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BlogMove over 800MB/s USB 3.1 externals, here come Thunderbolt 3 drivesTuesday, November 21 2017

There seems to be some competition improving the state of external drives. Most workflows are more than served by the kind of bandwidth available through the USB 3.1 protocol. There are always jobs that need more. Barefeats have done a new test comparing the fastest bus-powered SSD from last year with this year’s Thunderbolt 3 drives and enclosures from Sonnet, Netstor, AKiTiO and LaCie.

See how fast they can read and write data over on the Bare Feats site.

VR: Six 4K ProRes streams to the same drive?

Although read speeds are getting very high, write speeds are becoming more important for some productions. As well as quickly needing to make backups for gigabytes of camera media, some VR cameras can have external devices attached. The Insta360 Pro currently has a USB connection for an external SSD. It records media from six sensors at the same time to HEVC/H.265. Soon producers will want to record high-quality ProRes from 6 (or more) sensors at a time, and Thunderbolt 3 might be the answer.

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Blog120 Animation Transitions for Final Cut Pro X – Special Black Friday offer – $39 for one weekTuesday, November 21 2017

From today Tuesday 21st November, there is a special offer on my Alex4D Animation Transitions pack – which applies for one week only, until the end of ‘Cyber Monday’ – November 27th.

Very rarely the FxFactory professional tools app store offers sales on all the plugins. From today, they are offering 20% off everything they distribute – including my first product.

There is no special ‘Black Friday’ or Thanksgiving offer code to apply at checkout. For one week, everything is automatically 20% cheaper.

Alex4D Animation Transitions is a pack of 120 different ways of animating content on and off the screen. Instead of having to apply a series of complex keyframes to multiple clip parameters, just drop one of these transitions on for instant animation. The advantage of using keyframes is that you can quickly adjust the start time, finish time and duration of the animation by dragging the transition or changing its duration.

Here’s a new video showing how it works:

  • Spin, scale and fade clips onto the screen
  • Move clips from any location: drag on-screen control to choose
  • Change animation speed and timing without using keyframes by dragging transitions in the timeline
  • Animate overlaid logos
  • Animate titles
  • Animate connected stills and videos
  • Animate between full-screen clips in the main storyline
  • Animate between clips in secondary storylines
  • Animate off the screen using the same settings, or opposite settings to keep clips moving, spinning and scaling in the same direction as they animated on
  • Scale and spin around around any point on the screen: drag on-screen control to choose
  • Divide clips into two and control the timing and animation of each part separately
  • Crop animations
  • Works in all resolutions from 480p up to 5K and higher
  • Works at any frame rate
  • Works in any aspect ratio: landscape 20:1, 16:9, 4:3, square and portrait 3:4, 9:16, 1:20
  • 32 page PDF manual (10.6MB)

Transitions range from subtle and straightforward presets for editors who want quick results to complex and fully-customisable presets for designers who want instant advanced motion graphics in the Final Cut Pro X timeline.

25 minutes tutoriel vidéo en français par YakYakYak.fr

Traducción de esta pagina en español por Final Cut Argentina.

Buy now for $39 

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Buy by credit card via FxFactory

Download free trial

A fully-functional watermarked trial version of Alex4D Animation Transitions is available through at FxFactory post-production app store. The trial version includes all 120 transitions and a 32 page PDF manual.

 

Icon for FxFactory application

Free trial via FxFactory

 

If you don’t have FxFactory, click the ‘Download FxFactory’ button.

A little more help on installing FxFactory.

Restart Final Cut Pro X to see a new ‘Alex4D Animation’ category in the Transitions Browser.

Removing the watermarks

Trial version transitions include a watermark. To remove the watermark, select one of the applied transitions in the inspector and click the Buy button in Final Cut Pro, or in the FxFactory application, click the price button next to the Animation Transitions icon in the Alex4D section of the catalog. If you have entered your credit card and billing information, a dialogue box will appear to confirm your purchase. For more information on activating Alex4D Animation Transitions, visit the FxFactory website.

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BlogGenerate centre-cutout guides for ARRI shoots using free online toolMonday, November 20 2017

The highest resolution most feature films and high-end TV shows need to be delivered in is 4K – 4096 by 2304. That doesn’t mean there aren’t benefits to shooting at higher resolutions.

The advantage of using cameras such as the ARRI 65 is that 6K allows for reframing in post. The camera operator can shoot with a very loose frame knowing that editors can choose which part of the 6K frame to include in the 4K master. Also VFX can benefit from the pixels from outside the visible frame.

In order to make sure a 6K camera is being operated so that the 4K area of interest is framed correctly, it is useful to have a frame guide in the camera. ARRI have a free tool that generates these frame guides so that they can be shown on set:

You can choose which ARRI camera that is planned to be to used on your shoot and choose which guides you want to show centre cutout. In this case the 6560×3100 ARRI 65 has guides for 5K and 4K framing (based on a 2.39:1 aspect ratio).

These guides are useful in post, so the tool can also generate transparent PNGs that can be used in the production and post production workflow.

Try out the ARRI Frameline Composer on the ARRI website.

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BlogWhen Final Cut Pro X importing is not enough: A guide to rsync – free media copying toolSunday, November 19 2017

There is a point in post production workflow when only using your NLE’s importing function is not enough. When insurance companies want to know how you are confirming data transfers and where your redundant backups will be stored. Instead of investing a dedicated application for media management, Seth Goldin suggests a free OS alternative:

As far as I can tell, rsync remains superior to pretty much every other professional application for media ingest, like Imagine Products ShotPut Pro, Red Giant Offload, DaVinci Resolve’s Clone Tool, Pomfort Silverstack, or CopyToN. Each of these applications are great in their own rights, and they deliver what they promise, but they can be slow, expensive, and CPU-intensive. In contrast, rsync is fast, completely free of charge, and computationally lightweight.

It looks like the tradeoff is much more power in return for learning a command-line based interface. Seth has written a post that explains rsync’s advantages, how to install it and how to use it on Medium entitled ‘A gentle introduction to rsync, a free, powerful tool for media ingest.’ He includes how to use rsync to copy 9 camera cards onto three hard drives so that the process uses the minimum amount of CPU power while making the most of the maximum speed of each of the hard drives.

Although you may not need to learn it today, it could be the right solution for a friend now, or you soon.

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Blog9:16, 1:1, 1:2, 4:5… (Social) Media aspect ratios primerSunday, November 19 2017

Many experienced film makers decry vertical and square video. The fact is, millions of people watch stories that way on their personal devices. Facebook is now not just ‘social media’ – it is ‘media.’ 20 years ago editors started to deal with other aspect ratios than 4:3. Here’s the specifications from Facebook on the various aspect ratios their platforms work with:

View in new window or see PDF on Facebook site.

If you aren’t working in non-16:9 now, you will soon, or at the least need to prepare your work for others who will.

1:1 and 9:16 video are likely to become more popular, so learn to be effective in these aspect ratios!

Updated to add: Chris Roberts wrote an article earlier in 2017 on how to make 1:1 videos using Final Cut Pro X.

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BlogApple’s VR production patent by Tim DashwoodMonday, October 30 2017

Within weeks of third-party Final Cut Pro X developer Tim Dashwood joining the ProApps team, Apple applied for a patent that changes the way computers connect to VR and AR head-mounted devices: ‘Method and System for 360 Degree Head-Mounted Display Monitoring Between Software Program Modules Using Video or Image Texture Sharing’ (PDF version).

It turns out that Tim is doing more for Apple than being part of adding VR video editing features to applications. His work is part of the way macOS works in all sorts of applications.

Direct to Display = Less OS overhead

Up until now, head-mounted devices like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive connect as specialised displays. As far as macOS or Windows is concerned, an attached device is just another monitor – albeit with an odd aspect ratio and frame rate.

The new method is for VR/AR tools to connect to Apple devices in such a way that there is no longer a ‘simulate a monitor’ overhead. Apple is aiming for a 1/90th of second refresh rate for VR and AR experiences. Even if you are viewing a VR video that is playing at 60 frames a second, for smooth movement it is best if what the viewer sees updates 90 times a second, so if they turn quickly, the content keeps up with them.

If macOS, iOS and tvOS are spending less time simulating a monitor display. That means more of the 90th of a second between refreshes can be spent on rendering content. Also less powerful GPUs will be able to render advanced VR content and AR overlays – because there’s less OS delay in getting it in front of users’ eyes.

The idea is for VR/AR applications to modify image data in a form that the OS automatically feeds to devices without simulating a monitor:

…methods and systems for transmitting monoscopic or stereoscopic 180 degree or 360 degree still or video images from a host editing or visual effects software program as equirectangular projection, or other spherical projection, to the input of a simultaneously running software program on the same device that can continuously acquire the orientation and position data from a wired or wirelessly connected head-mounted display’s orientation sensors, and simultaneously render a representative monoscopic or stereoscopic view of that orientation to the head mounted display, in real time.

For more on how HMD software must predict user actions in order to keep up with their movement, watch the 2017 Apple WWDC ‘VR with Metal 2’ session video: One guest speaker was Nat Brown of Valve Software who talked about SteamVR on macOS High Sierra:

Our biggest request to Apple, a year ago, was for this Direct to Display feature. Because it’s critical to ensure that the VR compositor has the fastest time predictable path to the headset display panels. We also, really needed super accurate low variance VBL, vertical blank, events. So, that we could set the cadence of the VR frame presentation timing, and we could predict those poses accurately.

VR production

Although the patent is about how all kinds of applications work with VR and 3D VR, it also mentions a mode where the production application UI appears in the device overlaid on the content being produced:

FIG. 5 illustrates the user interface of a video or image editing or graphics manipulation software program501 with an equirectangularly projected spherical image displayed in the canvas502 and a compositing or editing timeline503. The image output of the video or image editing or graphics manipulation software program can be output via a video output processing software plugin module504 and passed to a GPU image buffer shared memory and then passed efficiently to the image receiver507 of the head-mounted display processing program506. The 3D image processing routine508 of the head-mounted display processing program will texture the inside of a virtual sphere or cube with a 3D viewpoint at the center of said sphere or cube. The virtual view for each of the left and right eyes will be accordingly cropped, duplicated (if necessary), distorted and oriented based on the lens/display specifications and received orientation data509 of the wired or wirelessly connected head-mounted display’s510 orientation sensor data. Once the prepared image is rendered by the 3D image processing routine, the image can then be passed to the connected head-mounted display511 for immediate presentation to the wearer within the head-mounted display.

Additionally, since wearing a head-mounted display will obscure the wearer’s view of the UI of the video or image editing or graphics manipulation software program, it is also possible to capture the computer display’s user interface as an image using a screen image capture software program module512 and pass it to an image receiver/processor513 for cropping an scaling before being composited on the left and right eye renders from the 3D image processing routine508, 514, 515 and then the composited image can be passed to the connected head-mounted display for immediate presentation to the wearer within the head-mounted display.

Further, a redundant view can be displayed in a window516 on the computer’s display so others can see what the wearer of the head-mounted display is seeing, or if a head-mounted display is not available

Tim has been demonstrating many interesting many 3D and VR production tool ideas over the years. Good to see his inventions now have the support of Apple Computer. I’m looking forward to the other ideas he brings to the world through Apple.

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