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June 29, 2006

Premiere Pro 2 does 24f

Adobe has released a set of presets to allow 24f from the XLH1 to be edited in Premiere Pro 2.0.

Apple?

Posted by at 11:38 AM

Wireless On-Air summary

So, I've finally got a chance to share a bit more about my wireless on-air light setup.

It is up and function, if somewhat jenky looking. Here's a short clip of it in action. The yellow wire is an antenna, which probably doesn't need to be external - but hey, I already drilled the hole.







Follow the jump for some more info on how it works.

Here's a crummy camera phone shot of the inside of the box. Unfortunately I don't have a better digicam available at the moment.

Image(110)

What you see is the wireless receiver/relay board, along with the LED flasher board. I think total assembly time to solder all the stuff on to the PCBs was about two hours. Followed by another hour or so to figure out which things I mounted backwards. Heh.

Range is pretty good - about 30 meters with line of sight, and at least 10 meters even through a couple walls. Since my intended use is to have the box just on the other side of a door from where a production is taking place, I think it's acceptable.

If it were a commercial product, it wouldn't be so crummy looking, but at least this is a suitable proof-of-concept. What makes it pretty interesting is that I could build more boxes all tuned to the same key fob, so that one remote could trigger boxes all throughout a location. I also think the boxes could be built extremely inexpensively in mass production. Anyone want to take on the task?

One important lesson learned is that even though all the components specify that they'll run off 9volt, the wireless receiver/relay board is EXTREMELY sensitive to voltage fluctuation. It stopped working as soon as the 9volt I was using dropped to 8.98volts. I "solved" this by chaining in a couple AAs, so that it's getting more like 12 volts now. Everything works ok and battery life is much more acceptable.

Here's the order list from Q-Kits, if anyone wants to replicate it.

-----------------
SET OF 80 ASSORTED LEDs (#K/LED1): 1
Item Total: $6.59

2 Channel RF Code-Lock Remote Transmitter Kit (#K8059): 1
Item Total: $18.95

ALKALINE MN21 12V-38mAh 4223.101.401 (1pc/bl) (#V23GA): 1
Item Total: $3.95

2 Channel RF Remote Receiver with Random Code (#K8057): 1
Item Total: $24.95

ABS Plastic Box (#WCAH2853): 1
Item Total: $4.95

9 Volt Battery Snap (#BS-TR): 2
Item Total: $1.90

LED Flasher Kit 5 Dot (Straight Pattern) (#fk111): 1
Item Total: $4.95

Mounting wire kit (#KMOW): 1
Item Total: $6.95

Posted by at 11:14 AM

June 28, 2006

Avid for Mac updates

Today Avid announced the shipment of Xpress Pro 5.5 for the Mac, providing HDV/DVCProHD support, along with various other feature updates.

Hoorah?

Posted by at 4:09 PM

June 22, 2006

But ....

This is really an addendum to the last post.

The ProApps update did add 1080p24 HDV support to Quicktime. This means that you can now capture with VirtualDVHS and use MpegStreamclip to convert those files to 24p HDV files. Then, edit your sequence preset to look like this:

Picture 3

Hit ok, double click the sequence in your bin, and bathe in the warm glow of native 24p HDV editing.

Next to test: footage off a Firestore, and whether the timing is actually right.

[Edit] Timing does seem to be right [/Edit]

[Edit2] 24F footage captured to a firestore and converted with MPEGStreamclip seems to work too [/Edit]

Posted by at 9:54 AM

Well, that answers that

The ProApps update does not allow FCP to capture 24F off an XL-H1. Boo.

Posted by at 9:47 AM

June 21, 2006

ProApps 2006-01 update

Tonight Apple shipped an update to ProApps (sort of the underlying glue for Final Cut Studio and Shake) which adds some sort of support for 24p HDV. The release docs talk about support for XDCamHD in 24p, but XDCamHD is just 24p on an optical disc. I'll have to give capturing from an XL-H1 tomorrow, but at least it's one step closer. Now if we could just get some news out of Focus...

Posted by at 11:32 PM

The Typist (Trailer)

Here's a 640x360 H264 encode of the trailer for The Typist.

Here's a full res 1920x1080 version. Right click and save to your computer, rather than trying to watch it in a browser.

Posted by at 11:30 PM

Macbook editing continued

I've been working on cutting together a short trailer of some material shot in 1080i60 HDV using Final Cut Studio on my Macbook. I'll post a link later today when the final cut is ready, but I wanted to make note of a few things I experienced.

First off, I'm cutting with the Apple Intermediate Codec, because somebody can't be buggered to add quicktime support to their product ("It'll ship in April! No May! No June!" ... ). This means I'm working with 100mbit footage instead of 25mbit HDV. This seems to be right on the edge of what the Macbook drive can reasonably stream at a consistent framerate, and things go a bit stuttery when you start adding in multiple streams. But things have stayed stable, which is good.

The next thing I've found is that all is not well in the world of Motion. Some effects, particularly some of the glow effects, don't seem to display correctly. Presumably this is due to the integrated graphics not supporting the needed features. What's interesting is that the program keeps on working without complaint.

Soundtrack Pro, as always, was flawless to work with.

I haven't noticed any other glitches that I can attribute to the Macbook. In fact, I've been a bit surprised at how stable the whole suite has been - no crashes or significant hiccups over 30+ hours of use.

Posted by at 9:48 AM

Shake price drop

Just in case anyone missed it, Shake has gone Universal, and the price has gone from $2999 to $499 - $249 if you're academic.

In connection with that, they've also announced that Shake 4.1 will be the last major release of the product, with a future high-end compositor in the works to replace it. The buzz is that it'll be something akin to "Motion Pro," though one would hope that it would retain node-base editing.

Posted by at 9:26 AM

June 14, 2006

It's been 6 months, why is 24F still a nightmare?

I can't comprehend why Canon hasn't pushed forward industry support for 24F. It's absolutely ludicrous that 6 months after the launch of the Canon XL-H1, the major editing packages can't edit it, and none of the decks can play it. Why Canon, why? Part of introducing a new format involves supporting said format. Instead, 24F is being left to die, used only by those willing to spend hours tweaking and testing.

</rant>

Posted by at 2:22 PM

June 13, 2006

Howdy to the efnet buddies

I've been really bad about reading comments, but just looked back and saw that some folks from way back in the day posted. Hi Stalyn and Ignitor! Crazy...

Posted by at 10:42 AM

Final Cut Studio on a Macbook

I've finally had a chance to spend some time with Final Cut Studio (5.1) on my Macbook. A reminder, my Macbook is the black 2ghz with 1 gig of ram. I've also poked in Aperture a bit, but I haven't had a chance to actually use it to process a whole shoot.

Final Cut Studio installed without complaining, and all the applications launch just fine. Aperture complains about the screen resolution but then continues and seems to load alright.

More after the jump...

In terms of general, straight cuts editing with a few fades and basic tweaks, Final Cut Pro is plenty usable. I'm still primarily working with DV content, though it behaved similarly when working with HDV content as well. I've run into a few glitches when selecting items on the timeline, though they may be 5.1 related, rather than Macbook related. I also experience a few dropped frames during playback from the timeline at transition points, but they seemed more related to disk speed than anything else. Normally I'd be cutting from an external disk, or else I'd look in to a faster internal disk.

Similarly, Motion loads and runs just fine for basic compositing operations. I did a fairly simple keyframed moving mask and everything performed in real time. A basic color correction filter didn't hurt performance too much either.

Things all went a bit fishy when I started adding particle effects. These are the sorts of things that rely heavily on the GPU to do the compositing. Since the Macbook has comparatively underpowered graphics processing, things got fairly lagged and painful. I didn't experience any crashes or actual loses of functionality, but when roundtripping to Final Cut Pro, things got very slow. After a render of course, everything was back to acceptable.

My verdict is that, for basic rough-cut editing, the Macbook is plenty acceptable. I wouldn't want to do serious finishing on it, but nothing precludes one from doing that. The most important thing, in my opinion, is that it seems to be stable and all the features appear to be intact. This was my biggest concern, seeing as the computer isn't officially a support Final Cut Studio platform. If anyone has particular questions, let me know.

Posted by at 10:36 AM

June 12, 2006

HDV error correction

I've been helping out on a shoot using our XL-H1s over the past few weeks, and one thing I've noticed is that using Sony PR tape stock, we're seeing roughly one dropout per tape. This isn't so bad, and we're recording to harddisk as well, but it has gotten me thinking about HDV dropouts.

In DV, a dropout might mean you lost a few macroblocks scattered throughout the frame (the macroblocks are even laid to tape in a non-sequential order so that you don't lose a whole chunk of image to a dropout - clever!). In HDV, you lose 15 entire frames. I'm very curious to know whether this is due to technical necessity, or a choice on the part of engineers. It seems to me that if you handled an HDV dropout the same way you handle a DV dropout, the effect would somewhat similar. However, since HDV is interframe within the GOP, you'd end up with a dropout artifact that potentially travelled around the screen for 15 frames. Have they chosen to just not display the whole chunk of frames because it would look worse to display the artifact?

A dropout on an HDV recording will also knock out more picture information (since there's more picture data per byte) than a similar dropout in DV, but I still can't grasp why we need to lose a whole 15 frames. Even if the dropout hit on the I-Frame of a GOP, you can still often do a passable job reconstruction a frame using P-frames, especially if you could look back to the previous GOP.

So, I want better error correction in HDV. Make it so.

Posted by at 9:37 AM

June 6, 2006

Got 5.1, yay!

Got my copies of Final Cut Studio 5.1 today. Been poking around a bit and there are definitely some nice things. Compressor in particular seems a bit less weird. I need to play around a bit more to get a sense of what has changed.

Still digging out from being gone for a few days - the sheer excitement of being stranded in a field in Texas with a broken down UHaul has overwhelmed my urge to blog. (It was an interesting weekend)

Posted by at 3:17 PM