July 31, 2007

Apple Seminars online

Apple Seminars are available online for various aspect of design, audio, and video using Apple software. These play externally in QuickTime Player and include: Motion for After Effects Users, Shake: Advanced Digital Compositing & Integration with Final Cut Studio, Enhancing Video Podcasts with Final Cut Studio, and Final Cut Studio Workflow with Sony XDCAM-HD and Panasonic P2 Media.

July 30, 2007

DE:Noise, a new AE filter

RE:Vision Effects just released a new de-noising product, DE:Noise. This filter "uses smart feature-sensitive spatial filtering and motion estimation (optical flow) techniques to help improve the visual quality of sequences with problems such as: noisy video (than can appear in low-light video captures), dust, excessive film grain, CG renders affected by ray-tracing undersampling, fingerprints, snow, drop-outs, and other small artifacts."

Nucleo Pro 2 ships

Mylenium noted that GridIron shipped Nucleo Pro 2, a significant upgrade to their plug-in and background render manager for AE. He added that "In addition to creating pre-composition proxies now, it also features support for a selection of 3D programs to also add to the background render queue." Nucleo Pro 2 will make you feel less envious of previewing features of Combustion or even Motion.

July 29, 2007

A look at Color

Oliver Peters, a regular on the FinalCutPro-List, has a review in Videography of Color, Apple’s new pro-level color grading application. Apple has demo movies.

Update: as a reminder, previous Color items include FreshDV's NAB Video Podcast - Apple Color Exclusive Demo, a tutorial at Ken Stone's FCP site Creating Node Trees in Apple Color, Stu Maschwitz's Color My Impression.

Update 2: Oliver has another review of Color at DV, First Look: Apple Color.

July 28, 2007

Graffiti Archaeology

Here's a gif made in AE from screenshots of Graffiti Archaeology, a site which shows how graffiti walls change over time. John Nack has more on this and related items.

July 27, 2007

Final Cut D'ough!

As Apple is making the dough and Avid is cutting staff, The Editor's Guild cover story is on The Simpsons Movie, where post-production included 7 Avid Adrenaline systems and 5 After Effects stations.

Ken Burns effect quick en masse

iPhoto provides an easy way (exporting a slideshow) to make a movie with the Ken Burns effect on a ton of pictures. Adobe has nothing like it as far as I can tell -- unless you're making a DVD then Encore has a slideshow feature.

Now, there's a new FxPlug filter that does something similar, though besides a few transitions I can't tell right now what Image Flow FX has over iPhoto, and it might be missing features. For more check out The Editblog's review of Image Flow Fx.

A Personal Journey With Martin Scorsese Through American Movies

The Cutting Edge (below) was fine but I preferred A Personal Journey With Martin Scorsese Through American Movies (and Saul Bass did the titles). Google/YouTube has a few segments:

Scorsese on American Westerns

Scorsese on American Gangster Films

The Cutting Edge

Parts of the overview history documentary The Cutting Edge - The Magic of Movie Editing are on YouTube:

part 1

part 2

July 26, 2007

Calibrating a light meter for DV

FreshDV has a nice video tutorial Calibrating a Light meter for Digital Video. If it doesn't show up in your iTunes podcast list, you can download a QT movie directly.

Video tutorials free from Video Copilot

Andrew Kramer has a large collection of good-looking, mostly free video tutorials for After Effects at Creative Cow and at Video Copilot, his own site. His team has been on a roll lately with something new every week.

Photoshop Text Effects on the Web

John Nack posts on typographic goodies, including this: "The Photoshop Roadmap blog pulls together tutorials for The Best 80 Photoshop Text Effects on the Web. 'This guide includes 78 Photoshop tutorials and 2 impressive collections of Photoshop Actions, plus 3 books on the subject.' [Via PhotoshopSsupport.com]"

July 25, 2007

Google's TV plans + 8 Internet TV Apps

Read/WriteWeb affiliate Last100 surveys and speculates on Google's TV plans in Google wants to do for TV what it did for the Web.

Update: earlier Last100 also covered Microsoft's TV plans in 2 parts; the 1st was Microsoft on your telly: a history of the company’s Internet TV strategy.

Update 2: Read/Write also had a roundup of online video editors with , and later added a review

Training Day

It doesn't seem like the whole skit...

July 23, 2007

Bottom of the barrel metaphor

Bill Moyers talks with "two partners of Triglyceride Investments, a private equity fund that recently announced its intention of combining the assets of all the hedge funds on Wall Street in order to bring under a single canopy of ownership every media outlet in America. Their prospectus contends that the handful of big media companies that control most of what you see, hear, and read cannot possibly produce maximum return on investment as long as each has to field its own army of lobbyists in Washington.

If only one holding company instead of four or five controlled all the country's radio and television stations and all of its cable, newspaper, and Internet outlets, eliminating the need for the competitive purchase of politicians, the savings on campaign contributions alone would increase the bottom line tenfold.

Not the least of their argument is that since our present media system and Washington so closely mirror each others' interests, it could even be possible to close down the government altogether and have the country run by Wall Street, saving huge sums of money now spent on perpetuating an impression to the contrary. Joining me are Andy Bichlbaum, the chairman of Triglyceride Investments, and his partner, Mike Bonanno, chief executive of their offshore subsidiary, Tsetse Media Inc., with headquarters in the Marianas Islands."

July 21, 2007

Live editing with Final Cut Pro

In a thread on the FCP list, Shane Ross quoted a friend on editing being done live with Final Cut Pro for major sports shows:

"Fox NASCAR truck has two systems:
- System One:
Quad G5, 7 GB ram, xRaid 7 TB, Fibre Channel card, AJA Kona 3, FCS 2
- System Two:
Mac Pro Quad core 3.0, 8 GB ram, xRaid 7 TB, Fibre Channel card, AJA Kona 3, FCS 2

Those two systems are owned by the mobile unit vendor, Game Creek Video. Obviously it would be cooler if they were on a SAN, but they have GigE between them, and copy files they need across that connection.

The Sunday Night Football show on NBC is probably the most robust FCS system working in trucks. Both are Mac Pros and they are on a SAN. Not sure of the specifics.

Other shows that have FCS systems:
- ESPN Sunday Night Baseball
- ESPN Monday Night Baseball
- Monday Night Football
- Sunday Night Football
- The primary ESPN/ABC college football shows on Thursdays and Saturdays in the Fall
- FOX and CBS NFL A show and B show

...a lot of golf shows are using these systems too."


Adobe has released the AE CS3 SDK, which contains concise explanations of APIs as well as sample projects exercising important functionality. You must be a proficient C or C++ programmer to write AE plug-ins and there are no compiled extras, but you can still look under the hood and find out what a PiPL is.

How to Write Plug-Ins for Adobe After Effects is old but is still available as a first step for the idly curious.

Privatizing the Cookie Monster

As Ars Technica explores Ask.com to offer anonymous search with AskEraser, it's clear that privacy is the big issue, but there's more wishes for Google according to John Dowdell.

Update: John Dowdell clarifies that the real privacy issue is cross-site ad-tracking (and I'd add surveillance databases), and answers the search engine marketeer's kiddie porn threat if privacy has primacy:
It seems like that problem might be handled more simply and specifically by not indexing kiddie porn in the first place, and then not accepting searches on those terms... they wouldn't actually need to first satisfy those search requests and then log everybody else's search terms for accountability.

July 20, 2007

Making Faith Hill 'Hot'

The Editblog noted Faith’s Photoshop Of Horrors and The Annotated Guide To Making Faith Hill 'Hot'.

Celulight and Floodgate: AE filters

Stefan Minning has 2 new filters in beta, but for Windows only for now apparently (see CGTalk discussion).

Celulight is a cel shader and normal map generator for AE, and uses drawn outlines or cels as source files and allows them to be lit in a pseudo 3D environment using AE’s internal lights. Possible styles include: Classic toon shading, Modern 2.5D Toons, and “Kingdom Hearts” Styles.

Floodgate "can be considered an advanced paint bucket or fill tool" which "floods up to 64 distinct areas with up to 8 different colors. Floodgate is squarely aimed at coloring in toon and cel animation and outlines drawings, which is a real pain to do in After Effects without it."

Update: these might be fun with Live Trace versions of video...Aharon Rabinowitz had a video tutorial series on this feature, Converting Video to Cartoon.

Update 2: there's a report in comments here that this filter has problems in AE8.

Panalog plug-in for AE

HD for Indies reports on a Panalog plug-in for After Effects complete with LUT graphs. Panavision's Genesis, high-end digital movie camera, records in this format (see VFXTalk discusssion, Wikipedia info, Panasonic explanations). The Orphanage apparently converted this format to elin for work on Superman Returns.

Update: Stu Maschwitz posted his logic, a free project (AE/Shake/Nuke), and instructions in his post Panalog:

...it occurred to me that the format is similar enough to Cineon log that one might be able to find settings in a standard log/lin tool that match the Panavision transform.Sure enough, a little playing resulted in about 99% success. I got my Cineon log/lin conversions close enough to be within a 10-bit code value of a match to Panavision’s own LUTs.

The After Effects settings are:

10 Bit Black Point: 0
Internal Black Point: 0.0
10 Bit White Point: 681
Internal White Point: 1.0
Gamma 1.480
Highlight Rolloff: 0

Tiffen Dfx Digital Filter Suite, reborn

Tiffen is co-marketing Dfx Digital Filter Suite with Digital Film Tools (via Toolfarm).

Assorted video tutorials

Over at Creative Cow (master tutorial list), Andrew Kramer demonstrates how to creates 'Time Freeze' and a cool "3D room," Aharon Rabinowitz shares tips on timing video to audio among other things, and Aanarav Sareen takes a look at bins in Premiere CS3. Some of these show up in iTunes and some don't...

July 18, 2007

Miro aka "Democracy" Player

Miro, formerly Democracy Player (the Internet television application developed by the Participatory Culture Foundation), was just released in late beta -- or at least I was able to find it.

I like it ok in that I get free shows like KQED QUEST Science HD Video Podcasts and Democracy Now and that it plays different formats and is open source and multiplatform, but I don't like the lack of control and metadata information. Let's hope that Adobe Media Player will be more like QuickTime Player. There's Miro links and comments at John Dowdell's blog.

Update: deeper coverage is at MasterNewMedia (7/23/07).

Adobe Device Central video demo

Mobi-lize has a video demo of Adobe's Device Central. Device Central is cool but I'd prefer something like Compressor (new HDV>SD tutorial), which Apple gives you in Final Cut Studio. Adobe India is probably loaded with talent, so God knows why Adobe Media Encoder is so limited.

But wait there's more: at DNM, Ko Maruyama has a 3D Type QuickTip for AE CS3; plus Jayse Hansen demonstrates how to create growing graphic elements in AE, one of many AE tutorials at Creative Cow. Meanwhile at DNM, Jeff Schell shows some new features in Premiere Pro CS3, where smart bins is hyperbole but bundled apps are not..

Font resources

Alan Shisko mentioned a font thread from the AE list and a Macworld article that "neatly summarizes all the free and commercial font sites, plus links to font resources. Confirms my theory that DaFont is the first (and often only) place to go for typographic styles and inspiration."

Trish and Chris Meyer also covered fonts at CyberMotion. AE Portal may have additional items, well at least one, with Famous Fonts. I also liked another site mentioned in that AE list thread, Blue Vertigo which features links to color tools, sounds, icons, patterns and more.

July 14, 2007

Trapcode 3S: Shine, Starglow and 3D Stroke in review

You can find a quick rundown of the new-old Trapcode filter package Trapcode 3S: Shine, Starglow and 3D Stroke in the review for SF Cutters. In short, though similar filters (or Replicators or Behaviors) can be found in AE and Final Cut Studio, Trapcode's Shine, Starglow, and 3D Stroke offer more controls, unique features, and probably faster results than the built-in alternatives in Motion and After Effects. The Trapcode website has numerous additional tutorials and examples for the same filters using AE.

July 13, 2007

Motionworks' AE quick tips

John Dickinson posted 2 AE quick tips at Motionworks: After Effects Tip #17: Interlaced video in Photoshop CS3 Extended and the handy After Effects Tip #16: Collecting a comp into a new project.

Adobe OnDemand seminars

Adobe has many OnDemand seminars explaining new features or mostly basic aspects of various apps, including Photoshop (for video with Mike Kanfer, medical imaging), Premiere, Flash, and color management for print.

July 8, 2007

Fxguidetv episode 2

Fxguidetv episode 2 features interviews with top people on shrinking deadlines in film effects as discussed in an earlier posted story. The fxphd tip of the week takes a look at Vanishing Point in AE CS3.

The production is explained at the Fxphd blog and looks good (except for a noisy spot). Fxguidetv #001 (QT) featured a nice succinct look at Shape Layers in AE CS3.

Feature Request/Bug Report Form

With AE and the Production Premium suite just shipping, now is the time to make feature requests, so visit Adobe's Feature Request/Bug Report Form if you think something's missing.
Bug fixes are important too and could be squeezed into a potential point release because there will probably be one before the next dot-zero release -- which might be 1-1/2 years out.

150+ Online Video Tools and Resources

Mashable presents a quick overview with Video Toolbox: 150+ Online Video Tools and Resources.

July 7, 2007

Mobi-lize video resources

Frank Capria has a nice post on Mobile video resources, especially on Mobi-lize from the people at Studio Daily.

Frank also has a good discussion of the Limits of self-definition and a link to a nice article from a BoxesandArrows.com Lessons From Failure series that uses the now denuded Easter Island as a metaphor for personal reinvention.

July 6, 2007

CS3 training: movies and more

Adobe Design Center's Video Workshop now has training movies for the Production Premium video apps, in addition to training movies for the other bundles. And there's other new training content and extras all around, like a Production Premium Workflow Guide, Color Management Workflow in AE CS3, and additional presets and tutorials.

Lynda.com's Online Training Library also has training for Adobe CS3 video applications (for $25/month).

Color management in AE CS3

Mark Christiansen's After Effects 7.0 Studio Techniques has a great discussion of film, HDR, and 32-bit compositing, but AE8 adds a few wrinkles with a complete color management workflow through Project Working Space options, to preview color and simulate final output in different mediums like broadcast monitors or film stock.

As in Photoshop, I'd keep Color Management off to avoid inadvertent color shifts from embedding or converting to default profiles unless I've worked out a specific workflow. Files embedded with Adobe default profile sRGB might sneak in, so getting color management under control for all codecs and file types might take some serious thought. I had standardized on Adobe RGB (1998) and ruthlessly convert graphics from others if they use a profile. There's even a new utility filter to convert per layer, Color Profile Converter (pictured). I don't have a firm handle on the new color management yet (I'm fine as an NTSC island) but hopefully these Adobe white papers will help clear things up: Color Management Workflow in Adobe After Effects CS3 and Color workflows for Adobe Creative Suite 3 .

There's a basic video tutorial on color management in the Video Workshop. And you can also flip through the documentation for color and color managment at AE LiveDocs, for example High dynamic range color and Why you should use color management.

Update: this is a hairy issue...according to Studio Daily, "Post Logic Studios announced the launch of its Image Science Division...[to offer]...clients “the assurance of consistent color management across every stage of a production, regardless of acquisition format or output medium.”

Update 2: On the AE-List (18 Aug 2007) Chris Meyer responded to a question about a gamma shift between AE8 and AE7, "The short answer, in most "AE CS3 does not match AE7" cases where Color Management is _not_ enabled for the project (Project Working Space = None), is to enable the Legacy Gamma switch in the Project Prefs. The long answer is...a long answer. (I'm writing that chapter this week, as a matter of fact.) The text in the Project Prefs, Interpret Footage, and Output Module dialogs help, as does the Adobe white paper..."

Embedding video, plus iPhone video & Flash

John Dowdell notes advice from BBC interactive for in-page video attractiveness, while HD for Indies considers Making Content for the iPhone.

And it looks like Apple might be adding Flash to the iPhone according to the WSJ; see Next iPhone generation will support Flash. There's also plenty of other iPhone developments, like the free iPhoneDevCamp held at Adobe in San Francisco the weekend of July 6, Apple on Optimizing Web Applications and Content for iPhone,and The AIR iPhone an AIR application that could possibly for fun be ported to FlashLite to work on cheap handsets.

Update: 8 Coolest iPhone Apps at iPhoneDevCamp plus iPhoneDevCamp Walkthrough.

Update 2: No BS iPhone Review from Gizmodo via HD forIndies.

July 5, 2007

Flash Video Content Protection

Adobe has a new white paper with visual explanations of some of the risks for delivering video on the Internet and how to protect content from stream capturing by Real Player and other tools using the built-in features of Flash Media Server. John Dowdell has good background and extra linked resources on this white paper, Video Content Protection with Flash Media Server.

July 4, 2007

Star Spangled Blues

Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock

Back-to-back, chicken shack

Robert J. Allison noted in The Crescent Obscured: The United States and the Muslim world, 1776-1815 that the early version of "The Star-Spangled Banner" contained lyrics saying that the banner obscured the crescent as heathens were killed. More recent books after 2001 have a different bent, so many people might not know many of the facts. Someone interviewed Allison at Newsradio 1040 WHO, if anyone wants to listen.

More on the background of the Tripolitan War and this earlier song is at Triplopia, which adds: "This 'Song' was even set to the same music as 'The Defense of Fort McHenry' later called 'The Star-Spangled Banner' -- the English drinking song, 'To Anacraeon in Heaven'! So 'The Star-Spangled Banner' has its roots not in an Anglo-American war at all, but in a war with an Islamic country, so it’s interesting to see how that relates to current events."

This is from an 1805 version of the Star-Spangled Banner:

Columbians! a band of your brothers behold,
In the conflict resistless each toil they endured,
'Till their foes fled dismayed from the war's desolation;
And pale beamed the crescent, its splendor obscured
By the light of the star-spangled flag of our nation.
Where each radiant star gleamed a meteor of war,
And the turbaned heads bowed to its terrible glare,
Now mixed with the olive the laurel shall wave,
And form a bright wreath for the brow of the brave.

Our fathers who stand on the summit of fame,
Shall exultantly hear of their sons the proud story,
How their young bosoms glowed with the patriot flame,
How they fought, how they fell, in the blaze of their glory.
How triumphant they rode o'er the wondering flood,
And stained the blue waters with Infidel blood;
How mixed with the olive the laurel did wave,
And, formed a bright wreath for the brows of the brave.

July 3, 2007

Hitchcock was a drama king

Film Techniques of Alfred Hitchcock reviews basics of suspense, camera angles, style, and editing for "filmmakers who are sad and depressed because their movie is so average that nobody will watch it." (via Reelpop)

I dont know, maybe it was the doses

Reelpop prescribes Incarcerex: "Anti-propaganda propaganda from Brooklyn-based animation artist Haik Hoisington, touted by Andrew Sullivan and Reason Magazine. Hilarious."

July 2, 2007

AE 8.0 is shipping

Michael Coleman, Product Manager for After Effects, announced that
AE CS3 and Creative Suite 3 Production Premiium is now shipping!

new features in CS3 include:

* Shape Layers
* Puppet tool
* Adobe Photoshop CS3 Extended integration
* Adobe Flash CS3 Professional integration
* Per-character 3D text animation
* Brainstorm
* Complete color management workflow
* Adobe Clip Notes
* Enhanced performance & multi-core support
* Video for mobile

Check out Mark Christiansen's After Effects CS3: my Top Ten.

Update: Bob Donlon celebrates with some simple AE fireworks done with Particle Systems II.