How To Be A DIT – Part 6

Resources for DITs

Keeping up to date with the latest developments in digital imaging capture, storage and transfer is a vital part of any DITs role. Hopefully these resources will help to do just that. If you’ve never heard of a DIT and are wondering what they do, check out the DIT category or this fairly decent explanation.

DIT Tech Update


An important part of being a DIT is understanding the full journey the image will take. With the emergence of 4K, the bandwidth for moving all those bits around needs to increase too. This handy primer on 6G-SDI from Wolfcrow has some good info on the standard. Although he does caution “Only opt for 6G-SDI for 4K RAW data transfer. If you’re not shooting RAW then it is pointless.” There is also a handy chart demonstrating what the different standards will allow you to handle in each case.

HDMI 2 is another update to an existing standard that actually blows past the capabilities of even 6G-SDI with a whopping 18Gbps, which would allow you to handle 4K streams at up to 60fps. According to this report from No Film School you won’t even have to upgrade your cables as the standard will work with existing Category 2 cables. For a fuller run down on HDMI 2.0 check out Gigaom’s excellent summary.

Update: This twitter conversation between colorists Tom Parish and Juan Salvo sheds some disappointing light on the format.

What is the cost of 4k?

While we’re on the subject of 4K, if you’re thinking about moving into that territory then it would be worth checking out Able Cine’s post on the mounting cost of working in 4K, calculating the extra cash you’ll be spending from acquisition to archiving. If you haven’t already guessed it is more expensive, but not impossibly expensive.

DIT Software: Scratch Play

Assimilate recently launched Scratch Play, a free app that will allow you (or your producer/director/client) to play almost any camera file on their Mac or PC. Another than a handy free app, it is clearly Assimilate’s goal to get you used to the features and workflow of Scratch itself, in the hopes that maybe you’ll upgrade to Scratch or Scratch Lab. The app borrows the CONstruct and alot of the colour correction features from Scratch itself, so you can have a good play with your images, although you can’t actually export an files from Scratch Play. Download it free or ad-free for $5.

SCRATCH Play supports a wide range of media formats. From cinematic RAW files (RED, Arri, Sony, Canon, Phantom, etc) to DSLR RAW files (Canon 5D, Nikon N600, etc) to Editorial formats (MXF, WAV, etc) to pro VFX/still formats (DPX, EXR, etc). Even web-based media (QuickTime, Windows Media, MP4, H.264, etc) and still image formats (TIFF, JPG, PNG, etc).

The Diamond Brothers helpfully supply a nice promo/case study for both Assimilate Play and Microsoft’s Surface Pro tablet in the video above. Read the full Surface post here.

Click through for loads more DIT resources including video lectures, webinars, free downloads and more!

Posted in Adobe Premiere Pro, Arri Alexa, DIT, Editor's Tools, FCP-X, Free download, RED, Workflow | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Amsterdam Supermeet Videos 2013

Amsterdam Supermeet Videos 2013

The 2012 Amsterdam Supermeet was a great event for seeing and hearing all about many new developments in the production and post world. Particularly note worthy was Michael Cioni’s talk “Evolution or Extinction” about the demise of film and the rise and rise of digital and its new workflows. As you can see this year’s presentations were no different! Huge thanks must go to Gert Kracht for recording and uploading them.

Larry Jordan on FCPX – Ready for Professionals?

DaVinci Resolve 10 Beta – James Tonkin

Alexis Van Hurkman – Behind the Scenes with Smoke

Rescuing Bad Audio – Mike Thornton

Posted in Colour Grading, Compositing, Craft, Creativity, Editor's Tools, FCP-X, Smoke, Sound Design, Tutorials, Visual Effects, Workflow | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

FCPX – Tons of Resources

Final Cut Pro X Resources for Film Editors

In order to gather the best of the web for post on this blog I often store away links ready to be curated into a specific post. Lately I’ve collected so many links for Final Cut Pro X that I’ve decided to group them all together into a long list of how-to tutorials and resources. This might require a bit more browsing from you, dear reader, but hopefully you’ll discover a few treasures along the way!

FCPX – Editing Tips and Tricks

Turn on “Clip Skimming” Option-Command S and you can see your timecode for each clip in the toolbar timecode window. Via @ChrisFenwick

Getting Organised in FCPX Part 1 | Part 2

How to spellcheck your text in FCPX

Copy and Paste Attributes in FCPX

Creating freeze frames in FCPX

Understanding Optical Flow in FCPX

Using FCPX Customisable ‘Placeholder’ Generator

FCPX Multi-cam Demo from Ben Consoli

Controlling background rendering in FCPX

Adjustment layers in FCPX

Event Library Tips

Performing a Replace edit in FCPX

FCPX 2 Point Edit Tutorial

How to Nudge Clips in FCPX 

Working with Layered Photoshop Files in FCPX

Animating Stills in FCPX

Creating A Motion Path in FCPX

Deleting Render Files in FCPX 

A whole bunch of random tips from Larry Jordan | More Tips from Larry

Learning FCPX in 10 minutes

Click through for tons more FCPX tutorials on color grading, audio mixing, exporting, troubleshooting and more

Posted in Colour Grading, Compositing, Editor's Tools, FCP-X, Free download, Sound Design, Tutorials, Workflow | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

DaVinci Resolve 10 Beta

DaVinci Resolve 10 Beta Update

DaVinci Resolve 10 Beta

Huzzah! DaVinci Resolve 10 beta is now publically available, after much anticipation building due to various private beta testers remarking on Twitter just how great the V10 update really is. In fact Grant Petty CEO of Blackmagic Design said it is the biggest update to the software in the past 30 years!

So what’s so great about it? Well there really is too much to mention; Live Grading on set, online and audio capabilities built in, editorial functionality, title creation, DCP creation, dozens of new grading features…. You really have to check out the huge feature comparison list on the BMD site to understand the scale of the update.

DaVinci Resolve 10 Freebies

new features in resolve 10

While you’re downloading the update (for free!) from the Blackmagic Design site you really should take some time to watch colorist Alexis Van Hurkman’s introduction to the new features in V10 which spans over an hour of video content. Also check out the stories from other professional colorist’s dotted around the site from colorists like Tim Masik from Company 3.

Color Correction Handbook You’ll also want to download the updated manual for the version 10 beta (also written by Alexis) and it is probably one of the best manuals written on colour grading, let alone the software. So if you’re new to the whole art you should definitely rummage through it for plenty of straight forward instruction.

Although if you are looking for an detailed education on colour grading then Alexis’ 552 page Color Correction Handbook is an excellent read.

Update: Alexis has posted a list of some of the newer features that aren’t listed in the manual or might be easily overlooked. Alexis explains how to use features like copy and pasting grades in the color page, duplicating timelines, speedchanges, render to AVI and many more. Well worth a read.

New features in Davinci Resolve 10

Beta Users Perspectives on Resolve 10

A few of the private beta testers and early adopters have already posted their reviews of the new software. Dan Moran, a colorist at the London office of Smoke and Mirrors, has written up this detailed account of using the new software on an attended grading session, over on the Mixing Light blog.

My favorite new feature -and the first one I noticed – are the new power windows. The whole power window architecture has been redesigned:

  • Unlimited windows per node
  • Draw freehand using the new power curve window – which feels incredibly natural.
  • The new gradient power window is very handy and fast.

Dan’s account is a great read because its not just an overview of the new features, but a practical demonstration of how useful they prove to be in a real world environment.

Update: Colorist Rob Bessette, who has previously delivered an excellent two hour lecture on grading in Resolve 9, shares his insights on the top 5 creative features in the new version of Resolve. One of the features Rob is most excited about is the new OpenFX integration which opens Resolve up to a giant market place of creative add-ons.

I’m really interested to sift through and learn as many of these tools as I can and figure out the best places to utilize them.  This is where I’m going to spend the bulk of my time.  A whole new world is opened here and now all of a sudden I can offer finishing tools that were never an option in the past.  Lens flares anyone?

UPDATE: SpliceNPost also shares his top 10 features in the new Resolve 10 beta in a handy 20 minute video. Thanks to AOTG for the link.

Cinematographer Frank Glencairn also offers his thoughts on v10 as a user who is accustomed to working in an Adobe Premiere workflow. It’s interesting to note how much the time remapping tools have improved in v10.

Now I can do Time Remapping in Resolve and it is as easy as in Premiere, but with much better results, because of pretty sophisticated optical flow algorithms.  First it didn’t work well at all, and I was really disappointed. But then I found out, that there is another panel where you can choose the quality and all was good (mind that we beta testers didn’t have a manual).

Edit Page in DaVinci Resolve

Click through for a complete list of what’s new in Resolve 10

Posted in Colour Grading, DaVinci Resolve, Free download, Review, Tutorials | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to install an SSD drive in a MacBook Pro with a clean install of Mac OS X

Upgrading your edit suite – How to install an SSD & clean install of Mountain Lion

how to grade ssd on macbook pro

I’ve decided to upgrade my Macbook Pro with a brand new SSD drive, along with a fresh install and upgrade of Mac OS X 10.8.4 (previously I was still on Snow Leopard, but the latest wave of Apps are rarely supporting that far back.) My laptop has been a very faithful workhorse these past few years, but its time for a spring clean and a new lease of life with some affordable upgrades. Here is an in-depth how to guide on how I did it.

Questions I had before Upgrading My MBP

There were a few things I wanted to know before I upgraded such as 1. Which SSD should I buy? 2. Will FCP 7 install and run on Mountain Lion? 3. Will I be able to get the updates to FCP 7.0.3 from Apple? 4. How do I transfer over all of my data and applications when upgrading OSX with a brand new hard drive?

Some quick answers!

Which SSD drive should I buy?

1. I bought the M500 480GB drive from Crucial, who also recently released a 960GB drive.* A DoP friend Adam Roberts also recommended the SanDisk Extreme, but as my RAM had worked out so well and you can’t really beat their prices, I went with Crucial.

Best SSD for film editors MacBook Pro 2010

Buy on | Buy on

*Remember that you won’t actually get 480GB of space due to the difference between the way people sell GB’s and the way the computer reads them. 1024 bytes per kilobyte means that the 480GB will actually shake out to around 447GB.

Buy RAM, It’s Cheap – As a quick aside I recently also maxed out the RAM I could have in my 2010 Macbook Pro (8GB) if you have a 2011 MBP I believe you can go to 16GB. It’s either a clever marketing ploy, or a computer truth, that you need matching RAM sets (4GB/4GB or 8GB/8GB) and that’s how most RAM comes packaged. I bought mine from Crucial, who have a very spiffy System Scanner that will tell you exactly what you need. Here’s what I bought.

Will Final Cut Pro 7 run & update on Mountain Lion?

Final Cut Studio on Mountain LionHaving installed and updated FCS3, yes, Final Cut Pro will install and run on Mountain Lion (OS X 10.8.4) and you can indeed still get hold of the latest update to Final Cut Studio 3. In fact here is the direct download link, although the updates should appear in your Software Update.

If you want to install both Final Cut Studio 3 and FCP-X on your system, install FCS3 first and then when you install FCP-X it will move those apps to a folder in your Applications directory. One snag I did come across was not having QuickTime 7 Pro anymore. Originally when you installed FCS3 it automatically unlocked those features. I tried a few tricks to make it work, hopefully they will work for you too.

Click through for a step by step guide to installing your SSD and performing a clean install

Posted in Adobe, AVID, Editor's Tools, FCP-X, Final Cut Pro, Tutorials, Workflow | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Twitter Tips for Avid Media Composer Editors

Tips and Tricks for Avid Media Composer Editors

If you’re an editor using Avid Media Composer, the chances are you’ve been editing for years and have a few tips you can share with all the newbies out there (like me!). Thanks to editors who tweet, you can learn from the best.

With some of these tweets its well worth clicking through to see the full conversational thread for even more tips and tricks.

Click through for 7 more great MC tips!

Posted in AVID, Editing, Editor's Tools, Tutorials, Workflow | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Elysium Post Production

Grading and VFX on Elysium

Personally I really enjoyed District 9, even if I didn’t totally ‘get it’ as a film. (I mean I understood what it was all about, but I wasn’t sure if I totally connected with it.) But I’m incredibly excited to see director Neill Blomkamp’s next effort which looks, in a word, awesome.

Elysium Visual Effects

Elysium Visual Effects

FXGuide has a fantastically detailed write up on the production and its VFX workflow. The article covers the miniatures, CGI and design work involved in creating the film’s futuristic world both on planet earth and inside the titular Elysium. A brilliant read.

Elysium was shot on RED EPIC cameras by DOP Trent Opaloch using anamorphic lenses (resulting in a resolution of about 3.3K that was then mastered at 4K for release). Filming took place on location in Mexico City and in Vancouver. Interestingly, Muyzers says they used an ACES color pipeline for the production. “Neill could sit in the theater at Image Engine and be confident they would look the same in the theater with an audience. And the same at the DI house – it was a unified color workflow.”

UPDATE: Debra Kaufman has a good interview with VFX house Image Engine and it’s two VFX Supervisors (Associate Visual Effects Supervisor Andrew Chapman and overall Production Visual Effects Producer Shawn Walshabout their work on the film from pre-production to delivering final effects shots.

Post production on Elysium

Walsh points out how this methodology also helped keep Elysium within budget. “Complexity drives cost, and trying to come up with processes that enable a more efficient process or methodology can control costs,” he says. “Using the gray suit actors on set to stand in for droids was similar to what we did in District 9 and Battleship, and it enables us to know a bit more about what the result was going to be. We were able to get buy-in from key parts of the production with the assumption of how we were going to achieve that work, and that enabled us to budget that more aggressively.”

Colour Grading Elysium

Colour grading elysium

The Coloristos have a brilliant hour long audio interview with Andrea Chlebak on how she got started in the business, using Baselight and grading Elysium. It’s a fantastic interview because as colorists they know all the right questions to ask to get into the nitty gritty of working on a visual effects heavy hollywood film.

Below The Line News has a good but short article on Elysium’s colorist Andrea Chlebak and her work on bringing Elyisum to the silver screen with Baselight.

In the final grade, Chlebak used Baselight to create a nuanced color palette between Earth and Elysium. “A lot of the film’s aesthetic was rooted in photography and art direction, so I took cues from those approaches and explored a number of different directions,” Chlebak said. “Using ACES kept all aspects of the production rolling at the same time, allowing us all to really push the process and get a really terrific, seamless result.”

Studio Daily has a much more in depth interview with Andrea and the DI process.

We needed a lot of time because we needed to step away and come back with fresh eyes. Starting early on while they were still cutting, Neill could step away from that environment, where he was looking at dailies color, and come into the DI suite and be in a whole new world where he could take the opportunity to experiment with some looks and further articulate his vision. He called it an honest approach — he wanted the image to feel honest and not like it had been graded. That’s a tricky order. – See more at:

Elysium Making Of Featurettes

Thanks to Behind VFX you can check out all of the available behind the scenes featurettes/EPK’s available for Elysium, including the soundtrack, although you might want to hold off watching them too much if you want to enjoy the film for all its worth.

Click through for four more awesome Elysium featurettes

Posted in Baselight, Colour Grading, Compositing, Creativity, Interview, Visual Effects, Workflow | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lightworks Tutorial Round Up

Lightworks Video Tutorial Round Up

Lightworks - Free Video Editor

Lightworks, the nearly free, almost open source Non-Linear Editor, makes professional level tools available to everyone and anyone at the click of a download link. If you want more background information, previous tutorials and demos of what it can do then check out the Lightworks category or check out this post about Tariq Anwar, who (exclusively?) most often cuts on Lightworks. You might have seen a few of his films, like, oh, American Beauty or The Kings Speech.

SharkBites Tutorials

The Lightworks team have been busily uploading these 27 free ‘shark byte’ video tutorials that walk you through installing Lightworks, getting started with the basics and generally understanding how it all works, as well as media management and more. Currently you can only install Lightworks on Windows and Linux, although Mac is ‘coming soon’. It’s £40/$60 a year for a Pro license which gives you access to more features and all the professional codecs you could wish for. A steal compared to any another other NLE!

Cutting A Dialogue Scene in Lightworks

In this 6 part tutorials series, Peter Bridgman, walks you through how to cut a simple dialogue scene in Lightworks using a script and footage that you can download to follow along with. This series is both a fantastic opportunity to learn how to cut a dialogue scene for any student editors looking for footage to mess around with and an excellent way to get to grips with editing inside Lightworks itself. Well done EditShare!

Click through for the other 5 parts plus 3 Lightworks on Linux tutorials

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How to plan production and post properly

How to properly plan your production and post

How to plan your production and post properly

When planning the technical ins and outs of your film production and post workflow its important to actually have a plan for the whole process before you being. If you just dive in and make it up as you go along you are sure to encounter, at best, a few technical hitches along the way, slowing you down and costing you time and money, or at worst outright catastrophic disaster.

How to plan your workflow

Planning your production and post

A while back Studio Daily posted a couple of really helpful articles from Nathan Adams of Cinematomic, an LA based ‘creative solutions’ company who have worked on films like The Social Network and TV shows like House of Cards.

If you’re using a new camera, switching to a new editing platform or changing your workflow, you’d better know everything about that element of your production. On a recent pilot for a reality show we had a combination of 28 cameras that we had to manage. Weeks before the production, the DIT and I used a stopwatch to time the media transfers so we knew exactly how many seconds it took to ingest media from each camera. Based on those calculations, we knew we needed 8 laptops ingesting material the whole time. We were also able to calculate the right amount of RAID storage to have on set (shuttling hard drives wasn’t an option), and we knew we needed two LTO-4 tape drives on set archiving the media every 30 minutes. In the end, he walked away from the location with the raw camera media written to two hard drives and LTO-4 tapes. The RAID went straight into editorial with footage logged, transferred, binned and circle takes already marked.

Check out Nathan’s Top 5 ways to avoid catastrophe in production and post and also 10 questions with Nathan from the edit forum to get some great advice for planning your workflow.

Free Film Production Template

Free film production template

So much of getting off on the right foot with your production and post is clarifying the brief at the very beginning. This sounds pretty simple but almost every unforeseen creative problem that crops up later had its start in a bad brief.

I had previously put together this free briefing document in a previous post, so feel free to download it and amend it for your own productions.

Click through for more tips on organising your project from start to finish

Posted in Adobe Premiere Pro, AVID, DIT, Editing, Editor's Tools, Final Cut Pro, Free download, Tutorials, Workflow | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Crafting Your Edit

Film Editors on the Art and Craft of Film Editing

Hearing from experienced, talented and ‘top of their game’ film editors is one of my favourite things about the treasure trove that is the internet. So here is a collection of inspiring gems for any film editor, whether you’ve been in the business for years or just starting out.

Editors in Conversation

In this video from the March LACPUG meeting Oscar nominated editors Jay Cassidy and Crispin Struthers discuss editing Silver Linings Playbook for director David O’Russell. It’s a great insight into collaborative editing, shaping long cuts and fixing things that don’t work.

Editor Alan Heim (Network, American History X), shares his insights on the craft in this highlights clip from his time as artist in residence at the Manhattan Edit Workshop. Great wisdom gained over a long career. In a couple places Alan mentions Ralph Rosenbloom, a fellow editor, whose great book “When The Shooting Stops…the Cutting Begins” is on my list of Books on Film Editing. Digital Production Buzz also has an audio interview with Alan which you can check out here.

Edit Fest Round Up – London, LA & New York

Edit Fest London

The American Cinema Editors society runs these amazing days called Edit Fest’s where established film and TV editors gather before an eager crowd of up-and-coming editors to share their wisdom, wit and experience of life inside the cutting room. I was lucky enough for attend the Edit Fest in London and wrote up 10 lessons from the day over on Premium Beat. I also gathered up some of the best tweets from the most recent Edit Fest LA and some taster videos from Edit Fest New York.

“I prefer working alone. Staying late to strip the film down to the spine, taking out things the director would never want to lose, just to see what you have. There’s a very small difference between a bad idea and a brilliant idea which you wouldn’t try with other people in the room.” - Tracy Granger A.C.E.

For even more on Edit Fest check out editor Judith Allen’s own recollections and quotes from Edit Fest London. Also editor Richard Leverton has written up a three part series of blog posts on Edit Fest London too, Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 and finally Televisual also wrote up a lengthy post here.

Hopefully all of these tasters will persuade you that attending one of these days is well worth the time, money and effort. I left feeling hugely inspired about what I do every single day.

Click through for several brilliant film editing video essays

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