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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.
Friday, June 29, 2007
Joined friends in line at 4:30, had by 7, doodling now.
I have one.
Are you in California?
You can't get one yet as of this writing.
As BJ says,
No time, must PLAY!
MAYBE a Blogwad.....tomorrow....
UPDATE at 11pm - my articulate self earlier was a wee bit excited, to say the least. Waiting in line w/two geeky friends (BJ Heinley and Charlie Wood), he hung out for a couple of hours, ran over to Whole Foods across the street for sushi & beer, and enjoyed ourselves catching up on a warm but shady afternoon. We all got the phones we wanted (I got 8 GB model), we immediately went back to BJ's house nearby and hooked up, set up, sync'd up, and started to doodle. The UI is extremely elegant and cool, the screen looks good, we just hung out and geek revelled. As one of their wives put it - "You can go hang with your geek friends and beep."
Saturday Morning Update
OK, NOW that I'm sober and having passed through the giddy Day Zero Hype Factor, it is still cool.
A few things I'm noticing:
1.) They say you have to give the keyboard some time to get used to it. Clearly so - I'm hunting and pecking and missing a bit. Won't be routinely blogging from this sucker.
2.) Had trouble joining my home WiFi network - entered the password a zillion times that I've entered a zillion times before. I'd been on the WiFi at BJ's house no problem. Hmmm. Went in and changed the WEP from 128 down to 40 bit - then it worked. CRAP. This means I have to run my home network in a less secure fashion for the iPhone to work. Hopefully they'll fix that in a future release.
3.) Camera has no video capabilities. Seems like it should be able to shoot videos - would be so Apple. Drat, it doesn't. Maybe next version will have 2nd camera on front for video conferencing. : )
4.) Ringtones - YOU CANNOT LOAD YOUR OWN - there is no mechanism provided. LAAAAAAAAAAAAAME - clearly AT&T holding out for ringtone sales. This is lame beyond all recognitiion - you should be able to use a sound snippet from your iTunes library to do this. SO incredibly lame and frustrating.
5.) The camera - takes surprisingly decent pictures for a camera phone - 2 megapixels even! It doesn't rival my Canon S450, but it beats the snot out of my T616's camera (and what do I do with that inert little brick now?)
6.) The peeps turn out - as we're all waiting in line (I saw 2 other people I knew - my boss from 8-10 years ago (creative director at frogdesign) who had been waiting since 1pm, and Leah, who was an intern at T3 when I worked there in 1995 - fun to see all the geeky folks come out. And those two represent the target demographic - geeky guys and busy Moms (Leah gets double demographic points - she's a busy mom and works in marketing - I ran into her at MacWorld '05 repping my friend Patrick's game Stubbs the Zombie).
7.) iPhone snobbery is an evil, but fun, thing - as we're waiting in line (all 100+ of us at a small AT&T outlet) - somebody walks past the store minding their own business on a sleek little cell, like a Razr or something, and somebody says in a silly taunting voice - "Look at him, he's on a REGULAR cellphone!" and everybody busts out laughing. We're evil nurds.
8.) the unit itself - a beautiful little thing, and MAN you don't want it to get scratched! I thought I'd wait to figure out accessories like cases, but saw a DLO (Digital Lifestyle Outfitters) silicon rubber black sleeve, so I got that for $20. BJ got three different ones to try out since he can return them (he lives about 8 blocks from the store, so no biggie). He got the same rubberized sleeve I did, a clear plastic hard case with a belt clip, and a leather belt clip that completely encloses/encases/protects the unit. He said he has a friend with a Treo or Blackberry that leaves it in a case that has a flip-open top, and it never leaves that - the thing is sealed and protected when not in use. Not a bad idea. As is, the little rubberized sleeve I have leaves the glass front totally exposed - it basically just protects it from a drop (hopefully) but leaves all buttons and ports accessible. But this phone pretty much guarantees I'm wearing cargo type pants. When we discussed this in line, we realized we were ALL wearing khaki cargo pants, t-shirts, and sandals/Tevas. Yep - we're geeks, confirmed. Anyway, my lifestyle is pretty accomodating of large pocket pants, but come colder weather or Client Time, this is kind of a big thing to lug around.
Oh, more on the DLO case - it has a thing on the back to wrap up the headphones (the special iPhone ones with a microphone and call/answer/pause/play button) and it will tidily stash the earphones and the plug for toting around in "normal" phone mode - nice.
9.) The web - yep, it really, really works. Just small and slow. But hdforindies.com works! Just get ready to squint. You can do the pinchy/squeezy zoom in/out thing, and that helps. Turning it sideways for wide view helps too. Flash doesn't work though.
10.) Email - yep - pictures work. Haven't tried QuickTime yet, but I need to.
OK, somebody's coming over to work, more later...
Some pics from the iPhone camera: iPhoned
Notice BJ's pic looks not bad in terms of tonal range. Mine is taken in front of a glaring daytime window, and Charlie's was taken at night in the dark by parking lot lights.
Best cameraphone quality I've seen.
- you can't read email sideways - drat.
-calendar - NO TO DO ITEMS - EEK!
-calendar events can't be separated by type - you have to see ALL calendar events
-mail - a little funky to figure out what accounts you're reading/sending from - gotta study a bit
-calendar setup stuff - you pick which calendar events are to have been created on your iPhone from in iTunes - a pop-up shows the list. It defaults to Home, I tried to change to Work, but now it only defaults to the third choice, Work Sched, which is the one I least want it to use.
NO SIDEWAYS KEYBOARD IN MAIL! You can do sideways keyboard for URLs (or something, I remember noting wide keyboard mode somewhere), so the code is i there and working, but mail is strictly portrait not landscape at this point in time - that'll be a big 1.1 update feature I hope.
-pictures are scaled down to be about 2x res of the screen - so you CAN zoom in, some, for more detail. But not full rez pics, and that is probably a good thing 95% of the time - would chew up all your space! I look forward to 16, 32, 64, adn 128GB iPhones in the years to come.
-Many, many little details and lack of choices look like they were made in order to cut corners and get it out the door. Not much that feels overtly broken, just not as refined as I'd like. Very few things that seem like they might be unfixable in software (such as can the camera do video), but clearly when they bumped Leopard to October, they STILL crunched to get this out the door and stable, so they cut features instead.
MORE THOUGHTS SATURDAY NIGHT, AFTER USING IT TODAY:
-no copy/paste is a hassle - I had just written there is no easy way to share a link, but WRONG! There is a very nice feature - if you're looking at a web page, click up in the URL field then a "Share" button appears at top left - nice!
ACCESSORY COMPATIBILITY: I already had an iPhone dock charger and a tape cassette adaptor in my car - when I plug in the power adaptor, it puts up a message on iPhone that says something about this accessory not designed for iPhone, do you want to use Airplane Mode, Y/N? (no WiFi/Bluetooth/cellphone/EDGE functionality). Bleck. Worse still, the cassette adaptor in my car makes a horrible clicking/thumping noise about once a second when plugged into the iPhone headphone jack - UGH! Is this some signal that the microphone/pause/answer phone is supposed to respond to? Do I need to plug in a different way, such as through the headphone jack on the car power adaptor? I'd guess so, I haven't tried that.
And as long as we're talking about the headphone jack - it is so far recessed on the iPhone that MANY headphone cables don't go in far enough - such was the case with the one in my bathroom that I have hooked up to some speakers (what can I say, I geek that way - don't YOU crank tunes in the shower? Or at least listen to NPR podcasts, depending on the mood? I'm either childing, a geek, and/or old fogie - take your pick!)
AS A PHONE, THIS IS MISSING SOME EXPECTED FEATURES - my cynical friend David gleefully pointed out that most any decent cellphone over $200 has GPS these days. I don't track the market, but that sounds somewhat viable. No GPS on iPhone, even though we have Google Maps...dammit.
Also, BIG CRITICAL MISSING FEATURE - there is no Profile or Modes, uh, mode on this phone - I'm so used to two-button-press to get silent mode on my phone, and there is no equivalent here - I want Meeting Mode - vibrate only, no "beep" during button presses. I want Movie Mode - total silence at all times, dim screen. I want Outdoors Mode - vibrate AND loud ring from the get-go. There is NO WAY AFAIK to set these things in bulk - you've got to laboriously dig through the prefs and set them one at a time. This is bad Bad BAD!!! EDIT - just RTFM, Mike - the physical switch on the side is ring/silent - nice! But the modality question still lives on.
So...teething pains. The lack of some software features seems eminently fixable with upgrades, the accessory imcompatiblities is annoying, considering this is now my FOURTH iPod I've bought (original iPod (Dad has now), Mini (recently recovered from stolen, hallelujah), Shuffle (died..dammit), and Nano (still going strong jogging w/Nike+iPod widget). Now this one (which I went ahead and got because I heard that engraving wasn't going to be available any time soon). Distraction - point being, I have a bunch of existing iPod accessories, be nice to have good interoperability with iPhone to leverage that investment - I don't want to buy a new car charger, stereo adaptor, etc.
Also, a note on power usage - now of COURSE I am doodling with this thing constantly, but I went through an alarming amount of the battery percentage today.
QuickTime playback from websites - NICE! you get a little blue "play me" icon on any QT movie, and if you click on it, it plays back full screen (or at least, this was how it worked looking at QT's on Apple's on site). You can turn the iPhone sideways for fullscreen playback. This is SUPER elegant and slick and nice and WOW, everything cool about iPhone the way it is supposed to be. That said, some display pixel glitches watching one of Apple's own videos. Confirming on my laptop - is the iPhone playback, NOT the source file - probably a hardware H.264 decoder? I should make a test page to see what kinds of QT files this device can play back - betcha H.264 and not a whole lot else. More testing to be done....
...learning as I go - Apple is, of course, ready for iPhone, and has iPhone specific pages on its site, such as movie trailers - VERY nice! A great demo. Looking at some other pages with quicktime movies, if it is outside of spec, it won't play. Durn. So iPhone optimized pages and QT content matters. Doesn't play Flash video, predictably, either.
This is similar to what I got but flatter since no cable management:
The Apple Store (U.S.) - Incase Molded Rubber Case for iPhone (Black)
Static cling cover, protects from scratches etc. - this sounds like a good idea since almost all cases leave the front vulnerable. But these are guaranteed to still work w/multi-touch.
The Apple Store (U.S.) - Power Support Crystal Film Set for iPhone
The Apple Bluetooth thing looks sleek and nice (and black not white!) but is absurdly expensive at $129. The Apple Store (U.S.) - Apple iPhone Bluetooth Headset
STRESS TEST - KEY SCRATCHING AND SIDEWALK DROPPING - YouTube - iPhone's first scratch/crash test ever! -iPhone Stress Test
Some of the features may be fixed sooner than we think according to one rumor site:
AppleInsider | Apple planning host of iPhone updates before Leopard release - report: "A true instant messaging client described as a mobile version of iChat, will arrive 'very, very soon' and certainly before Leopard, the designer says. Customized ringtones were also set to appear within the same timeframe.
But fall 2007 is when the iPhone's features are set to expand in earnest, he adds. The iPhone will not only gain a disk mode for transferring computer files but should also receive a full-fledged file browser that lets users store and open documents."
HD video: iPhone interface complete walkthrough - Engadget
Apple - iPhone - Tech Specs
Video Apple - iPhone - Tech Specs: "Video formats supported: H.264 video, up to 1.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second, Low-Complexity version of the H.264 Baseline Profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats; H.264 video, up to 768 Kbps, 320 by 240 pixels, 30 frames per second, Baseline Profile up to Level 1.3 with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats; MPEG-4 video, up to 2.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second, Simple Profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats"
Gallery: iPhone Take-apart - they pry apart an iPrecious...the horror....the horror....
BareFeats analysis - Apple iPhone
Macworld: First Look: Up close with the iPhone, Page 1
For those without, simulate the messiness - Bram.us � My iSmudginator 0.2
iPhone Central: iPhone news, reviews, opinions and more from Macworld's Apple experts - MacWorld's dedicated iPhone blog - quite nice actually! They point out and expand on a lot of the tidbits I found over the weekend - the iPhone specific version of the Apple movie trailers page, the Bluetooth pros & cons (I paired my GPS to iPhone, so I can answer hands free in TWO different ways now)
Also, the Apple Bluetooth doohickey is NOT in stores yet, but is $130 and does come with a dual cable and dual dock (meaning you can charge iPod and headset simultaneously) and it DOES "MagSafe" click in to its charger, which is nice.
Daring Fireball: iPhone First Impressions - actually, this one is particularly nice - his version of this article, breaking down by category his issues with the various attributes of the iPhone.
Just checked - the Nike+iPod transponder does NOT work with the iPhone - you get a message to the effect that this device doesn't work with this accessory or somesuch - no go. But this could be a fixable thing in the future - just a software update. And of course, software updates are likely to occur via iTunes...which you'll be connecting to regularly anyway.
I had a couple of syncs take a looooooong time, and I've "crashed" the web browser a few times where it suddenly goes back to the Home screen. So a little bit of bugginess. But hey - 1.0, first weekend, could be addressed in 1.0.1.
OK, here's one for everybody - if the iPhone is supposed to be the best ever iPod for playing back video...where/how do we play back back video from it on a TV? Where's the cable, etc. to do this?
Other notes on iPhone - there is no way to Bluetooth beam or even email your contact info to someone. Feh.
You can't Bluetooth to use the iPhone as a modem for your computer. Double feh.
On the Go playlists either forget themselves entirely or I'm doing it wrong - twice I've spent time putting together playlists, and it is gone later. Grr.
Apple iPhone - Missing Pieces
Some complaints about missing features.
Tops on my list for iPhone 2.0: GPS, 3G, & video.
I'm hoping iChat, Bluetooth modeming, Bluetooth contact beaming, and a host of other issues can be resolved with software updates.
Protective Cover For iPhone : Incase Products - another good protective cover that leaves the front face open, but no cord management like the DLO one I got (Digital Lifestyle Outfitter's Jam Jacket for iPhone, can't find a web page on it as of a few days ago).
Griffin Technology: Headphone Adapter - Use your headphones with iPhone - looks way handy
Optimizing Web Applications and Content for iPhone - thanks to commenter Evan for pointing this out.
Ready for iPhone 1.0.1 update. Can has pleez?
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Got my latest Creative Cow print magazine in the mail the other day, some good articles:
-the role passion plays in success- I just skimmed it at the time, but I keep thinking about it - it is really true
-cross platform workflows using the Sheer codec (which I've written about in the past as well)
-five tips for film festival success
-tips for a good color key
-pros and cons of self-employment
-Adobe Illustrator for use in video and film
There are others, but these were the ones that caught my interest.
Turmoil and Accusations of Censorship at the Cow
This whole thing started with an email I got from a reader talking about a thread on fxphd where it seemed that certain words, particularly those mentioning some sites that the Cow thought might be competitors, were being censored - posts mentioning them were being withheld and note posted to the forums.
I then was directed to this article:
General Specialist - Tips, Tricks and Tinkerings: Censorship at CreativeCow.net
which made it seem like they were DEFINITELY screening content.
So I thought about it - the Cow is a privately held business, and has the right to do anything they want that is legal (and being nice or being a jerk is still legal). On the one hand, they can set any policy they want to restrict discussions.
But on the other hand, the Cow is largely a bowl, a vessel, and most of the content, and most of the value derived from the Cow, comes from the stuff the users put into it - the bazillion forum posts (way over a million posts now I hear). So while not legally true, there is some SENSE of community ownership or rights going on there, since the Cow wouldn't be much without all of their users (pushing towards a half a million a month I found out).
So I wrote a big long thing and was getting ready to hit post...then decided to ask the parties involved what's up. I emailed somebody I knew at the Cow and asked about it and talked to Tim Wilson, and he said hang on, let me send you a link:
Updating Creative COW Policies
...which within the first couple of lines says this:
some have made their feelings crystal clear that you think we've failed to keep up.
Sounds like a mea culpa right there. Tim goes on to explain what happened from their side, and his explanation sounds reasonable. He says their intent has always been to create a civil place to discuss, and to maintain a high value, good signal to noise ratio on the site (what I frequently refer to as wheat vs chaff). He explained to me over the phone what had happened, as he discusses in the above article, and it sounded fair enough - often both sides just need to talk to avoid the different misunderstandings both have - I think both sides misinterpreted some of the others' actions. Tim was completely polite and patient answering my questions - nice guy on the phone.
I don't have the time or energy or interest to dive into what might or might not have been blocked legitimately or furtively or whatever in the past. When people email me with a question, and I don't have the time/interest to answer for free, or they don't have budget to hire me, one of my stock answers is "Go ask it on the Cow." There's lots of good help in there (and from time to time not so great help - it is an open community forum - is that a genius or a yahoo answering my question?). If they've censored mention of sites they consider competitors...that's an edge case in my mind, see the two arguments above.
And it could also be contextual - was it a helpful suggestion or a blatant plug to blow off the Cow and go surf QPSKFJDKF.com? I don't know the details of the past, don't want to get into it. In short, if they did do sucky things, then poo on them.
I think what IS important is that they are shifting base and opening the doors wider now - sounds like that won't be their policy going forward. Talking to Tim about what was and wasn't kosher, he made the case that policies came about only in response to uncool behavior in the past by companies or individuals - blatantly lame behavior that didn't further the level of discourse.
Anyway, Tim then goes on to announce a bunch of new policies of the Cow, such as solicitation of outside content, promotion of same on the Cow, etc. I'll deal with that in a minute.
In case you have any questions or doubts, here's their new terms of service/code of expected conduct:
Creative COW's Policies and Code of Conduct
OK. Some thoughts on their new stuff, quoting some of their policies in italics, my comments in plain:
We actively solicit material that you create for your own purposes to be reposted at Creative COW, including tutorials, articles and reviews, whether presented in static or dynamic form. We strongly believe that our dramatically higher traffic and wider variety of promotional tools will result in far greater exposure for your information, and your company, website or online community.
That all sounds well and good - they have huge reach.
We reserve the right to decline any such submission for any reason. We reserve the right to edit any accepted material, offering the opportunity for your review and approval before posting at Creative COW.
Again, generally reasonable, but their right to edit makes me a touch nervous - but authors can review and approve (and presumably offer alternatives), so that seems somewhat OK. You couldn't expect them to run anything and everything from anybody as submitted - publications need to maintain standards and practices etc. I'll let anybody comment so long as they aren't blatantly rude on HD4NDs, but I'm very picky and selective and careful about what I'll run as an article (although I too welcome well considered reviews, articles, etc. - feel free to send stuff in!).
But the devil is always in the details - if they were to routinely not reproduce high quality material submitted from a perceived/potential competitor, that'd be lame from the community benefit/"we're here for you"/group hug mentality of an online community for the benefit of the users. We'll have to wait and see how this shakes out.
Any accepted material posted at Creative COW remains the sole property of the originating copyright holder. Creative COW explicitly makes no claims of ownership, exclusivity, or reprint rights except where specific agreements have been entered into.
GOOD. Not everybody does that - some sites claim ownership on your words you post on their site - that never quite sat well with me since you wrote it in the first place.
After acceptance, we will remove any material provided to us whenever requested by its owner, with no reason or explanation requested or required. We ask for a 30 day notice to facilitate their removal from our system.
Again, good that authors maintain control, although 30 days seems excessively long - a week should be more than enough AFAIK - I'd like to hear why 30 days - that is a full and thorough news cycle - the vast majority of the benefit would have been derived by that time. If there isn't some big good reason for it, that feels not cool to me - "Sure man, we'll be happy to take it down....in a month." I'd like to see changes made there - should be days. Could be 24 hours from somebody checking their mail.
We will publicize all the material we accept in the same manner we use for publicizing material created directly by Creative COW and its members, including featuring in our newsletter and inclusion in our library.
Fair treatment, same as in-house, good.
We will also explicitly identify the source of this material, and provide links back to the originating website as well as any other included links that meet the standards described in these Terms.
That all sounds good - no link co-opting.
A little further down, though, it says this:
Any post made in The Creative COW is fully public, without restriction. Posters are free to publish the same information anywhere else they choose to. At the same time, The Creative COW reserves the right to include any public post in advertising, publicity, or other commercial or non-commercial material, without compensation to the author.
I like the first part - again, no claiming your words as theirs - very good. However, the second sentence gives me pause - not only would I want to be asked first if somebody wants to quote me wide, esp. in an ad, but I'm also not to be compensated for it? No likey. No likey at ALL. Not only am I (or you) giving up control/ownership of our words/thoughts/expression for them to do what they want, but they also specifically reserve the right to not compensate the author. This seems to fly in the face of normal business practices about things said. If Bob Smith is filmed in public saying "I like Cheetos, they're yummy." and the six o'clock news wants to run it, fine. But if Cheetos wants to run it as an ad, wouldn't you expect they'd need to get Bob's permission to do so, and probably compensate him for it?
EDIT - I brought up this point and Tim agreed, they're going to address that situation. Asking permission makes sense. So that's fixed already.
They also require folks to identify their affiliations - that seems entirely valid too - if John Smith says Product B is a POS, and John Smith works for Competitor Company A, as a reader we really should know that to be able to evaluate the credibility and allegiances of the source (so I should note I've worked Red's booth when I comment on Red over there, for instance).
EDIT - new policy fixes my quibbles on that count - quick response on their part.
In another section, when discussing "companies, websites, and online communities" in particular, they say:
Rather than provide links to external websites, we require the option of hosting the intended material at Creative COW, following the guidelines above. We will expedite posting it to provide timely access to its information.
If I were a company making a product, I probably wouldn't have a problem with that - a tutorial or whatever directly in their site? GREAT!
If I were a website or online forum, however, that feels a little grabby to me - I understand their business desire to be the Grand Hub, but that feels like it is stepping a foot over the line to me. Because to host the content themselves, unless there is some kind of a revenue share, that is basically them saying "We want the ad dollars." from my perspective. As a company/website, I (and probably others in a similar boat) would welcome the added reach of getting our content out to a wider audience, but the "for free" side can rankle if your business model depends on ad revenue from readers. I'd like to see them offer or discuss revenue share from those particular pages that somebody else's content is on.
They continue with:
Where hosting this material at Creative COW is not possible or declined in favor of allowing an outside link, we require a reciprocal link pointing back to Creative COW.
Again, that strikes me as a bit grabby and presumptive to demand it. I've long been in the habit of posting links here (duh) and posting links on other forums, blogs, etc. If somebody said to me "Yeah I'll link to you! ....but only if you'll link to me!" that feels too much like Conditional Link Luv, as it were. It feels a little too conditional, and a little dirty - so if someone doesn't want to give up their content and ad dollars, you won't link to it? Without me cross linking? Feh - doesn't feel friendly.
If you're going to run an informational site, and say you're here for the community, requiring links from the other feels grabby. It would be one thing to request a "this information is also posted over on this page at Creative Cow." - I'm not too averse to that if I (or whoever) were to cross post an article on both - that strikes me as fair and balanced...but a touch commercial. But that's OK. But for ANY link to "snarfed" and rolled in? That's too much. And what are the terms of these links?
I'm friendly with Jarred at Reduser.net, Chris at dvinfo.net, Matt at FreshDV.com, Shane at Little Frog in High Def, etc. - we link back and forth and are pretty casual but definitely respectful about quoting content from the others' sites. While the Cow has a business, and don't want their Town Common to be abused, a little casual friendly reciprocity goes a long way. We'll have to see how that plays out in practice and in details.
To require full posting rights WAY oversteps the bounds of normal reciprocity for a content creation site in my opinion. The option to cross link? Can be fair, depends on how they want it implemented. Double checking, I already have a link to the Cow on my front page in the "Great HD Links" and it has been there for years, because it is truly a good resource. But what are the terms otherwise? On your page as posted originally?
All that said, my very strong independent hackles rise over this....yet if you ask me about having a link to the Cow on my site I'll calm down and say "Oh yeah! I have a link to them, they have tons of good stuff!" Yes, I am inconsistent. Or medicate-able. Or something.
But the above are all fair questions I think.
I'm encouraged that they do seem to listen, and their attitude seems to be one of learning as they go. So hopefully they'll start thinking about revenue share for higher end original content (and how to determine higher content from "the usual" - ugh, THAT'S a meeting I don't want to have to sit through). If it is a company providing a demo or tutorial for their otherwise for sale product, revenue share wouldn't make sense - content creation isn't those folks' primary endeavor. But for qualified featured reviews, analysis, articles, etc. - I feel some kind of revenue cut for those specific pages makes sense for content above a certain level if they want the right to reproduce it in full. But that's just me. *
OK, enough on that, moving on.
The thing that catches my eye is actively seeking solicitations for written stuff - they get HUGE traffic, so if anybody wants to write and get stuff out there and get known for it, Game On. It'll be interesting to see how they pick and choose and how good the submissions are. The only downside to that plan is that the Cow catches all the advertising income from said posts there.
I think with some tweaking, I could be cool with everything they are doing. And ongoing tweaking is necessary to figure this kind of stuff out.
If you have further information, insight, or comments on this matter, feel free to Comment below or email me. If you are staff at the Cow and would like to respond to anything I've said, I'd be happy to post that as an addendum to this article. If you are another content site that feels you've been slighted by past policies, or are another content site that wants to comment on these policies, again feel free to comment or email, I'll fold in as an addendum as I judge appropriate.
* - I obviously have a horse somewhat in this game as a writer trying to make a living in part by writing. Reach is great, finding new readers is great, driving new traffic is great, but being expected to hand over content rather than link, or at least link reciprocally as a mandate.....doesn't feel so great.
Update later that evening - a friend and industry veteran emailed me asking if this was the end of the Cow, the beginning of a downward spiral - I said if they stick to their monetizing guns, maybe so. If they adjust their course, open up to revenue sharing, I think everybody could be happy with it. "I think they started with a good idea - opening up - then went a bit awry in the execution, getting a little too hungry." I said. But that's fixable.
(I dedicate this post to all the HVX users waiting on their free P2 cards)
Anyone who owns an HVX can feel timid with the first experience with their camera. Yes, I am one of the many who purchased the camera back in March thinking I would be shooting and editing projects in the weeks to come. Wrong.
Up until March 31st, Panasonic had a great offer: buy the camera, and you receive a free 8gig P2 card. Estimated delivery time: 4-6 weeks. It's been ten weeks and counting and still no P2 card. I received a letter from them explaining that the 8gig cards reached full production and they would be replacing them with 16gig cards. AWESOME! Right? Wrong.
As the 11th week has approached, I've completed two projects, both of which have not been shot on my own personal P2 card. I've had to rent P2 cards numerous times (4gig = $25/day, 8gig = $60/day from local vendors... it adds up) and have been lucky enough to have a friend lend me his 4gig card for the longer shoot.
I browse the forums at dvxuser.com and see numerous people complaining on why they haven't received their cards yet. I'm a pretty patient person, but going on three months is pretty long. Imagine if PEZ had a shortage of candy and all you could do was click the head back and forth all day long.
I have a $5000 camera and am always anxious to shoot HD, but wait, I could shoot DVCPRO 50 with the same color sampling and lesser compression without the P2 card. Wait, no I can't... you can only shoot DVCPRO 50 on the P2 card. So that leaves me with a mini DV tape shooting SD for the last three months on a $5000 camera. NOT COOL!
Prepping the HVX for a 16gig card
If you have an HVX and are planning on getting a 16gig P2 card, you must download the proper firmware update from Panasonic. Here are the links to the Firmware Update and the .pdf instructions to update your camera.
Note: You also need a SD Card (64MB or higher) to upload the update on it. You can buy a USB Adapter for the SD Card to put the files from your computer to the card. You then put the SD Card back into the HVX and follow the instructions on the .pdf.
Also, if you have a PCMCIA slot on your computer, such as a Powerbook, you need to download this driver to update your computer so it can read the card:
Panasonic Support page
You definitely need more than one P2 card when you're shooting. There's a reason for two P2 card slots on the camera, so take full advantage of them. One 4gig just doesn't cut it. I bet an 8 gig would be great, 16gig would be awesome, but here are the downsides...
On a 4gig card, you can shoot about 8 minutes of 720p/24pN (Native mode~literally 24 progressive frames/sec). It sounds like a lot, but when you're shooting it goes by in a flash... The positive side is that after you copy the contents of the P2 card onto your laptop/hard drive/etc... you need to have someone archiving the folder on a DVD using a DVD burner. It's really the only way I feel safe with my footage- I have a physical form of footage rather than just data on a computer.
15" and 17" Powerbooks
These are the only two Mac laptops that can read the P2 cards directly from the PCMCIA slot.
First thing learned: ALWAYS HAVE A PERSON ON SET TO DUMP THE P2 FOOTAGE... a.k.a. P2 WRANGLER. I can't stress this enough.
The drives on the 15" and 17" Powerbooks are either a combo-drive or super-drive. The super-drives can only single-layer burners, so if working with 8gig cards you would need to purchase an external dual-layer DVD burner (Mike note - a quick search didn't indicate that Apple made a G4 based Powerbook with a dual layer burner - are we wrong? Was there one?). The downside to the 16gig P2 card is that you can't fit its entire contents on a single DVD (mikenote - thus losing the 1-to-1, P2-to-burned-disc ratio which keeps life simpler). So how do you transfer/back-up your footage?
UPDATE - Mike here - we forgot to include the Duel Systems Adapters - an ExpressCard to PCMCIA adaptor that lets you use MacBook Pro computers (MacBooks can't because they have NO expansion slots of any sort). They worked OK with 10.4.8, ther were issues with 10.4.9 that may not be fully addressed yet, dunno about 10.4.10 - somebody who knows please comment or email me so I can update this. Around $100 though, not bad.
5 Options to transfer/archive P2 Footage
A) Have a dedicated hard drive to store your footage via a direct data dump from camera to drive, no computer necessary. By dedicated, I mean buy a hard drive and don't use it for anything else. ONCE YOU CONNECT THE CAMERA VIA FIREWIRE TO THE HARD DRIVE, THE CAMERA FORMATS THE DRIVE AND CREATES FAT32 PARTITIONS FOR EACH TIME YOU DUMP THE P2 CARD CONTENTS. (mikenote-thus obliterating anything you had on there before!) The size of your P2 card determines the of size each partition it will create. Meaning if you only have 2 gigs of footage on a 4GB card and dump the card to the hard drive, it will create a 4 gig partition instead of only 2.5 gigs. There are a maximum of 15 partitions that can be made on the hard drive, so that means you can only dump the card contents 15 times on the hard drive, which turns out to be ~ 60 gigs. (mikenote - or 120GB if dumping 8GB cards, or 240 GB if dumping 16GB cards...a 250 GB drive probably isn't QUITE big enough to dump 15 full 16GB cards to - formats to 232GB usable.) Advice: don't buy a dedicated hard drive over 150 gigs (if shooting with 8gig cards) and nothing over 80gigs if shooting with 4gig cards. The hard drive must be bus powered, meaning the camera cannot power the hard drive directly - thus the hard drive needs power from somewhere else.
B) Dump the P2 card directly through the PCMCIA slot (note: MACBOOK PROS CAN'T READ THE CARDS, ONLY 15" AND 17" POWERBOOKS CAN). If you own a Powerbook, I advise you to make sure the PCMCIA slot is clean and dust-free. The card will show up as a disk image with NO NAME as the label. *****************CREATE A NEW FOLDER ON THE DESKTOP/HARD DRIVE AND COPY THE FULL CONTENTS OF THE CARD: THE "CONTENTS" FOLDER AND THE "lastclip.txt" FILE.************* If you don't coy the text file then FCP won't be able to read your folder.
C) Connect the HVX directly to the laptop via firewire cable, the camera should show up as a drive labeled "NO NAME" just like the P2 card. Again, COPY THE ENTIRE CONTENTS OF THE FOLDER, same as above. LABEL YOUR FOLDERS ACCORDING TO P2 DUMP # AND ITS CONTENTS... FOR EXAMPLE: "p2_01_beach", "p2_02_beach", "p2_03_beach" etc... There is no alternate solution for changing the "NO NAME" label when the P2 card shows up.
D) Use a USB2 Hard Drive that has the USB "On-the-go" protocol. Connect the camera via USB 2.0 and in the camera menu choose OTHER FUNCTIONS>PC MODE so the camera will operate as a USB device. Switch to dubbing mode on the camera and press the "copy" button on the hard drive and it will copy the contents of the P2 card on the first slot it sees.
E) Open FCP 5.1.4 and click File>Import>Panasonic P2 (On FCP 6 it's File>Log and Transfer, and it has some enhancements over FCP 5.1.x). The P2 import window should pop up. Before you do that, you should create a logging bin to dump the P2 card contents. With the P2 import window open, click the add button and just choose the whole P2 folder you want to dump, don't toggle the contents folder, etc... Click open and the clips will show up in the viewer. This is a great way to log/label/note all your clips before importing. I do not recommend this option...
Here is a little video tutorial on how to import p2 cards to your hard drive/computer/FCP:
FCP 5.1.4 P2 Import Tutorial
FS-100 Portable DTE Recorder (Firestore)
"Weighing about one pound and only 1.5 inches thick, the FireStore FS-100 is an HD recorder designed to work with the new Panasonic AG-HVX200 P2 camera, supporting DVCPRO HD, DVCPRO 50, and DVCPRO/DV recording formats. The FS-100 provides long recording times and improves workflow with Direct To Edit® technology. It can also be used with other Panasonic DVCPRO/DVCPRO 50 and DVCPRO HD devices that have a FireWire port."
Here are the new features they just came out with:
- The ability to record native 720/24p, 25p and 30p in the MXF pN format; Allows users to only record the required frames in a DVCPRO HD stream, eliminating the need to remove advanced pulldown or duplicate frames during import to the edit system.
- QuickTime support for native frame rates as well as other 720p and 1080i DVCPRO HD record modes for DTE workflow within Apple Final Cut Pro; Allows DV, DVCPRO 50 and DVCPRO HD clips to import directly into the FCP timeline.
- Extended record time; Native frame rate recording allows users to double the record time from 100 minutes to over 200 minutes
- New included accessories such as a high-capacity 180 minute battery, a cradle to mount FS-100 onto all shoulder-mount camcorders with an Anton Bauer adapter, and a new 4-pin right-angle FireWire cable for an extra secure connection to the camera.
- The ability to easily bring non-P2 Panasonic cameras into a DTE workflow; Any DV, DVCPRO 50 or DVCPRO HD camera with 1394 can take advantage of IT workflow.
Visit Focus Enhancement's Official Website for more information.
AJ-PCD20 P2 Drive
"The AJ-PCD20 P2 solid-state memory drive answers the need of today's video professional for faster, easier file transfers on the desktop or in the field. This flexible, time-saving internal/external drive allows users to mount five 8GB P2 cards simultaneously for instant access and continuous editing of all recorded content in sequence. The P2 drive now offers an IEEE1394b interface (in addition to USB 2.0) for high-speed transfers of DVCPRO, DVCPRO50, or DVCPRO HD content into nonlinear editing systems and servers. Compatible with Windows 2000, XP and MAC OS X, the AJ-PCD20 can be installed directly into a standard PC 5.25" bay drive enclosure or connected to a computer and local area network (LAN) via its USB 2.0 or IEEE1394b interfaces. The flexible AJ-PCD20 also serves as a stand-alone external drive when connected with laptops for in-the-field use."
Visit Panasonic's Official page
AJ-PCS060G P2 Store
P2 Store is a 60gig hard drive and is battery powered, so no computer necessary. it serves as a great buffer when working in the field. It can then be used as an external hard drive to link to a computer via USB 2.0.
Visit Panasonic's Official Page
And now a very important message from the trenches, aka "See this scar here? That's why I don't that anymore."
If you want to view the contents of a P2 folder while you are on set, do so from the archived DVD. BURN THE DATA DVD FIRST, THEN REVIEW THE FOOTAGE IN FCP. This way your files are FOR SURE safe and won't be deleted.
I was toying around importing P2 footage with FCP 5.1.4. When importing footage, DO NOT delete the video files from the P2 log window. They will be deleted forever... you will end up with a P2 folder with all it's sub-folders but no contents within the sub-folders.
Let's set up the rules of P2:
1. Always have a person on set to dump the P2 footage... a.k.a. P2 Wrangler.
2. Always have a person on set to dump the P2 footage... a.k.a. P2 Wrangler.
3. Have at least 2 or 3 places to store your p2 folders. You never know when that day will come when your computer/hard drive crashes.
4. Burn data DVD's if possible and asap.
5. If dumping directly to a hard drive, use it strictly for P2 dumps and nothing else. remember it makes FAT32 partitions on the hard drive.
6. Always copy the entire contents of the card, including the "LAST CLIP" text file. if you don't, you're S.O.L.
7. If importing with FCP, do not delete the clips from the P2 import window, just leave them be. I REPEAT, leave them be.
8. Format the P2 card within the camera, not from the computer. it makes things much easier.
9. Label your folders according to P2 dump # and its contents. For example: "p2_01_beach", "p2_02_beach", "p2_03_beach" etc...
10. If you are on set and want to reviwew the P2 contents safely, view them from the archived DVD and not the Hard Drivesource footage
Panasonic really put a lot of effort into the P2 workflow, which in turn spoils the shooter to never want to revert back to tape. But there's something that doesn't feel right when you're shooting and dumping, almost like you never feel reassured that your footage is safe. with tape, you can hold it in your hand and say to yourself "I control you and I decide if I want to get rid of you." You should do the same with P2 to data DVDs.
Keep the P2 folders on multiple hard drives and back them up on DVD's if they are less than 4 gigs. Hopefully within a year, BLU-RAY/HD DVD burners will be affordable and you can back up 16gig/32gig cards on the discs for just a few bucks. Hopefully that day will come sooner than we think.
If you don't own a Powerbook and want an easy workflow in the field without tying up tha camera, a good choice would be the P2 Store. the downside if you have a 16gig card you can only dump it 3 times, but up to 15 dumps if you have 4gig cards. working with multi-P2 camera shoots, the P2 Drive would be a great option. If both of these choices are out of your price range, another option would be to buy a modestly priced PC laptop with a PCMCIA slot. Even ANOTHER option could be to somehow get your hands on a 15" or 17" refurbished Powerbook for a pretty modest price.
Mike's Comments: First off, thanks to Geoff for spending all the time to put this together.
As you can see, there are a BUNCH of options for how to deal with your P2 footage. One way not mentioned, because it isn't very budget/indie viable, is to just have a stack of P2 cards. With the recent price drop, the 16GB cards are awfully compelling, as their GB/$ ratio is MUCH better than the 8GB cards. Geoff did some spot market research and found that 8GB cards were going for around $675, and 16GB cards were going for about $900 on the street - so why NOT get the 16GB ones if you're on a budget? The "fits on a disc" is the only reason I can think of to even consider not doing so.
The P2 Store gets points for being small, battery powered, and simple to use - load and go with a a readout. The downside is the price. The other good thing about it is that the camera isn't tied up while you're using it. So if small size, portability, and immediately freeing up the camera is your goal, P2 Store makes some sense (or multiple ones).
Keeping track of which cards have been dumped and are ready to wipe and recycle from those that haven't is KEY if you have multiple cards.
The P2 Gear is good for better funded field work as you can review on it - think of it as an HVX with the lens and sensor sawed off.
The direct to drive option is nice, but makes me slightly nervous in terms of being sure you've got the footage- I'd want to plug it into a laptop right away.
The FS-100 is still kinda big and bulky, and P2 cards are finally starting to catch up with it. But for shooting a lot of footage in one go, it is a good answer for that.
The P2 economy/ecology is growing and advancing, and you have lots of choices as you can see. If you have budget for it, and/or need to be sure you can keep shooting, having a pair of cards to shoot with, the pair of cards you're backing up, and a spare pair keeps you guaranteed rolling.
Carefully analyze the needs of your shoot, see if you can spare staff to wrangle P2 cards, see if you need to keep the camera free to shoot, or if it won't be a problem to have it tied up offloading in down time. Standing around waiting for the P2 cards to download while everyone impatiently taps their feet as the good light is fading is definitely not a situation you want to put yourself into.
OK, happy shooting!
And keep multiple backups of that footage!
I updated that Top Ten audio workflow article with a long piece on single vs dual system sound, I updated the ProLost article on Redrock's new camera gadget with user submitted photos, etc.
So if something catches your eye, be sure to go back and look again. Or if you read regularly, every once in a while skim back over the week to see what you missed. I try to always note at the top in bold when it is updated (but I realize I did that 1 time out of 3 here, so I need to get better at it.)
Why I'm Not Getting an iPhone : Gina Hughes : Yahoo! Tech
Outlines a bunch of valid reasons to not get it:
-cost of phone
-cost of service
-network isn't 3G
-1st Gen - "Never buy a 1.0" Syndrome
-long lines to get
-mike, who is probably going to get one tomorrow anyway.
Got an automated email from the team - Colorista is now half off through June 30 - so only $99 instead of $199.
Enter coupon code mbc99 during checkout to get the discount.
I don't usually run sale announcements, but Colorista is especially cool and $99 is a deal.
I've been noodling on the pros/cons of Color, and FCP plugins still make sense for a LOT of projects and workflows.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
BTW - I realized I'll be able to blog from my phone (!!!!!!!!!!!!).
What bizarre level of geekery is THAT?
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.
Firmware Update For 2nd Gen HD DVD Players Fixes Dreaded Chroma Bug.: "The firmware fixes the dreaded “Chroma Bug”, a.k.a “CUE” or “Chroma Upsampling Error” that was present in the players prior to this update. "
Chroma Upsampling Error - we see it all the time in DV and HDV footage - it drove Graeme Nattress so nuts he wrote some plugins to fix it in Final Cut.
Anyway, plug in your Ethernet cable and run the patch.
On the PS3 side:
PlayStation.Blog � Firmware 1.82 Coming Soon…: "firmware 1.82 is an update that enables the playback of AVC High Profile (H.264/MPEG-4) files"
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
1.) Get your name and home phone and/or email address engraved on any expensive iGadget you buy
2.) If lost, makes for an easy way to find you
3.) If stolen, makes it tougher to sell as easier to identify the true/original owner
4.) I wrote a fun little story that you might enjoy reading if you enjoy some of my sillier asides on the blog.
So the other day I commented down in the bottom of the blogwad that somebody went into my garage (set back 50 feet from the street in a quiet neighborhood) and stole my mountain bike and then went into my car and stole an iPod.
The bike I fear is a goner (an indestructible 1991 Bridgestone MB-2 with lots of customizations and great memories, dammit), but I got a call from a stranger saying she'd found my iPod. Since I'd gone to the trouble to order it with my name and phone number engraved on the back, she called the number, met me at a gas station on her way home, and handed it over with a thanks and God Bless. Well, Big Thanks to Andrea for taking the time to do the right thing and call me - MUCH appreciated.
Secondly, that right there is why I won't be walking out of the Apple Store with an iPhone on Friday. YES, I'll almost certainly be ordering one, but I'm going to sit out First Geek To Touch week of doodling with it (and probably starting a related blog, and yes I reserved iphonehacker.com but will probably hold back doing anything with it). That alone will vastly increase my productivity that week.
But I'm going to order one with my name, email and home phone number engraved on it* - because if I hadn't done so, there's no way in hell I'd be holding my silver iPod Mini right now - I figure the bum who stole it either didn't have headphones, the battery ran out and they didn't have a way to charge, and/or they saw the name and number on the back and figured that'd be a hindrance to selling it at a pawn shop. Same thing likely to apply with the iPhone - there will be a zillion units virtually identical to look at. YES, there will be a database of serial numbers, but if the SIM is replaceable, no one will probably ever know. It'd be great if Apple & AT&T had some clever anti-theft detection network going, such that any phone reported stolen could be remotely shut down at a serial number level. But I haven't heard of such yet to date.
Also, what are YOUR thoughts as to home # or email address? EDIT - there's room for all, see above. Home phone # is easily reverse lookup-able to find your address online, so can be a security threat there - I've heard never let a criminal find out your address, gives them a specific target. Plus, by definition they know you have substantial disposable income (you just spent 10X going rate for a cellphone, QED). BUT....home phone number is cake and easy for someone honest to call and say they found it. If you do email address, that's a little harder for somebody to go to the trouble to let you know they found it, it couldn't possibly be a long distance call...but they have to have an email address and go to the trouble to do so. (you could always invite them to send you an email on the phone...but no room to explain all that. Then they'd try it and love it and not want to give it back....) ; D
With so many exactly visually identical iPhones about to hit the market, it just strikes me as a really good idea - and don't even TRY to tell me these won't be one of the hottest things to steal this summer.
Oh - I'll betcha you can only get engraving done if you order it directly from Apple online, and not from AT&T (that's a guess).
So yeah, I'll be itching like a heroin addicts while my friends play with theirs and shout "No touchie!" over their crouched shoulders (Hmm, something like this, I wonder? Remember Mmmmm....iPrecious from when iPhone was announced?)
So long as I'm talking Off Topic, I wrote this fun little story about my friend finding her glasses, me finding my iPod, my friend Kitty, God, miracles, and Schrodinger's Cat. It is 97% true. If you like my goofy asides, you'll probably like this one - I had a lot of fun writing it.
* yes, they haven't announced that yet. But I Have My Sources.
Good overview article on latest status of the format war.
-Blockbuster recently committed to renting Blu-ray only in the retail stores (but online HD DVD still available)
-Blockbuster says no clear winner, but obviously leaning in Blu-ray's favor.
-Netflix renting both formats, but not sharing the split between publicly (here anyway)
-Blu-ray discs outselling HD DVD 2:1 since January - but sales still miniscule for both overall
-Toshiba sold 100K HD DVD players in the first year, Blu-ray standalone less than that...but 3.5 MILLION PS3's have been sold, and they include a Blu-ray player
-China deal is a mixed bag for HD DVD group - lower component prices, but more cheap competitors likely to cheat on licensing (as is done with DVD players)
Someone on my LSOS mailing list (buncha friends) posted this article and asked who had taken the plunge. My advice there, as to anybody else, based on budget (po' to pimped):
1.) Sit it out until there is a clear winner.
2.) Punt - get the low cost HD DVD player and see regular DVDs upconverted well, with bonus playback of some of the high def discs (HD DVD only not Blu-ray). Be ready for Blu-ray to possibly take the lead in the future.
3.) Gamer? Buy a PS3 and lament the titles you can't get on HD DVD, but watch Blu-ray on it.
4.) Drop a wad of cash and get both. Ugh.
But skip the combo players unless you want a single box and not two, and unless you have no interest in games. You can get a PS3 AND an HD DVD player for less than the cost of the combo players.
Hard core gamer & A/V geek? A PS3 & a Xbox 360 with the HD DVD player will set you back about $1200. Or buy an HV20 and go make your own HD movies - that'd be the REAL indie way to do it!
I'm pretty happy with what I've got, but if I were shopping now and wanted one (or both), I'd get the Toshiba HD-A20 HD DVD Player ($395 on Amazon at the moment) if I had a 1080p set, or a Toshiba HD-A2 ($300) if I had a 1080i or 720p set. For Blu-ray, the Sony PS3 ($600) seems the way to go - 1080p, nice rezzing, plus killer games. Don't forget the Bluetooth remote, since PS3 is Bluetooth only, no IR for your "normal" universal remote. Don't want that kind of gaming heroin sitting around the house sucking up all your free time? The lowest cost Blu-ray player I've found is the Samsung BD-P1000 for about $510.
Don't forget cables, and don't pay too much for them!
PS - don't buy Monster Cables! Totally not worth it.
1.) Get good sound.
2.) Get somebody good on set to handle it.
3.) Once burnt or echoed, It R Gonn, just like video (many many similarities to running too hot in both)
...so I don't do audio related stuff, other than to recommend don't use the built-in mike on your camcorder, odds are 99% it isn't that great (it is a common place manufactuers cheap out on cameras...because buyers don't pay much attention to it.). And get somebody good with good equipment.
OK, so that's what I know about audio. Oh - and just like video, Compression R Badd, M'kay?
That's the fun way to put, but as always the truth isn't so pithy - careful and light compression can be OK, but it limits your flexibility in post. Nothing succeeds like good source material, well balanced/exposed/noise free, with as little compression as possible in order to yield best final results and maximum room in post to have creative and technical flexibility and control. Some kinds of shots, and some kinds of post production processing, can survive more or less compression, depending. YMMV.
That's not nearly so pithy, is it?
Which leads me to this - a sound guy, Christian Dolan, came up with his own Top Ten audio related list after reading my 10 Things Not To Do.
sync.sound.cinema: The Fifteen [drops tablet]...Ten! Ten Commandments of Sound for Picture! (Part One)
sync.sound.cinema: The Fifteen [drops tablet]...Ten! Ten Commandments of Sound for Picture! (Part Two)
which references this:
An Open Letter from your Sound Department - A Production Sound Manifesto written by audio professionals
Good audio is worth having. If you're shooting on good, professional cameras (that have XLR inputs and DON'T compress the audio), I'd...hmm....not so sure if I'd say I'd ARGUE the point that it is OK to get good mikes, mix/balance, then run tethered back into the camera to record sync sound, but I'd certainly like to have a conversation about it.
THAT'S where/when your post dollars are spent badly - fixing broken things that weren't shot right in the first place.
It is a clear mantra of quality filmmaking to get the dollars up on screen - as in, have production value. Have the results of time/effort/money show up on screen in a GREAT looking shot, not a medicore shot that the budget got burned fixing. It is all too possible to shoot mediocre to slightly flawed footage, then burn through what COULD have been your awesome color correction or VFX budget to get fabulous looking shots, and instead that time/effort/money gets burned on making flawed shots look marginally acceptable. OR, or course, you can just go way over budget and have decent looking shots with some inescapable flaws still in there.
This is a great point Christian brings up about the No Luv sound gets on set - a great way to consider it is WWCD? Huh - whazzat? It is short for What Would Camera (Department) Do. He brings up the example of muddy audio from background noise. If it were people walking around in the background adding visual noise (instead of people on or off camera making unwanted, uncontrollable noise) would the camera department say "Don't worry, its OK, we'll just roto out those folks in post?" Of course not. But directors/producers all the time do that kind of thing for audio.
Remember reading that audio is at least half of making a good looking picture? This discussion is the exact moment on set when you commit to making a compromised product.
Another good example I just thought of - going back to ADR/looping is the audio equivalent of the camera department saying "We couldn't get it right on location, don't worry, we'll shoot background plates and a greenscreen production later." Time, cost, effort, complexity, and in the end...it almost never looks as good as if it had been shot there in the first place, the performances suffer a cold, distance because the actors can't relate because they aren't in the same physical and emotional space as when it was originally done or should have been originally done....etc.
OK, done ranting...for now.
I'd asked why not go into the camera on set, and Christian Dolan came back with good answers:
Most of what I wrote in the list was proselytizing, with a dash of ranting. The majority of what I do is corporate, industrial and reality, which is single system all the time, so it obviously works, but for features, I really feel that people should go the extra mile, especially considering that it may not add that much to the budget overall.
A) There is the quality issue, as measure by Jay Rose in that article that Bruce Allen linked to. I've done some of my own, non-scientific comparisons, and camera ADCs always seemed far noisier than a dedicated audio recorder.
For (non-narrative) TV, docs, and other programming with simple mixes (or whose audiences have different quality expectations), I think single-system is absolutely the way to go. It's simpler, direct, efficient.
For movies, though, things get more complicated in the mix. Generally, you will be applying some amount of signal processing, and in the case of adding gain and/or compression, you end up also raising the noise floor of the signal. With 16 bit audio (the only option in most cameras), the noise floor is higher than it is in 24 bit audio-capable recorders; throw in the self-noise of the camera's AD converters, and you're fairly limited in your range of gain before the noise floor becomes audible. When you start summing multiple tracks (as you definitely will in the mix), you'll be adding noise to noise. The more tracks you have, the more noise you'll be adding, which is why it's imperative to start with as quiet a recording as possible.
I think that the greater bit-depth argument may even carry over from HD, in that choosing 10 bit over 8 bit gives you much more latitude and wiggle room in post. (Of course, I am a audio guy, so take that one with a grain of salt:).
B) Confidence. With single-system, I set my levels with tone, tape down as many of the camera's audio switches as possible, and then cross my fingers. While I can listen to the headphone return, just about every camera I've ever listened to has had an incredibly noisy headphone output amp, which means that I have to do my critical listening off the mixer, dipping in here and there to make sure I'm still reaching camera. The noisy amp may mask subtle background noises (people talking, AC rumble,etc.), that become issues in post.
Plus, in my experience, every Sony broadcast-level camera mixed its audio tracks to mono to monitor. If I hear a crunchy buzz hit the audio, I can't tell if it's the wireless on track one, leaving the boom on two usable, or across both, rendering that take useless (unless you roll the tape back and manually switch the monitor output at the camera itself to check).
And even with the level-setting and taping off of controls, there may be a chance that a well-meaning, but very hurried cam op may bump an input setting (track one from me, track two now from the cam mic, still got audio, just sounds weird, why?) or an input level pot, giving me one more x-factor to troubleshoot.
With double-system, I have the audio recorder right in front of me. I can set,and more importantly, see, all of my audio levels. I can solo any input I want to see where that weird buzzing is coming from, and I can roll back to any take to check it without having to bother anyone else, or risk the "tape return" feature not quite doing what it's supposed to (that isn't a dig at camera at all. I've just seen it happen more than once where even veteran cam ops have rolled back to check a take, engaged the return, and ended up recording over some material).
C) Track count. As far as I know, just about every major SD/HD camera out there only accepts two line-level inputs. While two tracks can take care of most audio needs (indeed, the venerable Nagra never had more than two tracks, and countless classic films were recorded with that little Swiss tank), today's demands are changing, skewing towards more and more wireless mics. With single system, you must do a live mix on-the-fly for shots with more than two mics, which means that you end up with what you end up with. What happens if wireless #1 gives you an RF hit, spoiling the track that it was sharing with wireless #2, even though #2 was free and clear?
WWCD: Imagine a multi-camera movie shoot, where you have four cameras, but only one VTR. You have to do a "live switch" that is committed to the recording medium, without the benefit of iso-records to re-edit later. While this is all well and good for live TV, it doesn't make much sense for a narrative, where you want all the options you can have in the edit bay.
Well, as usual, I've blathered on for quite a while. I'm pretty new to tech writing; I guess economy of words will come with practice, but I'm certainly having a good time with the blog.
Thanks again for the links, and let me know if you need anything else.
"Redrock Micro, maker of the popular M2 35mm lens adapter, is showing a new compact handheld rig at Cinegear Expo in LA today and tomorrow. Unless you snapped a photo of it at the show and put it on your blog today, the above is the first publicly shown image of the thing."
UPDATE: a reader sent in these pics so I wouldn't feel left out. Click each for larger view.
"Studio Daily has an exclusive demo of the new Magic Bullet Looks by some muppet-sounding dude."
"The camera was in a white metal 'box' style industrial enclosure, with a custom made zoom lens on the front. The footage was being displayed live on an HD monitor. There was also a 4k projection demo including 10 or 15 seconds of live footage from the camera, plus another 1-2 minutes of demo footage shot in Japan. The demo footage all looked good. Before the demo footage, as they were showing off the capabilities of the projector, they also projected some 4096x2400 DSLR captures, which looked very nice as well."
Saturday, June 23, 2007
You might also be interested in reading Mark Allen's report from the Red presentation at Cinegear as well.
UPDATE - John Ott also posted his own thoughts on CineGear at Making the Movie: CineGear Expo 2007
Below is Bruce's report:
Codex digital recorder - pictures included. Light, small, nice, takes standard Anton Bauer battery power. The "mag" seems to be 2.5" notebook hard drives - they confirmed it was running RAID-3. Cost is supposedly competitive with a HDCAM SR deck. It has optical in and will be able to take RAW data from the Red, do very light JPEG2000 compression (lighter than REDCODE) and store it. It has tons of cool options - ethernet output, H264 proxies, etc. But you get the idea. Cool high-end recorder. They also had huge big uncompressed boxes, fancy workflow solutions, etc. But as far as indies go, I can see us renting a Codex for a day, offloading via Ethernet to our PC at night (their software can output all usual formats - dpx, Quicktime, etc), then returning it the next day. Pricing not set yet - I heard $60,000? Don't quote me.
Mike note - Matthew Jeppsen over at FreshDV has some more on this new device as well, and I regretfully only folded my own coverage into the Friday Blogwad.
Wafian - I saw the HR1 and HR2 boxen. Big fellas, but nicely packaged - fine for a studio or greenscreen shoot. They are renting them - they quoted me something like $500 (per 3-day week?) for the HR1 or $800 for the HR2 (not sure, need to confirm that). They also had a prototype smaller box (picture included). It will run off DC power (yaay). The final one will have a larger screen, be more compact, etc. August. Basically, they are the indie equivalent of the Codex. And friendly too.
Phantom HD camera - I played with the Phantom HD camera (you know, the 1000fps 2k one) at Photo-Sonics (just one of the places that had it). Very very nice, very compact, etc. Records to built-in RAM - can store 4.5 seconds worth of 1000fps 2k x 1k frames. RAM upgrade coming soon. You can review the footage on camera, scrolling through it with a little scroll wheel, etc. It shows you how far you are through it, how much space is used, etc. Connect it via ethernet to dump frames to computer. Rental quote from someone was $2500 per day including lens (a nice 20:1 Cooke, I think) and laptop, I think. Claimed ASA is approx 600 - they were shooting footage live at the show (mix of sunlight & shade) at 1000fps and were at around a 5.6 and 2/3.
Dalsa - remember there are 2 branches - the 4k cine camera, plus the rental department. First off, the cine camera - they had footage playing. It looked incredible. Latitude, etc was nice, shots were very clean, no fixed pattern noise, etc. They had one shot that was available light at night. Wow. Some noise of course but just looked like a slightly high speed film stock. Advantages of this camera over Red are claimed higher latitude, plus definite lack of CMOS motion warping and better sensor alignment for 2:35 (theirs sensor is 2:1 aspect ratio I think?). Next, the rental dept - for a start, yes they are renting Reds.
MIKE UPDATE Tuesday afternoon - Dalsa contacted me to say this is not the case. "We have no plans to rent Red cameras at our facility in LA." according to their spokesman. Apologies for any inaccuracies....or are they? See other update end of article. End update, resuming Bruce's coverage...
I asked them whether you could do something mostly on Red and then switch to their 4k camera for a few days. They obviously felt that their camera's image quality was higher but said yes, as long as you were not cutting directly from one to the other, it'd probably work. Finally, lenses - they had their slightly-anamorphic lenses on display - I played with a 50mm 1.4 one attached to their camera. It was very nice and had that nice oval bokeh that we love out of anamorphics. On a side note - ah man - love that optical viewfinder. Anyway... they are aiming at a set of 6, all under T2.0. Yes, they are PL mount, yes they are for rent. Yes, you could use them on a Red - if you were shooting a 2.35 feature that might be a very good idea because it gets you more usable pixels. They also had a beautiful set of non-anamorphic PL mount primes - mostly Leica glass, plus Canons for the extreme zooms. They feel that the Leica glass is superior to Zeiss and Cooke for 4k acquisition. Again, no reason you can't rent those for your Red.
What else? Lots of Vipers running around - they are small and cute. Wish I'd had time to play with them. The amazing TechnoDolly thing was there again (like a motion controlled Technocrane). Lots of people with Modula HD mini-cameras. Didn't see Silicon Imaging. Red Rock was there with a prototype matte-box ($500, will have swing-away now and 3 rotating filter stages, designed to work with the Red). They also had a HV20 rig similar to what I am building. Many cool follow focus devices running from the Preston to the Bartech, but I didn't see the Red Rock one there (no time!).
I Saw a 18K HMI - it was successfully illuminating the underside of a tree 20 feet away in broad daylight. I played with the always-impressive weatherproof and dual-voltage Kobold HMIs and the O'Connor 1030HD. Looked around at the other LCD monitors - still nothing that competes with mine, yaay. I stopped by Schneider and talked to them about their DigiCon - you know, the latitude improving filter. The thing seems cheap for what you get. I'm going to have to rent some different grades and test.
Also checked out a crazy rotating iris gizmo that gives a supposedly "3D" effect (www.inv3.com) - believe it or not, it actually worked, although it was weird as shit. Basically, the rotating iris thing gives a still shot a tiny bit of parallax motion by, uh, going round and round. It's kinda like the stupidest thing you've ever seen and the cleverest thing you've ever seen at the same time. I'm not sure if I'll be using it on my next shoot, but it did get me thinking a lot about how humans perceive depth - those little movements of the head that we do are important - and also why the gradual dolly shoot has the psychological effect of sucking you into the picture. The human visual system is a fascinating thing...
Otherwise, played with the Petroff follow focus and matte box, the Vocas matte box (very nice, very light and very pro), Innovision's little "bird's eye" camera support tower (not much to rent - was something like $250 per day?), lots of LED lighting systems, the usual impressive Steadicam rigs. P+S technik were doing a demonstration of their Skater-Dolly hooked up to a simple motion control system - it seemed cheap but effective. But I didn't notice their 35mm adapters being talked about much. Abelcine did have the competing Movietube ST. But my tests with the SGpro have really satisfied me - I really don't think you can get much higher quality without going up to a Red or something like that. Otherwise, I saw and photographed a S.two but didn't have time to check it out properly. I had bought a whole bunch of Zacuto stuff on their 25%-off show special for my HV20 rig (yep, I'm going with that whole shoulder-mounted 35mm adapter thing) and was weighed down at that point...
ADDENDUM: he sent this in later:
Finally, the Wafian people were demonstrating the Cineform beta codec on a Mac laptop. So they are trying to get it working with the Mac world. I don't think it was playing full framerate at full res yet (something to do with the codec not being multi-core aware yet).
Mike's Comments - first off, BIG UPS to longtime reader/contributor Bruce Allen for taking the time to write all this up and submit annotated pictures - I welcome and invite well credentialled/qualified/informed submissions from readers.
Dalsa's new smaller form factor camera (as further detailed in the for-pay NAB Premium report) improves their package size and shootability, and if you can team that up with the new much smaller Codex recorder that can do 4K, that's a substantially new package.
The Wafian stuff looks very interesting for an HD-SDI based, Windows keyed green screen shoot (and other usages). I still have a bunch of Phantom HD footage to process sitting around on a hard drive somewhere, it is a very attractive prospect for high speed, high resolution digital cinematography (not to pimp it too much, but the NAB 2007 Premium report includes further info and a long interview with Mitch Gross about the camera's improvements).
Viper with a Wafian (for tethered) or Codex recorder is a very interesting new option as well.
This is definitely an exciting time to watch the progress in digital cameras and recording options. Of course, how reliable and cost effective all this new gear is in the field is a whole other level of analysis to be done.
UPDATE WEDNESDAY - Then there is this quote on Reduser.net from someone else visiting Dalsa's NAB booth:
I asked the Dalsa rep if they purchased any Reds for the rental department, and he says 'No. We're waiting until they produce a final camera so we can do a comprehensive evaluation. But we're not at any rental disadvantage, because we've already got several reservation holders who've agreed to 'consign' their cameras for rentals as soon it ships.'
So it sounds like they've been keeping their options open (or were at NAB), and have been (or were) considering renting Reds definitely, but may not have publicly committed to doing so. Bruce left CineGear with the impression from the booth reps that they were definitely going to rent them. So MAYBE the rental reps and the PR folks aren't on the same page.
I included this in an offhand fashion when I wrote about VideoSpace the other day, but I thought it'd be nice to break it out as it's own thing:
MB/sec * 3.6 = GB/hr
What's that mean? If you multiply the megabytes per second of a given datarate by 3.6, you get gigabytes per hour. MB/sec is handy for figuring out how fast your storage needs to be (add 25-35% for healthy QuickTime overhead room), and GB/hr is handy to know how MUCH storage you need.
So how's this work?
Let's say you know DV is 3.5 MB/sec (megabytes/sec, which is different from megabits/sec by a factor of 8 - 8 bits to the byte).
So if you've shot 16 full one hour tapes, how much hard drive space are you going to need? Uhhhhhh....if you don't have VideoSpace handy, multiply 3.5 MB/sec * 3.6 (that is the magic conversion factor) to get 12.6 GB/hr. Then multiply that by the total amount of time (pretending our 16 tapes are full one hour apiece), so 12.6*16=201.6 GB. So a 250 GB* hard drive is plenty to hold all your captured footage. Just don't forget to allow more room for renders and such.
*(which formats to about 232 GB usable capacity, I know this because the magic conversion factor is .925, so 250*.925=231.25)
for those curious about keeping tabs on the whole format war thing and how it shakes out for consumers, here's an update from the front lines - turns out my Blu-ray player, aka PS3, is a defective unit.
These things happen with consumer electronics from time to time. I got a defective Dell 2405 LCD monitor the other year, my original Macbook had to be sent back due to the crazy color stripes on screen problem, and between me and some ex-girlfriends a fistfull of laptop drives have gone bad (I end up being the extended tech support by default).
I originally received the unit the other week but didn't have HDMI or toslink cables for it, so those had to be ordered. They came in early this week, and I finally got it all hooked up in proper high def, surround sound glory. It has a beautiful bootup sound, and the glassy menu background is sinuously mesmerizing.
...but that's about all I can enjoy at the moment, since I have no PS3 games nor Blu-ray discs as yet. So I put in a DVD to see how the upres stuff looked, and after several minutes of play, the picture froze. A few seconds later, the audio stopped. I picked up the controller (remote isn't here yet), and it was unresponsive as well - nothing happened, no matter what - I was looking at a freeze frame from the DVD, and that's all the PS3 would do. Wondering if it was a Bluetooth shortcoming, plugged the controller into the USB port - still no go. Had to do a hard reset on the unit to get it to work.
Tried again. Same thing. Tried again with another DVD, same thing after a random interval of a minute or three of playback. Same thing with two other discs. Tried one of those discs in the HD DVD player, played that scene fine several times in a row. I don't know if anybody else has this issue, but I was noticing pure blue and red pixels in the image, either on freeze frame or for a single frame during playback.
So I emailed tech support on Monday, and got a response Wednesday evening, suggesting I update the firmware (already had), and that I clean the disc (5 discs, can't all be dirty scratched since they worked fine and are, um, MINE, neat freak that I am in that regard). The email also suggested I call tech support..which was already closed for the day.
Fast forward to today - I call tech support, hit 1 a zillion times (YES issue with PS3 and disc playback), listen to some obvious suggestions, and finally hear I can press zero to get a real human - which, impressively, I do right away. The nice guy who spoke clear English and sounded like he knew what he was doing suggested I reset the unit, which I did, and while he was on the phone a DVD played for several minutes. He said I could get the unit swapped out if I wanted to, I said let me fiddle with it some more before going to those lengths. Get service request # for follow-up, hang up.
Disc freezes. Update firmware from 1.80 to 1.81, disc freezes. Reset unit again, disc freezes. Call back to tech support, on hold for about 2 minutes (still STELLAR response time for a Saturday afternoon), get a woman who calls up my service request #, and she gets the process in motion. Here's the deal on what to do with a defective PS3:
1.) Call it in.
2.) They'll mail you a package for shipping your defective unit back. Sounds like it is coming ground.
3.) Once received, pack it up according to instructions provided (in email sent day you request and hard copy in packaging), slap on the pre-paid shipping slip, and it'll go to a service center.
4.) Once received (and NOT UNTIL) received at the shipping center, they'll ship me a new one and I should receive it in....7-10 working days from date of receipt.
I'll keep updating this article to let anybody know about how the process goes.
In the meantime, scorecard to date:
-quick response on the phone (4 minutes tops probably) to get a real, polite, knowledgeable human. Top marks.
-zero cost to me to get it replaced - not even shipping
-no cross shipping, they'll ship after receiving mine
-therefore, I guess it'll be AT LEAST THREE WEEKS before I have a working PS3 - sometime in mid-July. DRAT.
For a $600 consumer item, I guess this is about par for the course. My biggest quibble is the lack of cross-shipping -but that is even a challenge on multi-thousand dollar items. I wouldn't mind being able to secure it with a credit card if I could get it cross shipped. But I can grudgingly understand their position, selling this as a consumer device to a younger demographic - it'd be hell to deal with cross shipping from their perspective.
That's it for now, I'll update this when the box arrives - so the clock is ticking as of Saturday, June 23rd - anybody wanna place bets on when I get the replacement? I'm betting it'll be July 20th, since the weekends time out poorly and the 4th of July gets in there. So that'll be nearly a month, actually.
Gentlemen, place your bets....
STEP 1: SATURDAY, JUNE 23RD - call placed, process begun to get defective PS3 swapped out.
UPDATE WEDNESDAY EVENING, JUNE 27, 2007: I heard a thunk on the porch - UPS guy just threw the box from the base of the steps onto the porch at 6:15 PM - so 4 days to get the box. I'll swap it out and put in a call to pick it up, so it should go out tomorrow...
UPDATE JULY 3RD - ...BUT I was slow to drop it off for pickup - didn't drop it off at a UPS location until July 3rd, my bad. So we'll see how long it takes to get it back...
Thursday July 5th update - got a UPS email staring that a 16 lb package should arrive tomorrow - rocking turnaround if this the PS3
UPDATE JULY 6 - replacement unit arrives, KUDOS SONY for getting replacement to me in 3 DAYS
Ars Technica is my favorite/most trusted of these sources.
They point out how Compressor 3 and After Effects CS3 can use that much memory when they spawn off processes to render or compress more/faster.
Pricey at nearly $650 apiece, though.
Friday, June 22, 2007
My review of Final Cut Pro 6 for MacWorld Magazine is up right now on their site (top article at the moment, ahem. Pride.).
I discuss Open Format Timelines, the advantages of the ProRes codec, touch on some issues with SmoothCam (which is otherwise way cool), surround sound audio, the (optionally) huge 55GB install (make room on that boot drive, buddy!) and some of the other refinements to the application.
Here's the meat of it:
1.) Betas testing on major movie sets through July 30, limited features functional for those
2.) Want to wait until your camera is feature complete before receiving it? No problem, you won't lose your serial # or place in line, it'll go out when all features functional (just firmware/software updates anyway).
3.) Not happy with this schedule? Refunds as always still available, with interest if you ordered early enough. Schedule on Reduser.net, but personally I wouldn't (and won't).
4.) And of course, this schedule is tentative and still subject to change. Here 'tis, as Jim posted on Reduser.net (link at top):
Serial numbers 1 (mine)-50 August 30th (50 units)
Serial numbers 51-100 September 15th (50 units)
Serial numbers 101-300 October 10th (200 units)
Serial numbers 301- 700 November 10th (400 units)
Serial numbers 701- 1200 December 10th (500 units)
Serial numbers 1201- 1700 January 10th (500 units)
Serial numbers 1701- 2200 February 10th (500 units)
Serial numbers 2201- 2700 March 10th (500 units)
Serial numbers 2701- 3400 April 10th (700 units)
Serial numbers 3401- 4100 May 10th (700 units)
UGH - not the schedule, but my own lack of vision - to think I passed on #12....what did I know. That'll make months of difference. Drat! Shows you what difference some early faith can make. : )
On the flip side, WOW, over 4000 cameras pre-ordered? That's a LOT. EDIT - nope, only about 2000 so far - Jim clarified here:
We have only about 2000 reservations and orders. I gave the schedule out several numbers so everyone could get a feel for production. We expect that orders will continue to come in, especially after we begin shipping. Sorry for any confusion.
So any orders placed now are looking like February 2008 (best guess if nothing else changes).
I was hoping for something a little more rapidamente than this, but hey, it is what it is.
If you chug the math, that's 6 weeks (or so) of field tests, 30 days beyond that to incorporate any changes and get the first 50 out the door, and ramping up from there. That's still pretty aggressive. The last 5-10% always takes the longest, and they are definitely taking the time to get it right rather than "Ehh....baggit - just ship the thing, I'm tired of it/we need to make quota this quarter." Jim has always struck me as the type to have the long vision, to see what's best over the long haul. Hurrying to market when not spot-on with a Brand New Thing is a great way to do permanent damage to your reputation, and he's not about to let that happen. No way. If you've ever talked to him, you can Feel The Passion from 5 feet away.
And if that is what it takes to get it right, I am SO in favor of them taking that route. Having the camera on high end sets for 6 weeks so any bugs can be worked out before I get mine and suffer a glitch on somebody else's shoot I'm responsible for the gear for? I am SOOOOOO in favor of that, too.
You can always go shoot on that other 4K camera with a $17,500 body...oh wait, there isn't one. So hang tight until there is, or go shoot with something else that is out on the market and within your budget.
Red recently sent out an email to those of us with cameras on order asking about who plans to rent them and with what equipment - sounds like they are putting together a database so folks wanting can find someone to rent from. Good of them to go to the trouble to do this, and especially useful for those who were banking on a shoot schedule that might not get their purchased camera to them in time - go find somebody else's to rent in the meantime if you must proceed. (And YES, I'm getting mine specifically to rent it out, feel free to enquire - mike at hdforindies dot com).
As always, there's tons of commentary over on the thread on Reduser.net, and you can read Jim's original post if you want to make sure you catch every nuance.
Mike - here's my commentary about Crossing the Line at Cinegear
RED: Crossing the Line
Peter Jackson's short film "Crossing the Line" which was shot with the RED Digital Cinema Camera was playing at the Cinegear Expo today.
If you ever visit cinegear, Here's a fun game to play: Count How many times you can over hear James Cameron's name be dropped in different conversations by different people.
Anyway - on the the main attraction.
My headline is. It's not video, it's not film, it's something different.
It was very obvious that there were some variations in how it was shot (learning on the go) as well as a very quick color grading. In fact, I think the color grading may throw most people off from what they're seeing because at this point we are used to seeing such dramatic color grading - notably on period pieces. I know if I were at the controls I would have evened out the color then dumped the saturation and increased the contrast. But that is not how I would want to see this because I liked the not incredibly graded version for the purposes of seeing what the camera catches.
Here are some notes:
Grain: You don't see grain. I thought this was a huge benefit on the scenic stuff. There are shots where you see entire landscapes and the lack of grain in those cases really added a benefit. That was not expected, but it makes perfect sense. I know that one of the times you see the most grain in 16mm in when you're looking at landscape shots or any shot with dominant colors.
Faces: No grain is an issue for faces. I think make-up artists will need to learn to not coat on the make up or the actors will look like plastic dolls. One actor in particular seemed to have way too much make up and since there is no grain to moire out the obviousness of this - it ends up looking like doll plastic. I think lightening up on the base cover will be the main solution.
Highlights/Lattitude: This is usually my biggest concern when watching film vs. video (like the Genesis or Silicon Imaging devices). There was a lot of uncontrolled light all over the place and I wasn't at all thinking "Oh - hey- that highlight is blowing out early!" I think before light blows out on peoples faces and such - it starts to get a certain artificial look. Did this happen before it would have happened in film? Boy, it's getting so close at this point, I can't really say. There are enough other variables in play (like no grain) which makes it hard to assess that from a purely aesthetic point of view. I know the last time I shot on 35mm I had shot a few things on video and was so excited to get my 35mm footage and when I was working with it I thought, "Hey, this is blowing out. I forgot film does that too."
Film vs. Video vs. Red: Film is organic, has grain, has latitude. Video seems "hyper-real" (punchy), can have noise, and has limited latitude. Red is neither hyper-real/punchy nor organic, it has no grain, and I would say it has a latitude. I would have to see more samples to know how much latitude exactly - but you definitely are not getting the blow out level you're used to with video. I think in reality the Red is looking more like what real life is looking like than film. I suspect a lot of people at first will be trying to add back in some grain or making other efforts to "organic-ify" the look because it does not look like most movies. I won't be. I like the way it looks. I'll be grading it a lot - but I think I will be inclined to just love it for what it is.
Red vs. Film: First of all, Red vs. HD is not a question, other than for standardization, I can't imagine why someone would shoot HD. Red vs. Film - I think a lot of people will want that organic look. I can definitely think of certain movies for which it just might feel right. Monet could have painted like Caravaggio, but he wanted a different look.
Indies: How does red save you money? Usually you figure that shooting on film vs. HD costs about $60,000 more because of the stock and processing and telecine. That's a minimum. Even on indie movies - especially with directors and producers not used to limiting their shooting ratio - that can balloon to hundreds of thousands. So, that's where the savings comes in. What if renting a RED is still out of the question? Personally I think if you're considering an HVX or similar camera rental then you should probably consider pushing up to a RED instead. I've shot a lot with the HVX and you just can't compare the two. If you can't push up to a RED, an indie might really want to consider the HV20 (or similar cameras) with or without 35mm adapters (like the Brevin or M2 or the others). For the low cost it can deliver some truly impressive results. Be sure t add an external mic for dialogue - Rhode has some affordable options.
The Short Film itself: Actually I liked it, it's an entertaining piece, I think it could be about 2/3rds the length and be stronger as I felt the cutting got a little redundant - we saw everything one to many times and were holding a bit long on some things. But it was actually entertaining to watch. I found myself watching the story and not the camera specs often and to sum up - I think the audience will do the same.
Thanks for sharing, Mark!
The "not video, not film, something else" jives with numerous comments I've heard from other folks, including some high level industry folks. I'm not sure that folks shooting HVX will have budget to step up to a Red, that's a pretty big step. Highlights - there were some known glitches with the alpha level cameras, esp. in some of the early cloud shots. Improved during the shoot, and presumably improved since then with the board change. (That's a guess.)
I was about to say still no word on release schedule, then I just got an email, so stand by...
I've at least broken it down into categories - post software, post hardware, acquisition, cameras, general...and iPhone, since there's so much going on with that.
IRIDAS Extends DualStream Stereoscopic Technology across Product Line | Studio Daily - very niche, but good to know
Click-thru Tutorial: Magic Bullet Looks | Studio Daily
Click-thru Tutorial: GenArts Sapphire | Studio Daily
Interview with Automatic Duck's Wes Plate
Getting Intimate with CineForm Intermediate Part 2 (I trust you can follow the links to part 1)
Creating Node Trees in Color and the special case of interlaced video (Final Cut Studio 2) -good Ken Stone tutorial, thanks to a sharp eyed reader for sending this in.
MacNN | MacBook Pro 17" Hi-res: Best LCD yet
MacNN | Overnight 200GB, 250GB laptop drive upgrades - if you don't want to do it yourself...but what about data backup and data integrity and security?
Matrox MXO 2.0 review
Codex Digital Announces Portable Field Recorder | Studio Daily
9 pounds, carbon fiber, rubber weather seals, HD to 4K, size of a lunch box, powered by standard batteries, can do dual link 4:4:4, has Infiniband, Ethernet data connections, can do 10 gigabit optical I/O, 8 channels of audio, wireless MP4 video output, Red One RAW output (!!!), this sounds incredibly cool, useful, and improved - I should write more on this later...
short version - 4K capable S.two to be shown at CineGear
S.two Corporation’s DFR4K™ Digital Field Recorder announced at NAB 2007 will premier at Cine Gear Expo 2007.
New 4K capable portable recorder will feature in movie making workflow demonstration with the Dalsa Origin 4K camera.
Reno, NV—June 22nd 2007— S.two announces it will demonstrate for the first time its new 4K recording solution at this week’s Cine Gear Expo. The new DFR4K™ features full integration with Dalsa Origin 4K cameras using InfiniBand Fibre connections. The coupled systems will be shown on the S.two stand #T4 at the Wadsworth Theatre and Grounds June 22-23, 2007.
The DFR4K plays Dalsa 4K images in real time up to the maximum supported frame rate of the Dalsa camera. This closely coupled integration with Dalsa Origin cameras adds all the capabilities of the camera plus all the on set convenience, productivity, efficiency and robustness that S.two has shown on many completed feature films, the most noted of late being David Fincher’s ‘Zodiac’.
An Industry “first”, the 24V DC powered DFR4K™ production units allow the camera to be free of location logistics so that true ‘run and gun’ style movie making can be done in 4K resolution.
This debut showing of the DFR4K™ prototype heralds a complete set of DFR4K™ products for all extended resolution cameras and projects allowing a full choice of palettes for the discerning filmmaker. S.two extended definition workflow will be fully adapted for 4K movie making including offline, archiving and post integration. The DFR4K™ extended definition workflow is added to S.two’s HD, HD RGB, 2K and 3K products supporting other leading cameras.
“As the leading uncompressed digital film recording company, S.two is pleased to be able to provide our field portable, field proven, compact DC powered recording solutions to higher resolution users, bringing our un-rivaled on set experience and reliability to an emerging 4K market” states Steve Roach, Vice President, S.two. “The DFR4K™ provides 4K users a proven end to end workflow with the same benefits S.two has supplied on multiple movie projects around the world.”
Ikegami and Toshiba Provide Details of Advanced New Tapeless ENG Camera, Editing and Production System | Studio Daily
DALSA and the Digital Cinema Society (http://www.digitalcinemasociety.com/) are co-hosting a 4K presentation at the Cine Gear Expo, the industry's premiere film, video and digital media expo. The event which takes place on Saturday, June 23rd will explore 4K for production, post, and projection. Various samples acquired in 4K RAW with the DALSA Origin camera, edited in HD with Apple's Final Cut Pro, then conformed using EDL into the final project for color correction and creation of the DCP will be projected in 4K via the Sony SXRD Projector.
Following the screening, James Mathers, President and Co-founder of the Digital Cinema Society, will moderate a panel made up of Cinematographer David Stump, ASC; DALSA's Rob Hummel; Sony's Andrew Stucker; Denis Leconte of Pacific Title, as well as Directors Anurag Mehta and Joe DiGennaro. The presentation is a great opportunity to find out the benefits and challenges of Digital Filmmaking at 4K resolution.
The time slot is 10-10:45 AM on Saturday, the 23rd at the Wadsworth Theatre at Cinegear. Note: You must be registered for the Cine Gear Expo - Free of Charge Until June 15: For more information on Cinegear, visit http://www.cinegearexpo.com
Zacuto to offer turnkey HD camera packages with Redrock M2 adaptors
Zacuto and Redrock Micro today announced Zacuto will begin offering turnkey digital camera solutions equipped with the Redrock M2 adapter.
"We've had great success providing camera packages setup for the Redrock M2 and have gotten to know it very well," said Steve Weiss, Marketing Director at Zacuto. "Offering our customers complete packages including Redrock's M2 made perfect sense to us. We are thrilled to be teaming up with another US manufacturer."
"Zacuto is putting together fantastic camera packages for digital cinematographers," added James Hurd, Chief Revolutionary for Redrock. "We're delighted to be working with a company that maintains a strong reputation for quality, expertise, and customer service."
Zacuto targets their cinema bundles to customers requiring a complete camera package and have a budget ranging from $20,000-$30,000. The Zacuto cinema solution bundles will include a Zacuto-branded Redrock adapter kit, Panasonic HVX-200 camera, Zeiss Nikon-mount lenses, tripod, Zacuto support system, fitted Zacuto case, and other needed accessories.
Redrock's M2 35mm lens adapter is always available directly from Redrock's website, available with other Redrock accessories including the award-winning microFollowFocus, microMattebox, and microRemote. Redrock pricing starts at $995 for complete SD solutions, and $1,295 for HD solutions.
Redrock and Zacuto will both be at Cinegear Expo 2007 in Los Angeles June 22nd and 23rd. Redrock will be in Booth 30 (located near Panasonic and JVC booths). Zacuto will be located at Booth 77.
Proposed Amendment Would Ban All DVD Copying - News and Analysis by PC Magazine
Cinematical Seven: Tips for the Indie Filmmaker - Cinematical
Shooting Animation Verit-Style for Surf's Up | Studio Daily
HD DVD Production - white paper details on HD DVD structure/setup
Apple`s Safari for Windows offers simple interface, good performance but not essential
MacNN | Apple patent: power adapters for security
Mac OS X 10.4.10 Released
YouTube to Test Software To Ease Licensing Fights - WSJ.com
CinemaTech: Could new RealPlayer spark legal action?
SoftRAID 3.6 doesn't work under 10.4.10 - so don't upgrade yet!:
"SoftRaid 3.6 does not recognize 10.4.10, and will not allow access to preferences for changes or statistics. The only option is to close the software. To paraphrase the error message, it says that I don't have the proper OS installed and that I should install 10.4.X.
I sent an inquiry to SoftRaid, LLC about this and I received an answer back in under 5 minutes as follows:
'Either go back to 10.4.9, wait until 3.6.2 is out, or ask to be on the beta list for 3.6.2. This is caused by Apples hack to make a 10.4.10 possible, which violates their naming standards.'"
iPhone data plans to surface before launch day - Engadget
AppleInsider | New iMac, iPhone hints turn up in Apple software update
AppleInsider | AT&T exec: iPhone data plans to be announced June 29th [Updated]
AppleInsider | Apple retail stores to close, re-open ahead of iPhone
AppleInsider | AT&T recommending "Crowd Control Devices" for iPhone launch
AppleInsider | Apple gets new EU extension; iPhone dock; 7.6 percent Mac share
Apple - iPhone - A Guided Tour - new on Apple's site.
EDIT 9:45PM - I'm watching this right now on my HDTV via my AppleTV (the file is Apple TV compatible, natch). My garage got burgled today - my trusty mountain bike (Bridgestone MB-1, heavily modified over last 16 years) got stolen, and my car pilfered. Drat it - so much for my comfy neighborhood vibe - alarm to be used EVERY time I leave the house from now on. But anyway, feel better sitting home tonight and locking all the windows, etc. Back on topic - the iPhone has more little features I hadn't noticed before, so that's good. A silent ringer dedicated button. Speaker and microphone both on bottom (odd!). Another speaker up by your ear. Sleep/wake button is nice - can still receive calls and listen to music, but the big screen is off to save battery. The speaker on the bottom is for speakerphone mode - nice! Conference calling is nice and easy - I could never figure it out on any other phone system before without going to the manual. Lots of subtle quality UI touches. The cost is starting to not matter as much seeing all this - this is how it ought to work. If they released a phone with no video, no audio, and just the UI in a smaller form factor..it'd sell just fine. can surf multiple simultaneous pages - keep'em open. Email on iPhone can read/view JPEG, PDF, Word, Excel, RTF, HTML, etc. The keyboard is "smart" they say as it catches typos, etc. They suggest starting with your index finger and then advancing to thumbing - "in about a week you'll be typing faster on the iPhone than on any other phone" - so get ready for a learning curve. Still only being demo'd in vertical keyboard only mode - I've always been wondering when they'd get a wide mode keyboard mode - I have fat thumbs (and all that...oh never mind). Stock widget is exactly like the OS X widget. Google Maps - it doesn't seem to be self-aware of where you are as some has hoped - you have to tell it where you are. Traffic updates can be live - nice! YouTube - yeah, gotta be on WiFi from what they seem to be saying. Has an airplane mode - no WiFi, Bluetooth, or cell signals come out of it in this mode (well thought out!). Set your ringtone - they don't mention loading your own, but part of me wants to use this one (NSFW).
That'll hold us for a bit...
Kodak's color filter patterns address another problem that has long dogged the digital imaging industry: trade-offs between resolution and sensitivity.
Kodak claims its color filter patterns are designed to more than double the light sensitivity of the CMOS or charge-coupled device (CCD) image sensors used in camera phones or digital still cameras.
The color filter patterns build on Kodak's widely used Bayer pattern--an arrangement of red, green and blue pixels--by adding a fourth pixel to the current RGB arrangement on the sensor. The fourth pixel "has no pigment on top," said Michael DeLuca, the market segment manager responsible for image sensor solutions at Kodak. Such "transparent" pixels, which are sensitive to all visible wavelengths, are designed to absorb light.
DeLuca called the invention "the next milestone" in digital photography. He likened its significance to ISO 400 color films, introduced in the mid-1980s, which have enabled consumers to take pictures under low-light conditions.
Under the new approach, the fourth pixel, called a panchromatic pixel, allows a black-and-white image "to be detected with high sensitivity," according to Kodak. The RGB pixels present on the sensor are then used to collect color information, which is combined with the information from the panchromatic pixel to generate the final image.
Observers described the panchromatic-pixel concept as both simple and elegant. "The technique is admirably simple--open the window to let in more light. It's almost inconceivable that nobody else thought of or acted on this idea until now," said Tony Henning, editor of The Mobile Imaging Report for Future Image Inc.
There's also a nice image of the new pattern in the article.
Since this is a CMOS modified Bayer pattern, could it not be incorporated into video cameras? The arrangement does seem to dilute the color resolution - sacrificing color resolution for better monochrome sensitivity. But since the human eye is more sensitive to luminance than chrominance, why not do it this way?
Thursday, June 21, 2007
I use this thing DAILY, and other than Safari, Final Cut, TextWrangler, etc. is probably one of my most used pieces of software. Simple but perfect for the task of figuring out how much space and/or how much time is a given codec, frame size, and frame rate. I emailed to whine about lack of ProRes inclusion a few weeks ago and they said they were working on it - excellent answer.
If you're an editor (or producer) trying to figure out how much space you'll need, this is PERFECT. You can even specify how many tracks of what type of audio for perfectly accurate datarate calculations. Also useful to figure out how fast your storage needs to be. Can I say any more nice things about it? I don't know, I just Luvs It - and it is Free As In Beer.
Other handy info as long as we're talking datarates -
MB/sec * 3.6 = GB/hr
What's that mean? If you multiply the megabytes per second of a given datarate by 3.6, you get gigabytes per hour. MB/sec is handy for figuring out how fast your storage needs to be (add 25-35% for healthy QuickTime overhead room), and GB/hr is handy to know how MUCH storage you need. (Yes, I figured that out by myself, and am thusly proud of it - see the screen grab above for an example of MB/sec as compared to GB/hr) : )
Other Digital Heaven news:
DH_Grid and DH_Guides are two other bits of FCP related freeware you can download when getting VideoSpace.
Digital Heaven's Final Print:
"Final Print is a standalone application which prints a list of clips in a bin or markers contained in a clip or sequence. This provides a very useful workflow enhancement when handing off a project to someone else for further work.
NEW! Version 1.5 now available
Adds printing of bins and markers on source clips"
Not free, but still darn handy.
UPDATE - I've updated this several times this morning after further research, and my initially cautious analysis is moving towards strong belief that Jim is going "All In" with Red with this move. That's good news for us.
I was getting up this morning with the TV on in the background when I heard something that caught my full attention - Luxottica is buying Oakley for 2.1 billion dollars. In case you didn't know, Jim Jannard, founder of Red, is also the founder, chairman, and principal shareholder of Oakley (he owns more than 64 percent, or 44.5 million shares). So that means Jim is likely to get a check for about 1.3 billion dollars if the deal goes through.
My first gut reaction was surprise - from my discussions with Jim, I got the sense that he is a very hands on, likes-the-wheel kind of a guy that enjoys control of his own companies so he can quickly follow through on decisions he makes - I was surprised that he'd desire to sell the company he started over 30 years ago. With that much stake in the company, nothing happens without his backing - it wouldn't be feasible otherwise. Would Jim really want to work for somebody else that could do with Oakley as they pleased?
My second thought was "Wow, he really does believe in this Red thing - is he switching gears?" Looking for evidence, I Googled for news of the deal (see press release link at top), and discovered that yes indeed, Luxottica Group will acquire all of the outstanding shares of Oakley for a cash purchase price of US$29.30 per share, together with the purchase of all outstanding options and other equity rights. So that means even Jim is selling all his shares. Not owning a piece of the company he started? That didn't sound right - then I read his quote in the press release (link top of this article):
"Oakley's technology and performance is one of the world's best kept secrets and this partnership should empower our ability to tell our story throughout the world. I am encouraged by the fact that Luxottica's management has come to understand the unique, rogue nature of Oakley in the eyewear industry and is committed to preserving it. Oakley will continue to be Oakley but with much greater resources and a platform for realizing the true potential of our brand and company. Given the opportunities in front of us, I wrote Mr. Del Vecchio this morning indicating my intent to make an investment in the company after the transaction closes."
(my bold for emphasis)
Pending shareholder approval, the sale is expected to be completed in the second half of this year.
OK, so he'll be buying back in on the backside it sounds like from that statement.
But how much? From my own limited understanding of the way the money works in these deals, it wouldn't make sense to put all his money from the deal back into it - he already HAD Oakley, since he was the principle shareholder - it was his baby to do with as he pleased - I don't see how the company could be sold without his active desire for it to be so. And if he needed SOME cash for Red, obviously he could just sell of some of his nearly 45 million Oakley shares as needed.
The only semi-plausible non-Red reason I could come up with - perhaps he believes only a Luxottica owned Oakley can really grow and his money is better placed that way? The quote and implication about Luxottica's marketing muscle lends some credence to that, but that seems a stretch. Couldn't there have been other ways to achieve that goal without an out and out total sale of Oakley? I don't know, I'm certainly no expert is this field or this market space, this is just me guessing. But that doesn't seem the most likely scenario in my mind.
But why sell your baby if you aren't ready to move on? I could see Jim maintaining a role at Oakley for a time in order to maintain continuity and allay shareholder skittishness during the transition, but is he prepping to put more time/money/effort/commitment into Red? That's what makes sense to me.
More supporting evidence: "Oakley Chief Executive Scott Olivet and President Colin Baden were invited to join Luxottica. The companies didn't say whether Jannard would have a role."
If he were going to, likely they'd say.
"Jannard was chief executive officer from 1999 until September 2005, when he was replaced by Olivet, a former Nike Inc. executive. Since then, Jannard has held the titles of chairman and ``chief mad scientist.''"
Obviously, if Luxottica is buying Oakley, Jim isn't going to default into chairman of Luxottica out of this (and on the off chance he were going to be so appointed, they'd say so I'd imagine!).
So Jim has no known role in the Luxottica owned and controlled Oakley.
Now factor in that Red has announced a second, ostensibly less expensive camera ("professional, pocket sized"), a LINE (not a single model) of 4K displays, and a LINE (not a single model) of 4K projectors (link on new products). Jim has said repeatedly in the past that he has a history of entering new markets and being told he wouldn't be able to compete successfully (first with motorcycle handgrips, then with goggles, then with glasses, etc.) and then becoming dominant in those market sectors within a relatively short amount of time.
My personal thoughts on this as of this morning, with no further information than what I'm seeing here - perhaps Jim has decided Red is FULLY his New Direction, and wants to commit his efforts into it? That doesn't seem like news considering how much time and personal effort he's put into Red so far - look at how active he is on reduser.net. BUT... what if he is putting a lot of his eggs in this basket, marshalling his capital resources for future endeavors so that he has clear ownership and doesn't have to worry about raising or appeasing future investors, just doing what he and his team think is right? Having the capital to launch those major new initiatives? Not that I'm any financial master, but I don't see how it is anything else than that.
It sure smells that way to me based on info available Thursday morning. And I think that bodes well for Red, it's future products, and certainly us as buyers/renters/users of Red equipment - even more resources available to develop, refine, and support current and future Red products. Red changed their name from Red Digital Camera Company to Red Digital Cinema Company earlier this year...and this move may be another step emboldening that decision.
That also implies to me that Jim fully believes Red is going to work, and work Big Time, obviously - otherwise why sell his entire stake in the company he's shepherded for over 3 decades. So that should give further confidence to anybody having any niggling doubts about Red's viability - if the founder sells off over a billion dollars in stock in his other company....that's confidence.
Or am I reading too much into this? I haven't found any commentary online as to a role he may or may not have in the new Luxottica owned company - will he maintain his current title and role? If so for how long?
The more I think about it, this is Jim committing to Red, Full On. I don't foresee any more likely scenario.
What do you folks think? Comment away below, and don't forget to sign your full real name, otherwise risk having your comment deleted.
Update snippet - one of my interns, Andy Nelson, just walked in and I described this morning's news - he asked what this means, and I said I think it is Jim committing to Red, and he instantly responded "It's Jim saying 'I'm all in.'"
That sounds about right to me.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Over on the other blog - how to update the Apple TV to watch YouTube (NOT rocket science), and a bit about how it works.
The good news - 16:9 clips full screen. Bad news - it is still YouTube quality.
So surf your YouTubedness on the AppleTV is up, live, and workin'.
Media Distributors to Demo Holographic Storage Solutions June 21 | Studio Daily
"Media Distributors, America's preeminent distributor of professional products and services for entertainment and enterprise, will present a First Ever Technology Showcase of Holographic Storage at the company's Studio City headquarters starting at 4 PM on June 21st. The announcement was made today by Richard Myerson, President, and Tom Evans, Senior VP, Marketing, Media Distributors.
-partners are In-Phase, DSM Terastore & PoINT Software
-live working demo
-only North American demo
-shipments start next month
Read above link for full details.
"A recent post on Splice Here pointed to a great blog called Avid Tips. Coming from Grant way down under in Sydney, Australia the site is a treasure trove of all things Avid tips, tricks and techniques. For a complete list if tips, click on over."
See? I can try to be less Apple centric.
The site is Avid Tips.
see the row of demos at the bottom? Far right is now YouTube.
YouTube is converting (or will they start accepting?) videos to H.264, which iTunes, iPhone, (AppleTV anyone?) can access. Of course, this will work best when in range of a WiFi network you can get on, and it'll be interesting to see how long it'd take to buffer a video over the EDGE network (and also what the data rate plans will cost - I'd hate to have a 3 digit data bill from getting bored and watching YouTube....
And as long as we're talking geek, there's always this:
Waiting for Your iPhone: Five Ways to Handle the
Yes I am probably silly for wanting one, but I do. My friends are doing it. I am powerless and weak.
MacNN | YouTube coming to iPhone, live on Apple TV
"Apple today announced that iPhone users will be able to enjoy YouTube's originally-created content on their iPhones when they begin shipping on June 29. A new Apple-designed application on iPhone will wirelessly stream YouTube's content to iPhone over Wi-Fi or EDGE networks and play it on the iPhone's 3.5-inch display. In addition, Apple announced that YouTube is now live on Apple TV, following its announcement last month."
"Called LoLux, the software gives the user 30, 36 and 42 db of gain, specs offered on more expensive cameras, in addition to the gain settings that ship with the camera’s standard software. LoLux is comprised of half electrical gain and half light accumulation through the shutter. The result is a clean image with few artifacts and little picture noise."
The writer also notes a change in Discovery Channel's policies for HD programs shot with HDV cameras - so read the full article for all the details.
Mike's Comments - I'm curious to see how much more meaningfully better footage can be captured this way. Because they are combining gain and light accumulation through the shutter, those aren't two great ways to improve the image - - cranking the gain way the bejeezus up means your image gets grainier, and the light accumulation techniques I've seen in the past only work well on perfectly static images - as soon as your camera or subject moves, there can be trails and other artifacts. Maybe there system doesn't do that, but I don't know, I haven't seen it yet, this is just me guessing. But my gut prepares me to not be blown away by the real world quality increases. But in those situations, having the option is always better than NOT having the option.
Recently we had a chance to pick the brain of Mike Curtis (of HD For Indies) on the topics of Independent film production and self distribution. We discuss his take on alternative distribution options, what it takes to reach wide theatrical release, the importance of brand identity, when to aim at the direct to DVD option, DRM and rights management solutions, etc. Mike has some very strong opinions on the subject, and we found the conversation enlightening.
Follow the link at top to download from that page.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Missed this one Friday as I was out of town at a wedding - Jim said he'd have an update by the 15th, and as he put it "Delay news...sort of."
Basically, they need a touch more time to nail down what's up. He intends to have an announcement by this Friday (the 22nd) which may well coincide with their CineGear presentation. So relax, another few days and we'll know more.
Also announced is the fact that a small number of limited functionality beta cameras are going onto major motion picture sets. This means they'll get beat on and used in the most demanding possible environments by highly experienced folks, and as Jarred said, they'll learn more from a few days on set than they would in a month back in the warehouse - all this only accelerating the point in time when you and I can get our hands on a more fully featured camera. As Jim said,
These projects will give us the most thorough and comprehensive field testing a camera has ever been subjected to.
Nice. That's the kind of testing I want my camera to have gone through (I've got a reservation for one myself). Plus, it scores extra checkboxes along the way - by being on the sets of major features, it also scores in the categories of PR, industry acceptance, and hopefully building demand - "Hey, they shot that major Warners (or Disney or Universal or whatever) feature on it, I want it too!" As someone who is looking to rent out my camera, that's all good news to me.
Jim also gave a vague box for production timeframes, definitely before the end of this year, but we'll have to wait and see Friday for more details.
25 pages of comments ensue from that, but that's the big news above.
All the above does imply, however, that those beta cameras will be on set, be used and tested for an unknown length of time, and then feedback given. For that feedback to be useful/meaningful changes might have to be made, hopefully only to software/firmware but possibly to physical components of the camera - maybe a board change, maybe a casing change, etc. Those changes would need to be designed, tested, incorporated, manufactured, etc. All this to say I personally would be surprised to see Red Ones going into mass production in July (my blind, uninformed guess) - this process will take some time. How much more? We'll find out more Friday.
My friend Mark from OffHollywood summarizes his stance nicely, and I concur.
Message from Silicon Imaging:
We have another video tutorial online in our SiliconDVR training series, this time going over the workflow integration between SpeedGrade OnSet and our camera software environment, as well as some introductory information on 3D LUT's and their use in a color-managed camera-to-post workflow.
You can download the video at http://www.si-2k.com/Workflows.html or http://www.siliconimaging.com/DigitalCinema/Workflows.html
We hope you enjoy these videos and appreciate your feedback and support.
I haven't had a chance to look yet, this found by Andy the Intern.
In theory this sounds very useful and interesting and closed-loop synergistic to have an an option (not a requirement) for on-set production issues.
Anybody who has looked, please do Comment using link below and Share Teh Luv.
I also emailed Ari Pressler to see what else was new, he sent me this:
We are shipping SI-2K Mini's and SI-2Ks are shipping in the next few weeks.
We have incorporated a few last minute enhancements to the SI-2K based on the feedback from NAB including:
Field removal of the DVR module from the rear of the enclosure for upgrade or service
Improved 2K Mini insertion and removal mechanism
New 15mm Rod insert and locking mechanism
Recessed and angled connector side panel to allow cables to sit parallel to panel
Added 12-Pin Hirose on front panel for HD Zoom lens power
Two 4-pin power output connections each with +5VDC,+12VDC Regulated and Battery Voltage
New 3.5" drive bay for mounting the USB removable drive cartridge system
Intermediate mounts to either 16mm or 35mm film camera bridge plates (option)
Added Low-mode steadicam flat handle bar (option)
Electronic Viewfinder and mounting mechanism (option)
A few notes of interest for the Indies:
- "Magnus”, the first feature shot on the Silicon Imaging SI-2K Digital Cinema Camera to complete filmout, was selected by the 2007 Cannes Film Festival for the prestigious Un Certain Regard competition. It was applauded at the showings at the Debussy cinema, according to Annika Pham from Cineuropa and recognized as “visually delightful” and “a profound emotional experience” by Variety’s Russell Edwards.
- A new feature film called “Adopt a Sailor” starring Bebe Neuwirth, Luke Perry and Ethan Peck has started production using Silicon Imaging cameras with Director of Photography Ulf Soderqvist. “Adopt a Sailor,” written and directed by Charles Evered, tells the story of a sophisticated New York couple (Neuwirth and Perry), who inadvertently “Adopt a Sailor,” (Peck), during Fleet Week--- and in the course of one evening, these three very different people become a kind of surrogate family and change each others lives forever.
- Visit our Workflows section for a new series of video tutorials featuring various aspects of the Silicon Imaging camera systems.
Jason from Cineform and SI sent this to me when I asked about what was new
I would run through David Newman's blog over at http://cineform.blogspot.com and see what you've missed.
Another very important announcement is NEO 2K and NEO Player. The big news about NEO Player is that it's a *free* decoder available now for single-stream real-time playback of RAW files, or other CineForm codec files. It is cross-platform, although the Mac version is in Beta right now. So for all those people saying that CineForm costs so much money just to read the files, that's not the case anymore. You can edit even with NEO Player, but what you're missing is the ability to encode back to CineForm. So you can read but can't write. But that should work for most people just wanting to edit or convert footage, and not be messing around with mastering or encoding back to CineForm.
It would be a problem though if you plan on moving between apps, but again, the point is that you can read the files, you just have to pay for the ability to write the files. NEO 2K, which is the encoder portion, sells for $799.
You can read more at http://www.cineform.com/products/default.htm
Finally, we now in our gallery have RAW footage available for download from our camera, and users can download NEO Player to mess around with the footage, play with .look files, etc. There's a readme with the files to get people started.
Monday, June 18, 2007
More tidbits on testing MacBook Pro models, including the fact that Motion 3 only uses 100% of a single CPU, even on an 8 core Mac. Feh.
They also discuss battery drain with the faster hard drives (7200 rpm vs. 5400 rpm).
But they are looking for help and input on more testing- please do contribute and help out, they run an excellent site over there. They describe how.
-budgeting and scheduling
-production & emerging technology (I'll betcha this is where I fold in)
-business models and distribution
-exploiting & future proofing your assets
From UCLA's page describing it:
Producing a bankable Hollywood-caliber feature on a budget of $100K to $300K is more possible than ever before. Focusing on the realities of the micro-budget marketplace and on the steps required to develop, produce, and profit from a well-conceived, well-made micro-budget feature, this course is designed for producers, directors, writers, and investors, as well as candidates with ancillary experience. Topics include micro-budget development--selecting story within specific criterion; casting--auditions and who gets you what; directing--creating a unified look, generating worthy performances, and maintaining a unique perspective; and future-proofing your project--building durable assets and exploitable libraries. Practical considerations, such as minimal locations, micro-crewing, specialized technology and post, also are covered, and realistic business models are reviewed. Video/podcasts are conducted with casting directors, agents, and financiers (EDIT/INSERTION - I'll probably be one of these types for my involvement - mike). By the course's conclusion, participants will have created a unique roadmap to guide them toward their own eventual--or immediate--micro-budget feature, armed with the tools to profit in this burgeoning field, creatively and financially.
This seems like a worthy/interesting thing to check out, and seems EXACTLY straight up the demographic that makes up a large proportion of this readership. Those who attend starting next week - let us know how it goes! Add your Comments below going forward. The course is $515.
Follow the link above for more information.
"Specifically, the Mac maker hopes to allow Spotlight searches within Xsan and guarantee a seamless experience with Leopard when it launches in October. Many of Leopard Server's new server programs such as iCal Server and Podcast Producer will be recognized out of the box by the update, those people say."
This would be darn handy for workgroup stuff.
"Video rental giant Blockbuster will only rent HDTV DVDs in the Blu-ray format in 1,450 stores next month when it expands its high-def service.
That's according to an exclusive report today from the Associated Press.
The retailer has tested both formats in approximately 250 stores for the last several months. But Blockbuster officials say 70 percent of the high-def rentals are Blu-ray."
Wow - that is quite the dramatic statement if 70% of the rentals are Blu-ray. That isn't victory, but a 40% differential is pretty marked. There was a rumor floating around (can't recall if it was denied or proved flat-out wrong) that Walmart had signed on for 2 million HD DVD players that was supposedly going to define the format war battle winner.
But Blu-ray appears to be taking the lead, and that's interesting in light of the higher price on the playback devices. It would appear that the folks that plunked down for PS3's are following through and buying/renting HD movies.
I'd be curious what the split is between Blu-ray & HD DVD (and how those compare to regular DVDs) on Netflix, since they support both formats as well - would online rentals differ markedly from in-store rental patterns? I don't know - I'd guess not much, but that's TBD.
Hd Dvd On The Way Out?: Blockbuster's Blu-ray Endorsement Having Major Impact on HD DVD Player Sales - Gizmodo
"Blockbuster's decision to support Blu-ray in all of its 1,450 stores is having a bigger impact than it seems. A tipster at an unnamed retailer tells us they've had more HD DVD player orders canceled over the last few days than they've seen over the entire life cycle. The kicker? All of them were canceled because of the Blockbuster announcement."
From Cinematech (quoting full article, betting he won't mind - what isn't included is the preso itself which is on the above linked page):
"A few people have asked whether there's video from my Tuesday night presentation at the Apple Store here in San Francisco, which also included a number of filmmakers, video-makers, and entrepreneurs talking about their experiences with digital distribution... I'm not sure whether/when any video will be posted. Apple had some issues about shooting in the store, though I saw at least one person in the audience with a video camera.
But here are the slides from my talk. They'll probably make no sense without my narration, and they include a few QuickTime movies that won't play on SlideShare, but there is some data in there that you may find useful."
Scott's record of tracking the latest is digital distribution tech is spot-on - he rocks in my book.
Labels: online distribution
iPhone Delivers Up to Eight Hours of Talk Time
So it is somewhat of a stretch to call it HD related, but it IS a content playback device.
And I'm being pulled into the "Ooh-I-want-one" vortex of geekiness on it.
Here's the fun new stuff:
1.) longer talk time: 8 hours of talk time now, 6 hours of internet use, 7 hours of video playback, 24 hours of audio playback, up to 250 hours (more than 10 days) or standby mode
2.)glass not plastic screen - perhaps because fear of a scratched screen was such a prevalent concern, Steve Jobs said “We’ve also upgraded iPhone’s entire top surface from plastic to optical-quality glass for superior scratch resistance and clarity."
3.) Also a couple of charts from Apple's PR release with claimed battery life and comparisons to other smartphones.
In related news, AppleInsider | Regulators O.K. Apple's Bluetooth headset for sale alongside iPhone
"Federal regulators this week gave Apple Inc. the go-ahead to begin selling its seldom-mentioned Bluetooth headset alongside iPhone later this month.
Apple has said little about the pen cap-like accessory since introducing it back in January alongside its first-ever mobile handset -- iPhone. Similarly, it has not said how much it plans to charge for the device or precisely when it will be available."
"DV Rebel GageFX just rounded out his amazing thread on how to make killer fake blood by rising to the challenge of implementing and documenting the loose instructions that I include in The Guide for a wire-pull blood squib."
Fun stuff - potentially useful for anybody still scrambling to shoot final scees for their John Woo Short done still.
Talking to the FilmBaby.com guy:
"my main focus was this: what are filmmakers doing to move discs on FilmBaby? Later, we talked about some of the new sales channels FilmBaby is developing with partners like Netflix, Google, CinemaNow, iTunes, and Urban Outfitters.
I asked Jamie about some of the site's best-sellers. His answer: documentaries perform best."
A good read, definitely worth perusing if you're making low budget content.
Friday, June 15, 2007
1.) I'm thinking about going to CineGear next weekend - it is a shooting gear centric event for production quality film & video stuff. Exhibitors of interest (to me) include:
Abel Cine Tech with Phantom high speed digital cameras
Big Vision showing the Iconix itty bitty HD cameras
Cinemoves with Scorpio stabilized heads & crane
Cooke Optics with their /i lenses (which Red will support)
Doggicam with Mini Sparrow Head and Power Slide systems
Filmtools with camera support gear
Fujifilm with new film stocks for DI and IN/IP stuff
GVS with their field recorder
JVC with their PL mount adaptor
P+S Technik with Mini35, PRO35, SKATER and other stuff
Spacecam with the Snakehead gyro stabilized mounts for planes
VideoAssisTech with their video assist software
Wafian with their HR-2 DDR capable of 10 bit, 4:4:4 recording to Cineform's codec
So first off, it is coming, get ready for it. It runs next weekend:
Film Series June 21-23 (Thurs to Sat)
Master Class Seminars June 24 (Sunday)
Expo (part I'm most interested in) June 22-23 (Fri/Sat)
It is being held at the Wadsworth Theatre and Grounds.
Address: 11301 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90073-1003
Red will be showing their Crossing The Line in a presentation on Friday as well, and giving a history of the Red One's development and talking about features etc.
2.) The catch is it isn't QUITE something I'd otherwise do - just to poll the readership, who'd be interested in seeing me cover the event? More specifically, who'd be interested in paying approximately $10 for a report from the event? You could even give me some questions to ask (within reason) - consider me your proxy there to a limited extent. Would you buy lunch for your friend who went to pick his brain on it? Maybe think of it like that. : )
If that is of serious interest to you, please add a Comment or email me directly about it. If enough folks express interest, I might be hopping on a plane next week if I can cover my expenses.
Update - Geez, folks - I talk about Cinegear coming up, and all the cool stuff that'll be there, then I have a paragraph to float an idea on how I could finance the trip. THAT concept didn't go over well - check the comments. OK then - so I'm not going to CineGEAR. To paraphrase The Soup Guy from Seinfeld:
"No coverage for you!"
Click here to go to the picture page, and Start Slideshow will walk you through the Step By Step.
Wave the mouse over the picture to see the pause/forward/back controls - da usual iWeb stuff.
How many instances to launch? Depends on your machine, but if you're a dual or quad core box, 2 is almost CERTAINLY going to be an improvement over the default single instance. The BareFeats article's chart showed an 8 core Mac Pro doing best with 8 instances, so as many as you have cores is one possible answer - but It Could Depend, I don't know yet, and I don't know exactly WHAT it depends on as well - bus speeds? Source clip datarate & disk transfer rate? How compute intensive or light the encoding is per frame? Long GOP vs. I-frame only - does it substantially affect optimal # of cores? I'll have the interns do some benchmarking next week hopefully to learn some more, but I'm certain whatever answers are learned, carefully qualifying those answers with details on testing methodology will be key.
and that links to the press release on Studio Daily:
Panasonic Ships 16GB P2 Card | Studio Daily
-16GB cards are indeed shipping
-$900 from Panasonic (perhaps a touch less from others? -mike)
Handy stats to know:
With a five-slot AJ-HPX2000 P2 HD camcorder, professionals can record up to 200 minutes at native 720/24pN in DVCPRO HD, 80 minutes in 1080i/720p in DVCPRO HD, and 160 minutes in DVCPRO 50 using five 16 GB P2 cards. With the newly-available, four-slot AG-HPX500 interchangeable lens P2 HD camcorder, users can record up to 160 minutes at native 720/24pN in DVCPRO HD, 128 minutes at 720P/30pN in DVCPRO HD, 64 minutes in 720p/60 in DVCPRO HD,128 minutes in DVCPRO 50 and 256 minutes in DVCPRO on four 16GB P2 cards. Users of the compact AG-HVX200 P2 HD handheld, which has two P2 card slots, can also enjoy extended recording with 32 minutes in DVCPRO HD, 64 minutes in DVCPRO 50 and 128 minutes in DVCPRO.
In case you hadn't noticed, I kinda like the HVX200's flexibility and tapeless workflow, but the lack of an easy master copy (no disc/tape to stick on shelf) and PAINFULLY HIGH cost and relatively low record times of the resuable media have been my biggest complaints (after soft image quality and low sensor resolution). But I do likes me that HVX200, and this new price point (with 32 GB cards expected by year end for $1800 list.
DO READ the full Studio Daily article for important limitations - 16GB P2 card ONLY work in HPX500 and HVX200 cameras and AJ-PCD20 readers with serial numbers above a certain point - check for details w/Studio Daily's page, link above.
Commenter JTL left this useful advice in the comments:
My company had an HVX-200 and we just sprung for a second. I found a little place in Boston called the Camera Company that had 2 16GB cards a week and a half ago, and I snapped 'em up as fast as I could. Just wanted to mention that they haven't released the new serial numbered HVX-200s yet, so even the second camera I just bought needed a firmware upgrade. SD card upgrade. 10 minutes for each camera. No problem.
The AJ-PCS060 (P2 Store) on the other hand was a little tough with a mac. You need to update the P2 Manager software (which was PC only when I got the 1st camera) in order to update the P2 Store firmware. Once done, however, everything's been going fine. The 16GB card, I think, still copies onto the P2 Store in 2 8GB partitions... Oh, well.
....so probably everybody needs a firmware update.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Announcing HD for Indies Premium Content
Today HD for Indies is announcing a new service - HD for Indies Premium.
The existing HD for Indies site isn't changing at all, this will be new, deeper coverage.
HD for Indies Premium will encompass a variety of services - specific websites, downloadable PDFs, online tutorials, downloadable videos, purchasable DVDs, etc.
Updated w/FAQ at bottom of this article, scroll down
WHAT IT IS
HD for Indies Premium is a new way to get the best thoughts and commentary from HD for Indies' chief analyst & writer, Mike Curtis, on a wide range of subjects.
HD for Indies Premium will be launching with a new topic specific blog that will include all Mike's NAB 2007 coverage, reporting, and analysis, including EXTENSIVE, as-yet-unpublished material.
HDforIndies.com covered several companies and topics before and at the show, that content will be included to make the Premium site comprehensive. In addition, however, what will only be posted on the new premium micro-site will be exclusive analysis & commentary of everything else Mike Curtis saw at the show, in addition to extensive unpublished notes, pictures, and videos from interviews at NAB. I decided to make this a living document, via a website, rather than a static PDF or similar structure - I'll be adding to it, augmenting it, folding in new links and info, etc.
Companies covered so far:
Abel Cine, Adobe, AJA, Apple, ARRI, Automatic Duck, Avid, Band Pro, Blackmagic Design, Canon, Cineform, Color Space, Dalsa, Glue Tools, GS Vitec (noX camera), JVC, Matrox, Noise Industries, Panasonic, Promax, Red (& lots of it!), Red Giant software, Redrock Micro, ReelStream (Hydra), Silicon Imaging, Sony, Synthetic Aperture, and Wafian.
Concluding thoughts and analysis are still being added, so everything is still being expounded upon and growing. But there's already about 25,000 words worth of details, commentary, analysis, links, etc. so far, so that should be plenty to sink your teeth into to get started.
Remember all that in depth Red coverage before/during/after NAB? Consider that an especially detailed sampler - there's even some newer, more recent info that isn't on hdforindies.com.
HOW THIS WILL WORK:
I'm accepting payments via PayPal's system, but Paypal will also allow you to make a credit card payment, even without a Paypal account.
I've decided to make this as ridiculously affordable as I could stand as an introductory offer (considering the amount of time that went into it) - at the oh-so-very-indie friendly price of only $9.95. I'm curious to see how popular this might be at this time.
STEPS TO SIGN UP:
1.) Read full instructions below, then click here:
....to make a payment - when paying, use an email account that also has an associated Google Account (or make one, takes about a minute) - so ideally your PayPal account has a matching Google account.
2.) You'll receive an email from Mike Curtis inviting you to join the blog - click on the provided link. (It may take a bit for the wheels to churn, don't worry if you don't get an email right away - if PayPal says it processed properly, It Will Happen).
3.) You'll have to sign in using a Google Account - it should be the same email address as your PayPal account (or create a Google Account).
4.) Now you can access the blog, and slice the data in a variety of ways - by Indie vs. High End, by category (Post Hardware, Post Software, Cameras, Acquisition Hardware, etc.), by company, or just use the handy Search function.
This is being sold as a one-to-one consulting report to individuals with a single user license.
Ready to start? Great! Click below to begin!
(Yes, this one works exactly the same as the above one. Just here for convenience.)
UPDATE /FAQ- to answer some questions already being asked - if you don't have Google and PayPal accounts under the same email, you can either:
1.) In PayPal, pay with a credit card and then enter an email address that has a Google account already set up, or
2.) Pay via PayPal, then set up a new Google Account - it is easy, just takes a minute or so.
Also, somebody asked in the comments:
Will there be a sample or teaser page so that people know what they're going to get before they buy?
See the screen grab at top, gives an idea how everything is organized. If you want some sample content, see all the Red coverage I've done since NAB and consider that the free sample - analysis, photos, news, etc. Actually, you can see everything I've tagged/labelled as Red related here, that's a pretty good overkill sampler. Pictures from NAB 2007 Red booth here and here.
Not everybody gets that much detailed coverage - Red is obviously one of my favorite forthcoming gadgets - but you get the idea. There's actually even more Red coverage of some extra goodies and details that came up in the last few days, and interview details I've never published since NAB that are Red specific. But the premium blog is better organized - see the screen grab at top of this article.
Each company/category entry is organized into linked sections:
Mike's prior notes on this subject
Mike's new notes from NAB
...and yes, for once, those section links jump to the location in the article, and links to other web pages actually spawn new windows. Kwality. : )
There's a bit more details in the Comments (link at end of article) if you want more detail than that.
Is it $9.95 to access the site forever or $9.95 per report? Or is it $9.95 per month / year?
Good question - the $9.95 is for this specific NAB 2007 report only, but is indefinite. You get all the NAB 2007 goodness in there, and I'm planning on just leaving the site up. Think of this as a chunk of consulting you're buying, a one time report you're buying. It just so happens to be in the form of a one-trick-pony website. I plan on leaving the site up for quite a while, probably well past its usefulness or timeliness (the hosting fees are paid out for over a year already anyway, so...).
What will happen to the vanilla HD for Indies site in the long run?
I still plan on doing HD4NDs as I have, but the super-indepth stuff that hasn't happened much in the last 6-12 months, things where I need to spend a day or two testing and a half day or more writing up will start migrating to a Premium model - otherwise there just isn't time to justify doing them on the free site. I'm still noodling around on exactly how it will be presented, exactly where the free/premium split will occur, but perhaps some kind of a la carte report option with a "subscribe to all" option as well. All up in the air, these are just the current thoughts in my head. The good news is that I'm getting infrastructure in place so that the daily news still happens, and I only need to touch & edit rather than sift it all on my own - Andy and Geoff are helping out on that stuff.
Q: So why so long after NAB?
A: It is just what it took - hey, DV.com just got their coverage up last week too! : ) But the goal for next year is to be sooner and more comprehensive...and it will definitely cost more. But to have text, audio interviews, video interviews, notes and thoughts being fed back to team in Austin whilst I interview etc. on site.
I'll keep adding to this FAQ as more issues come up.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Steve digs into the limitations of the V1U and comes up with a suggested workaround - Cinema Tools to the rescue!
I haven't tried it myself, but if he's putting it out there with screenshots I'll betcha it works. Thanks to Jon for pointing this one out.
Another useful tidbit I discovered on my own earlier today - Cinema Tools 4 (part of Final Cut Studio 2) includes, FINALLY, a 2:2:2:4 pulldown preset - bodes well for properly processing (finally!) the live HD-SDI captured footage from the JVC GY-HD100U we used - could only record as 720p60 at the time with 2:2:2:4 cadence. I'll see if the new once can properly reduce it to 24p....
First off, I recognize I'm certainly not the first to do this, but here's my OOBE (out of box experience) on this stuff. Pictures here. I just wanted to get my experience as an A/V consumer out there.
So UPS showed up with a box from Amazon today - my Blu-ray player! Or as most of you would refer to it - a Sony PS3 game system that also happens to play Blu-ray movies. I've heard that (and blogged earlier today) something like 90=% of existing Blu-ray players out there are PS3's - and I don't doubt it. One of my friends is a hard-core consumer A/V geek, and his opinion was that the PS3 was the best Blu-ray player, PERIOD. And he can afford ANYTHING (drives a 911 convertible during the week, a 600+ horsepower '71 240Z on the weekend at the racetrack - boy has BUDGET).
But I digress.
So I got my PS3, and I'll all jazzed to hook it up. It comes with power, A/V, and networking cables in the box, and conveniently, the controller itself is a USB device, so you can use any USB device cable with it. Sounds like you're ready to rock, no? Well, yes, but really no.
Looking to this as an HD audio/video device, some initial complaints:
1.) the included A/V breakout cable with three RCA plugs? That isn't component, that's COMPOSITE and RCA stereo pair. So while it is true that they include cables in the box to connect to your TV or HDTV, it is in the lowest possible common denominator plug. As a gaming platform, there's some logic to it, but as a high end A/V device, this comes across as just plain cheap for a $600 item.
2.) No HDMI cable included. Harrumph.
3.) Only one digital audio output, and it is digital optical - no digital coax. Many high end devices offer both.
4.) No digital optical cable included.
5.) There is no IR port on the device, remote control is done via Bluetooth - so 98% of the universal remotes out there can't be programmed to control the Blu-ray playback, you're stuck with at least 2 remotes for most folks. Double harrumph. Bluetooth is great for non-line-of-sight controlling, but far from ubiquitous. But I do like Bluetooth remoting - my coffee table is in the way for some of my A/V gear, and I have to either bankshot off the ceiling in the correct spot or hold up the remote to clear the table.
6.) while an Ethernet cable is included, it is only 9 or so feet long - who has an Ethernet drop or box within 9 feet of their TV stuff? I need a longer one - 12 would have done it for me.
7.) As a gaming device, only one controller included - this works for Internet based gaming, but not 1-on-1 in person.
8.) the controller cable is woefully short - I'd have to put the PS3 three feet in front of the TV to have the cable long enough to reach me sitting down EDIT - well, shows what I don't know - it is a Bluetooth, and the USB is just for charging. So nix this one! So New # 8: if you want to connect via component, in either SD or HD, the PS3 lacks traditional jacks - you have to buy Sony's cable for $20. Monster makes one, too, for $50 if you're a complete tool/sucker. For the record - Monster Cables are not only massively overpriced, but they aren't that good in the first place - lots of shielding, not so much cable in the core. There is no good reason to buy Monster Cables, EVER.
9.) As a Blu-ray player, the "this is a gaming platform" is reinforced by the fact that there is no "normal" A/V remote control included - until my remote gets here, I have to use a game controller to play back (once I get it set up). Awkward.
10.) Update - now I have a #10 - as a media device, there is no hardware disc eject on the device - you have to do it through the remote or a controller. EDIT - nope, there is one! It is just subtle - it is a touch sensitive area, clearly labelled, right in front of the drive slot - so they HAVE done a nice job with this. My unobservant bad.
So after plundering some other gear for an HDMI and toslink cable, I finally got all set up.
Firing it up for the first time, with HDMI, toslink, and Ethernet in place, you flip the master power switch on the back, THEN press the touch-sensitive on/off switch on the device.
The first screen you see tells you to connect the controller and press a button.
Then you select your language of preference.
Then you are presented with a choice if HDMI is connected - "An available HDMI device was detected. Do you want to output vieo and audio using that HDMI?" You can select Yes or No. Hmm...I want HDMI video, but toslink audio - which should I choose?
I'll select NO for now, since I want HDMI video...OOPS, bad choice, the screen went blank.
Fortunately, I already had the composite attached to the TV (the horror, the horror), so I was able to see the screen again. Now I was presented with a "Select a Time Zone" choice, but NO option to go backwards as I had on the prior screen. Hmm...bad.
I set the Time Zone to CST, then I can enter the date.
AH - I discover by accident that pressing the left pad button goes backwards....all the way to language selection. OK, let's try this again.
I change the HDTV input back to HDMI, and I can see the language selection again. GOOD!
OK, I pick English, this time I say YES to HDMI audio & video, and I get a new screen:
"Do you want to automatically switch to the optimal settings? If the reoslution is not supported, the screen wil temporarily go blank. After 30 seconds the system will go back to the original resolution."
That sounds good, so I switch from the default No to Yes and press Enter.
Next screen: nice and sharp at 1080p, so I accept by selecting yes within 30 seconds and we're back to Time Zone, which held the prior settings, and the next screen is:
"Enter your user name to log in to this system."
I do that, then there is a summary screen of all you've picked- English, CST, time/date, and user name. Done and good.
Next screen - sign up for PLAYSTATION Network? Gee, I dunno - does it cost? Lets find out.
I press the X key, and I'm told:
"A system software update is required.
Go to [Settings\] and perform [System Update]."
Wow, I'm glad I'm plugged into an Ethernet jack already.
Oh - I didn't realize I was already in the menu system yet. I go to System Update, that looks like it'll take several minutes to pull down the updates, but at least it successfully negotiated a DHCP based acquisition of an IP address.
After downloading the update, there's a soft-restart process, then a User Agreement pops up. Power scroll down and clickwrap your soul away.
New capabilities in the update include:
-PS1 & PS2 games uprez to HD
-PS1 & PS2 game saves can be brought to PS3
-DVDs are uprezzed to HD, but it says SOME cannot be upconverted when ouputting via component or D-terminal connectors. What is a D-terminal connector?
-Internet play enabled
-images & music can be shown/played on a remote device over a network with a PC or Digital Video Recorder...curious to see how that works, anybody already know, please Comment away below
-can print photos (!)
-zoom & trim functions for photos
-new slideshow types for photos
"Do not turn off the system during the update. If you do, you may not be able to restart the PS3 system. Once the update is started you cannot go back to the previous version of the system software. Press the X button to start the update."
Another progress bar - the last was downloading, now we're installing I take it? Then why the semi-reboot earlier?
Several minutes later update installed, click OK, then a definite reboot going on.
So now what? I start digging around the menus - there's choices for BD/DVD playback, there's what to name this system, etc.
Some interesting choices hiding in the menus:
RGB Full Range (HDMI) - Limited or Full - just doodling, Full seems contrastier/darker
Y Pb/Cb Pr/Cr Super-White (HDMI) Sets for use of a TV that is compatible with Super-White output - defaults to Off, turning it on does nothing obvious. Hmm...a little scary. But I'm using a Sony HDTV with a Sony PS3, I should get in trouble/overburn anything....right?
HEY! It appears the PS3 has WiFi capability - I may not need to hard-wire my unit - it can see my two wireless networks in the house (sweet!)
There's a web browser as well, but it is a bit non-intuitive at first - plugging in a keyboard & mouse (ostensibly doable w/USB ports) would certainly help.
There's LOTS of menu choices in here, so this is a good enough place for me to wrap it up.
General takeaway - this thing is LOTS more than a Blu-ray player, more even than a game system - it can do pictures, music, and videos as well, I just need to start figuring out how all that stuff works.
But I've got some work to do in the meantime, more later.
Update an hour later after writing - I'm already getting some feedback in the comments about stuff I didn't know. I intentionally went into this "blind," not reading a single page of the manual - what the typical consumer would experience and do. As I learn more I'll update. I did get wireless networking set up, so that's cool as well.
Who'd a thunk I'd need 3 internet connections in the living room? And I still don't have a DVR...
It'll be interesting, going forward, to see how this compares to AppleTV as a pictures/music/video playback device. A commenter has already pointed out how to get it to work with iTunes etc. - is it a one time export, or a live link that would, for instance, reflect changes in playlists, etc.?
The Mobile Film School is currently looking for Film Industry Production Crew to volunteer for an 8-day, total immersion documentary production workshop in Elgin, Texas.
The Mobile Film School is a local non-profit organization set up as a script-to-screen mobile studio designed to teach filmmaking and mentor students in rural and other underserved areas that have little or no access to film instruction and resources. We are currently collaborating with Elgin ISD to create a summer program in which high school students will participate in an intensive, 8-day documentary film workshop where they will produce a short documentary reflecting the Elgin community in some way through their storytelling.
WHERE: Elgin, Texas
WHEN: 8am – 9pm, Saturday, July 21-28, 2007
As this is on a volunteer basis, whatever time you may be available to help during this time frame (from as little as one day to the full 8 days) can be scheduled accordingly. All meals (3 meals per day) will be provided, and transportation arrangements can be made if needed.
The Mobile Film School is looking for the following volunteer positions:
Technical Assistants: We need volunteers that are proficient with all film equipment, such as MiniDV cameras and accessories, lighting, sound, and editing. TA’s will help manage the check in/check out of all equipment to students, general maintenance and troubleshooting issues on set, as well as lend students a helping hand with equipment during the shoot.
Production Assistants: We need volunteers to help manage production coordinating and general set operations during the workshop. General tasks may include coordinating of students, filming locations, equipment, craft services, and scheduling. PA’s will be needed to assist all staff, faculty and students in pre-production activities before the workshop, as well as all production activities during the workshop.
For more information on the Mobile Film School please visit our website at www.mobilefilmschool.org
Interested parties should contact:
The Mobile Film School
It is a good cause, it will probably be a lot of fun to work with kids with a ton of passion and energy, and you'd be doing a Good Thing. Ask around if you know anybody qualified. Maybe recent grads with some time on their hands?
HD DVD sales spike in wake of price cuts
"Trying to figure out which format actually has the upper hand isn't easy, however. Earlier this year, HD DVD was overtaken by Blu-ray when it came to movies sold, but in mid-April, the HD DVD Promotional Group reported that dedicated HD DVD players were outselling their Blu-ray counterparts by a large margin. HD DVD has also taken an early sales lead in Europe. Blu-ray enjoys greater studio backing and the fact that it is the optical format of choice for the PS3 gives it a wider reach than the HD DVD. But as we have pointed out before, sales stats are great for scoring PR points, but they don't really matter at this stage of the game."
Ars once again enters the fray with a well reasoned article.
It is hard to parse the carefully crafted press releases - when the HD DVD folks say their dedicated players are widely outselling the competition, think about what that means - that dedicated HD DVD players are outselling dedicated Blu-ray players.
And PS3 is NOT a dedicated Blu-ray player, it is a combo device, gaming platform, whatever. Point being - it is NOT a dedicated playback device. And what percentage of Blu-ray players on the market are PS3's? I read a stat somewhere that claimed 94% of Blu-ray players on the market were PS3's. OK. So what is the percentage of Xbox 360 HD DVD players compared to dedicated players? I don't know, but I'd bet money it is way, Way, WAY lower than 94% - if I had to take a completely blind stab at it (and I will, pulling these numbers out of my, er, hat) - I'd GUESS it was 35% or less of existing HD DVD players are Xbox360 add-ons - at best.
So comparing DEDICATED players between HD DVD and Blu-ray is a deceptive and almost meaningless statistic - since 94% of Blu-ray players are PS3s, the HD DVD camp is only comparing their dedicated player sales to....6% of the Blu-ray market.
That ain't exactly something to crow about.
And since they are particular to point out that they are only outselling dedicated players, that doesn't sound like good news at all to me. If they were outselling ALL Blu-ray players, they damn well would have said that.
Anybody have an update on that 94% Blu-ray stat? Ah - found it mentioned here, which links to this fact laden Ars Technica article from mid-January.
Sales of individual movies (or rentals) is a truer metric to my eye.
Now that (as of sometime today when UPS gets here) I'll have both a Blu-ray and an HD DVD player, I should (hopefully) have an unbiased view of it all. I'll see what the experience is like.
"In his first public act as HBO's permanent CEO, Bill Nelson announced that the company would be upgrading all of its nets to high-def by the middle of 2008.Initiative, which is expected to cost in the tens of millions of dollars, will see the net offer HD programming on all 26 of its so-called multiplexes; those nets include HBO channels such as HBO Comedy and HBO Family and Cinemax nets such as ActionMAX and ThrillerMAX.Only HBO and Cinemax offer hi-def feeds."
This bodes well - more HD content means more HD demand. Not that many indies have avenues into HBO, but then again, if they are going all HD, producing your doc (or whatever) in HD means there's another premium market for your content.
"So no SDK == no access to iPhone's cool frameworks == no revolutionary apps, no real new concepts coming from third-parties, no eye candy available for anyone but Apple and no possibility for some really crazy games that will fully exploit the graphic and multi-touch power of the iPhone."
I have to say this is a pretty good argument. Read on. The good thing is that we'll still have good video performance on the device.
Thinking along those lines, watching QT in a web page should be doable, but not downloading it to save on your iPhone's media library, I'll betcha.
But this argument is also of the moment - this is just where we stand, now, before the product even ships. In time, I'd be very disappointed if they don't release an SDK. But this is at least a place to start, if a limited sandbox.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
So there you go.
BIG IMPORTANT UPDATE - the article has been updated, ZFS WILL be an option in Leopard.
What Apple meant to say was, "ZFS would be available as a limited option, but not as the default file system."
Macintouch has a nice list of Apple Knowledge Base articles relating to hot plugging displays, screen warm up time, memory specs, and....smells. (!!???)
Poster "laguun" did a nice job of organizing a bunch of quotes from the manuals relating to workflow related issues, and discussing their possible ramifications. Nice work, sir or madam! Further discussion ensues. If you're thinking about doing serious work with Color and never used Final Touch, you really ought to read this.
Starts off with the hilarious faux "I'm Steve Jobs" bit by John Hodgman. I'd say more to draw you in, but it'd be giving away the good stuff. Even if you don't watch the whole thing, watch the beginning.
If you do watch the whole thing, you'll get a preview of Leopard, and learn a bit more about iPhone.
Monday, June 11, 2007
Big long article I wish I'd had the time to do on the ins, out, details, and caveats of Apple's ProRes codecs. I'm not saying much here, but this is a long, detailed article going into the pros and cons of this new codec that you'll likely be using in the future if you're on a Mac.
Footnote: I have detailed, extensive, further thoughts on Final Cut Studio 2, ProRes, Color, etc., but I have to wait for certain articles to be released in other publications before I can say more. All my info and knowledge is, of course, available to my paying consulting clients at any time.
My thoughts on the biggies as they apply to what I/we do:
-full 64 bit support - good - means faster apps for us
-Time Machine - automate backups - we need these, and by far not enough folks do it
-Spaces will be nice when you're doing several things at once - It is entirely reasonable to imagine having FCP, Photoshop, Motion in spaces, or for later in the production pipeline Compressor, DVD Studio Pro, and FCP
-new Finder & Desktop are nice but not stupendous
-searching across the network will be handy (maybe Spotlight integrated next year?)
-Core Animation promises more pre-scripted motion graphics goodness in the future
-Boot Camp improves for running Windows apps on your system for those apps not on OS X
-Safari 3 beta for OS X...and XP and Vista as well - yep, Apple is making a free Windows web browser. Apple probably realized that iTunes was a tease of the Mac experience on Windows, and since iTunes already had so much web connectivity, it probably wasn't that hard to make the port.
-new and improved iChat may make remote work more viable. Somewhere I have a link about how to use a second Mac to stream Final Cut Pro video output to a client over iChat..improvements may make it work better
-Back to My Mac will be nice for remote work - your laptop on the road and your machines back home know each others' IP address (syncs via .Mac) - if you forgot something you can snag it (if not too big to pull it over broadband)
A lot of this stuff I don't particularly care about, but the thing that'll make me buy it for all my machines will be 64 bit support, Time Machine, and the ability to Spotlight search across the network.
Here's Engadget's posts on the matter, good summaries:
Apple's Mac OS X Leopard fully unveiled - Engadget
iPhone to ship on June 29th at 6pm - Engadget - 6pm, drat! So does that mean the line builds all day? I'd been planning on hanging out with some friends in line in the morning, this puts a dent in that plan.
That also makes it awkward - 6pm California time? Local time in each time zone? How will that work?
Apple announces third-party software details for iPhone - Engadget - third parties have to be a web app - therefore have to have a data connection, either WiFi or burning minutes/kbytes on your plan. Less than optimal, but it does let 3rd party developers in.
Safari 3 for Windows - Engadget - yep, Safari for Windows, Apple - Safari 3 Public Beta - download it here for OS X, Vista, or XP.
MONDAY NIGHT UPDATE - I went to dinner with one of my oldest friends who is developing software that iPhone's presence potentially affects. I asked him what he thought of this third party developer situation, and he said it was excellent spin on Apple's part - they get to pitch it as "We were listening to you, and here's how we're going to support you." when in fact it is a "feature" that iPhone has had all along - the ability to load fully functional, Web 2.0 + AJAX type pages. But it still requires a web connection, and it isn't any new functionality whatsoever - 3rd parties are relegated to only what can be done with the sandbox of web pages. To me, that fits into the "Gee, that's mighty white of you." category.
I also talked to this same friend about geting an iPhone, and was equivocating saying I wanted to play with the software based touchscreen keyboard before I plunked down $600 for the thing. He was already shaking his head before I got to the end of the sentence. "Dude - you're talking to someone who bought a Newton." After I finished my laughing fit, he further elaborated - not MessagePad 1.10, NEWTON. He also bought an original Macintosh. Not a Mac 512KB, a MACINTOSH, back when there was precisely ONE product in the lineup.
I'm sure Jobs loves guys like that. (And I love him too, just for slightly different reasons).
Other comments - new folder icons - eh, not so great to me.
Since I'm not there, I can't live blog this one like I did at the pre-NAB event.
But Engadget has a crew there, live blogging it, with pictures no less! Their coverage has already begun.
I'm looking forward to more Leopard details, and I'm HOPING they'll share more details on the iPhone, such as whether you can get it engraved like an iPod, futher details on the service plans, etc.
My personal longshot tech prediction - since we didn't see iLife '07 at MacWorld (oops, edit, meant to say iWork), we'll see it here, and it'll be all iPhone friendly - optimized to sync & format with/for iPhone. Am I right? Dunno, but we'll find out, starting in a little over half an hour...
I've got a client conference call at the same time (drat! Must...Schedule....Better....), so I'll come back when it is over and summarize The Good Stuff as it applies to what we do.
MacRumors.com : WWDC 2007 Keynote Live Coverage is live updating as well, blog style - newest at top.
Changes in Boot Camp 1.3 beta
Boot Camp 1.3 beta contains several updates and is intended for all new and previous Boot Camp beta users.
Boot Camp 1.3 beta includes:
Support for keyboard backlighting (MacBook Pro only)
Apple Remote pairing
Updated graphics drivers
Improved Boot Camp driver installer
Improved international keyboard support
Updated Windows Help for Boot Camp
274 MB download
Sunday, June 10, 2007
"Matt Garrett and Bruce Allen recently conducted a series of Nikon lens tests with a SGPro 35mm adapter mounted to a Panasonic HVX-200. They tested the 17-35mm f/2.8, 35mm f/1.4, 85mm f/1.8, 105mm f/2.0, 135mm f/2.0, and 180mm f/2.8 Nikon lenses. That's quite a lineup of glass!"
They liked the sharpness (considering it is an HVX, which isn't super-sharp to begin with). There are downloadable files as well, a 640x360 at 22MB and a 1280x720@367MB. Gentlemen, start your download queues...
It includes ALL of the Adobe Creative Suite applications, including:
After Effects CS3 - compositing/motion graphics
Premiere Pro CS3 - video editing
Encore CS3 - DVD & Blu-ray authoring
Soundbooth CS3 - audio manipulation
Indesign CS3 - print design
Photoshop CS3 - do you really need to ask?
Illustrator CS3 - vector based draw package
Acrobat 8 Professional - for PDF creation/manipulation
Flash CS3 Professional - for Flash animation authoring
Dreamweaver CS3 - for HTML editing & creation & layout
Fireworks CS3 - for web graphic dicing/etc.
Contribute CS3 - for content management
It is available from a variety of sources, but I'd appreciate it if you bought your versions through my online store in order to support HD for Indies.
Full version Mac OS X
Full version Windows
Upsell version for Mac
Upsell version for Windows
Upgrade version Mac
Upgrade version Windows
New Versions available on this page for Mac & PC, and updates are available here for Mac and Windows. Read the upgrade requirements CAREFULLY to make sure you get the correct version - there is an Upgrade version for about $1400, and an Upsell version for about $2000.
If you want another CS3 bundle, or any other Apple or Adobe software, it is all on the HD For Indies Amazon Store Software section.
When I did my first feature, I asked Allen Daviau, ASC for some advice and he said "Know your first week backwards and forwards."
David Mullen talks about directing styles, a nice little read, with lots of further commentary.
Saturday, June 09, 2007
If you are (or were, if you're reading this) a Firefox user and having trouble, please let me know, either via Comments link below or email me.
-mike, aka the management
MONDAY UPDATE - problem appears to be Amazon (again), I've contacted them, they are going to look into it, but I need to leave the site as is so they can troubleshoot unfortunately. Patience, please, while it gets fixed.
MONDAY AFTERNOON UPATE: HOW ABOUT NOW? I got an email from somebody say thanks it was fixed, and then I just checked it myself with my own and it seems to be working.
updated Tuesday, see bottom
Barefeats continues to offer some excellent benchmarking results on new machines. They compare a 4 core Mac Pro, one of the new MacBook Pro models, an older MacBook Pro, and a newer MacBook. Photoshop CS3 was nearly twice as fast on a Mac Pro as compared to a MacBook, the difference in After Effects CS3 was about 3x, Compressor 3 about 3x, Motion nearly 4x. This page alone is a good example of the general performance you'll get for your money in media manipulation apps. The new MacBook Pros are generally about half the speed of a 4 core Mac Pro.
MacBook Pro "Santa Rosa" - 3D Gaming
The other day I was talking to a client about the just announced new MacBook Pro models with improved graphics performance. I said I knew they had a new graphics chipset, but I had no idea how fast it was. Well, now I do - Barefeats is on the job, and they ran Doom 3, Halo, Quake 4, etc. on 4 core Mac Pros, iMac Core 2 Duo, the new MacBook Pros, older laptops, etc.
The results: when running GPU intensive games, the new MacBook Pro is surprisingly robust - coming in FASTER than a 4 core Mac Pro with a base 7300) graphics card on most tests! The X1900 in a Mac Pro still blows everything else out of the water (confirming my "it's worth the $300" supposition), and the built in graphics in my MacBook are just anemic - the Mac Pro with X1900 card gets 120 fps on Doom 3, and the MacBook gets....5. Yes, five. For GPU heavy applications like Motion, Color, etc., the new MacBook Pro is significantly faster than its predecessor - 10-50% faster in these tests (except for Halo where it was slower, go figure)
A few more tidbits:
MacBook Pro "Santa Rosa" - 128M vs 256M VRAM: "The MacBook Pro 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo (256MB GDDR3 video SDRAM) was at most 9% faster than the 2.2GHz MacBook Pro (128MB GDDR3 video SDRAM). If we average all the results, it was 5% faster." Looks like the extra video RAM isn't worth the money for increased GAME performance. Whether that makes a difference for Motion, Color, etc. remains to be seen.
MacBook Pro "Santa Rosa" - 3D Gaming: "The new MacBook Pro with the GeForce 8600M runs 3D accelerated games significantly faster than the previous 2.33GHz model with the Mobility Radeon X1600."
Friday, June 08, 2007
I was discussing the new MOTU V3HD, and realized how similar it was in concept and functionality to the AJA IO HD.
OK, since it'll come up, here's my first, non-conclusive nor comprehensive, top-of-my-head differentiation between the two just based on the specs available. There are small, refinement differences, but these are the ones I think are significant. This is an ever evolving document, so don't take it as gospel - I keep adding pieces to it, and you're welcome to chime in with your thoughts as well in the Comments (link after end of article).
Major Similarities between V3HD and IO HD:
-SDI & HD-SDI based capture & output
-analog component/s-video/composite capture & output
-can transcode to a high quality codec in hardware
-FireWire800 based connection to host computer
-can function as standalone converter
-RS-422 deck control
-other myriad audio/video features
-both can output simultaneous HD & SD over SDI taps
-both can output two SDI or two HD-SDI
-both have 4 channel analog audio I/O via XLR connectors
-both will work as standalone format converters - we're winners either way, this is very, very useful
Potential Advantages of V3HD over IO HD
-DVCPRO HD is an industry standard, ProRes is not (but AJA does support DVCPRO HD editing via FCP)
-Mac and Windows (IO HD is Mac only)
-EDIT to clarify - simultaneous output of standard and high defintion analog simultaneously - IO HD can't do that, as it only has a single component output set.
-optical audio in/out
-at least 8 analog in/out - which allows for affordable 5.1 surround output (hey, it is MOTU, audio is what they DO)
-FW400 as well as FW800
-generally more audio goodness, as that is MOTU's specialty
-in general a few more discrete outputs - SDI and HD-SDI are separate instead of combo, as are the component outputs (HD & SD component outputs, not a single switchable set) - but wait, see below....
Potential Advantages of IO HD over V3HD:
-uses ProRes, which is markedly higher quality than DVCPRO HD (but not industry standard, and Mac FCP 6 specific). This is a biggie. ProRes is full raster and 10 bit in HQ mode, DVCPRO HD is...not.
-HDMI in as well as out (V3 HD is HDMI out only)
-IO HD has cross convert capabilities that V3HD doesn't appear to have (if it did they'd probably say so)
-RCA stereo pair for simple monitoring
-a single set of cables for connecting to monitors..again see below
One other aspect that's a little fuzzier to quantify, but AJA has been making Mac/PC video specific hardware for a long time and has a very strong track record in that specific category. Their hardware and software are a known quantity (and known to be high quality). They partnered with Apple on this, the same way they did on the prior Io SD device - lends confidence it'll work very smoothly - the usual AJA way.
MOTU, on the other hand, has been around for a long time and is similarly well regarded in the audio industry, also has strong ties to Apple, BUT...AFAIK this is their first major video product, with all the implied Version 1.0 potential issues of a new product in a new market sector for them - their strong track record is audio, not video.
In the "different not necessarily better" * category:
-V3HD is intended as rackmount or desktop gear, while IO HD has a handle for easy transport and is meant to sit on a desktop.
-IO HD uses BNC connectors for AES/EBU audio I/O, V3HD uses a dense 25 pin type connector that you'd need a breakout cable for
-V3HD has separate sets of component connections for connection standard and high def. If you have two, separate monitors, this is great. If you have a single multi-mode monitor (like my JVC VT-1910CG), this is a pain, as you'd have to switch cables around to do standard and high def. On the other hand, the IO HD has a single set that are software switchable (no recabling required) so if you have a multi-mode monitor like mine, just leave it hooked up and you're good to go. BUT...if you want to drive two analog monitors, one in HD and one in SD, no dice.
-in exchanging emails with AJA on this, they pointed out that the IO HD has a clean, simple front display. Granted. The V3HD has a lot more discrete information displayed - is that more useful information, or just clutter? Client bling or inefficient, overkill and busy? Judgement call, personal preference. There's aspects of the detail V3HD gives I like, there's areas where I see they could convey the information more efficiently. But the information given is very thorough and discrete, and the geekier side of my soul likes that too.
-if you want to go beyond 4 channels of analog audio, you'd need a breakout cable from another 25 pin connector (but at least you can, IO HD doesn't have that many analog audio outputs). Nod, if an inconvenient one, to V3HD, since it will more affordably do 6 channels of analog audio out for surround. While you certainly can do it from AES/EBU, it is frightfully more expensive based on my recent research.
* (one could argue which is better, and I don't want to argue over it here...yet. For now, I'm OK calling them different, and although it may be that one has greater utility than the other, it is easily envisionable...blah blah see right below)
Winner? Either "nope", "not yet", "it depends", but ultimately "can't tell yet"
...so it isn't clear which one is definitely "better" to my mind, it would depend on the user and usage scenario to differentiate (as well as the price), since I can easily envision multiple scenarios where either would be preferable to the other. In THEORY: On Mac? Got FCP 6? Not worried about 5.1 surround monitoring? Want/can use ProRes on the project? IO HD is lookin' good! On Windows? Or a Mac on FCP 5? Or doing surround, and want to monitor affordably? Need an analog HD output and an analog SD output? Want to see exactly what's up with all of your connections? A heavy audio kinda guy? MOTU V3HD is lookin' damn shiny. As usual, we're talkin' 'bout a horses for courses kind of thing. Also keep in mind...neither of these products has shipped yet. While both companies have good track records of shipping solid products, either or both of them could conceivably blow chunks in actual use, so keep in mind this is all complete conjecture based on published specs. And, as always, price matters.
I'm guessing, since it was just announced and they only have nice Photoshop mockups online, that V3HD is further from shipping than IO HD, since we saw fully working units of IO HD at NAB, and those are scheduled to ship in July for $3495 list.
OK, that's good for now, I'm heading out for the evening. Chime away using the link below with your thoughts and preferences, I'll revisit this over the weekend probably. Anybody want to guess at the price? Feel free in the comments, keeping in mind AJA is coming out at $3495 with theirs.
If there's any known technical inaccuracies in all of this, PLEASE do let me know - I'm just tryin' to get it right.
My buddy Torrey Loomis from Silverado Systems emailed to say that there is a potential issue with Tangent control surfaces (buyers of Final Touch HD might have bought these in the past), and that he has the fix - details on his personal blog.
This seems to be borne out by the fact that I was going to link to Multibridge Extreme's page on BMD's site....but there isn't one.
The reason I heard was a parts availability issue.
So if you were thinking about getting one, and needed it before the superior but more pricey Multibridge Eclipse ships, get on it with your resellers that might still have them in stock.
It is a very nice product, I've been very happy with mine both as an attached device (acting like a normal HD-SDI card) and as a standalone converter.
I've pinged BMD about it, I'll update as I hear back.
AJA & Blackmagic, make room, as there's a new HD gunslinger in town, and his name is MOTU.
I'm working on some client stuff today, so I had Andy the intern dig through the specs on this VERY interesting new device from MOTU (Mark of the Unicorn), a well known & respected name in the audio world, this is AFAIK their first video based product, and WOW, the specs on this are pretty killer.
Short version: It is called the V3HD, and it will ingest SD or HD (including 23.98), do up/down conversion, has simultaneous SD & HD digital and analog outputs, convert analog or digital HD to DVCPRO HD, all KINDS of good stuff.
Think of it as very, very similar to the recently announced AJA IO HD, but with Windows support as well, and DVCPRO HD as the codec of choice instead of ProRes.
Works with Final Cut and Premiere Pro, so presumably Mac Premiere Pro later this year as well.
Here's what Andy had to say about it:
Almost all the inputs and outputs you'll need in one box. That's what MOTU claims with the V3HD. This SD/HD production hub plugs in via a single FireWire cable to either a Mac or PC with support for Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere Pro, respectively.
Check out all the ins and outs here.
You can use it on the go with a laptop, or even as a stand-alone converter for SD to HD, HD to SD, or pull down insertion/removal. On the high end, the V3HD supports uncompressed 10-bit SD formats and can handle DVCProHD. There's an HMDI out (with optional DVI support) for monitoring or any of the other HD-SDI, SD-SDI, Component, Composite, and yes...S-Video options for monitoring. Speaking of monitoring, the V3HD features a big, bright LED timecode display with support for TC sync and device control.
Video I/O specs from MOTU:
• 1 x HD-SDI in and out (4:2:2 10-bit) on independent BNC connectors
• 1 x SD-SDI in and out (4:2:2 10-bit) on independent BNC connectors
• 1 x extra HD-SDI output connector
• 1 x extra SD-SDI output connector
• 1 x HDMI output (4:2:2 10-bit, YCbCr or RGB)
• Support for DVI output with HDMI-to-DVI adapter (sold separately)
• 1 x HD component in and out (10-bit, YPbPr or RGB) on independent BNCs
• 1 x SD component in and out (10-bit, YPbPr or RGB) on independent BNCs
• 1 x composite in and out (10-bit)
• 1 x S-video in and out (10-bit)
• 1 x 400 Mbit (1394) FireWire A
• 2 x 800 Mbit (1394b) FireWire B
Video isn't the only thing the V3HD has going for it; with 32 channels of simultaneous audio at 192kHz and support for digital AES/EDU or SDI/HDMI embedded audio, the V3HD could stand as an audio-only interface if need be.
end Andy notes
See all the company's product details here: MOTU V3HD - Overview
Mike's Comments: This sounds VERY interesting. The biggies I don't know are:
a.) what it costs, and
b.) when it ships.
I'm pleased to see that it can do (via breakout cable) enough channels of analog audio to do 5.1 surround sound - excellent!. This looks extremely similar to the AJA IO HD, and they will obviously be compared to one another.
Had this come out a year or two ago, I'd have promptly declared it Sliced Bread 2.0. But announcing this two months after AJA announced IO HD, which uses the frankly superior ProRes codec, puts a dent in the unique value they offer. But the unique value this has is that it offers Windows support as well (IO HD is strictly Mac and likely to stay that way, as it hinges on Apple's unlikely to be shared on Windows ProRes codec). It also has plenty of simultaneous outputs, which AJA doesn't match (EDIT TO CLARIFY): AJA has tons of simultaneous outputs as well, but the V3HD seems to go a little further.
I'm curious to see how well the software works to control it, I'm curious to see how smoothly it integrates into the other programs. AJA and Blackmagic have been making drivers and integrating with Final Cut Pro for a long time (Premiere Pro too), so how smoothly will this new entrant with 1.0 software work?
I've emailed the company to find out more, but it looks EXTREMELY interesting.
I'm sure I'll have more to say on this over time, but this (depending on price) could be a BIG deal, both in terms of this specific product, as well as the fact that there is now a third signifcant player in town making HD related I/O gear for NLEs. What might they do next?
CHANGE - IO HD compared to V3HD moved to a new post here if you're curious for an INITIAL comparison just based on published specs.
UPDATE SATURDAY MORNING
A FEW MORE TIDBITS: Matthew Jeppsen at FreshDV learned a bit more: "Motu informed me that they are looking into the possibility of a ProRes codec addition, and the V3HD does include a USB port for firmware updates. Expect the product to be available sometime in Q3 2007, "
If they could do ProRes, that would be impressive. To paraphrase & augment what I had said in the Comments for this article:
Andy had mentioned the possibility of a firmware update to handle ProRes in his original notes, but I excised it, because I see two potential issues:
1.) It takes a LOT of horsepower to encode on the fly - Apple is saying it takes Xeon power to transcode to ProRes without dropping frames, my Quad G5 isn't officially supported for it - so does the box have the juevos to pull it off?
2.) Political - I don't know either way, but I'd be surprised if AJA didn't have some kind of exclusivity window with Apple on ProRes as they'd worked on it together. Even if they didn't, Apple might not want to let that genie out of the bottle beyond a well trusted friend like AJA. (EDIT - MOTU has been an Apple developer for a long time as well, so that point isn't so much...)
And if they did, and MOTU wanted it cross platform, I'd guess Apple ostensibly doesn't want to enable Windows to use ProRes, they made ProRes to sell more FCP to sell more Macs! I perceive Final Cut Studio as a potential loss leader to sell more Apple hardware - not just Macbook Pros and Mac Pro towers, but XServe RAIDs, xSAN, etc. We all benefit from that low price.
So IF it has the processing performance to do it, and IF Apple would let them, AND AJA didn't have some kind of exclusivity clause, with or without a time limit, it would probably be Mac only is my guess. That's all speculation and conjecture though. BUT if they could pull it off, that'd be a damn nice feature and make for an even nicer product.
I also apparently glossed over the fact that the V3HD can do DVCPRO and DVCPRO50 for standard def work, as makes sense.
Thursday, June 07, 2007
Projected reader intervention: "Whatever whatever Mike, tell me what's up with this $25,000 cash prize....and what do you mean by 'John Woo-esque?'"
OK OK, lets get to the meat of this matter. Patrick has been working at Midway in Chicago as a Senior Game Designer on the first game based on the work of, and with the direct involvement of, action movie legend John Woo. It is called Strangehold. It is...well hey, let me just ask Patrick - this is the email & chat based interview we did, my questions in italics, all bolding mine for emphasis:
Mike: What’s up with Stranglehold?
Patrick Curry: The most important thing to know is that Stranglehold is the first true John Woo game. We’ve teamed up with John Woo to bring his style of over the top action cinema into action game form. At this point I think it’s safe to say that we’ve nailed it. And, of course, we had to get Chow Yun-Fat to star in the game, since it’s based on the same characters from John Woo's "Hard-Boiled."
M: Cool - so who’s making it?
P: Midway is the publisher, and we at the Midway Chicago Studio are developing the game.
When’s the game coming out? What do I need to play it?
Stranglehold is coming out this fall for the Playstation 3, Xbox 360, and PC. You’ll need a pretty beefy Windows PC to play it… I’m afraid I don’t have the minimum specs to share yet, but I can send them your way once I get them. As for the PS3 and 360 versions of the game, I highly recommend an HD TV and surround sound, but it will still work on a regular old TV.
At one point you mentioned you guys were trying to get a copy of the movie Hard Boiled included with the game - what ever became of that?
The Playstation 3 Collectors Edition comes will a full, remastered, high-def version of Hard-Boiled. The collectors editions will retail for $69.99, so for ten bucks more you get a whole movie! I believe this is the first time anyone has done this -- a game and a film on the same disc, not to mention an HD movie. So that’s pretty awesome.
Hard Boiled in HD? Schweet! OK, lets get to the juicy stuff - so what’s up with this contest? What's the deal?
The contest is to make the most John Woo-esque short film. It can be just about anything you want, so long as it’s not longer than two and a half minutes. The winners will be picked by John Woo himself, and the grand-prize winner gets $25,000 and a bunch of other cool swag.
"John Woo-esque." Love it. OK, so when’s the deadline?
The deadline is in less than a month, June 25th, so you need to get cracking on your short.
(Mike note: the contest had been under way already when Patrick and I had the discussion that lead to the obvious conclusion that I should be covering this. But hey - that's 2 1/2 weeks - Peter Jackson shot, posted, and delivered in 4K the 12 minute short Crossing The Line in that much time! You only need to make a MAXIMUM of 2 1/2 minutes, and deliver 320x240. You gonna let that punk upstage YOU? ; D )
Yikes, that is tight. What’s the submission format?
We’re doing the contest online via MySpace, so you need to submit a 320x240 clip in MPEG4 format (Divx, Xvid) at 30fps. Please compress it to be under 100 MB. I’d hang onto a higher-res version if you have it, but that’s what you have to submit to enter the contest.
OK, easy enough, what are the rules? How's this work?
Well all the usual fine-print legal stuff. The website is the best place for all that: http://www.myspace.com/strangleholdgame
Yeah Yeah whatever great. So what do you get if you WIN?
John Woo himself is going to select the big winner. That person gets $25,000. As the John Woo Selected winner you also get your film shown on Spike TV, a trip for two to Chicago to interview with Spike and a chance to geek it up with us at Midway, a framed Hard Boiled poster signed by John Woo, a copy of Stranglehold, and a free cell-phone for six months.
It’s quite a haul.
On top of that there’s a $1,000 audience prize voted on by people visiting the Stranglehold website. That also comes with the cell phone, a copy of Stranglehold, and a signed poster.
Nice! Who thought this madness up?
Our really-clever marketing folks thought it up. We’re doing a game with John Woo after all, so it was a really natural fit. John’s super psyched about it, since he’s all about supporting up and coming film-makers. And of course we think it’s cool as hell because it’s not every day you can get someone like John Woo to watch your short films. I’m still bummed I can’t enter. :-(
(Mike insert - and this I know to be true - Patrick is a hard core movie geek, even took a bunch of film classes at UT, and lets just say that Patrick is the Right Kind of People to be working on a John Woo game.)
OK, but so who are these preliminary judges?
Ah good question! A panel of folks will do the initial judging and narrow the entries down to the top ten. They will include some of John Woo’s associates, people here at Midway, and a group of people from MySpace. They will narrow down the top ten entries and then John will select from there. The top 10 will also go online July 9th when voting starts for the audience award winner. The entries will be judged on three criteria: 40% quality, 40% homage to John Woo and 20% creativity.
So this does definitely sound promisng - $25K and a bunch of swag for a 2 1/2 minute short - that's a reasonable ROI for the risk involved to produce an entry. I've been hearing about other contests to edit together a music video, or make such and such company a promo, and I felt it was kind of lame and manipulative and not-quite-right - "Hey, do all this work that we'll massively benefit from and we'll give you some skittles & beer!" Uncool. This I can get behind, in part because I know some of the folks involved, but also because the reward is, well, rewarding, and commensurate to the effort.
And in the end, it is just a promotional contest, so it isn't as if they are going to be milking your work to death - plus you get a decent chunk of change if you win. And at the end of the day, if you don't win, you don't get the audience award, you don't even get in the top ten shown on the site....how much fun could you have putting together a Woo inspired short anyway? I saw the Grindhouse trailer competition stuff, they clearly had a blast making it.
This just reeks of an HVX200 job to me - use that overcrank, folks! Since it'll end up on Spike, which AFAIK only offers standard def, you might as well shoot DVCPRO50 for 24p and DVCPRO HD 720p60 for the slomo and use FCP 6's Open Format Timeline to edit those together (or whatever, why not 720p for everything if you have enough P2 cards?). Too bad Red isn't out and full featured - 120fps 720p would be, well....The Killer. Ahem.
And probably hit it up with some Optical Flow action to slow it down even more, using After Effects CS3 or Shake. They want it as a 30fps file, not 24fps, so grit your teeth and export at 30fps even though shooting at 24 will feel right (and help the slowdown factor). Tell yourself that when you win, you'll send them a Digibeta with proper 3:2 pulldown added to your 24p masterpiece.
Real bullet hits (well, not REAL, but practical squibs) are best, but digital squibbing is the new greenscreen I hear. Go back, watch all the old Woo movies, distill the essence, then come up with something new enough to be fresh (a shot for shot remake of the table flipping, pistol in air scene is NOT going to win, I betcha), but a fresh twist that hits all the notes in a pleasing but not pedantic way is what I'D guess would have the best chances for success.
I'm picturing people going further and doing wire work with roto removal to accentuate the dual guns a' blazin' leaping hang time.
The big deal is that it needs to be John Woo-esque - an homage, not a parody. Think about it - John Woo wants to find a new indie filmmaker that makes something he likes and feels represents his style - so do it with a straight face, deep thought, otherwise I'll have to go all flock of white doves on your belittling *ss. Go back and look at the George Lucas Star Wars Fan Film competition - make something that appeals to Woo, not just you.
So think about your plot, make sure it is under 2 1/2 minutes, master it to a decent SD format at least (DVCPRO 50 or ProRes, anyone?), don't forget to sprinkle some luv on it in Color (or After Effects, or combustion, or use Colorista or Magic Bullet Looks; or a Pablo or Quantel if you have access). Make it look as good, as real, as professional, and as John Woo as you can.
Woo Hoo! This'll be fun. I wish I had the time to make one. So go out and start writing and start shooting this weekend.
I'd love to hear everyone's ideas on best tools, best John Woo homage moments to recreate (be it composition, shooting style (gun or camera), plot elements, etc.) - post away using the Comment link below!
I thought this was a cool enough deal I wrangled an ad sale to them, so you'll get a chance to be reminded of what you should be doing in your spare time up at the top of the site for the next few weeks or so until the contest is over.
For indie moviemakers and want-to-be's, isn't this a prime opportunity to get out there and practice your skills? Grab your thoroughly dog-eared copy of the DV Rebel's Guide (you DO have a dog earred copy, RIGHT?) and get busy! REAL indies can produce in a hurry...and the clock is ticking towards this Deadline....and hmmm...wouldn't THAT be a good title?
Seriously, this is the perfect DV Rebel's Guide project - Stu has chapters specifically on weapons, muzzle flashes, bullet hits, filming with guns in public places (without getting arrested or scaring people), etc.
Also, you can see some HD trailers of the Stranglehold game on this site, just search for Stranglehold in the search field (no direct links possible, durn it).
If you can make it shiny somehow, somebody will probably think you have one for real. Or put your real phone in it, and pretend it is an iPhone. To help sell the dream, here's a ringtone for you to use (thanks to reader submission on that one, but beware, it is potentially NSFW depending on your work environment - turn down your speakers!).
PS - Somebody commented/groused/gave feedback that I'm getting off topic talking about the iPhone and other recent topics, it isn't truly HD moviemaking relevant. Respectfully, I disagree - among other things, iPhone is a widescreen portable video playback device, and I'm guessing it'll be, in a year or so, one of the most popular/widely disseminated ones out there. Now that I've pretty well wrapped my head around many of the issues of physically producing indie content, one of the other major challenges is how to distribute it in a meaningful fashion - iPhone could play into that (as could AppleTV, etc.). So I'm interested in tracking that kind of stuff. I still think marketing indie movies is the biggest nut to be cracked, as lower barriers to entry mean that not only YOU can make something you couldn't before, but so can everyone else - how do you separate your product out from the noise of the open market? How do you reach your potential audience, but at a reasonable cost? Just saying the words "Use the Interweb tubez!" is not a valid answer. More on that topic later- actually, that could be an entire blog right there.
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
I need to balance breadth and depth of coverage, so hang tight while I fine tune the process.
The good news is the new system should allow for coverage of the daily news, but also allow me time to do some longer, deeper pieces and reviews and thought pieces as well once things settle in.
Oh! And of course, work on other projects as well.
Seems to be confirmed based on his statements, that Apple will reveal next week that ZFS is the official file system for Leopard. In part this will make Time Machine much easier to implement, but also has other advantages. Read on for more details.
This software release introduces support for Apple Final Cut Studio 2 and adds support for Apple ProRes, the the Canon HV20 camera, 1080i HDV playback, 720p25/50 DVCPRO HD playback with the Panasonic HVX-200 camera and general stability and performance improvements. These drivers support Intel-based Mac Pro series computers. PowerMac G5 series computers are not supported."
Since so many folks are so gung ho for the low cost Canon HV20, the $250/350 Intensity/Pro cards are a good match if you want to capture live over HDMI and skip the HDV compression. Transcoding to ProRes on the fly now appears to be a valid option as well - sweet!
PS - thanks to Greg Boston for pointing out the DVInfo.net thread where this was found.
"DAT Optic is shipping the eSATA_PCIe8 SATA host adapter. This eight lane, four port, SATA port multiplier compatible PCIe controller normally sells for $189. However, users that purchase a DAT Optic Sbox-R ($549), Sbox-P ($485), Sbox-X ($799), Sbox-4e ($299) qBOX-S ($159), qBOX-P ($285), RM5_S2P ($499), RM12_S2P ($1199) or the RM15_S2P ($1499) have the opportunity to bundle the eSATA_PCIe8 with their purchase for only $130. This deal provides significant savings on the purchase of a DAT Optic eSATA_PCIe8 SATA host adapter for users that also need a SATA enclosure.
Silicon Image claims that, with 20 hard drives attached to the four port PB3124X8-4ESATA300 reference design they can obtain a sequential read speed of 889MB/s, enabling up to four uncompressed HD streams to be played simultaneously.
The incredible performance produced by the DAT Optic eSATA_PCIe8 provides Apple Mac Pro users with a powerful new option for mounting external SATA hard drives."
AMUG does long, in depth, high quality reviews....that I haven't taken the time to read all of in this case. There are more PCIe eSATA cards on the market than I've kept up with since the Sonnet cards came out.
A new feature in FCS 2 is called SmoothCam, Matthew Jeppsen over at FreshDV.com has a nice roundup on it all. One comment - one of the tests is using it as a tracking stabilizer, it can do so much more than that.
"Duel Systems has just released a beta version of their drivers for their express card to PCMCIA adapter for Macbook Pro. Earlier driver releases had frustrated users who had waited a long time for the adapter to be released only to find a very klunky workaround was the only way to get the drivers to work with the unsupported 10.4.9 version of OS X. Frustration ensued as we were left with useless hardware at around $100 each."
But better now. Read the rest of the details, and why this is such an important thing for P2 users, over at FreshDV.com.
CAF content included with Final Cut Studio 2 is compressed using the Apple Lossless codec. When you use this CAF content in Final Cut Pro, you can preview it normally in the Viewer, but it will need to be rendered in order for it to be played back in a sequence at full quality.
Sounds like somebody goofed in QA, or they had to do it too squeeze the content in. But sheesh, after a 55GB install, you STILL have to compress AUDIO to fit it on the disc?
Micronet has a new OS X compatible eSATA RAID capable of up to 5TB of storage in a RAID 5 config. It has a dedicated controller on board, and is $2350 for a 2.5TB, $3K for a 3.75TB, or $4500 for a 5TB model. PCIe and PCI-X host cards available.
The catch is how fast is this to read/write in a RAID 3/5 config?
Rob-ART, ever on the job over at barefeats.com, has updated his 8 core Mac Pro testing compression - three cores dedicated is not hugely slower than 8 cores - 692 vs 586 seconds.
The odd thing is comparing to a 4 core box - 3 cores there took 1096 seconds for presumably the same test.
I'll email him and see if I can figure out what's up - anybody else with relevant info, do please share.
CORRECTION - NOT 3 or 8 CORES, 3 or 8 INSTANCES of Compressor - NOT the same thing!
My bad - I'm trying to govern the throttle on this how much news, how much detail thing today.
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
Check out this image manipulation tech - the first part (Seadragon) is interesting, the second half is Photosynth, and that's, hmm....what's the technical term for it? F*****g AMAZING.
Imagine throwing the keyword "Notre Dame" at Flickr, and then building a 3D representation of it, a navigable space.
Just watch, and be amazed. And keep in mind, he's driving it not from some supercomputer, but from a laptop....WOW.
PS - Thanks to Jim Geduldick for sending this coolness in.
New connector Dell wants to push on the industry.
NEARLY 4K - 4x 1080p, so 3940x2160, but day-yum, that's still pretty high res
-HALF AN INCH THICK DISPLAY
-Display Port is the new connection
-can daisy chain monitors on it
-might be for sale later this year
Thinking Red? Comments?
tutorial on tracking on Motion 3
Hmm - curious to see how extensible it is.
If you haven't seen this series, it is truly riveting, and in HD it is jaw droppingly amazing - I was talking with Geoff (one of my new interns) today about the 1000 fps, Great White Shark attack on a seal and we both went on excitedly for a minute or so about it.
It is available on DVD, HD DVD, and Blu-ray from Amazon via my online store as well.
UPDATE OOPS OOPS OOPS - I've linked to the BBC version that has different narration. Still good, but different from what I saw on Discovery HD the other month - MY BAD, APOLOGIES. It is still interesting, but not the one I want to see.
Between product delays and new, lower pricing on P2 cards, The One That Could Have Been just pulled a Kaisar Soze on us.
Ouch for them, they spent a LOT of time on it.
Hmmm. Since we can transcode (or really just re-wrap) to QT, that doesn't require this. I can envision situations where it is useful, but I don't know if native editing is that big of an advantage. The fact that there is now a cross platform solution is nice, but...I'm not convinced how useful this is. Keep tabs (as will I) on Shane's progress as he doodles with it.
CinemaTech: Upcoming Panel on Podcasting and Hollywood, from the PGA San Francisco: "The San Francisco chapter of the Producers Guild of America and Baycat are putting on a panel discussion this coming Tuesday, June 5th, called 'Where Do Podcasting & Hollywood Converge?'" - doh, it is over, but if anybody finds coverage, please let me know.
CinemaTech: China to get 2,000 new digital screens: "A Chinese joint venture will build 2,000 new theaters capable of showing digital content, according to The Hollywood Reporter."
CinemaTech: 4K digital projectors come to LA: "Cinematical and The Hollywood Reporter have coverage of Landmark Theatre's new multiplex at the Westside Pavilion in LA, which features Sony SXRD 4K digital projectors in three of its auditoriums. "
CinemaTech: New survey data on movie downloading behavior: "Toronto-based Solutions Research Group surveyed 1,230 Americans earlier this month, and found that:
- Only 8 percent have paid to download a movie (up from 5 percent in October 2006)
- 30 percent of iTunes users have visited the movie section of the store. Among visitors to Amazon.com and WalMart.com, 10 percent and 8 percent, respectively, have visited the movie areas of those sites.
- A third of all Netflix members use Netflix's "instant viewing" feature to watch movies (or parts of movies)
- Among other movie download sites, 9 percent of survey respondents had visited Movielink.com, 8 percent had visited BitTorrent.com, 5 percent had visited Vongo.com, and 5 percent had been to CinemaNow.com.:"
Fascinating findings, read on for more.
I'm amazed at that 30% instant viewing Netflix stat, I'd have guessed single digits. Think about this for a sec - the same percentage of iTunes users have looked at the movie section as the percentage of Netflix users have actually watched content over the internet. If I had to guess, I'd think there are more iTunes users than Netflix, but I don't know (and I use both).
"Visit" vs "paid for and use" are miles apart, however.
CinemaTech: Two from USA Today: 'Batman' in IMAX and Combatting Cinema Annoyances: "Christopher Nolan will use an IMAX camera to shoot four action sequences for the next Batman movie, 'The Dark Knight,' due out July 18, 2008"
Sony Creative Software Launches Free Update for Vegas 7 Professional NLE %u2014 Complete with Support for Sony's New AVCHD High-Definition Camcorders
: "Sony Creative Software Launches Free Update for Vegas 7 Professional NLE %u2014 Complete with Support for Sony's New AVCHD High-Definition Camcorders"
Long detailed review from Shane Ross. If I recall correctly (and I may not), he has a similar relationship with CalDigit as I do with Red - worked the booth at NAB.
Lots of details, so if you're considering their stuff, a good read
In some cases this may result in bright, saturated colors in the highlight areas of the rendered result."
Read on for the fix.
General Specialist - Tips, Tricks and Tinkerings: Troubleshooting After Effects 7: "Having problems with After Effects? Here's a collection of tried and true remedies:"
Thanks to intern Andy for all his help today getting the news pre-filtered for me.
Apple - MacBook Pro
At first I thought this was just a speed bump, no total redesign - not the case! Some of the cooler features:
-2.2 or 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo processors for a bit more oomph
-NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT graphics w/128 or 256 MB VRAM. YES.
-802.11n wireless - if you have an 802.11n router, is about 5x faster in theory, in practice STILL 3-4x faster
-if they didn't before, they now have MagSafe power cords like my MacBook - damn handy (I saw it coming - my 5 year old neice walked/tripped right over the cord on a recent vacation, this is a SERIOUSLY good feature)
-15" model's LCD is LED backlit
-4MB of L2 cache
-800 MHz frontside bus, 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM
-as a commenter pointed out
-4GB RAM max, not 3GB like last models
-other minor system board tweaks as well
15" 2.2 GHz Macbook Pro
2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
1440 x 900 resolution
120GB hard drive1
8x double-layer SuperDrive
NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT graphics with 128MB SDRAM
15" 2.4 GHz Macbook Pro (differences from above model are in bold)
2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
1440 x 900 resolution
160GB hard drive
8x double-layer SuperDrive
NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT graphics with 256MB SDRAM
17" 2.4 GHz MacBook Pro-(differences from above model are in bold)
2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
1680 x 1050 pixels (unchanged - still no 1920x1080!)
160GB hard drive1
8x double-layer SuperDrive
NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT graphics with 256MB SDRAM
optional 1920x1200 screen for an extra $100 - a total no-brainer, MUST have for editors
A nice speed bump, but nothing too huge here (EDIT - except for the 1920x1200 res screen, so you can finally display a 1920x1080 image pixel for pixel full screen). The GPU bump I presume will be an excellent improvement for running Motion and FxPlug stuff. 2GB RAM standard is nice. Dual layer burner on all models is nice, as is 802.11n.
Relevant options include bigger or faster hard drives (the stock 160 on the higher end models is 5400rpm, you can get a 7200 rpm 160 or a 4200 rpm 200GB drive).
RAM configs have changed as well, comes with 2GB standard (hooray!), but instead of 3GB max the only upgrade option is to jump up to 4GB (for $750, ouch) - this is a GOOD thing, considering how RAM hungry the new Final Cut Studio 2 is.
Bigger hard drives are good too, as a full install of Final Cut Studio 2 is 55 GB (yowza!).
They are all rated to run Final Cut Studio 2 I'd bet (haven't verified yet), curious if the 128 vs 256 MB of VRAM makes any critical difference for running, say, Color on a laptop - but I haven't checked yet (anybody feel free to Comment below if you know, I gots no time right now).
OK, now I literally need to run out the door (to meet someone for a run) - I'll see if there's anything else relevant to update once I'm back.
UPDATE - a sharp eyed anonymous reader noticed something I'd missed in my rush to get out the door - there's a $100 option on the 17" model to get a 1920x1200 res screen, and if you're getting the 17" for editing, I'd say this is a must have, no brainer. Which also means you're getting it build to order, not picking one up in the retail stores most likely since it is a BTO option at this time, not an offered default config (Apple usually adds a high end config available in their retail stores eventually, so you might be able to at some point).
Double checking the specs on Color, a 17" Macbook Pro WILL run Color, and 1920x1080 only helps to show more of what is going on.
Here's the full Apple press release:
Latest Intel Core 2 Duo Processors, Memory Up to 4GB and Higher Performance Graphics Across the Line
CUPERTINO, California—June 5, 2007—Apple® today updated its MacBook® Pro line of notebooks with the latest Intel Core 2 Duo processors, memory up to 4GB, and high-speed graphics in a stunning, lightweight, aluminum enclosure that is just one-inch thin. The new MacBook Pro is available in 15-inch models with a new mercury-free, power-efficient LED-backlit display and a 17-inch model with an optional high-resolution display. All models include a built-in iSight® video camera for video conferencing on-the-go, Apple’s MagSafe® Power Adapter that safely disconnects when under strain, and built-in 802.11n wireless networking for up to five times the performance and twice the range of 802.11g.*
“With Intel Core 2 Duo performance, more memory and state-of-the-art graphics, this MacBook Pro is a portable powerhouse for creative and professional users,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “Apple’s notebooks have always led the industry in innovation with features like built-in 802.11 and the MagSafe Power Adapter, and now the industry’s first 15-inch LED-backlit display is another step toward completely eliminating mercury from our displays.”
Every MacBook Pro model includes an Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 4MB of shared L2 cache, an 800 MHz frontside bus and 2GB 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM memory, running professional applications like Final Cut Pro® 6 and Logic® Pro 7 more than 50 percent faster than the original MacBook Pro with Core Duo. Delivering more realistic graphics for animation and gaming, every MacBook Pro now includes the state-of-the art NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT and is more than 50 percent faster than the original MacBook Pro with Core Duo.**
The MacBook Pro’s lightweight, aluminum enclosure is just one-inch thin and is available in three models: 2.2 GHz and 2.4 GHz 15-inch MacBook Pro models, and a 2.4 GHz 17-inch MacBook Pro model. The new 15-inch MacBook Pro models feature a brand-new, power-efficient LED-backlit display and are the first of Apple’s notebooks to transition to LED backlighting as part of the company’s effort to eliminate the use of mercury in its products. The 17-inch model now offers a new optional 1920-by-1200 high-resolution display, providing over 30 percent more screen real estate than the standard 1680-by-1050 display.
Designed for mobile professionals, the MacBook Pro includes a built-in iSight video camera for video conferencing on-the-go, Apple’s MagSafe Power Adapter that magnetically connects the power cord to the MacBook Pro and safely disconnects when under strain, and the latest generation of 802.11n wireless networking for up to five times the performance and twice the range of 802.11g. Every new MacBook Pro also includes built-in 10/100/1000 BASE-T Gigabit Ethernet for high-speed networking, Bluetooth 2.0+EDR (Enhanced Data Rate), a FireWire® 800 and a FireWire 400 port, a backlit illuminated keyboard, an ExpressCard/34 expansion card slot for expansion solutions such as 3G wireless networking, and a DVI video output to connect up to a 30-inch Apple Cinema HD Display.
The MacBook Pro comes with iLife® ‘06, the next generation of Apple’s award-winning suite of digital lifestyle applications featuring iPhoto®, iMovie® HD, iDVD®, GarageBand™ and iWeb™. The MacBook Pro also comes with the latest release of the world’s most advanced operating system, Mac OS® X version 10.4.9 Tiger, including Safari™, Mail, iCal®, iChat AV, Front Row and Photo Booth.
Pricing & Availability
The new MacBook Pro models are now shipping and will be available through the Apple Store® (www.apple.com), Apple’s retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers.
The 2.2 GHz, 15-inch MacBook Pro, for a suggested retail price of $1,999 (US), includes:
• 15.4-inch widescreen LED-backlit 1440-by-900 LCD display;
• 2.2 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor;
• 2GB of 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM, expandable to 4GB;
• 120GB Serial ATA hard drive running at 5400 rpm, with Sudden Motion Sensor;
• a slot-load 8x SuperDrive® with double-layer support (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW) optical drive;
• NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT with 128MB GDDR3 memory;
• DVI-out port for external display (VGA-out adapter included, Composite/S-Video out adapter sold separately);
• built-in Dual Link support for driving Apple 30-inch Cinema HD Display;
• built-in iSight video camera;
• Gigabit Ethernet port;
• built-in AirPort Extreme® 802.11n wireless networking and Bluetooth 2.0+EDR;
• ExpressCard/34 expansion card slot;
• two USB 2.0 ports, one FireWire 800 port, and one FireWire 400 port;
• one audio line in and one headphone out port, each supporting optical digital audio;
• Scrolling TrackPad and illuminated keyboard;
• the infrared Apple Remote; and
• 85 Watt Apple MagSafe Power Adapter.
The 2.4 GHz, 15-inch MacBook Pro, for a suggested retail price of $2,499 (US), includes:
• 15.4-inch widescreen LED-backlit 1440-by-900 LCD display;
• 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor;
• 2GB of 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM, expandable to 4GB;
• 160GB Serial ATA hard drive running at 5400 rpm, with Sudden Motion Sensor;
• a slot-load 8x SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW) optical drive;
• NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT with 256MB GDDR3 memory;
• DVI-out port for external display (VGA-out adapter included, Composite/S-Video out adapter sold separately);
• built-in Dual Link support for driving Apple 30-inch Cinema HD Display;
• built-in iSight video camera;
• Gigabit Ethernet port;
• built-in AirPort Extreme 802.11n wireless networking and Bluetooth 2.0+EDR;
• ExpressCard/34 expansion card slot;
• two USB 2.0 ports, one FireWire 800 port, and one FireWire 400 port;
• one audio line in and one headphone out port, each supporting optical digital audio;
• Scrolling TrackPad and illuminated keyboard;
• the infrared Apple Remote; and
• 85 Watt Apple MagSafe Power Adapter.
The 2.4 GHz, 17-inch MacBook Pro, for a suggested retail price of $2,799 (US), includes:
• 17-inch widescreen 1680-by-1050 LCD display;
• 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor;
• 2GB of 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM, expandable to 4GB;
• 160GB Serial ATA hard drive running at 5400 rpm, with Sudden Motion Sensor;
• a slot-load 8x SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW) optical drive;
• NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT with 256MB GDDR3 memory;
• DVI-out port for external display (VGA-out adapter included, Composite/S-Video out adapter sold separately);
• built-in Dual Link support for driving Apple 30-inch Cinema HD Display;
• built-in iSight video camera;
• Gigabit Ethernet port;
• built-in AirPort Extreme 802.11n wireless networking and Bluetooth 2.0+EDR;
• ExpressCard/34 expansion card slot;
• three USB 2.0 ports, one FireWire 800 port, and one FireWire 400 port;
• one audio line in and one headphone out port, each supporting optical digital audio;
• Scrolling TrackPad and illuminated keyboard;
• the infrared Apple Remote; and
• 85 Watt Apple MagSafe Power Adapter.
Additional build-to-order options for the MacBook Pro include the ability to upgrade to a 160GB (5400 rpm), 160GB (7200 rpm), 200GB (4200 rpm) or a 250GB (4200 rpm) hard drive, up to 4GB DDR2 SDRAM, Apple MagSafe Airline Adapter, Apple USB Modem, glossy widescreen display, 17-inch 1920-by-1200 high-resolution display and the AppleCare Protection Plan. Additional build-to-order options also include pre-installed copies of iWork™ ‘06, Logic Express 7, Final Cut® Express HD 3.5 and Aperture™ 1.5.
*AirPort Extreme is based on an IEEE 802.11n draft specification. Actual performance will vary based on range, connection rate, site conditions, size of network and other factors. iChat AV and video-conferencing require broadband internet connection; fees may apply.
**Based on estimated results comparing a pre-production 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo MacBook Pro with a 2.16 GHz Core Duo MacBook Pro.
Monday, June 04, 2007
My two new interns, referred to as A&G until I get their permission to go public, were thrown into trial by fire - "See them boxes? Set'em up."
Curious to see what the OOBE experience was like for somewhat experienced Mac users (they are both circa 20ish), but not folks necessarily used to tearing in and out of Mac towers as I am. All went smoothly, with one little glitch - I asked them to install the Kona 3 card with no instructions, and it got installed in slot 2 (a perfectly logical seeming choice), but that isn't the optimal slot location. It has been covered in depth elsewhere, but the Mac Pro towers have the very interesting ability to shift around what slots are what speeds for the PCIe expansion slots - anywhere from PCIe x1 up to x16. The Kona3 card wants to be in an x4 slot, so we reconfigured the software, reconfigured the install (moved the card to slot 4), and got it all figured out the way we wanted.
So I now have a very nice testbed for Final Cut Studio 2, etc. I also now have enough Final Cut Studio serial numbers to do some pretty serious cluster testing, and some pretty serious range-of-performance testing - I need to double check the minimum install specs, but I have a single processor G4/733 (I doubt it'll even install on that), a dual 2.0 G5, a dual 2.5 G5, a Quad G5, the 4 core Mac Pro, and a MacBook (which isn't even officially supported, but hey it installs and FCP 6 seems to run, somewhat, based on a very brief testing).
OK, I'm off to dinner -
"It's my birfday, I R 39!!!"...dammit....
-mike, "I'm OK with being 39...no I'm not...yes I am...who'm I kidding..."
PS - so yeah, Apple gave me (OK loaned me) a helluva birfday present!
UPDATE MONDAY NIGHT - GigE network transfers are FAST going RAID to RAID between the Mac Pro (3x500 internal drives) to Quad G5 (10x400 GB on Sonnet card) - I'm getting almost exactly 100 MB/sec sustained network transfers. Sha-BAM!
Now that I'm old and stuff (picture hiking up pants to approximately nipple height), I remember back-in-ta-day when I was pleased to see 1.5 MB/sec transfers off my SCSI drive to my Mac IIci....doin' big Photoshop 1.0.7 work, waitin' 20 minutes for a paste to finish....the times they's a changin'...
"Capturing HD resolution video using the ProRes 422 format requires a Mac Pro with Intel Xeon processors and a qualified third-party capture card.
Other Mac systems may drop frames when capturing High Definition video in the ProRes 422 format."
Too bad, iMac & Macbook Pro owners....looks like you'd have to have an AJA IO HD.
At the same time, serious LCDs have been rare and pricey, and as the major manufacturers get into the game, again, they are also pricey.
So good monitoring options that don't cost many many thousands of dollars are a little bit hard to find - besides the fact that solid, professional gear is expensive in general, CRTs are expensive in part because they are on the way out, and LCDs are expensive in part because they are still new and coming to market.
In time, we may start using devices akin to this at the low end -
MacNN | LG demos 22-inch LCD with HDMI, TV tuning
It is a 1680x1050 res LCD panel with both DVI and HDMI (and s-video, etc.) inputs, as well as a TV tuner. It'd be nice to switch at the push of a button between proper computer and proper video feeds. At this time, I wouldn't recommend this as a general purpose professional video display - it isn't pixel for pixel, I doubt it has calibrate-able features (no blue-only more, no phase controls, etc.), and I doubt it has precise colorimetry, but this kind of a thing, with computer and video inputs, could be handy for lower end monitoring purposes as time goes forward. Some quick poking around the web shows that it is pretty inexpensive, so I'm betting picture quality isn't great. But my main point is that the form factor and combo of features is promisingly useful. Someday, a good one may come to market - but I'm betting this one isn't The One.
Sunday, June 03, 2007
Official from Apple, the commercial's on the air.
UPDATE - Apple - iPhone - TV Ads (Thanks Mike from B-Scene!)
If you don't already know about Anders Holcks' super handy utility, to quote Benicio from Way of the Gun, "....you should."
New version for FCP 6 now available. And it is free!
UPDATE - oh, if you don't know what it does/is for - it can backup, restore, and trash FCP prefs, which can get screwed up from time to time.
From Matt's description:
NAB discussion topics include the Red One camera, Red Digital Cinema’s 4K projectors and pocket cam, the Apple Final Cut Studio/Color/Motion updates, ProRes 422 and conversion options, Sony XDCAM EX and other low-cost tapeless options vs HDV, AJA IO-HD, Avid’s DNxHD and Scriptsync, Dalsa Origin camera, SI-2K camera, and the new Canon-specific adapter from P&S Technik. Plus you get to hear Mike’s soliloquy on Codecs and Flowers…
Follow the link at top to get to the podcast.
Saturday, June 02, 2007
p.6 - talking to Fincher's folks about Zodiac and Benjamin Button - all Viper/S.two, all the time
p. 22 - Geoff Boyle talks about lies, damn lies, and manufacturer's specs - talkin' bout HD, pixels, and what is meaningful information
p.24 - how to get the best out of Red Rock Micro M2 adaptor
p.32 - Geoff Boyle talks about why the F900R is better than its predecessors
p.36 - Geoff Boyle talks about look management tools from Kodak, Assimilate, Iridas, and others - a very useful read for the all digital set!
p.36 - a longtime Avid editor uses FCP for the first time, shares his thoughts
...plus more useful stuff, these were the ones that jumped out at me
from the May/June 2007 issue:
p.6 - how the look of 300 was achieved, shot on film, but LOTS of heavy digital manipulation (like almost all backgrounds)
p.13 - using Google Earth to do previz for 24
p.20 - nice in depth article on the new Sony F23 - and it sounds very promising (if pricey!)
p.25 - how to get the most out of the P+S Technik Mini35 and Pro35 - nice companion piece to the M2 article from the previous issue
p.28 - Phil Rhodes second article on working with a budget disk recorder (his is Windows based, mine were Mac based for the 6 we had running simultaneously at Texas HD Shootout. But as John Wayne once said, "It ain't braggin' if its true."
p.34 - a look at the integrated workflow Silicon Imaging is working out with their partners to handle non-destructive LUTs and metadata all the way from camera to onset LUT'd monitoring to grading etc. - a pretty slick setup.
p.50 - more info on S.two's Take 2 (improved version of their DDR recorder)
p.52 - David Stump on working with the Origin - I have met and have tremendous respect for David, when he talks, perk up your ears
p.56 - DVCPRO HD workflow with Avid, but they (the production company that wrote the article) make a lot of statements about their workflow I find alarming, so I personally don't feel like signing off on this as golden info until I test the workflow myself.
As with the other issue, there are many other articles, these were the ones that made my radar go "Ping!" as I sat on the beach reading them, deep frying my Computer Dude flesh. Didn't you notice I was on vacation? Wasn't there some sand at the bottom of the page? There should be, I've got sand everywhere else...
I had a great 5 days at the beach with my extended family (folks, sister & her kids), and I'm looking forward to getting back into Schtuff once I get home (I'm sitting on the plane about to head back as I write this). Best Lesson Learned - no matter how easy the 9 year old makes it look, Do Not try to use his little skim board designed for a person 1/4 your weight. Much Pain (& humor...for bystanders) will ensue. But it was fun trying.
All good stuff - and if you don't want/can't find the hard copies, $20 gets you access to the online articles - go to Showreel's website to get the deets.
Final Cut Studio 2 and 8-core Mac Pro: "Many of you are curious if the latest version of Final Cut Studio (Final Cut Pro 6, Compressor 3, etc.) takes advantage of the 8-core Mac Pro's full performance potential. The short answer? Yes."
Defining a virtual cluster also works to take advantage of multiple CPUs for Compressor 3, cutting compression time from 24 to 11 minutes on an 8 core box (as compared to NOT defining a virtual cluster).
Read on for full details.