An NLE Suggestion – Play to in, Play from Out.

I have been working on a series of web videos that are basically cutting an hour speech down to 10 minutes. I’ve been using Premiere for this, and my general workflow is to cut out the fat as I play it through the first time.

I “Mark In” at the end of a good soundbite I want to keep, “Mark Out” at the start of the next clip, and “Extract” to get rid of what I don’t want. I then back up the playhead, and preview the edit. If it’s not perfect, I have to undo, tweak the edit points, extract, and preview again.

After doing this dozens of times, I realized I need a new playback method.

We are already used to “play to out” and “play in to out”, but I’m suggesting “play to in, play from out.” In effect, this would be previewing what would happen if you extract from in to out, skipping over the video between the in and out points.

This would use the same preroll and postroll settings as “play around” does, allowing you to easily preview an edit before actually making it.

And while we’re at it, a “Play to In” function would be useful as well.

Posted in Editing Tagged with: , ,

Waveform Art Filter

The Waveform Art filter is a thoroughly useless piece of code for Final Cut Pro pre-X, that basically takes your image, and puts a crappy version into your waveform monitor.

Try it out

To try out the Waveform Art filter, download it here, and then copy it to /Library/Application Support/Final Cut Pro System Support/Plugins. It will appear in the Waveform Art folder in your Video Effects.

What it does

Here’s the normal waveform for the built in Circle generator-

And here is the same circle, with the Waveform Art filter applied-

This works best with large text and simple shapes. Complex images don’t translate well, as it is a black and white image, and has rather poor resolution (only 256 horizontal lines). Also, you may want to bring up the display brightness to better see the image.


You can also change the Threshold parameter to tweak the image. Here’s a picture of me with the threshold at 60, 90, 120, and 150.


There is also a “Randomize” parameter, that attempts to distort the image in the canvas, while leaving an image in the waveform monitor. Due to the constraints of how the waveform works, it can’t be nearly as distorted as I would like. I was hoping to have a jumble of noise that reveals a secret image in the waveform monitor, but I don’t think it’s actually possible. The final image also suffers some quality loss. Here’s the circle with Randomize checked.

Let me know if you actually find a use for it!


Posted in Tutorials Tagged with: , ,

Crash Test Trailer wins a Gold Empixx Award

I’m happy to announce that the book trailer I made for “The Outsider’s Guide to the CrashTest Nation” by Rho Mack has won a Gold Empixx award.

The Empixx Awards may not be the Emmys, but I’m still proud to be recognized by other professionals.

Posted in Video – Non-Editing Essentials for Video Editors

Chances are, your passion for video editing centers around story telling. And, chances are that you find yourself doing less actual story telling than you’d like.

One day, I realized that I was working at a company with “Editing” in the company name, that my business card said “Editor”, but I was spending much less than half my time at work actually editing.

In looking at what I was actually doing as a professional editor, I realized I had picked up a lot of tricks for getting done with the menial tasks. These tricks helped me get back to the edit, and get back to story telling.

I’ve started to share these tips, tricks, and hacks with others, at my new site, Back to the Edit. Check it out, pass it around, and let me know if there are any parts of your job as an editor that you’d like to see sped up.

Posted in The Site Tagged with:

New Demo Reel Up

I have posted my Summer 2011 Reel, with all kinds of fun graphics and shots that show a bit of my aesthetic side.

I am happy to be back on the market as a freelancer, and while I’ve stayed busy so far, I realized a new reel would keep the work flowing in. I’d love to hear what you think!

Posted in The Site

Book Trailer for “Crash Test”

“The Outsider’s Guide to the CrashTest Nation” is a young adult book for non-readers, by Rho Mack.

I worked with the author to capture the playfulness, mystery, and suspense of the novel in a book trailer she could use to market the book, including a Kickstarter campaign to fund the book’s art.

I made heavy use of Motion’s emitters for the clouds and various rains.

This was done on a tight budget, so I did things like use my iPhone as the mic, and used my laptop as a green screen.

Shoots that require taking bites of donuts are fine by me.

Posted in Video

Fading to black correctly

One of the first things I learned at my first internship was how to properly dissolve with multiple layers of footage. I began to notice incorrect dissolves in the wild, and it still drives me crazy, 5 years later. To me, it’s a sign of a sloppy edit.

There are several signs that a composited image is being dissolved incorrectly. First, you can see through things that should be solid. Second, white parts of the image seem to lag behind everything else in the race to black, causing a glowing effect.

Here’s an example- I’m green screening this lovely woman over her company’s logo and a beautiful background.

Here’s my layers- Background on the bottom, then the logo, and then the woman.

It’s all good- until I need to fade in and out. The sloppy way is to simply put dissolves on each individual track.

Quick and easy, right? Maybe, but you end up with a fade that looks like this-

Suddenly, the talent has a red moustache from the logo. She has also turned into a ghost, letting the background shine through her. The white in the logo seems to glow abnormally. Sure, this all happens in less than a second- but it is enough to ruin the idea that the talent is actually in front of the background. You can pull the best key in the world- but if you do this, it reveals the fact that it’s all fake.

So how do you do it correctly? There are two ways. My preferred way is to add slug to a track above the rest, and fade it in or out.

This keeps everything properly composited, in the correct visual order.

Another method is to nest the layers, and then fade the nest in and out. Again, this keeps everything in the proper order.

Here is a loop of the wrong way to dissolve:

And the correct way to dissolve:

Posted in Editing


ChinStr.apps is a niche hobbyist app development company, specializing in apps for birders and homebrewers and in making Big Data relevant. Read more about ChinStr.apps.