What’s next for Mac Pro graphics cards?

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

If Apple update the Mac Pro this year, there's a very good chance that as well as introducing faster CPUs, they'll offer faster graphics cards. The FirePro D300, D500 and D700 in last year's Mac Pro are manufactured by AMD. AMD have spent the last few months updating the FirePro cards they make for PCs. The specifications of these new cards show how much more AMD can do for the same money.

The cards in the MacPro are custom made for Apple, but there are some rough equivalents between the D-series and the PC W-series. For example the D300 has similar specifications to the W7000. 

The W7000, W8000 and W9000 first appeared in 2012. The PC equivalents of the D300, D500 and D700. This year Apple may base their new Mac Pro GPU cards on more recent AMD cards.

Here is a table edited together from tables on the AnandTech site. The table is divided into three groups - representing low-, medium- and high-end Mac Pro options. Each group shows the original AMD card, the Apple-specified Mac Pro card and the 2014 update of the 2012 PC card.

CPU-cards-table-a

Click to see more detail

At each level AMD have at least doubled the VRAM, added 40% more stream processors. The W8100 and W9100 have wider memory buses (so more information can be transferred for each command) and many more transistors.

Although Apple can specify any number of stream processors, clock speeds or VRAM, these more recent cards show what AMD considers is the low-, medium- and high-end when it comes to PCs. For Mac owners perspective, they show how much card for a similar amount of money AMD can now make compared with the cards in the Mac Pro and 2012.

Find out about the W7100W8100 amd W9100 by reading more at AnandTech

 

Missing Final Cut Pro X plugins when moving projects between Macs?

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Andreas Kiel, the XML expert who makes many useful film production tools has written a useful primer on Final Cut Pro X plugin locations.

Read this as a first step in understanding why even though you have two Macs with the same plugins installed, when you move a project from one computer to another you sometimes get the following image in your viewer:

missing-effect-plugin

The plugin is on both Macs - what's the problem?

Part of the problem is that even though a plugin appears in the browser of both installations of Final Cut Pro X, if it isn't in the same place on the hard drive, Final Cut won't recognise a reference to a plugin saved on Mac A when opened on Mac B. As well as there being more than one place you can install plugins, the folder names that appear in the Finder may be different from the actual names of the folders. Projects use the real names of the folders - not the ones that appear in the Finder.

That means that even if exactly the same "My Cool Plugin" effect is stored in a different folder on Mac B, the fact that the Final Cut Pro project from Mac A is looking for it in the original folder will mean the effect will seem to be missing from the copy of Final Cut Pro running on Mac B. This seems very odd when you can see "My Cool Plugin" appearing in exactly the same place in the effects browser in Final Cut on both Macs.

Investigate the XML version of your project

Andreas says

XML can help a lot: template syncing.

You can create a XML. All assets and effects will be listed in the "resource" part of the XML. So you can open the XML in TextWrangler (or something similar) and find the "effect" entries and their paths (uids) manually. This is both time consuming, boring and not effective.

That's why I made my X-FX Handler some time ago.

X-FX Handler shows listings of the plugins a Final Cut Pro X project uses. The X-FX Handler PDF includes a download link to the application installer.

Visit Andreas’ post on fcp.co to learn more about Motion templates (the way effect, title, transition and generator plugins are made available in Final Cut Pro X).

 

 

FCPX Grill podcast - Ep. 71 - featuring Philip Hodgetts: The King of Metadata

Monday, 11 August 2014

Episode 71 of Chris Fenwick's FCPX Grill podcast features an interview with Philip Hodgetts of Intelligent Assistance, an LA-based software company who make software for assistant editors and editors who have to do assistant editors' tasks.

fcpxGrill logo

After listening to this episode about logging, I thought it was well worth logging:

[5:20] Video literacy vs. traditional forms of literacy. Even if post production isn't your primary focus, you make need to make videos. Apple selling a million copies of Final Cut Pro X in a world where there are only 25,500 professional video and film editors in the USA.

[7:41] PH: People stay with software and workflows that aren't state of the art because they are proven and because they are preferred workflows of somebody that they trust.

[9:18] Philip came over to LA from Australia for four weeks in 2001 and returned in 2003.

[10:33] PH: Don't you think Final Cut Pro X reminds you of Media 100?

[11:45] CF: What is the significance of the change from QuickTime to AV Foundation?

[18:33] PH: AV Foundation only supports QuickTime movies with H.264 and ProRes Codecs - no third-party codecs.

[24:00] PH: All our applications are focussed on metadata

[24:43] PH: The six kinds of metadata: Source, Added, Derived, Inferred, Visible and Transform 

[28:38] CF: People are logging much less as they shoot than before

[29:15] PH: Marquis Broadcast Final Cut Pro X customer survey: only 2-3% of respondants do on-location logging

[31:05] PH: Lumberjack System helps you log on location by tapping check boxes on and off. The Lumber Yard application takes this logging information to generate a Final Cut Pro X library to organise footage by applying keywords, creating folders and marking favourites and also to create string-outs based on keywords - including lower thirds showing metadata-based interviewee names.

[34:17] PH: We use a very simple title, but you can select all the titles in the Timeline Index and drag a title of your choice to change the design of the lower thirds in one go.

[35:28] PH: Now you can log already captured footage using the simpler to use Lumberjack system

[38:16] PH: Most logging tools don't record time ranges, they store markers with fixed 2 second ranges before and after the marker.

[41:15] CF: A listener asked why we go on about all these things to make the assistant editors' lives easier: “I don't care, I'm an editor”

[42:45] PH: My whole focus is to take the drudge work away from editors and get the computer to do that

[44:00] PH: In the future editors will work remotely - the work will go to the lowest-price territory: Montana and Mumbai

[45:35] CF: Working from home, do you miss the cameraderie of working with other people?

[47:48] PH: Lumberjack features also support making videos at conferences - multiple iOS users can log a live event at the same time

[52:25] PH: I've stopped demoing Syn-N-Link after seeing how much better Sam Mestman and Michael Garber demo it

[53:25] PH on the genesis of Xto7

[55:30] CF: What is the difference between Intelligent Assistance and Lumberjack System?

[58:38] CF: I'm going to appear at the Final Cut Virtual User Group on Thursday August 14th

 

 

AppleCare Professional Video Support no longer a separate service

Saturday, 09 August 2014

UPDATE: The previous version of this post said that Apple have discontinued AppleCare Professional Video support. In fact support for video, audio and Xsan is still available as part of AppleCare OS Support. They are no longer available as standalone products.

Perhaps Apple weren't getting much takeup of their Video, Audio and Xsan support services as individual products. Hopefully they want to encourage third parties to establish services based on specific areas of expertise.

Old price of AppleCare Pro Video Support: $799/year. Price for AppleCare OS Support starts at $5,995/year.

Good news for FCPWORKS in LA and NMR in London?

(August 13 update: Sam Mestman of FCPWORKS has responded to this post)

Here's the original version of this post for reference:

video-finalcut-over

Apple has removed references to its AppleCare Professional Video Support service from its website. Also Professional Audio and Xsan Support are gone.

Here's how the Video Support product was described:

AppleCare Professional Video Support is perfect whether you are editing HD video, or designing motion graphics. Because Apple builds the entire video editing solution — from hardware to software to the operating system — one phone call to AppleCare can address most of your technical needs, providing integrated support that you can’t get anywhere else.

It's product page is now missing. Here is the archive copy made by the Internet Archive WayBackMachine on Wednesday 6th August.

Other professional AppleCare services are still available. On Wednesday that page also linked to Professional Video, Audio and Xsan support.

no-longer-available

Video, Audio and Xsan AppleCare Pro products are no longer available on the online Apple Store (Archive).

Interesting move for Apple. 

 

 

Walter Murch and Iron Man: The Science of Cinematic Perception

Friday, 08 August 2014

At the end of July, the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences put on an event where scientists and film makers got together to learn about how we perceive films.

Walter Murch explained how his edit of a tricky scene involving Gene Hackman in The Conversation (his first feature as a film editor) was inspired by a comment that legendary filmmaker John Huston had made during an interview: Huston described blinking as a physical manifestation of a psychological “cut.”

 iron-man-eye-tracking

A clip from the Monaco racing scene in Iron Man 2 followed, and Jon Favreau, the film’s director, and Talma Hendler, founder and director of the Functional Brain Center at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, joined the other guests onstage. Smith introduced eye-tracking footage captured from ten audience members earlier in the Dunn lobby, which demonstrated the remarkable consistency of where the ten focused their attention as their eyes took in the action.

Although Jon Favreau talked about how knowing where people are looking in a frame determines the quality of special visual effects, editors have known for decades how to direct the audience's view. That's one of the reasons why continuity between is not very important: editors know that the audience will find it almost impossible to notice the length of a cigarette contantly changing on screen left because the actor's face is screen right.

Go to the Academy's site for more on the event and 20 minutes of interesting videos.

 

 

EMC White Paper: NFS settings for Final Cut Pro X

Wednesday, 06 August 2014

EMC is a large storage manufacturer used to supplying hardware for corporate use. They sold over $23bn of hardware, software and services in 2013.

In August 2013 a PDF indicated that Final Cut Pro X was 'under consideration' when it came to whether they would produce a Mac application for use with their MXF server product.

Looks like they are warming towards Final Cut.

There's a short white paper on the EMC China website:

With Final Cut Pro 10.1 Apple introduced a new and more flexible project management model based on Libraries

 

There is one critical modification to the OS X NFS configuration that's necessary in order for FCP X to recognise the share as a valid mount for a Library. The NFS mount has to be configured to only use local locks.

 

The PDF says that a file named nfs.conf file in the /etc directory on the client Mac needs to have the following contents:

nfs.client.mount.options=nfssvers=3,tcp,async,locallocks,rw,rdirplus,rsize=65536,wsize=65536
nfs.client.allow_async=1

 

Amsterdam Supermeet 2014

Tuesday, 05 August 2014

It's time to plan your trip to IBC2014 in Amsterdam. The exhibition runs from September 12-16th at the Amsterdam RAI. For users of Final Cut Pro X, Adobe Premiere, Avid Media Composer and Blackmagic Davinci Resolve, it is also time for this year's Amsterdam Supermeet.

There's nothing like visiting a trade fair and looking right into the eyes of post production hardware and software makers while asking tough questions. The networking opportunities continue at parties and other gatherings. 

Supermeet is in the tradition of the unbiased sharing of information found at user groups. A super user group meeting.

am supermeet logo 2014

Although Apple, Avid and Adobe have presented at previous meetings, it is the other presentations that can only be seen here. The people you meet and the stories you'll hear will be hard to track down on the IBC show floor.

The agenda evolves in the weeks up to the night, but there has been a big announcement: Maryann Brandon and Mary Jo Markey, the editors of Alias, Lost, Mission Impossible III, Star Trek, Super 8, Kung Fu Panda 2 and Star Wars Episode VII, will be the special guests. Mary Jo Markey was one of the special guests of EditFest London this year, and she was one of the stars of the show.

As well as presentations and networking, in the tradition of old-school user group meetings there is also a large raffle which has so many prizes that attendees have a good chance of winning; each entry ticket includes two raffle tickets.

Find out more about the Amsterdam Supermeet and book your tickets soon!

Disclosure: The organisers have asked me to be a media sponsor, so in return for writing about the event, they link to me from their site and I get a pair of free tickets.

IBC2014

Part of planning your trip to IBC in Amsterdam is booking accommodation. As well as booking a hotel near the venue, consider other parts of the city - your IBC credentials include access to shuttle buses.

Here's a map that shows the exhibition venue, routes for the shuttle buses and the location of this year's Supermeet.

 

Final Cut Pro X: Compositing 64+ layers in real time

Friday, 01 August 2014

Here's a new video from Gyro (tweeted by @sundsvein) featuring an edit on a Mac Pro using 64 layers of video - each of which was at least HD resolution.

One 14 second sequence had 2,400+ 1080p clips.

The reason we went for Final Cut Pro X as our main (and only) software is because it was bar far the only software that could handle 64+ layers with relative ease, and the way it works with the hardware is crazy

chess-olympiad

Shows that Final Cut Pro X in combination with a Mac Pro can do real-time compositions that would be hard to do using other systems.

 

 

A sign: Vacancy for Assistant Editor with Final Cut Pro X experience

Friday, 01 August 2014

This morning a job listing went up on Mandy.com:

We are looking for assistant editors with fcpx experience.
The position will require knowledge in all aspects of editor assisting including:
Posting
Stranding
Prepping for telecine
Prepping for audio mix.
The position will start as a freelance position as needed, with the possibility of a full time position.

The position is at Consulate NYC, a Manhattan-based post production company. We've heard of a London post house using Final Cut Pro X for offline adits of large advertsing campaigns and music videos. It is a sign that Final Cut is also being used in New York - on jobs big enough for editors to need assistant editors. 

It is quicker for an experienced assistant editor to learn Final Cut Pro X than it is for a Final Cut Pro X user to understand the huge range of responsibilities of an assistant editor. More job offers like this will encourage a few forward-thinking AEs to discover more about Final Cut. The more assistant editors with X experience there are, the more likely jobs with large enough budgets to require assistants will consider Final Cut as an element of the production workflow.

 

Feature film edited in Final Cut Pro 7 and Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Today sees the premiere of 'Sharknado 2: The Second One.' Apart from the obvious high quality of the movie, there's an interesting post production story. The two editors who worked on the film used different editing applications. 

Ana Florit worked in Final Cut Pro 7, Vashi Nedomansky used Adobe Premiere Pro CC.

Scott Simmons asked:

How did you integrate Premiere Pro into a traditional Final Cut Pro 7 workflow?
So here’s how I seamlessly integrated Premiere Pro CC into a FCP7 workflow. 1. Opened the FCP7 Sharknado 2 project in my studio. 2. Relinked to the clone drive and made all assets active in FCP7. 3. Exported XML from FCP7. 4. Imported XML into Premiere Pro CC. 5. Relinked footage inside Premiere Pro CC. 6. Done.

As well as Scott's article on the post process, also read Randi Altman's article on what Vashi learnt about editing comedy from David Zucker:

“Never hang on a reaction too long…” Zucker taught him. “If you milk it, it loses its funny,” Nedomansky explains. “You have to cut away at the right moment, see the reaction to the dialog or action and then come back for more of the original reaction. If you linger, it’s death.”

I wonder if Final Cut Pro X XML will be the next interchange format for post production?

Follow Ana Florit and Vashi Nedomansky on Twitter

 

Apple patent: Metadata generation from nearby devices

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Today Apple was awarded a patent for a process where when data is created or saved on a device, the device detects nearby devices ('second devices') and offers possible metadata tag options that could be associated with the data:

Identifying the content can include identifying the content that has just been created (e.g., identifying a digital picture right after the picture is taken), or selecting from a list of content that was created when at least one of the second devices was in transmission range with the first device. In the latter case, each content file can be associated with a list of second devices that were present. The user of the first device can have the options of labeling the file with a particular second device or a group of second devices (e.g., multiple labels can be assigned to each file).

The content can have a variety of formats. For example, the content can be a text file (e.g., a text note), a data file (e.g., a spreadsheet), a multimedia file (e.g., a sound recording, a digital image, or a digital movie clip), or in any other format (e.g., a voice mail message, an entry in a data sheet, a record in the database, etc)

For OS X and iOS 8 users, the metadata would appear as tags associated with a file, calendar event, contact or note. For Pro Apps users the metadata would appear as keywords associated with stills, audio and video clips recorded on iOS, OS X and other devices.

Those controlling public devices such as iBeacons could also offer up useful metadata for those creating content in public spaces.

 

Apple's video conferencing patent

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Apple has been awarded a video conferencing patent for connecting multiple cameras in one location:

Multiple cameras are oriented to capture video content of different image areas and generate corresponding original video streams that provide video content of the image areas.

One part seems to overlap with the way Google Hangouts works:

An active one of the image areas may be identified at any time by analyzing the audio content originating from the different image areas and selecting the image area that is associated with the most dominant speech activity.

The illustrations are interesting - ranging from a TARDIS-like desk to a vertical video display (showing that the video feeds could be sent to devices people view in portrait mode).

Tardis

 

 

 

Apple Pro Apps Revenue: 2005-2014

Monday, 28 July 2014

For many years most users of Apple's 'Pro Apps' assumed that they were a loss leader for high-end Macintoshes. Very light copy protection meant that many students pirated the software, but that wasn't a problem for Apple. 99.9% of Final Cut Pro users needed a Mac to run the software.

These days Final Cut Pro X and Logic Pro X users may love their software, but many are worried that Apple might discontinue them at any moment. Pro Apps are such a small contributor to Apple's bottom line, and the transition from Final Cut Pro 7 to Final Cut Pro X has left many people gun-shy. They don't want to bet their livelihood on an ecosystem that Apple may abandon at a whim.

Here's a look at how much revenue Apple probably gets from selling Pro Apps, some worries might be alleviated.  

Rumour: iMovie and Final Cut updates due with OS X Yosemite

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

A report on Apple rumour site 9to5Mac that Apple will launch retina Macs and monitors with the next version of OS X:

Also in the cards for the Mac side, sources say, are at least a couple of next-generation Mac lines. Sources say that Apple is finishing up work on both a smaller MacBook with a high-resolution display and a new desktop computer, either an iMac or a standalone monitor, with a 4K resolution screen.

The post also mentions iMovie and Final Cut:

In addition to the new hardware with higher-resolution display panels, Apple is said to be preparing updates to both iMovie and Final Cut Pro to bolster support for editing, exporting, and importing video taken with 4K resolution-capable cameras.

I'm not sure what more could be done to make iMovie and Final Cut Pro X work better with 4K cameras. Current versions of both have features ready to handle 4K, 5K and more already.

In practice the new versions of the applications are more likely to demonstrate advantages of OS X Yosemite. If we're lucky, Apple might also launch iOS apps designed to work with Macs running iMovie or Final Cut Pro X, such as remote Inspector panel or a workflow assistant.

 

 

Final Cut Pro X Subclips tutorials

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

fcp.co have gathered together a series of subclip tutorials by T Payton. As well as forum posts, the YouTube videos…

should be watched in order. All six add up to about an hour, so grab yourself a coffee!

 

There‘s more to UHD than pixels: BBC R&D on HDR video

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Most people associate UHD with 4K - four times as many pixels. A more important aspect is a higher range of colour and brightness - High Dynamic Range Video. Recently BBC R&D took part in the European UHD standards workshop:

Currently in stills photography, due to limitations in print and screen technologies, it is usual to utlilse a "tone-mapping" algorithm to create a lower dynamic range representation of an HDR image suitable for printing or viewing on a PC screen. These tone-mapping algorithms can lead to severe distortion and poor representation of natural scenes. For HDR video, the intent is to utilise a high brightness, high contrast ratio screen to show the HDR content, reducing the need for tone-mapping.

Their belief is that further work is required amongst the various standards groups to:

identify a suitable peak brightness and suitable dynamic range to maximise the increase in subjective quality without causing physical discomfort or requiring long adaptation periods,

identify which proposal is best suited to television including live production with mixes, fades and Digital Video Effects (DVE) image shifts, and

write a final end-to-end specification for the delivery of HDR video

 

MacBreak Studio: Final Cut Pro X Used Media Ranges

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

This week's MacBreak Studio video shows how much more you can do in Final Cut Pro X 10.1.2 with media that is used in the current project and media not yet used in the current project.

While it's great to be able to quickly filter browser clips in this way, the real power of this feature comes into play in the Filter HUD.

This is the 102nd free Final Cut Pro X tutorial video from Mark Spencer and Steve Martin of Ripple Training.

My YouTube list of all 102.

 

Apple's metadata propagation patent

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Apple has been awarded a patent that says that metadata propagation rules can be included with video files. That means you could pass on a video file with metadata that would be available to an editor but not exported when the generate new content based on the files you sent them:

Some embodiments provide a method for processing metadata associated with digital video in a multi-state video computer readable medium. The method specifies a set of rules for propagating the metadata between different states in the video computer readable medium. It then propagates the metadata between the states based on the specified set of rules.

It also describes an example when the metadata in one set of video clips can be assigned to a related set of clips stored elsewhere. This would apply if an on-set assistant had added metadata to lo-res H.264 clips on an iPad and an editor wanted some of the metadata applied to the media from the professional cameras.

It also says that the metadata could also define which parts of the high-quality media should be captured later:

In some embodiments, the method recaptures digital video from a first storage, when at least a portion of the digital video is also stored in a second storage. The method retrieves the digital video from the first storage. It identifies a set of metadata that is stored for the digital video in the second storage, and then determines whether there is an associated set of rules for processing this set of metadata when the digital video is re-captured from the first storage. If so, the method then stores the set of metadata with the retrieved digital video in a third storage.

 

Xto7 update

Sunday, 20 July 2014

If you need to share Final Cut Pro X work with those using Final Cut Pro 7 or Adobe Premiere, convert Final Cut Pro X XML exports using Xto7 for Final Cut Pro. Today's update is a bug fix:

Bug Fix for subclips when importing XML into Premiere Pro