April 30, 2008

Adobe Media Player tracks downloadable media

Mike Hudack, CEO and co-founder of Blip.tv, says Adobe Media Player "solves the critical issue of tracking the viewership of downloaded files in Beet.TV's Adobe Media Player is a "Huge Step Forward" In the Tracking of Downloadable Media.

There was talk of a break-up but it looks like he just won't let go:

Update: Adobe Media Player: Understanding the structure of the RSS feed.

April 29, 2008

Running the Numbers: An American Self-Portrait

Although posted by John Nack and profiled by Bill Moyers in an interesting video last year, this is from Chris Jordan's Running the Numbers: An American Self-Portrait:

Cell Phones, 2007 (60x100") depicts 426,000 cell phones, equal to the number of cell phones retired in the US every day (end picture is actual size).

Chris Jordan: "Statistics can feel abstract and anesthetizing, making it difficult to connect with and make meaning of 3.6 million SUV sales in one year, for example, or 2.3 million Americans in prison, or 410,000 paper cups used every fifteen minutes. This project visually examines these vast and bizarre measures of our society, in large intricately detailed prints assembled from thousands of smaller photographs. The underlying desire is to emphasize the role of the individual in a society that is increasingly enormous, incomprehensible, and overwhelming."

The Grip Guide

The Grip Guide, produced by Pixel Corps TV, is a video podcast that covers essential information you'd need to work on a film set. Shows so far have covered lights, cables, clips, clamps, and stands.

Security apps for Linux, Mac, Windows

ArsTechnica looks at Five important security apps for Linux, Mac OS X and Windows.

If you're using Windows they probably won't stop Microsoft collaboration-ware USB-based COFEE.

April 28, 2008

SF lecture "Matchmove: Front of the Pipeline"

Join Tippett Studio's Kirk Larkins for his free lecture, "Matchmove: Front of the Pipeline."

Saturday, May 10, 11:00am
San Francisco State Downtown Campus
RSVP online

SFSU Multimedia Studies Program
Westfield San Francisco Shopping Centre,
835 Market Street, 6th Floor
across from the cable car turnaround @ Powell Street BART/Muni Station

Also, Mike Seymour and Mark Christiansen discuss the visual effects in The Spiderwick Chronicle on the VFX Show.

April 24, 2008

NAB 2008 on Adobe TV

Clips from NAB 2008 have been posted on Adobe TV, which is available at tv.adobe.com or within the Adobe Media Player channel. Here's a sneak peak technology preview presented by product manager for Adobe Production Premium, Hart Shafer. It's better viewed elsewhere since the embed code only allows resizes the viewing area of the player not the video:

Final Cut FAQs

Shane Ross of Little Frog in High Def has posted 3 parts of "the ULTIMATE FCP FAQ" for Creative Cow (that's the Cow's phrasing). Shane notes 'Another great place to find answers to frequently asked questions is the FCP FAQ "corral" at LAFCPUG.'

AE tutorials from Artbeats & Maltaannon

Author Angie Taylor is back with After Effects tutorials that you can subscribe to via RSS feed on Blip.tv or Adobe Media Player. Below is "Blooming Marvellous." You can order the full tutorial on DVD from Artbeats (which has tutorials by others too); when registering check the box that reads "I want the Artbeats Resource Disc."

Update: Artbeats has expanded from the PDF tutorials by Chris and Trish Meyer, with video tutorials from the DVD, which include ones by Brian Maffitt and Aharon Rabinowitz.

Update 2: Maltaannon posted "Flashlight Titles," a downloadable tutorial which uses Trapcode Lux, Shine, Starglow, and his CE PixelSampler to create a title sequence.

April 23, 2008

SF Cutters NAB Wrapup Panel, April 24

The next meeting is the NAB Wrap-up Panel, on April 24, 6:30 - 10:00 pm at Adobe in San Francisco. Pre-paid tickets are required and available online.

Guests to include:
Alex Lindsay of Pixelcorps and dvGarage, and producer of some of the most successful podcasts around -- MacBreak, TWIT, Inside the Black Box, etc...
Adam Wilt returns to share his insights and comparisons of his journey thru the halls of NAB.
Kevan O'Brien of Adobe Systems will address Adobe innovations.
Philip Hodgetts will be moderating the panel and engaging us with new developments in KlickTab.

Plus, Todd Prives, product manager at GenArts, will present the Sapphire FxPlugs for Motion and Final Cut Pro. Paul Kalbach will do a short demo on Mini Lite Panels, and there may be a visit from BlackMagic Design. Plus, Nanette Rosen will do a presentation on acquiring great on-location audio and her favorite inexpensive or free audio editing software.

Here's a glimpse at future meetings:

May 29
• Steve Martin of Rippletraining (You can see Steve on a recent episode of MacBreak Studio: http://www.pixelcorps.tv/macbreak131)
• Wes Plate of Automatic Duck
• Vickie deMay new SCI FI Feature

June 26
• Tom Wolsky of SouthCoast Productions, ClassonDemand and National Podcasting System…
• Gary Coates Color Grader:
• Jay Boekelheide filmmaker "Valley of the Heart's Delight"
• Kevin O'Brien editor of this years Oscar winning short film "Peter and the Wolf"

July 31
•Dr. Sassi will demo C4D and FCP workflow.

Aug 28
• Eric Escobar - filmaker
• Larry Jordan - FCP guru

April 20, 2008

Stroke of insight: Jill Bolte Taylor on TED

Here's presentation from TED Talks 2008 by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, a neuroanatomist whose stroke showed her a place of peace in her own mind and inspiration to connect the two spheres of science and spirit. It's important to note that while she claims that humans are the life force of the universe, it might be instead that we are a manifestation of a field, a creation.

These sorts of insights might be important to the couple hundred thousand veterans dealing with mental issues and brain injuries.

Update: There's been a system-wide breakdown in the way the government treats injured soldiers and veterans. A March report that 60,000+ Iraq, Afghanistan Vets Diagnosed With PTSD has already been eclipsed by a RAND report of 300, 000.

This was the topic of the April 22 special on Pacifica radio, National Special on Wounded Veterans Lawsuit, which is now archived. It was hosted by Aaron Glantz, author of the upcoming book The War Comes Home: Washington’s Battle Against America’s Veterans (UC Press).

Update 2: Comments are great but book adverts, not so much.

April 19, 2008

Million dollar look on $1000 budget

There's video of the NAB Super Session "Million Dollar Look on a Thousand Dollar Budget" which included Stu Maschwitz and others (background on Production Values):

April 18, 2008

MacVideo, NAB, HDR master

Picking among the scraps...

- MacVideo.tv has a hefty number of informative videos, including recent ones from NAB.
- fxguide has podcasts and fxguideTV from NAB
- Google talk from the Grandmaster of HDRI, Paul Debevec:

Playing With Expectations

FXRant posted a thoughtful piece on Playing With Expectations (and the 180 degree rule). Here's an excerpt:

I love filmmakers who don't feel the need to sink their film to the lowest common denominator; filmmakers who, even within the context of a blockbuster-type film, give their audience a bit of credit for their intelligence. These writers and directors accept the fact that they are working within a framework of expectations - not simply the expectations of the traditional Hollywood narrative structure, but genre-specific elements for which audiences have become accustomed.
The "Casino Royale," "MI3" and "Ratatouille" clips are examples of intelligent screenwriters playing with the expectations of a clever audience. Of course, this technique of toying with cliches and turning them into something more interesting only works in the hands of truly innovative filmmakers."

See the rest at FXRant.

April 17, 2008

Segway steadicam again

NAB pics from Lost Remote...

Segway steadicams were around again:

Plus, a Mini Cooper satellite dish

Update: from Beet.TV, Customized Segway is a Big Hit on the Show Floor at NAB

Graphic Design: The New Basics

Motionographer notes a new book, Graphic Design: The New Basics by Ellen Lupton and Jennifer Cole Phillips, and its companion website (although it lacks actual motion media in the sections on motion and time). Lupton is co-author with Abbott Miller of my favorite design book, Design Writing Research: Writing on Graphic Design, edging out even Paul Rand: A Designer's Art.

Lupton's blog is also named Design Writing Research, which recommends Design Sponge as a trend-spotting resource.

Also noteworthy for actual movies (via Motionographer) is The Art of the Title Sequence.

New AE filters: FxFactory & DA FLUIDZ

Excerpts from Chris & Trish Meyer's report from NAB:

"...porting FxFactory to Adobe After Effects. They are working on a shell which will allow FxPlug effects to run inside After Effects, which they expect to be ready in about two months. We’re very curious to try this out for ourselves, both to check out their effects and also to see what sort of performance penalty there will be running them inside of After Effects - hopefully not much. We talked to at least one other FxPlug effect manufacturer who indicated that if they worked, they would use it to port their own effects over to After Effects."

Digital Anarchy has licensed technology from SpeedSix Software Limited and announced a new FLUIDZ effect set for Adobe After Effects and Premiere Pro. FLUIDZ uses 2D fluid dynamic simulations to create fire, water, smoke, and vapor-based effects."

Go to Creating Motion Graphics for the full story.

Adobe Media Player analytics

Beet.TV discusses Adobe Media Player analytics (or tracking) in Big Breakthough: Adobe Tracks Consumption of Downloaded Video:

April 16, 2008

Tim Robbins' NAB keynote speech

Tim Robbins' NAB keynote speech was funny and serious, and criticized the broadcast industry focus on fluff. Robbins could be wrong -- maybe we aren't better than that!

Anyway, there are various versions of the speech available now:

- AR&D's Media Reinvent shot a big screen on a $100 Flip camera.
- Tim posted audio and text on Huffington Post.
- Ad Age has audio in Hear the Six Best Minutes of Tim Robbins' Controversial NAB Speech.

Robbins had much more to say than Ad Age gives you, but they do hint at background details. Lost Remote gave more background in a live-blog.

Update: There a few more... Broadcasting & Cable has an article and the mp3, and TV Worth Watching has more.

April 15, 2008

Video metadata is key to web future

As mentioned earlier, Adobe announced transcription of video and audio files for CS4 (something that Google and Blinkx are also attempting). On Beet.TV, Adobe strategist Mark Randall says, Video Indexing is the Key to the Future of the Web.

Beet.TV live from NAB

Beet.TV is broadcasting live and on-demand from NAB (albeit with some live echo). Check Beet.TV or Mogulus/Beet for times and recordings.

With millions of people starving it's hard to believe that technology is the great equalizer, as a Nokia personality asserts in one interview, but there is some other interesting stuff. By the way, I am now one of the billion overweight ones who should give to the 800 million starving.

'King Corn' on PBS tonight

The documentary King Corn is on Independent Lens on most PBS channels tonight, April 15.

Here's an interview (part 1 of 3) from Food News with King Corn filmmaker Curt Ellis:

Food News also talked with Michael Pollan about his new book In Defense of Food. Here's part 1 of 4:

Growing 3D Vines in AE

In a fun development, Maltaannon riffs off of VideoCopilot's Growing 3D Vines (done in 3D Studio and AE, and itself a variation) just to show that it was possible to do some things in After Effects alone. He says, "The final result is not perfect, but since the tutorial already takes about 50 minutes I decided not to focus on the visual side so much, just the basic idea behind this technique."

Encode & download YouTube MP4

Google Operating System (which often looks at YouTube) explains how to Download YouTube Videos as MP4 Files, while Brian Gary explains aspects of encoding in YouTube Encoding: Locked & Reloaded at Ken Stone's FCP website.

Previous tips link, including (YouTube Tricks & Hacks) are here.

Update: By the way, you can submit FLVs that won't be reencoded if they are less than 250 kbs; set the upper limit to 246 since some encoders are often not exact.

The higher quality MP4s (AVC) are created at around 600 kbps (up from 350), 480x360 progressive, with AAC stereo 44.1 Khz at around 120 kbps.

Premiere Pro 3.2 update with XDCAM

Dave Helmey expounds on XDCAM support in the new PPro update with a workflow videos and more in XDCAM and Premiere Pro 3.2.

April 14, 2008

Adobe announces CinemaDNG +more

An AdobeCine app and a new CSX wide color model would be cool...

Adobe "today announced that it plans to lead an initiative to define an industry-wide open file format for digital cinema files to streamline workflows and help ensure easy archiving and exchange. Adobe intends to leverage its successful Digital Negative Specification (DNG) file format as a foundation, and Adobe plans to work with a broad coalition of leading camera manufacturers, including Panavision, Silicon Imaging, Dalsa, Weisscam, and ARRI—along with software vendors, including Iridas and The Foundry, and codec provider CineForm—to define the requirements for an open, publicly documented file format that it plans to call CinemaDNG."

And from Wired: 'Adobe Product Manager for After Effects, Michael Coleman, tells Wired.com that “Adobe is working with the camera manufacturers to design the format to ensure that it can be used as a capture phase.” Coleman says that the company believes that “would be the ideal workflow,” and also added that Adobe is “planning a conversion solution for cameras that don’t support it.”

While CinemaDNG is theoretical for the moment, and Adobe hasn’t set a timeframe for it’s release, the company did say that it plans to support the CinemaDNG format in future releases of After Effects and Premiere Pro.'

Sounds like a good idea, and I hope it can even go beyond a bit into the Stu Maschwitz idea of a Universal Color Metadata format:

Update: CNET adds, "Separately, Adobe will give a preview at NAB 2008 of technology that automatically transcribes the audio track of a video file. For editors, this will allow them to more quickly find passages within a clip based on a text read-out of the audio. The output of the video-editing software will also include that transcribed information.

As a result, viewers of a Web video will be able to search on terms to find a specific location within a video. For example, a person could search a CNET video review for a product name and a specific feature, such as camera zoom. Adobe will demonstrate the feature on a version of its Soundbooth audio-editing product under development and on Premiere Pro... The transcription information will be stored in XMP (Extensible Metadata Platform), another format developed by Adobe. 'We keep saying that metadata is the most important thing happening in our industry and we want to prove it,' said Hayhurst.

In other announcements, Adobe will announce that it is now natively supporting Sony's XDCAM EX tapeless video file format in its Creative Suite 3 video-editing tools."

NewBlue Cartoonr filters free

NewBlue, Inc. is offering a free plug-in, NewBlue Cartoonr, to "toon up" live-action video with a cartoon look. There's versions for many common desktop video apps at the NewBlue Cartoonr page. (via)

NAB 2008 news resources

General Specialist summarized NAB2008 news resources. I can only add the Pro Video Coalition metablog, Beet.TV, and NewTeeVee as general sources.

April 10, 2008

New Red Giant and Trapcode filters

from MacNN:

"Red Giant Software has announced it will show five new products at the upcoming NAB convention in Las Vegas, including Trapcode Horizon, Instant HD Pro, Radium Glow, Magic Bullet Steady, and Primatte Keyer Pro 4. Trapcode Horizon is a new plug-in designed specifically for After Effects users doing 3D work. Due in the second quarter of 2008, the plugin is designed to help video editors match the camera with any virtual background, enabling the generation of motion in 3D in a true 3D space."

Peder Norrby of Trapcode will demo Horizon in the Red Giant booth (SL2128A in the Plug-In Pavillion) at these times: Monday April 14th, 2pm & Wednesday April 16th, 2pm.

Red Giant also has an annual NAB Special giving you 30% on ANY product in their entire store; offer expires Sunday, April 20, 2008 (12 am Eastern). Use this Coupon Code, NAB2008.

Also, Motionworks has a 17-minute video tutorial on the basics of Magic Bullet Frames.

Clouds of Alien Judgment (slight return)

...a reprise from 1-1-07, also from John Nack: "In case you missed an earlier link posted in the comments, check out these rather amazing lenticular clouds." Be sure to scroll all the way down for the full effect!

There are more cloud and sky phenomena pictures at Valuca and The Cloud Appreciation Society. Below are mammatus clouds and a condensation cloud from a jet flying near the speed of sound.

The Secret Life of Smart Filters

Since Adobe didn't go with an After Effects model, I still have a grudge against Smart Filters. Happily, in John Nack's celebration of his 1,000th blog post he mentioned one I missed:

The Secret Life of Smart Filters

New slideshow filters for AE, free bonus

There's now an After Effects version of ImageFlow (Mac OS X only), a tool for creating photo montages and slideshows from folders of images directly from the timeline. ImageFlow can save some users hours from manually animating still images.

Also, two of the plug-ins are free to keep if you install the demo version; both "Continuous Random Pan" and "Image Filmstrip" do not have any expiration or watermark. Full details are at Coremelt's website.

CoreMelt plans to demo at NAB with partner Noise Industries at the Plug-in Pavillion, booth SL2128H.

YouTube Tricks & Hacks

Will Video for Food posted a summary of YT hints in Top Secret YouTube Tricks & Hacks. (via)

Update: O'Reilly Digital Media posted additional tips in Hi-Res YouTube Hacks, though they appear to lack knowledge of QuickTime.

April 9, 2008

New Digieffects AE filters

Digieffects announced that it will introduce the Natural Forces and Simulate filter sets for After Effects at NAB 2008.

The Natural Forces series debuts with Natural Forces: Vapor and Natural Forces: Aqua -- both with a retail price of $99. Natural Forces: Vapor is a collection designed around the creation of clouds, fog, haze and smoke. Natural Forces: Aqua is focused on various forms of weather and water effects.

The first two packages in the Simulate series are Simulate: Illuma and Simulate: Camera, which provide practical lighting and camera filter effects for a variety of visual applications.

AE Camera Basics

There are at least a few free video tutorials that show you the basics of using the 3D camera in After Effects. Here's a couple:

The Fox Classics Promo tutorial by John Dickinson.

Be A Good Parent To A Camera by Alan Shisko.

Working with Null Objects in AE by Aharon Rabinowitz.

Andrew Kramer has one too, somewhere...maybe iTunes.

Articles by Trish & Chris Meyer -- Camera Control, Part 1: Auto-Orient & Orbit and Camera Control, Part 2: Graph Editor & Dolly Rigs; plus a video, After Effects Apprentice Video Tutorial #7: Manipulating 3D cameras as well as views.

Even more 3D basics can be found at 3D made easy in After Effects CS3 by Steve Whatley, AE LiveDocs and the After Effects Design Center.

April 8, 2008

Adobe TV launches with Media Player

Adobe TV launches with Adobe Media Player today. Adobe TV rounds up various blog and marketing content with the stuff from the Adobe Video Workshop.

Adobe Media Player is limited in UI and ability compared to some Flash-based players or other technologies like the K-Multimedia Player or QuickTime, but Adobe is trying out revenue sharing, ad support, DRM, usage data etc. As discussed in previous posts, most of the features are for back-end developers, but there is a partnership with Blip.TV that provides an easy way to generate a custom channel with a MRSS feed. Also, there's already a code-oriented feed tutorial shown by Tiago.

There should be much more on this soon from the usual suspects; for now Deeje Cooley has a summary in Internet TV: Redefining "Media Player".

Update: Beet.Tv has an interview in which "Adobe's Kevin Towes explains about file size, bit and byte rates of Flash files and how the new application provides a means to download and save large files. For an in depth review of AMP, check out this post by Michael Calore in Wired."

SF Cutters to host NAB Wrapup Panel

SF Cutters to host an NAB Wrapup Panel
Thursday, April 24, 2008 6:30 pm PT - 10:00 pm PT
at Adobe in San Francisco

Guests to include:

Alex Lindsay of Pixelcorps and dvGarage, and producer of some of the most successful podcasts around -- MacBreak, TWIT, Inside the Black Box, etc...
Adam Wilt returns to share his insights and comparisons of his journey thru the halls of NAB.
Kevan O'Brien of Adobe Systems will address Adobe innovations.
Philip Hodgetts will be moderating the panel and engaging us with new developments in KlickTab.

Plus, Todd Prives, Product Manager of GenArts, will present the Sapphire FxPlugs for Motion and Final Cut Pro.

April 6, 2008

AE filters for completists

For completists, there's some After Effects plug-in news.

The Method Artist is quasi-officially announcing a set of After Effects plug-ins based on the procedural video effects in his blog.

Also, Paul Cady of The Verstehen Video Project has a filter for using Sony Vegas and finishing in AE. To help automate the process, he developed a plug-in that reads in a Vegas EDL file, de-interlaces the footage with the Deinterlace Blend technique, creates easy-to-adjust (color correction mostly) comps from the deinterlaced footage, & finally inserts the deinterlaced, color correction footage into the Vegas timeline.

3D Panorama AE script

Video Copilot noted an older script by Paul Tuersley of AEnhancers that converts a panoramic image into a 3D cylinder that can be used as a background in a 3D composition.\

Update: see more in Panoramas in After Effects.