iOS 10 Audio transcription service: For OS X please!

Monday, 03 August 2015

Business Insider reports that Apple are testing a voicemail transcription service that might debut in iOS 10:

iCloud Voicemail can relay information about where you are and why you can't pick up the phone to certain people. But the coolest feature of the service is that Siri will transcribe any incoming voicemails, just like it does with anything else you say to it.

[…]

Multiple Apple employees are currently testing iCloud Voicemail. Business Insider understands that if the service works reliably enough then it is currently scheduled to be launched in 2016, presumably with the iOS 10 mobile operating system.

Cloud-based transcription would also be very useful for video editing. 

Once Siri for OS X can transcribe audio, I’ll point it to a few TB of video clips to add some useful metadata for editing!

If clips already have fully transcribed text included as metadata before being imported into Final Cut,  features that search, change or display that metadata won’t require patent licences associated with working with scripts in editing software.

 

The BBC and Final Cut Pro X: Any progress?

Monday, 03 August 2015

As the UK’s publically funded broadcaster, the BBC is not allowed to endorse any specific product or service, either on air or in third-party publicity. That means that companies that make the tools that the BBC uses cannot get quotes from BBC members of staff that speak for the whole of the organisation.

Avid cannot get a quote from BBC Studios saying “Over 90% of BBC Drama is editing using Media Composer.” They can refer to specific customers who do work for the BBC.

This is true of Apple and the BBC’s use of Final Cut Pro X. In a big story from last year concerning the use of Final Cut in news acquisition first reported on fcp.co, there were no official quotes that represented the BBC.  

This was true of the BBC when Final Cut Pro 5, 6 and 7 were being increasingly used.

Although that there are rumours that Final Cut Pro X is being taught to everyone in the BBC but experienced editors, all we have on record are a few news stories and mentions of Final Cut by staff and freelancers in social media. Interestingly for those interested in the progress of Final Cut in the BBC, Twitter is a public social media platform where people who work there have bios that state that their opinions aren't official policy of the BBC.

I've started a collection of public tweets on the subject of the BBC and Final Cut Pro X - mostly by people who work for the BBC. 

It seems that X is being widely used in News, but there is little evidence of it spreading to BBC Drama. This might change once new production companies not brought up in the Avid tradition are commissioned to make shows and films for the BBC. This might be how X started being being used in BBC Sport.

Given the limitations of BBC endorsements, I hope others create similar collections for other NLEs.

London high-end post already working with Final Cut Pro X

Friday, 31 July 2015

The big effects-heavy launch trailer for Angry Birds 2 came out yesterday. Like some high-end TV commercials and music videos made in London, much of the post production was done using Final Cut Pro X. This is true of big commercials for Perrier and Sony as well as this high profile campaign for Sport England.

As elsewhere in the world of post, in London using Final Cut Pro X is seen as not being “the professional’s choice.” The irony is that some of the established big post companies who have been working on X jobs for many months may not have realised they are already working with it.

In many cases during big productions, Final Cut Pro X is used during the shoot, the edit, for temporary effects and audio mix. The quality is been good enough to pass to production companies, advertising agencies and the to client for approval.

Once the offline is signed off, various companies work on VFX, the grade, the audio mix and the final online. As long as each company gets the correct materials turned over to them, it makes no difference if the offline was done in Avid, Premiere, Final Cut Pro X or iMovie.

This might be one of the reasons why people say “I don't know anyone who works with Final Cut Pro X.” 

Once the speed and quality of offlines done using Final Cut Pro X becomes better known, there’s a chance that some specialist companies will suddenly announce that they work well with content prepared using Final Cut: “We've worked on Final Cut Pro X jobs since 2014, come and work with us.”

Facebook: Huge growth in video sharing

Thursday, 30 July 2015

From yesterday's Facebook Q2 results analyst telephone conference as transcribed by Seeking Alpha:

Mark Zuckerberg: …if you go back 10 years, most of how people communicated and shared was text. We are going through a period where now it's mostly visual and photos. We are entering into a period where that's going to increasingly be primarily video, and we're seeing huge growth there.

[…]

Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg: So over 1 million SMBs (Small and medium-sized busiensses) have posted a video on Facebook, which is pretty amazing, because I doubt 1 million SMBs have ever run what is a video or TV ad. 

What tools will these millions of business owners and Facebook users be using to make their Facebook videos? Facebook and Google favour online applications. Adobe, Apple and Avid will promote mobile apps and computer applications.

As the market expects video tools to be free or almost free, price won't be a differentiator - maybe features won’t be a differentiator. It'll come down to the user interface. The editing metaphors that win the mass consumer battle will the basis of future editing UIs for everyone.

Frequency of words in the analyst call: 

  • Facebook: 62
  • ads: 49
  • video: 34
  • ad: 33
  • mobile: 33
  • Instagram: 31

KeyFlow Pro: How it might work with Final Cut Pro X in future

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

New on the Mac App Store: KeyflowPro from Malgn Technology. fcp.co has the story:

The problem with MAMs or Media Asset Management systems was that they were expensive and required a lot of hardware to service them. Not anymore. The newly launched KeyFlow Pro is $299 and can run on a MacBook Pro. A very interesting new app.

Up until now, the use of MAMs in video editing has been only for large installations who can afford the installation and support of such a project.

KeyFlow Pro has jut been released and is set to change all of that. For just $299, any user who needs their video files cataloging and organising can run a MAM that has been designed to work on a Mac and of course integrate with Final Cut Pro X.

Some will recognise elements of other media asset managers, but its integration with Final Cut Pro X metadata opens up other opportunities.

The 'Key' in KeyFlow Pro is short for 'Keyword'

Keywords flow in and out of KeyFlow Pro. Keywords added to footage and stills in KeyflowPro are applied as keywords to clips in Final Cut. You can also share directly from a Final Cut timeline into a KeyflowPro library. As well as the movie file, you have the option to include the X XML version of the timeline as well. The metadata added in Final Cut also appears associated with the shared movie in KeyFlow Pro.

As well as being a very interesting product today, version 1 points the way to future possibilities:

  • If KeyFlow Pro can point to media inside Final Cut Pro libraries, it could use X-generated proxies to display footage and stills in KFPro libraries (it generates H.264 proxies at the moment)
  • If a future version Final Cut Pro X could export a reference movie Quicktime of a timeline (a movie that refers to other movies to play back), when that movie is imported into KeyFlow Pro, the clips used (and their metadata) could be added to the KFPro library
  • KeyFlow Pro library to Final Cut Pro X library round-tripping and vice-versa (including titles, title renders and title proxy renders from and to Final Cut)
  • KeyFlow Pro Proxy libraries that would be linked to a parent library on a main server that could remain on portable Macs - only the proxies would need to update as the parent changes due to other user updates. The Final Cut library on the local machine would use the local KFPro to show proxy media. When reconnected with the main server, the Final Cut library would be able to use media managed by the parent KFPro library

As well as inpsiring Apple to create their X version of Final Cut Server, I hope KeyFlow Pro also inspires other developers such as Arctic Whiteness - makers of Final Cut Library Manager

FCP.co supremo Peter Wiggins interview

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Peter Wiggins, the power behind fcp.co * - the best independent Final Cut Pro X website and plugin makers Idustrial Revolution is the latest guest in the new ‘Lunch with Philip and Greg’ video podcast:

Peter Wiggins [38:46]: A year after Final Cut Pro X came out, I compared it to a Forumla 1 racing car. It could go very fast, but it couldn't turn left. They invented a chassis that can go very fast. What they've done in the four years they've built the thing up so it can go really fast. Yes you can come off at the corner - there are gotchas - but compared with the other NLEs, they've put a turbocharger on, trying to make their old one go faster, but there's a limit and it won't go any faster.

* - when I first discovered this site in 2011, I was surprised that Colombia was a big enough market to host a Final Cut website. Oops.

Uh oh: “Have patents relevant to internet video streaming? Want royalties?”

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Patent negotiation group MPEG-LA:

World licensing leader MPEG LA, LLC today announced a call for patents essential to the MPEG Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP (DASH) standards for the purpose of offering the market efficient access to this important technology. Currently used in leading content delivery platforms, DASH adaptively streams audio and video content enabling continuous viewing without freezing or stuttering.

[...] MPEG LA President and CEO Larry Horn. “We invite all patent holders to participate.”

 

Jan Ozer:

How many companies considering the transition from Flash to HTML5 incorporated DASH-related content-royalties into their budgets? How many questioned whether or not DASH would be supported by every current browser? Though it is today, the specter of royalties could change that quickly.

The timing of this story didn’t allow for any industry reaction, but it’s going to be fascinating to watch over the next few days and weeks. At the least, it’s a minor speed bump in the Flash to HTML5 transition, but for some, it might also become a brick wall.

Science examines edits: 7 types of narrative discontinuity in popular movies

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

From a scientific paper: “Event segmentation and seven types of narrative discontinuity in popular movies” by James E. Cutting:

These results suggest that there are at least four different signatures of narrative shifts to be found in popular movies — general patterns across time, patterns of historical change, genre-specific patterns, and film-specific patterns.

[...]

...the structure of popular movies, and the changes in that structure over the last 80 years, are fit to perceptual and cognitive processes that allow movies to be faster paced but still easy to understand. Moreover, we know that in real life and in movies this segmentation process is an aid to memory and comprehension. Thus, understanding the reasons for why and how viewers segment movies into events brings us closer to understanding why we find them such a powerful component of contemporary visual culture.

Once a system is analysed, others will attempt to encode this analysis into algorithms. 

And I thought editors would never be disintermediated…

Judith Allen found this.

iOS app replaces professional editor with algorithm

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Triller is a music video app:

…the app will then automatically edit your takes together using an algorithm that’s designed to emulate how a professional editor would cut a music video. Triller looks at the action in your footage, how much the camera itself is moving, and how many faces are detected in each shot to make its editorial decisions. It then cuts everything into tiny clips that are perfectly synced with the song you’ve chosen.

Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve 2005

Monday, 27 July 2015

Before Blackmagic Design bought da Vinci Systems in 2009, they had years of hardware and software product history.

Thanks to the Internet Archive, their website from 10 years ago is still preserved. 

Included in the archive is a PDF leaflet:

From the genius of da Vinci comes Resolve®, the company’s first software-based color correction system

Note however: 

Resolve2K and 2K Plus are registered trademarks of da Vinci Systems, Inc.