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After Effects Puppet Tool – One You May Have Missed

Want to learn how to turn photos into animation? Use the After Effects Puppet Tool. This is an older tutorial, but one of my best free ones.


Boston DSLR Meetup Decemeber 9

'll be presenting a new class in Boston on December 9. They've got a great event planned with some awesome prizes:
  • Adobe Creative Suite CS5
  • Drobo Pro
  • Multiple Copies of From Still to Motion
This is a great event (and your chances of winning a great prize are very high).

DSLR Workflows – From Pre-Production to Post
Join Richard Harrington, a Director and Editor as he shares practical workflows for DSLR projects.  Seems a lot of attention gets spent on shooting DSLR video, but there's a lot more to a complete production. Learn essential planning techniques including planning for storage, synchronization, and gear selection. Rich will also demystify post production with a particular emphasis on native editing.  Learn how to transcode less and edit faster (no matter which NLE you choose).  

Rich is a certified instructor for both Apple and Adobe and offers practical advice for DSLR productions at all stages of a project.  Rich will also share thoughts on a modern post workflow including new storage and archival options using Drobo.  Rich is the co-author of "From Still to Motion" as well as numerous other books that have shaped the video industry like "Photoshop for Video," "Video Made on a Mac," and "Final Cut Studio On the Spot."


Smart Objects – 199 UAP

Instructor Richard Harrington explores this great way to look at objects nondestructively.

Be sure to also check out the new book – Understanding Adobe Photoshop CS5

Chris Fenwick Chat on Monday

A really savvy editor I know will be hosting an online chat this Monday. He has been making the move from Final Cut Pro to Premiere Pro. Chris has lots of opinions... but they are very well informed. Here are the key details:

Chris Fenwick will be our special guest in the planet5D HDSLR chat room on Monday November 29th at 8pm Eastern (02:00 GMT Tuesday). Some of you may know Chris as he has been on the blog before – but he’s recently been cutting some work for Shane Hurlbut, assisting Adobe with teaching folks about moving from Final Cut Pro over to Adobe Premier, and he’s also the co-host on the Digital Convergence podcast on
Chris is an editor and will be coming online to answer any questions you might have ab
out Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere or moving from one tool to the other. Chris is a user of both tho is recently advocating for Adobe Premiere because of the ability to edit HDSLR footage without transcoding. He also sent along these videos about switching to Premiere that you might be interested in.


Giving Thanks

I just wanted to make a quick list of people who've helped me in my professional life... this list is not complete (and is being written in a moving car). Thanks for all the help through the years.

  • Scott Bourne
  • Robbie Carman
  • Amy Delouise
  • Michelle Gallina
  • Larry Hawk
  • Serena Herr
  • Karyn Johnson
  • Scott Kelby
  • Craig Kornmesser
  • Ben Kozuch
  • Dave Legg
  • Ron Lindeboom
  • Dave Moser
  • John Pascuzzi
  • Nancy Peterson
  • Paul Temme
  • Jack Tow
  • Mark Weiser

Thanks again... you let me do what I do... and have made me better in some way.


Why Video is a Four-Letter Word to Many Photogs

It turns out that a lot of photographers are getting screwed. Photo buyers are demanding video. Clients are expecting professional photographers to just flip a switch in the camera and start delivering great video. Seems the age-old fallacy is kicking in again, just because the same machine can do several things doesn’t mean the operator can do them all well.

That’s not a dig at photographers. My computer has the capacity to do lots of things that I’d never even attempt (let alone sell to my clients). This view is unrealistic and disrespectful. I find it deeply disappointing that talented individuals are being asked to work under conditions that will lead to failure.

How do you fight unrealistic professional situations? Through client-education and personal development seems to work best. I’ve faced similar problems in the past... desktop publishing, nonlinear video editing, heck... even digital photography. All industries continue. But there needs to be changes and compromise... by both the clients and the working professionals.

I believe that education is the key to an industry evolving. That those looking to embrace a new art (as well as those who fear it) would be able to make their best career decisions through an extensive look at this emerging art. I do not judge those standing on the sidelines; rather, I recommend a deep exploration of the possibilities and opportunities.


Understanding Adobe Photoshop Episode 200 – Live Show Special

I'll be hosting a special episode of Understanding Adobe Photoshop podcast on Saturday, December 4. Look for more details soon... but we'll have a live show with a bunch of top tips. I've also started lining up some prizes for the show... so you'll want to tune in.

Leave a comment below if you have any requests for topics to be covered. We'll squeeze in a bunch of techniques (and even take requests).

Thanks again for 5 great years of podcasts and feedback.


Final Cut Pro's Dividing Line

When dragging tracks in the Timeline, where you drag is as important as what you drag. Careless dragging may result in an unintended overwrite edit when you intended an insert edit. If you look closely at the Timeline, you’ll notice that it’s divided by a thin gray line. When dragging, look to see which region you enter to determine the edit type.

When dragging from the Viewer or a bin, use these tips:
  • Dragging to the upper-third of the track results in an insert edit.
  • Dragging to the lower two-thirds of the track results in an overwrite edit.

When dragging in the Timeline, use these tips:
  • Dragging in the Timeline horizontally results in an overwrite edit by default.
  • Dragging in the Timeline horizontally results in an insert or swap edit when you hold down the Option key.
  • Dragging in the Timeline vertically results in an overwrite edit by default.
  • Dragging in the Timeline vertically results in an insert edit when you press the Option key after you start to drag.
  • Pressing the Option key and then dragging in the Timeline vertically results in a cloned copy added to the Timeline via an insert edit.
  • Pressing the Option and Shift keys and then dragging in the Timeline vertically results in a cloned copy added to the Timeline directly above the clip


Puppet Warp - 198 UAP

Instructor Richard Harrington takes a look at a brand new tool to Photoshop CS5, that allows you to flexibly distort and manipulate images.

Be sure to also check out the new book – Understanding Adobe Photoshop CS5

Shot Ratio is the Key to Profitability

In video, its important to keep the ratio of how much footage you shoot to how much footage you use as low as possible. This ratio is the biggest influencer on maintaining profit.

More footage means:
  • more storage – Hard drives cost money
  • more time searching – Time spent searching for the right shot costs you money
  • more time loading or transcoding – Even fast machines still take a long while to transcode

I always recommend rehearsing your shot if possible, then firing a few takes. Be sure to cut camera between takes as well so you can have shorter clips. If you're using a slate, hold it up at the start of each shot (then you can clearly see it in the clip thumbnail, which speeds up browsing).

You need to remember time equals money. More time searching means less time editing. More time recorded means more backups and hard drives. Look out for your best interests and you'll see more profitability.

For more on the fusion of photography and video, check out From Still to Motion.


Creating Prints from Video Frames

How do you take a great still photo with your video-enabled DSLR camera? That's easy, shoot in photo mode. You'll get the best quality and even the option of using a raw format. But what happens if you've got the perfect shot, except you're in the middle of recording a video clip? The good news is that you can export stills directly from a piece of video. There's just a few limitations.

Resolution limitations of video

You might be thinking to yourself “Isn't video really low resolution?” Yes, when compared to the native size of photos taken with your DSLR, video pales in comparison. But for many uses, such as web or newspaper, you can get enough pixels out.
Currently the highest resolution you’ll get exporting a still from a piece of video that originated on a DSLR is 1920 x 1080 or approximately 2.1 megapixels. While you aren’t going to make any panoramic prints of those frames you can still find a lot of great uses for them. If printing at 300 ppi, you can extract a frame that is about 6.5 X 3.5 inches.


An Interview with Rich on the Business of Photography and Video

I recently had a chance to be a guest on the Typical Shutterbug Podcast. We talked about photography, video, software, and learning

You can hear the show here for free –

Be sure to check out some of the other great episodes too.


Free Transform Command - 197 UAP

Instructor Richard Harrington takes a look at a command that interactively allows you to distort, size, skew, and reposition an image.

Be sure to also check out the new book – Understanding Adobe Photoshop CS5

Self Portrait – San Jose, CA


A Good Video Works Without Picture

Another way of saying this... audio is king! I can’t emphasize enough recording great sound is essential. Invest in a good audio recorder and plug microphones directly into that. A device like a Zoom H4N is a great dedicated audio recorder. Until DSLR camera manufacturers are will to raise the cost of camera bodies to cover real audio inputs (like XLR connections) you’ll still need to go this route.

Syncing up sound is simple if you use a clapboard (a large spike appears on both the camera audio and the synced sound). You can also use tools like
Plural Eyes (available for Final Cut Pro, Sony Vegas, and soon Premiere Pro).

One more important piece of audio advice. Once you’ve edited your video rough cut... close your eyes and just listen to the edit. You should be engaged in the story without the use of visuals or transitions. A good edit works as a solid radio piece... adding pictures and graphics will only make it better.


The Real Way Zoom and Enhance Works

For those in the film, video, or photo industry – CLASSIC!


Content Aware Fill / Scale / Heal in Photoshop CS5

Learn about all three content aware tools in Photoshop CS5. Easily remove objects and blemishes with just a few clicks. From the new book Understanding Adobe Photoshop CS5 by Richard Harrington.

Be sure to also check out the new book – Understanding Adobe Photoshop CS5

Perspective Cropping - 196 UAP

Instructor Richard Harrington takes a look at a new cropping technique that allows you to essentially remove distortion from an image.

Be sure to also check out the new book – Understanding Adobe Photoshop CS5

My Advice if You are New to Creative COW

It’s impossible to know all the answers or even who to ask Fortunately there’s a lot of great forums for interacting with video pros. I offer a few simple pieces of advice when participating forums (the ones I hang out in are at Creative COW).
  • Lurk a little. Get the hang of the tone and community first. It’s just like a party, don’t walk through the door and start yelling.
    Use the search function first. If you ask a question that has already been recently answered recently, you’re going to feel ignored.
    Post short questions. Nothing turns off a potential responder than the feeling that they’re taking a graduate school exam. Eight-part essay questions are fun for no one. Keep your questions short and direct.
    Give context. Let people know details about the system or gear you’re using, software versions, etc. Even smart geeks aren’t mind readers.
    Give a little, get a lot. If you only ask questions in a forum, you’re going to have bad karma. Most forums have unpaid hosts who do their best to answer questions. Helping out is good for the health of the forum and community.

Go Figure (Online Safety Version)

A recent video we produced at
RHED Pixel for the Family Online Safety Institute. Some important information for parents and educators (and good animated typography for the design crowd).


How to Create a Master File for Video

For many, getting footage into their edit application is the easy part. It's getting the footage out that becomes tricky. While each editing application will all have its own unique steps for exporting a project, the process is pretty standard. Use these steps to create a master file.

  1. Identify the final sequence. This sequence should be what is called "picture-locked" meaning that no additional changes will take place to the sequence.
  2. Make sure that the whole sequence is rendered. Click in the timeline and choose Select All, then render the clips.
  3. Mark and In point at the start of the footage you want, then mark an Out point at the end of the range. For most editing tools, you can use the keyboard shortcuts I and O for In and Out respectively.
  4. Look in the file menu or application menu for an option to export the file. Choose this option.
  5. Export the file using the same high quality settings that you were editing with, meaning the same frame size, frame rate and codec.
  6. Save the file to a location of your choosing, keep in mind that the file you export will be large so choose a location that has enough storage space.

After exporting the file you now have your master file that you can make compressions from, pull stills from or archive.


Nondestructive Cropping - 195 UAP

Instructor Richard Harrington explores some advanced options with the crop tool.

Motion Graphics Logo Animation

A free sample chapter from Motion Graphics with Adobe Creative Suite 5 Studio Techniques

If you've been in motion graphics for any amount of time, most likely you've been asked to animate a logo. Often, this is a kind of "right of passage" for young motion graphics artists. Unfortunately, so is dealing with not receiving the most optimum file formats to work with. Even if the stars align and we somehow end up with the proper files in their preferred format, logos also come with rules. Usually supplied by the original logo designer, these rules specify how the logo is to appear to best represent its brand. In this chapter we'll examine various workflows to help you find those opportunities where others might find difficulty.

Read the whole article here –

Free HDSLR Editing Class

More and more Final Cut editors are using Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 to make them more efficient. If you’re wondering if Adobe Premiere Pro is really worth the switch, join Adobe in this four-part web series featuring Final Cut editors and how and why they use Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.
You’ll learn the real story on Adobe Premiere Pro’s Mercury Playback Engine, what it means to edit DSLR footage natively, and how you can remove bottlenecks in your pipeline when working with Adobe After Effects and Photoshop. We’ll follow up the series with a Q&A session so you can get your questions answered.
November 16, 2010, 12-1 PM PST
HDSLR editing in Adobe Premiere Pro with Richard Harrington Join Richard Harrington, author of From Still to Motion, as he shows you why he uses Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 for editing HDSLR footage. Rich will share his post-production techniques and editing strategies in Adobe Premiere Pro for HDSLR color correction, audio syncing, and camera calibration. You'll discover how to harness the professional-quality tools in CS5 Production Premium to natively edit, color correct, mix audio, and publish to the web and Blu-ray Disc. Register on Facebook: 

New Web Video Book

The staff of RHED Pixel just finished updating our web video book. This book significantly expands our original book on podcasting. We've added coverage of lots of brand new things. Here's the official listing:

Want to create professional quality web video that stands out in a crowded playing field? Gain a complete understanding of the opportunity, limitations, production, and distribution process with this book. Step up from the flip-cam experience with this solid introduction to professional planning and production techniques, ensuring that your video meets the same standards you set for every other element in your communication program.

  • Follow the RHED Pixel team as they detail every step of the way with engaging illustrations that demonstrate the process from concept to distribution including:
  • Preproduction planning of concept, scope, budget, and casting
  • Web-specific techniques for audio, lighting, and videography
  • Detailed overview of editing and encoding of web video
  • Effective branding and storytelling aids including b-roll, images and motion graphics
  • Distribution alternatives including HTML5, Flash, podcasting, RSS, and website hosting
  • Effective techniques to promote and monetize your video

Now available for pre-order.


Photoshop's Black and White Adjustment Layer

Learn how to get the very best Black and White photo conversions in Photoshop


Power Cropping – 194 UAP

Instructor Richard Harrington shows you how to get an image exactly sized the way you need it.

Alpha Channels - Photoshop for Video

In this Adobe Photoshop podcast tutorial, Richard Harrington teaches how to make an alpha channel based upon the luminance of an image. Distributed by Tubemogul.

Premiere Pro and Photoshop CS5 Workflow for DSLR Video

Adobe has reposted my online workshop on how Premiere Pro and Photoshop Extended work together. This is a full 1-hour class and is absolutely free. The original had a few audio issues... this one is totally clean. Enjoy!

In this workshop you'll learn post-production techniques to ensure a smooth edit with your HDSLR footage. Learn strategies for color correction, audio syncing, and lens correction. You'll also discover how to browse, load, and quickly organize your footage for editing. Finally, you'll discover how to harness the professional-quality tools in Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 Photoshop Extended CS5 to natively edit, color correct, and publish video.

This workshop is taught by Richard Harrington, co-author of
From Still to Motion: A photographer's guide to creating video with your DSLR.

Watch it here –

© 2010 Richard Harrington LLC