Joe Urbz Media & Photography


Mrs. Halquist’s 3D Animation and my Advanced AV courses were invited to the 2011 Lake Arrowhead Film Festival. As we entered the building, Mr. Larry Parker met us at the door and had a “campfire” discussion about the festival and Film Schools. He invited us to visit his studio in Hollywood. We were blown away. So, Mrs. Halquist and Mrs. Phillips expedited a way for our classes to go on a field trip.

We were welcomed at Mole-Richardson Studios with warmth and energy. We learned about lighting, production, history of film, and so much more. Below are short videos in Vimeo we produced from an on-the-fly hands-on exercise: The “Making Of” and “One Halloween Night.” We still have 5 hours of footage left for editing lighting lessons. Be sure to click on the best quality when viewing them. The original web page from our school is

One Halloween Night

One Halloween Night HD from Joe Urbz on Vimeo.

The Making Of:

Making Of "One Halloween Night" from Joe Urbz on Vimeo.


X & Rim Today

Our classroom has used FCPX for finishing the past five episodes of Rim Today, plus four other major projects. We used a Core i5, 8 RAM, 2TB iMac to test a lot of these projects. FCPX has done quite well. I will say that the most often cause of “unexpected quits” happens during the editing of titles -- if you save your attributes and use copy & paste from TextEdit, it works much better. We have found some bugs that are consistent, but the workarounds are minimal. Over the past two weeks, we have installed X, Motion 5, and Compressor on additional iMacs for other students to work with. Giving them small exercises and concise training seems to be the best practice in learning this new system. Stating that, many students from my regular TV-Video classes use iMovie already, so the transition of Events and Projects is easier than teaching those who love their Final Cut Pro 7 workflow. We have NOT abandoned Final Cut Studio 3 and supporting software. I want to be clear about that. However, there is a good, solid underlying excitement in trying something new. We have been pretty pleased so far.

I have posted some new help articles in our
Forum. Check them out. In addition, I have been watching all the discussion from Walter Murch’s views on FCPX from the Boston Supermeet and subsequent follow-up interviews. Some other excellent resources for more FCPX and Motion 5 effects (many of them free) are here. I know Red Giant posted some news about Magic Bullet Looks, and GenArts Sapphire Edge is out.

Any thoughts on the new
Canon dSLR C-300 camera for $20K? or the new RED Scarlet?

Last comment: I have setup a
Google+ page for this website. Give us a visit!

Chicago Bears tonight on Monday Night Football!


It has been awhile since I posted. This is due to the chaotic return to the new school year, which is still under serious construction. Stress levels have been very high. Getting students in my classes organized, motivated, and within a creative groove has been extremely challenging; probably more so this year than most. I could go on and on, but I do not want to be too negative here. It would be overwhelming.

So, let me share some experiences with FCPX in the classroom with Rim Today. We have used FCPX to finish our last two episodes of
Season Xi. The students still use FCP7, AE5, PS5, and a little bit of iMovie’11 for their segments, while using Blue USB mic’s for voiceovers, make adjustments for color and audio as best they can. Then they place their quicktime exports onto the class Xserve. That’s when I use some of the good parts of FCPX to create the final edit of our episodes.

What good parts? LOL. Ok, well, importing right off the server into the Event Manager. While I still prefer the bin-style organization of FCP/Premiere, the case of this workflow proves that we save some time with FCPX’s background ingest and transcoding to ProRes. We do not always have to use ProRes, but the quality and speed is so much nicer to work with. Our workflow on these shows do not have strict timecode restrictions for placement. The final flow of Rim Today comes with the segments being added; part of the creativity. Another timesaver is the background rendering and trying effects (audio and video) on the fly as the storyline plays. Oh my, does that save time. The audio tools within FCPX are a great boon after getting used to them. Teaching students video graphics is a challenge. We use FCP7, Motion 4, LiveType, and Keynote (animated slides work well in a jiffy). FCPX offers some nice quick templates for lower thirds. Motion 5 looks fun to mess with. FCPX also loves our Canon T2i video footage. We used the Retiming and Optical Flow options and students picked it up quickly.

Now the bad. FCPX has frozen a few times, as expected. We have lost some changes in editing when re-opening the project. PLEASE Apple, add a Save option. We do watch for the “UNDO” issue of working or not. When it stops UNDO-ing, we know FCPX is not saving. File sizes and renders are also HUGE. I do delete unused render files often. Another bad point, FCPX will work on a MacBook Pro from 2006 but not on a 2007 Mac Pro due to a video card issue. Makes me crazy, so I am stuck with a Core i5 iMac. Good machine, but the Mac Pro has serious RAM and CPU cores. This does blow my mind. On the 2006 MBP, it makes that CPU burn up. Do not use FCPX to edit off a battery; it will get so hot, the machine will shut itself down after 20 minutes. I was flummoxed over this; brand new battery, too.

In summary, FCPX has brought some positive and time-saving elements to the Rim Today workflow. We will not abandon FCP7 by any stretch. We do not use XML exports or EDL. In the near future, we will need Multi-cam and other stability fixes. If Apple will ever update FCPX, we would be more excited. Now, do not get me started on Lion. Sad

Back from AZ

Went to Arizona for a week, from Flagstaff to Sedona to Chandler. The weather was wacky and Death Valley HOT. Last Saturday, we went to Sunset Crater National Park, Wukoki Ruins, Walnut Canyon, and Highway 89A/Sedona. I took a lot of photos to keep practicing with my lenses and my 60D. I posted many of these photos on my MobileMe Gallery and some on my SmugMug. I processed some new HDR’s, panoramas, and other goodies. Do check them out. We were treated to some serious monsoon storms with tons of lightning. So I would say our annual storm chasing family project was a success.

Turning to another photo subject: printing. I recently ordered a sample kit from
Red River Paper for my Canon printer. I look forward to messing around with their arctic metallic paper. Also order two prints for myself from Aspen Creek Photo on Fuji Crystal Archive Pearl paper. I was blown away by the samples they sent me. The picture on the paper looks like it has back-lighting built-in. Just gorgeous.

Next week I hope to have my new
Canon EF 70-200mm f/4 L IS USM Lens and B+W filter. This is a long-term investment for me.

The return to the classroom starts in 10 days for me, so I am starting to prepare. I am also continuing my FCX training. Still testing out Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion) out as well. Apple needs to send more updates, unless they are awaiting to release iOS5 first.

Update from Sat Night:
I spent the evening printing to the Red River Paper. The Arctic Pearl blew me away. Just WOW! Their paper is way above any expectations I had. My HDR’s look like they have 3D in them. The Satin and Ultra Glossy papers were also fantastic. I need to print to some more matte styles to get a better feel on those. But I am excited. The sample kit was 8.5x11, but I want to see this stuff on 13x19!!