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BlogIs the Final Cut Pro X magnetic timeline an Apple jet pack?Monday, October 15 2018

A common observation of how a new technology is received by the establishment over time:

  1. It is just a toy
  2. Ignore it
  3. Ignore it
  4. No
  5. I said ‘No’
  6. Oh no
  7. Oh f%ck

Adobe have introduced a rudimentary element of the Final Cut Pro X magnetic timeline to their NLEs in the form of Adobe Premiere Rush CC – their new cross-platform online video editing application. Maybe the Adobe position on trackless video editing goes like this:

  1. You can use it for online video
  2. Only online video – not video to be shown elsewhere
  3. Track-based editing will now be only available in a special compatibility mode in our newly updated version of ‘Adobe Premiere Rush CC 2022’

On the other hand, what if trackless video editing might be more of a ‘Jet Pack’ than a ‘Powered Human Fight’?

In a post on how to assess the potential of a proposed technology, Benedict Evans compared powered human flight in 1903 with jet packs in 1960.

Both technologies were pretty limited. The Wright brothers managed to fly one person for a few hundred metres. Jet packs could fly a single person for 21 seconds. Today air travel and transport has transformed the world. Jet packs can now fly for 30 seconds.

How could you tell which product had a future?

The question, then, is not whether something works now but whether it could work – whether you know how to change it. Saying ‘it doesn’t work, today’ has no value, but saying ‘yes, but everything didn’t work once’ also has no value. Rather, do you have a roadmap? Do you know what to do next?

  • The Wright Flyer looked like a toy but was in fact a breakthrough in flight with a clear roadmap that was easy to follow for it to become something huge almost immediately. Then we needed another breakthrough, around jets, to get to cheap mass air travel in the second half of the century.
  • Mobile phones in 1947 had no roadmap to become a mass-market product, but mobile phones in 1975 or 1980 absolutely had such a roadmap, with a path to make them cheap and universal.
  • Rocket packs have remained a toy and we have never had any roadmap for making them anything more.

In his post Benedict comes up with some ways to judge whether new technologies have a future. Ways that you can apply to the question ‘Does trackless Final Cut Pro X has more of a future than track-based Adobe Premiere Pro CC?’

At least Apple’s iMovie and Final Cut Pro X finally have some real competition in Adobe Premiere Rush CC. The closest thing to an application that will put some fire under the Apple Video Applications team.

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BlogmacOS High Sierra 10.13.6 installer for troubleshooting or recoveryTuesday, September 25 2018

If you are tempted to apply very new macOS updates, it is a good idea to have ‘last known good’ macOS installers to hand. They also help when you need to recover from serious Mac problems.

Even though there is a new version of macOS available, the High Sierra installer is still available from the Mac App Store.

  1. Download the macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 Installer from the Mac App Store
  2. Once it opens, quit without installing.
  3. You will find the installer in the Applications folder.
  4. Drag the installer to another location on your computer for safekeeping – also to a USB stick that you can use for recovery purposes.

 

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BlogBlackmagic Design’s new RAW codec family – Reading between the linesFriday, September 14 2018

Blackmagic Design have announced their new RAW codec family at IBC today. Possible interpretations of the press release:

Blackmagic RAW has been in development for years

means

We started on this long before we heard Apple was developing a post-focused RAW codec.

Blackmagic RAW…moves part of the de-mosaic process into the camera where it can be hardware accelerated by the camera itself

means

There is no margin in giving away free post software. We are a post production hardware company that makes cameras, not a computer maker.

Because the processor intensive partial de-mosaic is done by the camera hardware, software such as DaVinci Resolve doesn’t have to do as much work decoding the files

means

We want our software to be cross-platform. We need to make sure Resolve works on operating systems and hardware that might not be as good at working with media. Popular hardware and OS combinations aren’t powerful enough to work with ProRes RAW

Blackmagic RAW is much more than a simple RAW container format. Its intelligent design actually understands the camera and the sensor. This means the image data, along with the unique characteristics of the image sensor

means

Despite cameras not having huge differences in sensor and glass, we think Apple ProRes RAW doesn’t include enough metadata to capture their individual characteristics.

“Send me a Blackmagic”

Blackmagic Design is up against one of the biggest brands in post production. As much as people say “Can I look at it on the Avid,” they also say “Can you send me a ProRes.” It makes post-production adjacent people in TV and film feel like they are ‘in with’ the post process – even if those brands are all they know. They would be happy if you showed them you work on a Adobe Premiere Pro CC timeline, or if you send them an H.265 MP4.

I’ll be interested to see if Blackmagic gets people switching from Apple and Avid codecs for post. I’m looking forward to seeing how well ProRes RAW converts to Blackmagic RAW.

According to fcp.co, the Blackmagic’s beta codec and sample media don’t work in Final Cut Pro X, but there’s no business reason why they shouldn’t. If Final Cut users liked it, Blackmagic could sell more cameras.

As regards Apple’s ProRes RAW working in Resolve, I’m sure they would like that, but they also like other applications being used as off-line editors while the online -the last 5% – is done in Resolve (if needed).

Overall: A reaction, not an instigation.

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BlogAdobe Premiere can now edit IMF, wither Final Cut?Thursday, September 13 2018
Third-parties who develop Interoperable Master Format workflow tools don’t seem to believe that Final Cut Pro X is relevant.
 
At the end of many high-end productions comes expressing your feature film or TV show as IMF – a SMPTE standard for providing a single, interchangeable master file format and structure for the distribution of content. Each IMF database can be used to generate deliverables for multiple playback systems such as different projectors, sound systems, TV standards, Blu-Rays, spoken languages, subtitles and more.
 
Marquise Technologies is a Swiss company that have been involved in developing IMF. They have many high-end tools. Yesterday they launched an IMF import system for Adobe Premiere CC:
 
With the growing adoption of the Interoperable Master Format for content exchange it has become increasingly important for professional editing solutions to support this standard. Marquise Technologies and Adobe have collaborated to enable Adobe Premiere Pro CC to import IMF packages, including multiple CPLs packages. Editors are now able to review and process IMF Application #2 and #2e (Studio Profile) content.
 
The irony is that Final Cut Pro X is much more suited to thinking about media as a database that can be expressed multiple ways. Better than any track-based NLE.
 
What client need would convince IMF ecosystem developers to make tools that work with Final Cut?
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BlogiPad Pro wish: eGPU for MacsTuesday, September 11 2018

Should Apple make an external display for Macs? One with a built-in GPU? How about the 2018 iPad Pros?

Apple’s September 2018 iPhone launch event didn’t mention the iPad Pro range. What might the future hold? The Apple rumour industry predicts a new look – inspired by the iPhone: smaller bezels, antenna lines around the edge. The iPad Smart connector may move to a different edge and the home button is removed to allow for Face ID to replace Touch ID.

If Apple start promoting another use for iPad Pros – as Pro accessories for Macs – then the iPad update may come in an event also promoting new Macs.

iPad Pro for MacBook Pro and Mac mini Pro

Many Mac users also have iPads. What if new iPads could improve Macs? My wish: that new iPads can act as external screens and eGPUs for Macs. This would be useful for MacBook Pro users who need more screen space and more power when on the move. The iPad Pro has a 2732 by 2048 pixel wide colour display. Its GPU can update the display 120 times a second. That graphics power could be useful for high-end applications.

Mac minis with a Thunderbolt 3-powered USB C connectors could get extra processing power and a display. For those who would like to manage multiple Mac minis, having a handy external screen to move from device to device would be very useful.

As many professional applications make extensive use of GPU processing, any help they can get from adjacent devices would be useful. I don’t know if the Lightning port on iOS devices can connect at Thunderbolt 3 bandwidth. Maybe the iPad Pro Smart Connector can.

Some professional applications could even add features that work on connected touchscreens like iPads and iPhones. For example a Lumberjack System-like keyword palette might be use for Final Cut Pro X.

If Apple did this, it would be very likely that I would seriously consider replacing my current iPad 2 with a new iPad Pro!

 

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BlogFinal Cut Pro X plugins everywhere sells more MacsWednesday, September 5 2018

I think it would be a good move for the Motion playback system to be made available in macOS and iOS. At the moment, almost all the plugins in Final Cut Pro templates are made in Motion 5 – Apple’s motion graphics application. Motion can make effect, transition, title and generator plugins for Final Cut. If Motion’s features aren’t enough for plugin developers to make the plugins they want, they call FxPlug plugins in Motion to add features.

When Motion was first introduced, QuickTime could play back Motion files in any application. That meant you could use Motion documents as elements in After Effects projects. The current frame would be rendered very quickly in the GPU any time AE needed it. In many cases it was quicker to make complex animations in Motion and use them as layers in After Effects.

Imagine if that feature returned.

That would mean any macOS application would be able to use Motion templates. They are stored in the Motion Templates folder – not a ‘Final Cut Pro X plugins’ folder. If a plugin needs FxPlug extensions, those are stored in a standard OS folder. Timelines that use Motion templates would then be able to transfer from and to iMovie, Final Cut Pro X, Logic Pro X, Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve, Fusion, Adobe Premiere, After Effects, Nuke and more on the Mac.

Mac-only workflows

Of course third-party developers would need to implement compatibility with Motion plugins. Compatibility that would not be cross-platform. Workflows that would not transfer to Windows and Linux: ‘Sorry, our render farm can’t work with your timelines – they use Motion templates. Our service isn’t Mac-based.’

For some developers, this would not be a problem – others might have a strategic direction that means that any feature that cannot be implemented on multiple OSes will not be implemented.

Motion templates available to all applications helps sell Macs.

iOS too

Also if iOS supported Motion templates, timelines could be moved to and from iMovie, Clips and any NLE running on iPhones and iPads. Not to Windows- and Android-based mobile devices.

An observation: If you attach Motion templates to emails in Apple Mail, once the email is sent, the icons are replaced by placeholders to show that these are video files that can’t be played in the current application:

Could this be in preparation for when Motion templates can be played in applications other than Final Cut Pro X? I hope so.

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