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Favorite Tricks/Cheats

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Favorite Tricks/Cheats
on Sep 10, 2007 at 12:03:35 pm

By cheat - I think you know what I mean - hacks, tips, tricks, workarounds, crutch, whatever. I know we've all got them. I'm curious what others consider their favorite tricks (unless, understandably, you're not willing to share).

My own off the top of my head:
1. The white flash. There's nothing like a ten frame white solid that starts at 100% opacity and drops to zero to cover a lot of mistakes. I keep coming back to it though I feel bad every time.
2. On a system where your deck can record right off the timeline: Hit record on the deck, then scrub the CTI over the timeline quickly. Digitize the scrubbing back in as a clip and use as an odd/interesting background for transitions. The herky jerky motion of doing it by hand makes it interesting.
3. Online voiceover narration. Depending on budget, the value from a professionally done voiceover - even a few lines of text - often adds value well over what it costs. And most can turn it around by morning.
4. Online stock animations. Chosen wisely, well worth the investment to add value.

Anyone have any they care to share?

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Mark Suszko
Re: Favorite Tricks/Cheats
on Sep 10, 2007 at 2:00:18 pm

I do your "trick" number two a lot on my discrete Edit when I want to make weird spped ramping effects without a lot of bother. I have SDI in and out of the deck, so this works pretty well for the few times a year I might need it.

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Charlie King
Re: Favorite Tricks/Cheats
on Sep 10, 2007 at 4:23:21 pm

Funny that you should bring this up. I know I must still have some, most changed when I switched from linear to non-linear editing. The problem is that I have been using these tricks so long I forget if anything is a trick, a cheat, a workaround, or just the way the program is supposed to work. I also work with so many different programs for specific uses. I use Premiere for some, Vegas video for some, Avid for some, and the other Adobe products for others. These are really too many different situations to be specific on each usage.
Sorry, if I can come up with something specific I will be happy to share.


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Pixel Monkey
Re: Favorite Tricks/Cheats
on Sep 13, 2007 at 7:25:19 pm

Still my favorite "cheat" of all time:

"I really think we should cut that line."

"Aw man, you know how long it took us to shoot it? Plus the client really likes the line. Look, just try take three. He says it more forcefully there."

"Let's take a look." . . . . "Hmmm, this is quite cool actually! But it just needs one more thing to give it some punch. Right after it, let's have her say her line from take six. It'll allow him time to walk across the room and grab the prop. Here, what do you think?"

(Hit play and watch it.)

"Nice. Really nice. Hmmm... but how much time did that add?"

"About 16 seconds."

"Yeesh! No, that's too much. Damn - let's just cut the line."


`(=)`/...Pixel Monkey

A picture says 1000 words. Editors give them meaning.

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Colin McQ
Re: Favorite Tricks/Cheats
on Sep 16, 2007 at 8:17:51 pm

hehehe I'm trying to play that card right now.... the 42 second cut is awesome!!! too bad it's a 30 second spot!!! man... somebody's stopwatch was running slow on set that day......

Colin McQuillan
Vancouver BC

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Re: Favorite Tricks/Cheats
on Sep 10, 2007 at 4:44:00 pm

I cheat audio like crazy. I like to think of picture & sound as being like an married couple that has separate carrers, separate friends, watch separate TV shows, but still like nothing better than to snuggle up together at night to go to sleep. There's no reason why dialog from a close up couldn't be used for a medium shot if the lip synch can be made to work.

Here's a least favorite cheat- I hate to dissolve on freeze frame or slow-mo. Nothing says "low budget industral" to me more than that.


Now in post: Peristroika, a film by Slava Tsukerman

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Re: Favorite Tricks/Cheats
on Sep 14, 2007 at 3:37:46 am

Always hold it a little longer on the Director's wife.

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Jason P
Re: Favorite Tricks/Cheats
on Dec 3, 2007 at 7:09:03 pm

[rocco] "Always hold it a little longer on the Director's wife"

Can you be more specific? Hold what, exactly? And where?




Before you criticise a man, walk a mile in his shoes.
Then when you do criticise him, you'll be a mile away. And have his shoes.

*the artist formally known as Jaymags*

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Timothy J. Allen
Re: Favorite Tricks/Cheats
on Sep 21, 2007 at 5:04:26 am

Speaking of the infamous "white flash"...
Long ago, I used to do this making a full screen white graphic then simply fading or dissolving out of it to the shot. What I do more often now - that like much better - is adjusting the gain levels on the clip to start on a cut that blows out the shot to white then keyframing that back down to normal over seven frames or so. This way, the effects is customized for each shot - almost looking like the shot builds itself organically during that quick white flash. The clip builds from the darkest parts of the shot to the lightest. This has an energy to it that simply fading a white flash just doesn't have. I also found that I prefer cutting to the white then getting it back to normal rather than going to white than back out, even when it's very quick.

Of course with any "white flash" effect, you still need to make sure your brightest whites don't go out of the broadcast legal color spectrum.

* I like getting the videographer to shot some various "whip pans" when they can so I have a blurred transitional element that matches the color spectrum between two clips. Sometimes I add blur to that.

* I like to use some of those esoteric "transitions" on text. I'm not talking about keyframing text where it types in and rotates or anything like that. Using some of the really cheesy transitions that I'd probably never really want to use on full screen video has turned out pretty well when it's used on text that has an alpha channel around it.

* Playing around with various blending modes in transitions or composites. (Such as "multiply", "color dodge", "lighten" or "difference".) I use Boris Red a lot and I love being able to keyframe and adjust the blending modes over time for unique looks.

As far as NLE specific tricks, I'm using Avid Adrenaline HD right now, so my top two today are:

1. Map the "add edit" button to your keyboard.
This lets you cut on the fly and keep going. If you hit the "add edit" icon on the interface, it stops playing after your cut. That drives me crazy.

2. The "Extend" Key - learning to use that feature has probably saved me hours of trimming footage.


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Mike Cohen
Re: Favorite Tricks/Cheats
on Oct 3, 2007 at 1:44:48 am

the best trick, if you will, is editing narration, specifically creating a word out of parts of other words. We get narrations from doctors, usually recorded as they watch a video. They make it up as they go, which means a lot of umms and ahs and periodic mid-word re-takes without restarting the sentence.

For example:

Here we are taking down the, ah.................the ah......greater omentum. Next, using a kelly,er, a debakey pickups we isolate the infer..superior mesenteric vein, ligating it with, between suturMIC POP s, paper shuffle. Etc..

The secret is to edit it so it sounds somewhat natural, inserting room tone to have natural pauses after I edit out the verbal glitches. In the case of a Mic pop or other noise during a word, I try to remember where that word was used previously. The one advantage of irregular off the cuff narration is there is sometimes enough space between words that words can be borrowed from other areas when needed, and the inflection is not too bad.

A trick which saves the edit on many occasions is freeze frame, cut out the background, and key the object over something else. I often do this to add interest to a text build, and it is somewhat invisible to the viewer, especially if you knock back the opacity.


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Craig Howard
Re: Favorite Tricks/Cheats
on Oct 14, 2007 at 6:35:53 am

My favourite;

Client asks for... a little more color, length,contrast, duration, volume, anything, whatever, etc....

I rapidly tap away on the keys (that do nothing) for a few seconds/minutes. (Ctrl-Z or Command -Z is your friend)

Me: "Hows that?'

Client: "Perfect"

Craig Howard
Shooter Film Company
New Zealand

Premiere Pro 2.0 (Windows), Adobe CS3 (MAC), FC Studio 2 (MAC). P2 Workflows

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lightning ad
Re: Favorite Tricks/Cheats
on Oct 21, 2007 at 12:33:41 pm

Have you ever dropped in a really naff shot, knowing full well the director will want to remove something just because he feels he should, only to have him love the naff shot and demand you lose something really good?

A commercial i cut recently was feeling a bit static and lifeless. We had used all the best takes but it needed i started adding small scale increases (100-115%) along with very small rotational changes (-5 to +5) over the course of each shot. Edit suddenly looked much more dynamic - but no-one else could figure out what magic i had weaved!

Audio is one of my favourite places for adding tricks to carry a less than great edit. A well placed spot effect can make an empty shot feel full and vibrant.


Character Options Ltd
Oldham, UK

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Re: Favorite Tricks/Cheats
on Nov 29, 2007 at 9:40:10 am

Interesting tricks! Hmm.. On montages, sometimes i'll slow/speed up the footage slightly to better sync up the action with the music. Audio wise, I'm absolutely sick of throwing cheap stock sound effects into the mix- so if i actually need a whoosh/swish sound, i'll tweak a stock sound with eqs, reverbs, pitch/speed adjustments to make it sound somewhat different.

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