Archive for September, 2006

New FCP-XML Version Offers Exciting Project Management Possibilities

Apple released Final Cut Pro 5.1.2 (pdf link) which addresses a lot of the problems that I’ve been running into lately. I want to take a bit of time to dig into the extensive bug fixes, and folks are already doing just that, but one change that I was not expecting really caught my eye. A new version of the Final Cut XML interchange format introduced some new elements.

The two that I find most interesting allow for management of metadata in QuickTime files and management of project components. I’ve only read the summaries and there could be some implementation gotchas, but what these appear to do is to open up a lot of the project management possibilites I’ve been hoping for in Final Cut Pro

If you develop a rich catalog of media and a strong database you should be able to build, replace and alter projects based on your workflow using elements like replaceiffound which replaces a target component if found. and addifnotfound which adds the imported component to the project provided the target component is not found. Combine that with adding and altering metadata in Quicktime files your workflow can really be enhanced. Obvious stuff like all files for a project as well as non-obvious, fuzzier ideas like all clips in a certain color range. Very cool. Time to dig in.

UPDATE: 09-27-2006 So, the glue that will hold this together is a set of 7 apple-events to use as an interchange between your custom app and FCP. Lots of possibilites. Download the sample app here.

SECOND UPDATE: 09-27-2006 Well, it looks like this gets us part of the way there. The apple-events seem to work nicely for sending to FCP, but it still doesn’t have an applescript dictionary which I think means we won’t be sending anything (like maybe the selected clips in a sequence) from FCP with this update. What that means is you’ll be able to do cool batch processing on the days work as a chron job and have lots of interesting data, but won’t be able to do things like space elements in a sequence unless I’m missing something. There are some private and undocumented data interchange protocols, but those require reverse engineering and are going to be out of the scope of your average power user or scripter.If anybody knows more please post a comment.

Comments (9)

After Effects 7 hanging on “Initializing User Interface” fix

Have you had After Effects 7 hang on Initializing User Interface on start up? Like so…

Initializing User Interface startup screen

I’ve seen a couple of instances of this problem and it seems to occur when a User Workspace becomes corrupted. The fix that’s worked for me is to replace the folders at

YourLoginName/Library/Preferences/Adobe/After Effects/7.0/ModifiedWorkspaces/


YourLoginName/Library/Preferences/Adobe/After Effects/7.0/OriginalUserWorkspaces/

with backups. If you don’t have a recent backup, you can delete these folders and they’ll be recreated but you’ll lose your custom workspaces.

I’ve only had this crop up on OS X machines to this point, so I haven’t dug into the custom workspace definitions locations for Windows. If anybody has had to track this down for Windows could you leave a comment or send an email to dale(at remove-this)creative-workflow-hacks(dot)com and I’ll update this post.

UPDATE 11-18-2006 David Baertsch writes…

After reinstalling AE 7.0 for Windows, my system would hang on “Initializing User Workspace” I googled that
and got to your fix for Mac, that sent me in the direction to find the fix for Windows.

C:Documents and SettingsUserNameApplication DataAdobeAfterEffects7.0ModifiedWorkspaces

“UserName” is the name of the logged in individual, and the UserWorkspace1.xml files are the saved
workspaces… I deleted them and though my Workspaces were deleted, Aftereffects launched fine after
that. (There were several files UserWorkspaceX.xml)

Thanks for giving me the idea where to look. Hope this helps other users.

Comments (54)

Inaccurate Scopes in Final Cut Pro Workaround?

Interesting post from Shane Ross about some monitoring problems in FCP.

His Workaround

So we cancelled the output and tried to figure out what to do.

The engineer…my buddy…had a solution. And this is a nifty workaround (Workaround #214 for those keeping tally of needed FCP workarounds to get things working properly) for those of you taking notes. EXPORT VIA QUICKTIME CONVERSION. Make the settings match those of your project exactly. When you re-import that footage and drop it in the timeline above the originals, you will find that the conversion has chopped off the portions that are above 100IRE, and clamped (chooped, whatever) the portions that go below black. In other words, it does what Broadcast Safe should do, but doesn’t really do.

We’ve been struggling with inconsistent monitoring in our After Effects to Final Cut through AJA Kona products workflow. Particularly interesting has been the vast differences between the digital scopes in Color Finesse in After Effects and the digital scopes in Final Cut and haven’t been sure which was going awry. I’ve seen less of a problem in our monitoring using hardware scopes and Kona throughput. I’m not sure if I’d want to do a Quicktime conversion on every element that went to tape, but it is an interesting observation. I hope a lot of this stuff is just a new generation of gear and software and gets worked out soon, but anecdotally I’ve been struggling to get consistent color workflows. Anybody else?

Follow up: 09-15-2006 Martin Baker from Digital Heaven posted a comment at Shane’s blog where he felt that Quicktime Conversion was going through RGB thus clipping subblack or superwhite levels. Which certainly makes sense. Most of the issues I’m chasing seem to have arisen when we went to an RGB codec via Kona 10Bit 4:4:4. Throw in a custom LUT and it’s hard to find your benchmark. I’m still not sure why we are getting different values when monitoring on individual workstations via Color Finesse vs Final Cut it seems like they should be reading the same RGB values. Throw in yet again Stu Maschwitz’ comment on the AE List about ICC implementations

> The biggest problem I’ve seen with ICC implementations is that they
> do precious little to guide one towards best practices.

I almost agree Tim — I think that’s the second biggest problem. The
biggest to me is the lack of a reference implementation. Meaning any
two software apps can produce any two versions of an ICC color
xform. Kinda makes the whole system seem bogus.

And you’ve got a big case of Yikes! going. If these guys can’t get it right, how am I supposed to?

UPDATE: 09-26-2006 Mike Curtis has an extensive post and comments followup on these issues. All signs seem to be pointing to a QuicktimeYUV/RGB conversion issue. I’ll try to followup with a post or point to a distillation of how to work with these issues once a consensus is available.

Comments (4)