DVD available for presale

We are ready to start taking pre-sale orders for Introduction to Off-Camera Strobe Flash Photography. If you DVD pre-orderpurchase the DVD now, you can buy it at a heavy discount. Take advantage of this offer while you still can. Once it is available on Amazon and in stores, the price will be full retail and this offer will be gone forever.

If you ever wanted to learn how to manage off-camera strobe flashes for your camera, whether it be a DSLR, a Canon G12 or anything with a hot shoe or flash sync, this is the video to have. Aaron Linsdau demystifies how to get great shots with just a single strobe. You do not need to purchase a vast array of equipment to get started. All you need is a strobe, a way to trigger it and you are off and running.

Antarctica expedition film interview

We have finished shooting Aaron Linsdau’s Antarctica expedition interviews. This is in preparation to enter

Interviewing Aaron Linsdau
Interviewing Aaron Linsdau

into post-production of the film.  We are excited to have this project under way to get the film submitted to film festivals and make the video available to the public.

Please visit to keep updated with this and our other exciting  film production projects.

Finished production on a DVD project

Working with Aaron Linsdau, a commercial photographer, we have completed a training DVD for him.  The

Introduction to Off-Camera Strobe Flash Photography
Introduction to Off-Camera Strobe Flash Photography

title is Introduction of Off-Camera Strobe Flash Photography.  It was a great deal of work and we had a very good time making the film.  As usual, the days were long during filming, up to 14 hours.  This is pretty normal when actually shooting.  The expense of setting up gear, securing a camera and audio crew, plus the script manager is so high it’s just more efficient to work the very long days.

This is the latest feature-length DVD we have produced in our production history, spanning over a decade.  TVL Video is very experienced with special interest production video.

Please, check out our video production samples.

There will be a trailer for this DVD available soon.  Once it’s produced, we will post it on our Video Portfolio page.

Audio effects missing in FCPX 10.1

We have been editing our first long-form video, Flash Photography Introduction, in Final Cut Pro (FCPX) 10.1 for a week.  We ran into Sound effectshaving all of the audio sound effects missing.  We found that if we quite FCP, opened iPhoto, close iPhoto, then re-opened FCP, the sound effects reappeared.

There have been all sorts of strange little bugs with FCPX 10.1.  The worst was editing yesterday.  The machine was grinding to a halt, so we closed FCPX and reopened it.  Our edits from the entire day were gone.

And the automatic backup files were corrupted – they wouldn’t open.

No we snapshot a project prior to closing.  It seems like 10.1 has quite a few bugs.  Our recommendation is to wait for 10.1.1 if you can.

Attachments in Mac Mail

We were sending an invoice to a client this morning when we ran into a problem with Mac Mail in Mavericks. Mac Mail Attachments The invoice, as a JPG, was showing up inline rather than as an attachment.  This can be a major pain for the recipient of the email, as they will have trouble saving the picture.

We found that there is a simple way to get the attachment as an attachment rather than inline.  Open terminal and type in the following:

defaults write DisableInlineAttachmentViewing 1

This will reconfigure Mac Mail so when you drag attachments into mail, it will attach rather than embed Terminalthem.  If you ever want to reverse the setting, change the 1 to a 0.

Note – to get terminal up and going, go to Spotlight, type in TERMINAL, and it will pop up.

D800 microphone test

We have been testing different microphones for the Nikon D800. One of the major problems with shooting on the DSLR are the audio preamplifiers (preamps) on the camera. They’re not designed very well. The camera has a spectacular imager because of the chip size, 1+ inch wide. But without good audio, you really just have a film camera. In order to get around this problem, we purchased 2 inexpensive wireless lavalier microphones, a Pearstone OLM-10 and an Audio Technica. Then we have a Senheiser wireless lavalier microphone, very high quality, and an Audio Technical 875 shotgun routed through a Zoom H4n.

We found that both the Pearstone and Audio Technica wired lavalier mics had an unacceptable level of hiss, at -45dB or higher. This is quite audible, making the recording sound as though it was made on a tape recorder. The D800 input level had to be raised to 10 or 11 to get an acceptable volume for the speaker but, as a consequence, increased the hiss to an audible level.

Then we tried the Senheiser wireless lavalier and increased the receiver preamp output to 3/4 full volume. This allowed us to reduce the D800 input level to 5. Then the hiss dropped to -50dB or lower. At that setting, this hiss became inaudible.

Our final test was routing an XLR Audio Technica 875 Shotgun mic through a Zoom H4n set on an input level of 60 and an earphone output level of 60. We then routed the earphone output into the D800 microphone input and again set it to a level 5. Again, the hiss was not audible, producing an acceptable recording level.
With this test, we found two acceptable solutions to eliminate having a two system recording for using the Nikon D800 as a HD video camera.

The one disadvantage about using a single shotgun on the Zoom H4n is the single shotgun only records on one channel. That’s easily fixed by using dual mono audio in Final Cut Pro X (FCPX). The big advantage is we can get XLR audio into the D800 while making a 48kHz 16-bit perfect simultaneous recording on the Zoom. We even tried it with the built-in stereo mics and had good success with that, too.

The only time we have found the wired lavaliers to work is when we have recorded outside where there is enough ambient noise to drown the hiss. Even though the hiss is there, the SNR (signal to noise ratio) with the ambient makes the hiss fairly inaudible.

Burning DVDs using Disk Utility

After completing a project edit in Final Cut Pro X or iMovie, you can create a DVD from those programs.  But how about if you want to make multiple copies or don’t want to risk going back into your timeline, possibly changing your editing.  This procedure will guide you from creating that .IMG file to creating a burned DVD that will play in a regular DVD player.

If you just right click on the .IMG file and select burn, all you will get is a data

Create .img disk file
Create .img disk file

DVD with some files in it that will not play on your computer or in a regular DVD player.  You have to use the Mac’s Disk Utility to create a playable DVD.

Here’s the process:

  1. In FCPx or iMovie, go to File->Share->DVD.  In the settings, chose burn to Hard Drive rather than DVD.
  2. Select a location to save the file to the desktop for easy access.
  3. Find and open Disk Utility (Applications – Utilities – Disk Utility; use Spotlight to find it)
  4. The .IMG disk image file should appear in the left hand column of the drives.  If not, go to File->Open Disk Image… and find your .IMG file.

    Burn from Disk Utility
    Burn from Disk Utility
  5. Click and select the disk image in the left hand column, then click the Burn icon in the top tool bar.
  6. Insert the blank DVD when asked to do so.
  7. Click burn when the option window comes up.
  8. Eject the DVD and try it in your computer or in a regular DVD player.

Using this method to create a DVD will result in a disk that can play in a regular commercial DVD player or a Mac.

Video retiming with FCPX

The retiming tool is handy in Final Cut Pro X (FCPX) for slowing video motion. One of the challenges we found is adjusting the shutter speed to get the best result from slow motion. FCPX has three different video quality options for retiming, or slow motion. There are Normal, Frame Blending, or Optical Flow. As expected, as the quality selection is increased, the rendering time increases. The increase in quality is well worth, as you can see a definite difference in the increase in quality.

The test examines the difference between 1/60th second versus 1/2000th of a second shutter speed on a Canon M-500 using the highest quality AVHCD at 24MB/s, adjusting video speed to 25% of original. One thing we found is the real high frame rate shots do not blend well when the object moving through the frame has a hard edge, like the back end of a mini van. Once the van is relatively small in the frame, the blending improves markedly. As seen in other video slowdown programs (Twixtor), hard edges do not seem to blend as well, as they’re very apparent.

We made this evaluation to see if the quality improvement with Twixtor might be worth it. But, we found that because the camera we are shooting potential shots with uses AVHCD, which does not handle strong motion well in the first place, getting a clean slow motion is troublesome. Also, we edited this video on a Macbook Pro Retina (MBPr) and found the AVHCD video on the screen just does not look good compared to outputting the video to the HDMI port to a regular HD 1080 television.

Creating Share DVD FCPX

To burn a DVD in Final Cut Pro X (FCPX) version 10.0.8 go to File > Share>DVD.  A

Background task indicator
Background task indicator

small processing bar comes up for a short time and disappears.  To see if it is processing, go to background task window in Window>Background Task, command 9 or click on the background processing window.

In this version compared to 10.0.4 the background task bar is the only indication that it is processing a DVD, which may lead to some confusion that it is actually processing.

Background Task Window
Background Task Window

It is easy to think the Share DVD command is not working because there is no visible progress bar.   Wait until your Project is done rendering any changes before you go to Share DVD.  Your processing time for the DVD will be improved.

Final Cut Pro X – Adjusting the volume of multiple clips

While continuing to work on an hour long video shoot in Final Cut Pro X (FCPX)

Final Cut Pro multiple clip selection volume adjustment
Final Cut Pro multiple clip selection volume adjustment

with three Canon M-500 cameras, one Sony RX-100 and a Zoom H4n recorder, we ran into the problem of needing to adjust the volume on mulitple clips simultanously.

To adjust the volume of multiple / several clips simultaneously select the clips to be adjusted with the mouse.

Then click Control + or Control -.

Doing this will increase or decrease the volume of all the selected clips by one dB (1dB) increments.