May 30, 2008

CS3 crossgrade discount for FCP owners


the Adobe store might be offering a nice crossgrade discount on the CS3 Production Premium to owners of Final Cut after 9 pm on June 1, 2008.

Update: It looks like already a mail-in rebate for US$500 off Production Premium or US$300 off Adobe Premiere Pro for Avid Liquid, Liquid Pro, and Avid Xpress users.

Use iPod Nano settings for Zune

I like Zune fine but it's not better than the iPod and iTunes (read about MS strategically innovating off Apple Spotlight search for a parallel). The navigation is not quite as easy and the software and the way it works with the hardware is still kludgy, despite having a few features up on iTunes. Integration with WiMP was expected, but the new app is more unwieldy, maybe do to DRM concerns.

You can get around not having shows on Zune marketplace by using iTunes to subscribe and download and set Zune software to pick up the files from the iTunes folder. That idea is sorta obvious but you can find real tips via CNET's Crave or Lifehacker, who pick news and tips from Zune fan sites.

In any case, if you're exporting video for the smaller Zune, you can use the iPod Nano preset found in many utilities.

May 29, 2008

Adam Wilt's P2 Purge utility

DV maestro Adam Wilt of ProVideoCoalition's Camera Log shared his utility on the SF Cutters list:

Question: "Once the P2 files are imported into FCP, is there a way to quickly delete the original P2 files (.mvx, or whatever they are) without having to unlock each one individually?"

Answer: "I have an Applescript droplet called 'P2Purge' designed expressly for this: it'll unlock and erase the file hierarchy on a P2 card (leaving the folder structure and an empty LASTCLIP.TXT file), then eject it. It can also be set up to allow folder purging for on-disk copies of P2 cards.

Use at your own risk: no warranty of fitness or suitability; professional driver on closed course; files in mirror are bigger than they appear; P2Purge is not intended for the operation of nuclear reactors, air traffic control, avionics, medical equipment, or other life-critical systems; etc."

And if you're feeling especially technically competent, Adam still has his FXScript filters available; he mentions these every once in awhile in articles.

SF Cutters: Duck, Adobe, Ripple, Final Cut Server

SF Cutters are meeting tonight, Thursday May 29, with guests that include:

Wes Plate of Automatic Duck: "NEW Pro Export FCP 4.0"
Steve Martin, Ripple Training: "Soundtrack Pro and more"
Vicki de Mey, Robert Strong, Jeff Chang: "The Dead Sleep"
Kris Koch, Advanced Systems Group "Final Cut Server"
Kevan O'Brien, Adobe Systems "Adobe Media Encoder: Flash to Blue-Ray"

The event is at Adobe SF so you have to pre-register and see the details!

What Frank has learned at Avid

Studio Daily notes What Frank has learned at Avid, thus far. Avid's new frankness is via a new Avid product designer, Frank Capria of Xprove, FinalCutPro-List, ProVideoCoalition, Capria.TV, etc.

Frank's new Avid blog is Source / Record.

May 28, 2008

Trapcode on Horizon

Peder Norrby, the person behind Trapcode, announced the release of a new After Effects filter on the AE list:

"Trapcode Horizon is a 3D camera-aware background gradient and image mapping tool for AE7 and higher. It is the perfect companion to the other 3D plugs from Trapcode such as Particular and Form, etc. USD 99. More info, examples, trial download here:"

There's a somewhat redder look at Horizon on the Red Giant Software site.

Update: On the AE-list, Jonas Hummelstrand asks, 'I can't see how "Horizon" differs from "Environment" that is included with Cycore FX HD? (Environment example movie) From the Cycore manual:
"Environment is a filter that enables the use of Spherical Map (Latitude-Longitude), Light Probe (Angular Map) and Vertical Cross images as environments in compositions, similar to 3D programs, where an AE comp camera is present and active. HDR images are supported for all three formats. When a camera's transform parameters have been animated, you'll appear to be looking around in the envi- ronment. Includes controls for horizontal panning and texture filtering. This effect would typically be applied to a solid layer the same size as the composition.'

May 22, 2008

3D Earths

Maltaannon has joined the ring of 3D Earth tutorials with the variously titled Advanced 3D Planets / 3D Solar System. He plans to create a to-scale solar system in 3D that you could fly through, so the 3D Earth tutorial is just a small piece of the bigger project, which would also be one of his CustomEffects.

Jonas Hummelstrand (with map and texture links), The Genesis Project with help from Aharon Rabinowitz, and Andrew Kramer also have planet Earth tutorials with projects. Kramer's Video CoPilot has a variety of planet and related tutorials with projects. Earth zooms are also popular and tutorials are provided by Video CoPilot and Digital Arts.

There are many more of these sorts of tutorials, even by NASA using their own images, and some for Google Earth Pro.

Neat Video, a noise reduction filter

Forgot to add this one to the list...

Neat Video has a noise reduction plug-in for After Effects, Premiere, VirtualDub that provides "the most accurate video noise reduction currently available" using device noise profiles to reduce sensor noise, as well as reducing visible grain and compression artifacts.

Sounds good, though I haven't tried it, some Photoshop users seem to prefer it to Grain Surgery, the basis of the Reduce Noise filter built into AE.

Flash H.264 fast start, fees

As mentioned earlier, Adobe notes: "One important thing about playing an H.264 video file as progressive download is that the moov atom needs to be located at the beginning of the file, or else the entire file will have to be downloaded before it begins playing." You can fix this with QTIndexSwapper (an Adobe AIR app by Renaun Erickson) or with qt-faststart.c (a command-line app by Mike Melanson).

Also, with H.264 licensing fees a concern for some it's interesting to look at why Macromedia didn't choose it initially; terms settled on later by MPEGLA were .02$ per VOD user, with the first 12 minutes for free, and no licensing fees for internet broadcasters as long as users don't pay for viewing. Tinic Uro's post and comments on H.264 has many interesting details on Flash and MP4.

Update: While MSU compared H.264 codec quality (MainConcept beat other participants) you have to dig to find practicals, so if you're interested in quality Fabio Sonnati has pushed Flash to the limit (reported earlier) with low data rates,

"I use a mix of Ffmpeg, x264, Mencoder and Nero AAC. Here some parameters used: 5 reference frames, 5 B-frames, authomatic B-Frames, B-pyramid enabled, adaptive macroblock type, advanced Trellis on, Subq=7, advanced exagon search, deblocking filter with custom alpha e beta parameter, three pass encoding..."

May 19, 2008

Avoiding & curing audio problems

Trish & Chris Meyer have been posting some basic useful audio articles on their Pro Video Coalition blogs:

Q&A: Audio Queries
What’s the Buzz? Curing Audio Problems,
I Can’t Hear You: Correct Audio Connections

Updating (from April 24): Mastering Multimedia has more advice in Great audio starts in the field, plus Jay Rose has been giving good advice from his DV column for years.

History of Editing - more Murch

MacVideo.TV finished posting a new interview series Walter Murch - History of Editing, an overview of editing from the 1960s through Avid and Final Cut experiences.

More Murch resources can be found in Murch's music of the spheres and other previous posts.

May 17, 2008

May 16, 2008

Demystifying Digital Cinema Cameras

FreshDV reposted parts of Panavision's lecture on Demystifying Digital Cinema Camera Specifications. Where else can you hear talk of The Nyquist Theorem and linking optical and digital sampling?

Update: Dylan Pank has some comments on the series over at HD for Indies:

"Basically it boils down to this: Pixel count does not equal resolution because of Modulation Transfer Function, which has an effect at every stage (light through lens, lens to chip, all the way to the projector lens and it hitting the screen in the theatre.) In addition, single sensor bayer cameras are essentially optically 4:2:0 cameras because they record 1/2 the red & blue data compared to the green channel.

I guess you COULD take their claims as a swipe at Red IF..."

The Day There Was No News

Via Reelpop... there's new popular video on Flickr, The Day There Was No News, that was really preceded by something similar on YouTube, as seen below. Both seem less effective than the 90's documentaries Feed and Spin (Tipper Gore was great at the end of Spin), and remind of Harry Shearer's installation Face Time.

Also below is another nugget from the BBC demanding TV fees (via).

Trapcode Horizon preview

Motionworks posted some preview movies of Trapcode's forthcoming filter Horizon.

Update: on May 21 Red Giant had an info page on this filter.

May 14, 2008

A shot across Color's bow

Fini comments on the recent post from ProLost that discusses a filmmaker who used both Colorista and Magic Bullet Looks to finish an entire feature:

"I've found the control surface easily doubles my productivity (you can read my initial experience here). So a 90 minute feature color corrected with a mouse could easily take 5 working days... just for the initial grade. And that's without even getting into establishing a look. And look creation in Color is an exercise in patience + fortitude + luck..."

Update: Fini explicately asked for control surface support in the next version of Magic Bullet; Steve Hullfish has a quick look at the JL Cooper Eclipse panel in his new blog CUT.N.COLOR.

Microsoft's inexpensive multi-touch display

Microsoft TouchWall can inexpensively turn any flat surface into a multi-touch display -- or so says CrunchGear. Microsoft seems to actually be innovating, and with different technology than noted in Microsoft Surface≠Minority Report. There's Techmeme cluster for more discussions...

Update: John Nack notes Flash-based and other multitouch coolness.

What it takes to beat the speed of an 8-core Mac Pro by 50%

from TG Daily, What it takes to beat the speed of an 8-core Mac Pro by 50%:

"Boxx is celebrating its 10 year anniversary this year and in order to celebrate the occasion, the company assembled an ultimate visual effects machine based on Intel’s Skulltrail platform and Core 2 Extreme processors... Boxx will be giving away one these machines at Siggraph 2008. "

May 12, 2008

Get movie files off a DVD

There a bunch of ways to get movie files off a DVD (mostly covered earlier), and they all use conversion unless you can use the VOB files directly. VOB files can be used directly if they aren't encrypted at the DVD replication factory; sometimes you can just import them into an app like Adobe Premiere (rename them to .MPG first) or Avid Liquid. On the Mac, you'd need Final Cut or Apple's QuickTime MPEG-2 Playback Component.

You can also convert the DVD file into some more common format like QuickTime using free apps like these:
MPEG Streamclip (Mac/Win)
HandBrake (Mac/Win)
FFmpegX (Mac)
Super (Win)
MediaCoder (Win)
Premiere Elements trial (Win)

Update: Some people prefer professional apps like Cinematize (Mac/Win) and TMPGEnc 4.0 XPress.

May 9, 2008

Behind the HUD of Ironman

Fxguide has an article on Ironman effects as well as a podcast, Behind the HUD of Ironman, which features Dav Rauch from The Orphanage. Rauch led the team that designed Ironman's Heads Up Display.

Collapsing Windows

Preceding the posts on Flash Wars was Ars Technica's popular From Win32 to Cocoa: a Windows user's conversion to Mac OS X (part 1 here) on the failure of .NET and Vista UI consistency.

Adobe-oriented thoughts on this article come from Ryan Stewart in On Desktop Application Platforms and User Interfaces and from Thermo designer Ethan Eismann in This Screenshot Is My Worst Nightmare (ie, Peter Bright's collection pict of UI variations within Vista).

May 8, 2008

Download YouTube Videos as MP4

Sorta repetitious but still requested... more in a previous post.

Google Operating System noted Download YouTube Videos as MP4 Files, which gives you a bookmarklet script to drag into a browser bookmark bar that you can use to easily grab the mp4 on a YouTube page.

Flash Wars: Adobe in the History and Future of Flash

AppleInsider has a 3 part series (with lively comments) on the jockeying for control over the mobile, Web, and desktop platforms; see a previous post on platform plays for background.

The articles ignore Silverlight/Live Mesh, Google, and JavaFX for the most part; here's something new in JavaFX from the conference in San Francisco via RIA pundit Ryan Stewart:

Update: Slashdot reports on "a Javascript port of the Processing Visualization Language and a first step towards Javascript being a rival to Flash for online graphics content." ...and Create Digital Motion provides additional background and realism.

May 7, 2008

Adobe technology sneak peeks

Who knew that the Magic Wand Tool would become compositing's Holy Grail?

John Nack shared links for 2 sessions of Adobe's 2008 Fiancial Analysts Meeting where some new technology (maybe CS4) was shown. The After Effects part was in session 2 around the 27 minute mark, but look for the button to reveal the transcript cue list.

Earlier sneak peaks were noted here in NAB 2008 on Adobe TV and Flash CS4: IK, curve editor, 3D postcards, XML, plus Technology sneak: InDesign -> Flash.

Update: Older but here's a peak of Thermo, a forthcoming Adobe design tool, mentioned earlier with official sneak peek video.

Profiling color & converting to 32bpc in Photoshop

Brendan Bolles of fnord software is back with a coupla posts on color space and Photoshop:
Converting to 32bpc in Photoshop Without Altering Pixels and Making a Linear ICC Profile.

May 5, 2008

SF Photoshop User Group - Tuesday, May 6

from John Nack:

"Tuesday marks the first San Francisco meeting of the San Francisco Bay Area Photoshop Users Group.  According to the Evite, here's what's planned:

Photoshop Power Users with Kelly McCathran: In this session we will wow you with some new hot features and double wow you with some little known and under utilized tools... Adobe Bridge: Batch renaming multiple files; The Image Processor to batch convert to different file formats; Photomerge for building Panoramics. Creating and Batching Actions; Vanishing Point Filter; Placing Smart Objects; Image Warping; Patch & Spot Healing Brush Tools; Red Eye Removal Tool; History palette and painting with snapshots; Layer Masks; Setting the best Preferences Tips & Tricks as well as Keyboard Shortcuts.

Kelly McCathran is the Service Provider Evangelist for Adobe.  Her mission is to maintain relationships with the top print shops in North America...

The meeting starts at 5:30pm at the Adobe SF office (601 Townsend St.).  If you plan to attend, please RSVP to so that they can get the right amount of pizza and drinks."

May 4, 2008

Seeing the brain

Brain scanners "want not only to decode people's perceptions, but also high-level mental states: people's intentions, their plans," according to Brain Scanner Can Tell What You're Looking At in Wired. This sort of stuff could be useful in biofeedback or to improve Mind Mapping software, though according to armchair wags there are far more pressing basic human needs in energy, environmental remediation, and food.

Below is a report on MRIs; there's more video on a variety of topics at Science Friday.

Also in the "I see London, I see France" category is research into geomagnetic vision of birds (with a heads up display) and shrimp (humans have 3 cones, RGB, while mantis shrimps have 16 with 3 pigments in the ultra violet spectrum alone), as well as Fish Sounds and Mutualism.

May 2, 2008

Man with a Movie Camera

Man with a Movie Camera, an experimental 1929 silent documentary by Russian director Dziga Vertov, is available on the Internet Archive. It is "famous for the range of cinematic techniques Vertov invents, deploys or develops, such as double exposure, fast motion, slow motion, freeze frames, jump cuts, split screens, Dutch angles, extreme close-ups, tracking shots, footage played backwards, animations and a self-reflexive style (at one point it features a split screen tracking shot; the sides have opposite Dutch angles)."

It's ambitious and clear for an early attempt to reveal techniques that might have a magical hold on the unconscious.

Hitchcock explains editing & the Kuleshov Effect

The Kuleshov Effect, a montage effect demonstrated by Russian filmmaker Lev Kuleshov, is explained near the end the video below. There's more on good stuff on editing from the sometimes nicely obscure Hollyn-wood.

Reposting from earlier... as noted on Flippant News, Hitchcock explains the three types of editing:

There are more interviews in the related YouTube video thumbnails, including a Hitchcock interview from 1964 from Monitor (& part 2). Hitchcock interview from 1964 from Monitor (& part 2).

See also a previous post Hitchcock was a drama king which noted Jeff Bays' How to turn your boring movie into a Hitchcock thriller and a newer article Hitchcock Humor ("suspense doesn't have any value if it's not balanced by humor").

MacVideo & the cutting room floor

Not only for the Mac is MacVideo.TV which has some good interviews and other video from Rick Young of the UK.

The EditBlog notes a new blog called view from the cutting room floor, ruminations on editing from the bottom of the post production ladder, which notes aspects of editing and color correction with a good graphic example.


PrepShootPost notes that the free Google SketchUp now has a physics engine. It's in early beta and Windows-only with a Mac version in the works.

Update: Eismann posted a note about another engine called Phun. Reported here earlier was the engine in Director 11 and Box2D.