April 2006 | Main | June 2006

May 27, 2006

Wireless Tally Lights

It's project time! We're shooting a project right now in which many of the crew end up watching a monitor in a room separate from the shoot. This often means that the crew doesn't know when tape is rolling and when it's not. Now, wouldn't it be convenient if there was a tally light that could be placed anywhere within reason to alert the crew?

Read on...

It amazes me that nobody seems to make a wireless tally light. About the best I've found is a wireless X10 kit that you could plug a light in to, but that would require an AC jack. So, new project.

I've been shopping at qkits, and here's what I've ordered:
A 2 relay wireless receiver (at least one relay is latching, I'm hoping they both are)
A 2 channel wireless transmitter
A pack of LEDs
An LED flasher kit
A project box
and some assorted parts

The hope is that I can just tie the standby and on-air LEDs into the relays on the receiver, throw it all in a box with a 9volt battery, and then place it anywhere within about 30meters of the little key-fob transmitter. I'll post pictures as it comes together...

Posted by at 12:34 PM

May 25, 2006

Firestore FS-4Pro Update in June?

Focus says that the Quicktime HDV update for the FS-4Pro could ship in mid-June. Better late than never I suppose, and better than the answer their phone support gave me ("It'll be in the newspaper when it comes out" - ???).

Posted by at 2:19 PM

Calculating Valid Chroma?

Does anyone have a good method for determining whether chrominance is legal, based on YUV values? I can go with RGB if need be as well. Best I've found is that the three RGB channels shouldn't average to greater than 75% of 255 in 8bit sampling, but I'm not really convinced that's accurate. Aren't the values in some way weighted based on the hue?

Arggg...

Posted by at 2:18 PM

May 18, 2006

News Roundup

Unfortunately I can't do https over GPRS, so there wasn't any posting happening while I was gone. Here's a roundup:

Macbook! Mine is black with a gig of ram and 100 gig drive. It left China today. Love me.

Final Cut Express Universal. Good news for a lot of folks buying iMacs and Macbooks. Still no word on the 24f Final Cut Pro update.

And ... that's it. Boring week eh?

Posted by at 1:16 PM

May 12, 2006

Heading to Austin

I'm off to Austin for a few days to help a friend move. Everyone says Austin has an abnormally large population of hipster video folks, so I'm looking forward to being immersed.

If Apple releases the Macbook on Tuesday, I'll surely blog it. Otherwise, I'll check back in next week.

Posted by at 9:43 AM

Quicktime 7.1 - But I want more!

Quicktime 7.1 shipped yesterday. Overall, it's a nice little point release - improved performance, more control over export settings (deinterlacing, hoorah!) and a few other odds and ends.

First off, I'd really like to see FCP5.1.24 ship - or whatever version number they give the "technology demo" they were showing at NAB (and promising to ship that week). If they were very clever it'd be .24 though.

Second off, I'd really love to see Quicktime support HDV natively. Now, I know that Quicktime has always had an uneasy relationship with most things MPEGy in nature. I suspect that more than anything, it's been an ideological stance on the quicktime team's part - they believe that muxing all your content together is fundamentally wrong, and have just decided not to support it. I can't really think of any other reason why, after 15 years, Quicktime can't internally demux an mpeg transport stream.

In any case, Quicktime as it stands right now, knows nothing of playing back or capturing HDV content stored in a transport stream (which is also the way the content comes down firewire from your camera). This means that you can't capture HDV in quicktime, nor can you play back the video from a Firestore FS-4ProHD. Which makes me sad.

I'm pretty convinced that this is also the reason FCP has such jenky HDV support for capturing. If you've spent time working with it, you've noticed that you get an entirely different "Log and Capture" window when using HDV. Also, if you shark the process, you'll see that they're making calls in to TSDemuxer and some other components of the FirewireSDK. As best I can tell, the FCP team has had to write a whole separate capture/demux/decode chain in order to support HDV, because Quicktime isn't handling it for them. It just seems like The Wrong Way (tm), and it's especially obnoxious if you're trying to write an application which needs to decode HDV. *Cough*

Ok, enough rambling. I'm just so far behind on the blogging - my head has been filled with REALBasic code and end-of-semester nastiness.

Posted by at 9:26 AM

May 4, 2006

Fell off the face of the planet

Yeah, so I disappeared.

Been working feverishly on the Media Mill project to meet my end of the semester deadline. Check out the link if you don't know what it is, and post in the comments if you'd like to know more.

Posted by at 3:30 PM