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Little Frog in High Def

Musings of an NLE ronin…
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Archive for April, 2009

The eleventh episode of THE EDIT BAY is now available for download.

You are on the set when the scene just isn’t working, so the writer quickly rewrites the scene. Only now the footage that was edited for playback doesn’t match the script. What are you to do?!

Pull a MacGyver.

EDIT: Apparently there was an issue with the encoded MP3…it looped a lot in the middle and stretched the 5:30 show into 12 min. I have NO CLUE what happened, but I reencoded and posted it again. You might want to download it directly if you already got the bad one with iTunes.

To play in your browser or download direct, click here.

To subscribe to this podcast in iTunes, CLICK HERE.

Did you all know about this and not tell me? Because if you did, WHY THE HECK NOT?!?! I mean, here I am finding out about it just today and what is the first thing I do? Take screen shots and blog about it. You all need to start blogs so I can follow you and figure this out. Or get on Twitter and…oh, wait, I don’t follow many people on Twitter. Well, if you @comebackshane I will see it.

Anyway, what is it? What has me psyched? Well, something that apparently was added in FCP 6, and not very well documented.

Do you have a project that you have been working on for the past two hours crash on you? And you forgot to save in that past two hours? Well, if so, you, like I, go in search of the Autosave Vault, then scan for the latest autosave….drag it out, get rid of the odd numbers at the end (the time/date stamp) and rename it to normal, drag the old project to the trash, put the autosave into the project folder, then relaunch FCP.

A lot of work, huh? I think so to. Did you know that you didn’t have to do all of that? I didn’t…not before someone offhandedly mentioned it on the FCP-L and I went “wait, what? What is that?” and went digging for it.

FILE>RESTORE PROJECT. Open you project, the one you didn’t save and all the unsaved changes were lost. Now when it is open, go to the FILE menu and choose RESTORE PROJECT:

Once you do that you will get a window with a drop down menu. Click on that menu and you will be presented with a list of the autosaves for that project:

Choose the one you want to recover. You will get a warning:

Click OK…because you want to undo this project. It doesn’t have all of the changes you made to it before you LOST EVERYTHING. Well, some things. OK, it might be advisable to first duplicate your project, date and save the old one, and then open the original…just in case.

CLick OK and windows close, progress bars…progress…and then boom, your latest autosave opens and your project retains it’s original name. That sure beats all the shinanigans you have to do to manually look for the autosaves doesn’t it?

I thought so.

Psst…pass it on.

So far my new job has been a breeze. FINISHING EDITOR on a series shot on HDV, captured as ProRes. I mount the SAN drives, media manage the footage with handles to a local SATA drive, fix all the speed changes and still images, send to color…color correct…send to FCP. Add titles and mixed audio. Output to tape. Textless too.

Wham bam thank you ma’am.

But now I have a challenge. The next show is the first show in ANOTHER series this company is doing. Also shot on HDV, and they STARTED to capture as ProRes, but realized after about halfway through that there is no way they have enough room to handle this. So then switched to capturing HDV…but then there were rendering issues with that, so the rest they captured as DV, downconverted from HDV.

On top of that there is stock footage that is on Beta and digibeta that will be coming in soon, but is currently in the system as DV (from DVD samplers).

OH, and one of the producers here gave us some stock footage to use that he shot on DVCPRO HD tape (Varicam), that he captured on an Avid…but instead of renting a deck to recapture he will be providing the master MXF files that are DNxHD 175. I have the Avid codecs on this system so I can see them, and will have to convert them.

So I will have mixed ProRes, HDV, DV, DVCPRO HD from Avid (MXF)…and then DV quality stock footage that needs to be captured and upconverted to 1080i (easy peasy with the Kona 3…no frame rate conversion this time). But the fun part will be FINDING all of this stuff on the timeline (especially the HDV stuff) and separating it out and media managing and capturing. Whew…what a lot of stuff to keep track of.

Then I will media manage it locally and send to Color.

But I look forward to the challenge. Glad I have a week to do it.

Yes, I know. You all are expecting an NAB wrap-up of some sort from me. A “hey, I saw this and this and this and REALLY loved this.” I hope to get that done soon. But, I ain’t the press so this isn’t my full time job. No, my full time job is what I am doing now, on Saturday (and part of Sunday) to make up for the time I spent in Vegas at NAB. And I have a family that wants to hang out with me…darn them. So you will have to settle for this…quick tidbits with links you can check out for yourself.

EditShare – I REALLY like this SAN and project sharing solution for FCP. VERY Avid like and allows you to lock bins and share projects over the SAN. Not inexpensive like other ethernet SANS out there, but they don’t have project sharing abilities…this does. AND…I love this…AND…it connects via Ethernet, so your producer can connect to the SAN without the need of Fibre or SAS. Yeah…I like this.

Flanders Scientific HD LCDs. In the lower end price range these are some great looking monitors. 900:1 contrast ratio in the 17″…1100:1 in the 24″. And I had the 17″ in my bay for two weeks so I know that it looks like under ideal conditions. Forget the Sony (well, not their $10,000 range)…REALLY forget the JVC (ugh)…but also consider the Panasonic 2550.

There were better HD LCDs out there…but they were WAY high priced for my range. BARCO was $12,000 and wasn’t presented in the best lighting conditions. Talking white walls and floors…but it STILL LOOKED GOOD. And eCinema wasn’t even there! And I like them.

AJA – KiPro – Native ProRes recording onto hard drive or Solid State (coming soon). Connects via HD SDI, HDMI…host of others. From BIG camera to HV20. The Kona LHi, which was the card I have been asking AJA to make for a long time. Analog and SDI input/output, and ability to upconvert/crossconvert/downconvert in hardware. Most the stuff usually left to the Kona 3, but I needed analog inputs and didn’t need the 2K stuff. And the IO Express. Great lower end box…read up on it on the link.

MATROX – They are who I turned to for the analog in and upconvert capable box…the MXO2. Now they came out with an MXO2 mini that only costs $449. NO SDI and other high end connections, but plenty of others…laptop and tower. Read up on that too. AND…they have an h.264 hardware encoder called CompressHD that speeds up encoding to H.264 (and for BluRay) to faster than real time. LOADS faster. And cool thing? You can get this for $500…or you can have it as an additional option in the MXO2 and MXO2 mini for only an additional $400. Sweet.

And I saw a demo of MacCaption in conjunction with the MXO2…I mentioned this earlier in a separate blog post. But he showed me how to import a NON-timecoded script and then play the video and just hit IN and OUT to drop the sentence into place. Could caption a 30 min show in an hour. Freaking awesome…and a tad cheaper than before. $3900…but if you are used to captioning shows at $500-$900 a pop…this is a steal.

BlackMagic WOWed me with the ULTRASCOPE. $695 for the software and card (PC only) and you have external HD scopes. HD SDI loop through only. And you can get a PC for $500 (or less), and they require a 24″ monitor, but you can get that for $300 too. So for under $1500…HD scopes. Before that, lowest you could find was $8000. But, this is still being worked on, so hopefully they will come out soon.

AVID wowed me with INTERPLAY…yeah, I know, been around for a while. But they had a project started cut on the Interplay app, then brought into Media Composer for final editing, then send the media composer project…NOT AN OMF…the project…to ProTools for audio editing. Man…slick. There is no way these guys are going anywhere. Still a very powerful and VERY relevant tool. I can’t imagine trying to approach many projects without Avid.

JVC showed off their new XDCAM EX cameras…small (GY-HM100U) and large (GY-HM700U) (I liked the large) that recorded QT movies or in the XDCAM format. VERY nice.

But the biggest thing I saw this year…is that all the new stuff…the new capture cards and cameras and recording devices…they weren’t COMPETING. They were filling in the gaps. There were a few that are in direct competition, but I swear, with the full Kona line and I/O line, and MXO and MXO2 line, and Decklink series…you have options to fill ANY need. From $99 Intensity to the $3500 AJA I/O, you have capture cards and boxes that cover all the bases. So now when someone asks me “hey, what is the best card for me?” I’ll ask them what their needs are, what are they shooting and what are they working on and what do they need to deliver…and I can steer them in the direction of a perfect option for them. I swear, it was like AJA and Matrox and Decklink were all talking to one another…”you do this, we’ll do this and he can do that.”

Cameras too…there are so many options it is mind boggling. Oh, and I forgot to mention the new Panasonic AVCHD camera, the AG-HMC40. 3MOS (3 CMOS censors) and all the recording capability of the HMC-150, only smaller. Not much on the web yet, the only working model was on the floor.

I have pics for all of this stuff, so check back later and I will update with pics. I am just busier than heck now. Because I ALSO have a side project to finish…At least the director was at NAB too, so he understood why I wasn’t working on it this week.

OK…now to render and go hang with the family. Ciao.

Dang, the only place I didn’t get too…the Sonnet Tech booth. I saw it, made a note to go there…was intercepted by someone I knew…forgot about it. So I didn’t get to see the new Sonnet Qio…eSATA controller for MacPros and MacBook Pros. Engadget did though:

“Among the company’s newest kit is Qio, a media card reader / writer that includes a E4P SATA host controller, four eSATA ports, and the usual array of P2, SxS and CompactFlash slots. If that weren’t enough, this device also includes an adapter so that your SD and XF cards don’t feel left out. Available for both desktop (PCIe) and laptop owners (ExpressCard), the HDD controller supports port multipliers allowing users to access up to 20 drives. Available sometime next month, pricing to be determined.”

I wonder if this is another option to P2 injest for MacBook Pros…so we don’t have that issue with the Duel Systems Adapter not working. And this connects to MAC PROS…so an option for the towers as well. I’ll try to get a hold of an evaluation unit and run it through the paces.

The tenth episode of THE EDIT BAY is now available for download. This is the NAB 2009 special. What is so special about it? Well, I don’t tell the stories, that’s what. While I am busy at NAB I asked two of my friends to tell me a story of their own…so David Bogie and Tom Meegan obliged.

I apologize, but the audio is a little rough on this one…hope you can still hear it.

To play in your browser or download direct, click here.

To subscribe to this podcast in iTunes, CLICK HERE.

Dudes! Seriously…this is major. BlackMagic Design announces BlackMagic ULTRASCOPE. Hardware scopes for $695! This is a hardware card and software…only drawback is that it is WINDOWS only. But, get an inexpensive PC to put the card in, Windows XP Professional with SP3, a cheapie 24″ monitor and you have HD scopes for under $2000. If you know what you are doing you can do this for under $1500.

Wow….just wow.

If you’re tired of hard to use and ugly waveform monitoring, then you’ll love Blackmagic UltraScope. We have included all the features you need when editing or color correcting, and then, combined it with an elegant user interface that looks great when added to your studio! Simply plug into any compatible Windows™ computer with a 24 inch monitor, and Blackmagic UltraScope will display 6 live scope views simultaneously! UltraScope is engineering accurate and includes 3 Gb/s SDI plus 3 Gb/s optical fiber SDI. UltraScope auto detects SD, HD and 3 Gb/s SDI inputs.

Vectorscope, Waveform, RGB Parade, Histogram, Audio View and Picture View with window code.

Man, this is what I get for not getting to NAB early. Panasonic announces a new faster and CHEAPER P2 card! Barry Green was there to get the details:

http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/showthread.php?t=168707

A NEW TYPE OF P2 CARD: the P2 “E” Series. It’s “blazing fast”, thanks to a newly developed design, it’s 1.2 gigabits per second! And they’re cheaper: “dramatically lower prices”. The new 64GB card has an MSRP of under $1,000 (the existing A series card is $2650!) The 32GB card is $625, and the 16GB is $420.

They have a shorter lifetime than the existing A series, about 5 years of daily use. 16 and 32 are available in May, the new 64 is available in August.

HOLY CRAP! Well, there goes the argument that P2 is too expensive. And 5 year lifespan, that seems a good compromise. Wow.

Then AJA drops a couple major announcements…this courtesy Jim Geduldick at Final Cut User:


“AJA kicked NAB off today with new product announcements which include io Express – Io Express – works on a Mac and … on a PC!

Hi5-3G – 1080p50/60p over Dual-link 1.5G SDI or over 3G SDI, HDMI v1.3a capability at 30 bits per pixel allows full support of the latest 10 bit monitors. USB connectivity allows for PC/MAC setup in the feild, and … Psf frame rate is supported.

HDP2 – The HDP2 is a miniature HD-SDI/SDI to DVI-D converter for digital display devices, such as LCD, DLP, and Plasma monitors or projectors. Using a very high quality scaling engine and de-interlacer, the HDP2 will automatically size 4:3 or 16:9 inputs to many DVI-D monitors.

Kona LHi -new PCIe Kona card -3G SDI I/O, HDMI 1.3a I/O, 1080p50/60 over 3G SDI, LTC timecode support, Hardware based Up and Cross-conversion, in addition to the LHeʼs Down-conversion. Better overall bandwidth for improved RAM Preview in Graphics/Compositing Apps

What does this mean for the pricing of the current KONA LHe?
The MSRP on the LHe drops almost $500 to $1295 effective at NAB, while supplies last.

But the REALLY BIG NEWS is the Ki PRO. At just under $4000 this is a tapeless video recording device that records high quality Apple ProRes 422 Quicktime files direct to disc. SD/HD-SDI, HDMI, and analog inputs. An olptional “exo-skeleton” puts the unit in a chassis that can both on a tripod with the camera.

Many cameras have outputs that bypass on-camera compression – so, for example – if you take the 10-bit HD-SDI feed from a Varicam into the device – you would record higher quality files that the actual camera is capable of.”

And then there is the Matrox MXO2 MINI…via Videoguys Blog

NAB 2009 – Las Vegas, April 20, 2009 — Matrox® Video Products Group today announced Matrox MXO2 Mini, a new version of the award-winning Matrox MXO2 I/O device. It can be used with Mac and PC laptop and desktop systems and popular applications including Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere Pro and Photoshop, and many more. It provides capture and playback of high definition video via HDMI and analog component; or NTSC and PAL via analog component S-Video, and composite. Users can convert standard definition videos to high definition, or vice versa, while capturing or playing out, using Matrox MXO2 Mini’s high-quality dedicated hardware scaler. Matrox MXO2 Mini turns an inexpensive HDMI screen into a professional-grade video monitor thanks to Matrox’s unique color calibration tool. This product also makes it easy to edit AVCHD footage by capturing into an edit-friendly compressed or uncompressed format.

Matrox MXO2 Mini is also available with Matrox MAX technology for faster than realtime high definition H.264 file creation.

“Users won’t settle for HDMI and analog I/O cards with messy cables once they see this sleek little device for Mac and PC that provides all the same features in a professional breakout box, with the added advantage of portability,” said Alberto Cieri, Matrox senior sales and marketing director. “And they will really appreciate the addition of the Matrox MAX technology that will let them easily deliver H.264 files than ever before.”

Matrox MXO2 Mini will be demonstrated at NAB 2009 in booth SL3814.
Key features of Matrox MXO2 Mini

* Works with Mac and PC, laptops and desktops
* Small, lightweight, external box that’s easily connected to cameras and monitors
* Capture and playback high definition video via HDMI and analog component; or NTSC and PAL via analog component, S-Video, and composite
* Turns an HDMI screen into a professional-grade video monitor with color calibration tools including blue-only
* High-quality 10-bit hardware scaling engine for realtime upscaling, downscaling, and cross conversion on capture and playback (See Specifications for scaling features supported on Mac and PC)
* Stereo RCA and up to 8 channels of HDMI audio input and output
* 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound monitoring on the HDMI output
* Easily edit AVCHD footage by capturing into an edit-friendly compressed or uncompressed format
* Works with leading applications including Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere Pro, Adobe Photoshop, and many more
* Also available with Matrox MAX for faster than realtime H.264 encoding
* Three-year hardware warranty and complimentary telephone support

About Matrox MAX
Matrox MAX is a unique technology that implements faster than realtime H.264 encoding for resolutions ranging from iPod to HD. It uses a dedicated hardware processor to accelerate the creation of H.264 files for Blu-ray, the web, and mobile devices. By using specialized hardware acceleration, jobs are finished with amazing speed and system resources are liberated for other tasks. Quality and flexibility are ensured through direct integration with professional applications such as Apple Compressor on the Mac and Adobe Media Encoder on the PC. As an added benefit, the Matrox MAX technology allows direct export to higher-quality H.264 Blu-ray compliant files from Compressor.

Price and availability
Matrox MXO2 Mini is priced at $449 US (£338, €382) and Matrox MXO2 Mini with the MAX option is priced at $849 US (£644, €758) not including local taxes. Each MXO2 Mini comes with the customer’s choice of either an ExpressCard /34 laptop adapter or a PCIe desktop adapter. Additional adapters may be purchased separately. The products will be available in May 2009 through a worldwide network of authorized dealers.

GUYS! WAIT FOR ME!

Next week…well, technically this SATURDAY…NAB starts. The convention floor opens on Monday.

I will be there Monday night…unsure when. Depends if I have to work on Monday or not…looking like I might have to. So really I will be around Tuesday and Wed. As a reminder, on Wednesday at 4:00PM I will be giving a COLORISTA demo in the LAFCPUG SUPERBOOTH (#SL10129). So if you want to see me in person, and see the MXO2 in action, and one of my kids on screen, then drop on by. I will also be at the Supermeet that is the best networking opportunity in Las Vegas if you edit with FCP. Talking people like Graeme Nattress (www.nattress.com) who now works for RED, but is the author of the most useful plugins out there (IMHO). And $90,000 is raffle prizes…the most ever…like TWICE the other shows. Oh yeah, I’m there.

OH, and I have a passcode to get into the convention FOR FREE…and access to the keynote, so get it while you can if you already haven’t.

Free Exhibits Passport Code: TP01
This pass includes access to the exhibit floor and the opening keynote – a $150 value.* Please pass along and visit http://nabshow.com/passport to redeem!

*One thing to note – the passcode can also be used when registering on-site; however, there is an additional $20 fee that will be charged.

This year and especially in this environment, the NAB Show may have more impact than ever before. At a time where businesses everywhere are seeking some positive momentum, this is an event that helps provide it. With the help of industry influencers like you, we’re driving real BUSINESS – over $50 billion in sales!

The ninth episode of THE EDIT BAY is now available for download. This one is about troubleshooting….and this one I recorded live, as in no script. I typically write the stuff I want to say and then record that, but this time I just talk. Tell me if you like it, or if I should go back to the script. I have my own feelings on that.

To play in your browser or download direct, click here.

To subscribe to this podcast in iTunes, CLICK HERE.

This is the Monday “I-don’t-have-anything-to-blog-about” video clip.

Man, I love me some Mythbusters.

Want to see the HD version? Click on THIS LINK to get there, and then click on HD.

The press release can be found HERE.

The biggest thing with this version, in my humble opinion…

Montreal, Canada – April 9, 2009 — Matrox® Video Products Group today announced that release 1.3.1 for the Matrox MXO2 product line is now available as a free download from the Matrox website to all registered users. This release implements important new features including HD-SDI closed captioning support and RED workflow support.

Users will no longer need to spend time and money recreating HD captioning data that is typically lost when editing projects in Final Cut Pro. Matrox MXO2 now offers a unique patent pending workflow to capture, playback, and preserve closed captioning data while editing. Nothing is destroyed. RED users can benefit from Matrox MXO2 to capture, monitor, and playback on set. Back in the post suite, they can use Matrox MXO2 to work with 1K and 2K RED timelines and output to SD, 720, or 1080 via MXO2’s realtime 10-bit hardware scaling feature.

Now while I personally haven’t had to do this yet so I haven’t had that issue, I know plenty of people who have had to do this and this option will be a godsend.

OH! And CPC MacCaption has a press release of their own to coincide with this Matrox announcement. They are announcing that they are co-releasing Matrox 4VANC caption technology with Matrox. That press release can be found HERE.

Matrox MXO2 and MacCaption users can now save both time and money by encoding HD captions directly on their video editing systems, without any additional hardware and with zero generation loss. It is no longer necessary to send HD master tapes to a separate deck-to-deck hardware caption encoding system. Existing closed captions are preserved during capture and print to tape operations, and the captions can be edited or re-purposed for multiple tape formats, optical disk delivery, and the web.

I will have the MXO2 with my laptop at my Colorista demo in the LAFCPUG SUPER Booth (#SL10129) on Wed, April 21 at 4PM

OK, I have an odd issue when trying to output from FCP to HDCAM. Here is the thread I started at the Creative Cow.

Here is the first post:

DETAILS:

MacPro 3.2 Ghz, 8GB RAM
AJA Kona 3
Footage stored on internal SATA drive
ProRes 422…captured from HDV, but ProRes 422. 1080i 59.94
22:45 TRT
Outputting to HDCAM SR…1080i 59.94.

Everything is fully rendered. FULLY. Yet, when I go to EDIT TO TAPE, ASSEMBLE EDIT…I get WRITING TO VIDEO for 18 min. Whyyyy? What is it writing?

To solve this I thought I’d be clever and do what I did when I took my stuff (DVCPRO HD stuff) to a post house to be output. I exported a self contained QT movie, then brought it back in, and put it in a new sequence with all of my audio stems. Tried again.

26-min write to video. WTF?

What is going on? Never had this before. I get it when it is HDV, but ProRes? Even after I made a self contained QT movie with no text?

AUDIO VIDEO settings, under AV Devices…the DIFFERENT OUTPUT to ETT box is unchecked

I thought it was the way I was blacking the tape. Initially I would use Edit to Tape and choose USE CURRENT SETTINGS…but then I have this issue. I thought I solved it by manually choosing AJA KONA 1080i 29.97 ProRes, but no, that didn’t solve it either. Then I blacked the tape using the deck to provide the coding information…and yes, I have tri-sync going to the deck.

So I am at a complete loss. Anyone have any pointers on what to try? All suggestions welcome…but read the thread first to see what was already suggested.

Thanks.

SOLVED IT!

I called Terry Curren and he and a collegue had me adjust one of the RT settings, PLAYBACK QUALITY from DYNAMIC to HIGH. Then my entire timeline turned orange. NO wonder it was WRITING VIDEO.

So, why was it orange? I compared the clips settings with the sequence settings and everything matched…to a “T.” I couldn’t figure it out. So I asked a friend at Apple who asked me to send him a screen shot of my clip settings, sequence settings and RT menu. He asked if I was using multiclips…I wasn’t. So he said turn that off. He also said “oh, and turn off VIDEO SCOPES PLAYBACK.”

I did…BOOM…fully rendered again. Then I output to tape and it does it instantly…no writing.

I am doing the happy dance of joy around my bay!

I didn’t even have the scopes ON…wow.

The eigth episode of THE EDIT BAY is now available for download. This one is about intentionally makking mistakes. I did that on purpose…really, I did.

To play in your browser or download direct, click here.

To subscribe to this podcast in iTunes, CLICK HERE.

My buddy Jim Geduldick at Final Cut User has posted a pretty good review of the MXO2 on his site. He, like me, is rather impressed with this box.

Well worth your time to read.