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March 28, 2007

Media Mill info

I'm giving a little presentation tomorrow at the VRA25 conference. To that end, I wanted to post links to a couple different bits of Media Mill info, in case folks come looking.

Media Mill
QTInfo Video Info app
Media Mill Blog

Posted by at 4:22 PM

March 27, 2007

Adobe Announces CS3 everything (for realz)

As expected, Adobe made their official CS3 announcements today. Check out their press page for the full rundown of press releases.

For most folks, CS3 is exciting because it means native-intel support on the Mac. The Mac also gets the first version of Premiere in a while, along with the new Soundbooth DAW program. The new "Photoshop CS3 Extended" gains some other interesting features, which FXGuide has summarized. As a taste - you can now import a movie into Photoshop and then paint on each frame, sequentially. Nice.

Product rollout starts in April, continuing through third quarter 2007.

Posted by at 9:13 AM

March 26, 2007

Telestream Pipeline

This is one of those products that gets announced four or five times, but Telestream put out a press release on their new Pipeline product.

Here's the gist - it's an SDI to DV25/50/etc converter, with a twist. Instead of outputting over firewire, they output to ethernet. So, you can move your capture away from your playback. That's pretty neat. There are all kinds of scenarios in which that's a useful ability to have. Plus, any time you can move more data to a standardized infrastructure within a facility, that's nice.

I know some more about this product, but I don't think I'm allowed to say yet. Check back after NAB.

Posted by at 12:28 PM

Sony HDR-HC7 camcorder review

Camcorderinfo has a nice (as usual) review up of the HDR-HC7. The verdict? Sounds like maybe the Canon HV20 is the right choice in the "small-non-professional-HDV-not-AVCHD-camcorder" market ...

Posted by at 12:19 PM

March 23, 2007

Apple TV Hacking

I've been avoiding posting the various bits of Apple TV news over the past few days, as it's mostly just "Apple TV is shipping" and "Apple TV reviews are out."

However, there's some big news today. Someone has done some digging into what's on the harddrive in the Apple TV and found that it's an OSX derivative that will run normal intel binaries. Here's the duggmirror copy of the original Something Awful post. I suppose it's possible that this is a fake, but I'm not so sure.

The gist is that they pulled the drive, mounted it on a mac, installed Perian and Dropbear, put it back together, and now are able to playback previously unsupported video file formats. So, the Apple TV runs a stripped down OS X with a functional version of Quicktime. It may be worth picking one up just to play with, even though I don't have a TV ...

Posted by at 10:35 AM

March 20, 2007

Twitter is weird

So, twitter is pretty weird hu? Yeah ...

Posted by at 1:27 PM

March 19, 2007

Adobe Apollo - a netapp SDK

Apparently this was shown at DEMO, but I didn't hear about it until the press releases started spreading today. Adobe has posted a prerelease version of Apollo, a crossplatform runtime for creating standalone apps that are built on HTML, Javascript and Flash. iTunes has shown us how successful a really well crafted netapp can be, so it'll be interesting to see where this goes.

Posted by at 9:54 AM

March 15, 2007

Everyone loves a holy war

Since there are folks around here who really love fighting this battle, check out the new Avid2FCP site, which focuses on editors who've (surprise) switched from Avid to Final Cut Pro. Hoorah. Personally, I'm of the belief that they're both fine tools, and the folks spending time fighting for one over the other are generally the folks who don't know how to use either...

Posted by at 9:20 AM

March 12, 2007

Deinterlacing for Fun and Profit

Deinterlacing is one of those things that often gets overlooked in video production. When you're delivering video on the web, it's really important to deinterlace it, or you'll see all kinds of interlacing ugliness when your video is displaying on an (inherently progressive scan) computer monitor.

There are a load of ways to deinterlace an image, ranging from the most basic - just throwing away every other field - to crazy complex - optical flow analysis with motion adaptive interpolation. As you might guess, these range in processing-costs from essentially free to very expensive.

Seeing as my email is down at the moment, and seeing as it's spring break, I decided to spend some time playing with the various deinterlacing options available within Compressor. I mention Compressor specifically because all of the Media Mill presets make use of the basic "deinterlace - blur" filter to force all video to progressive. When the "100% frame size" bug is fixed, I'll be adding some straight progressive presets, without any deinterlacing.

Deinterlacing is most important when you're not doing any rescaling of the frame - when you're shrinking a 1080i frame down to 320x180, it tends to all get blurred away anyways.

Here's a 1080i60 frame, after being run through an H264 encode with no deinterlacing.

Greenscreen Tutorial-Original

It looks pretty nice, but notice the interlacing blur in Mike's hand. This is the sort of thing that can get really ugly on a panning shot. It's a bit harder to see in the web jpeg because the images get shrunk slightly. Here's a 100% crop:


Next, the same frame but with a "Deinterlace - Blur" applied. I'm using blur because it's the nicest of the "cheap" deinterlace filters available within Compressor.


Well, his hand looks better, but look at the tripod legs and Rebecca's dress. They're terrible! This is really bad artifacting, and it really bothers me because it looks so unnatural.

What happens when we throw just a little bit more (20%) cpu time at the problem? Here's a frame that has the "Frame Control" deinterlace applied, with the "fastest" option selected, line averaging.


Wow, much better! The diagonal elements look good, and his hand has a proper motion blur, like it should.

One tip - when you're using the frame control deinterlace within Compressor, be sure to also set the "output fields" dropdown to "progressive," or the deinterlace won't have any effect at all.

If we throw even more CPU time at the problem, you get another ~10% improvement in vertical resolution, but it's really not worth the effort.

So, the verdict? I've been doing it all wrong. Starting today, the highest quality Media Mill presets will use frame controls for interlacing. This means the 1080p, 720p (just added!) and "Very Large" 480p presets. This only effects the Quicktime presets for now, as I need to do more testing with WMV.


Posted by at 1:00 PM

March 8, 2007

Photoshop for Film and Video?

Adobe has announced that they're going to be announcing a product called Photoshop CS3 Extended. Among other things, their little blurb implies that it's designed to work with motion graphics and 3d models. I don't really know what that means - just a few extra features, or are they gunning for ZBrush and related products? I guess we'll know on the 27th...

Posted by at 10:43 AM

March 7, 2007

My Insides Look Funny

I broke my back on Saturday. I was sledding, then I was airborne, then I was in an ambulance. It was pretty exciting.


While in the ER, I went through the normal round of Xrays and CT scans. Because I needed to go do a followup on said injury, I ended up having to pick up a copy of these Xrays and CT scans to transfer to the appointment. In a very cool twist of modern medicine, instead of picking up films I picked up a CD-R containing all my data. Being an enterprising fellow, I made a copy of said CD. Follow the jump for more of me!

The CD comes with all of my data, along with an eFilm reader. Not only does this allow me to look at the 2d images, it allows you to build a full 3d model of the CT scan data, and then fly around it. You can also animate all of the individual CT scan slides to create a "fly" through your body. I've got videos to demonstrate.

First, here's the Xray, exported from the eFilm reader. This isn't the full resolution version, which is 2000x3000 pixels.

Click for a larger view.

For the aspiring doctors in the audience, the fracture is in the L1 vertebra, which is the fifth one up from the pelvis.

Next, you can fly through my body!

And finally, some screencapture video of me manipulating my spine in 3d.

Note that the aspect ratios on all of these is a little off, as I don't feel like creating special CT scan-sized Flash presets for Media Mill...

Posted by at 10:28 AM

March 5, 2007

Nvidia announced stupidly huge graphics card

Nvidia has announced a 128 core graphics card aimed at high end film and video editors. This seems to lend some credence to the rumor that Apple will be announcing a "Final Cut Extreme" hardware/software solution at NAB. With retail prices ranging from $2000 to more than $3000, you can start to see how such a solution could reach five digits.

Who knows what the impact of this will be, but it's definitely an interesting possibility to consider.

Posted by at 1:33 PM

CS3 coming March 27th

Appleinsider is reporting that Adobe Creative Suite 3 will be released on the 27th of March. This is a big deal, as it will bring native Intel support to the Adobe creative apps. I've been running Photoshop CS3 on my MacPro since the beta was released and it's a definite improvement.

March 27th was a day that had been supposed as a potential Leopard launch date. I wouldn't be surprised to see Apple do some sort of announcement in conjunction with Adobe, but I'd guess they're more likely to do speed-bumped MacPros and Macbook Pros to coincide with CS3. Leopard may not be as close to shipping as many had hoped.

Posted by at 1:12 PM