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August 29, 2008

Telestream purchases Vara

ProVideoCoalition has the blurb announcing that Telestream has acquired Vara Software, makers of ScreenFlow and Wirecast.

I'm not sure what to make of that - Telestream has shown good taste in who they acquire, having previously purchased Popwire, makers of the Episode line of products. However, Vara was a rising star in the mac software community, consistently delivering highly polished, fun to use, reliable applications that pushed the boundary of what was thought possible. One hopes they continue to retain some independence after the acquisition, and can keep churning out the products that have won them so much acclaim.

Anyways, congrats guys, hope you made some serious cash.

Posted by at 9:32 AM

Apple releases standalone ProRes codecs

Apparently not content letting DNxHD eat the whole cross-platform near-uncompressed HD-interchange pie (what a delicious pie), Apple has released standalone copies of the ProRes codecs for both Mac and Windows. These are available as a free download, which will allow any Quicktime-supporting application to playback prores files.

This is a major step towards what would be the ideal solution - a codec pack, which many of us would happily pay for, which would provide codec parity between mac and windows, without having to purchase Final Cut Studio.

Posted by at 8:47 AM

August 26, 2008

Comments were broken?

I think comments were broken for a while, so none of you could comment on my AWESOME MIDI CONTROL OF MOTION. That problem is solved, so feel free to commence.

Posted by at 11:04 PM

Control Motion from your iPhone

Silicon Studios has launched a number of iPhone apps that tie into their small desktop stub to provide MIDI control from the iPhone. Basically, you run an app on your iPhone, which connects to your desktop over wifi, which creates a MIDI interface on your computer and pipes in control from the phone.

So, get the desktop app from iTouchMidi.com, get the free demo app from the iTunes store, and start playing. Launch Motion, add a filter to a layer, then right click on any filter control and select "midi" - now you can control that setting from the phone. This is highly entertaining.

Confused? This video might help (large one here):

Posted by at 2:24 PM

August 23, 2008

A clever set of headphones

I love my Plantronics USB headset mic, but the quality of the audio isn't good enough to make them my full time headphones, and the microphone tends to get in the way. Steelseries has come up with a clever solution, the 5Hv2, which combines over-the-ear headphones with a retractable microphone boom.

Now, I'm not sure these are the end-all-be-all - I'd rather they were USB and from a higher end manufacturer, but the day Sennheiser makes a set like this, I'll be the first in line. Thanks to MacNN for pointing me to them.

 Images 20 1797-2174

Posted by at 11:23 PM

August 21, 2008

Ross ships a 20 slot frame

This is one of those "only interesting to me" stories, but Digital Content Producer has the press release announcing a 20 slot frame from Ross Video at IBC. In our newer studio at the University, we ended up spilling into a second frame to hold Ross cards, so it's nice to see that in the future we can up the density, rather than sacrificing precious rack space.

Posted by at 2:35 PM

Open Directory for Editing Suites

I'm currently working on switching our edit suites over to an Open Directory authenticated setup, with centralized storage of permissions. The idea is that we want a student to be able to sit down at any Mac editing station and have the dock look the same, Final Cut behave the same, etc. I figured I'd offer a few tips for folks trying to do similar things.

I'm an Open Directory newbie. There's plenty of documentation and training material out there, but often it's overly complicated. For a setup like this, here's a few things I've found helpful.

  1. In workgroup manager, make sure each user has a local home (/Users/username) and a network home (afp://server/sharename/username) and leave the network home highlighted.
  2. Create a group to assign the preferences to, and then make each editor a member of that group
  3. In mobility preferences for the group, be sure that you 'always manage' all of the sync options, even if you don't intend to use background or manual sync
  4. Sync a non-existant folder in each of the important 'home directory' folders. Otherwise, folders like Music, Pictures, etc won't exist for users on machines other than the one they do their first login on:

Picture 4-4

That's pretty much it. You should be able to leave the OD server in 'basic' mode, and do all of your work within Workgroup Manager, aside from setting up the afp share. Then just add the server within Directory Utility on the clients and you're set. Syncing is very quick and painless.

Posted by at 12:06 PM

August 19, 2008

ClipWrap launches

I mentioned it earlier, but ClipWrap is officially on sale. There's a free trial which will convert the first minute of any number of m2ts, and $50 gets you the full application.

Check the features list for the full rundown. It'll finally make my Firestores useful again!

Posted by at 10:30 AM

August 18, 2008

Cameras in Use at the Olympics

I'm stealing this post from FreshDV, which offered links to an article at Camcorder Info about the cameras in use at the Beijing Games, as well as an article in the Wall Street Journal about the "DiveCam" rig. I'm a sucker for this kind of stuff.

Posted by at 9:16 AM

August 17, 2008

Daily Show PVRs

A commenter on PVRBlog has posted some details about the way the Daily Show handles recording loads of video content each day. Essentially, a stack of TiVos and a PA. Which is kind of what I expected...

Posted by at 4:42 PM

August 13, 2008

Olympic Political ads

Is it just me, or are all of McCain's ads standard def, and all of Obama's high def?

Should we read into that?

Posted by at 3:50 PM

August 12, 2008

What ever happened to the Shake replacement?

Last we heard, Apple was planning to ship their replacement for Shake sometime in 2008. I was kind of expecting that we'd hear something at Siggraph, but Siggraph is underway and there's not even a peep from apple. I wonder if we'll still hear anything this year, or if Apple is going another direction with that project.

Posted by at 10:57 AM

August 11, 2008

Coming Soon: ClipWrap

Mike has put up a blog post about a new application he's working on called ClipWrap.

Essentially, it takes an M2T file from an HDV camera and turns it into a Final Cut Pro compatible Quicktime, without transcoding. So, instead of taking forever and costing you a generation, it takes a few seconds and preserves all the quality.

I've been bugging Mike to create this application for years, because the support for Quicktime on devices like the firestore has been so lackluster. This also allows cross-platform editing of HDV. Woo!

The website for clipwrap will be www.clipwrap.com. Mike is obsessed with the animation...

Picture 4-3

Posted by at 4:03 PM

Fireworks in Olympic Ceremony Faked

Beijing Olympic Broadcasting has acknowledged that some of the fireworks in the opening ceremony were digitally created and were inserted into the feed live.

I'm sure a bunch of folks will get all self righteous and use it as an excuse for more anti-Chinese rhetoric, but I can't see much reason to get upset...

Posted by at 1:09 PM

August 7, 2008

Canon HF11, HG20 and HG21 hit the states

Electronista says that the new Canon AVCHD cameras are hitting our shores now, bringing with them the first implementation I know of that records AVCHD at the max bitrate of the specification (24mbps).

Up until now, the AVCHD cameras I've used have been rather lackluster compared to HDV cameras, mostly due to far too aggressive compression schemes. AVCHD has the potential to be far superior to HDV at similar bitrates, so It will be exciting to see the video produced by these canon cameras. The HF11, which records to 32gig of internal flash, or external SDHC memory cards is particularly interesting. The other models record to harddrives, which is a bit meh.

 Esta Content 0808 Canonvixiahf11-Lg

One little item to complain about: the 24p mode records to 60i files. Excuse me? 24p in 60i (with a pulldown) made a little sense with DV since DV was only ever designed for 60/50i interlaced video. 24p in 60i with HDV made a little less sense, since it was a new spec, but since it was a physical tape you could make a claim about tape speeds and whatnot.

But throwing 24p inside a 60i container on a file based camera? Wow. That's some pretty serious artificial market segmentation! The AVCHD spec allows for 1080p24, so why make it hard?

In any case, look at how many badges it has! It's gotta be good! And the truth is, I'm excited to try this camera.

Picture 5

Posted by at 9:26 AM

August 5, 2008

Sample footage from the Zi6

Andy Ihnatko has posted a sample clip from the Kodak Zi6 pocket camera I mentioned a few days ago.

It's not Xdcam EX1, but it makes the Flip look like a sad little relic.

Note - when I went, the Vimeo built in player wasn't working, but if you login to vimeo you can download the original quicktime by following the link in the lower right. Very nice.

Posted by at 5:30 PM

August 4, 2008

VMware Fusion 2 Beta 2 is better than a room full of puppies

VMware Fusion 2 Beta 2 came out last week.

Features? Run OS X Server as a guest OS. Multiple snapshots. What does that mean? Observe:

Picture 4-1

Ever wanted to test under two versions of Quicktime without maintaining a machine just to trash for that purpose? Make a snap shot at once version, update to the new version, and then jump back and forth.

I lack the words to describe just how awesome this is.

Posted by at 3:09 PM