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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.
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.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
So, YES, you MUST have 10.4.11 to update to 6.0.2. The MANY benefits of that are outlined in the article above.
Apple - Support - Downloads - DVD Studio Pro 4.2.1
-Compatible with 10.4.11 and 10.5
-Still images added to DVD Studio Pro project now encode correctly
-Now correctly supports following HDV formats for native use in NTSC HD projects:
DVD Studio Pro now correctly supports the following HDV formats for native use in PAL HD projects:
-Now correctly supports following H.264 formats for native use in NTSC HD projects:
Apple - Support - Downloads - Color 1.0.2
LOTS of meaningful changes in here, thanks to intern Gideon for summarizing and quoting below:
-Compatible with 10.4.11 and 10.5 (what about 10.5.1? Anybody try it yet? Let me know in the Comments, please!)
-AVCHD and AVC-Intra formats are transcoded by FCP on import as either ProRes 422, ProRes 422 (HQ), or Apple Intermediate QT files.
-XDCAM EX media is imported by Final Cut as XDCAM HD, which is supported by Color for import, but not as Original format or as an Export Codec.
-Improved Round Trip Support for Upconverted Media Rendered by Color.1.0.2
Improved Handling of Aspect Ratio and Field Dominance
The following issues with Aspect Ratio and Field Dominance handling have been fixed:
After a Final Cut Pro to Color round trip of a sequence combining standard definition and high definition HDV clips, the aspect ratio of each clip rendered by Color now matches that of the original media.
Instances where interlaced sequences sent to Color and then back to Final Cut Pro would have their interlacing set to None have been fixed.
Instances where sequences with non-square pixels sent to Color and then back to Final Cut Pro would have their pixel aspect ratio set to Square have been fixed.
Improved Image Processing
The following improvements have been made to image processing:
Improvements have been made to address color and luma shifts appearing in some formats.
Visible noise introduced by adjusting the Luma curve has been reduced.
Instances of artifacts in mattes created by the HSL qualifiers have been eliminated.
Improved Project Reconforming
Color’s Reconform command has been improved:
Instances where the Color Timeline did not match an updated Final Cut Pro sequence after a reconform operation have been fixed.
Instances where Color would send a version of the project that existed prior to a reconform operation back to Final Cut Pro have been fixed.
Color now properly reconforms altered Motion parameters from Final Cut Pro sequences.
Improved Rendering of Clips with Speed Effects
The following improvements have been made to the handling of clips using speed effects from Final Cut Pro:
Keyframed secondary vignettes now work properly with clips using speed effects.
Clips using the reverse speed effect now render with the proper frame range in Color and are sent back to Final Cut Pro with correct In and Out points.
Any Volume Can Be Used to Save Color Projects
Color will now function properly on systems with home directories saved on any volume or partition, and the Default Project Directory can be set to any volume or partition you choose.
Improved Media Handling During Final Cut Pro to Color Round Trips
The following improvements have been made to media handling during Final Cut Pro to Color round trips:
Clips that start with 00:00:00:00 timecode are now sent back to Final Cut Pro with the correct timecode.
Final Cut Pro programs containing nested sequences with cross dissolves on the first clip no longer cause problems in Color. This corrects the issue covered in the Color 1.0.1 Release Notes.
Improved Handling of Motion and LiveType Clips, and Offline Media
The following improvements have been made to the handling of Motion and LiveType clips:
Motion templates, Motion projects, and LiveType projects all appear as offline shots in the Color timeline, instead of as gaps as in previous versions of Color. These media types, although unsupported in Color, reappear when your sequence is sent back to Final Cut Pro.
Offline shots in the Color timeline no longer obscure shots in video tracks underneath them.
Fixes to Undo
The Undo command has been fixed in the following instances:
You can now undo operations in the Render Queue.
The Reset Secondary and Reset All Secondaries buttons can now be undone.
In the Primary Out room, using the Undo command after clicking the Reset Primary Out button now properly restores the Ceiling Red, Ceiling Green, and Ceiling Blue parameters to their former state.
Attaching and Detaching shapes can now be undone.
You can undo the application of a saved effect in the Color FX room.
Operations in the Shot List can now be undone.
Creation and removal of shapes in the Geometry room can be undone.
Many of these fixes correct issues covered in the Color 1.0 Release Notes.
-Superimposed text tracks no longer affect playback
-copied and pasted grades are now autosaved properly
-Improved text fields
Click once within any field to place the text cursor at the position you clicked.
Double-click within any field to select the word at the position of the pointer.
Triple-click within any field to select the entire contents of that field.
-Adjustments and corrections made in the Secondaries room now appear correctly in the Color application's video scopes
-Keyboard Shortcuts fixed and updated
The keyboard shortcuts for Copy Grade > Mem Bank 1-5 (Control-Option-Shift-1 through 5) have been fixed.
The keyboard shortcut for Set Beauty Grade has been changed to Control-Shift-B.
The Rooms > Shot List command (Command-9) has been fixed.
The Rooms > Project Setup command (Command-0) has been fixed.
-Hiding Color no longer causes rendering to pause
-Modifications to supported keys for the CP100 control surface include:
F4: Alternate panel encoders
F5: Set scope resolution to 100%
F6: Set Scope Resolution 25%
F7: Parade Waveform
F8: Histogram Waveform
In the Secondaries room:
F4: Alternate Panel Encoders
F5: Toggle Secondary
F6: Toggle Secondary In/Out Control
F7: Toggle Vignette
F8: Previous Secondary
F9: Next Secondary
Apple - Support - Downloads - Compressor 3.0.2
-Compatible with 10.4.11 and 10.5
-Compressor and Apple Qmaster updates may disable any existing clusters you have configured, so set'em up again
-To use Compressor distributed processing feature with 10.5, you must manually enable NFS
-filter pane of Inspector now includes Color tab for adjusting color space settings. Only available for H.264, Apple ProRes 422, Apple Intermediate Codec, and JPEG output formats. HOPEFULLY THIS FIXES THE GAMMA ISSUES!
-Square Pixels Pop-Up Menu is now called Correct for Pixel Aspect Ratio
Apple - Support - Downloads - CinemaTools 4.0.1
-Compatible with 10.4.11 and 10.5
-Pull lists show the correct value in Footage length, Time length, and Count length for speed changes
-Exported film lists includes information and warnings about issues occurring during export process
-Change lists exported from FCP and Cinema Tools now support same PDF formatting as other lists that you are able to export
-When importing an ALE file, the frame rate for the sound timecode now matches the Sound TC rate of the database you are importing
Apple - Support - Downloads - Motion 3.0.2
-3.0.2 compatible with 10.4.11 and 10.5
-60fps Drop Frame Timecode Support
-Master templates playback performance enhanced
-Master templates can be moved and scaled without render problems
-Master templates used in FCP sequences with mixed frame rates or rates that don't match master template are no longer improperly scaled.
-Field dominance settings are correctly reported in PAL FCP sequences containing master templates
-Printing to video renders properly in FCP sequences containing master templates with drop zones
-In FCP, opening a master template containing drop zones that have been cut and pasted no longer causes FCP to stop responding
Apple - Support - Downloads - Soundtrack Pro 2.0.2 - I'm not enough of an audio guy to detail the changes, but go knock yourself out....
Also see Red public software updates here
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 08, 2007
Hey all -
Panasonic has released a Mac version of their P2 browser software. It lets you display, ingest, search, categorize, display/edit properties, view/play back, add text or voice memo, export, back up, archive, and restore footage.
Along the lines of yesterday's post about having proper versions, it requires OS X 10.4.10 and QT 7.1.6 (but NOT 7.2, is incompatible at present!).
More info on this page as well.
Download Mac version with this, manual here.
And its free!
ps - thanks to those who sent in the link!
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.
Sunday, August 05, 2007
An Update on the Academy Image Interchange Framework
The status of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ image
interchange project describing a color-managed framework for digital
motion picture images.
On Tuesday August 7, 2007 from 2PM – 4PM at the Omni Hotel in San Diego,
CA, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Science and
Technology Council will deliver an update on its project to develop a
color-managed framework for production, post-production, and archiving
of digital motion pictures.
The presentation will provide an overview of the proposed framework,
best practices for digital encoding of color from film negatives, key
image transforms, considerations in the choice of color encoding methods
and metrics, and a description of a tone rendering algorithm for film
style images. A preliminary workflow example, implemented using OpenEXR
and CTL (the Color Transformation Language), will be discussed in
All those involved in any aspect of digital motion picture production
are encouraged to attend to learn more about the work of this Academy
Date: August 7, 2007
Time: 2PM – 4PM (PDT)
Location: San Diego Omni Hotel - Salons A & B
675 L Street
San Diego, California 92101
Friday, July 06, 2007
Creating Node Trees in Apple Color at FreshDV
"The lovely and talented Wendy Gribble (Graeme's better half) has shared an informative tutorial on Apple Color over at Ken Stone's site. The article talks walks you through creating node trees and dealing with interlaced sources. She also shares a quick example of the G Smart Denoise plugin, part of the Nattress Advanced Plugins for Color package. And while you are over at the Nattress site, snag the free G Blend blending mode plugin for Color."
I STILL think that indie DP's should be looking at Color as the back half of their process (if they can't afford to have a serious colorist do it for them) - I think there is a lot of talent to be found (as well as a lot of egregious beginner's mistakes to be made) from folks shooting video and then treating it in Color - much like there was a LOT of bad Photoshop art & retouch in the 90s, but out of that came some fine talent and a new ethos about image making.
Thursday, July 05, 2007
Thanks to commenter Evan for sending this link in. Digging around, found this bit of direct bit of specs goodness from the Ensure a Great Audio and Video Experience section:
Encode Video for Wi-Fi and EDGE
You can use the QuickTime Player Pro Export command and the following exporters to prepare video content for iPhone:
The Movie to MPEG-4 exporter with the following settings prepares movies for Wi-Fi.
In the H.264 video options, make sure you restrict the encoder to use the Baseline profile, and select "Faster encode (Single-pass)" encoding in the Video Options dialog.
Video settings: 900 kbit/sec, H.264, 480 x 360; frame rate: current; preserve aspect ratio using: Fit within size
Audio settings: 128 kbit, AAC-LC
The Movie to 3G exporter with the following settings prepares movies for EDGE.
Video settings: 64 kbit, H.264, 176 x 144; frame rate: 10 or 15; preserve aspect ratio using: Letterbox or Crop
Audio settings: 16 kbit, AAC-LC
In each exporter, turn off streaming; iPhone does not stream media using RTP/RTSP.
Size Movies Appropriately
In landscape orientation, iPhone screen is 480 x 320 pixels. Users can easily switch the view mode between scaled-to-fit (letterboxed) and full-screen (centered and cropped). You should use a size that preserves the aspect ratio of your content and fits within a 480 x 360 rectangle.
Don’t Let Bit Rate Stall Your Movie
When viewing media over the network, bit rate makes a crucial difference to the playback experience. If the network cannot keep up with the media bit rate, playback stalls.
Use Supported Movie Formats
The following movie formats are supported:
H.264 Baseline Profile Level 3.0 video, up to 640 x 480 at 30 fps. Note that B frames are not supported in the Baseline profile.
MPEG-4 Part 2 video (Simple Profile)
AAC-LC audio, up to 48 kHz
.mov, .mp4, .m4v, .3gp file formats
Any movies or audio files that can play on an iPod.
Note that 2 pass VBR is NOT supported for H.264, darn it.
Create a Reference Movie
A reference movie contains a list of movie URLs, each of which has a list of tests. When opening the reference movie, a playback device or computer chooses one of the movie URLs by finding the last one that passes all its tests. Tests can check the capabilities of the device or computer, and the speed of the network connection.
For more details on reference movies and instructions on how to set them up see Applications and Examples in HTML Scripting Guide for QuickTime.
You can download the MakeRefMovie tool from:
The article goes on to explain how to set up your code to get that full screen playback action luv like on the Apple Trailers site (if you have an iPhone and visit that page, you'd know what I'm talking about - clicking movie link makes it play fullscreen, but only on iPhone).
Compressor 3.0.1 has some presets mentioning iPhone, but they aren't REALLY optimized for iPhone. I didn't realize EDGE versions of movies (on YouTube and Apple trailer site) were different bandwidth than WiFi versions, but that makes total sense.
SOMEBODY should alter/build a preset to the above specs for Compressor, save and post them, hint hint hint...I'll host'em. EDIT - wellllllll....I just tried, and it isn't that easy - the settings don't match, can't get there from here to get fully optimized settings, can't set datarate low enough in the Apple Devices preset, etc. - looks like doing it manually in QT Pro is the way to go until Compressor 3.0.2 comes down the Software Update pipe. Poop - no batch processing for you. But wait - somewhere, somewhen, I recall an app that let you batch process with QT Player Pro - anybody remember what that was or where it came from? Somebody search versiontracker.com and look it up and test. Consider this the "Tag, you're it!" moment - I got us this far, somebody else figure out the rest and I'll post it up here.
Gentlemen, start your optimized en/coding engines...
-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.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
"Studio Daily has an exclusive demo of the new Magic Bullet Looks by some muppet-sounding dude."
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.
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.
Monday, June 18, 2007
"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.
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.
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."
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.
Monday, June 11, 2007
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.
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
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.
Friday, June 08, 2007
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.
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
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.
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.
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.
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
A NICE little video tutorial that shows how to apply the same transition to a bunch of clips. Also nicely illustrates some good keyboard shortcuts, so there's a lot of good info in this one short little video tutorial (a couple of minutes or so).
Time well spent.
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
Did you see that DV Magazine article * I wrote (cover story April '07) about uncompressed HD workstations?
Did you wish there was a simple way to get exactly that gear in one place, from one vendor, customizable, who could sell & support it all?
Meet the HD for Indies configurations over at Silverado Systems!
I've been buying my own gear for a couple of years from Torrey Loomis over at Silverado, and we've partnered up to offer the configs I wrote about in the article. They are:
System 1: for the truly starving indie type - the bare minimum to capture, edit, & monitor uncompressed HD.
System 2: for the moderately budgeted indie who wants a proper setup but doesn't have tons of cash.
System 3: for the well heeled solo operator that needs bulletproof reliability, or perhaps for a small single room facility.
System 4: Probably (I hope) of most interest to a lot of readers - my Best Bang For The Buck recommendation on a system to do feature length uncompressed HD editing & finishing (up to 1080p RGB 4:4:4) on a budget.
They are all accessible from this page on Silverado Systems' website.
The configs are a little different than what I wrote about in the article, I've tweaked & improved since I originally wrote it.
I've been formally & informally recommending systems to clients, employers and friends for about 15 years or so. For a brief time during the desktop publishing revolution, I was a VAR (value added reseller) myself, but I don't do that any more as that isn't where my interests and passions are.
But in the meantime, I've been recommending system configurations for HD editing for a few years now, and it usually boils down to me recommending a list of gear. Then the client asks where should they get it, and I say say try this that or the other vendor, and inevitably the client comes back to say that they can't get all my recommended gear in one place from one vendor. All too often it seems there's always a substitution or two, or a vendor recommended substitution or upgrade is of dubious value, or more likely a component or three that simply isn't available from that vendor. Which means if there's trouble, it is all the more likely that there will be finger pointing between Vendor A & Vendor B and much gnashing of teeth will ensue. And nobody wants that.
So I decided that the only way to get simple, turnkey, one click, gimme-that-one-right-there simplicity was going to be to partner with a VAR and give them the mandate that they'd need to provide exactly the spec I recommend without substitutions, and ALSO offer the upgrades that I wanted to provide, in the order that I recommended them. And after a LOT of work from both sides, that's what Silverado and I have worked out.
If you go to, for instance, the Indie Bang for Buck system, you'll see a list of gear and options. All of the upgrade options are ONLY those that I recommend - I've deleted a lot of what I consider bogus upgrades. The upgrades that ARE offered are also in the order that I recommend them - so while a 17" JVC HD CRT is the recommended monitoring choice, there's also a 24" professional LCD listed, as well as both, or a "step down" option of the JVC CRT and an HDLink/Apple 23" LCD option listed as well. I recommend a 2nd internal drive, but if you want to remove that you can. Or if you want to step down from the default 8GB config to 4GB of RAM, that's possible as well if it makes sense for your setup.
If any of this doesn't make sense, just scroll down the Silverado page for the config you're considering and each of the optional categories is explained in depth, with recommended options for different usage scenarios, when it is worth getting those, etc.
So you're getting the benefit of my latest and best advice, as well as turnkey solution from a known & trusted vendor. I was buying my own gear from Torrey at Silverado for two years before we set this up, hopefully that carries some weight with you folks.
What do I get out of this? Yes, I do get a cut out of the deal, which is why I've spent many days and late nights getting all this set up, but it comes out of Silverado's end - you're not paying any more than if you approached them with this parts list on your own.
Over time, I'll be putting up other configurations for other usage scenarios, and I'll be announcing them here. The options listed here will work for most folks for most scenarios, but as always, if you'd like a fully customized solution to your particular project's unique challenges, I'm available for consulting.
Personally, I'm really excited to offer this service, I think it makes for a good marriage of good advice, a trustworthy single source vendor, and solid gear that can get the job done - at an entirely reasonable price - that should make everybody happy.
And yes, this is that bigger deal I was mentioning several days ago about buying a new Mac editing setup. But I also still have at least one more announcement to go...
* For the record, DV Magazine is not involved in this deal, nor do they officially endorse, recommend, or have any role in this in any way shape or form. I'd just received a lot of requests about where to buy such a config, and folks were having difficulty getting all those exact parts in one place, so this just seemed like a good idea.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Yep, as I originally reported here, here, and here Final Cut Pro WILL natively support 4K Redcode RAW footage, on the timeline, with full support (RT engine for realtime effects, etc.). That's the good news. The bad news - it'll support it....at some point in the future. While Peter Jackson's short was cut with a pre-release version of FCP, hinting that it must be pretty far along, it ain't done cookin' yet. Consider it akin to what we saw last year at NAB - 24p HDV was shown in the booth, but didn't ship until later in the year. So it'll happen, but not quite yet, and I've no idea what the timeline might be.
The good news is that it'll be fully supported on the timeline - it CAN be as simple as shoot some footage onto your Red Drive (or Red Flash or Red RAM), disconnect from Red One, sit down in the field with your MacBook Pro or back at studio on any Intel Mac, plug in via FireWire, and the drive will mount. Drag files over to FCP and drop'em on a timeline and away you go - you're editing 4K.
Here's the deal - Red has built a QuickTime codec that understands Redcode RAW (or perhaps calling it a wrapper might be more technically accurate). If you're on an Intel Mac, a FUTURE version of Final Cut Pro, presumably 6.x, will natively read the Redcode RAW files from a Red Drive or any other media/drive fast enough for realtime performance (count on needing circa 30 MB/sec to leave headroom/safety margin - so FW400 JUST fast enough for single stream 4K@24p).
You just drop it on the timeline and go, don't think about it.
If you DO want to think about it, here's what's happening - Redcode RAW uses wavelet based compression. With wavelets, it is easy to extract fractional resolution versions of the whole frame quickly - so extracting a 1/2 or 1/4 res version is (relatively) cake to do. If you're on a MacBook Pro, you get a 1K version. If you're on a sufficiently pimped Mac Pro, you get up to a 2K version of the 4K source. (Final Cut is limited to 2K max res, can't handle 4K. Don't sweat it - only time you ever need 4K is for theatrical distribution). You'll be able to, with that future FCP version, cut, edit, cross dissolve, add effects, titles, color correct, whatever - just like any other codec. What is happening behind the scenes - the RAW Bayer pattern is being demosaiced - converted from a checkerboard of individual R/G/B pixels into a "normal" RGB image, at the fractional resolution desired. Any nondestructive look metadata that was assigned while shooting with the camera is applied - so any while balance, curves, tint, etc. as set on camera are applied to that footage as a default look. From there it is delivered to timeline and away you go.
"What if I want to have all that coolio color control that I had in Redcine in Final Cut Pro?" - no problem, they are making a special Red FX plug that will allow you to adjust exactly the same color paramters (not scale/repo though) in FCP that you could in Redcine. Only difference is that those controls are presented as the FX plugin architecture allows. Same controls, different looking UI. So that would still access the 12 bit RAW data, manipulate it in a 32 bit floating point color space, and then deliver it back to the timeline in whatever the timeline settings were.
One thing that is a little fuzzy is what happens when you need to bring in other files, or render a cross dissolve, etc. - what should new material be brought in as? What format are renders being done to? As for the first question the new Open Format Timeline feature makes that easy, since you can mix frame sizes, frame rates, and codecs on the same timeline (finally!). The answer for what does stuff get rendered to is a fuzzier - I'm guessing Redcode RGB? But I don't know. That may make sense, but I don't have a definitive answer for that yet. Perhaps it would depend on the timeline settings? Not entirely clear how that'll work in FCP 6.
You can still use FCP's 3 way color corrector and other coloring tools in FCP if you want to, even in conjunction with Red's FX plugin for coloring (note I'm not saying Red FX plug for Color, the new standalone app - more on that later). There's always nine ways to skin any cat - if you have questions on best workflow, I'm available for consulting on that (use link top of page).
If that doesn't sit well with you, or a 10 bit 4:2:2 deliverable is as good as you need, there's another option:
Transcoding Redcode RAW to ProRes with a Red Import Module
For those who want something even more straightforward, or want a little more rendering horsepower available (not being taken up by the de-Bayering etc. of processing 4K Redcode RAW), there will be a Red Import Module. Apple was demonstrating taking 4K Redcode RAW and transcoding on import to their new ProRes422 codec. Redcode RAW gets read into FCP, but what gets written to scratch disks is ProRes422. (Kinda like the HDV==>AIC transcode on capture option if you've ever used that). ProRes422 looks pretty damn good, I'll have more to say on it after I can research it some more, but if all you want is a 10 bit, 4:2:2 or lesser deliverable, ProRes looks like a really good choice - transcode to that and just edit that for your offline and your online if you have the space. With 750 GB drives around $400 online, and 1TB drive hitting the market, 1080p24 ProRes422 (which is full raster, FYI - 1920x1080 is actually that size, not 1440x1080 or 1280x1080 like some OTHER codecs) is about 22 MB/sec. That's a 10 bit, full raster, 4:2:2 codec. That adds up to about 80 GB/hr. So that 750GB drive for $400 would hold over 8 1/2 hours of footage - about $45/hr for storage. For shorter form or tight shooting ratios, offline/online with one codec starts getting viable. You may say "Well, I only have 500GB of storage on my current machine." but start looking around at what it really costs to triple or quadruple that...and what it'll cost in 6 months from now.
When importing, you can also pick what size you want - 2K, 1080p, 720p, 576p, 480p, etc.
It may also be possible to transcode to other codecs, don't know at this time. It may not be possible to transcode to another codec for online later, so check workflows carefully - I'm looking into all of this myself still.
So that gives you three ways to get footage into FCP, depending on release schedules:
1.) The first option to be available will likely be just using Redcine to convert to whatever codec you need for offline or online work as laid out above. For this example, let's say ProRes422.
2.) Next likely option will be to use the Red Import Module to transcode to ProRes422 (or possibly other codecs) at the size you need right into Final Cut Pro (future version), no other apps required - if you don't need 2K/4K, why deal with the overhead? Convert to something high quality that lets you work fast - and ProRes422 will do that.
3.) Or, for big work, just cut 4K Redcode RAW natively in a future FCP 6.x on an Intel Mac.
Note ALL of the above choices require an Intel Mac, and choice one you can use any Windows box (but may not be able to render to ProRes on Windows, dunno yet)
If you don't have an Intel Mac for your FCP work, isn't the end of the world, there are workarounds (I'm in that boat - three G5s in this room where I'm typing)
So you can edit 4K natively.
You can transcode 4K to 2K/1080/720/576/480 res as needed to edit.
You can transcode, via Redcine, to any codec, for any Mac/Windows NLE that has a "normal" codec (see previously posted Redcine article for more on that).
A few downer tech notes:
-From what I've been told and understand, FCP STILL does not properly manipulate RGB on the timeline at better than 8 bits RGB. That means for RGB content, cross dissolves, text overlays, etc. are still delivered to timeline as 8 bit RGB at best. You can do 10 bits/channel, but only with 4:2:2 content. While internally 32 bit float is used for the FX plug architecture, there is still a bottleneck for what gets delivered to the timeline. There may be workarounds, I'm researching them (in my copious spare time...yeah right - but if anybody wants to hire me to figure it out...).
-Apple's New Color Application- as cool as it is, as powerful as it is...it doesn't support Redcode RAW yet. It also is limited to 2K at this point in time. Talked to some Apple folks for whom the Redcode RAW support announcement was new to them just the other week too. Apple compartmentalizes very effectively for security, but that does introduce some bottlenecks when folks don't know what's happening down the hall and aren't able to support new features/formats right off the bat. In any case, Color CAN do RGB. Color CAN do 10 bit log...but only from DPX files (there's ways to there, I can help). Color can't, at this time, nor with the first shipping version of Final Cut Studio 2, read Redcode RAW in natively. After having rendered 10 bit RGB files (using AJA or BMD codecs) out of Color...FCP still can't render a proper 10 bit RGB cross dissolve. So there are issues. But what CAN be done is to work with Uncompressed or ProRes422 10 bit 4:2:2 codecs, and THAT will work properly. I'm mentally already designing workflows to start with 4K and switch over at the proper stage in the workflow...mental gears churning...
What about high end post work? There's been another announcement of note:
Assimilate's Scratch can read in Redcode RAW files and grade them natively, and even access the nondestructive look metadata from camera.
This gives maximum control with the absolute minimum of bandwidth required to read in and play back the Redcode RAW files. This is a biggie - If you wanted to make a 4K feature, shoot 4K Redcode RAW, edit, then take EDL, Redcode RAW clips, and metadata to a Scratch facility - they can conform and color from that. There are other ways to go about this, too, but that's a damn handy option to have!
Of course, if you want to work with any other traditional DI tool, you can work with DPX files, and there's ways to get you get there.
As always, if you have any questions on Red workflow, be it Red gear, editing/VFX hardware or software, codecs, storage, archival, etc., I'm doing my best to the the Go To Guy on all these matters. Buying a Red? Thinking about it? Trying to figure out how it will or might fit into your facility, studio, or workflows? Contact me at the email address at the top of the page (in the header), and I'll get you sorted out, be you a starving indie barely able to afford a Red with still lenses, or a high end shop wondering how to integrate this into your heavy iron and/or realtime-centric facility workflows. I gotcha covered. I charge by the hour, my rates are indie viable/affordable. My overarching theme is to be flexible and accomodating to the budgets, time sensitivity, equipment available, level of technical sophistication/comfort, etc. and find the best match for each individual circumstance.
PS - I've had a couple of folks voice concern that this is turning into the All Red, All The Time site - hang on, hang on, I'm just going one at a time by vendor through all my copious notes here. I want to get the biggest one that most folks were most interested in done FIRST, and then move on from there. Apple, Dalsa, Sony, Abel Cine, JVC, Panasonic, Canon, Band Pro, Arri, storage, etc. are alllllll coming...I can only type just so fast...
Some background for those not up to speed:
Redcode RAW is the native compressed recording file format of Red, recorded as data to files in a folder structure on a Red Drive, Red Flash, or Red RAM. Redcode RAW is a 12 bit linear RAW (Bayer pattern, color filter array) wavelet based compression scheme.
All above recording media have about the same performance envelope - based on public statements, all can record the same frame sizes/rates as all the others - so long as you have a properly spec'd CF card, for instance, the only limit as compared to Red Drive is the recording capacity. Recording quality, frame rate/size, etc. all the same. Red gives you LOTS of recording options - single/dual link HD-SDI to deck or DDR/DFR, uncompressed 4.5K out the high speed link, or the more likely/useful Redcode RAW to one of two external recording modules (320GB, $900 Red Drive or 64GB, $4500 Red RAM), or to one of three $500 internal Flash RAM based adaptor modules that fit on side of camera body (CF, ExpressCard 34, or eSATA).
Anyway...after you record all this stuff, how do you use it? Redcode RAW is the native format, but it is also proprietary - nobody else's camera generates it, it is specific to the Red One at this time. How to edit it, do VFX work with it, etc.?
If you hadn't heard, Redcine is the tool to convert Redcode RAW to...whatever you want (I'll skim over the basics previously covered and get to the juicy stuff here shortly). Standard image file format sequences or any "normal" codec you have installed on your Intel Mac (no PPC Mac support, drat) or Windows based system.
Click the pic above for a larger view of what Redcine looks like.
As you can see, there are four tabs, and I'l zing through what they are for:
In the project tab, you set up your, well, project. What is a project in Redcine? If you're used to working with film and the telecine process, think of this as your telecine session, saveable to disk, same as you'd save your color grades for a given tape on your daVinci setup. If you're a software jockey, you can think of a project as being akin to an FCP timeline settings or an After Effects composition settings (not exactly for either of those, but that's the general idea).
From here you can load a shot or a full mag - one of the nice features of Red One is that on camera, during the shoot, you can do some digital slating - specifying shots, takes, etc. The files are filed in folders that fall to that order - takes inside shots inside scene folders, etc. Redcine understands this struture, so when you import, shots are stretched out horizontally, and multipe takes are stacked vertically - just like Scratch, which this owes a very obvious debt to. So much so that the UI (user interface) pretty much IS a very cut down version of Scratch's toolset with some modifications.
One of the coolest features of Redcode, which makes it more like anybody else's v3.0 software than a beta release, is the use of gestural controls - if you flick the mouse pointer (no clicking involved) towards a screen edge, controls and UI elements will appear or dissapear (or even build/reduce in terms of how many/how simple things are shown). Sounds a little complicated/scary at first, but once you start using it, is super fast and easy. It's the little touches - things like you can click and drag horizontally to control some things where they make sense, but in other areas you click-hold and twirl mouse clockwise or counter-clockwise to increase/decrease values...just like a knob or wheel. Very clever.
Anyway, in the project, you can set things like your format, your aspect ratio, your frame rate, etc. You can also control display reticles and masking areas (opaque or transparent, your color of choice), show timecode, all kinds of useful stuff and powerful stuff.
It is important to remember that Redcine is a prep/conversion tool, not intended to be an editor or full coloring tool. It is a pre-grading tool for one light type color corrections, and a prep tool to deliver assets in format of choice.
You can flip between Library View which shows all your shots (horizontally) and takes (stacked vertically atop each other) - is a pre-editorial organizer so you can get a sense of your shot coverage - instead of a long vertical text list for your to organize, is thumbnails in a timeline like interface. Fast and efficient.
Next up, you can proceed to the Shot portion of the application. In here you can see and edit the shots metadata, name, position and scale. Want to crop? Want to scootch it around in that cropped area? All doable, and those shot-by-shot decisions get saved in your project for later recall and usage (handy when it comes time to generate your online res copies). You can play back, even on a laptop. That's right - play back 4K footage without pre-rendering - it is extracting a fractional res version on the fly. You have pop-ups for playback quality at full/half/quarter res, in preview through high quality. Higher res, higher quality slower to process. Wanna see realtime playback as you adjust scale or whatever? Quarter res preview is your friend. Wanna zoom in on that blown highlight for subtle tweaks? Crank up the res to see all the detail. The wavelet nature of Redcode makes it cake to extract fractional resolutions on the fly, no problem. So scale and repo as it is playing back - nice! Can't keyframe though - for that kind of subtle work, just take it to Motion, After Effects, or tool of choice at full res and manipulate it there.
In the Color tab, you have control over a bunch of the color attributes of the shot - you've got three point curves (toe/gamma/shoulder), you've got tint, exposure (measured in stops, very nice), white point (measured in Kelvin and properly executed without just chopping channel data), color channels, a special highlight recovery tool that manipulates digital blowout (ever see a magenta highlight in an overexposed area? This tool can fix it!), and several other things I can't recall.
One major feature of this: the color controls on camera, and in Redcine, and in the FCP plug (more on that below), are all the same, on purpose...because you can save in any one of them and move them to the other. It takes a little time for the full meaning of that to soak in, but do so. Hypothetical: imagine shooting a few test frames, throwing on laptop, previewing the shot there. Tweak color until you like it using the convenient mouse/keyboard interface (could do all same stuff on camera UI, just harder, like iPod vs. iTunes playlist organization...in fact VERY much the same metaphor). Save those settings as a file, put on an SD card, and load back into camera. Bang! Your tweaked nondestructive look metadata now rides shotgun with all footage shot with those settings...and gets baked into the HDMI and HD-SDI outputs. Doing a live shoot? Save those settings and put it on all 8 (or however many) cameras used for them to match. Calibration issues in what I just suggested, but you get the general idea.
Anyway, as you tweak the color settings, you're working from the 12 bit RAW source, manipulating in a 32 bit floating point color space - very precise. And of course, GPU accelerated as well. You can adjust colors WHILE the footage is playing back - very handy.
Oh - you can also define the color space you're working in - be it Rec 709 for HD destined work, or Camera RGB for the native color space, Adobe 1998, etc. as desired.
When you're done there, you can go to Output. From the Output settings, you pick what size you want to generate, what file format, what bit depth (auto-governed by what's possible with the format, so you can't try to create something impossible), and what codec. Now, for everyone who's concerned about will their NLE be supported, the answer is pretty much yes. If you can write to the codec you want to edit with on an Intel Mac or a Windows box, you're in luck. If you need a high end image sequence like TIFF, DPX, OpenEXR, JPEG2000, etc., you're also in luck - as all those formats are already working in the build shown at NAB. As for codecs, here's the drill - if you have a codec installed on your box that you could "normally" use, such as with After Effects or similar programs...you can write to it from Redcine. Simple as that. If you're on a Mac running FCP 6, you could convert to the brand new ProRes422 codec. If you're on a Windows box running Avid, you could convert to DNxHD 36 for your offline, and then later DNxHD 220 for your online. Or the same from a Mac with Avid stuff installed. Just bought the Sheer codec from BitJazz.com, or any other third party codec? Install in on your box, and you write to it from Redcine, no new version of Redcine required. It is that simple.
I mentioned offline/online - if you aren't converting to your final format (and if you're doing an indie feature, you probably aren't, or shouldn't), then convert the first time to your offline codec, save your Redcine Project, and Red is working on something they'll call a Red Pull List to help with your conform - you kick an EDL or XML out of your NLE, then bring that back to Redcine which parses it for all the shots and selects you used - those selects can then be processed to your online format of choice (frame size/codec/etc.) Software conform (easy with FCP I know, I'd imagine so with Adobe, dunno enough about Avid to say), and you're in bidness. Redcine and Red Pull List don't DO the conform for you, they just HELP in the conform process.
Or, if that all seems to complicated, there's another option...read next article posted.
If you have workflow questions about how Redcode RAW will fold into your existing pipeline, be it editorial, VFX, offline, online, hardware, software, whatever, I do exactly that kind of consulting for a living - contact me at the email address at the top of this page in the header. I charge by the hour, rates are indie viable/affordable.
UPDATE - I'll keep adding extra bits of info to this post -
Q: What about subclips?
A: you can "dupe" the shot in Redcine (doesn't replicate any data on disc, just makes another instance of it in the timeline...like making a copy of a clip in your NLE - no new media generated). You can set separate ins and outs for that VERSION of that shot...this is a big deal for doc makers that roll for an hour and want to pre-slice into shots, but not have to process that one hour shot for the online if all they need is 5 second subclip.
Q: What about conversion times in Redcine?
A: They haven't released official stats, because it'll depend on a lot of things - what clock speed your CPU/s, how many cores, what GPU, what bus speed, what read/write storage & speed; then on top of that what size frame are you rendering to, what color/cropping/repo are you doing, what quality and scaling settings are you using....lotsa factors. What they want to avoid is posting a "it took my box x.y secs/frame" on some pimped out 8 core box doing draft quality SD to a RAID, and some Moe Ronn getting upset stating "Hey! It took WAY longer than that for me!" ....on his Core Solo Mini cooking 4K Hi-Q DPX files to a USB 1.0 drive or somesuch. So they need to get organized and test in an appropriate fashion, and then publish the results in a detailed, well documented and qualified fashion.
All that said...if they are managing to play back at 1K on a Macbook Pro and 2K on a Mac Pro in REAL TIME...I'm not too worried about how long conversion is going to take in Redcine. Rob's on the job.
Friday, April 13, 2007
The big news, of course, will be from Apple and their press event Sunday - YES I'll be reporting what happens there.
I'm also looking forward to seeing the new Adobe CS3 stuff - Premiere Pro & After Effects in particular, but also what's up with Encore, their DVD authoring software.
Avid as some new goodies as well, I have an appointment with them next week at the show to get all the latest scoopage.
As far as stuff you haven't heard me talk about before, read on:
Cineform offers new cross platform NEO family - cross platform codecs for video work aren't quite there for HD work, so Cineform is introducing NEO. NEO is cross platform, Mac or PC. It has three products for different levels of production: NEO HDV, NEO HD, and NEO 2K, guess what those are for. You'll be able to work cross platform with the same files, moving between apps like After Effects, Premiere Pro, Final Cut, Motion, Combustion, Vegas, etc.
NEO HDV is for HDV & DVCPRO HD folks, and handles 3:2 pulldown and 24p cadence issues, over/under cranking, spatial resampling, etc. as needed for JVC, Sony, Panasonic, Canon, etc. cameras. I'm guessing 8 bit.
NEO HD is 10 bit, full raster for higher end production.
NEO 2K offers up to 12 bit 444 with their RGB codec.
ALL versions can re-wrap AVI to QT and vice versa - that's a BIG deal - means it is fast and doesn't change/convert the files/footage - re-wrap, NOT re-encode.
Supports AJA Xena & BlackMagic cards (on Windows presumably), can capture as AVI or QT.
Pricing and Availability
NEO HDV, NEO HD, and NEO 2K will be priced at $249, $599, and $799 respectively
NEO for Windows will be available for purchase in early May. Availability of NEO for Mac OS X will be announced later.
Prospect HD v3 will be priced at $999, and will now include both the “Edit” and the “Ingest/Edit” capabilities that were previously provided in separate versions of Prospect HD.
Prospect 2K-Edit, which now includes single-link HD-SDI ingest, will be priced at $1999. Both will be available for purchase in early May.
As part of its new product rollout, CineForm is offering special pricing on most of its products through the month of April, details of which are available on CineForm’s website: www.cineform.com. Upgrade policies for existing CineForm customers are also available on its website.
Studio Daily | Sonic and Digital Vision Team Up To Deliver HD Mastering
Dense PR piece with minimum of hard data. Blu-ray and HD DVD authoring, but at what price point?
Studio Daily | Converting AVCHD Files to MPEG: "The Windows-only application has two new modes that open files either as multi-source or single files, and has predefined HD-DVD and Blu-Ray modes with AVC presets. For audio, it can support .WAV, MPEG-1 Layer II, MPEG-1 Layer III, AAC, and AMR (Adaptive Multi-Rate) format files.
Elecard Converter Studio is available as a suite that includes Converter Studio, Converter Studio Pro and Converter Studio ProHD. Elecard Converter Studio Pro is designed for conversion of video with resolution up to standard definition (720x576).
Elecard Converter Studio and Elecard Converter Studio ProHD enable high-resolution encoding (HD 1920x1080). Pro and ProHD versions also support transport streams. Prices begin at $239.70."
Now, why you'd want to convert to MPEG-2....feh.
POMFORT - SilverStack
From the site:
With Pomfort SilverStack you can open and inspect image sequences such as scanned 35mm film or rendered sequences as you would expect it from professional tools:
Browse sequence-based and timecode-oriented with a unique info-timeline that shows SMPTE timecode, frame numbers or a timecode calculated from file names
Open movie-typical file types such as DPX, Cineon, TIF in practically any resolution (PAL, HD, 2k, 4k, 6k)
View color-channels, inspect color with a selective RGB histogram, inspect pixels with a high dynamic range color picker and use a genuine pixel ruler for complete access to your image data
Visualize clipping pixels in blacks and whites
Zoom and pan to see every single pixel even on smaller screens
Apply Gamma- or LUT-based color linearization with custom presets
Apply primary grading (basic RGB-grading capabilities for both linear and logarithmic color spaces)
Playback-preview of image sequences on any machine using built-in QuickTime™ player
I'm getting a copy to doodle with after NAB.
LITTLE FROG IN HIGH DEF: Matrox MXO v2.0 drivers available
: "* DVI monitor calibration - hue, chroma, contrast, brightness, and blue-only adjustments * Super black and super white monitoring on the DVI display * Pixel-to-pixel mapping on the DVI display * 'Virtual bezel' on the DVI display * New HD editing resolutions - 1080p at 23.98, 25, and 29.97 fps; and 720p at 25 and 50 fps * New DVI output resolution - 1024x768 at 59.94 fps * Region of interest output selection in Presentation Mode * Adobe Premiere Pro CS3 support * Max OS X 10.5 Leopard support"
Read on, Shane has a good write up on what all this means.
More info here too.
HD Monitor Pro - FireWire based software to do live monitoring including 1:1 pixel viewing (helps for pulling fine focus), record, sort, review, etc. footage from HVX. Can take notes and hand off to FCP. No mention of 24p - can it handle 24p and 24PN modes? "24p" isn't found in the release.
If you hear of other new editing, VFX, or post related software, let me know. My time on the floor will be limited, so I'll need to prioritize and just see the Big Stuff, or little stuff that is particularly significant to the HD for Indies audience. Feel free to comment away with suggestions, and preferably booth #s, and why you think it relevant for me to check out.
Thursday, April 05, 2007
Stu Maschwitz, the brains behind the original Magic Bullet and more recently Colorista, couldn't help himself but to talk a little bit about the next version of Magic Bullet that is due to be demo'd at NAB.
Some tidbits of interest from his blog post with commentary, his in italics, mine in plain
Rather than a regular plug-in with a ton of sliders, Magic Bullet Looks features a standalone application with its own UI.
Hmm....I'm not sure about that, I'll have to see it in action. So much of what needs to be done gets done on THAT shot rather than applying a look. Stu gets workflow, so I'll have to trust him on this one until I can see it.
Interjection: I'd emailed Stu to talk about this, and he replied back:
I totally hear you -- the standalone UI is a double edged sword, but we're working to make it as non-modal as possible, and when you see the UI you'll understand why there was no other way.
Like the previous Look Suite, this tool isn't meant to be a color corrector in and of itself. The classic use would be Colorista followed by Magic Bullet Looks. You'd use MBL as a kind of LUT over your corrections. That way all the shots in a sequence have the consistent look but their own shot-by-shot corrections underneath. So there will be at least one mode of working where MBL will be somewhat fire-and-forget.
That is certainly an interesting concept - Colorista for the tweaky tweaky color balancing, then MBL for applying a look. One key detail will be how the architecture in your app works - does it do Colorista in 32 bit floating point, then return results as what? Hopefully at LEAST a 10 bit space, not 8 bit RGB before THAT result gets sent to the next plugin (MBL). I don't know all the details on how exactly that works in each app, but it can make a substantial difference in the final quality results.
Back to quoting his blog entry...
Called Looks Builder, this application is launched when you apply the Look Suite 3 plug-in in After Effects, Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro, Avid, or Motion.
I like that modularity, and the ability to use same looks in all those apps (don't forget Premiere Pro is coming to Macs this year)
Within Looks Builder, you build and edit looks using Look Tools; modular mini-effects for things like bleach bypass, gradient filters, and film stock simulation. All of these tools work in realtime and can be tweaked and edited in context. All processing is done in floating-point color.
Floating point GOOD, preservation of >100 IRE better - Stu tipped me to this in my own workflow issues, so I'm guessing he'll handle it right, or as rightly as the software & APIs allow him to do so.
With over 30 Look Tools to assemble however you like, you can create an infinite variety of Looks.Or choose a preset. Pop open the Looks Theater to see 100 different preset looks applied to your image (not a canned thumbnail) in realtime.
This bodes well for him "getting it" the way I want it to work.
Magic Bullet Looks was designed to be easy and fun to use, but it's powerful enough for pros too. Filters and exposure adjustments work in real-world units. Color corrections obey industry standards. Cineon film scans and digital cinema images, such as those from the Panavision Genesis camera, are interpreted correctly and can be converted to video or left in their native color spaces. The same look that you develop on an Avid rough cut in video color space can later be applied to a 35mm scan.
BINGO. If he's supporting Panalog, that bodes very, VERY well that he'll be handling a lot of other high end things I want to be able to do (Viper balanced LUT?). And all this with hardware acceleration on an 8 core Mac Pro with a good GPU? Bwahahahahhahaaa.....the POWER! Now, if he could just get secondaries in Colorista...
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Marijn Eken was kind enough to send me a link and point out:
They support Cine RAW real-time de-Bayering through the GPU! Doesn't say what GPU you'd need as a minimum though. I'm guessing a Quadro FX4500 is no luxury.
I immediately thought of Red. It would be great if these guys would join forces, but then again, maybe Red already has a similar thing going on with Apple and their upcoming grading product?
I recently got a chance to sit in on set with a Phantom HD as it was tested locally, and its 1000 fps HD capability was only offset but the cumbersome nature of the UI and the post production process (I still have a hard drive of unconverted RAW footage to mess with, been too busy of late).
From Iridas' press release:
industry's first GPU-based Bayer interpolation technology, RAW footage can now be displayed and played back in real-time without requiring file conversion, providing a significant savings in time and storage requirements. Together with SpeedGrade .Look files, this allows for a complete data and color grading workflow which is only 1/3 the size of regular RGB file formats.
Support for the Cine RAW file format will be included in all 2007 FrameCycler and SpeedGrade applications, including SpeedGrade OnSet and SpeedGrade DI. See it at NAB April 16-19, 2007 in the Las Vegas Convention Center at the Vision Research booth C11426.
I'm looking forward to seeing that. I'm also curious what the max supported frame size will be for playback and at what frame rate? Can I watch Phantom HD footage play back at 24p? 30p? 60i on these systems?
What about for the Phantom 65 and its higher resolution capabilities?
This is all good news.
Marijn asks about Red and I don't know if they are in talks with Iridas, but I hope so. They do seem to have some kind of a relationship with Assimilate and their Scratch product - Lucas from Assimilate graded the footage shown at IBC, LA, NYC, etc.
I've sat down for Scratch demo and it was VERY impressive.
I saw an Iridas demo a few years ago, but I didn't know enough to evaluate it as well and I haven't seen it lately, but I've been eagerly anticipating their Mac based HD product which has not emerged yet AFAIK.
My vibe on Iridas is that they were first out of the gate with a viable, production worthy GPU based DI solution
UPDATE 4/10/07 - Lin from Iridas was kind enough to email me with some more info:
I just wanted to confirm that we can playback RAW 4K at 30+ fps with our preview setting, which is fine for playback.
4K is close to real time (20fps+) with our high quality setting which is adequate for final rendering.
2K of course is all real time as is ARRI D20 3K, even with the high quality debayer.
Oh, yes, and it’s Universal Binary Mac, PC and LINUX.
More at the show.
Thanks Lin! "The show" being NAB, next week.
Vendor feedback always appreciated.
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
When working in After Effects, tricks to make sure your videos and stills look their best. Chris & Trish are two of the most acknowledged experts in this area.
DV - Features - Brighter Whites; Richer Colors, Part 2
Studio Daily | Matrox Announces Support for Adobe Creative Suite 3
Matrox, longtime ally of Adobe, announced support for Creative Suite 3. Key features:
Adobe Creative Suite 3 Production Premium support
Windows Vista support
New progressive SD editing resolutions - firstname.lastname@example.org fps and 576p@25 fps
Sony HDV 1080p support (HVR-V1 cameras)
Canon 24f and 30f mode support
Sony XDCAM HD email@example.com fps and XDCAM HD export support
Realtime color correction using RGB curves
Realtime Adobe garbage masks
Realtime sphere effect
Realtime time code filter
...which, as a longtime Final Cut Pro user, I notice they are adding support for formats FCP supported last year - 24f HDV, XDCAM HD (note not 24p), etc.
UPDATE/CORRECTION - Commenter Mike McCarthy wrote in to say:
Long time reader, first time commenter. Most of your info is great, but you are a bit off mark with this post. Axio already supported every format that you are complaining wasn't mentioned, they are just adding the obscure ones. (XD30p added to XD30i & XD24p, HDV24f added to HDV24p & HDV30i, progressive PAL, etc) The one thing that Axio has totally covered is format support.
Oops, my bad if that is the case - just to be 100% sure, if anybody has a link that shows all the formats supported, please post the link in comments and I'll update this article.
That said, Axio has already long done things FCP can't, like mixed format realtime editing, etc.
It'll be downloadable in August 2007 - which hints that should be approximately the release timeframe for Premiere Pro CS3.
PS - I hate this "everything is CS3" naming thing - it obfuscates what version you're actually working with - is this After Effects 7 or 8, etc.
Dale Bradshaw of Creative Workflow hacks (I have respect for what he does there) posted an article about the apparent impending demise of Retrospect. I used to use Retrospect with AIT based tape backup systems, but got so fed up with it I just started using FireWire drives instead for shelvable archives. They were cost competitive and sooooo much faster. You didn't need X GB free on your system to de-archive and then work with, you could just read it off the backup drive if you needed to get access to it. WAY faster.
Anyway, as I've gotten into working with uncompressed HD, the old "FireWire drive on a shelf" just isn't practical anymore, and I need to find a new tape based backup solution that holds hundreds of GB per tape and is reasonably fast. I've got a few options I'm checking out, and as clients ask I filter them towards the correct solutions for their needs.
Backup software is probably the least sexy software in the post production environment - it is like plumbing - you never really notice it until it breaks, then it is a MAJOR problem.
As we head further into the world of IT based image capture (first with P2 cards, then with the SI-2K, soon with the Red One), backing up large amounts of data, quickly and reliably, on a media that doesn't take up too much space, will be a necessity for anyone generating a lot of footage. In online editorial terms, 100GB/hr is cheap for high res masters. For long term archive of ALL the footage you shoot, that adds up in a hurry - "How many terabytes of data didja shoot last week?" suddenly becomes a question you'll hear.
So the slow death of a longstanding known solution is definitely a problem. I've heard BRU recommended, but has anybody used it? Have good/bad experiences to tell about it? Recovered data successfully after archiving stuff? How are the search features? I'm particularly interested in finding a solution that I can feed a list of files from my Red Pull List that I can then de-archive in bulk without having to type in names one at a time. All the selects for a feature? Eeek, that'd be SUCH a pain...
RAIDaid is a visual tool that helps you plan the optimum RAID configuration for your XServeRAID system.
It has an easy to use interface that allows you to view disk arrays in all popular RAID formats. You can now plan your RAID setup and configuration even if you don't have a RAID!
RAIDaid now allows you to create reports and customize them for your clients, making RAIDaid an ideal tool for all systems architects and sales professionals.
Handy for planning out what you'll get. Apple advertises their top end RAID with features like:
-10.5 TB capacity
-RAID 50 capability
-hot spare capability
Yet if you combine all those features, you find yourself down to less than 7TB of formatted usable space. Good things to know in advance...