DitSpot Posts

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

I know that as far as industry trade shows go NAB and IBC usually get all the press, but I really like Broadcast Asia. First of all, it’s much smaller. I don’t know how many kilometers I’ve racked up walking the halls of the LVCC in my life, but there’s something relieving for a trade show veteran to the concentrated physical area that the show’s held in.

Secondly, its much more intimate. It’s very easy to walk up to anyone and get a demo, or arrange an appointment, and actually talk to company reps rather than temp booth-staffers. Broadcast Asia gives you the luxury of time and personal contact that the other shows lack.

Blog Industry 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

Among the several announcements made at the 2012 WWDC today, only one was related to the professional Mac user. The release of the new MacBook Pro and it’s Retina Display varient.

What actually spoke volumes was the silence about the other changes to the Pro Mac line-up that happened.

The End of the 17″ MacBook Pro

Apple quietly removed the 17″ MacBook Pro from it’s web site today. The last remnant of a once proud portable workstation class of computers is no more. Evidently Apple believes that professionals no longer need either 1) portability, or 2) a workstation class computer.

Apple Blog Computers

The year was 1994 when Fast Multimedia AG (Munich Germany) announced the Fast Video Machine. The Fast Video Machine was a hybrid editor, which is a product category that’s now all but disappeared to the filmmaking world.

Linear Editing was the standard, two or more video tape recorders (VTR’s) connected to a device that allowed you to record video linearly in real time from deck to deck. The new wave, of course, was Non-Linear Editing, which was the full digitization of your video assets which allowed you to cut entirely within the computer. For 1994 though, Non-Linear Editing was impossibly out of reach for most editors, besides the quality of the digitized video was not all that great, and you needed to go back to tape for the online edit. Hybrid-Editing was a crazy marriage of linear deck control, and the select digitization of certain parts of video (such as transitions), which allowed you to use the actual video tape signal for high quality, and married it with the digital transitions for flexibility. It actually worked remarkably well.

Blog Editor's Wake

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

I may have been the only person out there that used IMC’s Incite software. It was a very well featured and relatively stable platform that ran on Windows, and the Matrox Digisuite. However it never really seemed to gain much traction in the marketplace and it was abandoned like many other packages when both Apple and Avid moved into the lower-end video market. IMC as a company still exists today, and looks to provide software and services for broadcasters and news organizations.

Back in the day (around 2001), IMC Incite was a supremely featured system, according to their marketing materials, these were the top 10 Reasons to Chose Incite over it’s competitors:


Blog Editor's Wake

As professional NLE software users, we’ve been conditioned to the 18 month release cycle, wherein we dole out our hard-earned cash about every year and a half for a new version of the software we already use, with a new number attached (i.e. version 6 becomes version 7, etc).

In the meantime we’ve come to expect that any version of the software that includes our original version number (say 6.3. 6.6 etc), should be ours to download for free. On the whole this is because successive versions are generally bug-fixes that fix problems that should not have been there in the first place, that they released anyway. They modify our ire at purchasing buggy or broken software, by making the fixes downloadable for free. It’s an assumption that’s now built into the customer-software vendor relationship.

This somewhat masochistic policy of buying known buggy software and hoping that the company eventually fixes most of the major issues, was the price we paid for the rapidly developing technical capabilities of our software and hardware. While the software was buggy, it made up for it in additional productivity features that our old version and old hardware just couldn’t handle.

Adobe Premiere Avid Blog Industry Rant