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August 30, 2007

Tour of an HD TV Studio

EngadgetHD has a really nice tour of an HD production facility, WFTS in Tampa Bay. Plenty of pictures and a bit of gear identification. I still think my cabling is prettier though...

Posted by at 5:23 PM

August 23, 2007

Sony HVR-HD1000U Shoulder-mount HDV camera

August must be drawing to a close - there's actual news to talk about! IBC is just around the corner, so it's not too surprising.

 Images Large B2B Broadcast Production Hvr-Hd1000Uwithdigitalmaster Tape Lg

Sony has formally announced the HVR-HD1000U shoulder-mount HDV camera, which was previewed as "future technology" at NAB this year. Don't let the form factor fool you, the lens isn't interchangeable (that'd compete with XDCam, duh).

Here's the odd part though: it's a 3 CMOS camera with many of the features of the V1U (fake slow-mo), and yet the press release lists the MSRP at $1,900. That's less than half the price of the V1U - about the same price as the diminutive A1U. So, the question must be asked: did Sony make a typo in the press release? Is this really a $19,000 camera? At $1900 it's a ridiculous steal, at $19,000 it's a complete rip-off.

Posted by at 9:36 AM

August 22, 2007

More on Adobe going H264 (or "why this rocks so very hard")

I've had a bit more time to digest this announcement, churn it over in my head, etc. I wanted to break down just why it's important:

1) Adobe kicks On2 to the curb. This is huge for anyone who has tried to deal with On2 in the past - either to get presales information, or to get support for a product. The attitude has always been "Hey, Adobe uses us, so you have to too, deal with it sucker." No more!

2) Open Format. FLV was never an archive-friendly format, because it depended on a proprietary decoder. You wouldn't encode the Zapruder film in FLV and hope to be able to look for the second gunman in 50 years, because there wouldn't be a way to decode it. H264 is an open, published specification, (not open source mind you, but reference decoders exist) which means you can safely encode to it and expect to decode it down the line.

3) Single Format. One video file for your web embed, your podcast, your IPTV deliver and your archive. Nice.

Frankly, I think this is good for just about everyone except On2. Folks like Apple are no longer shut out of the flash video delivery world, Adobe doesn't have to worry about codec development, and everyone benefits from the superior quality of H264.

Awesome to the max.

Posted by at 9:18 AM

August 21, 2007

Adobe bring H.264 to Flash

Woot. Adobe gives On2 a nice boot to the head, announcing support for H.264 video playback within Flash. Dig the beta at Adobe Labs.

Update: Here's more info from a Flash developer.

Posted by at 11:20 AM

August 20, 2007

Make XSan not suck

This is one of those posts that I'm doing just in case somebody stumbles upon it in the future while troubleshooting an issue. Since we started the Media Mill project, our XSan install has been relatively flakey. We haven't had any data loss or anything, but it's always taken forever to mount a volume after a boot, and the controllers often lost track of the clients.

It finally bothered me enough recently to dig down and solve the issue. It turns out the biggest problem (and this won't surprise Xsan veterans) was DNS. Even though the machines don't have DNS servers specified, they were still apparently waiting for DNS timeouts on every single Xsan transaction. OSX in general has obscenely long timeout periods of DNS, which was creating a cascade of problems within Xsan.

The solution was to create a hosts file. Just edit /etc/hosts (you'll have to sudo to do this) and add all of the hosts that access xsan, as well as hostnames for them. "man hosts" for an explanation of the formatting.

The trick is to run "sudo lookupd -flushcache" afterwards, or you won't get the benefits. Then, launch XSan Admin and marvel at how quickly it responds. Marvel too at how quickly hosts mount the SAN volume after boot.

There are a ton of other things you can do to make XSan behave better. Anyone thinking about installing should take a look at XSanity.com, the home of all things Xsan.

Posted by at 12:35 PM

Panasonic HPX-500 review

The HPX-500 is the big brother to the stellar HVX-200. There's a nice review up from a UK site. IT certainly seems to have a lot of benefits, particularly if your workflow can take advantage of the benefits of P2 without the disadvantages. It's a very affordable step up for the HVX (street price is around $13,000) which makes the cons (lowish-res CCDs, limited manual tweaking) seem less problematic.

Posted by at 9:53 AM

August 16, 2007

Creating vignettes using Color

Digital Video Editing has a nice tutorial about using Color to create vignettes. I've just dipped a toe in Color, but it's a very powerful and exciting tool.

Posted by at 3:15 PM

August 7, 2007

Connect a CCU-TX50 to a Telex intercom

This is one of those insanely specific blog posts, just aimed at helping anyone else suffering the issues I've just dealt with.

If you have a CCU-TX50 (generally connected to a sony DXC-D55 camera), and you want to integrate it with a Telex intercom system, you'll have some difficulty. With the old Sony CCU-TX7, there were XLR jacks on the body to support Telex/RTS. Plug and play. The new, slimmer CCU has gone to a dsub 25pin connector for intercom, tally and program audio. You'll need to hassle your Sony service provider, (or go here to get the pin-out. Here's where it gets interesting.

The AU board has incorrect silkscreened labels - they're backwards from reality. So, if you want to use an RTS intercom, all of the board switches should be set to 4Wire. There is a tech bulletin on this, if you have access to the UK Sony support site.

Next, you'll find that your RTS system has three wires, a ground and a wire for each of the two channels. The CCU has one pin for input and one pin for output (plus a ground) on each channel. The diagram implies that you can use a single pin for both, but as best as I can tell that's incorrect. Instead, you need to short together an input and output pin. So, for the producer channel, short pins 14 and 17 (connecting either the hot or the cold from RTS to both), and put your ground on pin 16. If you don't have any sparks, you should be good to go. Flip the switch on the front of the CCU to "prod" and see what happens. Victory is yours.

Posted by at 7:21 PM