Macintosh CD/DVD Drive Not Recording.

I am in the middle of  editing a wedding movie.  I plan to offer the client three separate movies:

  • Short ceremony
  • Long ceremony
  • Reception.

I make a DVD movie after each step.  I finished the long ceremony movie and play it to my test audience.  I had no record or playback problems.  I was told to clean up an audio track by one person.  I made the recommended change and then save that movie. That part of the project, long ceremony, is done.

I then took the long wedding ceremony and cut out all the clips that seem extraneous to the main ceremony such as people arriving and a rather long procession at the end of wedding showing the married couple leaving followed by some of the audience.  Cutting the long movie only took less than one hour to complete.  Short ceremony movie is done.

I next needed to make a new DVD offering up the short and long versions.  I use iDVD because it offers pretty nice introduction screen and menu system..  All of a sudden my Macbook Pro failed to complete the DVD burn process.  The burn seemed to almost complete but it showed one minute to go for completion when the disk was ejected.  When I examined the iDVD disk when they were ejected, they did not look that any burn took place.

I went to my wife’s iMac and loaded the iDVD archived footage and tried to burn the project there.  It too failed but in a more dramatic fashion.  I could not even successfully push the disks into the drive. They immediately refused to go in and did a quick eject.

Solutions I tried.

I took the house vacuum cleaner and vacuumed out each of the DVD ports.  I don’t think this helped much.

I inserted a DVD cleaner.  This is a DVD with some very small brushes on it that supposedly cleans the DVD lens.  This DVD cleaner turned out, for me, to be an indicator of how well the drive would accept disks.  If the disk refused to go in, I was in trouble.  If the computer accepted the disk, I was pretty close to fixing the drive.  I do not recommend the Memorex Lens Cleaner for Mac computers.  I think it is intended for Windows.

I zapped the PRAM on each Mac computer.  This method also failed.  There are some  Internet reports that this might work.  There should be no harm trying this.

I next used compressed air.  I first turned the computer off.  I held the compressed air upright with the supplied tiny hose slightly penetrating into the DVD “door”.  I pressed the trigger for a full blast of air to be shot into the drive and kept shooting while I swept the hose across the full width of the DVD slot.  I am pretty sure this is the best solution.  My wife’s iMac really needed this treatment.  I had to shoot it twice with compressed air.   I used Dust-Off product to do the cleaning.  Make sure you turn the computer off before spraying the DVD port with this air blast.  I would also make sure that your computer cools down if it runs hot.  Make sure that you hold the can upright and NOT sideways or upside down.  You do NOT want the “liquid” to be sprayed into the computer!  This solved the computer part of the problem but I still had issues with the DVD blanks I was using.  Some DVD disks are way better than others.

I tried different DVD discs and found disk selection is very important:

  • Sony DVD-R, AccuCore  YES, good recording.
  • Memorex, DVD-R, 16X, 4.7GB/Go  NO.  I purchased these from Walmart, September 2015.
  • Memorex, Lebelflash (obsolete format) DVD-R  16X, 4.7GB  YES, good recording.  I use this disk to give to my customer as final product because the label has been burned into the top of the DVD.  The label will not peel like a paper label.  The label will not contaminate (over time) like a marking pen.  But, you can not get media for this any more.
  • Imation DVD-R,  4.7GB   YES, good recording.

Summary:
Use good quality canned air to clean the inside of your DVD drive.
Use recommended DVD’s (see list above).  Check the Internet for other recommendations.

P.S.  I wasted pretty much one whole day trying to resolve this problem.

 

Updated: 3-6-19 because DustOff link went bad, 404 error, so I removed it.

What I like about Adobe Premier Pro CC 2015

I would like to provide you a summary of my experience with Adobe Premier Pro CC 2015 so you do not have to plow through my rather wordy explanations that follows.  I have used Final Cut Pro and iMovie.  This program is impressive.  I love it.  I am constantly impressed at how easy tasks are to complete.  I am amazed at how many tools this program has.  For example, I had to show my first movie version to a test audience to get their feedback.  i had a second monitor that I wanted to use to show the movie to the attendees.  I would sit to one side, watch the reviewers and control the playback process.  Adobe Premier served the solution up perfectly, a simple window change.  I was amazed.

Once I caught on with the keyboard shortcut key strokes using J, K, L, I and O, plus some other keystrokes, the bin clip build process going into the time line went pretty darn fast.  I had to do a multi track time line edit where I needed to move the end of the movie into a space I removed.  Problem was that an audio track extended toward the beginning so when I did a mouse box over the tracks, to select them, I also selected a clip that I did not intend.  I used the typical shift key and it worked, that track clip was not selected.  I love it when the Adobe software people use the Apple operating system methods as part of their program tools.

The graphical user interface, the image on my computer screen that is used to edit my film took some getting used to but after a while I began to accept it and along with that it also began to make sense.    One trick I had to use over and over was to close this and that window.  It does not take long for your screen to become less productive because the wrong screen segments are showing.

I had to match audio from a camcorder to a separate track audio recording made from an unlocked recorder.  Premier offers a number of methods for matching audio.  For me the audio track waveform method worked very well.  When I found out that CMD and the left and right arrow keys would move any track segment one frame at a time, I was then able to perfectly match audio.

When I need to make a change to a time line title, I do this in the bin.  As soon as the bin title graphic  change is made and the GUI for changing the title is closed the changes  appear perfectly in the time line.  I was very impressed.

The clip audio track control is amazing.  I now had audio volume and pan control while editing the time line.  I had to drop and raise this and that audio track at precise moments.  This method really worked.

The media output solution was momentarily confusing to me when Adobe Encoder CC window appeared on my computer screen when I asked that my movie be exported.  I had no idea that the media output was sent to a separate program.  This now makes sense.  Had Adobe put this into Premier we would not be able to continue to edit more movies and our Premier drop down menus would be cluttered.  The Encoder has a lot of options and really needs its own interface.  It really was an excellent solution.

Learning Adobe Premier Pro CC

I would like to share with you my problems trying to learn Adobe Premier Pro CC.  This software has a lot of features and  a lot of apparent hidden tools.  In other words, it is a rather difficult software to fly.  I had just video taped a wedding and due to the complexity of the production assets, I could no longer use iMovie.  I had the Adobe Creative Cloud suite of software loaded on my laptop and just knew that Premier was going to work. Problem for me is that I had to learn the program fast.   Let me jump to the solution so you do not have to wade through this ratter long explanation.  Just go to https://helpx.adobe.com/premiere-pro/tutorials.html

If you are interested in reading my rather long quest for knowledge as to how to edit with Adobe Premier Pro CC, read on.

BOOKS

My son told me not to buy any books and just use the Internet to learn Premier.  I love books and can easily say that I am older than you.  My daughter would call me retro.

I wasted a day trying to buy a book at a local book store.  I even went to Fry’s because they no longer allowed you to call in and take to a person to check availability and price.  Their book section had practically vanished.  I predict that store will also vanish.

I spent hours trying to figure out what was the best book to buy on the Internet.  I had Premier Pro CC version 2015.  I did not want a book that was too old.  I was really intrigued with Premiere Pro CC: Visual QuickStart Guide by Jan Ozer. It showed being published Jun 27, 2013, seemingly a bit out of date.  I just love that format of book, quick outline and visual.

I settled upon Adobe Premiere Pro CC Classroom in a Book 2015 release.  It seemed the best deal was to buy this book at Adobe Press.  Problem was that the release date for the book was the same day I was ordering it, September 16, 2015.  It would take a week to get the book.  I spotted a nifty deal where I could also buy the eBook too for a discounted price.  I got a hefty discount because the books had just been released or were about to be released.  Here is where my assumption that the eBook would arrive earlier was wrong.

Order Details
This order contains:
1 . Adobe Premiere Pro CC Classroom in a Book 2015 release , 9780134309989 , Quantity: 1
2 . Adobe Premiere Pro CC Classroom in a Book 2015 release , 9780134310176 , Quantity: 1
3 . Total Discount , ($49.19)
Grand Total  $63.93

The paper book was shipped the very next day, September 17, 2015.  By the way, the publisher customer service did not know the book was ready to ship.  I kept going to the publishers web site to download my e-book but nothing.  I could not figure out what was wrong.

I sent customer service an e-mail asking why I could not download the eBook.

I get this response:

“Thank you for placing your order with Adobe Press. We regret to inform you
that the following item(s) from your order #WEB325633094370
placed on 9/16/2015 5:32:05 PM EDT have been cancelled:
Adobe Premiere Pro CC Classroom in a Book 2015 release, 9780134310176, Quantity: 1
We apologize that we were unable to fulfill your order within the time frame we originally indicated.
Your credit card has not been charged.
We encourage you to visit our website for further updates regarding the availability of this product.”

I looked at my bank account and indeed they lowered the charges to:
09/19/2015     AWL*Pearson Education ADOBE.PRESS NJ ONE L (-$45.35)

They did gave me a discount probably because I participated in an online survey.

But, I find this cancellation rather odd.  The publisher canceled part of my order.  I thought that should be my prerogative.  If an item can never be shipped then the publisher should cancel.  If the order is delayed, it would be nice to ask me, the customer, if I  still want delivery.

The evening of September 22, 2015, just for kicks, I check Adobe Press web site and they announce that the book is ready the very next day, the very same day the print edition is due to arrive at my home.

“Adobe Premiere Pro CC Classroom in a Book (2015 release), Web Edition
By Maxim Jago
Published Sep 23, 2015 by Adobe Press”
Pricing as of September 22, 2015: available as a
Book $47.99
eBook $38.39
Web Edition $47.99

My point in all this is that you might think the electronic version might arrive before the print.  Don’t assume that if the publication is hot off the press or hot off the hard drive.  I actually finished the wedding portion of the movie project and have not yet received the book.

ON LINE TUTORIALS

YouTube
In desperation, I tried YouTube videos but they were all over the map for providing results.  Some were good but the curriculum, the step by step learning process that a classroom teacher should put together for the class was obviously missing.  I found I was bouncing around from one video that seemed to build to another video that failed.

lynda.com
I have access to lynda.com video tutorials and tried their Adobe Premier Pro lessons. It sort of failed for me.  The first lessons were an over view.  I want to jump in and start the process and not be shown a bunch of video overviews.  I wanted to know right away how to start.  Once I got into the meat, about lesson four, I began to become confused with all the prior lesson files and the new files the person was talking about.  I finally took notes as to the keyboard shortcuts that one needs to use and made notes.  This really helped.  The J, K, L, I and O keys are extremely important.  It took me a whole day to discover that on a Mac CMD and the left or right arrow will move your clip one frame.  I needed to line up an unlocked separate audio track to video with audio and the CMD and arrow keys allowed me to gain perfect synchronization.  If I had had a book, learning this would have not taken as much time.

The beginning of the main lynda.com lessons seemed to be clouded, not clear as to the beginning step by step process.  I got the impression that steps explained in the introduction, I should integrate into the whole.  Show me how to create a project and import my media from the beginning.  Instead I was jumping around.  I thus felt I was watching video’s that were less clear to me.  I did pick up vital bread crumb information which did helped me.

adobe.com tutorials
The best solution for me was actually free.  The  embarrassing part is that it was right in front of me.  Adobe offers terrific tutorials, better than lynda.com, in my opinion.  This was my primary learning method.  I guess my son was correct; don’t buy a book; use the Internet.

https://helpx.adobe.com/premiere-pro.html

https://helpx.adobe.com/premiere-pro/tutorials.html

Good luck to you.  Adobe Premier Pro CC is a professional product and being so it may be a challenge to learn.  Do not give up.  I found that this program has a solution for every problem you will face. Finding that solution can be a challenge.

Getting Nikon D5300 Video Into Adobe Premier.

This advice pertains to the following hardware:

  • Macintosh Mac Book Pro, 15 inch, early 2008, 2.5 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
  • Mac OS  10.10.5 Yosemite
  • Adobe Premier Pro CC, 2015.0.1 release.
  • Adobe Media Encoder CC, 2015.0.1 release.
  • Nikon D5300 used as video camera and recording on to an SD card.

In a prior post I shared with you the fact that a friend needed me to video tape his daughter’s wedding.  I decided to use a Panasonic DV movie camera as my cover camera and a Nikon D5300 SLR camera that has the capability to record movies.  I knew that I had to use the Nikon as my cut away camera for two reasons.  First, I could not successfully mount either of my two external microphones on to the DV camcorder.  Second, the Nikon lens is hard to change zoom while recording which works perfectly for hand holding.  The Nikon SLR, thus, had to be used as a hand held cut away shot camera.  It also had to be fitted with a good shotgun microphone, which is easy with this camera.  It also had to be loaded with my widest angle lens.  It also had to be set for full wide angle for every shot!  I will now tell you the secret trick to hand holding a movie or video camera:

TRICK:  Use a wide angle lens.  Keep the lens always set for complete wide angle and try not to change it.   Never move the zoom off the full wide angle setting.  Never zoom in unless you are using a tripod.  Now here is the rest of the trick that makes this process work wonderfully.  Compose the shot you want by YOU moving in, out, or around the subject.   This method works because wide angle shots normally appear to be more steady than zoomed in shots. Now here is the down side for this method.  Hand holding shots works best if the event allows you to get close to the subject or talent.  I was covering a wedding and people naturally expect to see a photographer get aggressive so this method matched perfectly with the event.  You would not use this method to cover anything dangerous such as war, gun fights, fires, and explosions.

SLIGHT HITCH: I found out that a lot of people recognize a SLR camera and expect it to only take still images.  Some of the individuals I shot stood perfectly still when I aimed my camera at them, not realizing that I was recording a movie even though there was a rather large shotgun microphone on top of my SLR camera.  I found this to be amusing to see people suddenly go statue.  It does interrupt, some times, the spontaneous live action you expect to record.

I hit a snag getting my short cutaway video shots off the Nikon D5300 SD card and into my computer.  My first mistake was to just drag the movie files off the SD card and copy them into Adobe Premier and expect that to work.  The results were that the video skipped while the audio was good.  I figured it was a codec compatibility problem.  Let me just insert the fact that I then  spent hours trying out a number of solutions only to find I already had one installed in my computer.

I discovered that I had Adobe Encoder as part of their suite of products.  Here I am struggling using Premier with all its features and now had to figure out how to operate Adobe Encoder.  I not only had to know how to operate the Encoder but I had to find the correct settings to input into the Encoder to make the video come out so Premier and I  would accept it.  I did some Internet research and here is my solution – MPEG2.  I am not sure it is the best setting but it works for me.  The converted files came out as “.mpg” and another file was generated.  The second file has “.xmp” as an extension.  It should remain next to the video file storage space that Premier “sees” and uses.   The XMP file format is is an Adobe “file labeling technology that lets you embed metadata into files themselves during the content creation process“.  This tells me that I had better make sure Premier “sees” both files together for Premier to operate properly.  When using the “File > Import” command, to get the movie into Premier, chose the one with “.mpg” extension to get your video into Premier.

 

Adobe Encoder Settings for Nikon D5300
Settings I used to get good audio and video to transfer from my Nikon D5300 SLR camera into Adobe Encoder and then into Premier.

 

Wedding Shoot Video Idea For Better Audio.

A friend of mine called the day before the wedding and asked if I could video tape their daughter’s wedding.  The main point of this post is to make you aware of an option I used that I think most people would overlook.  I used a Panasonic PV-GS500 camcorder that I had not used for years.  It would be my cover camera mounted to a tripod behind the audience that was set for a close up shot of the bride and groom.  I also brought a Nikon D5300 with an add on Rode VideoMic a shotgun camera microphone that easily connects to the camera shoe and the cable connects to the side microphone connector.  I hand held the Nikon and used it for good cut away shots to enhance the production.  I also brought a Tascam DR-05 digital recorder.   I had  absolutely no idea if I would use it or not.  I typically mount this on top of my Nikon and I have the adapter kit to do this which allows me to monitor the audio with headsets.  The Tascam is good for close in work as its pick up pattern is broad.  For this event, I chose the shotgun instead for the tight pick up pattern  and not the Tascam.  The Rode was hooked to the top of the camera and took the Tascam recorder along with no clear reason as if I would use it.  My point for this blog post is that I really was saved by taking the Tascam with me.   When I got to the wedding I realized that they had a sound system.  Right in front of one of the speakers was a palm tree with all kinds of woody protrusions from being pruned, perfect for hanging my Tascam audio recorder.  The recorder was right in front of the speaker.  The problem for me is the audio is unlocked with any video thus only offered me wild sound but its recording speed was as good as the cameras.  Once I got it locked in the editing software, it should not drift.  The minister for the wedding was given the PA system microphone so I now had audio much closer to the action.  I started  the recording about 10 minutes prior to the service beginning so the Tascam recorded the whole ceremony.  I walked away with a master audio track that was way better than from my two cameras.   Because my cover camera was behind the audience and picked up rather lousy audio and my Nikon was used to do insert shots only, I now had a bed of pristine audio that I now needed to insert properly timed video.  An argument can easily be made that the audio for a wedding may be just as important or even more important than the video.  After the wedding ceremony was over the wedding party went into the banquet room to eat and dance, I also used the audio recorder there.  I hung the recorder form one of the speaker stands.  I was not given an agenda so I had no idea that the father of the bride  was to give a speech as well as the best man.  Both people held the house microphone so I had fantastic audio of the people who were the talent.  If you have to record a wedding with video, you might also consider doing an unlocked audio recording from the sound system.    The pain will be when you edit and have to synchronize the video with the audio.  I really recommend Adobe Premier for this.