Film Zone

Cinemascope Toolkit ver.1.2 has been released. The Crop Guides popup now displays one of three options:Letterbox, Film Zone, Letterbox and Film Zone. The Film Zone is essentially a set of colored cropping guides less the letterbox matte(s). Viewing the underlying clip with the Film Zone displayed on it’s own makes it easy to view what is being cropped. Also, the Film Zone display works well when the underlying clip is very dark at the top and/or bottom of the frame. You can set the Film Zone color to orange (default), black, or white.

Also new in this release is the capability to reposition the clip manually by clicking and dragging the center point object (Drag Target). When doing so the clip positioning sliders in the EFX UI will update accordingly.

Here is a look at the new controls:

In the image matrix below you can see the top clip was repositioned (and scaled). The visible Film Zone clearly displays the 2.35:1 frame. In the middle image the 2.35:1 Safe Zones are displayed along with the Film Zone. Note the clips reduced opacity. The bottom image is the cropped output.

Please note you must set the FCP X Player Background to Black when using Cinemascope Toolkit. Do this in the application Preferences/Playback. When you switch on the Safe Zones display the clip opacity is reduced. This provides a clear view of the zones. If the player background is set to Checkerboard, there’s nothing behind the clip – it’s transparent. The clip’s opacity reduction will be prevelant and this feature will be useless.

Also – I designed the matting system to be independent of the clip’s image layer. Any agressive grading or exposure adjustments will have no effect on the visual state of the letterbox matte(s).

-paul.

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Safe Zones

Cinemascope Toolkit ver.1.1 was released yesterday. I added the ability to display 2.35:1 Safe Zones (Yellow or Blue) to clip(s) where the filter is applied. When the Safe Zones option is switched on the underlying clips’ opacity is reduced to about 30%.

Below I use the Yellow Safe Zones for better visibility.

The Rotation parameter is also new. Instead of publishing the default Motion circular knob object to control this effect I used a slider. Moving it in either direction rotates the video image CW/CCW up to +/- 20°. Keep in mind you may need to adjust the scale of the image to compensate for the rotation of the frame. It all depends on how you decide to frame your image within the letterbox matte(s).

I needed to export a still of the shot below @2.35:1. Notice in the top example the image framing is off. Pulling the Rotation slider slightly to the left fixed the problem. The exported (cropped) image looks much better.

One slight issue with this tool is that it is an “Effect.” This means it is applied on a clip by clip basis. Not a problem. However if for example you switch on the Safe Zones and reduce the clip’s Exposure/Highlights – the visibility of the Safe Zones are equally affected. If the toolkit was built as a Title or Generator, this would not be the case. OTOH Titles and Generators add additional clutter in your timeline. Also, any image manipulation to the underlying video (scale, position, etc.) from within the Title or Generator would be applied globally to everything below it. Obviously a problem. The ability to apply this kit as an Effect makes it much more useful …

-paul.

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Cinemascope Toolkit …

I’ve released my Cinemascope Toolkit. The package includes a basic 2.35:1 matte (“Cinemascope Crop”) created in Motion and wrapped in a FCP X Effect. The Effect supports video Scale control and X/Y positioning. I’ve also included four Compressor Presets that output cropped MPEG-4/H.264 videos. Frame things up in FCP X and output using one of the presets for 2.35:1 aspect ratios.

The Installer is hard coded in Objective-C. All asset routing will be handled automatically when you run the installer. The Effect will be installed in a Matte Category under a Widescreen Theme in the FCP X Effects Browser. The Compressor Presets will be located in the Settings window under the Custom/CinemaScope Presets – Settings Group.

You can edit whatever is defined by the installer. For example I did not edit the naming convention that I use for my Compressor Presets. They all begin with the first four letters of my name. And of course the preset parameters can be edited to suit your needs.

You can customize the FCP Category and Theme as well. After installing the toolkit – pull the Cinemascope Crop folder out of the ~/Movies/Motion Templates/Effects/Mattes folder. Use my toMotion application to customize.

Download Cinemascope Toolkit

-paul.

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