Category: Post

It’s been a year since the release of Final Cut Pro X, and there are several retrospectives being posted around the post production blogosphere.

However, I decided to go in a different direction for this post to take a look at Final Cut Pro 7, one year later, and see how well it still holds up.

When Apple effectively killed Final Cut Pro 7 (and all it’s companion apps) last year, I immediately stopped working with it. I finished up what projects I had, and any new projects immediately went into Avid. Having been in this business long enough to become proficient in several obsolete pieces of software (see my Editor’s Wake series), I knew that any additional work in polishing my FCP skills would be time wasted.  It would benefit me more to learn how to optimize my other editing tools for what I had used FCP for, rather than hang on to an obsolete skill set. Now, that wasn’t to say I wasn’t miffed about having 10 years of FCP knowledge suddenly become useless overnight, but hey, life is change.

Apple Blog Final Cut Pro Post

I just came back from Broadcast Asia 2012, and had a great time. Like I alluded to in my last post, because of it’s intimate nature, I was able to walk right up and have a demo of the new Blackmagic Design Cinema Camera, get a one on one with Avid, attend the Zacuto 2012 shootout, try out an F65, and cap it off with a nice dinner from Cine-Equipment. I also saw the latest gear from Canon, Panasonic, Sony, Sound Devices, Go-Pro, Assimilate, etc., all in the same day.

The state of the film and video tech industry in 2012? Book it. Done. And my feet didn’t even get sore. I wish more trade shows were like this.

Avid Blog DaVinci Resolve Industry Post Production Southeast Asia Video Cameras

I attended a great talk last night hosted by the Asian Film Archive. They brought up Ray Edmondsun from Australia’s National Film and Sound Archive to give a Q&A session about archiving, preservation and ethical issues in film restoration.

Some of the more interesting topics discussed were of course the film vs. digital debate. Of course film is still by far the best archival medium we have. Properly stored, it can last over 100 years, and the technology to read it is easy to reconstruct all you have to do is simply shine a light through it.

So my question was, if film is the best archival method, what is the second best for digital assets? The answer was there wasn’t one. Things get trickier when you move into the digital format. Tape or Hard Disk? Will that tape or disk format even be readable in 30 years even if the media survives? What file format to store it on? Essentially while film is a long term archival solution, digital requires a constant migration from format to format throughout its life. The downside of this is that it’s very likely that somewhere along the way, someone won’t migrate it fast enough and the data will be lost. The upside is that digital distribution means that it’s easy to propagate many copies around the world rather than striking film prints. Archiving digitally is a moving target.

Blog Industry Post Southeast Asia

Arri Look Creator for the Arri Alexa, is a really useful little piece of software that I didn’t really get into until recently. It’s still in it’s 1.0 beta, but the idea is that you capture a still .dpx image in LogC from the Alexa. You take the SD card out of the Alexa and bring the .dpx file into your Mac with the Arri Look Creator on it. You can make fairly detailed color decisions with the tools and create a “look” with the DP or director right there on set.

Alexa Blog Post Production

Autodesk has released the trial version of Smoke 2013 for Mac today. You can download the free trial from their website, and they’ve also kindly put up several demo videos showing of its new features and interface.

The how to videos are a must, as it’s been a long time since I’ve fired up the old SGI Octane and run Smoke, and the interface has completely changed with this release. I remember back in 1999 when I was working for Warner Brothers and our promo department bought a smoke*  (somewhere along the way they lost the asterisk and gained a capital letter) from discreet logic. It ran on a maxed out SGI Octane, required customized fibre channel storage called “stone” that had 18 hard disks in it, and cost around $300,000. It’s blend of effects compositing and video editing pretty much rocked my world, and there was nothing else like it at the time.

Smoke for Mac 2013, runs on an iMac, using an external hard drive, costs $3,000 (not including the computer), and it’s blend of effects compositing and video editing still rocks my world, and I’ll be damned if there’s still nothing else like it now.

Blog Computers Post Smoke

Add us to the list of people boned by FCPX.

At the NYU Grad Film department at Tisch Asia, we used to teach FCP the first year, and Avid the second year. The third year students were allowed to use either program. We felt that knowing both programs was essential to getting hired in the feature film and broadcast industry.

It’s not necessarily an easy job, being in charge of a film school. Especially in a field that is changing as rapidly as video post-production. It’s hard enough right now to figure out which direction the industry is headed in, but we have to figure out where the industry is going to be three years from now and prepare our students to have those skills when they graduate.

I can tell you one thing, in three years, no one will be using FCP 7. Apple has stopped development of FCP Studio, in favor of FCPX, and in a field that changes this fast, if you stop, you’re dead.

Avid Blog Final Cut Pro Industry Post

Ironically, maybe the biggest news from NAB this year, wasn’t actually at NAB. The big wait is over, Final Cut Pro X  was announced at the FCUG Supermeet in Las Vegas. It will be released in June, downloadable at the App Store for only $299.

There were several new features demonstrated and workflows explained, but the presentation may have actually generated more questions than answers for the future of FCP.

1. Has FCP been dumbed down to iMovie Pro? This was the big question on everyone’s mind, and the answer seems to be: yes and no. I may be in a minority, but there were a lot of editing features in iMovie that I really liked, and wished that could be brought over to FCP. Probably the biggest shift in FCP X, is getting rid of the source viewer. The whole 3-point editing paradigm seems to be phased out for a more click and drag type of experience. The new trimming tool looks interesting, and the magnetic timeline should be amazing, if it works properly (How can you maintain sync when all your clips are moving around independently?). The compound clips looked like a very advanced nesting feature, which will be exciting to see in action. Face detection a lot of people dismiss as a “consumer” function, but I find it incredibly useful and always wondered why we didn’t see more of it on professional camcorders and software, the uses for it are many.

Final Cut Pro Post

In recent years, no trip to NAB is complete without a visit to the Blackmagic Design booth. Each NAB Grant Petty always has something new and truly useful to show, and as a bonus, the products usually very reasonably priced. This year’s lineup is no different, with no less than three product announcements worth mentioning.

The first is Blackmagic Design’s foray into the increasingly crowded Standalone Video Recorder (or corder) market, the Hyperdeck Shuttle. While other manufacturers have been frantically adding features to their corder offerings to make them stand out, Blackmagic has gone the opposite way and stripped the recording unit to its bare essentials. The Hyperdeck Shuttle is really an HDMI/HDSDI interface, playback controls, and a dock for an SSD drive, that’s it.

Gear Post

Avid Symphony is supposed to be Avid’s High-End finishing system. To justify it’s $35,000 price tag over the $2,500 version of Media Composer it comes with a workstation, a Nitris breakout box, and additional features that Media Composer Software doesn’t have, those features are:

  • Universal Mastering (allowing you to output at a different format and frame rate than your sequence setting)
  • Some Secondary Color Correction Tools

That is all.

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