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Working within the RED4 Engine

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Maxwell FedermanWorking within the RED4 Engine
by on Jun 12, 2008 at 4:56:08 am


Does anybody know if a tutorial or guide exists that covers working with the RED Engine to import media clips (QuickTime type) and create transitions within the timeline? I need some help. These controls are not traditional, at least from my experience.

Naturally, I carefully examined the online manual before posting this, but didn't find an answer.

I really appreciate any assistance that you can provide...


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peter mcauleyRe: Working within the RED4 Engine
by on Jun 12, 2008 at 1:18:22 pm

Hi Max,

Let me preface by stating that RED is a compositor, and operates much like other desktop compositing systems such as Adobe After Effects or Autodesk Combustion. In the compositing environment, you can vertically stack multiple layers of media in a horizontal timeline. For the most part, everything can be animated, using keyframes to control the animation at key points in time.

To import media into RED, you drag media (either still images or clips of images) into the project window or directly into the timeline. To make a transition between two clips, you should stack the clips one above the other in the timeline, then animate the parameter of choice on the top layer. For instance, you might animate the opacity parameter from 100 to 0 to reveal the clip beneath the animated clip in the timeline. Or you might animate the spin parameter to generate the reveal effect.

There are many free templates in the Library Browser that ships with RED - and several categories of transition effects - you can apply one of these effects to a timeline and deconstruct it to see how the effect was created. Or you can purchase a DVD either from our on-line store or from Amazon or some other on-line outlet.

I hope this helps.


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Maxwell FedermanRe: Working within the RED4 Engine
by on Jun 13, 2008 at 6:01:56 am

Hello Peter,

Thanks for your advice. I will be installing the RED trial into a system with a non-supported host; which explains my need to understand the RED Engine basics. If I can get a few simple effects completed I will be able to easily convince my employer to purchase Boris products for our CS3 (Windows) and Media100 (Mac) systems. However due to some prior unpleasant experiences I do not have authorization to install ANY trial software into a company machine.

I downloaded the RED trial before (and put it into a Mac w/o a supported host NLE) but got bogged down with paying work during those two weeks. The biggest question I was left with was how to work with clips of various durations within the same timeline.

Your post did make it clear that the this system is keyframe based. I will return to reading about the keyframe system in RED in the online help manual; which I assume will ultimately answer my question.

However, if there is any advice you could provide to speed up the learning process I would appreciate it. I did experiment with the Library Browser, but the duration problem prevented me from good results. I am hoping to import media tracks of different lengths and create simple flashy transitions such as light zoom or static (noise) for use in some promos. When I opened the light zoom transition (for instance) from the free presets in the Lib. Browser, there was a duration of a few seconds in the duration field in the upper left of the Timeline window. I had a difficult time figuring out how to use the "replace" media command when replacing with video media clips of different lengths.

Thanks again,


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peter mcauleyRe: Working within the RED4 Engine
by on Jun 13, 2008 at 1:30:33 pm

Hi Max,

Just like any other compositing solution, you can drag a clip within the timeline to the left or right to move the media in time. You can also slip (similar to a trim) the media within the track so that it has a different start point within the track. RED is resolution independent - you can mix and match media of any size within the one project. Settings (effects) created on one system can be used on any other system, regardless of platform or host. For example, I one can generate a project settings file in the Engine, and open it in Media 100 on the Mac or perhaps CS3 on Windows with the same result.

I responded to another posting regarding some basics of using of Boris RED so I'll simply paste the same text here so that you can benefit from this knowledge too.

I hope this helps,


In RED, all tracks feature both upstream and downstream masking, so you can place the mask in either pre or post transform slots, with the order of render being: media, upstream mask, transform, downstream mask.

If you create a 3D plane shape and twirl down the top track level, you will notice that there is a mask sub-track and then the transform controls track and then the face sub-track and if you twirl down the face sub-track you will notice that there is another mask sub-track and then the media sub-track.

Spline shapes placed on the face (upstream) mask are subject to transforms made to the track, while spline masks that are placed in the top (downstream) mask are not transformed with the shape. If you want the spline shape to lock on to the media then you place it in the face mask (upstream), if you want the mask to remain static (like a letter box for instance) then you place it on the top mask (downstream.)

And here's another tip - there are tracks and containers in RED. Tracks have a media element, such as image clips, static images, EPS files, text etc, while containers are group controllers (similar to a null object) for 1 or more tracks. There are three types of containers - "Standard 2D" container for grouping flat 2D tracks, "3D" container for extruded elements and also for 2D/3D layer interaction in 3D space, and "Title" containers for automating rolls/crawls etc. In a 3D container, you can have extruded text or extruded vector art along with 2D objects all of which can be animated in 3D space along with the lights, camera and shadows.

I believe you'll find that RED is quite a robust compositing solution and with a little practice you should be able to use this software to complete highly sophisticated composites.

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Maxwell FedermanRe: Working within the RED4 Engine
by on Jun 17, 2008 at 12:56:09 am

Hello Peter

Thanks again for the help.

Here is another quick question:

I will be working with the Presets library during a trial run to get the most out of the two weeks.

Lets assume I will be using the animated gradient lower 3rds with a vector text overlay.

The intention is to import a 30 second movie file. The vector text will appear on the file for the full composition duration; by default. This is not a problem.

How can I set the track for the animated gradient so the track resets the animation every six seconds?
... I scoured the online manual for an answer, but came up empty.

I assume there is a way to manually set keyframes within the gradient's track at six second intervals, but which type of interpolation will make the track reset (effectively setting the effect duration at six seconds while nested within a longer duration composition)?

Thanks again for your help, I appreciate your assistance!


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peter mcauleyRe: Working within the RED4 Engine
by on Jun 17, 2008 at 7:09:45 pm

Hi Max,

There are a couple of ways to achieve that look. Here's one (very easy) way:

• create the 6 second text effect
• open the keyframe palette window and disable Keep Keyframe Time
• change the duration length of the timeline from 6 seconds to 30 seconds
• add a 3D plane shape and set the media to the movie onto which you want to overlay the text

So now you have the 6 second title over the 30 second clip

• select the title shape track and nest (Precomp) it by clicking on the P button in the button array (you can also select the track and select a Precomp from the tracks pulldown menu)
• click on the arrow to twirl up the Precomp
• deselect all tracks by clicking on an empty area beneath the tracks in the timeline
• go to to Filters>Time>BCC Looper
• enable the "Use Loop Layer Track" function in the filter
• twirl down the filter and drag the Precomp onto the Loop Layer
• click the eyeball on the media sub-track of the looper filter to disable the proxy media for this filter
• set the loop length to 180 (6 seconds at 30 FPS)
• drag through the timeline to preview the effect

Please let me know how that works for you.



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peter mcauleyRe: Working within the RED4 Engine
by on Jun 17, 2008 at 7:44:00 pm

Hi Max,

I forgot one step - you need to place the filter into a container tin order for it to see layers beneath if in the timeline. To do that follow from the end of the last set of instructions and:

• select the filter
• click on the container button in the timeline button array to automatically nest the filter inside the container



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