June 26, 2013

Workflow guide to the C100 and FCP 7 - Part 2: Transcoding

Part 1 of this guide details archiving and the reason why we do not use Clipwrap.

We've recently transitioned to using the Canon C100 as our primary camera and a 5d Mark II/III as our secondary. We are still using Final Cut Pro 7, so we needed a workflow that meshed with our DSLR workflow. The C100 records in the AVCHD format, which means you cannot use MPEG Streamclip to transcode these files like we do with the H264 files we get from the Canon DSLRs. This is a workflow that works for our archiving process and our DSLR workflow, however, we will most likely be transitioning to another editing software soon.


1. Open Final Cut

2. *Set Scratch Disk to your project folder* 

3. Create bin with same name as the disk image you will be working with (Example at right is 052013_OSF_KASH_A01) 

4. Right click bin and choose Set Logging Bin (It will have something like a final cut logo next to it seen at right)

5. Open Log and Transfer window (File > Log and Transfer) 

6. Hit the Add Volume Button 

7. Choose the disk image (.dng) file you want to transcode. This is located where you saved the SD card in the Archive to Disk Image process. 

8. It should load the Canon directory with the clips underneath 

9. Select all the clips (Edit > Select All)

10. You can preview different clips and write notes for each clip. You can also set in and out points for your clips. This is where your workflow might deviate from ours, just be consistent.

11. You can use the Name Preset to decide how each clip is named as it is transcoded. There are many ways to set up custom naming. We set ours to add an underscore and three digits after anything we type in the "Reel" box.

12. In the Reel box, we copy and paste the exact name* of the disk image file (from the archiving process) that we are converting. In the example at right, it uses the disk image 052013_OSF_KASH_A02, and adds _### to the end of each clip.

*Why do we work like this? We delete our transcodes when we are completely done with a project, but we keep the disk image file in our archive. If we ever need to revisit the project, we re-transcode our files and reconnect the media in FCP. To do this, the files need to be named exactly as they were before. This is why we transcode all of our files and name them consecutively using the naming convention established in the archive.

13. After the name is in order, you can then (with all clips selected) hit the button Add Selection to Queue. The clips will enter a queue below the button and it will show you as it makes progress through each clip. 

14. When you are done, the queue will be empty and there will be a solid blue dot* beside each clip. You can then select the Canon disk image and hit the Eject Volume button.

*If there is a half shaded blue dot or an unshaded dot, then the file did not properly transcode and it needs to be done again. 

15. When the files are done transcoding, they will be located in the Capture Scratch folder. We  move our files to our transcodes folder where our DSLR files are located. Then we import everything back into FCP.

Changing the Codec

1. Select the little gear in the Log and Transfer window. Select Preferences...

2. The C100 uses an AVCHD Codec, so you can go to the AVCHD selection and click the drop down under Target Format. Here you can change to a couple of other codecs.

June 25, 2013

Artists Summer Institute opportunity

Creative Capital is hosting an Artists Summer Institute, August 7-11, that sounds like a fantastic opportunity. This is a five-day professional development workshop aimed at developing financial sustainability. It includes sessions on creating a business plan, financial planning, website development and social media.

The workshop is open to New York City artists and submissions are due by July 2nd.

June 24, 2013

TEM Hiring Fall 2013 Production Intern

We're currently accepting applications for a Fall 2013 Multimedia Production Internship

This position requires a five day per week commitment in our New Jersey office from September through to December.  We are based in Montclair, NJ, located 35 minutes by train from New York Penn Station. 

This is a paid, advanced-level production internship. Interns must not only have strong Final Cut Pro skills, but must also be looking to expand and develop their storytelling skills, and work collaboratively with our production team.

The primary responsibility of this internship will include helping to edit short 2-3 minute videos.  Other responsibilities include:
  • Editing
  • Importing and organizing media content
  • Transcoding video
  • Scripting
  • Transcription
  • Assisting producers and editors with story development
Desired skills & experience:

  • A passion for multimedia storytelling and social issues
  • Strong knowledge of Final Cut Pro 7, Photoshop, and Expressions Media
  • Ability to execute, multi-task and meet deadlines
  • Must be self-motivated, a team player, and prepared to work independently. We will work closely and provide regular input and feedback, but we expect the right candidate to take a project from raw media to an assembly stage
  • Familiarity with After Effects is not required but is a strong plus
  • *Please note: this internship will most likely not include shooting
Application Process:

Interested candidates, please send your application to Elissa Pellegrino (elissa@talkingeyesmedia.org) with “2013 Fall Internship” in the subject line. No phone calls please.  Applications will be accepted until July 31, 2013.

All applications must include:

  • Resume
  • Cover letter
  • Links to pieces produced and/or collaborated on, with indication of what role you played
  • Available start and end dates

June 21, 2013

Microfilm - The Reel Deal

Entering the New York Public Library I am overcome with a grand feeling of importance. The building, constructed in the late 19th Century, is an astonishing and empowering work of architecture and understandably a major attraction for those visiting the city, however I am here with an ulterior motive.

As I purposefully march past the wide-eyed tourists and down a long marble hallway, I find a sign that reads ‘microforms/editorials’. This particular wing of the public library, which has nearly 53 million items in total, is devoted to the storing of thousands of newspapers, magazines, and publications, ranging from the pre-Civil War era until the present day.

I am at first perplexed at how a relatively small room could possibly hold so much, but this confusion only reveals that this is my first encounter with the genius of microfilm. Microfilm takes documents and reduces them to one twenty-fifth of their size, imprinting them as negatives on long reels. Each reel can hold many hundred imprints of these documents, and so in essence a whole month of daily newspapers can be physically stored in a container smaller than my hand. As a young man who can only faintly remember a world not consumed by the Internet, it is incredibly liberating to be working in the tangible. Trawling through real archives that do not rely on the latest PDF update or monthly subscription.

This is where I am to begin research for our latest project “The Day Before...”, a short piece which intends to explore November 21, 1963, the penultimate day of JFK’s life. I am looking to find an article, a photograph, something that is emblematic of this pivotal moment in history, however seemingly insignificant. What it will be I do not know, but it is there, hidden deep within this reservoir.

I hook up a reel of the New York Herald Tribune to the antiquated machine, and after a few mishaps, it’s rolling, projecting tiny negatives brightly onto the screen. With one hand I manually adjust the zoom, focus, and angle, and with the other I slowly begin moving through the reel.

And like that, I am back in time to 1963.

Pundits argue that a contentious civil rights bill will hamper Kennedy’s 1964 re-election campaign. A press conference with Defense Secretary McNamara concludes there is an encouraging outlook for objectives in South Vietnam and American advisors can begin to be brought home. And Cassius Clay and Liberace will be on the Jack Paar show on NBC at 10pm tonight! They’re poignant, ironic, and give an incredibly revealing picture of society at this time.

For those of you historically inclined, who are in need of research material, photographs, or are simply filled with curiosity, I encourage you to pay a visit to your public library and if you’re lucky there will be a wealth of microfilm resources for you to delve into. It really is more rewarding than a Google search.

June 20, 2013

EYES ON THIS: 12 and Awesome

Unlocking The Truth - Malcolm Brickhouse & Jarad Dawkins from The Avant/Garde Diaries on Vimeo.

They may be 12, but they were born cool. Unlocking the Truth, about two sixth-grade metalheads, hits a high note from the incredible characters to the great shooting to the wonderful storytellling. We love seeing all the elements come together. Kudos to the production team at The Avant/Garde Diaries.

June 19, 2013

Internship Openings at MediaStorm

MediaStorm, a Brooklyn-based award-winning multimedia production company, is currently accepting applications for its Fall 2013 internship program and a new motion design internship.  Applications are due July 15, 2013.

For details and to apply, use the following links:

Fall Internship:

Motion Design Internship

June 18, 2013

Workflow guide to the C100 and FCP7 - Part 1: Archiving

We recently purchased the Canon C100 and used it on a client project in Kenya. The C100 was our primary camera and we used a 5d Mark II as our secondary. We are still using Final Cut Pro 7, so we needed a workflow that meshed with our DSLR workflow. The C100 records in the AVCHD format, which means you cannot use MPEG Streamclip to transcode these files like we do with the H264 files we get from the Canon DSLRs. 

The first question to answer is: why not use Clipwrap

Clipwrap seemed like the right solution at first, but it has a slight bug with the C100 (possibly all AVCHD cameras) that doesn't work for our archiving workflow. The Clipwrap problem is a little complicated, but I discovered that it actually drops the last 2 frames of every clip. For a longer explanation, see the bottom of this page.

At Talking Eyes, we archive all the files from the camera as they were shot. We do not archive the transcoded files. We generally media manage our projects then delete the transcoded files a few months after we have completed the project and it is delivered to the client. 


Click the staggered tab to see the directory for the files.
1. Insert SD card into card reader 

2. Open FCP 7

3. Set your scratch disk

4. Open Log and Transfer window (File > Log and Transfer) 

5. Choose “Show items in a hierarchical list.” This will allow you to see the directory (Canon) for your clips. FCP should automatically detect the SD card.*

6. Right click on the Canon directory and choose Archive to Disk Image... 

7. FCP will prompt you to save your file. We have a specific naming structure that I will detail here, but everyone has their own workflow and the most important thing for us is that we are consistent. Our naming convention is MMDDYY_SLUG_A##.dmg

MMDDYY = Date shot 
SLUG = Descriptive slug for project or shoot
A## = A is the camera angle. If there are two cameras, the second camera is B.
## = The number of each SD card used that day. First card is 01, second is 02, etc.
.dmg = This is a disk image file. This preserves all information on the card, so that when you open it in the future, it loads in Finder like an SD card.

8. After selecting the folder and name, you’ll get a progress screen and an Archive Complete screen. This will take around 20-25 minutes for a full 32 gb card

Once the file has been archived, it will show up in the folder you assigned it to. I like to check the size to make sure it is roughly the same size as the PRIVATE folder on the SD card (in the card reader). The file size will not match the SD card, in fact, it will be slightly larger. Don’t worry about this.
*If FCP does not detect the card, and you are sure it is being detected by the computer, then try clicking the icon to Add Volume and select the SD card manually.

The Clipwrap Problem

We have two issues with the two-frame drop caused by Clipwrap. First, it loses content, though an admittedly small amount. Second, if we were to rewrap the clips (it rewraps the clip to H264 format) from the SD card in the field, then transcode them when we are back at the studio using MPEG Streamclip (as we do with the DSLR content), the transcoded clips will have three freeze frames (of the last frame) at the end of the clip. These freeze frames change the length of the clip and could effectively mess up syncing with external audio. So essentially, to use Clipwrap, I would need to rewrap the files and also transcode them to Apple ProRes 422 (using Clipwrap) while in the field, which would require a lot of storage space and time, and losing the two frames of each clip. I told Colin over at Clipwrap and he is working to fix it.

Newly Updated TEM Blog

The Talking Eyes Media Team is excited to share the launch of our newly updated and "refreshed" blog!

We are expanding our content to now include not only updates about TEM's work but also helpful and interesting industry news, production advice and information, and great examples of multimedia storytelling.

In addition to new content, our blog posts will now also be organized into the following categories (making searching even easier).

Eyes On This (Staff Picks):
-  Our staff's picks of their favorite multimedia stories and websites that we find inspirational and worth watching
- Profiles of organizations and social entrepreneurs who are leading the charge for social justice

Field Notes:
- Staff notes or reflections from the field and about the multimedia and non-profit industry
- Behind-the-scene look at our shoots

Industry News & Opportunities:
- News about film festivals, competitions, grants, job openings, and any other industry-related news

Production Tips:
- Our staff's advice about equipment, videography, photography, editing, storytelling, and anything else related to the production process

TEM News:
- News about Talking Eyes Media's work

We aim to make this blog a helpful and inspirational source for fellow multimedia enthusiasts and social entrepreneurs -- so stop on by, take a moment to explore, and remember to check back often!