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High Definition Video for Independent Filmmakers
A How To Guide for Digital Filmmakers
Welcome all! This is my blog to share my latest research,
thoughts, etc. on utilizing HD for independent filmmaking.
YES, I am available for consulting
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
All content copyright 2004-2007 Mike Curtis.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
My Apple contacts dropped me a note to let me know Final Cut Studio 2.0.1 was out:
About Pro Application Update 2007-01
Pro Application Update 2007-01 updates the following components
Apple ProRes 422:
Delivers improved encoding performance for Power Mac G5 computers.
Delivers filter improvements for Motion 3.0 and Final Cut Pro 6.0 customers.
PluginManager, FxPlug, ProFX, and FxPlugWrapper:
These shared components deliver updates to Effects Support, 3D Support, and Versioning Support.
Delivers improvements for SmoothCam. This update is required for customers using Motion 3.0 and Final Cut Pro 6.0.
Requirements for this update:
Mac OS X 10.4.9 or later
QuickTime 7.1.6 or later
Apple - Support - Downloads - Final Cut Pro 6.0.1 : "Final Cut Pro 6.0.1 contains several updates, including:
- Improved stability
- Support for the AVCHD format through the Log and Transfer interface
- FXPlug improvements with Motion and third-party applications
- Improved master template support
- Resolution of issues with long filenames (greater than 32 characters, up to 255 characters) on non-HFS file systems (network or Xsan volumes, FAT32 volumes, and so on)
This software update is recommended for all users of Final Cut Pro 6.0."
Final�Cut�Pro 6 Release�Notes
Apple - Support - Downloads - Color 1.0.1 : "Color 1.0.1 contains several updates, providing the following fixes:
- Improved stability
- Improved metadata support from Final Cut Pro
- Improved single-display mode
- Floating-point processing on computers with NVIDIA graphics cards
- Dissolves of 2K files during rendering
This software update is recommended for all users of Color 1.0."
Apple - Support - Downloads - Motion 3.0.1 : "Motion 3.0.1 improves stability and resolves performance issues that may be encountered when using Motion 3.0 on both PowerPC-based and Intel-based Macintosh computers. This software update is recommended for all users of Motion 3.0.
This update Includes specific fixes for:
- 32-bit float projects
- Rendering of intersecting 3D groups
- Final Cut Pro integration"
Motion 3 Release�Notes
Apple - Support - Downloads - Soundtrack Pro 2.0.1 : "Soundtrack Pro 2.0.1 contains several updates, including:
- Improved stability
- Improved performance
- Delay Designer surround effect plug-in
This software is recommended for all users of Soundtrack Pro 2.0."
Apple - Support - Downloads - Compressor 3.0.1 : "Compressor 3.0.1 contains several updates, including:
- Improved performance
- Improved stability
- Provides compatibility updates for Apple Devices
This update is recommended for all Compressor 3.0 users."
the good stuff is:
-AVCHD support - as expected, ONLY transcoding to ProRes or AIC is supported - this dodges the whole huge processor load and having to handle another long GOP format. Actually, AIC is an unexpected option - ProRes is what they discussed at NAB.
-FCP doesn't calculate transcoded sizes, so you need to pay careful attention to disk full situations when ingesting. Once again, VideoSpace (see blog from a few days ago) will help.
-AVCHD files are tiny. AIC and ProRes are NOT. From the release notes:
AVCHD has a much higher compression ratio than the Apple ProRes 422 codec, so the ingested files are significantly larger than the original files. For example, a 2-minute native AVCHD file is about 200 MB. After transcoding to the Apple ProRes 422 codec, the file size can be as large as 2 GB.
-can't set in and out points for AVCHD in Log & Transfer - bummer. Gotta pull in the whole clip at once. Maybe will be fixed in future, maybe not. So long takes - ESPECIALLY pay attention to estimated converted size. FCP really should give you some guidelines on this - while AIC and ProRes are variable (non-fixed) bitrate, a guess would help.
buncha little fixes, over a dozen bug fixes, some nice tweaks and changes to in depth stuff - read the release notes (link above)
-drop frame now supported in sequences and media timecode - hooray!
-Color Corrector 3-way now converted to Primary In filters - NICE! Obvious and needed to happen. But due to Y'CbCr vs RGB issues, the conversions are approximate and not exact. But a good place to start. But only one CC 3way filter per clip - stacked 3way filters (wait, that sounds dirty) won't carry over.
-Cineon/DPX sequence EDLs support transitions now (biggie for film crowd), but linear dissolves only
-256MB or greater NVidia cards can now do floating point processing, they couldn't before
-ceiling and floor IRE now purportedly works right - I had trouble with this in Final Touch a year ago
-Pan & Scan settings now flow to FCP correctly
-960x720 render artifacts fixed
-read the known issues, there's still lots of things to be careful of. You absolutely cannot assume that any FCP project that you make will flop into and out of Color just dandy - there's still lots of things that can go wrong!
-256 kbps for iTunes plus audio stuff
-custom pixel output ratios
-auto-center cropping (nice!)
-iPhone format support
BTW - I just realized I can blog from my iPhone. Oh My God.
Pro App Update
-encoding improvements for G5's for ProRes - should improve performance
I happened to be working on some workflow issues for a client (they wanted to efficiently color correct hundreds of individual HDV shots and deliver to 8 different deliverable files from HDV down to 160x120 quicktime files...for an interesting usage scenario), and I sent them a bunch of customized Compressor settings to use for their specific needs. Final Cut Pro doesn't quite want to work in individual file batch mode, you have to alternately cajole it and beat it with a stick to get it to do it.
But in doing so, I learned a bunch of cool new stuff. I had sent them some presets that cropped 16:9 source down to 4:3 center cut - but it wasn't doing it for them. A little R&D later I figured out that was one of the new features in Compressor 3.0.1 - the ability to intelligently crop down to a given aspect ratio, THEN scale those results down. A very common need in this world of 16:9 source and 4:3 deliverables - awesome!
So DEFINITELY run Software Update for Compressor 3.0.1. And be clear and careful about usign it on 3.0 version of Compressor, because 3.0.1 has features 3.0 doesn't - so update ALL your machines. On the 3.0 system, the intelligent cropping got ignored, so their 16:9 source got squarshed into 4:3, rather than center cut and scaled down.
FRIDAY MORNING UPDATE - a sharp eyed reader noticed that AVCHD support apparently is only for Intel Macs - can anybody else verify? Read the comments for more on this.
I didn't actually realize that Color was an RGB application, I thought it was YUV. So that does mean that After Effects should be able to work with ProRes422 just as Color does, and not show the issues that cropped up in that initial tests. Hopefully they final release of After Effects CS3 will have ProRes support and Presets.
Have a great evening.
I wonder if the long filename support will fix some issues I've been having with FCP and MetaSAN.
I use Expression Engine's Moblog module for easy blogging from a cellphone. I'm sure Mike is gonna be typing oh-so-fast "in a week".
1. AVCHD is unsupported on PowerPC processors.
2. I have Final Cut on Both my laptop and my G5. After installing the update on the G5, I am no longer able to open any mp4 h.264 clips (from my shiny new sony xacti) It errors out first saying "General Error", then "Error: Out of Memory"
I know this 6.0.1 is the culprit because it was working just fine minutes before I decided to upgrade. I actually went ahead and did the update on my G4 laptop as well just to be sure it was a problem caused by the update, and sure enough same thing.
Whats strange is even though I can't open up an mp4 h.264 clip into the viewer, I can physically drag and drop a clip from the bin directly into the timeline, and its fine. However I lose viewer and match frame capability, and I am sure much more.
This is my first post, I read your blog daily, you rock man.
Nice to see that this G5 tower I've invested so much in upgrading (RAM, hard drives, graphics card) is now irrelevant. It'd be one thing if it needed the Intel chip to edit the footage in real time - but since it's forcing a conversion any way, why couldn't they have just let us set up a transcode and let it go overnight. We're used to that.
I smell a petition. There are a lot of people out there who got excited (and spendy) about FCS2 and AVCHD who are now left out to dry for not having any cash left to upgrade a perfectly good computer.
I am having weird behavior with Log and Transfer when I plug the Sony HDR-SR1E in the USB port Final Cut 6.0.1 crash and closes. unplug the Sony and all ok.
So no AVCHD editing for me yet.
What boxen and OS version are you running that is crashing? Curious. QT version as well.
WHAT THE FLUCK????
I have all the latest software FCP STudio, Leopard etc. I can get iLife '08.
I have a dual 2g G5 tower with an ATI 9800 card.
Can I or can I not use a Sanyo Xacti Hd 1000, for which I am hot ?
Only in iMovie ?
Won't the mpeg4 H.2664 imort easily to FCP ?
I can't use the log and import ?
I'm a little confused.
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