Thursday, 17 December 2015

PREMIERE instruction manual - downloadable pdf

A near-300 page instruction book is available free via

Below: screenshot of the initial contents page

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

PREMIERE common issues and moving projects across computers

Just starting out with this, discovering some apparently common issues as we go:

  • won't render/save as the ScratchDisk location is inaccessible
  • uploaded files disappear between login sessions
  • previous editing appears to be lost
These all appear to be interlinked. I found a lot of key answers here.

This should be a one-time task, to change the default directories (where the programme stores files).

First: Set up a Premiere folder in your MyDocs (or My Videos).

Then: From the top menu, click through EDIT- PREFERENCES - GENERAL - SCRATCH DISKS

Change each of these into the folder you set up (in St G's terms that means the H drive, not the C drive where the folders are automatically set until you manually change them).

Then: Close Premiere and check your changes are still there when you re-open it.

Bit of a nuisance, but only a one-off task: click on BROWSE to reset the destination folder for each.


PREMIERE ELEMENTS 14 Getting started

The best way is to simply use the programme's self-contained guides - follow the screenshots below (after you've clicked on video editing from the launch window):
Click on GUIDED on the top menu

You will get a playable video and can skip using this menu

You can select the area you want guidance on


Tuesday, 8 December 2015


You're much better off using a Mac but if you are using a PC and this software, then its not so difficult to apply the green screen effect...
I've embedded a how-to video below; for most things you want to do, you will be able to find how-to videos or web pages. This video has 56 seconds of initial waffle (advice on how to use a green screen, not waffle if you haven't used it yet!); go straight to 0:56 here.

You can also find a guide I did on green screening in Final Cut Pro X here.


the following have pre-programmed a range of green screened (perfectly ironed/flattened/lit!) Xmas-themed backgrounds, or elements that can be added: snow, Xmas trees, Flash-style Santas...
Thanks to Paulina for suggesting these resources.

This user has several, such as...

There are others, such as 'Birmingham Vlogger':

And PixelBoom...

You can always search for more

Sunday, 6 December 2015


Anyone I've taught for a length of time will have heard me frequently explaining the importance of taking time to learn keyboard shortcuts, as video editing is such a time intensive task.

This morning I spot a post from the simply superb NoFilmSchool site sharing some keyboard maps, in this case for Premiere Pro. 

You can find the link below, but here's a short quote...
I often harp on the importance of keyboard shortcuts in editing, and for good reason. They will save you so much time in the long run.
Read the full article here.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

SHOOTS ten tips for a successful shoot

I'm sure there are plentiful more learned guides out there - and I'd always encourage reading video/film-makers' books (Alex Cox is very readable on his low-budget Indie shoots) - but these are ten simple bits of advice based on years of observing student filming, especially the common disasters that happen...

Friday, 9 October 2015

FCPX plug-ins

Budget limitations may mean you'll have to pay for it yourself, but do be aware there are many great plug-ins out there for Final Cut Pro X (and most major video editing suites).

We looked recently at a very specific example, as students looked to emulate aspects of some depeche Mode videos they particularly admired:
FINAL CUT PRO X CAMERA EMULATOR PLUGINAs raised when looking at these, you can emulate super-8 and 16mm (etc) cameras by purchasing FCPX plugins (this one is $50 - you may need to buy it yourself and carry edited clips from your own Mac to a school one).
[copied across from a post on Depeche Mode and the French New Wave style]

Saturday, 19 September 2015

GoPro Silver 4 user guides


If, like me, you'd never previously used one, even simply getting it out of its protective case is an initial challenge - it comes in the fully enclosed waterproof casing. This video got me over that hurdle...

GoPro Apps

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

WEBSITES Using Wix to build your band website

IN THIS POST: Guides and how-to's for using Wix to build your own band website, incorporating multiple top-linked pages and deep social media integration, plus e-commerce for merchandise and music sales (even if not ultimately connected to a card/payment account), search engine hits (SEO) and more specific techniques through YouTube guides. 
To view a range of student websites following the music promo package brief, see this post.
First up, perhaps uniquely, an advert...

You may not have heard of Wix before now (I hadn't until it was recently recommended to me), but it is a high profile, internationally popular website build option (they claim its used in 180 countries), reflected in the range of languages how-to YouTube videos come in. It fares well when compared to rivals. It operates a freemium model - you can access most things for free, but can pay for more options.
Wix manages to make intricate, fully-featured website design easy and intuitive - and there are plentiful online guides...

Monday, 24 August 2015

Green Screen shooting tips: TechRadar Movie Week

Lots of useful points in a short, digestible article from RechRadar, part of their Movie Week (all articles). Particularly good point on  striving for even lighting/avoiding shadow, as software might pick that up as a different colour and leave it in ... and nice tip on shooting blonde hair!!!
Read the article here.

Friday, 14 August 2015

App that assesses your photographs

There are lots of smartphone apps that can help you take, edit and assess photos and video; this is one that...

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

A history of GreenScreen

Green screen technology (more traditionally blue by the way!) has come on a long journey to where its at now, a typically converged technology now accessible on a typical desktop and most video editing suites, whether consumer, prosumer or professional - this article is a useful history of the technology.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

6 tips for fast improvements on photos

Good short, sharp article this. It uses Adobe LightRoom screenshots, but points out that these same tools are also found in Photoshop.
What I particularly like is that they actually explain what the tools/processes actually do.
Read full article here.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Courses and guides on DSLR cinema/photography

FutureLearn course - see below

This post has a few links for online courses and other resources (even ... books!) which will help you get to grips with (cinema)photography, and especially as constructed through using DSLR cameras.

Its no freebie ($150 or over £100), but this looks like a useful option to consider if you want to go deeper into cinematography than we can cover on the course. Having looked at the 5 day course materials, available to refer back to after completion, I'm tempted myself.
The blurb


Thursday, 16 July 2015

Downloading YouTube clips UPDATE

A SoundCloud site is detailed at the bottom.


OffLiberty provides a simple service: paste your link in the search bar, select audio or video and click on the result when processed to start the download.

1: Paste the link into the search bar, hit return

2: It will process...

 3: Left-click on the video or audio option (yellow box) to download

ClipConverter, which I've previously used, has an issue - it launches new windows which seek to install viruses.
So, another option:


I've tried it out just the once so far, but seems to work fine...
***use the website, DON'T install the browser add-on!!!***
I did that yesterday and my anti-virus caught a trojan. No issues with the website so far (6 months of using) though...


Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Final Cut: How to reverse or flip by 180 degrees

There is a straightforward reverse tool in FCPX that enables you to play a clip backwards. Flipping the clip 180 degrees is something different - if a character is looking left, flipping it means they're now looking right.

This is a great option for music video in particular. It can be used to effectively create additional shot variety. It can also be used for comic (or simply wow factor) effect when using more than one layer of a character or action.

I'll link to a student post when it becomes available, as this tool has been used to great effect for one of the videos from the 2015 Music Video Day (Christina Aguilera's Candyman), the viral-style green-screened video we previously would have shot on Creative Arts Evening.

Here's where I found the really simple (but ingenious!) instructions on how to do so - as the site seems to be partially blocked by the web filter, I'll include a screenshot below, but it is worth checking out the page, and maybe looking for other tips on this site.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Best laptop for a student to buy?

Another TechRadar list, with the advantage that they keep updating such lists.
The 13" Macbook Pro features in there - a word of caution. I've edited two 90 minute documentary films, one on a 13" and one on a 15" Mac Pro. I ended up in physiotherapy after scrunching over the 13" for several intensive weeks of near non-stop editing; the screen size necessitates constant zooming in and out and resizing Final Cut windows.
The 15" does too! If you're able to connect to a monitor at home, do so! The portable screen expander I blogged on yesterday might be a big help too (haven't tried one out myself).
The 13" is MUCH better value than the 15", but that small screen size is a big issue for video/image editing!
I've blogged separately on Macbooks - just make sure you get minimum 8GB of RAM!
Article link below the line

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Gadget to extend your laptop screen

Neat gadget that allows you to extend your laptop screen - very tempted myself:

DSLR buying guides

It's just one among many, but I like the fact that the TechRadar reviews are kept well updated. Links below the line
UPDATE:  I've gathered quite a few recent (2015) lists of recommended DLSRs, including some focussed specifically on video quality, below...

Thursday, 28 May 2015

SD card guide

You need a Class 10 card for the likes of the Sony A58 - check carefully before buying...

Does it have to be Photoshop?

For now just the one link on this, but its a good one, bang up to date and with in-depth reviews linked to the shortlisted options.

TechRadar still rate Pshop top, but only if paired with LightRoom for souped up cataloguing and more.

They also highly recommend other MUCH cheaper options, including a brand NEW Mac only programme that I might well look at as a Photoshop alternative. Its £40 license is indefinite too, no upgrade fees ever (I think!). See pic below.

The key downside, to me, to any diverging from an industry leader comes with a relative lack of online tutorials (being less prepared for a professional work environment is another), but industry standings are prone to change. 

Read the full article here.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Buying camera tips from Creative Live

A really useful site, aimed at amateur, enthusiast, prosumer and professional photo/cinematographers. The article hyperlink and an embedded video from this are below the line

Sunday, 24 May 2015

SOFTWARE FREEWARE Lightworks used by Hollywood so...

Freeware video editing software ...

SOFTWARE Freeware video editors for home Eval work

Either to produce basic material you can add polish and sophistication to with a superior editor in school, or to simply be able to produce vodcast or Eval vids when not in school, there are a number of free software worth considering

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Final Cut Library Manager


...and time-saving

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Rotate a pdf

Just had to figure this out so thought I'd share it. You need the full (Pro) Acrobat to save rotated files, but there is a free (limit 10MB) site that allows you do this and save the file...