 20 tips for Premiere Pro editors in about 20 minutes. Well worth a watch as you are guaranteed to learn something new!

Click through for the rest of this giant round up!

Posted in Adobe, Adobe Premiere Pro, Editing, Editor's Tools, Tutorials, Workflow | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Inside Edit Fest London 2014

The Best Quotes from Edit Fest London 2014

Edit Fest London 2014 I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the American Cinema Editor’s Edit Fest London at the very comfortable BFI on the South bank in London. It was a fantastic day and a brilliant opportunity to meet many more editors, not only from London but also from around the world.

I’ve written up 5 Lessons from Edit Fest London over on Premiumbeat.com which you should check out too. In this post I’m simply going to type up some of the best quotes that I scribbled down during the day, which I made as accurately as I could so nobody sue me.

Edit Fest London – Editors on Editing

Game of thrones editor Tim Porter

The first discussion panel was Small Screen, Big Picture – with a fistful of television editors (although many also cut features) discussing their craft. On the panel were Mags Arnold, Stephen Ellis ACE, Mark Everson and Tim Porter, and it was moderated by John Wilson ACE.

Editors are often brought in quite late, and should be brought in more in pre-production to help shape the story.” – Documentary editor Stephen Ellis ACE (SE)

Focus on the people, not the action: “The real narrative is what happens if a huge event becomes an emotional fulcrum in your life.” (SE) Sometimes what’s most interesting in a story is not the events that happened themselves, but the change in the people they happened to.

Game of Thrones editor Tim Porter showed a clip from episode 8 of season 4, which involved a duel between two characters with a surprising and gory twist which he described as “The most fun I had at work last year!

Mags Arnold described her break into the industry whilst working as a first assistant editor under Mick Audsley on High Fidelity and Captain Corelli’s Mandolin saying that she would “speak up at screenings and so on” (i.e. don’t be shy and be respectfully opinionated) and went on to cut her first film, My Little Eye on FCP v1.

There is always one week that happens in documentary editing where there isn’t a film. And you’re pulling your hair out. And then something clicks – even if it’s just one scene – and then everything’s fine.” – SE

Most of my breaks came from people being ill, or people seeing something and giving me an opportunity. It’s about even.” – Mark Everson Click through for much more!

Posted in Craft, Creativity, Editing, Interview, Workflow | 3 Comments

FCPX 10.1.2 – New Features And Workflows

FCPX 10.1.2 – New Features And Workflows

Apple updated Final Cut Pro X to version 10.1.2 this week, representing the 12th update in 3 years, with FCPX having originally launched in June 2011. If you’ve been editing with FCPX for years, or still tentatively watching from the sidelines, this post should get you up to speed on the changes, new features and improvements in FCPX 10.1.2

In the video tutorial above FinalCutPro.net trainer Jasper Thayer talks through some of the new features in the latest release. His first tip is possibly one of the most important!

First thing that you’ll notice is that FCPX requires you to update your Library files in order to work with your Libraries in this new version. Keep in mind that you can not open your Libraries in older versions of FCPX after they’ve been updated to work in version 10.1.2.

If you like to read your way through a list of the new features, with plenty of images too, then Mark Spencer from Ripple Training has written up a great post over on fcp.co.

New plugins in FCPX 10.1.2For possibly the most exhaustive run down of every new feature, addition, hidden bit of code and possible future update that no-one else has spotted, you can’t really beat Alex Golner’s epic (and constantly updated) post on Alex4D.com.

Alex has also found all the new plugins and effects that ship with FCPX 10.1.2, which he’s helpfully screen-grabbed too.

For a one-stop-shop on all things FCPX 10.1.2, hurry over to Alex’s site!

Philip Hodgetts also has a great write up of the new features in FCPX 10.1.2 and how they relate to some of Philip’s company’s very useful FCPX applications. Check them out on intelligentassistance.com.

With Final Cut Pro X 10.1.2 media management has matured. Store your Original, Optimized or Proxy media anywhere you – the user – want it to be. Now you can store all media in one location, and Libraries will become (optionally) much smaller without any media inside.

Last but not least Richard Taylor’s fcpx.tv has a giant (and historic) list of resources for FCPX 10.1.2 and below, which means that whatever version you’re currently on, you’ll find something useful!

Media Management Tutorials in FCPX 10.1.2

The chaps from Ripple Training – Mark Spencer and Steve Martin, share three free tutorials explaining the new media management features and workflows in FCPX 10.1.2. In this first video they explain how FCPX handles your media, and how libraries, events, media and projects all work together. Continue reading for more tutorials and tips!

Posted in Arri Alexa, Editing, Editor's Tools, FCP-X, Free download, Tutorials, Workflow | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

DaVinci Resolve 11 Free Download!

DaVinci Resolve 11 Now Available in Public Beta

DaVinci Resolve 11

DaVinci Resolve 11 is now available to download as a free public beta. Version 11 of everyone’s favourite free colour grading software was announced at NAB and only a few months later you can now get a hold of it for free for yourself! Download it here.

I blogged about all the new features in DaVinci Resolve 11 back in April, so check out this post – DaVinci Resolve 11 New Features – for a full run down of the nearly 140 new features, as well as more videos like this one from Alexis Van Hurkman taking you through both the colour grading and editing capabilities.

In this excellent half hour demo from the Las Vegas Supermeet, Alexis showcases just how powerful the editing capabilities are within Resolve 11. He also took the time to demonstrate how easy the collaborative workflow is between editor and colourist. Well worth a watch!

The Best New Features in DaVinci Resolve 11

Colourist Rob Bessette was fortunate enough to have access to Resolve 11 during the private beta test period and so he’s had a head start on the rest of us in whittling down his favourite new features, which he has helpfully put together in a short blog post here.

“I’m a big fan of the qualifier tab in Resolve.  It’s an incredibly powerful tool.  Quite frankly, I feel it’s a little under appreciated  and people tend to gravitate towards the fancier tracking tab.  To me, tracking is a last resort.  I almost always try to key before I track (obviously the situation has to be pertinent to the correction at hand).  If there are any options that I can have the will tighten up the accuracy of my HSL key then I’m going to be one happy camper.”

New features in Resolve 11 Color Correction Handbook Alexis Van Hurkman, who has not only re-written the 852 page manual (!) for DaVinci Resolve – which you can now find in the Applications > DaVinci Resolve folder, rather than as a separate download from the Blackmagic Design site – but he’s also written several books on colour grading that you really should check out too. If that wasn’t enough to keep him busy, he has created some excellent video tutorials, available from Ripple Training, which he will be completely overhauling for Resolve 11, so keep your eyes peeled for those too. All the while working as a professional colorist. All of that is simply an introduction to say that you should check out his blog post about the new release of Resolve 11 and why he’s excited by the latest update.

One of the main themes of Resolve 11 is vastly expanded editing tools; you now have a video editor living directly alongside your grading environment, in which you can cut from scratch and immediately switch to grading with a single mouse-click. Or, if you’re like me, you can go back and forth between cutting and grading continuously, making grading tweaks to scenes right in the middle of your edit, creating quick matches when insert shots don’t look right, or creating that day-for-night look you need to make a particular scene work.

Davinci Resolve 11 first impressions

Lastly if you want a video walk through of some of the best of these new features, then London based colorist Dan Moran has a 15 minute tutorial over on Mixing Light.com, a subscription based colour grading training site. Dan covers the new UI changes, dual monitors, using the new colour matching tool, render caching and much more, sharing plenty of great tips along the way. If you really want to see Dan’s insights but don’t want to pay, you can grab a 24 hour test drive with full access to the site for free!

Other colorists are equally happy with the new Resolve 11 too. In this tweet colorist Josh Petok mentions the alpha output on OFX nodes, which you can use for green screen keys. It’s also worth reading through the full conversation from Rob Bessette’s tweet below (click the date stamp) about why that new little icon will be so handy!

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Lightworks on Mac – Free Download!

Lightworks now available on Mac!

Lightworks film editing application now on mac

If you’ve been following the development of EditShare’s Lightworks – a cross platform editing application with a legendary feature film history, then you’ll know that it’s been available on Windows and Linux for sometime. I for one have been eagerly awaiting the Mac version for quite some time, and now it’s finally here.

Lightworks Version 12 on Mac

Getting to grips with Lightworks on macIf you’ve just downloaded Lightworks and you’re itching to get started, then this 10 minute quick start guide will get you up and running in a jiffy. If you’re after a more detailed read for a sense of the overall flow of how Lightworks functions then Rick Young’s first impressions is the place to go.

The thing that can be slightly disconcerting when you first open Lightworks is how little you are presented with. But start opening a few clips and bins and soon you’ll be able to organise a much more familiar looking layout. Plus the tips from the Shark are pretty handy!

Lightworks on Mac

Finally, if you want to watch a much more detailed, 10 part tutorial series taking you through every stage of the Lightworks workflow, then check out this previous post which will provide you with that, and much more besides!

New Features in Lightworks 12

There are a few new features in version 12b of Lightworks, which you can get a very detailed look at in this first 18 minute tutorial that focuses on the new capabilities in the Content Manager. The next two shorter tutorials take you through the search tool and some handy Content Manager group shortcuts. Click through for 11 more Lightworks tutorials!

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