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Monday, April 30, 2012

NAB NLE Summary By Shane Ross

A great funny over view of this year's NAB and the state of NLE's.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Sale over, but $59.95 for 64gb ! Still a great deal

I have 4 32G Sandisk Extreme cards and they work great. For the normal price of a 32G card, get a 64G card on this 50% off weekend sale.  Sorry you missed this great deal, but even for $59.95 its a great deal.

Click on the image to directly go to B&H. Yes it does has a link which gives this site a small commission, so if you need a card, please consider supporting this site. Its very much appreciated !

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The VF We All Want

When a bunch of 800X480 VF cames out a while ago, I wasn't impressed. They were less then what is on the back of most dslr's. So far only the RED VF with 1280X720 res has impressed me until this one came along. 

1920X1080 ! Thats what I'm talking about. Its made by Astro Design, and distributed by Band Pro. This is one we all want. Too bad at $13K it may cost more than all your gear combined. Well unless you have a F35 or F65 which is the camera this was designed for ( also ARRI / Phantom / RED ). The only problem of course is that everyone else wants one too but its jus out there pricewise. The real question is why we don't have an affordable VF of this res for $1k.

Repeating The Past

All too often as new cameras and gear come out, we forget about what was once, even months ago the greatest ever. I present to you today a state of the art consumer image acquisition unit. Ok, whats left of it I present to you.

In 1960 something the new owner would of cried at this sight. Today its interesting junk.  

We have a range of cameras now from cheap to very expensive that all make great images. In fact the differences between those cameras at times are pretty small. Plan you next purchase wisely so that when your new today expensive camera looks like this 20 or even 10 years from now, you'll enjoy the peak inside at the quaintness of the technology inside. Who am I kidding, this could be your new camera a year or two from now the way things are going.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Demo Reel 2012

You all know about the cobler's kids... right ? so a look at some of mine :)

Apple to Kill 17 Inch Laptops ?

According to this rumor Apple may be planning to drop the 17" model from the product line. The quick info is that while apple makes millions of 13" and 15"  models, the 17" models may of only sold 50K units if the article is accurate. I could certainly see why apple could and would drop the product except its yet another blow off of pro users. Lets face it, its mainly power users who are getting 17" machines. I'm one of them. In fact if they made a 19" model I'd buy it. Yes I travel and no I don't find the size to be a problem at all. I need that screen space !  


Now they are potentially dropping 17" machines ? 

Seems like apple is simply forcing me off the platform, I'm very sorry to say because they are drying up the hardware I depend on. Of course lots of rumors of the demise of the tower also doesn't help my mindset either. I'd like to keep Mac as my primary system, but I don't think thats going to happen.

Add on the fact I've been working on a super fast loaded Z800 and its hard. I'll be honest, while Win 7 is a big step forwards for MS, its still in many respects still XP with a nice paint job. It has some serious problems with QT + codecs, networking and of course security concerns. The reality is that over the next 1-2 years I'm probably going to be forced into using PC's simply because I can't get the big hardware ( screens, CPU's, GPU's ) to get the work done. Time will tell. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Prem Pro vs Media Composer vs FCP X

If booth attendance says anything this is what I saw :

Apple and FCP X ? nada. ok, some vendors were showing FCP X with their product, but at least as many still had FCP 7 running... for now.

Avid : about 1/3 the seating space of Adobe. When I went by it was usually 1/2 empty. 

Adobe : Packed ! Even on thursday at 1PM is was still very full. In fact at some point during the show NAB officials asked adobe to do some crowd control because they thought too many people where grouped up there and it was a fire hazard.

Autodesk Smoke : Small seating area but generally about 75% full plus folks standing and watching. They have their niche and it still has interest. A while ago they cut Flame to $125K from $250K. I didn't hear if they cut it at NAB this year. The big news is that Smoke 2013 has a new revamped UI that looks something like Premiere Pro + FCP X + smoke. Use the Beta until the product is released, and they cut the price to $3495 ! Crazy. However it may be the only way they stay alive in the marketplace.

Friday, April 20, 2012

NAB 2012 : 4K and Friends : UPDATED

Another NAB as come and gone. I made it home today. Internet access in Vegas was the worst its ever been this year. If I didn't have a tether app for my phone I'd of had almost no net access.

So fair enough, all the other blog sites are going crazy about the new gear... GREAT ! What about the people ? In the shot above, over a few cocktails Dan Spiess of Florida chats with Steve Griffiths of Austrailia. I've known both of these guys forever. Its only at NAB that we get to share a few minutes or hours together. Thats what its about.

The gear is cool, its the people that count. Its what meaningful things you do with that gear which counts. Then there is the cool stuff you DON"T get to see on the show floor. Sometimes they are in suites for invitees only, sometimes you just have to look hard. Here I am with one of those SUPER COOL THINGS you did not see on the floor, its a prototype. That's as much as I'm giving up for now.


Over the next week or two I'll share with you some of my cool findings while wandering around in vegas under the bright lights. Yes 4K is last year's 3D in terms of what was big news. The difference is I expect 4K to take hold over the next couple of years while 3D remains a small niche and a bit of a gimmick in the market place. I'm not saying I don't like 3D, I do for a few things but its not suitable for all things. Right Tool For The Job™ ! ok ?


All shots taken NOT with some expensive lens and camera, but a cheap simple GoPro HD ( original ). A great little stills camera that travels light.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Here @ NAB

I'm here today updating this with my iphone. Internet acces where I am is useless and I tapping this out on my iPhone. It was raining last night which doesn't happen too often here. Spectacular clouds came down over the mountains. Blogware won't let me put a pic up be it uses flash and guess what doesn't run on an iPhone....

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Off To NAB


I'm off to NAB today ( Sat ). Got some gear with me to do some shooting. I'm not intending to run around like mad doing 100 on the floor show interviews, but I may do some. We'll see whats interesting. My schedule will be pretty intense while I'm there and internet connections are usually expensive and slow so we'll see what I get to post. 

If you are out there, say hello. The MediaMotion Ball is solid out again, I'm more than likely skipping the SuperMeet, and have several private events to go to. Should be fun !

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Adobe CS6 Is Announced ! UPDATED 2

Its official ! CS6 has been announced. Yes SpeedGrade is part of the Video suites !  Adobe Preview VIDEOS Here

What's New in CS6

Premiere Pro : 

New UI - or should I say updated and made much cleaner and more modern. Dig the new GIANT size clip icons. They are fully scalable from small to pretty huge. But wait there's more ! They are scrubable. If you swipe the mouse over the image you can scrub through it. You can also set In and Out Points while doing to. This changes the way I edit ! As an option you can toggle scrubbing to be active only with the alt / option key held down. Very nice, everyone is happy. 

Also as part of the new icon view is a mini-icon in the image that indicates clip usage by turning yellow.

Timeline : there are many improvements here. Better trimming tools, easier transition application, and... Just Play. A lot of operations that used to stop play no longer do so. You can toggle tracks on and off, trim clips, ect.. A lot of operations can now be performed and the TL will continue to play.

Send to SpeedGrade ! Enough said, get your project over there for grading painlessly.

More CUDA powered support and new hardware support.

Warp Stabilizer is now part of Premiere Pro. Its got CUDA goodness ! You can now directly smooth or stabilize shots right in the TL. The analyze part is quick, the warp is CUDA rendered for super fast performance. 

New API for 3rd party video hardware that's low latency, low overhead and pretty much autoc onfigures. Just set your project to use the hardware output and you can jump from SD to 720 to 1080 timelines and the hardware matches your moves without changing ANYTHING !  The new playback infrastructure is fast and fluid as if you were using hardware dedicated to the NLE. This brings the level of performance for output from your 3rd party card to where it should be.

Audio Meters & Mixer :  New fully scalable audio meter for the timeline. YES ! the audio mixer has also been fully redone to match the greatness of Audtion's mixer. It too is scalable. It's really a great sight.

Improved Audio Handling in the Timeline :  You can now place mono and stereo clips into the SAME audio track ! this greatly simplifies audio handling and editing. You should be able to also place 5.1 clips in as well, but I haven't tried it. All around improvements in audio clip handling.

Improved Multicam Editing  : Expanded multicam support, allowing you to work with as many cameras as you want. In the past  the limit was four cameras.  Now the only limitation is the formats you’re working with and the power of your machine. The MultiCam monitor plays the footage from each camera in a grid that automatically adjusts to accomodate the number of cameras in your shoot and a preview of the recorded sequence. After you’ve created a multicam edit, you can refine it either by re-performing sections of your edit from within the Multi-Camera Monitor or by using normal editing tools, applying effects, or correcting color.

After Effects :

Global Performance Cache : This is a persistent disc cache. That means after you quit the app the cache is still there so that next time you start AE up, you are REALLY back where you started. This  calls for a super fast disk array or SSD and it flies. This breaks the limits of what RAM alone in your machine can handle.

3D Camera Tracker : A solid general purpose 3D tracker. It works great for integrating 3D text from the next feature into real world shots like the titles in Fringe.

Ray-traced, Extruded text and shapes : Stop and read that one again ! If you watched the In Production series we produced those 3D titles came out of AE CS6. Ok, we haven't done anything yet for CS6 !

The 3D output is super sexy amazing. This isn't CPU rendering either although you can do it that way... but you won't want to. Ray tracing is being rendered with CUDA on the GPU's. Yup, multiple GPU support!  This version of AE can and will use your hardware to the limit. Render times on suitable GPU's are an order of magnitude faster from the likes of many hours down to minutes. You REALLY want a nVidia CUDA capable GPU. That means for Macs it's a Quadro 4000 as an excellent choice. PC cards with flashed BIOS to work in a Mac is another option, but YMMV. Apple seriously needs to get their act together on graphics card support.

On PC there is the insane Maximus config using a Quadro 2000 or 4000 PLUS a Tesla C2075 card with 442 cores on it alone. If I have the number rights thats nearly 700 CUDA cores between the two cards. This setup is just smoking fast over anything else for AE 3D ray traced rendering.

Reflections, transparency, bevels. All the good stuff and a great look because there is plenty of control of various 3D parameters per layer.

Conversion of Illustrator vector graphics to shape layers : Ok cool. not something I ever use but I know plenty of people who will be thrilled with this.

Variable-width mask feathering : another long standing thing I've wanted. Its really great and about time ! One word here - it's also different. rather than using expect splines, it uses node points more like hybrid B splines

New Cycore (CC) effects and upgrade of dozens of effects to 16-bpc and 32-bpc color depth

Pro Import After Effects functionality based on technology from Automatic Duck for importing projects from other applications, including Final Cut Pro and Avid software

Improved integration with mocha-AE

New and greatly improved GPU acceleration features for previews and final-quality rendering

Rolling Shutter Repair effect

Adobe's official AE announcement is here.


My longtime friend  Chris Meyer already has a review up a minutes after this was announced at PVC... talk about speed of the internet !

Not to be out done, John Dickinson also has some material already up 

After Effects: New 3D Features in CS6 and 

After Effects: CS6 3D Material Template


New App : Prelude

This is Adobe's new app for card dumping and metadata entry. A big feature of this app is its ability to copy cards to more than one place at a time. It can also TRANSCODE  clips. There is also the ability to pull clip selects and output that as a rough cut to premiere pro. Metadata entry is of course also part of this new app.



Many improvements including better BluRay support, FLASH output, and better integration with the other Adobe apps. Example - you can place your Premiere Pro TL into Encore via dynamic link. Changes in your Prem Pro TL ripple into Encore.


More to come over the next few days !

Avid Stock Down 17%

Not happy news today for Avid right before NAB. Stock is down 17% to $8.50 after a poor quarter. Read more here. As others have said, their editing products are actually a small part of the company's revenues. Much comes from shared storage hardware and software as well as their other product lines like M Audio and ProTools. While they have made great efforts to turn their business around over the last 2 to 3 years, the marketplace doesn't seem impressed. Perhaps crapping on your customers for years is a hard thing to wipe off.... While the New Avid isn't the old one, time will tell how things works out.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

An Old NAB Theme : If you have to ask....

More pre NAB news. Fujinon has a 19-90 T 2.9 ZOOM lens in PL mount. Its got a conventional handgrip with zoom control. It covers the full APS-C / S35 image area. How many folks have been wanting some glass like this ? Lots. To bad that all those people who want and need this lens still will be. MSRP is $38,000 !... um right. Anyone involved with ENG / Doc style shooting isn't going to be using this lens unless its a rental... and even then it will be a pricey rental. Knock of zero off the price and then we have a conversation. Painfully over priced. Where as the dslr revolution brought increbile images for low cost, clearly there has been tries at going back to the very expensive model of gear over the last 6 months. I think I know how people are voting....

Monday, April 09, 2012

Its a 4K NAB...6 Days and counting

More bits continue to surface surrounding this years push, 4K. Sony has already announced 1 camera so far just to get things going. Canon has their sunday event ( invites ????? ) and now bits are surfacing about Panasonic also being in on the game. 



Just great. Just when our computers / NLE's could easily handle a couple streams of 1080 like our old machines handled SD, just redo everything. Anyone who has worked with RED 4K knows what I mean. However with RED you are debayering / color managing / decoding the frames which is a lot more work than just decoding the frame and maybe doing a basic gamma conversion. Realistically, you need to decide if 4K makes sense for you.  If your material has future value, then 4K makes sense. If your material has a short lifetime value, 1080 or even 720 will be just fine. I won't even get into a web streaming thing I'm dealing with right now where I have to break it to them that SD composite video just isn't good enough....

So I'll be out there in Vegas saturday. If your there, give me a shout. I will also be shooting monday testing this rig I talked about before & you see above. I think its gonna work pretty well and give a dslr camera back the mass and handling they have lacked. I'm also liking its NOT made of all sorts of odd bits clamped together that take forever to assemble or you have to just leave built all the time. Well NAB will tell ! Back to the past to a time when it just worked.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Would You Drop A Zeiss Lens ? Zeiss does !

A nice behind the scenes look at the QA process at Zeiss - vibration, shock, thermal extremes. Good stuff and part of the reason why they cost as much as they do.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Just Busy But Getting Ready For NAB

Usually by this time I"ve had another post or two out, but things have just been busy. With local elections going on I've been out working, which is great. That last lens review also took a LOT of time, and there is more I'm working on if I can ever get back to it. Here's proof I've really been working ! Photo courtesy of Chris Hibben.

Newt Gingrich remote

I've also been watching all the news coming from pre NAB which has been interesting. Thankfully 3D is maybe not quite dead, but just a little blip on the radar now as I had pretty much expected it would be. While cool, it just didn't get consumers to go on a buying spree replacing their new and perfectly good screens with 3D ones. Lets face it, if your viewers don't have 3D screens whats the point...

So 4K is this year's NAB gear theme. Thats cool, but 4K is gonna just be a very slow adoption. However, unlike 3D I expect it will gain traction. The difference will be that the gearheads who always have to have the latest and greatest will start the adoption. The rest will slowly follow. While an $8k Sony FS700 is amazing and cool, its still a bit expensive for a lot of shooters out there. The difference these days is that a LOT of content is being shot on cheap cameras, not the $25K-$50K+ cameras we all used to use. I'm no per se complaining about the price at all.  

If consumer demand fuels production lets consider this : in the 90's when HD first became a standardize spec, and production gear first started to become available, it was a big step up in quality. The average consumer could see the difference even if they couldn't afford it yet. It wasn't until there were sub $2000 and eventually sub $1000 HD screens that mass adoption took off. To the average consumer the price point to quality ratio was finally hit. Its easy to see the HD picture quality difference, never mind a 42" screen sure looks pretty all on its own. So prices had to fall into line with consumer demand , which really only happened in the late 2000's.

4K is incremental to the consumer but there is also reality. There are almost NO panels at any price with 4K native screens, never mind consumer priced ones. There is also no distribution - not youtube or netflix, no transmision standards, nothing. In fact the video card in your computer in DVI / HDMI is limited to someting like 2550X1600 or so.

The visual difference between 4K and 1080 is also going to be another it depends thing. If you are far enough back you'll never see the difference. This will be especially true if the image is heavily compressed in effect pretty much turning it into a 1080 image anyway.

Don't get me wrong, I think 4K will become standard for SOME productions. It already is for large budget entertainment projects. However lots of big budget projects have been shooting in 1080 / 2K. Thats probably a mistake. Mass consumer adoption of 4K isn't going to happen anytime soon unless some LCD panel maker has a way to make them in mass and affordable. There will be use for projection in movie houses, but that is just such a small amount of work that winds up there. However if you go 5 to more like 10 years out consumers with 4K and more likely 8K res screens will be the norm. Lets also consider, 4K may be the stepping stone incremental format to get to 8K. Yes I've seen 8K and its AMAZING. It makes 1080 look like ratty VHS in comparison. 

So should you rush out to start shooting 4K ? maybe. It all depends on if your work REALLY has future value or you are shooting a lot of green screen where the extra res is very helpful. After that, I still know people just making their move to HD 10 years into the era. Evaluate your needs carefully, then decide.