post production page two of two


It’s always interesting to visit the plug in pavilion. This is where you will find all the newest, coolest effects to use in Final Cut and After Effects. One particular plug in for FCP called PluralEyes caught my eye, or both eyes. It is from a company called SingularSoftware. What PluralEyes does is sync video tracks in a multicam sequence by using the audio tracks as reference.

Usually a multicam sequence or clip is synced using timecode or the first frame of video or a common matched frame. PluralEyes is for those frequent occasions in a multicam edit where the timecode wasn’t synced or it got off between cameras or camera operators stopped and started at different times or for whatever reason it is difficult to sync up the camera iso’s. With PluralEyes you can simply lay out the separate cameras on separate video tracks stacked on top of each other on the time line. Hit the magic button and PluralEyes syncs the tracks using the audio tracks as a reference. It will then also turn the multitrack timeline into a single multicam clip. This can be a big time saver. The software is still in beta and can be downloaded from their site.

Matrox announced an H.264 acceleration solution also. They have introduced CompressHD which is a card that fits in a Mac Tower PCI slot. This card can greatly reduce H.264 encoding times. According to Matrox, converting a 20 minute HD clip to H.264 for a blu-ray disk takes 90 minutes on an 8 core Mac, but only 18 minutes using the CompressHD. Matrox will also include this technology as an add on to their popular MXO2  device. The MXO2 is a combination breakout box and I/O capture card meant for mobile editing. The MXO2 at this time can also do something that no other I/O card can do: pass HD closed captioning. This is a highly desirable function as broadcasters are wrestling with HD Captioning trying to preserve captioning in shows that get repackaged from previously captioned material.

Matrox has found an ingenious way to do this. HD captions on line 9 get mapped or recorded to audio track 8 on ingest and send back to line 9 on output. The Matrox MXO2 can also be used as you would any other capture card but it is very mobile, interconnecting with a MacBook Pro via the cardbus slot. It can be used with a fast Mac to capture to the ProRes codec.

The Bella Corporation makes video editing accessories. They sell a very popular FCP keyboard with a built in jog/shuttle controller and an extra row of user programable buttons.

They have a couple new keyboards that are worth a look. 

Bella’s big introduction at NAB is the HD Mouse. The HD Mouse is wireless and has many ingenious features. The software allows you to “define mouse movements (X and Y axis) to provide intuitive gesture-type control, such as transforming the HD Mouse into a jog/shuttle controller. Power users will appreciate being able to program any keystroke, combination key stroke or series of keystrokes (macros) to any of the buttons, scroll wheel or mouse movement.” It seemed pretty cool. And at only $69.95, it would make a great stocking stuffer.

Wacom, the tablet people, have redefined their basic tablet. The new intuos4 line is one sleek looking tablet . The shape and surface of the new tablet have been completely re-engineered to enable, in Wacom’s words, “ergonomic, consistent strokes”.

Tiffen is a company that makes filters that go on the front of a camera lens: Soft, hard, gradient, colored etc. etc. They make literally hundreds of different kinds of filters. The Tiffen Dfx plug ins for Final Cut Pro mimic in software the effect of these filters. This is a great concept. As a DP, I was often afraid of getting locked into a look. Once you have committed yourself on tape, the look is there forever. These filters allow the freedom to play with the look of a shot/show non-destructively, in the edit suite, where the monitoring is more precise. The filters aren’t cheap but they can help save a bundle in post production color correction costs.