Changes in 2013

After 2 years of freelancing in post in Boston, I will officially be a full-time video producer/editor in Boston for Weber Shandwick starting this Monday, Feb 4th.

I’m a bit nervous as I’m going to have to be way more client facing then I ever have been before and there will be a lot more overhead to deal with being on staff. I keep thinking though about the quote I heard once (but am not sure who it’s attributable to) “When you come to a fork in the road, take it” and then I saw this tweet today: “Be scared. Do it anyways.” twitter.

So this is me “doing it anyways”. I’m excited that my hustling for two years has paid off and that I will have a lot more stability then I have over the past few years, and I’m most excited about finally being a part of a team. Hopefully I will have the time and ideas to write more about the work I will be doing over the next year with this new agency, as I have not used this space the way I would love too.

Here’s to a fantastic 2013 filled with a lot of doing it anyways.

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FCP Error Fixed: “This project is unreadable or may be too new for this version of Final Cut”

So recently, I finally decided to make the plunge to an SSD. I have been eyeing one for a while, but they were far too expensive for the past couple years. But recently Amazon had a deal of the day, and I got a Samsung 830 256gb SSD for HALF PRICE. Yes please! When I saw this awesome deal, I immediately pulled the trigger on one and also bought a data doubler from OWC. I installed it and believe me, it absolutely screams! ~400mbs write speeds and 475mbs read!

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A couple days afterwards, I noticed that whenever I was trying to open up project files (that I had worked on successfully the week before) in FCP7, it would throw up the error “This project is unreadable or may be too new for this version of Final Cut” and wouldn’t let me load the project at all. This was very troublesome and concerning, and none of the normal steps I usually take in times of FCP trouble would fix it (blowing away preferences, repairing permissions, PRAM resets, even reinstalling FCP wouldn’t do it. But thankfully, I have finally found out exactly how to fix it (or at least work around it).

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Here’s what happened. When I installed the SSD, I made a bootable backup of my hard drive using Carbon Copy Cloner. I Installed the SSD in the HD bay, and then took my DVD drive out of my 2011 Macbook Pro and installed the HD & Data Doubler into the DVD bay. Then I booted from the HD in the DVD bay and made another bootable backup of my system onto the SSD. I then symlinked most of my important data-write-intensive folders (My editing cache, Desktop, Downloads, Movies, Pictures, Music, and Mobile Data folders among others) on the SSD on to the hard drive.

I did all of this so that I could get my computer back and running exactly the way I left it and I would not have to spend tons of time, re-installing files and applications on my laptop and could start working right away.

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What this meant is that my user account on the SSD was for all intents and purposes exactly the same name as on the original HD. The reason the FCP7 would not open my project files and was giving me the error “This project is unreadable or may be too new for this version of Final Cut”, drew from this fact. 

From reading on line, it looks like there is a bug (or a feature? I’m not sure which.) where Final Cut Pro uses absolute paths within the project file to point to footage. Because my user account had exactly the same name as the old one but had a different HD (or in this case SSD) name, FCP thought that the project was unreadable and wouldn’t open it because the absolute paths were off.

In other cases where you are using a different user account name, Final Cut Pro normally ignores the incorrect paths when the project’s user account doesn’t match, and tries to relink the project files.

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So the easiest way to resolve the “project is unreadable” error is as follows:

  1. Open up the User & Groups pane in System Preferences
  2. Create a administrator user account with a different name than what was originally used to create the project
  3. Log into this new administrator account.
  4. Open the project and reconnect the media. (and just to be safe I would recommend exporting an XML of the project right now)
  5. Now you can log out of this new user account you just made and go to your normal user account and work as you normally do. FCP should open up the project file just fine and you will just need to relink the files once again.

Voilà! Hope this helps!

The FCP audio pan bug that has been hounding me for the last year (and why it actually isn’t a bug)

In my job as an editor, I find that a good deal of the time, the footage that I work on is mainly shot on DSLRs. Now when you shoot on DLSRs as you may know, you usually don’t have the option of shooting good in-camera audio as most of the time DSLRs such as the Canon 5D or 7D don’t have XLR audio inputs which allow you to capture synced audio to the DSLR from boom mics or wireless lavs. What you normally have to do is use a sound recording device such as the Sound Devices 744t or the Zoom H4N. Once you get into your edit bay you then have to either manually sync the sound to the picture (hopefully by using a clapboard to mark each shot if the production was smart about it), or buy using a piece of software like Pluraleyes to (hopefully) automatically scan your audio files and your video files and sync them by the shape of the waveform in each clip.

Now this is all well and good, but the problem I run into all the time is that most of the time with sound recording devices (like the ones I mentioned above), is that usually the audio clips are recorded have multiple linked tracks with different sources on each track (i.e. track 1 is the boom mic, and track 2 is the wireless lav) or sometimes there will be four linked audio tracks that are just duplicates of each other. Depending on the video clip the audio clip goes with, sometimes the boom mic track is unusable, or the wireless lav is overblown.


Here is the issue. When you have a audio clip that is comprised of two audio tracks and you only need one of the tracks

I will unlink the audio tracks

delete the offending track

duplicate the good track in the place of the offending track

You always want one of the tracks to be panned-left and the other to be panned right.

then relink the (now) duplicate good tracks together into a usable stereo pair

The bug that has been eating away at me for the last year or so is that ONCE you link the tracks together, they both get automatically re-panned to be -1 or panned to the left even though the individual tracks were panned left and right (basically FCP doesn’t seem to save the state of the individually panned tracks).


Well, tonight I realized why this suposed bug that has been eating away at me for the past year and a half isn’t actually a bug and was just a occurrence of my limited knowledge of how audio actually works in FCP.

How stereo audio actually works in FCP is as follows: stereo clips are made up of two different and separate (i.e. discreet) audio tracks that are grouped together into a stereo pair. This allows the levels of both tracks to be adjusted at the same time, keeping them in sync with each other.

However, they are also panned hard right and hard left in order to keep the two tracks routed separately from each other, and then sent out unmixed to your computer speakers. This is because panning both tracks to the center would actually mix the two channels together, creating a mono mixture to the speakers. The idea of this hard panning is to keep the tracks that the stereo pair is comprised of completely isolated, yet at the same time also be controllable.

What this means is that when I duplicate a good track and link those two tracks together to create a stereo pair, I want one of them to be the left track and one to be the right track. But if FCP sees the original track that I duplicated the new one from as a Left track. Then when I duplicate that left track again and link up those tracks into a stereo pair FCP sees them both as a left tracks (because they are duplicates) and hard pans both of them left.

I hope this helps out anyone who is having the same problem as I was for the last year. Thanks for reading.

This is why I love Apple.


Introducing iPad 2. It’s everything we believe technology should be.

Ideas & Hustling

I’ve had a reoccurring thought for the past year or so as I try to make it in the film industry and that thought is that I should write more. I’ve finally decided that I am going to make a go of it and put this together.

I’m hoping that this will end up being a place to put all of the interesting and helpful things that I find as I work my way up as an editor. I was using Tumblr for that but as the search is irrevocably broken and with no signs of change this will give me an opportunity to finally mess around and learn WordPress at the same time. Yay!