June 30, 2007

iPhone no Flash

Not a complete surprise but the iPhone will not render Flash on it's Safari browser, according to Adobe developer relations for mobile and devices. Flash must not be as good as Quicktime!

Update: I should leave it to the experts...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 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 possibly could be ported to FlashLite to work on cheap handsets.

June 29, 2007

OpenEXR filters out of beta

Brendan Bolles OpenEXR plug-ins (covered in April) for reading a multi-channel EXR in AE are now 1.0. Brendan added a few more features, like storing color information, to these filters. OpenEXR Image Viewing software from ILM is also provided.

Brendan also made a similar plug-in (pictured) for Photoshop,
ProEXR. which also includes an extra AE plug-in that will turn a layered EXR file into a series of source comps

RedGiant/Trapcode release schedule

Studio Daily writes that Red Giant Announces Plug-in Shipping Schedule: "Next week, three [Trapcode] plug-ins, 3D Stroke, Shine and Starshow, previously only available for After Effects, will be released for Final Cut Pro, Motion, Premiere Pro and Avid. All will support floating point capability and are available for $99 each."

Magic Bullet Looks and Instant HD are scheduled for August; in September Red Giant plans to release Trapcode Form (formerly codenamed Flux).

June 27, 2007

Killer Schedules

Flowseeker reports on an FxGuide article and podcast, Killer Schedules: Behind that Variety Story, that discusses last month's Variety article Blockbusters take toll on f/x shops. Flowseeker also says that "there will also be a follow-up interview with John Knoll and Dennis Muren on the nascent fxguide.tv."

In February, SF Bay Guardian printed a related article on labor practices at The Orphanage, which is based on federal land in The Presidio: "The Wild, Wild West...Pelosi's legacy: private business at the Presidio may be exempt from all state and local labor laws."

BTW, Fxguidetv #001 (QT) features 'Spider-Man 3' and a look at shape layers in After Effects CS3.

Mossberg likes Apple phone

Walter Mosserg of the Wall Steet Journal gives a thumbs up to the eye phone.

June 26, 2007

Another blinkx in the wall

This is a Blinkx wall based on a search of "Chalmers Johnson." Beet.TV, which has an interview with the Blinkx CEO, mentioned Blinkx an article on the new RealPlayer:

"The videos are then organized on a desktop application. That application has a dedicated and branded search utility provided by blinkx, the fast growing video search company. This is a big breakthrough for the San Francisco-based blinkx, which is quickly expanding thanks to the proceeds of a successful IPO on the London Stock Exchange. blinkx says it has indexed over 12 million hours of video."

Not sure what happened with that speech recognition to target ads in video clips thing.

Dick's shadow world

The current Vice-President and associates have an interesting ad campaign via noise machine talking points and visuals designed to obstruct Congressional investigation and disclosure of Executive Branch activities (taught in grade schools as 'checks and balances'). Crook & Liars gives you access to some of the issues discussed on The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, and Countdown.

Dove flies right & wins Grand Prix

NewTeeVee mentions that Dove’s “Evolution” Web Vid Wins Top Ad Award, a Cannes Film Festival Grand Prix. I still enjoy occasionally re-viewing this piece from Dove's "Campaign for Beauty;" it's a welcome relief from the old feed lot. NewTeeVee points to advice that even a Cow could learn to love:

"The good thing about Dove’s Grand Prix award, though, is that it’s likely to help more advertisers understand that consumers’ conversations around the brand help the brand. The more people mentioning your media online — consumer-fortified media, as Nielsen’s Pete Blackshaw calls it — the more traffic you get. Easy peasy."

ReelPop posted YouTube links on runners up at Cannes, but you can go directly to the showcase of winning clips and other awards categories at Cannes Lions.

June 24, 2007

Tipped Cow gets mad

Oddly, Creative Cow seems to be in the process of censoring sites, posts, and writers -- and blocking IP addresses of those who go off-script however defined. It seems they don't want to mention sites or possibly products from unapproved vendors, and filter results and postings with an internal blacklist of "enemy" sites. It's said that dvxuser.com and dvinfo.com do this too, and God knows if that's true or who else does this.

The discussion began on the AE-list; General Specialist summarized the discussion and hosts comments, and was purged from the Cow for posting about the banned sites! A very good discussion then followed in comments. Capria.TV also added reasoned discussion. The whole episode got my overactive imagination thinking of Lewis Mumford's The Myth of the Machine series, with the Creative Cow as an electronic panopticon or megamachine similar to a Sumerian temple construction by slaves surrounded by gang bosses and an army.

Someone also suggested "that ALL the content (especially the product reviews) should be taken with a major grain of salt." Well that goes for every content provider, not just the Cow, because I've witnessed a number of reviews adjusted by a star here or mouse there. I once asked why I was doing a certain feature article and was told it was a "vendor obligation piece," meaning a major advertiser wasn't getting mentioned enough and needed custom staff exposure. And that was at a good outfit. Some writers might insist they never seen such things but they have been "chosen" to do a article instead of someone else. Articles aren't really born in general staff meetings as is often claimed. Other problems with reviews is that they pay low, require expertise, and have tight deadlines, so some writers need to lean on press kits written by marketeers (who find the pay scale better than their old media jobs). It's not a total lock, but a sleaze factor can creep in at times.

The big boys play a much more serious game than the Cow, so remember "Aim High" so you don't shoot your friend in the face. For some background of the role of expert marketeers, see The Corporation and Douglas Rushkoff's PBS docs Merchants of Cool and The Persuaders.

Update 06-29-07: The Cow responds and along with HD for Indies tries to convince that everything's dandy with glittering generalities, but neither address issues and background discussed on the AE List and on General Specialist (the comments especially). AE has flourished with the free exchange of advice and discounts, back at least to the old AOL forum where top users and developers shared tips cooperatively, raising all boats.

Alternative distribution

FreshDV's latest podcast features a talk with Cinematech’s Scott Kirsner on Alternative Distribution.

If you haven't seen it, CinemaTech's Getting Paid: Sites that Pay for Video is pretty good. Another good resource that gives a short overview is Monetizing Podcasts and Videoblogs by Damien Stolarz (original Streaming Media layout).

June 22, 2007

Who Will Be The YouTube Of Live Video?

Covered in March, read the latest at TechCrunch: Who Will Be The YouTube Of Live Video?

RealPlayer new on Tuesday

Beet.TV reports that the new RealPlayer will be released on Tuesday; maybe now Real will let you find it:

"RealNetworks is set to release its new player on Tuesday. The desktop application allows users to scroll over online video in all major formats and save them to a hard drive. Videos with digital rights management cannot be saved, but a vast majority of Flash files can be. Virtually the entire YouTube library can be downloaded."

Also, The Business Of Online Video notes a discussion at PaidContent.com in RealNetworks Rob Glaser Responds To Questions About New RealPlayer

Worst in show

I'm not a dog person, but this was funny and not in a mean way. Unfortunately no video from TV news, just some notes & a slideshow about an event in Petaluma, CA.

Burns and His 'Effect'

Regina McCombs has a basic but thoughtful post on Poynter Online:

Meaning in Motion: Ken Burns and His 'Effect'
Zooms, tilts and pans can enhance impact or induce illness. The master of movement on still photos offers insight on managing multimedia.

Update: see also interviews and more in The Ken Burns Effect — and beyond. Here's some history from Donald S. Berman on FinalCutPro-L (10-5-2011),

'Ken Burns "developed" the effect named after him with Ed Joyce and Ed Searle of the Frame Shop, located at that time in Watertown, MA. Burns used to hang around our edit rooms learning how to handle large quantities of documentary footage. Joyce had spun off from Education Development Center when its film operation closed down. Joyce and Searle had set up an Oxberry and also had developed motion graphics techniques with computer controlled cameras. ... Ken got the credit and, eventually, the Frame Shop went bust and there are only a very few of us around to tell the tale.'

Here's some more from others in that thread:

Before The Civil War, who thought a crazy-long documentary composed of talking heads and old photographs would draw and hold such a large audience?
He didn't invent moves on stills but as far as I know, until Burns, no one made a 9 episode, 10 hour series that was so dependent on them nor was anyone willing to linger on a specific still for the length of time Burns and his creative team employed.

I admire that he trusted that if viewers were given the right context and the opportunity to actually look at photographs and documents (without white flashes, snap zooms, swish pans, elaborate photoshopping/AE work, or even their replacement with "reenactments") the stills would sustain the viewers' interest. In my experience, most of the time, stills are seen as the thing you stick in when you don't have footage to avoid having nothing on the screen or a jumpcut.

June 21, 2007

Magic Bullet Looks tease

Studio Daily posted a video tease of Magic Bullet Looks. Prolost discussed some of this earlier.

Feed your head

It's not big news that online video is growing in popularity or that most popular online videos are not inspired (see the sample by The Internet TV Charts). But help is on the way, and not just enlightened awareness through iTunes.

Brian Chin mentioned WSJ columnist Lee Gomes who "lists a number of sites that specialize in 'edifying video,' including Fora.TV ('the go-to site for speeches, panel discussions, symposiums and the like'), ResearchChannel.org, The University Channel and, of course, good old PBS."

WatchingTV Online builds on Gomes a bit more, adding "Research-TV.com, TotalVid.com, EnergyPolicyTV.com, UVu.Channel2.org, TED conferences, inspired talks by the world's greatest thinkers and doers and close to home, the presentations from the LIFT conference - where new technologies and their impact on our society are promoted and discussed."

Update: I should add ScribeMedia, which "travels the country to capture and deliver speeches, lectures, roundtables and interviews of thoughtleaders across a broad range of subject areas that includes current events, technology, media, business, healthcare and the arts."

Online players again

As previously covered, Innovation in web video players continues. Now, NewTeeVee shows AppleTV in action updating to YouTube in Apple TV Now Playing YouTube: Hands-On Video.

Meanwhile, Veoh is further refining their content delivery system. Again NewTeeVee has the summary in Veoh To Launch ‘VeohTV,’ Take on Joost. Veoh has a ton of content because it leverages other services, like YouTube, too. But they also let you publish across services and track usage.

Veoh's new player (hard to find demo here) competes with several players including, Adobe Media Player, previewed here earlier but again below (works in Firefox XP).

AMP will feature RSS feeds, custom channel branding, interactive real-time advertising overlays (NAB video), viewer tracking, custom UI inserts to create custom social networking functions among other things. Not shown is the player controls, which hopefully will be more like QuickTime than WiMP.

Blinkx to launch speech-based video ad network

Combine this with "adaptive media'

...from Lost Remote:

"The video search company Blinkx is expected to debut a new ad network next week that uses speech recognition to target ads in video clips. With “AdHoc,” advertisers will be able to buy keywords that trigger their ads whenever those words are spoken. Not just pre-roll and mid-roll ads, Blinkx will offer lower-third ads or display ads that appear around the player. Video publishers who join the network can integrate the ad serving on their own sites.

Google and others are also working on similar technology, but it looks like Blinkx will be first to market. This is a major development in the online advertising space, and certainly worth watching very closely."

June 20, 2007

Free color process filters for FCP

from Little Frog in High Def: "Patrick Sheffield (a regular at the Apple FCP, Motion and Shake forums) created a set of plug-ins that color treat your footage in various ways."

Patrick adds: " There has been a bit of chatter in the VFX community about the visual effects and film look that Martin Scorsese used in The Aviator, a lot centered around the Two Strip and Three Strip Technicolor processes emulated in the film. I did not use the same techniques described (barely) in the Aviator site, but further research on the Wide Screen Museum's Technicolor pages led me to a far simpler implementation."

The links to The Aviator site are worth looking at if you haven't already.

June 19, 2007

Debating religion

Debates on religion have been held around the country recently, including ones between Al Sharpton and neo-neo-con Christopher Hitchens (more now available from the NYPL), between Sam Harris and Chris Hedges (full A/V at Truthdig), and between Hitchens & Hedges.

Al Sharpton and Christopher Hitchens in NYC

Sam Harris and Chris Hedges, Part 4, in LA

Hitchens & Hedges in Berkeley

June 18, 2007

Premiere Express powers YouTube Remix

from NewTeeVee...

"Last Friday YouTube rolled out its new on-site editing service, YouTube Remixer, powered by Adobe Premiere Express. ...YouTube Remixer is exactly the same as Photobucket’s Remixer (previous coverage here), except that Photobucket launched theirs back in February and it has far more features."

It's not nearly as good as Windows Movie Maker or iMovie, and you have upload to an error prone server, but it would allow someone to make a mashup from stuff they got from the net. I remember liking Jumpcut better, but it's been awhile.

Mashable says they've covered other web-based video mixers including Gotoit’s PowerSuite, Mojiti and Eyespot.

AE to C4D: another approach

from Motionographer:
"Some of you may be familiar with Paul Tuersley’s excellent scripts allowing for the importation of cameras and other objects from After Effects into Cinema 4D. But sometimes your workflow calls for a different approach. Eric Henry has developed a clever process for importing the animation data of objects and/or cameras into Cinema 4D from After Effects."
...continue at AE to C4D: A new (more comprehensive) solution.

Review and approval

Clients might don't always understand the importance of linking comments to movie times! Adobe's Clip Notes is useful for annotation of comments but people I know find QT Movie NoteTaker (Mac/Win) easier. It opens anything QuickTime can, and there's no need "doing window burns, waiting hours for renders, making DVDs, spending hours encoding, and then there’s the hassle of the review process -- having to continually hit pause on a DVD remote and write down the timecode you see on the screen."

If you just want to share a few files and use those annotations programs -- and don't have the budget for a service or webspace to store them -- you could also use file sharing services like Xdrive, SeeFile, and YouSendIt, although privacy terms may vary. It's also possible to make videos private at video sharing sites like YouTube.

There's a number of new services to do review and approval, among others tasks, including: Xprove, CineSync, FilmFlip, PIXSytem, MediaBatch, and MESoft. Studio Daily has a new short sketch about another system, pictured above: Create a Reliable and High-Res Review Session with Skype and syncVUEpro.

June 12, 2007

Puppet Masters...to ship soon

No it's not the Donald Sutherland movie in which the President receives instructions from implants. No, two tutorials showed up on the new Puppet Tool in AE 8 (CS3).

Bob Donlon shows how he animated a bird extracted from a still in Photo 2 Life. He might have used new tools in Photoshop: see Russell Brown's tips on the new Quick Select, Refine Edge, and Clone Source features. Bob also dropped the news that the PuppetTool will ship in a few weeks, which seemed likely now that you can order the Adobe Master Collection.

Also, in a guerilla tutorial on Youtube, M dot Strange (featured on KQED's Spark after his Sundance success) proclaims: Puppet Tool in Adobe After Effects CS3: Best thing eveR. An interesting comment on the Strange blog pointed to earlier work on shape manipulation (see the worm animation above).

Track video use across web

from NewTeeVee: Vidmetrix: Epidemiology for Viral Videos

"...the new Vidmetrix system tracks the views and interactions viewers are having with videos on the web...visualizing the traffic your videos are getting over time. The tool is best for videomakers who have content scattered across a variety of sites...you can track any videos (not just your own) so it’s also useful to see how popular videos 'go viral.'"

Searching and keeping track of online video is crazy, but Online Video Guide gives it a shot.

Color needs correction?

Apple's Color is the subject of more critical commentary at both Red User (via HD4ND) and Prolost (whose Colorista could gain from Apple missteps).

Live Docs

Adobe apps have a Help system, but there's also web versions called LiveDocs that give you Help as well as a list of resources and new features. To find them just go to the Help Resource Center, pick an app, then click on LiveDocs. The advantage of these is they are continually refined and updated by Adobe. Also, when you're at a LiveDocs site, like the one for AE8, you can easily Go to the Photoshop LiveDoc via the pulldown menu in the left pane.

Incidentally, you can suggest revisions or just add information on any of the topics by posting comments directly onto the LiveDocs pages.

Music of the spherical particles

I wanted to check out the new YouTube embed player, where the menu button reveals a Dock-like UI for related movies. So here are video demos of Chladni (intense example here) and cymatic patterns showing how a sound vibration effects media (powders) through a substrate. The form the sound takes depends on the nature of the media and reveals the nodal structure of the substrate from which particular tones emerge. Chladni patterns are still used in in musical instrument research; the best cymatics examples don't seem to be on the web right now, except a sample of Han Jenny at bottom.

LA/NYC Premiere Pro User Group

Aanarav Sareen and Jacob Rosenberg are re-launching the Premiere Pro User Group, this time in Los Angles and New York City. If you are in the NYC area, join them for the first meeting on Tuesday June 26.

The LA event is on June 19th.

June 11, 2007

Custom particles with no hands

If you don't have the Trapcode filters, several built-in AE filters let you do custom particles based on other layers in your comp, if you consider Foam, Radio Waves, and the like particle generators. The Genesis Project shares a CC Particle World example project and gives you the project. Particle World and CC Particle Systems II are both way faster than Particle Playground (there are several Creative Cow tutorials for PP), but it's still faster to pre-render the custom layer down to near the size of the particles.

In a simpler project, Jim Tierney shows you how to Create Confetti in After Effects 6.5 with AE’s CC Particle World Plug-in. Cycore has since improved many of the controls in the newer version, CycoreFX HD.

Update: see the tag particles and check for some of the many Particle World tutorials by Andrew Kramer.

June 7, 2007

Photoshop Plugin for Google 3D Warehouse

I'm still trying to ignore Google StreetView, so here's this from CGIndia, a nice resource for 3D and related news:

There's now a Photoshop CS3 Extended plug-in for the Google 3D Warehouse (SketchUp models), enabling Photoshop CS3 Extended users to take further the toolset for editing 3D content. With the plug-in, users will be able to query and download free 3D content from the Google 3D Warehouse, Google’s free online repository for 3D models and content, directly within Photoshop CS3 Extended. 3D Content then can be placed, manipulated and used in composites with the new 3D tools in Photoshop CS3 Extended. The plug-in is available for from Adobe Labs.

June 6, 2007

Multidimensional photos

From TED: using photos scraped from around the Web, Blaise Aguera y Arcas of Microsoft shows Photosynth and Seadragon creating amazing multidimensional spaces with zoom and navigation features.

Also compelling is venture capitalist John Doerr on climate change and investment in technology.

Innovation in web video players

Innovation in web video players, and meta-players, is covered in recent articles, with CinemaTech providing a short survey:

CinemaTech, An Emerging Issue: Capturing and Storing Flash Video
New TeeVee, Break.com’s Innovative New Video Player
Beet.TV, Adobe is Not "Real" Postive about Real Network's New Video Player
Beet.TV, (an original Flash developer) Allaire of Brightcove on Real's "Illegal Piracy"

Break.com's player below is pretty cool and goes way past Veoh's recent innovation, although Break doesn't replicate Veoh's OSX-Dock-like navigation bar:

The Video Player - Watch more free videos

June 5, 2007

Filters on video in Photoshop CS3

Off the record, on the QT, and very hush-hush...Photoshop CS3 isn't a wonder at video quite yet! To apply a filter to all the frames of a video clip you have to convert the layer to a Smart Object, Filter>Convert to Smart Filter does the trick. Now an applied filter works on all frames.

The saved file will play inside of Photoshop CS3 but not in AE8, at least with the beta version. To see more than frame 1, you can then Save to Web for animated gif exports (as seen here with the Negative Layer Style preset), or use File>Export>Render Video.

I'm not aware of a way to get filters to animate but Layer Styles will, and they don't have to be Smart Objects if you don't resize. Just click the layer's twirly in the Animation palette and click the Styles keyframe button, then maybe move to another time and click on a style in the Styles palette. You don't have to export/render applied Styles, just save the PSD movie clip, import into AE and animate there too.

Update: Motionworks has a video tutorial showing a method using the Filmstrip format, which I used to hate because it would get corrupted easily. Looks like it's not as fragile now.

Update 2: I was reminded of Philipp-Spoeth's free Retrodots and the Halftone filter in Pete Warden's free filters when I happened upon a Japanese AE blog.

June 4, 2007

Free script for getting from AE to Cinema 4D

As noted by Toolfarm and General Specialist, Paul Tursley posted a new script for transferring data from AE to Cinema 4D over at AEnhancers.com, along with an explanation of the script's group-enabled development:

"It's taken a while, but I've finally posted an update to the AEtoC4D scripts...This version exports normal AE cameras, nulls to show the position of other layers, the comp frame rate, duration and start frame. It exports the position of any 2D/3D layer, so you can export things like motion track or motion sketch data too."

A Fair(y) Use Tale

A Fair(y) Use Tale, by Professor Eric Faden of Bucknell University, is a humorous & informative review of copyright principles delivered through the words of the very folks we can thank for nearly endless copyright terms (mp4 hosted at Stanford Law School).

Another similar view is given in
The Disney Trap: How Copyright Steals our Stories.

Also noted by The Center for Internet and Society at Stanford: Marilyn Monroe In The Public Domain

June 3, 2007

Buffalos rescue their baby from lions

Not much on AE lately, but here's a great video of a battle over a baby buffalo between a pride of lions, a herd of buffalo, and 2 crocodiles at a watering hole in South Africa's Kruger National Park.

June 2, 2007

Depending on corn and other biotech

From UC Berkeley's Webcast series, Michael Pollan, UC Berkeley Professor of Journalism, discusses his new book, The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals. "What should we have for dinner? According to Michael Pollan the answer may determine our survival as a species." The first blurb on the role of corn is fascinating.

Whole Foods
has made nice with Pollan in another UC webcast with powerful content on food production. By the way, Whole Foods has their own video blog called Secret Ingredient.

Food choice connects to deeper questions involving complex systems, risk perception, ecosystem sustainability, and democratic control over technology, some of which were discussed at a Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology by Edward Woodhouse (QT) of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. As a reminder, stay away from current batches of Chinese toothpaste and other possible sources of additives that the FDA is having trouble evaluating.