Creative Communications

6 April, 2009

Configuring a Contour Shuttle Pro for Final Cut Pro – Part 2 – Rough Cut Assembly

Filed under: Final Cut / Video,Uncategorized,Work Adaptations — Tags: , , , , — Sean Canton @ 12:34 pm
Final Cut Pro

Image via Wikipedia

One of the most important parts of any machine interface is it’s ability to generate muscle memories, laid down over thousands of repetitions, which is why having a dedicated controller for audio & video can be very productive, if utilized correctly. The buttons you use become an extension of your mind, and you can operate your software in a more efficient manner. It becomes very tao, as you learn to act without thought. So, it’s important that the button layout be consistent and not change often.

Yet, the workflow of video editing requires several different modes, which requires several different configurations for the shuttle pro. So, careful considerations must be made when planning (yes, the P word), your software configuration to make sure that the buttons you choose are related between the settings.

For this workflow, we will investigate what I call Rough Cut Assembly, which involves parsing through hours of footage and culling out what might be usable shots. Mostly you’re working in the Viewer window and doing very little on the timeline. The objective here is to turn long footage captures into smaller chunks.

The relevant FCP commands:

  • Make SubClip – Takes In-Out and Creates a Browser entry with it
  • Add Marker – Hit twice when stopped to add a name for the clip.
  • Extend Marker – Helps to define a marker over an area
  • In / Out (of course) – Bread & Butter for Editors
  • Next / Prev Marker (shift up + down) – Hint, assign a button to shift
  • Insert/Overlay – For assembling a rough edit
  • Toggle Windows – Switch between Viewer / Timeline

Of course, you should find what works best for you. For shorter projects, that go right to the timeline, I use this workflow.

  1. Open clip in viewer
  2. Mark in/out
  3. Insert
  4. Toggle Windows (from Timeline to Viewer)

Otherwise, if your project is a little more involved you’ll want to mark save to sub-clips and name them appropriately to find later. You will have to trim the out point with this method, but it’s the fastest way I can think of to chop up a lengthy clip into usable, named chunks.

  1. Do a quick pass, stop and add marker at the in point (hit 2x to name)
    Edit Marker
  2. Select markers in Browser
    Multi select
  3. Create SubClip (Modify > Create Subclip , or cmd-u)

If you really wanted to be a pro, you could edit the order of your clips by manipulating the alphabetical sorting when making your markers. That way you have a rough cut before even touching the timeline! Just drag your clips, en masse to the timeline, and the sort order in the browser determines how they are laid out.

For configuring the shuttle, you might want to horizontally flip my suggestions if you use it right handed.

Top-left, outer – Add Marker
Top-left, inner – Extend Marker
Top-right, inner – Insert
Top-right, outer – Toggle Windows
Mid-left – Up Arrow (Or Shift – Up if you only want to scan markers)
Mid-center – JKL
Mid-right – Right Arrow (Or Shift – Down)
Left – In
Right – Out
Bottom Upper Right – Shift ( If you set the mid-left and right to arrows )
Bottom Lower Right – Make Sub Clip
– The next two are rarely used, because it’s a wrist tweak or a thumb under
Bottom Upper Left – Freeze Frame / Play in-out / play around (or whatever else is useful)
Bottom Lower Left – Switch Settings

We covered jog/wheel settings in Part 1.

Ok, that’s it for this installment. If this was of help to you, or if you have any useful input, I would really appreciate a comment. Seriously, the primary motivation for this was because someone left a comment on the first post.

2 April, 2009

A Critique of Social Networking

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sean Canton @ 10:28 am

This was prompted by ABCNews

Social networking, it’s a funny, very human phenomenon. Back when I was coming of age, I was really into pre-internet social networking, bulletin boards, online text games, AOL chat rooms, etc etc etc.

This was not ‘social’ behavior, it was geeky backroom nonsense reserved for the lonely and desperate.

It’s funny how far we’ve come, in terms of social acceptance for computer stuff. Geek is now cool, which I’m not knocking, I’m all about passion, knowledge and community.

However, in it’s current manifestation, MySpace, Twitter, Facebook, etc. social media has become more of the same dynamic I saw in high school, and now the workplace. You have a few people on the A-list, which everyone on the B-list likes for whatever reason. While the people on the C-List don’t give a tweet about this dynamic, and try to derive some meaning from it all.

The most bizarre part about this is, it’s termed a ‘conversation’, but really, it’s just a cocktail party, and your number of friends/followers determines how loud your voice can be.

This isn’t a conversation where I can speak and be heard. I say something interesting, funny or ask a question, and nobody responds. Not because I’m not interesting, but because there’s so many voices, powered by automated software tools, that compete with my value-added, time-crafted thoughts with the second it takes to click a button.

This devalues thoughts and creativity in favor of the automation of the machine.

We love information, it’s our modern addiction, free, abundant and socially acceptable. It gets our mind going, and gives us stuff to talk about at cocktail parties… do you see how this all ties together?

Information automation turns us all into filters, not creators.
Which leads to my primary criticism of social networking. The explosion of involvement with social networking represents two things, which are significant to the greater state of our nation. One, rampant unemployment leads people to social media, as a connection, as an opportunity and as an escape. Two, the rise of social media is largely DEPENDENT on people bored or otherwise underemployed at work.

In this way, social media is a symptom of how truly unproductive we are. Instead of DOING things to change the world, we are talking about meaningless tripe. As my recent tweet went “Look to twitter for proof that all in this world is transitory and will pass”. 

12 November, 2008

New Job, New Approach

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sean Canton @ 12:41 pm

Joy of joys, I’ve found myself another full-time job. (Why oh why can’t I find fulfilling part-time work while I pursue larger objectives?) My fundamental idea here is to approach the situation as openly and honestly as possible, to avoid the mutual fallout 6 months in.
In every relationship in our lives, we have set expectations from ourselves and the other person. It’s what goes along with the label ‘friend’ , ‘boyfriend’, ‘girlfriend’, ‘wife’, ‘husband’, ‘boss’, and ‘employee’, is an inherent set of assumptions that governs both our behavior and our reaction to the behavior of others. There’s nothing much you can do to CHANGE these assumptions, as they seem to be pretty hard wired.

What you can do is to bring these assumptions to the table. Not during the interview, but after you’ve been offered the job, and ideally, before starting work. For instance:

My idea of being an employee involves working hard and being constantly challenged with a rising line of difficulty. I expect to be well compensated for my time and expertise, to be given the appropriate opportunities to learn and grow, and that any feedback regarding my work performance will be communicated instantly to me, instead of during a yearly review. I choose jobs based on being interesting and full of possibility.
My idea of being a boss involves providing leadership, then delegating decision-making authority and responsibility to the appropriate parties. I expect that people will do what they say they’re going to do, and to give them fair compensation for their work and dedication. I expect clear, honest and open communication regarding any progress, problems, questions, criticism or concerns. I choose employees based on how we  get along and what they bring to the table in terms of what I do and don’t know about.

Do this exercise for yourself, and bring it to the table when starting your next job. I’m going to try this for myself today. I’ll let you know how it goes.

UPDATE: The meeting seemed to be very well received. Putting everything on the table helped me understand the challenges of the position. Basically, my boss needs to know when I don’t understand what he’s talking about, and not to be a mindless yes-man. I can do that. I’m the most critical employee you’ve ever seen.

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