How to hijack the Mocha for AE tracker for use in other apps. (like NUKE!)

•November 12, 2010 • Comments Off on How to hijack the Mocha for AE tracker for use in other apps. (like NUKE!)

Mocha is awesome. Its inclusion in the CS5 suite is amazing, and I think it has really blown open the world of what entry level vfx artists (and even amateurs) can do. One problem with the AE-only version is that it is AE-only! It prevents (or rather doesn’t enable) you to use it with other apps. It exports its data in a specific format meant for after effects and it does a great job of that.

At work I am working my way through nuke, and it is really a pain to be able to use Mocha with AE but not nuke. The simplest fix would be to buy Mocha for nuke, but the powers that be haven’t done that yet, so I had to figure out a way. I got to thinking the other day, and tracking data at it’s simplest is only x,y points, so what is stopping me? It turns out that the only thing is formatting!

I whipped up a quick applescript to strip the x,y data out of the MochAE exported text file and put it into 4 separate txt files for nuke. It’s really that simple! One thing that you need to do in nuke is to set the y axis to (frame height-curve) because the two apps have a different coordinate system.

After all of this I have a passable workflow, but I want to stress that if you have enough dough to be using nuke, buy Mocha! This app is intentionally a little rough around the edges because I don’t like the idea of taking away anyone else’s business. It also isn’t a replacement for the standalone Mocha; it doesn’t offer any of the other (quite worthwhile) features. It’s a fun little hack, and hopefully it helps someone out of a jam somewhere, but if you need this, then you need to buy the full version of mocha!
Click here to download the MochAE to Nuke converter

New FCP plugin for canon 7d / 5d / 60d / 1d /

•November 10, 2010 • 1 Comment

Canon recently updated their eos plugin for final cut pro to give it much better metadata reading capabilities. Now you have access to the Av, Tv, ISO, Lens, Focal Length, Camera Model name Camera Serial Number, and it give REAL timecode based off the cameras internal clock.
They also say that it should be much faster on multi-core Macs! The one weird thing is that they haven’t mentioned anything about it being usable with the lower end cameras such as the t2i, but if you have one you can always follow this link to enable the plugin to work with your camera.

To get the new EOS Plugin-E1 for Final Cut Pro click here.

2 more applescripts for final cut pro and after effects!

•November 10, 2010 • 2 Comments

This is a follow up post to my original “2 applescripts for final cut editors” post and boy is it a doozy! I didn’t write these – both scripts have been found elsewhere, but they are so useful I’m putting them up here to spread the word!


The first script is called “Render Notification 1.0.2” by Josh Petok from the current cut. It is a nice little script that watches the processor usage of a few pre-selected apps and will email you when the load goes down. In other words it alerts you to your render finishing. This is possible in a few other ways, but there hasn’t been a nice clean solution that works across multiple apps before.
Josh’s version is available for download here.
I poked around in the code a little bit and enabled it to work with after effects. This is relatively untested, so it might give you an email too early or too late. All credit goes to Josh, as I’m just adding a few lines of code to his.
If you’re feeling lucky, you can try the AE compatible version here.
click here to see more

How to change mpeg-1 export settings in compressor.

•November 4, 2010 • 7 Comments

I would like to start by saying that I don’t know why anyone would ever want to use MPEG-1. I do get requests to make them, and sometimes I am unable to convince the person to go with another codec. It is a terribly outdated codec and most people requesting them are using terribly outdated spec sheets, or are just themselves outdated. Nonetheless the situation occurs where I am forced to make one and it was always fraught with problems. Compressor has a mpeg-1 preset, but it doesn’t let you modify it at all. Unless I want to pick the default size of 352×240, I am out of luck (That has always seemed to be a very strange default preset as well)
These are the default settings of the Mpeg-1 preset


Recently one of my coworkers figured out something really useful. It turns out you can build a custom preset off of the mpeg-1 one, then find it in the finder, open it in a text editing app, and modify it to end up with whatever frame size you want!

hit the jump for more…

VFX anthem “Gettin’ Money With a Mouse and a Wacom Pen”

•September 22, 2010 • Comments Off on VFX anthem “Gettin’ Money With a Mouse and a Wacom Pen”

At long last, our people have a voice!

Money Money Money – “Gettin’ Money With a Mouse and a Wacom Pen (Fuck Comic Sans Fuck Papyrus, Too)” from Brad Chmielewski on Vimeo.

Glitch – Why can’t I bring my Photoshop Layered comp into After Effects?

•September 15, 2010 • Comments Off on Glitch – Why can’t I bring my Photoshop Layered comp into After Effects?

I was bringing a layered psd into after effects and trying to preserve the layer structure (i.e. bring it in as a comp, not flattened) I tried every which way I could, and despite selecting comp or comp – original file size, it flattened it every single time! The solution seems to be more of an undocumented feature than a bug, but it’s a fine line: You need the psd to be in rgb. I know that everything should be in rgb regardless, but the weird thing is not that it rejects it (as it would if you brought in other cmyk assets) but that it allows it to go through and mangles it on the way in.

So, keep it RGB, and stay in school!

Want to get the hand tool back in cs5?

•September 13, 2010 • Comments Off on Want to get the hand tool back in cs5?

We recently upgraded to cs5, and for everything good that it does, it also has a few weird quirks. The most notable is that using the space bar to temporarily select the move tool (the one that looks like a hand) does not work. This is a known issue, but it still sucks. The only workaround is equally quirky: shut down your web browsers. I can’t say why it happens, but hopefully that one trick will keep you from throwing your machine against a wall. I was really close!

No really, I’d love to hear about your workflow!

•September 11, 2010 • 2 Comments

During a recent double over-nighter I found myself thinking about workflows. And the nitty gritty stuff too, like how frequently people version their project files, how they name their assets, and how they arrange their folder structures. I would really love to hear from anyone about the nuts and bolts of how you go about “going about your business” I know this is probably boring stuff to most people, but it can make or break a workplace. Here’s a list of other possible things to talk about.

Do you use any ingest management software? (such as fcp loader or flow by gridiron)
Network setup (do you edit off of a san / internal drives / external drives)
backup plan for old jobs?
do you have any network rendering set up? for what apps?
what do you use as your go-to codec?
do you have any must-have hardware?
how frequently do you version your project files?
(how) do you name your assets?
how do you arrange your folder structures?
Do you have a preferred bin structure in final cut?

Also, what are the worst parts of your current setup? Is there anything that you would like to implement but can’t?

Feel free to post in the comments, email me at r at this domain, or use the comment form in the sidebar. I can’t wait to hear what you have to say!

Digital video hacks: Review

•September 10, 2010 • Comments Off on Digital video hacks: Review

Last Christmas someone bought me the O’Reilly book Digital video hacks: Tips and tools for shooting, editing, and sharing by Joshua Paul. It is almost 400 pages and is well illustrated and written. I brought it along on one of my recent trips and I thought I’d pull out a few choice quotes and give you my thoughts.

This book is meant for: Amateur to prosumer video enthusiasts. A great deal of the hacks are either industry standards or are cheaper ways of doing/making/achieving something that a much more expensive commercial product already does. That is in no way meant as an insult. If you are shooting a super low budget production then some of these hacks could be lifesavers, but on the other hand, you would need to be more selective if you are on a higher budget shoot. There is no way I would use the “scotch tape as a light diffuser” hack on anything more expensive than a best buy hot-shoe light.

The book is one of the O’reilly Hacks series, which means that it is organized into chapters by content, and then each chapter is made up of (100) individual “hacks” This makes for great bathroom reading, and it makes it really easy to find specific subject areas within the book.

Two of my favorite hacks from the book have to be “#18 – Light with work lights” and “#51 – Mobile Audio Booth“.

In #18 – Light with work lights, he explains how to get a lot of light cheaply in the form of hardware store work lights. These are an amazing value in terms of light output, but they can easily be too bright and put out a very harsh light. He shows some sample lighting setups and then adds that you can use baking parchment paper as a low cost diffuser. This hack could easily be worth the price of the book for a beginner filmer.

In #51 – Mobile Audio Booth he mentions that if you are looking for a quiet place to record voiceover or ADR, then the best place is often your car! This obviously won’t replace a soundbooth for pro-VO, but you already own it AND it’s already on-set!

A lot of the hacks in this book are these kind of gentle revelations. Either you know them or you don’t. My only issue with this book is that some of the hacks seem very short-lived, and are dated already. “skin your movie”, “Play your video on a pocket pc”, and “play a movie off of a cd in a dvd player” might not have even been cutting edge when this book was published in 2005. VCD’s? Really?

To sum it up, Digital video hacks is an easy read and probably has something to teach everyone. Don’t take yourself too seriously, do try to learn something new, and take the software related sections with a grain of salt.

Is there something you would like to see reviewed? let me know in the comments!

Is it media temple’s, wordpress’, or my fault I got hacked?

•September 7, 2010 • Comments Off on Is it media temple’s, wordpress’, or my fault I got hacked?

I have been running my two blogs on media temple for quite some time. Recently they have been getting hacked. Very frequently. My hosting provider is Media Temple, and I can’t say I am very happy with them right now. I am hesitant to say that the hacks all are media temple’s fault, but at least one of them was (they admitted it) and they aren’t giving me any evidence that this has been as pervasive as they say.

This is the fourth time they have gone down in under a year, and the second time in less than a month. I want to believe that it is not specifically media temple’s fault, but if that is the case, then (even worse) I am just really disappointed in wordpress as a platform.

I have done most of the things listed in order to harden your wordpress install, and I am having a really tough time believing that even 10% of the existing wordpress installs out there are (a) jumping through those hoops and (b) still getting hacked.
Continue reading ‘Is it media temple’s, wordpress’, or my fault I got hacked?’