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July 07, 2011

Table of Contents

Six Steps to Stronger Edits: EventDV Launches Grass Valley EDIUS 6 Podcast Series
Tutorial: Streamlined Field Editing With Proxy Mode
Tutorial: Using the New Mask Filter in Grass Valley EDIUS 6

Six Steps to Stronger Edits: EventDV Launches Grass Valley EDIUS 6 Podcast Series

EventDV, The Authority for Event Videographers, is pleased to announce a new six-part video tutorial series for professional video editors looking to streamline their edits, hone their editing skills, and enhance the creativity they bring to their clients' projects. The tutorials will focus on industry-leading professional nonlinear editing application Grass Valley EDIUS 6, renowned throughout the postproduction world for its flexibility, versatility, and realtime performance. Hosting the series will be EventDV contributing editor, EventDV 25 all-star, WEVA Creative Excellence Award winner, and nationally renowned EDIUS instructor Philip Hinkle.

Grass Valley EDIUS 6

"I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Philip on this series," said EventDV editor-in-chief Stephen Nathans-Kelly. "Having observed his production workflow first-hand from shot-planning to camera and mic placement through same-day edit production and delivery, I can see why he's achieved his stature in the videography industry and become a sought-after editing instructor all over the country. I've also seen how EDIUS' realtime capabilities have helped him streamline his workflow, and allowed him to break into the SDE game when no other videographers in our market were even considering it. Philip's creativity and editing acumen and proven track record with EDIUS make him a perfect match for this series."

The series will kick off this Thursday, June 23, with an in-depth look at one of EDIUS 6's signature new features, the ability to create custom masks directly in the timeline, which offers editors opportunities to create new and more compelling effects. Hinkle will explore 3 different ways to use and apply the filter, and explain how to use a freehand mask and keyframes in tandem.

The tutorials will continue to roll out on EventDV.tv throughout the summer. The complete schedule is as follows:

Using the New Mask Filter, June 23
• Super-streamlined HD Field Production with the Proxy Mode Editor (including seamless switching between Proxy and Full-rez editing modes): July 7
• Efficient Multicam Editing with EDIUS 6: July 21
• Syncing DSLR Video and Dual-System Audio with the Plural Eyes Plug-in: August 4
• Seamless Creative Editing with Custom Filter Presets and Nested Sequences: August 18
• Using the ISP/ROBUSKEY Keyer to Create Stellar Keys from Subpar Footage: September 1

Each new installment will go live at http://eventdv.tv at 9am EDT on the above dates. Watch EventDV.net for more details.

To learn more about the capabilities of Grass Valley EDIUS 6 and its key advantages for event and corporate video producers, see Philip Hinkle's February 2011 review, or visit http://www.grassvalley.com/products/edius_6 for more detailed information.

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Tutorial: Streamlined Field Editing With Proxy Mode

Grass Valley EDIUS 6 on EventDV.tvThe second tutorial in our ongoing series on Grass Valley EDIUS is on a new feature in EDIUS 6.0 called Proxy Mode editing. Proxy Mode allows you to edit with low-resolution proxy files, which make field editing is easier because they conserve your system resources. This allows you to work as efficiently with a laptop or other lower-powered computer as on the tower systems in your studio. It should speed up your workflow and allow you to edit in more places than you ever thought possible.

Choosing Settings
To begin the tutorial, there are a few things in the Settings menu I want to show you that will help you better understand Proxy Mode. Go to User Settings and select Background Jobs > Pause Background Jobs During Playback. You'll want to leave this selected because it tells EDIUS that when you hit the Playback bar and when you're working in your project and you need all your resources, you don't want it to create your proxy files then because you want all your resources available to get the best realtime playback possible.

With this setting selected, when you stop playback, EDIUS goes back to work creating your proxy files all in the background. The next setting to address is Proxy Mode. There are two options here. I recommend leaving both of these checked. One tells EDIUS that when there is no Proxy file, use the high-resolution file; this just means that before those proxy files are created you will still be able to edit your project in proxy mode, but you'll be using the original high-res files you imported into the project. But as the proxy files are created and they come online, they will be replacing the high-res files on your timeline and performance get progressively better and smoother as those files are created. Choosing this setting allows you to keep working while the process is going on.

The next option is Automatically Generate Proxy. That just tells EDIUS that if you have not created proxy files yet, when you request Proxy Mode, it should start creating those files in the background. By default, EDIUS does not create proxy files in the background until you request Proxy Mode.

Grass Valley EDIUS 6 Proxy Mode Settings

Adding a Proxy Mode Button to Your Timeline
Another thing I want to show you is on the user interface. Begin by clicking to make sure my timeline is selected. Go down to the buttons that currently show up on your timeline and put your cursor right there so you can add a new button. Now, if you scroll down you'll find a button for Proxy Mode.

By adding that button and clicking Apply and OK, you'll find you have a Proxy Mode button right on your timeline. This means that instead of having to select Mode > Proxy Mode every time you want to enter and exit Proxy Mode, you can just click on this button and EDIUS will go back and forth really fast. It's a really big timesaver if you use Proxy Mode frequently.

Grass Valley EDIUS 6

Working in Proxy Mode
In the example in this tutorial (both in this text version and the video tutorial included here), I've got an 8-track multicam edit queued up and ready to go. At this point in the exercise it's in full-res mode. If you go to Mode and select Multicam Mode, or use the keyboard shortcut F8, EDIUS will switch to Multicam mode. We're going to learn about multicam mode in the next tutorial where I'll actually show you a 16-cam mulitcam mode; but for now, let's go back and work on the proxy mode.

Still in full-res mode, if I press Play in this 8-camera timeline, playback will move at about one frame every couple of seconds; this is going to be very cumbersome to edit and very unproductive.

Grass Valley EDIUS 6

If you find yourself in a similar situation, click on the Proxy Mode button you placed in the timeline and your tracks will all get the checkerboard pattern on them that you see in the figure below; this means they're now in low-res proxy mode. You'll probably also notice that the visual output of my display gets a lot blurrier because you're using a low-res file. If you see a track with hard lines through it, that just means the proxy file for that track has not yet been created. You may also notice a P at the bottom right portion of your timeline. This means, "EDIUS is creating a proxy file in the background right now." If you hover your cursor over this "P"  a pop up will appear and show you the information about what's going on in the background.

If you go into your Bin, you'll notice that you also have the thumbnail for that clip and it's giving you a progress chart showing you how much has been done in the proxy file creation; it's another little way that EDIUS shows you what it's doing in the background and how close it is to completing it. Once your proxy file has been created down in the background, you should see the checkerboard pattern on all tracks indicating that you're in low-res Proxy Mode.

Grass Valley EDIUS 6

In the project I'm using in this example, if I select My Computer on my desktop and select the right folder, I'll see my 0162.mov proxy file; it's all of 54MB in filesize. The master file, by contrast, is more than 2GB. You can imagine with the much-smaller files that your realtime playback is going to work much better because the data stream coming down the pipeline into your processor is going to be much, much smaller.

Grass Valley EDIUS 6

Back in EDIUS, hit the Spacebar to play back your timeline. You should see a significant improvement. In my project, as shown in the video tutorial above, I've gone from a sluggish 1-2 frames per second to 8 cameras of multicam playing in realtime at their full frame rate, because I'm working in Proxy Mode with a dramatically reduced data stream that makes it much easier to handle within EDIUS. This is a huge benefit. Even large computers in your studio may not be able to handle that kind of data pass, so it can be very handy for that kind of editing.

Field Editing
Next, let's look at how to do in-the-field editing where you can check a project out. To begin, go to the File menu, and select Field Editing > Check Out. You'll see a Browse that lets you do is define where your data is going to go. I'm going to use my Laptop drive, select Create a New Folder, name it "Proxy," and click out of there. Now EDIUS will put all my information now in the Proxy folder.

Grass Valley EDIUS 6

Next, lower in the window, select Check Outsource Files. If you click here in this box, EDIUS will automatically generate proxy files for video when there are no proxy files; that means if you've not created any proxy files yet for this project or entered Proxy Mode, then when you check out the project, it's going to create all those files for you. If you had a large project with lots and lots of files, that could easily take a fair amount of time. If you've just got a small project, it's not going to take as long, but it still needs to create all new files. It's got a lot of work to do so it could take a little while.

I'll also note here that original high-res files are copied for stills, sources, and other things that are not video clips. Your stills, your titles, and so on are going to come along in full resolution for your Proxy Mode project.

If you select a High-Res option you can also export the entire high-resolution files into your project as well. Or you can check only the area used in the timeline; that means that only the parts that are on your timeline will be checked out in High-Res Mode.

You can also add a Trim margin. It defaults to two seconds; that gives you the possibility of adding a little wriggle room for trimming or for adding transitions and dissolves.

You'll also find an option to select your Check Out target; you can check out only what's in your current sequence. Or, if you have multiple sequences, you can select All, which means EDIUS is going to check out everything and all of your sequences and your bin.

In this example I'm going to check All because I want to check out everything that I need that I would use out in the field for a project.

Next, I'm going to deselect the High-Res checkbox because I want to work exclusively with proxy files. I'm just going to be out of the office for a couple of days so I don't need everything.

Now, I'm going to come down and click the OK button, answer Yes for my question, and let it do its thing. EDIUS exports the files to my portable drive.

Starting a Project
Now a Start Projects screen appears. Here, I could start a new project if I wanted to. Just to see how it worked, I'm actually going to open a project. I'm going to to select my Laptop drive, go to my Proxy folder, open up my Proxy Mode Tutorial. This is exactly where we left off before we checked it out; everything is in Proxy Mode. I can move my cursor back to the beginning. If I hit the Spacebar, I can to start selecting which camera I want to use. As you experiment with Proxy Mode, make some cuts so you can see how EDIUS works with the low-res files. When you've made some cuts and changes to your project you're ready to move forward.

With your changes made, save your project and close EDIUS. Next, open up the original project (mine is on my C: drive) and check this portable project back in. Click the Check In button.

Grass Valley EDIUS 6

Click the OK button, select Yes to continue, and EDIUS starts checking in my files. Below you see our test project. As you can see, all of those cuts and all of those selections from multicam that I made are right there on my timeline exactly as I left it on my portable drive from where I had checked it out for field editing.

Now all that's left for me to do is click on my Proxy Mode button. This takes me back to full-res mode where I could go in and I could export my project, author, or do whatever it is I need to do from this point.

Grass Valley EDIUS 6

Try it out sometime; you'll see that when you've got a processor-intensive project with lots of layers of video, it can speed up the workflow if your computer is not quite up to the task.

To view the Proxy Mode Video Tutorial along with others in EventDV.tv's "Six Steps to Stronger Edits" series as they go live, go to EventDV.tv's Grass Valley EDIUS channel on Vimeo.

Philip Hinkle (philip at frogmanproductions.com) runs Madison, Wis.-area video production company Frogman Productions. A 2008 EventDV 25 honoree and nationally recognized EDIUS instructor, he won a 2008 WEVA CEA Gold in the Social Event category and a 2006 4EVER Group AAA Diamond. He was a 2009 WEVA CEA judge and a featured speaker at WEVA Expo 2009. He is co-founder and vice-president of the Wisconsin Digital Media Group.

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Tutorial: Using the New Mask Filter in Grass Valley EDIUS 6

Grass Valley EDIUS 6 on EventDV.tvEDIUS users looked forward to the release of version 6 with great anticipation. Major-level upgrades had come slowly over the last few years, while beta testers and many in the online forums speculated about what would be included in the next big release. Version 6 shipped in late 2010 with a number of new features that added great functionality to an already great NLE. For more on those new features, check out my review in the January/February issue. I will be creating a few tutorials over the coming months, including a six-part video tutorial series on EventDV.tv, explaining some functionality of these new features. The series kicks off with this video/print tutorial on the new Mask filter. You can see the video component just below; read on for the text tutorial. (The video tutorial covers aspects of the filter not included in the print component, so be sure to study both if you really want to learn about this filter and how you can use it to enhance your productions.)

Step 1: Creating Custom Masks in the EDIUS Timeline
The Mask filter isn’t a new filter per se; it’s a much-enhanced version of the old Region filter that users of previous versions of EDIUS are familiar with. The old Region filter could be used a few different ways if you got creative with your skills, but it was limited; the new Mask filter adds a whole new level of creative functionality. The new Mask filter adds keyframes, the ability to create custom-shaped masks, and the ability to animate them.

In the past, when I needed an animated mask function, I would create the footage in After Effects. This was often cumbersome because of the need to export to After Effects and then import the clip back into EDIUS. With the new Mask filter introduced in EDIUS 6, much of the mask functionality that I used to get from After Effects can be accomplished right on the EDIUS timeline. This means you also get real-time playback with no rendering needed, assuming your system specs are sufficient.

The Region filter has a new look as you can see in Figure 1, below.

Grass Valley EDIUS 6

Figure 1. The new look of the Region filter, reconstituted as the more capable Mask filter

Step 2: Blurring Faces
The old Region filter had only a rectangular mask tool and an ellipse mask tool, but, as you can see, on top of the palette window there are many new settings. Not to worry, though; the original rectangle and ellipse are still there. These are my favorite tools for blurring
a face in a crowd or fixing what I call a "wardrobe malfunction." In Figure 2 (below), you can see I have blurred the face of the guest in the beige coat (maybe he was in the witness protection program).

Grass Valley EDIUS 6

Figure 2. Blurring a face in a crowd using the Ellipse tool in the Mask filter

Step 3: Creating Custom-Shaped Masks
One big addition to EDIUS' functionality in the Mask filter is the ability to create a custom-shaped mask. To illustrate its functionality, I'll use the establishing shot from a recent wedding edit shown in Figure 3 (below). As you can see, it's a nice and somewhat wide shot of the church showing the church sign and building in the background.

Grass Valley EDIUS 6

Figure 3. Creating a custom-shaped mask

For the sake of this tutorial, let's assume we need to add a sense of location to the establishing shot. To do so, I have a moving shot with an address sign and town name on it that will help the viewer realize this is a small country church in a very small town. I've added a layer on top of my establishing shot, as seen in Figure 4 (below). It's a shot from a similar position but with the sign in the foreground. We're going to mask out all but the sign in this tutorial.

Grass Valley EDIUS 6

Figure 4. Adding another layer to create the mask

Now, to mask out all but the sign, we'll use the Draw Path feature of the new Mask filter. Before creating your shape, don't forget to activate the keyframes
by clicking on the check box for the keyframes at the bottom. After opening the information properties of the Mask filter (instead of using the Rectangle or Ellipse tool at the top of the palette), click on the small arrow just to the right of the Ellipse mask (or use the shortcut key P). This will activate the Draw Path feature.

Then use the Pen tool to draw your mask around the sign by clicking to add a vertex as shown in Figure 5 (below). For rounded sections, you also have access to a bezier curve tool so your mask will be smooth and clean. To activate the bezier curve, hold the mouse button down on the new point for a second or so and you'll be able to bend the line as needed. In this example, I also set the Edge to Soft and assigned 10 pixels to the setting. This will take the harshness off the edge and make it look a little cleaner.

Grass Valley EDIUS 6

Figure 5. Drawing a mask around the sign using the Pen tool by adding a vertex

The next thing you need to do is get rid of everything in this layer except the sign. To do so, set the opacity of the "Outside" to 0%. In your playback overlay, you'll see that the sign is now displayed on top of the previous layer with a better shot of the church in the background as shown in Figure 6 (below). Note that the Mask palette window will not show the transparency. You can see the transparency results in the playback overlay window on your timeline.

Grass Valley EDIUS 6

Figure 6. The sign is now on top of the previous layer.

To blur the face, use the Ellipse tool at the top. Then, in the upper-right corner of the interface, select the check box for the Inside filter. Over to the right, click the Select Filter icon that looks like a folder with an arrow coming out of it. This allows you to select the filter that will be applied inside the ellipse.

In this example, I chose the Mosaic filter and increased the blockiness until the guest's face was indistinguishable. I also set the Edge to Soft with about 40 pixels so it wouldn't appear as harsh. You can add keyframes more easily than was possible when working with the Region filter in previous versions, and you can move your region mask around the screen. If you're an experienced editor, you're familiar with keyframe functionality, so I won't delve into how to set keyframes now (see the video tutorial above for more detail on that).

Step 4: Animating the Mask
To animate the sign movement across the image, drag the cursor in your Mask palette and set keyframes along the way. To edit any changes in the shape of your top layer, use the first arrow on the far left of the palette. The small drop-down menu for the arrow will show edit options for selecting the object, editing the object, adding a vertex, deleting a vertex, and editing a control point. Each of those options has a keyboard shortcut assigned. Once you’ve built a few animated masks, you’ll learn the shortcuts quickly as it will speed up the process.

The shortcut assignments can be seen next to the function name of the drop-down menu. In Figure 7 (below) you can see that I’ve added a number of keyframes. I’ve also had to modify the shape slightly at a few keyframe locations.

Grass Valley EDIUS 6

Figure 7. The mask has been modified slightly at a few of the keyframe locations.

Step 5: Cleansing the Palette
One other nice feature in the Mask filter is the small set of icons on the very bottom left of the Mask palette. If you click on the solid icon, all the keyframes and other information go away. You get just your footage in a larger screen to make detailed mask work much easier. Figure 8 (below) shows this functionality. To return to the main Mask palette screen, just click the other icon.

Grass Valley EDIUS 6

Figure 8. Working with the mask enlarged, in a less cluttered screen

Step 6: Other Uses
If you use your imagination, you’ll find that you can use EDIUS’ new Mask filter for many different purposes. Just think creatively. For instance, let’s say you have a shot set up on a tripod and there is a parking lot behind you with a few stains on the pavement. You could use the Mask filter to select those stained sections and use color correction on the “inside” of the mask to clean up the look of the parking lot. Or, in our example above, we could have used a color correction filter inside the Mask filter to make the sign change colors as we moved across the screen.

Experiment with the new Mask filter in EDIUS 6; you’ll save yourself a few steps in the postproduction process to create “wow” effects in your productions. If you’re an EDIUS user and you haven’t upgraded to EDIUS 6 yet, the new Mask filter could be the incentive you need to make the upgrade. (If you are currently considering an upgrade, note that NX hardware drivers for version 6 had not yet been completed as of this writing but are rumored to be available mid-2011. If you have an NX card for output, you’ll have to stick with EDIUS 5 for now.)

With today’s current generation of i7 processors, everything we’ve discussed here can easily be accomplished with real-time, full-resolution output, even with native AVCHD or DSLR footage. The new Mask filter is a powerful addition to EDIUS. The new EDIUS slogan is “Edit Anything” and, thanks to new features such as the Mask filter, now you can do more with anything you edit.

To view the Mask Video Tutorial along with others in EventDV.tv's "Six Steps to Stronger Edits" series as they go live, go to EventDV.tv's Grass Valley EDIUS channel on Vimeo.

Philip Hinkle (philip at frogmanproductions.com) runs Madison, Wis.-area video production company Frogman Productions. A 2008 EventDV 25 honoree and nationally recognized EDIUS instructor, he won a 2008 WEVA CEA Gold in the Social Event category and a 2006 4EVER Group AAA Diamond. He was a 2009 WEVA CEA judge and a featured speaker at WEVA Expo 2009. He is co-founder and vice-president of the Wisconsin Digital Media Group.

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