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Tag: Adobe

What To Do When Adobe Lightroom 6 Randomly Crashes

When your tenuous photo management process hits a wall, because your software gets glitchy, sometimes an obvious solution actually works. Let’s begin…

I’ll be honest… digital photo management has been a challenge for me since my 7-year-old son was born. I’m the kind of parent who takes way too many family photos and then struggles to organize them, quickly share the best ones and eventually create photo books.
(Sound familiar?)

But I’m trying.

The truth is you’ve just got to put in the time, have an organized plan, and use photo management software that’s right for you.

I switched to Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 6 from Apple’s Aperture a couple years back after Apple retired Aperture and launched the Photos app.

I wanted software that was more powerful than Photos, and Lightroom has indeed proven itself to be a rock star.

At the time, I made the choice to buy a standalone Lightroom 6 license for $149, instead of Lightroom CC, which requires you to pay into a $10/month Adobe Creative Cloud ecosystem.

I figured my one-time DVD purchase would be more economical than the pay-as-you-go model, as long as I used Lightroom for more than 15 months. That was the plan, and I’ve already passed the two year mark. So, yay Barrett.

But I know it’s just a matter of time until I’ll be joining Adobe’s Creative Cloud. It will eventually become unavoidable. For now though, I’ve been enjoying my Lightroom 6.

Until something went very wrong…

Random Crash Alert!
A few weeks back, my Lightroom began randomly crashing. It happened mostly when I wasn’t actually working with it. Lightroom would be open in the background, and then ‘pop,’ it would suddenly disappear. My iMac rushed to create a report to send to both Apple and Adobe, but I didn’t expect any engineers to be calling anytime soon.

I ignored the problem for a while. (Silly me.) But then, it began happening when I was actively using the program. And finally, it crashed while I was importing photos.

So, it was clearly time to do some troubleshooting…

The only recent change to my iMac’s ecosystem was an update to my iMac’s OS High Sierra. (And you know, that seemed to be about the time my troubles began.)

I did some Googling and ran across an insanely obvious question…
Was I running the most up-to-date version of Lightroom 6?



Well, actually… No.
I hadn’t been receiving any notices about updates.
(I’m so used to Apple’s incessant reminders to update my software.)

So, no… I haven’t (ever) updated Lightroom 6.
(Maybe I did right after I installed it.)

Please don’t expel me from the Island of Misfit Toys.

All right…. So guess what I decided to do?

How to Update Adobe Lightroom
If you too are trying to figure this out, you’ll find your Lightroom software updates in the Adobe Application Manager program.
And here’s how to get there…

Go to the ‘Help’ drop down and click on ‘Updates…’
The Adobe Application Manager will open, and this is what you will see…







If you’ve got an update waiting, it’s time to take the blue pill.
From here, it’s straight forward!

Always Backup First
Updating Lightroom is a painless process, although it’s always good to do a backup before you update any important software.

For me, I simply ran Time Machine on my external G-Drive. And I also saved a backup Lightroom catalog file to the G-Drive.
(The catalog houses all the work you do to your photos.)

And guess what? Now that I’m running Lightroom 6.14… everything is…
Just… fine… again.

Updating Lightroom did the trick.

Software Conundrum
I know my report ultimately falls under the category of “DUH!”

But can you tell me you’ve never dragged your feet on doing software updates, because you feared unexpected glitches and compatibility issues?

Well, if you wait long enough and do nothing, that’s clearly a problem too.
(And I’m not even talking about security patches.)

Choose your poison.

Lightroom stability: Restored!


Best Ways to Quickly Compress a Video File

Video files are notoriously large. Now with HD and 4K… whoa! If you’re editing your home movies on your computer, you’ll quickly realize your final masterpiece is going to need some squeezing before you can share it. Here’s how…

If you happen to find yourself hyperventilating while trying to compress a video file, this post should offer you a shortcut to the finish line. The key word in today’s title is quickly. To be clear… For those of you who practice the craft at the professional level, I guarantee you know more about this task than I do, and I’ll let you lead the way on what is actually ‘best.’

This space is reserved for everyone else on planet Earth who may have shot or edited a family video into an extraordinarily-large file. And then you need to magically shrink the size to email the file or post it somewhere online.

And, I’ll be working in an Apple ecosystem on my 2017 iMac.

Still here?
All right then.
After that rather lengthy disclaimer, let’s begin…

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night…of Editing
The universe of video file compression can be unpredictable and sometimes stormy. It’s a place where even pros can encounter stiff winds. It’s also something of an art form that I guarantee you don’t want to explore if you don’t have to.

So, here are a few simple solutions to easily chop down your video file size…

Final Cut Pro X
If you want access to a more advanced editing tool, you’ll want to invest in Apple’s Final Cut Pro X, which costs $299.99. Sure, that’s a hefty investment, but a fraction of the cost of what Pro editing software used to run.
(Professional editors – Please hold your boos about FCPX.
Hey, you’re not even supposed to be here!)

Final Cut Pro X also offers you some decent file compression choices when it’s time to export your video. Here’s how to find them:

  • First go to ‘File’
  • Then ‘Share’
  • And ‘Master File’

Then select your Video Codec:

  • ‘H.264 for Faster Encoding’ or ‘H.264 for Better Quality’
    (‘Faster’ usually creates a smaller file.)

Then, select ‘Computer’ under ‘Format’
And choose your resolution:

  • 1920 x 1080
  • 1280 x 720
  • 960 x 540
  • 854 x 480

Of course, the smaller the resolution, the smaller the resulting file size.

If you want to shrink it more, I think you’re out of luck.

Apple Compressor
…Unless you also buy Compressor, Apple’s separate file-compressing software.

This is FCPX’s companion ($49.99) that’s designed to create just about any size or flavor of video file you’ll ever think of.
(Plus, it can create multiple versions as one job.)

You can bring the resolution down to whatever you want.
(With some practice)
Plus, you’ll quickly see there’s a prebaked option that creates a wicked-small file.
(428 x 240)

Compressor is probably more than you need, but for fifty bucks, you’ll never complain about this topic again.

The Cost for Getting It Done ‘the Right Way’
So, for a total of $350, you’re set to edit, encode and compress like a professional.
(Sure, there are pros out there who walked away from Final Cut Pro platform after the 2011 FCPX redesign made it unrecognizable to long-time fans of FCP7. But others made the transition and have been satisfied with the ongoing free upgrades FCPX has received over the years.)

But you need not worry about this particular controversy as FCPX is plenty powerful for all of your personal editing/compression needs.
(It is for me!)

I should also mention that if you’re spending some money, there are great non-Apple options out there to consider like Adobe Premiere Pro CC and Adobe Media Encoder CC.

But what if you’d really prefer not to invest any money at all to get the job done?
Are there free options?
There are sure are!
(Though you won’t have as much flexibility.)

QuickTime Player
You can shrink your video file in the QuickTime Player application just by creating a new version with different settings:

  • Go to ‘File’
  • Then, ‘Export’
  • And click on ‘480P’
    (That’s the smallest file size option. It actually squeezed a test MOV file for me down to 640 x 360.)

Using Apple’s iMovie editing software is another great choice.
Once you get your video file into the program-

  • Go to ‘File’
  • ‘Share’
  • ‘Resolution 540p 60’
  • ‘Quality: Low’
  • ‘Compress: Faster’

iMovie was able to create a smaller file size than QuickTime by automatically reducing the data rate.
(Yes, that’s another variable. No, don’t ask.)

And iMovie was also able to beat QuickTime at the compression game while still keeping the frame size a little larger.
(It’s really nice when your friends and family don’t need a magnifying glass to watch one of your videos.)

Getting the Job Done for Free
So, if you have to choose between QuickTime and iMovie as the free applications that Apple gives you, iMovie is the better choice.

That said, QuickTime is the easier choice.
(Unless you’ve already been editing your video in iMovie.)

Tech Inner Peace
If you’re beginning to get the feeling that there are no truly ‘simple’ solutions in the video editing and compression world, congratulations… You’ve begun your journey to knowing what you’re talking about.

But the really good news is you don’t have to feel like an amateur either when playing in this pond of complexity.

If you want to spend some money to get the job done… good choice.
If you want to MacGyver the solution for free, Apple gives you tools for that too.

And if you’ve got some other ideas to offer, do share!
…Like creating and sharing an animated GIF from your video.

Hold your applause.

All right, don’t.

How to Switch from Aperture to Lightroom 6

If you’re not happy with Apple’s current Photos app, join the club. But if you’re starting to hyperventilate, because you know you can’t use Apple’s Aperture for very much longer… join my club. It’s time to take the journey to Lightroom.

If you’re not happy with Apple’s current Photos app, join the club. But if you’re starting to hyperventilate, because you know you can’t use Apple’s Aperture for very much longer… join my club. It’s time to take the journey to Lightroom.

I’ve been dreading this day. I knew it was coming, and I avoided it as long as possible. But if you’ve been procrastinating, like me… then you’re going to be in trouble. And you even run the risk of erasing your past…

We’re talking about my delayed response to Apple’s abandonment of both iPhoto and Aperture. I’ve been using Aperture as my photo editing/management software since 2012. But now, it’s finally just a matter of time until Aperture won’t work on future OS upgrades.

So it’s kind of critical that I escape from my beached behemoth, which contains tens of thousands of photos, documenting my family’s history.

I believe it’s an imminent crisis I will wake up to one day soon, and my personal deadline was last week to take action. Here’s what happened…

No Thank You, Photos
I decided that Apple’s relatively new Photos app for OS X wasn’t my solution…
(Easy as that could be)
…Because its functionality is a downgrade from Aperture.

I’m sure Photos is fine for many folks, who just want to organize and share their pics with some minor image adjustments. And the price is right as Apple just bakes it into the OS. But I’ve been trying to teach myself the art of creating the better picture.
(Granted… a work in progress)

To find the right software to help me in my ongoing quest, I had to look elsewhere…

Hello, Lightroom
As I considered the competition, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 6 quickly rose to the top.

I was partial to buying the standalone Lightroom 6 license for $149.
($142.99 for the DVD or $142.00 for the download at B&H Photo)

But you can also get Lightroom as part of the Creative Cloud package, which is bundled with other Adobe products like Photoshop. That choice is going to cost you $9.99/month. You get a whole lot more with the CC package, but you have to keep paying for it. So you’ve got to decide what’s right for you…

I actually bought the Lightroom standalone DVD a couple months back…
(Trying to stay ahead of my personal upgrade schedule)

But I was just too nervous to open the box. Not because I didn’t want to learn a new photo-management interface, but because I didn’t really know how to rescue all of my photos out of Aperture and safely get them into Lightroom.

And my online research on the migration process suggested it was not a pretty picture.

Importer Vs. Exporter
Sure, there’s a ‘simple’ Aperture Importer located in Lightroom’s Plug-in Extras.

Or alternately, you could buy the Aperture Exporter app for $19.99.

But the devil is in the details.
(We’ll come back to this…)

Install Lightroom Correctly
First things first… You need to get Lightroom 6 properly installed and optimized.

After completing your install, don’t forget to run Updates, which is located in the Help drop down.

As Lightroom is considered more of a ‘professional app,’ there are a number of settings in Preferences and Catalogue Settings you can tweak to make Lightroom work best for you. So spend some time there first, before you begin to import your first photos.

I am just an aspiring Jedi in this new galaxy. So here are two more videos to help you get started and properly organized using Lightroom.

And a few more helpful hints about how Lightroom is set up compared to Aperture:

  • Aperture Adjustments = Lightroom Develop
  • Aperture Projects = Lightroom Folders
  • Aperture Albums = Lightroom Collections
  • Aperture Folders = Light Collection Sets

Also, if you want to move photos around from one folder to another in Lightroom, drag from the center of the photo!
(I first tried dragging from the pic’s corner, and Lightroom entirely ignored me.)

The Golden Rule
One huge change from Aperture to Lightroom is Lightroom doesn’t hoard and hide your photo folders within the program itself.

Aperture did this by ‘managing’ your image files.
(Admittedly, Aperture also offered the option just to look at your ‘referenced’ image files located elsewhere, but unfortunately I never set up Aperture that way.)

As a result, my photos are all locked up in Aperture.
(We’ll come back to this.)

Lightroom respectfully references your separate photo folder structure. And then it organizes and adjusts the images only its own database. Your original photos remain in their easy-to-find folders… untouched.

That said, the one Lightroom golden rule I’ve run across numerous times is to move your photos and photo folders around only in Lightroom.
(After first creating or connecting your photo folder structure to Lightroom)

Apparently, since standard photo folders on your hard drive are so easy to see, amateur Lightroom users sometimes move their photo folders around outside of the Lightroom program. When that happens, Lightroom can’t find the photos anymore.
(Makes sense, right?)

The fix is to reconnect Lightroom to your ‘missing’ photos.
(That’s not necessarily a problem… as long as you don’t forget where your photos are.)

Where are the Keys to Your Photo Kingdom?
Riddle me this:
So how are you supposed to export the archive of all of your adjusted images from Aperture to Lightroom?

The short answer is I’m not quite sure…

Both the Aperture Importer plug in and the third-party Aperture Exporter app can’t get your photo library into Lightroom with all the tweaks, improvements and changes you’ve made to your photos. Apparently Lightroom can’t read that kind of Aperture metadata.

You can only transfer the original photos, folder structure and other metadata.


You can’t migrate your photos with all of your applied changes?!

Other than maintaining the actual photos and providing organization, isn’t holding onto your adjustments a critical need?!!
(I’ve probably spent the equivalent of months tweaking my photos over the past ten years.)

Again… I’m not absolutely certain, but all of my research points to this distressing reality.
(If anyone out there knows another answer, please add your two cents!)

Plan B
Let me know when you’re done hyperventilating.

Okay… so…
(Too soon?)

All right. Let’s continue…

So what the frak are we supposed to do now?!

We’ll, here’s a homegrown plan I’m considering…

Instead of trying to accomplish a complete Aperture library transfer of my original photos without all the tweaks I’ve made, I will instead manually export groups of adjusted photo ‘versions’ (not original photos) from individual Aperture projects. These photo versions will go into new photo folders I’ll create for Lightroom to access.

  • But I’ll only transfer over the best photos (the ones I’ve rated ‘5 stars’) and leave the rest behind.
    (I know that may seem harsh, but my plan has always been just to use my 5-star photos for photo book creation and long-term archiving.)
  • That means I’ll also be leaving my original photo files behind in Aperture, but I created all of those tweaked ‘versions’ for a reason, right?
    (Do I really think I’m going to go back the originals to tinker with a shot from 2009?)

Plan C?
But there are two problems with Plan B:

  1. It’s probably going to take me weeks (months?) to complete.
    The silver lining is this workaround will force me to do the spring-cleaning on my photo library I’ve been meaning to do for years. At the end of the process, I’ll have a leaner and meaner group of photos to take forward that really matter.
    (What would I do with tens of thousands of photos anyway?)
  2. (Prepare yourself…)
    All of these adjusted photo versions I’ll be moving forward won’t retain their original creation date. They’ll only display the day and date they’re exported out of Aperture into their new file folder.

Is that a big deal?
I think it is..!

Sure, all of these rescued photos can live in properly dated folders that Lightroom will manage. But what if I have to rescue these pictures again in the future? The fact that they will no longer have a date of origin could really be a huge gap.

So the good news is I’ve officially stopped adding photos to my Aperture library as of the New Year. Lightroom 6 has been successfully installed in the Lester home and has taken over all of my new pics moving forward.

The bad news is I’ve still got to migrate half a lifetime’s worth of photos into Lightroom.
(I think I’m starting to hyperventilate again…)

Any suggestions beyond what I’m contemplating?

Next week, I’ll report on my progress in crystallizing a transfer plan.

Don’t forget:
Baby steps…

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