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Adobe After Effects: Building a Lens Flare with Expressions

Chapter: Compositing Tools and Techniques

Topic: Scripting or Expressions

In this tutorial, Creativecow’s Mylenium demonstrates various lens flares and how to create them. The main focus of this tutorial is not the lensflare itself – there are enough plugins out there, that do a far better job than even the most complex setup we can cobble together. Much more is it meant to again teach you some tricks to work efficiently with expressions and breaking down projects into workable parts. Lensflares lend themselves to illustrating the benefits of expressions because they involve lots of layers and effects.


Apple Final Cut Pro: Checking for Edit/Cut markers in Apple's Compressor

Chapter: Workflow

Topic: Inter-application Workflow

A lot of users I’ve come across are unaware that when you export a Final Cut Pro timeline for encoding in Compressor every cut and/or transition will force an I frame to allow for better encoding. To see this at work and check to make sure you have these markers, export your Quicktime from Final Cut Pro and choose Markers > DVD Studio Pro Markers.


Apple Final Cut Pro: Automatic Duck Pro Import FCP 2.0: Import Pro Tools files into Final Cut Pro

Chapter: Workflow

Topic: Inter-application Workflow

In this demo by Automatic Duck’s Wes Plate from the NAB show floor shows how to import Pro Tools files into Final Cut Pro while maintianing all the metadata and functionality to allow further tweaks possible within Final Cut Pro.


Apple OS X: Mac OS X Web Server Tips for Designers: Part 1 – Most everything you need is built right in

Chapter: Distribution

Topic: Web Publishing

OK, so you’re a Web designer. Perhaps it’s all you do, or perhaps it just a small part of what you do, but wherever you happen to be on the Web design food chain, you can definitely benefit from setting up and using the Web server that is included with every installation of Mac OS X. And while many of you may already have the server running, there’s a lot more that could conceivably be done to soup things up a bit.


Maxon Cinema 4D: HAIR GEOMETRY: Converting Hair to a polygonal structure in C4D

Chapter: 3D Modelling and Animation

Topic: Nature Simulation

MAXON’S CINEMA 4D allows users to add a module called HAIR, integrating custom hair control to 3D projects. However, sometimes users may want to export the HAIR geometry to non-HAIR users. The process, although easy, isn’t necessarily obvious. Here’s how…


RED Camera Specifications

The RED camera, even though it could be a year before it’s delivered, has been a hit of NAB 2006 with 15-20 cameras being "sold" every hour on the first two days. (They are taking $1000 deposits with a guaranteed position in the delivery queue, refundable at any time.)

The basic specifications on the camera:

  • magnesium alloy camera body weighs less than 7 lbs without lens, battery or any recording module;
  • body alone will cost US$17,500;
  • a port for RAW recording but that will be an optional module – no details on the specifics of what will come out that port;
  • High resolution LCD viewfinder, with on screen display, focus assist and exposure assist;
  • XLR for audio (at least)
  • single CMOS sensor with 4520 x 2540 pixels (11.5 Mpixels);
  • 29 square micron pixels – lots of light per pixel to help signal to noise and light sensitivity;
  • 24.4mm x 13.7 mm, which is a big sensor about the size of Super 35mm film;
  • wide dynamic range that exceeds 66 dB – about 11-15 stops;
  • depth of field equivalent to using Cine lenses;
  • windowing down to 2K to use Super 16mm lenses; and
  • frame rates up to 120 fps.

Acquisition formats:

  • Native resolution (exceeds 4K);
  • 4K resolution;
  • 2K resolution;
  • 1080p;
  • 1080i; and
  • 720P.

Frame Rates:

  • Variable from 1 to 60 fps for 2540P, 4K, 2K, 1090P, 1080i and 720P;
  • Variable from 1 to 120 fps for 2K, 1080P, 720P by windowing sensor to use only a smaller part with 16 mm lenses;
  • plus all the regular "legacy" frame rates.


  • HD-SDI;
  • dual HD-SDI
  • HDMI for vision
  • 2K 4:4:4 RGB;
  • 1080p 4:4:4 RGB;
  • 1080p 4:2:2;
  • 1080i 4:2:2;
  • 720p 4:2:2; and
  • 4 channel uncompressed 16 or 24 bit at a minimum of 48KHz.


  • Digital Magazines will have FireWire 400 and 800, USB 2.0 and eSATA ports to plug into computer and copy files off, or play from, the magazine;
  • RED-DRIVE will contain hard drives from 40 to 160 GB (2.5" drives);
  • REDFLASH will use flash memory from 32-128 GB; and
  • anything that will record HD-SDI output, like a Wafian drive.

REDCODE codec;

  • Variable bitrate wavelet-based;
  • 10 bit 4:2:2 1080P, 1080i or 720P; and
  • 10 bit log 4:4:4 at 2K resolution.


  • RED-RAID, which is a high speed serial interface capable of carrying 2540P RAW data recorder running off 12v;
  • UHD lenses by Oakley;
  • RED 35mm and 16PL Cine Lenses;
  • Optional B4 mountining kit coming;
  • UHD viewfinder to see out of frame like an optical viewfinder;
  • and the obvious camera bags, mount points, etc.

Adobe After Effects: AfterEffects and the Motion Tracker

Chapter: Compositing Tools and Techniques

Topic: Motion Tracking and Stabilizing

If you are unfamiliar with the After Effects Motion Tracker then you are really missing out on a powerful tool. We will spend the next few entries explaing to you how it works and the different settings that are important.


JVC announces GY-HD250U and GY-HD200U Camcorders

JVC’s GY-HD100U is not yet a year old but has already been improved-upon. It was unequalled for 720P support in HDV (OK, the only 720 P HDV) but it did not support 60P. 60P carries twice the data as 60i (aka 30i) and is a better solution for shooters who do not want to learn the techniques necessary to successfully shoot at the lower temporal sample rates of 24 and 30 P.

As we suggested a few days ago, JVC announced two new cameras to complement their GY-HD100U camcorders.


The new JVC GY-HD250U multi-purpose camcorder is a compact shoulder-mount form factor which supports 60P. The GY-HD250 records true 1280 x 720 progressive at 60 frames per second thanks to a new advanced codec that provides ultra efficient compression without visible motion artifacts. The camcorder can be used for ENG, Digital Cinematography and can be reconfigured as a studio camera.

Other significant changes from the GY HD100U include 12 frame GOP for 60P, 4:2:2 HD-SDI output with embedded audio, improved CineGamma mode and, like the Canon XL H1 Genlock in, Timecode in, composite video for monitoring and mounts for pro camera batteries. Unfortunately both new camcorders are still 1/3" chips.

The GY-HD250U offers a studio configuration using the HD-SDI output with the KA-HD250 Studio kit and an optional Camera Control Unit for studio integration. The CCU offers multi-core remote control of power, genlock, color balance, black level and intercom up to 100 meters (330 ft.). The HD250 can use the GY-DV550U existing multicore cable and CCU. Going out the HD-SDI output bypasses the MPEG-2 processing and gives 4:2:2 10 bit directly off the chip.

If you do need to record, the MPEG-2 encoder for HDV is claimed to be "twice as good" as the predecessor. This is to be expected: with DV we saw constant improvement in encoders over time. This will drive the quality of HDV higher over time as the MPEG-2 encoder is the most significant factor affecting HDV quality.


The new HD200, is targeted for independent filmmakers and stringers, this high definition camcorder carries the “Compact-Shoulder” form factor popularized by the GY-HD100U, and is capable of HDV720/60P true progressive image acquisition due to the implementation of JVC’s new “Super Encoder” developed for the latest line of ProHD products.

60P provides 60 full frames of information per second, excellent for viewing and analyzing motion, as well as for delivering an “overcranked” recording for superb slow motion when the final output is 24P.

The new HD200 features an optional Arri PL mount adapter, the HZ-CA13U, so film schools and rental facilities can use lenses they already own. The camcorder has an "image flip" function to accommodate primes that reverse the image. Like the other two camcorders the HD200 shoots 24P, 24PA and 60P.

The GY-HD200U utilizes all of the accessories currently available for the GY-HD100U, including the new 1/3” mount HD lenses being introduced at NAB 2006.

The two new cameras are superficially similar to the older HD100 but with the pro camera mount. The GY-HD200 will sell for about US$7995 (subject to change) when it ships in the fall of 2006 with ; the GY-HD250 will be sell for about US$9000, but without lens, and will also be available this October.

Both new cameras support Focus Enhancement’s optional DR-HD100U Hard Disk Drive Recorder, which records to tape and disk at same time. An 80GB drive supplies more than 7 hrs of HD. Files on the DR HD100U files directly into Final Cut Pro using native .mov structure.

Blackmagic Design introduces DeckLink HD Extreme, MultiBridge Pro and Blackmagic On-Air

Grant Petty’s Blackmagic Design have been releasing and updating products at a frightening pace and this NAB is no exception, with three new products that set new levels of price/performance and innovation.

DeckLink HD Extreme

DeckLink HD Extreme is similar to Blackmagic Design’s original DeckLink Extreme SD card in features but with a completely new design using technology from their Multibridge Extreme, adopting the higher quality 14 bit digital to analog conversion on output.

The DeckLink HD Extreme replaces all models of the DeckLink HD family, without 4:4:4 support. For PCI-X customers or those needing 4:4:4 Blackmagic Design are keeping the DeckLink HD Pro 4:4:4 models. The SD-only card range remains for those needing PCI or PCIe support in SD only.

The HD Extreme switches between HD and SD SDI input and dual SD/HD SDI outputs which can be used as fill and key when using their LiveKey application. DeckLink HD Extreme also includes 12 bit analog video in, to complement the 14 bit analog video out. The analog video connections can be independently switched to component (YUV) or composite NTSC/PAL and now S-Video. When using component (YUV) video, the analog connections will switch between high definition and standard definition.

Audio is catered for with 2 channels of analog balanced audio in and out via XLR connectors as well as 2 channel AES/EBU digital audio in and out via unbalanced BNC connectors. The AES is also S/PDIF compatible if you want to connect to consumer equipment. The DeckLink HD Extreme retails at only US$995, and it’s available immediately – if you’re at NAB you can even buy it from resellers on the show floor!

Multibridge Pro

Multibridge Pro is the entry level item in the Multibridge product line and is a replacement for our Multibridge HD and Multibridge SD models, which are now discontinued but you get an HD-capable product for the price of the older SD model. Multibridge Pro is PCI Express connected, so you can use it as a capture playback solution or unplug it from the computer to use it as a standalone bi-directional converter.

Multibridge Pro is very similar to Multibridge Extreme, without the expensive 2K film features, that are not needed by most video users lowering the cost. Multibridge Pro also has more connections than the DeckLink HD Extreme PCIe plug in card, so its a nice solution for people who want more power in video, but don’t do feature films. It’s also a break-out box style of capture/playback solution when connected to a computer via PCI Express, so will be popular with people who like a break-out box style solutions.

Multibridge Pro switches between high definition and standard definition video, and features a single SD/HD-SDI input, and dual SD/HD-SDI outputs, which can be used as two outputs. Multibridge Pro also includes 12 bit analog video in, and incredible 14 bit analog to digital video conversion out. The analog video connections can be independently switched to component (YUV) or composite NTSC/PAL and now S-Video. When using component (YUV) video, the analog connections will switch between high definition and standard definition.

Audio’s covered with 2 channels of analog balanced audio in and out via XLR connectors, as well as 4 channels of AES/EBU digital audio in and out with each input featuring sample rate converters. Multibridge Pro also features 2 channel unbalanced audio out for HiFi monitoring, and is a compact 1 rack unit in size.

Multibridge Pro retails for only US$1,595, and will be available about 2 weeks after NAB. It should be remembered that Multibridge Pro can be used as a stand-alone converter and in that role costs less than most converter-only products.

It’s complete, and we are just waiting for more parts for production to start.

Multibridge Pro is a replacement for our Multibridge HD and Multibridge SD< models, which are now discontinued. The advantage is you get a HD product at a similar price to the older standard definition model. You also get similar features to the older HD model, but with PCI Express built in, so you can use it for editing without purchasing an SDI card, plus you have the added benefit built-in HDMI monitoring and AES sample rate converters. Of course there will still be more software updates for the Multibridge HD and Multibridge SD models, even though they are now discontinued.

We hope that with all these powerful features, Multibridge Pro should be incredibly popular as a converter, even if you don’t need to use the PCI Express feature for capture and playback. Most other converters cost over $2,000 just for digital to analog conversion, while Multibridge Pro converts from digital to analog, and analog to digital at the same time, with AES digital and analog audio support, and HDMI video and RCA audio monitoring out. It’s incredible value for only US$1,595.

It’s been our dream to allow a multi function converter to be mass produced so it can have lower cost than more simple converters, while including extra features such as analog and digital audio, HDMI and PCI Express, so it becomes so much more.

Blackmagic On-Air

Blackmagic On-Air a new mixing software tool for use with Multibridge Extreme for live mixing between two cameras – two HD cameras if you want. Blackmagic On-Air is a perfect companion for Canon’s XL-H1 or JVC’s GY-HD250U with HD-SDI outputs.

Blackmagic On-Air uses a standard Multibridge Extreme model that has spare processing power and two SDI inputs. Blackmagic On-Air is a simple software update and will mix between the two SDI inputs, a graphic, and black video. It uses a large window that incorporates both camera views, and the program mix view in real time. There are actually three streams of video coming back over the PCI Express to the computer, so you’ll need a powerful computer to run this.

There’s a lot more about the new On-Air product at the Blackmagic Design website but it’s important to note that it’s not only an ‘on computer’ switcher but record to disk is a single button-click. If you have Final Cut Pro HD installed, you can capture to the DVCPRO HD codec, so you don’t need to use a bulky disk array for HD recording.

Blackmagic On-Air will be included free in the next major software release for the Multibridge family, which will be v5.6 due early May. Initially Blackmagic On-Air will be Mac OS X only, and will be ported to Windows as soon as possible.

Avid unbundles Media Composer from Hardware

Avid’s new Media Composer line offers a software-only configuration or with flexible hardware options and improved Mac OS X support. The new Media Composer line leverages the Avid Interplay engine (see separate coverage) to perform many time-consuming production tasks in the background, and monitor changes to all project assets made by team members as the project evolves

The new Media Composer family includes version 2.5 of Media Composer software, with robust HD capabilities on Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger starting from US$4,995.

New Functionality for Media Composer Version 2.5

Version 2.5 of Media Composer software adds: a range of robust content creation and collaboration capabilities, including:

  • Support for Avid Interplay;
  • Direct ingest of XDCAM HD over FireWire;
  • Motion tracking and stabilization tools (featuring SteadyGlide™);
  • Long GOP splicing for improved HDV performance; and
  • Full-screen SD and HD monitoring using the host graphics card for both Mac and PC – users can either monitor over the software interface, temporarily obscuring it, on a single-monitor solution such as a laptop, or use a two head display for dedicated preview output.

Unbundling Media Composer from the underlying hardware opens the possibility that Avid may simplify their product offerings, or create a unified Xpress Pro/Media Composer product line.

The New Media Composer Family

Media Composer software offers comprehensive HD support for both the PC and Mac, using the latest in Multi-Core CPU and GPU power available on both platforms.  The software also supports full-screen DVI output of SD and HD material, ideal for any software-only client in a distributed workflow. All other versions build on this core software offering.

Media Composer software with Avid Mojo® SDI Digital Nonlinear Accelerator™

The same Mojo SDI for Xpress Pro is the entry level hardware for Media Composer, adding a SDI interface to the features of the original Mojo. Mojo SDI provides analog and SDI capture up to uncompressed with real-time monitoring and FireWire connectivity for DV, HDV, and DVCPRO HD projects.

Media Composer Adrenaline™ – this is the feature set of the former Media Composer Adrenaline with robust analog and digital I/O and hardware acceleration for guaranteed performance.

Media Composer Adrenaline with Avid DNxcel™ – adds the ability to encode HD material to 10-bit or 8-bit Avid DNxHD™, Avid’s mastering-quality codec, providing editors the image quality of 10-bit uncompressed HD at SD bandwidths for real-time HD collaboration.

Mac Media Composer Goes High-Def

As promised late last year, the release of Media Composer HD on Mac was delayed in order to provide feature parity with the PC version and support for Intel Macs. Media Composer 2.5 on OS X 10.4 Tiger will provide support for DVCPRO HD, HDV, and Avid DNxHD resolutions of 145 Mb, 220 Mb, and 10-bit 220 Mb data rates, enabling the image quality of uncompressed HD at standard-definition data rates.  Media Composer on Mac also adds real-time HD multicam, allowing simultaneous playback of all multicam views for on-the-fly editing in real-time.  With these new capabilities, Mac professionals now have the flexibility to transfer HD projects seamlessly between Windows systems and Mac systems, on desktops or laptops, and will enjoy the same editing experience and functionality regardless of platform

Media Composer 2.5 starts at US$4995 for the software-only version and is expected to ship in Q2, 2006.