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By Nicholas Brazzi | Wednesday, October 23, 2013

First Look: Mac OS X Mavericks Essential Training

Mac OS X Mavericks

You may have heard the news. Mac OS X Mavericks, the new version of Apple’s desktop operating system, was released yesterday.

Of course, lynda.com will release a brand new full-length Mac OS X Mavericks Essential Training course very soon—but we’re so excited about Mavericks that we’re sharing two movies from the first chapter of the course right now on lynda.com, and anyone can watch it for free. Learn how to set up your Mavericks system, from installing the OS and getting your peripherals installed to navigating keyboard shortcuts and trackpad gestures.

For our blog readers, here are a couple of the videos from that first-look chapter. The first one takes you step by step through the installation process of upgrading your computer to Mavericks.

By Nicholas Brazzi | Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Learn Color Grading for Locations and Times of Day

The Art of Color Correction

This week, we launched Color Grading for Locations and Times of Day, the second course in Simon Walker’s The Art of Color Correction series. As we were recording this course, a few brilliant pieces of wisdom fell out of Simon’s mouth that I want to share with you. These topics also come up in the course, but I want to bring extra attention to them because they really got me excited. I can’t wait to put some of these techniques into practice on my own projects.

By Nicholas Brazzi | Friday, June 14, 2013

Microsoft releases Office Mobile for the iPhone

This morning, Microsoft made a long-awaited announcement: Office Mobile for the iPhone is now available on the App Store, allowing Office 365 subscribers to view and edit Word, Powerpoint, and Excel documents directly on their iPhones. As long as your documents are synced with a Microsoft SkyDrive or SharePoint account, you can now work with those files anywhere. All of your changes are tagged with your name and you can even leave in-line comments, which is fantastic for collaborating with teams on your documents.

Although Office Mobile has been out for a while on Windows Phone, iPhone users can now get in on the Office 365 action as well. Take a look at these two movies to get going with Office Mobile and if you’re not already up-to-date on Office 365, we also recommend watching David Rivers’ “Up and Running with Office 365” course to get current with the new features and functionality of Office 365.

Office Mobile for Office 365 iPhone app set up

By Nicholas Brazzi | Thursday, June 13, 2013

Learn The Art of Color Correction: Artistic Color Grading on the Timeline

Last week, I wrote a blog post explaining why I find color correction so exciting, and why it’s often overlooked. Now it’s time to dive into the Art of Color Correction.

Simon Walker’s new course The Art of Color Correction: Artistic Color Grading on the Timeline looks at color correction as a storytelling tool and asks the question: How can color corrections help you communicate an emotional message? To answer it, Simon turns to people who built their life’s work around studying color, light, and shading—artists like Renoir, da Vinci, van Gogh, and even Edward Hopper.

Taking inspiration from some of the best painters in history, this course offers tips on deciding which color palettes and lighting schemes to apply to your video or film. Find out, for example, what you can learn from Rembrandt’s chiaroscuro technique to create tension in a scene.

The course starts with early Renaissance frescos by Michelangelo and Botticelli to demonstrate color saturation and contrast. Next it jumps to the heart of the Renaissance to learn how to work with limited palettes as da Vinci did, and create rich theatrical looks like Rubens. Visit with Impressionists Renoir and Degas to play with sunlight and shadow, and then create some romantic color styles. Finally, consider the work of colorists Picasso and Hopper to see how colors can affect your story.

We think you’ll enjoy how this course explores the history of visual art to help you make strong, effective decisions about your video and film production style.

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By Nicholas Brazzi | Thursday, June 06, 2013

Learn The Art of Color Correction with Simon Walker

The Art of Color Correction

As a video editor, I find color correction one of the most exciting areas of video post-production. I consider it an invisible art—vitally important, but most viewers have no idea that it happens at all.

So what is color correction, and why is it so important? The easy answer is that it’s a manipulation of the color in an image during post-production. Usually color correction is performed to maintain a consistency in color tones throughout a film or video. But very often, manipulation of color can also be used as a storytelling device. Films like The Matrix, Traffic, and O Brother Where Art Thou? are great examples of films that used a unique color treatment as a major storytelling element. Color correction is a standard process in filmmaking and video production, and easily as important to a production’s quality as sound and lighting. The lack of color correction is a common reason that amateur video can look low quality or unfinished.

Like most tasks in video production, color correction requires practice and planning. How do you learn it? First, learn to color correct for consistency across your project. Chances are, you didn’t shoot all of your scenes at the same location, time, or with the same lighting setup—and as a result, the color tones in your shots may be different. I recommend starting with one of the many courses on lynda.com that cover color correction and editing applications (listed below).

Next you should learn to create specific creative styles with color correction. Although the courses listed below get into stylistic topics, they focus mostly on software tools and correcting for shot-to-shot consistency. So I’m pleased to announce that next week we’ll be launching the first course in a new series titled The Art of Color Correction with author Simon Walker. Simon brings along some high-profile teaching partners: Da Vinci, Van Gogh, Renoir, and Hopper. I hope I’ve piqued your interest. I’ll post again when that course releases; until then, check out one of the courses below to prime yourself for The Art of Color Correction.

Color correction toolsPremiere Pro and Adobe CS users:Up and Running with SpeedGradeColor Correction with Premiere Pro CS5.5Premiere Pro: Color Correction and Enhancement

Final Cut X and Final Cut Studio users:Color Correction in Final Cut Pro XColor 1.5 Essential Training

Avid Media Composer users:Color Correction: Creating a Polished Look in Avid Media Composer

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By Nicholas Brazzi | Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Apple FCPX: Not what you think it is

Let’s come out and say it: The launch of Final Cut Pro X has been controversial. With FCPX, Apple has released a new piece of software that is not only different from its previous version, but completely different from any other application in its field. I wouldn’t dare tell you whether these changes are right or wrong for your editing workflow. I’m not a journalist or an evangelist. I can’t even say that I’m a video editor—I gave up the freelance editing life nearly three years ago. What I am is a teacher. This is a great time to work for lynda.com, because what editors need most right now is to learn what Final Cut Pro X is really capable of.

Lately, it seems like the Internet has gone crazy over FCPX. Initially, the word was that professional editors were angry about the drastic changes in Final Cut Pro X, while consumers and amateur editors were curious about this new editing tool. But in the last few days, I’ve seen that tide changing a little bit. Professional editors seem to be giving FCPX a bit of a chance. They are learning that it introduces incredible new tools like clip auditioning and connected clips. They are learning that some of the bad things they’ve heard are simply not true, like the rumors that said Final Cut 7 and FCPX could not be installed on the same machine or the rumors that said 3rd party plug-ins were not supported. They are hearing announcements directly from Apple saying that certain valuable features are going to be added via software updates, including Multicam and support for exporting XML.

As a lynda.com Training Producer, I’ve been working closely with author Abba Shapiro, feverishly pushing to record and publish FCPX training in the lynda.com library as quickly as possible. I’ve been learning incredible things about FCPX that have honestly changed my perspective. Abba knows things about this application that nobody else in the world knows about, short of the engineers that built it. I’m thrilled that he is working with lynda.com to get that knowledge out to the world.

Also, I just finished listening to episode #250 of the Macworld Podcast, hosted by another lynda.com author, Chris Breen. In this show, Chris interviewed Gary Adcock, a well known Final Cut and video production veteran. Gary paints a very enlightening and balanced picture of the FCPX release, the reactions of pro editors, and the true potential of the application. It’s clear from listening to Gary that the more professionals learn about FCPX, the more their attitudes are changing.

All of this leaves me with the following conclusion: I can almost guarantee that FCPX is not what you think it is. This is truly a case where learning everything you can about an application is one of the most valuable things you can do. I am extremely proud to be a software trainer right now, and to work closely with Abba Shapiro, an even better software trainer. It’s a joy to watch Abba assemble a piece of training that I know will immediately effect the lives and professional development of thousands of people. When we publishedCreating an Effective Resume, I felt the same way. Building something that will help people make the right choices in their professional lives is extremely rewarding.

I hope you check out our FCPX courses when they are released in the lynda.com Online Training Library®. And I hope those courses help you make informed decisions for your next video project, whether that be a feature film or cherished family video project. Abba Shapiro is working on two FCPX courses that will be released this month. Here is a quick look at the first one, Migrating from Final Cut Pro 7 to Final Cut Pro X.

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