Latest Posts

BlogMacBreak Studio: Secondary Color CorrectionTuesday, May 5 2015

In this week’s MacBreak Weekly Steve Martin of Ripple Training shows how colour correction has changed in Final Cut Pro X 10.2. He shows how there’s more control over at what stage in the pipeline the correction is applied and how masking has changed:

I’ve added it to my YouTube list of Final Cut Pro X-related MacBreak Studio episodes.

Read more
BlogTimecode window for Final Cut Pro XTuesday, May 5 2015

Newly available for Final Cut Pro X users: a flexible timecode display window. It is a free download for users of the FxFactory post production plugin management system. FxFactory is a free download that manages custom plugins for Final Cut Pro X and other post production applications.

Because plugins cannot yet modify Final Cut’s menu, you access the new Timecode window by right- or control-clicking the timecode display above the project timeline:

The window always shows exactly what Final Cut’s timecode display shows:

You can resize the window by dragging the corners or edges.

You can also choose what colours are used for the text and the window background:

The colour controls include opacity:

The examples shown in these screenshots include a background colour with an opacity of 33%.

Timecode over full-screen video

If you have two displays attached to your Mac, you can also overlay the timecode window on top of full-screen video:

To do this

  1. Drag the timecode window to your secondary display
  2. Go to full screen mode on your primrary display using the ‘View:Playback:Play Full Screen’ command or use the Shift-Command-F keyboard shortcut
  3. Drag the timecode window back over your primary display

At the moment the window shows the same information as Final Cut’s normal timecode display panel. X displays time project timecode when skimming in the timeline, clip timecode when the cursor is over a specific clip.

If you set the timecode display to show subframes in order to do sub-frame audio editing, the window doesn’t yet show the same precision:

In Final Cut Pro 7 and earlier, there was an option to overlay timecodes of all the clips in the timeline at the playhead. Since June 2011 Final Cut Pro X’s information overlays have been simpler.

Maybe the ProApps team are hoping that the need for editors to know so much about timecode will go away. On the other hand, they might be working on a much more configurable overlay system for a future version of Final Cut. Time will tell!

Timecode and FxFactory are free downloads for Final Cut Pro X 10.2 and OS X Yosemite 10.10.2 and newer.

Primordial metadata

Timeline and clip timecode are an example of of a form of metadata that is over 100 years old. When films were shot with celluloid, editors had to manage film edge code – sometimes adding their own code to shot film to be able to manage every frame.

Hopefully Apple will add features that will allow Final Cut users to view and edit any metadata in a floating window – including timecode. The kinds of metadata that would be useful in this case would be

  • Timecode
  • Slate/Scene/Take
  • GPS-recorded location (co-ordinates / colloquial name of place)
  • Keywords
  • Colour grade name
  • Name of person who last made changes/changed metadata
Read more
BlogPeriscope broadcast 1: Final Cut Pro X – April 6 2015Tuesday, April 7 2015

As Periscope currently only allows replays for 24 hours, here is a copy of yesterday’s ‘scope’ on YouTube.

I muse upon Final Cut Pro X and answer questions put to me by Periscope followers.

To make this video, I recorded my iPhone while it displayed the replay in the Periscope application. Do this by connecting your phone to your Mac running Yosemite QuickTime Player X and choosing File:New Movie Recording.

Pop-up menu in QuickTime Player X showing iPhone selected

Then go to the pop-up menu next to the record button and choose the iPhone’s camera and then the iPhone’s microphone.

Read more
BlogChatty apps in OS X: Quiet them downWednesday, March 25 2015

When I upgraded OS X to Mavericks I found that Final Cut Pro X alerts got more annoying. Every time I exported a movie from my edit, I would get an alert when the background export finished. When I need to export many movies in a short period of time, I end up with a whole series of alerts:

To prevent Final Cut – or any OS X application – being so ‘chatty,’ go to System Preferences and choose the Notifications pane.

Scroll down and click ‘Final Cut Pro.’

Change the alert style from Alerts to Banners. Instead of having to dismiss each alert, banners go away automatically.

Read more
Blog‘Bumpy’ pixels: iMovie Apple Force Touch trackpad haptic feedbackMonday, March 16 2015

Apple has updated iMovie 10.0.7 to provide context-specific haptic feedback for those using a Force Touch trackpad.

As part of their March 9, 2015 event Apple announced a new kind of trackpad for their MacBook computers. Instead of registering clicks using a switch, the new trackpad is able to recognise a range of pressures. The Force Touch trackpad can detect a light touch for when the user wants to move the cursor without clicking and dragging, a heavier touch for when the user wants to click or drag, and a heavier touch – a ‘force click’ – which is used for shortcuts.

As this new trackpad has no click switch, it is hard for users to know how hard they are pressing without physical feedback. They need to be able to feel the difference between moving the cursor, clicking a UI object and force touching a part of an application. The Force Touch trackpad includes a ‘Taptic Engine’ – tiny magnets that move the trackpad in such a way that they feel as if the trackpad has flexed downwards.

An Apple support document lists some examples of shortcuts accessible by force clicking:

  • Link previews: Force click a link in Safari or Mail to see an inline preview of the webpage.
  • File icons: Force click a file icon to see a Quick Look preview of it.
  • File names: Force click a file name in the Finder or on your desktop to let you edit the file name.
  • iMovie: When your iMovie project has an animated Map or Globe, you can Force click the map in the Timeline to access a Style menu. This lets you choose from four different styles.

As well as being able to simulate old physical trackpad features, the Taptic Engine can also provide physical feedback based on context:

  • iMovie: When dragging a video clip to its maximum length, you’ll get feedback letting you know you’ve hit the end of the clip. Add a title and you’ll get feedback as the title snaps into position at the beginning or end of a clip. Subtle feedback is also provided with the alignment guides that appear in the Viewer when cropping clips.

Final Cut Pro X is my video editing application of choice. iMovie is a full version of Final Cut Pro X running an additional consumer UI. As Final Cut Pro X hasn’t been updated since December, iMovie’s use of the Force Touch trackpad is a preview of features I hope to see in the next version of Final Cut.

I visited an Apple Store in London to see how iMovie ‘felt’ on the new version of the 13″ MacBook Pro with Retina.

‘Feeling’ the user interface

I tried two out of the three features mentioned in the support document. I couldn’t feel any ‘snapping’ as I moved a title to the start or finish of a clip.

When I dragged the clip to its maximum length I did feel a little bump. Without looking at the timeline and looking at the viewer, I could ‘feel’ the end of the clip.

This feature presages the ability for UI pixels to be ‘bumpy’ – for user to feel the texture of application UIs without having to look at where the cursor is. This means that seemingly textured software keyboards and control layouts will be able to be implemented on future trackpads, iPhones and iPads.

Perhaps we’ll look back and realise that the iOS 7 update removed borders from button because one day Apple user interfaces will be able to be felt as much as seen, and button text labels will feel more distinctive than button borders under our fingertips.

Non-visual manipulation

Film and video editing is an interesting UI problem: You need to look at the footage you are editing while you manipulate the clips that represent the footage in a timeline. That is why keyboard shortcuts are especially popular amongst video editors. No need to look at your mouse pointer the timeline as you manipulate clips – just press the keys that change the edit.

Once a complex timeline can be represented by a touch only UI, editing will go full-screen. The screen will show footage only while the editor will be able to feel the edits as the story plays out.

Read more
BlogiMovie 10.0.7 updateMonday, March 9 2015

At the same moment Apple were launching the Apple Watch and the 2015 MacBook, they quietly updated iMovie.

As well as the features listed here, 10.0.7 also updates the format for iMovie libraries. Once you open an old library with 10.0.7, it will not open in earlier versions.

Here are the new buttons added below the viewer:

New text

Within the application there are a few bits of text not found in 10.0.6:

A tooltip explaining the new Photos features:

Choose to view projects, albums, and more from your Photos Library

Instructions to deal with errors:

Select a local storage device or SAN.

Select a local storage device.

Copy the document to a local storage device or SAN, then try again.

Copy the document to a local storage device, then try again.

Errors:

This document cannot be opened from iCloud Drive.

This document cannot be saved to iCloud Drive.

 

Read more