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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 email@example.com
All content copyright 2004-2007 Mike Curtis.
Friday, January 18, 2008
When you have more RAM than free disc space, it is time to free up some disc space. I did the usual digging to find Pfhat Media loitering about - did I have any full DVD rips sitting around, or collosal uncompressed video, or video projects sitting on the drive?
Then I went looking to see if I'd done a Full Install with Final Cut Studio 2 (if you install All In, it is 55 (!) GB).
Nope - I'd already cleaned house there.
Then I went into my Projects folder (I always have a folder at the root level of the data drive (which has to be boot drive on laptop) to see if I had any fat folders I could trash or archive of a client project that was gone. Nope - Projects was all of 1.83GB - just a lot of little bitty stuff.
Then I went looking in my User folder, and found the culprits - Pictures (which encompasses years of tradeshow pictures and videos) was 35GB, Music (which of course includes my cutdown/favorite/most recently purchased iTunes Library) was 16GB. So that's over 50GB of personal files right there. When you factor in the size of the OS and Applications and Libraries folders...that makes for a very full 120GB drive (formats to about 112GB).
So I'm now installing my 3rd (or is it fourth?) hard drive in the same laptop - I started with an 80, I can't recall whether it died and was replaced with same or I immediately upgraded to this 120GB, and now I'm bumping up to a 200GB. THAT should hold me for a bit.
And yeah, I AM getting one of those Time Capsule doohickeys, it was time to upgrade my router anyway.
I was also on the cusp of getting a LARGE capacity tape backup system, I need to take a hard look at all that uncompressed HD footage and decide whether it really needs to be kept or not at this point.
This is all to say...we keep accumulating more and more stuff. In the big philosophical sense, our memories are increasingly digital these days, and a hard drive failure can be catastrophic in terms of vacation photos, organized/ripped music (legal and otherwise), etc. Back Up Your Stuff!
With big tape backup systems getting small studio price feasible, and Time Machine/Time Capsule out there, there's no excuse not to have one of these systems.
On a more micro scale, keep in mind that your digital memories are ever growing, and managing them can become more complex. I have 2 G4s, 3 G5s, an Octo Mac (1st gen, not the newbies), and a MacBook in the house...and they all have, or have had, an iPhoto Library on them. Figuring out how to get all that in one place, with all the metadata intact, is something I haven't figured out quite yet. How to get the original and modified pictures, with ratings, notes, keywords, etc., all in one place, from 6 or 7 different Macs, seems pretty non-trivial and I haven't found good tools to do so yet. Burning to a DVD and importing seems to lose a lot of stuff I want - anybody got any good experiences to share on that front? Since they called it iLife '08 when it came out last summer, I'll take that as a pretty good indication we're not seeing a new iLife until MWSF next year - so no joy/help/clue forthcoming from Apple as far as I can tell.
They've done a good job at helping folks organize data up to this point. Maybe Back To My Mac can be of some help, once I finally move my laptop to Leopard (the full drive one reason I hadn't made the switch yet).
OK, enough rambling for now...there's a broader thing to be discussed about long term digital archives, bit rot, graceful organic vs non-graceful binary failure, etc...but you just hink on that and I'll come back to it later.
I gotsta go get on a plane....
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
R3D2DPX.exe is a Windows (only) shell-based tool that converts R3D files into the following formats:
CineForm Intermediate (4:2:2)
Think of R3D2DPX as a format converter for RAW data, where in this case RAW means the Bayer sensor data.
R3D2DPX does not extract color profile or white balance information from the R3D file.
It assumes that all color processing will be performed later.
If color processing as performed in RedCine is necessary for your workflow, then continue to use RedCine!
It is a good and healthy sign that a third party is offering a conversion tool, and especially for the Windows side of the world.
I emailed David Taylor of Cineform some questions and here's what I got back:
Question 1.) My understanding was that Redcine could convert to any standard installed codec - is it not possible to write to the formats R3DDPX supports directly from Redcine?
Not completely, no. RedCine will only support Quicktime based codecs, there are still limitations to that interface. Also PC users of CineForm primarily seek AVI files. When we do use QuickTime under RedCine, we are one of the few codecs to support 16-bit per channel RGBA, yet the memory footprint for 4K frame seems make the conversion unreliable for many users. It could be running out of memory due to issues inherent to all 32-bit applications, or issues with the graphics card or drivers, it has been hard to debug for the users that experience this. On RedUser.net it is the repeated frame or failure to write problem. There is also been issue that RedCine can't export 16-bit per channel Quicktime to any codec at 4096 in my testing, yet 4095 works in many cases (I've also tested using Sheer to confirm this.) I'm sure these glitches will be addressed, but there are presently in RedCine Build 74, as tested on Mac and PC.
2.) If not, what is the barrier to making that happen?
Just like us, I'm sure their software team is extremely busy. So time is the barrier.
3.) Under what circumstances does this offer capabilities that are unique or better than Redcine?
It has a significantly lower system requirement. It will prefer conversions without needing the GPU, therefore there is no minimum system requirement for the graphics card. This helps those with existing blade servers/render farms that may have underpowered GPUs. I think it threads better for higher performance, although each system will perform differently, so I would suggest users try for themselves. Direct AVI encoding, the preference for most CineForm users. And finally, and likely the most controversial, it can directly transcode to CineForm RAW for significantly smaller files than CineForm 444, at the same quality. We have always had the issue that RAW cameras should not develop to RGB, as that increases the datarate 3 times, without any quality benefit. Both Redcode and CineForm RAW exploit this efficiency, yet the Redcode workflow still in its early days, CineForm RAW has been running real-time under Premiere Pro (PC) for a long time, and is recently supported under FCP.
In the end it is about workflow choice. RedCine does so much more than R3D2DPX, but the CineForm tools simplifies the bridge into workflow and NLEs not yet supported by Red.
Thanks to David for taking the time to respond.
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
- The AJA IO HD is NOT an accelerator of any kind nor will they ever claim to be (cough cough Avid)
- Can be used as a converter as long as it is hooked up to a computer (a future version will allow it to be flashed into a setting, and then disconnected, keeping the setting intact)
- You cannot (as it stands now) have both a AJA IO HD and a kona card running simultaneously on the same system. They suggest doing a dual boot partition (Leopard may change this)
- If you add Virtual VTR to the mix you "probably" could use your system as a slave (they haven't tested it)
- It is designed for pro res PERIOD.
- If your machine is fast enough however it will support play out of anything from dvcpro hd to uncompressed
- There is a solid one frame video delay for digitizing (not surprising)
- Just like the adrenaline the IO HD dominates the firewire box, you MUST install a pci-e or pci-x firewire card for other devices.
- AC Power supply (this is nice, in case you lose the supply)
- Supports video output in the usual applications, however in color, it CURRENTLY only supports SD...for now.
- No Look up table support. Kona 3 will remain the "film" card
- Purely designed for broadcast television
- Has same chip set for the FS-1 as far as up-conversions and cross conversions which look really great.
- Does NOT convert frame rates, it works in hertz so that will be very tricky for 720p 60 (wasn't clear about this part) Seems like it may have the same problems with 59.94 and 60p shows that the adrenaline has
- Will not overheat, they've done all the testing, the thing is gold
- Does have LTC input but some changes will have to be made in quicktime to accommodate
- Ready to ship, just waiting for green light from apple
- 1/2 Rack size, same size as HVR-1500. They WILL sell a rack for it later, other wise the sony rack for half rack decks "should" work
- Any speculation with redcode compatibility is currently only speculation
So I pretty much think that this one is almost completely on par with the adrenaline (only missing a 35mbit pro res) and it's about 1/6.5 the price. Pretty much a no brainer for any small shop or film.
Mike's Comments: For field usage and broadcast work, this is a very useful and capable box, FOR CERTAIN APPLICATIONS. For those looking to have a portable converter, a field capture device, a field ingest device to work with a laptop, etc, this thing is GOLDEN.
For those looking to work with Color as well as possible, or get maximum performance, or do LUTs, or 4:4:4 work, or uncompressed HD, this is not the ideal tool.
But it is a GREAT tool to have in the arsenal from what I've heard so far.
As Robert alluded, Apple (with the ProRes codec) and AJA (with the IO HD) have taken solid aim at Avid's DNxHD codec and Adrenaline hardware - and come up with a winner in terms of bang for the buck.
Avid still has some well liked options in terms of software features, but in terms of high quality ingest and export and realtime mixing of formats and codecs, the price performance winner is looking strongly like Apple on this one.
Further emails - Rob suggested that Apple needs an equivalent to DNxHD 36 - a low bandwidth, full raster codec for offline HD editing. I agree! But that's a relatively easy addition that can be done at pretty much anytime they want. They COULD include it in a .0x update, or wait for marketing reasons to roll it into next NAB's version, whatever that may be.
On my wishlist: GPU acceleration for format mixing, better frame rate conversion done in GPU (3:2 pulldown not repeating 4th frame please!), cleaner Compressor functionality, bug fixes, better EDL/XML interaction & integration with Color, DVD SP Blu-ray support (and the drives to go with it!), etc. Personally, I don't care as much whether they support HD DVD or Blu-ray or both, as long as it is soon. Well yeah, I do care - Blu-ray seems to be taking the lead, although slowed by the recent Paramount buy-out/buy-off. Hate to see Apple back the wrong horse exclusively. Although they seem well set to handle both. The hat trick would be to offer a combo burner - burns CD/DVD/HD DVD/Blu-ray. Pricey, but would RAWK.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Mike's (that's me) review of iMovie 08 up on MacWorld & a MacWorld podcast interview with me as well
Here's a direct link to the article:
Macworld: Review: iMovie '08
In it, I go over the controversial changes in Apple's consumer video application, which for our purposes, boils down to this:
1.) They have firmly pulled iMovie OUT of the prosumer space and pushed it firmly INTO the consumer space. Existing iMovie users using it for prosumer purposes? Perhaps it is time to step up to Final Cut Express - your nearly free proxy for a "real" editor isn't being updated, Apple apparently decided the best use of their resources was to try to make consumer editing applicable to a much wider audience rather than refine the current software used by a minority (but voracious) population of iLife users.
2.) It is way, way different from the way other traditional NLE's work. I perceive it as MUCH more akin to iPhoto for video than a traditional NLE.
3.) However marginal the old version was for pro work, this one is thoroughly NOT appropriate for professional work, for a variety of reasons.
4.) LOTS of features from prior versions are now gone.
5.) BUT....it has some excellent new features, most notably skimming (a killer sweet way to preview what's in a clip), and ultra simple Sharing options to get movies onto the dramatically improved .Mac Web Galleries, with .Mac's new vastly increased storage and bandwidth limitations. So MAKING your movie in the old version (which stays installed if you "install over"), exporting a freestanding movie, then using the new version to publish to .Mac, Youtube (3 clicks!). MacWorld doesn't speculate, but I do - look for skimming in some future version of Final Cut Pro (maybe next year at NAB? No clue.)
6.) They also support a BUNCH of new formats: aside from DV and HDV that were previously supported (only at standard broadcast NOT 24p modes), now they include support for MPEG-2 (SD only), MPEG-4 (SD & HD), and AVCHD. For Moms, this is great.
If that's not enough, I'm also featured in a MacWorld podcast also out today:
Macworld: Podcasts: Macworld Podcast: iMovie '08 and iPhone hacking
I talk about why I think this makes sense is was a good call for Apple from a broader market perspective, and prattle on about the new, the cool, and the annoying in this version.
I also possibly created a new term - "Mommable technology", as in "This technology is something my Mom could use - it's Mommable."
Read and listen, for today's news.
PS - working on a Red update since they are scheduled to ship first cameras this week.
UPDATE - forgot to mention in the podcast - you can mix SD & HD & different video formats, in REAL TIME, in iMovie 08, which is awesome - skips all the complexity, just lets you work with it and NOT HAVE TO CARE.
Also, for those who remember my Happy Hilltop - day off in analog land off topic post from a couple of years ago, the sample pics & vids in the article are from that trip. : ) Always fun to get an Easter Egg in there somewhere.
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
-no native support - only transcoding
-no DVD based
-Sony/Panasonic hard drive based supported ONLY
-transcoding to Pro Res is Mac Pro only
-AIC only option on others, and even then some minimum hardware requirements
...so if you are thinking you want to take advantage of the latest/greatest tech by transcoding to ProRes....you'll have to have a Mac Pro. And your AVCHD camera better say Sony or Panasonic on the side, AND better be hard drive not DVD based.
As always, research your solutions carefully.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Everything you need to know about stereo/surround audio monitoring - 2 of mine and another now up on DV.com
Upgrade Your Images with Audio
I'd written a bit on audio acquisition in this article, where I stated that I basically don't know beans about audio field acquisition, just enough to know that it is important and you should get somebody good to do it.
However, I learned quite a bit researching for the DV article about the plugs, formats, budget considerations and whatnot for audio monitoring in stereo, and now with Final Cut Pro 6, surround (5.1 channel) audio monitoring. This article is really a follow up to my previous DV article a few months ago on building an uncompressed HD workstation. Read all about the various audio outputs that you have or can get, the same 3 tiers of Starving Indie, Moderately Equipped Individual, and Well Equipped Invididual/Small Facility Room. For each, I discuss stereo and surround monitoring options, what the interfaces and options and prices are, etc. I'm really proud of this one.
Similarly, for Windows specific info, I wrote a second article (exclusively available online, won't be in the print edition) here:
Upgrade Your Images with Audio: PC Edition
I discuss the more popular options on the Windows side (see? I DO try to cover The Other Side! :D ) - Avid, Adobe, and Sony's Vegas. I talk about the audio I/O hardware/software options available/appropriate to each, and run down some the Windows specific issues that weren't mentioned in the other article.
One mistake that was made in my own editorial process in that Windows specific article - in Group 3, I didn't come back and mention/recommend Avid Media Composer with Adrenaline, which is an entirely valid and appropriate choice for high end editorial individual/small facility setups as discussed in the article. Tomorrow I'll look into getting that fixed (it is well after midnight after an especially taxing few days).
Another area I don't know as much as I'd like to about is proper room setup for serious audio work - I was pleased to see as a companion piece to the articles I wrote there is a nice long article by Dan Daley (or the MUCH more experienced Dan could very fairly call my articles companions to his!) on how to set up a serious, "for real" audio monitoring environment to get accurate, unbiased sound reproduction. He discusses room dimensions, proper speaker setup, proper acoustic treatment of the room, etc. In my brief skim (I'll read the whole thing just haven't yet) I saw a lot of promising stuff, and already learned some good info on minimal room size to get good, accurate acoustic reproduction, etc.
The Sound of Science: Acoustical considerations for the DIY HD studio"
These three articles should give you plenty to work from to set up your own studio. Good luck, and as always, Comments welcome using the link below.
UPDATE/NOTE: One thing I glossed over and was eventually edited out along the way - YES, an SDI or HD-SDI CAN carry enough discrete audio channels to do stereo or surround - so when mastering, the audio flows with video for multi-channel work (want a multi-channel mix on HDCAM? Dolby E is your answer, but you more than likely can't prep that inhouse and will have to send out to have it done, but it "fits" on two channels of uncompressed audio while mastering). Anyway, point being, while audio DOES flow over SDI or HD-SDI, it isn't likely/viable that you have an SDI or HD-SDI deck, sitting around, all the time, such that you can do your audio monitoring through it/on it. If you've got an HDCAM SR deck permanently attached in the same room, GREAT, the HD-SDI can flow through that and (I believe but would need to verify) has enough audio monitor passthroughs that you could do it that way. While it is technically possible to de-embed the audio from an SDI or HD-SDI stream to discrete analog outputs, other than the Blackmagic HDLink Pro (mentioned in the article), I couldn't find a viably affordable means of doing that. So I skipped it.
OH! And big, BIG Special Thanks and Luv to Craig Negoescu, Stu Maschwitz, and SEVERAL folks EACH from Blackmagic, AJA, Avid, and Apple. I wasn't able to contact anybody specific at Adobe but would have loved to talk to somebody over there, simply because I don't have a good direct connection with them (yet).
If you are, or know somebody who should be my connection at Adobe's video group, I'd love to be in direct contact with someone at Adobe's video group to ping for feedback/answers/etc. to make sure I can get accurate, timely, detailed info out into the wild. And with CS3 purportedly coming out within a couple of weeks....
And OK, I am guiltly of headline pimping on this one, and there is no way to learn "everything you need to know" from three articles, but boy, (I maybe-not-so-humbly think) there is a LOT of useful info in there!
Friday, July 06, 2007
Similar to Geoff Frost's post on HVX200 production tips, my other intern, Andy Nelson, has been doodling around with a Canon HV20, and I asked him to post his notes on his experiences with the HV20. Below is his article on dealing with 24p. BTW - if looking to figure out how to get optimal results out of the HV20, FreshDV's interview with Bruce Allen (he of recent Cinegear report) has some EXCELLENT specific details on hands on usage and testing on how to get the most out of the HV20.
This is thematically similar to Steve Mullen's recent piece on dealing with the V1's 24p in Final Cut Pro
More coverage to follow on that, but here's Andy's report on the HV20 and 24p, my comments in italics:
For a thousand bucks the Canon HV20 isn’t a bad little camera, especially after putting some work into getting 24P from it. The HV20 uses HDV, so it only records 60i to tape and adds 3:2 pulldown for its 24fps mode. You can, however, acheive some pretty good results with a reverse telecine to remove the pulldown for full-on progressive beauty. To do this I began by capturing with the Apple Intermediate Codec, as to bypass the temporal compression of MPEG2 that comes with native HDV, and then went two routes for the reverse telecine…(Mike comment - the MPEG-2 compression is from the source HDV, by transcoding to AIC, FCP can process that footage faster, and your recompression/generational losses will be less. This was with FCP 6 not 5.x, BTW)
The Hard Way:
The first way I did this was using Cinema Tools (After Effects or something like JES Deinterlacer will also work ...but using After Effects, with its RGB processing, can clip superwhite and sub-black values - mike). After opening my clip in Cinema Tools, I used the Reverse Telecine button at the bottom of the window. Cinema Tools does not do a “smart” reverse telecine, you have to tell it where to start and what to do. 3:2 pulldown puts the 24P footage down as 60i on tape in a pppii cadence, p for progressive frames and i for interlaced (three progressive and two interlaced, hence 3:2). Essentially, you must tell Cinema Tools what frame of this cadence you are starting with. The button brings up a window with options for Capture Mode, Fields, File, and Frames. It is quite a process to determine the Capture Mode and Fields options, while File and Frames are rather straightforward. This diagram from the Cinema Tools manual was helpful...
Capture Mode has to do with the repeating frame sequence of the clip. I used “Field 1 – Field 2,” which means that my footage contains both fields with Field 1 Dominance, as opposed to the other options: Field 2 Dominance, Field 1 Only, or Field 2 Only.
So if you've been using the HV20 below its full potential--or thinking about how this little camera stacks up, Compressor 3 can give you nice 24P very easily.
Also, if you want to go the extra step and add some shallow depth of field, check out the lens adapter rigs below....
PROLOST - Redrock Gets It
PROLOST - Gold Rims On the Hoopty
PROLOST - TurboHoopty2000
Mike's follow up questions - I'd want to do further testing to absolutely verify that Compressor is figuring out cadence changes within a single captured clip (which could include lots of starts and stops, and stops could be almost anywhere in the cadence process). I'd like to verify whether >100 IRE values do or don't get clipped in this process, and if they do, what steps can be taken to preserve them.
Andy's follow up answers - This article on 24P HDV and ProRes from Tim Wilson at Creative Cow has some more info on Compressor's "smart" reverse telecine. He's done at least 20 tests the same way with successful results. I did run another test using footage with very bright whites and as far as IRE values greater than 100 go, they DO get clipped in this process. The workaround, as described in Stu Maschwitz's DV Rebel's Guide, is fairly simple; lower the opacity of the clip to around 90% (or check the scopes until you're under 100) and make sure to go into FCP's clip settings and under "Video Processing" select "Render all YUV material in high-precision YUV" as to not lose image quality while darkening your video.
Mike's continuation of that - ...and then export that in some high quality codec, preferably 10 bit, such as Apple Uncompressed 10 bit 4:2:2 or ProResHQ - THEN process via Compressor, THEN bring the levels back in FCP when you color correct (or maybe in Color - I need to check that round trip workflow to see if superwhites and sub-blacks are maintained).
-andy & mike
SATURDAY UPDATE - a commenter mentioned the 3:2 pulldown removal capabilities of Cineform, and I recalled they could do it and do it well, so I emailed David Newman:
This blog post was mostly letting my intern explore and commenting on it a bit more - do you have a specific page that outlines the 24p extraction goodness? And for working with HDMI and HD-SDI sources as well for "live" capturing and how it does that?
We do have a technote on the subject : http://www.cineform.com/products/TechNotes/InverseTelecine.htm
All our PC products now support live capture and pulldown removal from Intensity, Decklink or AJA Xena in real-time.
The pulldown extraction is not dependent on repeat flags, as it is an image analysis technique that works on all telecined sources, however they are encoded. We originally developed this for the HDSDI output from the Canon XL-H1, since then Wafian uses it, Mircosoft uses it for ingest all the HD materials of Xbox Live, and now it works very well for HDMI sources.
Real-time removal of telecine is helpful is several ways. It can save a compression generation, while not a big issue for CineForm, capturing to 60i then converting to 24p, is a lot of encoding and decoding before the edit. Also with live pull-down removal, compression is easier, takes less CPU and produces significantly small files at higher quality.
Thursday, July 05, 2007
-new format support
-improved plugin capabilities
-WMVHD, VC1 and Windows Media Format 11 file writing support
-VST audio filter plug-in support
-DVCPro HD (MXF) file reading
-Real-time Output support for NewTek video hardware cards
-Time Code burn-in for both local and project timecode
-Advanced Crossfade types
-"Improved performance, quality, and stability"
-Floating point HDR image reading
-Expanded DVD-format writing capability
“Working with multiple formats, frame rates and resolutions is a must in today’s production industry. At the same time, speed is paramount to staying competitive.” said Ted R. Ruiz Sr., Owner, Ad-Venture Video Productions “With NewTek’s SpeedEDIT handling DVCPro files of all types on one timeline in real time, I can’t think of any reason to use another product. My workflow just got more effieicent with SpeedEDIT 1.2”.
I'm not a fan of using off-major software for serious narrative projects. But good to know fast, affordable stuff is out there.
But I can think of lots of reasons to use another product.
Thursday, June 28, 2007
(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!
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
My Apple contacts dropped me a note to let me know Final Cut Studio 2.0.1 was out:
About Pro Application Update 2007-01
Pro Application Update 2007-01 updates the following components
Apple ProRes 422:
Delivers improved encoding performance for Power Mac G5 computers.
Delivers filter improvements for Motion 3.0 and Final Cut Pro 6.0 customers.
PluginManager, FxPlug, ProFX, and FxPlugWrapper:
These shared components deliver updates to Effects Support, 3D Support, and Versioning Support.
Delivers improvements for SmoothCam. This update is required for customers using Motion 3.0 and Final Cut Pro 6.0.
Requirements for this update:
Mac OS X 10.4.9 or later
QuickTime 7.1.6 or later
Apple - Support - Downloads - Final Cut Pro 6.0.1 : "Final Cut Pro 6.0.1 contains several updates, including:
- Improved stability
- Support for the AVCHD format through the Log and Transfer interface
- FXPlug improvements with Motion and third-party applications
- Improved master template support
- Resolution of issues with long filenames (greater than 32 characters, up to 255 characters) on non-HFS file systems (network or Xsan volumes, FAT32 volumes, and so on)
This software update is recommended for all users of Final Cut Pro 6.0."
Final�Cut�Pro 6 Release�Notes
Apple - Support - Downloads - Color 1.0.1 : "Color 1.0.1 contains several updates, providing the following fixes:
- Improved stability
- Improved metadata support from Final Cut Pro
- Improved single-display mode
- Floating-point processing on computers with NVIDIA graphics cards
- Dissolves of 2K files during rendering
This software update is recommended for all users of Color 1.0."
Apple - Support - Downloads - Motion 3.0.1 : "Motion 3.0.1 improves stability and resolves performance issues that may be encountered when using Motion 3.0 on both PowerPC-based and Intel-based Macintosh computers. This software update is recommended for all users of Motion 3.0.
This update Includes specific fixes for:
- 32-bit float projects
- Rendering of intersecting 3D groups
- Final Cut Pro integration"
Motion 3 Release�Notes
Apple - Support - Downloads - Soundtrack Pro 2.0.1 : "Soundtrack Pro 2.0.1 contains several updates, including:
- Improved stability
- Improved performance
- Delay Designer surround effect plug-in
This software is recommended for all users of Soundtrack Pro 2.0."
Apple - Support - Downloads - Compressor 3.0.1 : "Compressor 3.0.1 contains several updates, including:
- Improved performance
- Improved stability
- Provides compatibility updates for Apple Devices
This update is recommended for all Compressor 3.0 users."
the good stuff is:
-AVCHD support - as expected, ONLY transcoding to ProRes or AIC is supported - this dodges the whole huge processor load and having to handle another long GOP format. Actually, AIC is an unexpected option - ProRes is what they discussed at NAB.
-FCP doesn't calculate transcoded sizes, so you need to pay careful attention to disk full situations when ingesting. Once again, VideoSpace (see blog from a few days ago) will help.
-AVCHD files are tiny. AIC and ProRes are NOT. From the release notes:
AVCHD has a much higher compression ratio than the Apple ProRes 422 codec, so the ingested files are significantly larger than the original files. For example, a 2-minute native AVCHD file is about 200 MB. After transcoding to the Apple ProRes 422 codec, the file size can be as large as 2 GB.
-can't set in and out points for AVCHD in Log & Transfer - bummer. Gotta pull in the whole clip at once. Maybe will be fixed in future, maybe not. So long takes - ESPECIALLY pay attention to estimated converted size. FCP really should give you some guidelines on this - while AIC and ProRes are variable (non-fixed) bitrate, a guess would help.
buncha little fixes, over a dozen bug fixes, some nice tweaks and changes to in depth stuff - read the release notes (link above)
-drop frame now supported in sequences and media timecode - hooray!
-Color Corrector 3-way now converted to Primary In filters - NICE! Obvious and needed to happen. But due to Y'CbCr vs RGB issues, the conversions are approximate and not exact. But a good place to start. But only one CC 3way filter per clip - stacked 3way filters (wait, that sounds dirty) won't carry over.
-Cineon/DPX sequence EDLs support transitions now (biggie for film crowd), but linear dissolves only
-256MB or greater NVidia cards can now do floating point processing, they couldn't before
-ceiling and floor IRE now purportedly works right - I had trouble with this in Final Touch a year ago
-Pan & Scan settings now flow to FCP correctly
-960x720 render artifacts fixed
-read the known issues, there's still lots of things to be careful of. You absolutely cannot assume that any FCP project that you make will flop into and out of Color just dandy - there's still lots of things that can go wrong!
-256 kbps for iTunes plus audio stuff
-custom pixel output ratios
-auto-center cropping (nice!)
-iPhone format support
BTW - I just realized I can blog from my iPhone. Oh My God.
Pro App Update
-encoding improvements for G5's for ProRes - should improve performance
I happened to be working on some workflow issues for a client (they wanted to efficiently color correct hundreds of individual HDV shots and deliver to 8 different deliverable files from HDV down to 160x120 quicktime files...for an interesting usage scenario), and I sent them a bunch of customized Compressor settings to use for their specific needs. Final Cut Pro doesn't quite want to work in individual file batch mode, you have to alternately cajole it and beat it with a stick to get it to do it.
But in doing so, I learned a bunch of cool new stuff. I had sent them some presets that cropped 16:9 source down to 4:3 center cut - but it wasn't doing it for them. A little R&D later I figured out that was one of the new features in Compressor 3.0.1 - the ability to intelligently crop down to a given aspect ratio, THEN scale those results down. A very common need in this world of 16:9 source and 4:3 deliverables - awesome!
So DEFINITELY run Software Update for Compressor 3.0.1. And be clear and careful about usign it on 3.0 version of Compressor, because 3.0.1 has features 3.0 doesn't - so update ALL your machines. On the 3.0 system, the intelligent cropping got ignored, so their 16:9 source got squarshed into 4:3, rather than center cut and scaled down.
FRIDAY MORNING UPDATE - a sharp eyed reader noticed that AVCHD support apparently is only for Intel Macs - can anybody else verify? Read the comments for more on this.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
"Studio Daily has an exclusive demo of the new Magic Bullet Looks by some muppet-sounding dude."
Saturday, June 23, 2007
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)
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.
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...
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
"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.
Friday, June 15, 2007
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.
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....
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.
Sunday, June 10, 2007
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.
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
tutorial on tracking on Motion 3
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.
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"
In some cases this may result in bright, saturated colors in the highlight areas of the rendered result."
Read on for the fix.
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.
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
I wouldn't call it that (the great codec bake-off), since it is just a first step, and I have a lot of technical quibbles (see my comment, and Graeme's next in the article) - so don't let the headline throw you - I think it is of interest to compare the two, but the results as shown are not what I would consider final nor unequivocal.
I'd like to see the One River Codec test image used to compare them, use some real footage (DCI StEM, anybody?), test/experiment with the 4:4:4 chroma filtering option, etc.
UPDATE - he redid some tests, and the results make ProRes look better, but it isn't clear if his currently posted images are the new-and-improved, or the old-n-busted. I'm still going to fool with it on my own when I get a chance.
Just got off the phone with a client asking about whether ProRes obviates the need for a RAID for HD work...good question, I don't have a definitive answer yet. Let's presume it falls between the quality of DVCPRO HD and uncompressed (a pretty reasonable presumption) - therefore for SOME amount of the market it will be good enough for their needs - the real question is how much of that market - and I don't know the answer to that yet, I need to do my own testing now that I'm back in town.
At this point, while he's said he retested, I'm not sure whether the posted files are the original testing methodology or the second improved-but-still-potentially-have-issues testing methodogy - so while his intent may have been to have a conversation starter on codec quality, I don't consider his downloadable files & samples worth seriously evaluating in depth until his testing methodology is clearly documented, updated results posted, etc.
Otherwise, his post is merely a conversation starter as he states but his headline implies otherwise, and his presented data lacks relevance to the core question at hand. To me, the core issue is how good are these codecs in their "native" environments first (Final Cut for ProRes, Avid for DNxHD), and a secondary but still interesting question is how good are these codecs for intermediate files rendered out of After Effects. Methodology is crucial in these regards.
Monday, May 28, 2007
Video tutorial on Silicon Imaging's SiliconDVR software - how you record from the SI-2K Mini to a hard drive.
I'm out of town for a few days, so I may not be able to post much if anything depending on web access.
Hope ya'all (Americans at least) enjoyed your long weekend!
(.....and everybody else had a good, um, regular weekend. Anyone having a bad day go read this and remember what is like to be 12 on the Interweb tubez.)
EDIT - video offline whilst they fix some technical glitches (as of 9pm CST Monday night)
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Another handy tidbit - on the tutorial DVD, there's a ROM folder with all of that content as H.264 files, compatible with AppleTV as well - handy! They are just little QuickTime movies, so you can copy them onto your local drive if you want as well. They are lower resolution (640x360 or so) than the DVD (720x480), so the DVD is a little sharper for seeing the UI details demostrated. No biggie - it is handy to have the option, and you wouldn't know it was there if you didn't look.
It would have been nice if Apple had treated it as a TV series or something so it would self-organize a little better - they just fall into place in alphabetical order, which isn't necessarily the order you'd want them to play in. And there's no playlist organizing them, either. Points for putting AppleTV QT's on the DVD, but it would have been nice if they were organized a little better.
As a related question, how tough would it be to make a QT movie that has embedded navigation that works in AppleTV? It is totally doable (and it'd also be nice if a DVD Studio Pro project could be exported this way as well - Adobe's CS3 can one button export a DVD to Flash...response Apple?)
QuickTime has all the hooks to do this - referring to other movies in the same directory, etc. And since AppleTV seems to be a fairly full featured QT client, shouldn't this be possible? Somebody test! The chapter markers in a movie work in iTunes - can we get a little screen with navigable links to do the same in a self-contained QT file? That works on AppleTV? Chapter nav is awkward on iTunes movies on AppleTV as is.
Anyway, moving on - I don't leave until Tuesday instead of this Saturday, so more time to test & doodle, and try to get some other stuff done in the meantime.
Other tidbits - MAKE A BACKUP OF YOUR INSTALLERS - last year at one point I dropped an installer disc I was carrying and stepped on it, scratching the media side - uh oh - it didn't install any more. I had to borrow a friend's and make a copy. I've heard you can send in a damaged installer and get it replaced, but I'll bet that takes weeks - if you're on deadline, that=bad Bad BAD.
I also put the installer serial # in the notes field of an Address Book entry named Serial Numbers - that way it is on my iPod, my .Mac, my phone (anybody else starting to get that junkie arm-itch to get an iPhone? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?), all my computers, etc. - I'll always have a copy somewhere. I also print'em out (and the SN from the prior version needed to install it) and tuck it in my one big CD wallet thingy I use. And that's where the copies of the installer goes, the originals stay in a place that NEVER LEAVES THE HOUSE. I have friends wanting to borrow old OS installers, for instance, all the time, and it is always hell getting them back. It is just human nature, like loaning out DVDs - they tend to get sticky at the destination and not leave. Anyway, never let an original installer out of the house - otherwise odds are better than 50/50 you won't get it back without having to ask for it.
This may seem like overkill, but with all the installers I have - Adobe stuff, Avid stuff, Final Cut, Shake, iLife, iWork, and the 8 bazillion plugins I've bought, been given, or am reviewing, it is necessary to keep up with the library. Nothing worse than setting up (or reconfiguring or reinstalling) a box, and you can't find the right installer for what you need. And since I'm constantly tearing up and down box and reconfiguring, I need all that stuff on tap consistently.
PS - On a related note, B-Scene Films has a nice report from last night's LA Final Cut Pro User Group meeting where Soundtrack Pro 2.0 was demonstrated.
I've been so busy I missed reporting that this was coming up - sorry LA folks, sorry Michael for not plugging this event.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Today, I called the Apple Store to see if they'd received any of the $499 upgrades instead of the $699 upgrades - she said yes. I said is that the $499 upgrade or the $699 upgrade? She didn't know had to go check (trepidation!). She came back and said yes, they had the $499 and plenty of them.
So I drove up there, walked up to the counter, and within 2 minutes someone was fetching it out of the back. I got rung up, tax exempt was no big deal (Texas has a sales tax exemption for products directly used in production, software/hardware counts).
All in all a good experience, with the one tiny quibble that the woman I originally spoke to had to double check that she had the right one when I asked.
I got some flack from folks when I originally said:
Lesson to Learn - nice enough people, but they do not know what the frickazoid razzle frazzle mumfaluff they are talking about. Remember, they are making Mall Wages.
Was I angry and irritated after spending nearly an hour of driving time for a fruitless quest? Yes I was. But I think part of what I do on this blog, legitimately, is express how an experience was for me - and from that perspective, I think that was a fair thing to express at the time. Do they ALL not know what's going on? NO. I've known some very knowledgeable and cool people up at my local Apple Store (Barton Creek Square Mall). After recognizing Naka in a movie line at Alamo Drafthouse once and geeking on moviemaking with him, I always sought him out when I went up to the Apple Store thereafter (he's since moved on I think). The biz sales guy went out of his way for me a number of times and I very much appreciated that, he was thoroughly knowledgeable and helpful and nice. That said....the Apple Store is, in fact, in a mall. And I've heard tell online and elsewhere folks that work there talking about how the pay is not stellar for those who know what they are doing. It was unfair of me to paint with that broad of a brush, but it is ENTIRELY possible to run into folks there who talk well beyond their knowledge.
And it isn't entirely their fault, either - it is, in fact, in mall, and they are, in fact, getting paid retail employee wages from what I can tell and have heard. Which is why many of them move on after a time there. If someone isn't an audio or video afficionado, to expect them to sell iPods and laptops and also know Final Cut Pro upgrade options is expecting a lot for what these folks are getting paid - Apple has a LOT of products, and they change fairly often. And that's a dig at Apple corporate, not Apple retail employees. An Apple retail store is a GREAT thing to have, I love it, but there are times as a professional working with high end Apple gear that it can be frustrating dealing with them - and this was one of them. The timing belt is off on my S2000, can Bubba Joe stop working on the Accord station wagon and see what's up when I take it over 8500 rpms under load....
An Apple Store makes great sense if you want an iPod, want a MacBook, want to buy & learn about iLife, etc. But if you want Final Cut Pro, or need to know about hardware intricacies for Logic, etc., it is a bit like having a Corvette and getting it serviced at the local Chevy dealer (or an S2000 at the local Honda shop) - if you've got a high end gadget, do you really want the folks who work on the soccer Mom vehicles working or recommending stuff for you? Maybe they know their stuff, maybe they don't, but the high end stuff is a fringe part of their job, not the day to day things they HAVE to know about(another reason to get a consultant or go with a VAR, IMHO...or just have someone to ask who KNOWS). Sometimes you get someone knowledgeable, sometimes you don't.
OK, back to installing Final Cut Studio 2:
-notes on installing FCS 2 on a MacBook (yes, a lowly Macbook, not a Macbook Pro)
it asks right up front about installing distributed Compressor & Qmaster - nice!
-lets you customize what to install, which is good, because full install is 55 GB (!!!!)
I tweaked mine down to a 6.7 GB install, and that is LIGHT - no PAL presets, no Motion Library content, no PAL DVD Studio Pro presets....LIGHT install
These days, a 250 is dead minimum for a "full install box" - what if you want all of FCS 2, all of CS3, all of our pics, movies, and music all on your boot drive?
For me these days, that'd require a 500 GB drive right there probably.
I clicked INSTALL at 10:01 pm...took to 10:35, but I missed a disc swap or two...
FCP 6 launches!
720p24 SF Bay project opens!
Digital Cinema Desktop seems to be working OK as well, and a cross dissolve played back in realtime with no rendering required.
Color launches, but doesn't really work right - screen is too small
On to installing Final Cut Studio 2 on the Quad G5:
started the install (double clicked installer) at 11:09pm, by 11:10:30 it was installing after entering serial #, distributed rendering preferences, and what I wanted to install (everything!)
Some other notes - sounds like, from emailing somebody who already has installed it, that Media Manager no longer clips over 100 IRE values when Recompress To is used....but I wanna test that myself..
I was hoping to see some presets for things like live transcoding of HDV to ProRes on capture, or similar for P2 import of P2 media - I haven't found it...yet. I also noticed that while there are AIC presets for HDV at 720p30, 1080i60, 1080i50, but NOT 1080p24. Can we capture 1080p24 as HDV then transcode to AIC or ProRes? And do so WITHOUT clipping over 100 IRE values? (Hint: FCP 5.1.4 can NOT).
I'll update as this progresses.
Took until 12.17 to get installed (started 11:09, and I stayed right on top of the disc swaps - comes with 9 discs!)