The State of Video Journalism

The NAB panel discussion from yesterday’s post is a fun watch, but if you want to know what the reality for video journalism is today, this researched report is really, really good.

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There’s videos and short texts, so your attention span will be fine. In Alaska’s news world outside of TV, there’s one full-time video producer at the Alaska Dispatch, a few photographers at ADN who occasionally make videos, and the rest of us who hustle to make videos on top of other job duties. But, that still seems a lot more video-focused than some of these other national papers. …

NAB 2014: Newsshooter Video Journalism Panel

NAB 2014: News Shooter – Video Journalism Panel from Teradek on Vimeo.

One of the first things we did at NAB last week was take part in a live panel on the future of video journalism. I join Dan Chung, Felix Clay, Chuck Fadely, and Adrian Storey. …

Humbled today

Today my partner in crime Travis Gilmour and I were recognized as being two of the top 40 under 40 people in Alaska. It’s a pretty cool honor, and we even got a silly spread in the magazine. magazinespread

The Governor of Alaska, Anchorage mayor, and US Senate people were there, and Olympian Kikkan Randall presented the award to us. Here’s a selfie Travis took up on stage.

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In the end, the attention feels weird, and I’m much more comfortable turning the camera back on the people we document in our videos. So on that note, back to work!

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Back And Getting Pumped Up

It’s been like 3 weeks since the last post, so that’s no good! Apart from a vacation in Hawaii, it’s been lots of shooting and editing.

But looking ahead, there’s some exciting things coming up that I hope to blog about. First, I’m going to NAB and will be reporting for newsshooter.com

So that’ll be really cool, and I’ll get to do all sorts of gear reviews that will inform the things I’ll blog on here. And second, I’m going to be traveling around to some PBS stations to train producers on filmmaking, Indie Alaska style.

Feels good to blog again! Now back to work……

ASUS monitor back in stock

Right after I posted the review of the ASUS MB168B+, it ran out of stock on Amazon.

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But happily it’s now back in stock, for a limited quantity, and also slightly more expensive now, for some reason. Still completely worth it.

Lots of C100 goodies coming

Today I reviewed an upcoming eyecup for the C100 on newsshooter.com – http://www.newsshooter.com/2014/02/24/kickstarter-campaign-launched-to-improve-the-c100-viewfinder-with-a-c-cup/

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This eyecup is fantastic. This weekend I took my C100 on a bush plane ride into a remote lodge, filmed from the back of a snowmachine, among other fun shots, and I shot handheld using the C-Cup and viewfinder for most of the time.

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Also the C100 autofocus upgrade is now officially available, so I’ll be sending in my camera soon. Canon also announced a new firmware update to allow for adding “markers” during continuous record. I wonder how long before it’s supported in Final Cut Pro X? http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa/professional/standard_display/cinema-firmware-c100

FCPX 10.1 Quick Tip

I finally upgraded to 10.1 yesterday, following the excellent tutorial at fcp.co, and in the process of upgrading I stumbled upon something really useful that I haven’t seen posted anywhere.

The big change in 10.1 is smarter media organization. Until now, for one project you’ve had to keep track of two folders, one in “Final Cut Events” and one in “Final Cut Projects.”

Using this system, the best workflow out there (and I’ll go through it in case others are still using the old version) has been to nest everything in your one Events folder and one Projects folder:

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Before FCPX 10.1, you would nest all of your files in two folders, one in Final Cut Events and one in Final Cut Projects – anywhere one moved, the other had to follow.

1) Create a New Event and a new Project folder (where you can create several projects inside the folder) using the same name -

2) In Finder, create a folder inside the Event folder, called something like “My Media” and drag all your movie clips in here. I’ve used the name “Raw Video Files” but it makes no difference, just something you know is the place for your original media.

3) In Final Cut, import your media as linked files (so, Final Cut will create small files that link to your full movie clips, rather than copying your media into its own Original Media folder).

4) Use the Event folder for EVERYTHING from now, including where you place your final renders, associated files and graphics, etc. This way, all of your project files will now be nested in one Event and one Projects folder, making it easy to back those up or move them around.


 
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Okay, so fast forward to 10.1. Now, your projects and events reside within one single Library file – woohoo! But, you’re still supposed to keep all of your raw media and export files and everything else in a seperate folder – which is better than before, but now you still have to keep track of one main folder and your library file seperately. *Sigh*

And in case you’re wondering, you cannot keep your media files inside the library file. You can right click on the library file and “Show Package Contents,” but if you put anything in there (and it’s highly discouraged), in Final Cut you cannot import or export files within the library file, as in it won’t let you show the package contents.

SO here’s the tip (thanks for being patient with this post). You can actually move the library file, the .fcpbundle file, into your main folder. At this point when you open FCPX 10.1 your project will no longer load, but all you have to do is double click on your library file – wherever you placed it – and it will load in Final Cut, now and forever. FCPX will remember to look for the library file in the place where you loaded it from.

So there you have it, now you only need to keep track of ONE folder for everything pertaining to your video.

BONUS TIP: In Mavericks, scroll bars disappear and only reappear when you start scrolling. This can be annoying while you’re editing, because you constantly have to scroll left and right, so go into System Preferences, General, and under “Show Scroll Bars” click Always.

 …

A New Era For Portable Dual Monitor Video Editing

As you probably know by now, I am a huge fan of portability for video shooters and editors.

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Last week I saw a tweet from @PhilipBloom about his new backpack kit, featuring his Mac Pro tower, and a new lightweight, thin monitor, the Asus MB168B+. OK, that sounds pretty awesome – a state-of-the-art desktop editing bay in a backpack.

But for us Macbook Pro users, this new monitor is the beginning of something entirely different. Dual Screen video editing, everywhere your laptop goes. Full 1920×1080 resolution on a 15.6″ screen, as light as an iPad, no power cords (power comes through the USB3 cable).

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The Macbook Pro 15″ Retina and the ASUS MB168B+ fit in the back part of the Timbuk2 Commute medium backpack. This leaves the front part of the backpack for all your other essentials.

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Until now, for dual monitor editing, I’ve had to setup my heavy 24″ monitor, AC adapter, HDMI cable, along with a big riser for the Macbook (to sit at the same height as the monitor), along with other accessories – and that setup turns my kitchen table into a mess. The other option was to setup Air Display and use an iPad for a second monitor, but it’s laggy, complicated to setup, and not quite large enough.

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This setup, on the other hand, is so tiny that I can fit the entire “editing bay” into the laptop compartment of a backpack. Along with the Macbook and ASUS monitor, I’ve got a magic mouse, a Mini Jambox for audio, Sony MDR-7506 headphones when others are around, a WD My Passport Ultra 2TB drive, and that’s it!

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You can also use the monitor for presentations. It continues to work even with the Macbook lid closed.

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When editing in Final Cut Pro X, you can use the second monitor for two solid purposes. 1) Show all your events or favorited event clips on the ASUS display, with the project timeline and viewer on the Macbook.

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Or for a second opinion on color correction, you can use the ASUS screen as your viewer display. The colors and contrast are different than the ultra sharp Retina screen, so it gives you another chance to see your project the way others might see it.

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The ASUS MB168B+ (mind the plus sign, the MB168B is an older monitor with a smaller resolution) sells for $199. The drivers don’t fully support Macs yet, so you can’t use the monitor in vertical mode like you can on a PC, and the physical brightness buttons on the side of the monitor don’t do anything when connected to a Mac.

Until this is fixed, you can either live with the ASUS’s default brightness (which is like 75% or so), or you can install the drivers on a PC machine, set the brightness to 100%, and that brightness setting will then carry over to your Mac. I actually did this and I highly recommend it – time to dig out that old PC.

You might also want a longer and more quality USB 3 cable, and a different stand than the so-so carrying case ASUS provides.

Lessons in shooting B-Roll

Recently I had the honor of putting together a how-to video for transom.org – a site that trains just about every public media storyteller in the universe.

Check out the full post on transom.org: http://transom.org/?p=42515

How To Transcribe FCPX Interviews

One of the best things you can do for your videos is to transcribe your interview, which makes the story edit so much better. Basically, you transcribe the interview, and then copy and paste the best pieces of the interview and arrange them into a story in any text editor. After that, you start laying those interview pieces down in Final Cut, smoothen the transitions, and voila, the radio edit of your video.

I think the transcription method is superior to paraphrasing interview segments for a “paper edit” – which doesn’t allow as much precise storytelling as a full transcription.

A paper edit using the Mac OS "Stickies" app

A paraphrased interview turned paper edit using the Mac OS “Stickies” app

A transcript on the left, and a story edit on the right

A transcript on the left, and a story edit on the right

For the transcription, I whole-heartedly recommend getting a vPedal. The vPedal is essential for use with closed captioning software, like InqScribe and MovieCaptioner, and costs about $75. But more than that, with the Mac vPedal app, you can control Final Cut Pro X with the pedal, while writing in TextEdit or any word processing program. The setup is super easy.

The goal is to Play/Pause a FCPX project that has your interview clip(s) in it, while typing the contents of the interview in TextEdit. Then you blade the clips in between questions asked (or other major pauses), and rename the clips with the full contents of the paragraph of text. Cutting the interview into paragraphs of thoughts makes finding the precise sentence or word easier.

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But what if you don’t have a vPedal? I’ve been trying to figure that out for a while now, so I can transcribe interviews at home or on-the-go when I don’t have the pedal around. And here’s what I’ve come up with. The CAPS Lock key is the best option for playing and pausing, at least for me, but you could certainly pick other keys.

Step 1: Download PCKeyboardHack – after installing, open the program, check “Change Caps Lock” on, and then under “Keycode” enter in 101, which is the F9 key. By default, my Mac OS didn’t have F9 attached to any hotkey, so it was the easiest “empty” hotkey to pick for me.

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So at this point, the CAPS Lock key is now a shortcut for “F9,” which does nothing, yet.

Step 2: Open AppleScript Editor, and copy and paste this:

tell application “System Events”
activate application “Final Cut Pro”
keystroke space
activate application “TextEdit”
end tell

Then save this script, call it “FCPX Play Pause” or something.
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Step 3: Download Quicksilver – after installing, go into “Triggers” and create a new trigger, have it run your Applescript you just created, and assign hotkey F9 to it.

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That’s it! Now while you’re typing in Textedit, you can press the CAPS Lock key to Play/Pause your interview project in FCPX. This is my first Applescript ever, so it’s pretty rudimentary – so if you have a better way to play/pause FCPX while it’s running in the background, please let me know!

If you’re having an issue with it requiring you to press CAPS Lock twice in order to Play/Pause, there are a couple things that could help. 1) Don’t use a bluetooth keyboard, and 2) Try turning off CAPS Lock in the System Preferences keyboard options, like so:

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If you use a different editing program or word processor, you could try substituting that application in the Applescript, assuming that the spacebar plays/pauses in your editor.

And finally, when you’re done transcribing, make sure to close Quicksilver and turn off the CAPS Lock option in PCKeyboardHack, so you can have your Caps lock button back.…