Testing During the Design Stage on Your Computer

The best situation when designing video graphics is to have a broadcast monitor hooked up to your system while you are designing the graphics. This will allow you to check for interlace flicker, safe-color concerns, and contrast issues while you design. There are several possible solutions for this setup; the right solution will depend upon your budget and available technology.

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Video Preview Tech


^ • The Video Preview plug-in only works if you are using RGB, Grayscale, or Indexed Color mode (but you should NEVER work in Indexed Color mode for video anyway).

• The plug-in will convert 16-bit images images on the fly (but will not function on a 32-bit image).

• Transparency data such as alpha channels are ignored.

Video Preview Command

In Photoshop CS2, Adobe introduced the Video Preview command. This allows Photoshop to send a preview of the graphic over a FireWire cable to a DV device. Photoshop gives you several options for specifying aspect ratio.

import ►



Data Sets as Files... Paths to Illustrator... Render Video... Send Video Preview to Device

File Info... X03SI

Page Setup... OMP Print... * P Print One Copy \OMP

Video Preview... B

Zoomify... *

Step 1. Attach a FireWire based device that uses the DV protocol to your computer. Then attach a broadcast quality display. Let the devices warm up for a minute before launching Photoshop.

Step 2. Launch Photoshop and open or create a video-sized document.

Step 3. To set up theVideo Preview properties, choose File>Export> Video Preview . . . . This will give you full control over output options. For future outputs where nothing has changed in hardware, you can just choose File>Export>Send Video Preview to Device.

Step 4. In the Device Settings area, you can adjust the following options for a more accurate preview.

• Output Mode. You can choose NTSC or PAL to match your hardware. If you are seeing black patches, then you have likely picked the wrong standard.

• Aspect Ratio. Here you specify the aspect ration for the device you have hooked up (not of the Photoshop file). This setting is important, as it impacts the Image Options.

Step 5. In the Image Options area, you can adjust additional options that impact how the image is displayed when aspect ratios of graphics and monitors aren't identical. Remember, the Placement options available will vary based upon the Aspect Ratio you set in Step 4.

• Center. This places the center of the image at the center of the screen. Any edges that fall outside the display edges of the video monitor will be cropped.

• Pillarbox. When a 4:3 image is shown on a 16:9 display, the image is centered. On the outside, gray bands appear to the left and right of the image. This option is only available if the device aspect ratio is set to Widescreen (16:9).

• Crop to 4:3. When a 16:9 image is shown on a 4:3 display, the image is centered. The left and right edges must then

Frame Size Issues

"%""] While the Video Preview plug-in works with all sizes of documents, only those that match the DV standard (such as NTSC DV, NTSC DV Widescreen, and PAL D1/DV) will appear at their full size. Others such as HD (or even NTSC D1) may need to be scaled to match your output format. Scaling can diminish the accuracy of the preview.

Need a FireWire Bridge?

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be cropped to discard the material that extends beyond the edge of the playback device. This option is only available if the device aspect ratio is set to Standard (4:3).

• Letterbox. When a 16:9 image is shown on a 4:3 display, the image is centered. This maintains the aspect ratio without distortion. On the outside, gray bands appear to the top and bottom of the image. This option is only available if the device aspect ratio is set to Standard (4:3).

• Crop To 14:9/Letterbox. This option is an alternative to displaying widescreen content on a 4:3 monitor. The widescreen image cropped to a 14:9 aspect ratio with black bands on the top and bottom of the image.

Step 6. You must next specify in the Image Size pull-down menu how you want document pixels to be scaled to match the output device.

• Do Not Scale. This is the most common choice. It will apply no vertical scaling to the image. The image must then be cropped using the methods addressed in Step 5.

• Scale To Fit Within Frame. The image frame will either increase or decrease. For example, a 16:9 image appears on a 4:3 display as letterboxed, and a 4:3 image appears on a 16:9 display as pillarboxed.

• Apply Pixel Aspect Ratio to Preview. Leave this checked to utilize the document's own pixel aspect ratio settings.

Step 7. Click OK to invoke the Video Preview.

Digital Voodoo manufactures several popular video cards designed for video editors and broadcast designers.

High-End Video Cards

There is no better way to preview your graphics than using a high-end video card and a broadcast monitor. You can purchase a video card for your system such as one made by DigitalVoodoo, BlueFish444, BlackMagic, or AJA. These cards not only give you video I/O for your editing system, but they also allow you to extend your desktop to the card and work correctly on a video display.

These solutions can be pricey, but they open up several possibilities. A video card with Serial Digital Interface or component output will allow you to check your graphics. Hands down, this is the best solution, but prepare to dig deep into your pockets. Cards will range between $800 and $14,000, depending on the types of inputs and outputs you want. If you already have a nonlinear edit system hooked up at your facility, you may just choose to harness its ability to output to a video monitor or a scope for testing purposes.

The extended desktop or mirroring option will vary based on your video card manufacturer. Many will ship with their own specialty software to extend Photoshop's capabilities. Others depend upon additional software, such as Synthetic Aperture's Echo Fire.

Low-End Video Cards and Laptops

The proliferation of computers with video ports is on the rise, due in part to features like Media Center from Microsoft and Front Row from Apple. Additionally, several laptops come with AV or S-Video ports. These are primarily designed so that business-people can send presentations out to a TV.

These types of connections allow you to plug in an S-Video cable. You can then check your Displays or Monitors control panel to enable the port. You may have to restart your machine. If you have enough VRAM, you may be able to drive the main screen and video monitor simultaneously.

Step 1. Hook the video card up to a consumer television.

Step 2. Set Photoshop to Full Screen Mode (press Q two or three times).

Step 3. To remove palettes, press the Tab key.

Step 4. You can now output and test your graphics on consumer equipment, which is where your audience will probably see them.

These cards do not necessarily scale the video properly and may have interlace issues. There is also a chance that the luminance/ chrominance will be slightly off. But even with those negatives, this method is still a better option than not previewing on a television.

Photoshop Secrets

Photoshop Secrets

Are You Frustrated Because Your Graphics Are Not Looking Professional? Have You Been Slaving Over Your Projects, But Find Yourself Not Getting What You Want From Your Generic Graphic Software? Well, youre about to learn some of the secrets and tips to enhance your images, photos and other projects that you are trying to create and make look professional.

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