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Whats new in Final Cut Pro 6: Smooth Cam Filter

Excerpted from Diana 's new DVD Tutorial ?What?s New In Final Cut Pro 6? By Diana Weynand

Were all familiar with the ?shaky camera style of shooting used in many television shows. But if you had to hand hold your camera, or grab a shot on the fly, and didnt really mean for it to shake noticeably, now you can apply the Smooth Cam filter, new to Final Cut Pro 6.  This clip I have opened in the viewer is a little bit shaky, especially after the camera finishes its tilt up.   Im going to add the Smooth Cam filter to reduce that shake.  You can click the Effects menu > Video Filters > and then the Video category to find the Smooth Cam filter.

As soon as you apply this filter, Final Cut immediately begins analyzing the clip. Notice the red status overlay around the clip indicating the analysis is in process, and a progress bar appears in the Background Processes window. 

This gives you information, such as how long it will take to analyze this clip; the number of clips being analyzed, etc.  At any time, you can pause this process, resume it, or stop it altogether.  Analyzing this short clip isnt going to take that long. But if you have a longer clip, or a higher resolution clip, you can simply let Final Cut analyze the clip in the background, while you continue editing.  When the clip has been analyzed, the red outline around the clip goes away, as does the progress bar.

In the finished version, youll see a much steadier shot during and after the tilt up. Smooth Cam doesnt disturb camera moves it only enhances them. So what does the Smooth Cam filter actually do?  Like other filters, you can select the Enable checkbox to toggle the Smooth Cam filter off or on.  When you toggle off the Smooth Cam filter, and look at the image in the Filter tab, you see that the image is actually zoomed in.

Thats because Final Cut compensates for a jerky move by pulling or scaling the image in the opposite direction, which creates a black edge around the image. In order not to see those black edges, Final Cut enlarges the image as it repositions the clip. In the Actual Scale area, you see how much Final Cut has enlarged the image: 114% in this instance.

In several of the filters in FC 6, youll notice a new MIX filter parameter. Changing this slider allows you to mix the original image with the filtered image. In this case, when we change the mix and look at the clip, you can really see how much the Smooth Cam filter did to improve this image.

If you want to finesse the filter more, you can make changes to the other parameters. The Transition Smooth parameter adjusts the movement along the X and Y axis, for left, right, up and down movements. The Rotation Smooth parameter adjusts the rotation around the center point of the image. And the Scale Smooth adjusts the forward or backward movement of the camera along the Z axis. Notice that by changing these parameters, you also affect the overall scale of the image. So if you dont want your image to be scaled as much as you see in the Scale amount, you can always adjust these parameters lower as a compromise.

You can also analyze clips from the Browser. First, add the Smooth Cam column to the Browser layout.

Now select the clip or clips you want to analyze, Control-click/ or right-click / the Smooth Cam field and choose Run Analysis.

Final Cut will start analyzing the first clip, and put the others in queue to be analyzed. At any point, you can choose to pause the analysis, or stop it altogether. You can also run an analysis on an entire sequence.

If you go to the media file in the Finder window, notice that the Smooth Cam data is saved in a file along with the media file.

Keep in mind, when you apply a Smooth Cam filter, its affecting the original video within the QT media file. If you want to add additional filters or change motion parameters, do that after you apply the Smooth Cam filter.

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Diana Weynand is co founder of Weynand Training International,

Diana Weynand is author of the Apple Pro Training Series book, Final Cut Pro 7. She is co-founder of Weynand Training International, a Gold Level Apple Authorized Training Center that offers hands-on classes on Apple Pro Applications around the country as well as customized on-site training. She is also one of the creators of iKeysToGo Your Personal Shortcut Assistant in the Palm of your Hand! - a series of iPhone and iPod Touch applications for Final Cut Pro 7, Photoshop CS4, iPhoto, Word, etc. These Apps are available on the iTunes App Store. For more information, check out her website, www.weynand.com, call her at 818.995.1719 or email at [email protected].

Related Keywords:NLE, final Cut Pro, smooth cam, shaky camera, video editing


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