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

 

New Colour features in Final Cut Pro X and Premiere Pro

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Oliver Peters: 'New NLE Color Features'

As someone who does color correction as often within an NLE as in a dedicated grading application, it’s nice to see that Apple and Adobe are not treating their color tools as an afterthought

You can see a good demo of Final Cut Pro X log processing if you click the second image. 

 

PluralEyes 3.3.7 update

Sunday, 20 July 2014

If you run an older version of Red Giant PluralEyes 3 today, you'll be prompted that there's a new version. Version 3.3.7...

You can now safely download FCPX 10.1.2 for use with PluralEyes 3.

 

Apple job vacancy

Friday, 18 July 2014

On November 18, 2008 Apple added this job description to their website:

Video Editor Product Designer, Pro Apps

Apple’s Pro Apps Design Group is seeking a passionate video editor who understands the complexity of software product design. This person must possess a relentless attention to detail, a gifted eye for aesthetics and the ability to quickly grasp and distill highly complex matters.

The candidate will work closely with all designers, producers, engineers, and other editors to design the future of Pro Apps; high-visibility applications that are used daily by creative professionals working in post-production (examples include Final Cut Pro, Motion and Soundtrack Pro).

The designer will be responsible for researching, designing and prototyping new user experiences and features, creating design mockups, producing visual assets and writing behavioral documentation (required for proper design implementation).

The candidate must be a natural collaborator who prefers being creative in a team environment, a passionate customer advocate and be capable of crafting and designing simple solutions to complex design problems.

Qualifications:
-Minimum 5 years of experience as a video editor, with sound design/production, motion graphics, photography, and videography skills.
-Experienced creating or designing innovative and visually stunning user experiences for software, games, DVDs, video, or the web.
-Degree in film production, interaction design, human factors and/or visual design (or equivalent).
-An outstanding body of work demonstrated as a reel (film, TV, web examples) or design portfolio demonstrating the successful delivery of innovative video, motion graphics, and/or design.
-Understanding of Apple’s human interface design language and the ability to translate it into future designs of Apple’s professional applications.
-Exceptional understanding of fundamental design disciplines (typography, composition, information architecture, color and animation) and principals (affordance, clustering, consistency, usability, etc.).
-The ideal candidate is not afraid of a blank white board or blank screen.

Software Skills:
-Expert-level knowledge of editing, motion graphics, and finishing suites like FCP, Avid, Smoke, Luster, etc.
-Highly versed in graphic design tools such as Photoshop, Illustrator, Omnigraffle, etc.
-Complete mastery of the Mac OS X platform.
-Advanced knowledge of interaction prototyping tools such as Flash, Director and/or AfterEffects is a big plus.

The position was unfilled six months later in June 2009.

On June 3, 2014, Apple added this job decription to their jobs website:

Video Applications Product Designer, Pro Apps

Apple’s Professional Apps Design group is seeking a Video Applications Product Designer who has deep knowledge of the video editing space and workflow with a variety of video tools.

The Video Applications Product Designer will play a key role in the future of video applications. From brainstorming through implementation, the Video Applications Product Designer will work with members of the Video Applications design team, engineering, marketing, and QA groups. We are looking for an imaginative, resourceful and enthusiastic designer to help us continue to make products that blend ease of use with powerful feature sets all with an unsurpassed attention to detail.

Qualifications:
-The ideal candidate will have a deep understanding of non-linear video editing, workflow, audio and video finishing. The candidate should understand a wide breath of video editing workflows that range from consumers to professional editors. The candidate should be detailed oriented and able to visually express ideas and thoughts in a variety of ways. The candidate will be able to translate their years of post production experience into designs that create features and applications that exemplify Apple's commitment to it's users.
-Deep understanding of Apple’s human interface design language and of the Mac OSX, iPhone and iPad platforms
-Experience designing web, iOS or desktop application or features
-Outstanding written and verbal communication skills
-Knowledge of video editing, sound design or related disciplines
-Knowledge and experience use of competitive post production tools and applications 
-Experience creating multimedia projects or prototypes

Education / Experience:
-Four year degree or higher preferred 
-5 years experience post production or related fields 
-Experience with FCPX, iMovie, Compressor and Motion
-Knowledge of user-centered design principles
-Great written and verbal communication skills
-Excellent collaborative skills 
-Highly professional, with the ability to deliver solid work on tight schedules

Highlighting mine.

Applying for the job? Tell them Alex sent you!

 

Adobe Premiere and UK TV post-production

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Yesterday I went to an interesting evening hosted by ITV Studios and Adobe. ITV Studios wanted editors to understand why Adobe Premiere Pro is a now a peer to Avid Media Composer when it comes to editing TV programmes of many different kinds. It was presented as a tale of Premiere vs. Media Composer - Final Cut Pro 7 and X were hardly mentioned.

ITV Studios makes over 3,500 hours of TV every year ranging from soap operas like Coronation Street, dramas such as Poirot and game shows including Come Dine with Me and I'm a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!

ITV Studios Production Modernisation programme

Martyn Suker, ITV Studios Head of Production Innovation, introduced their Production Modernisation programme. ITV Studios is organised as a group of individual TV production companies. That means they didn't need to impose a single huge digital asset management system. There is no need for the 'Mr. Selfridge' drama production team to access the many hours of rushes recorded for 'Come Dine With Me.' However, as nearly all broadcasters will require file-based submission of broadcast shows by October 1st 2014, ITV Studios wanted to define a 'commission to broadcast' workflow standard. 

Instead of an all-encompassing digital asset management system, they decided to use MioEverywhere from Nativ. MioEverywhere is a 'media logistics platform' - a way for information to flow from initial proposal, to production planning, photography, post-production and submission.

One aspect of file-based production that ITV Studios want to get control over is shooting ratios. In previous years producers understood how much footage was being recorded by counting video tapes at the end of each day. If the number of tapes suddenly stacked up, producers knew that something needed to be investigated. Few people can understand how many minutes are stored on an individual camera card. ITV Studios gets producers to consider this problem at a very early stage. Once a programme, film or series is commissioned budgeting includes defining how much media storage will be available to the production. At any stage any member of the production is able to see a graph that shows how much of the storage budget has been used so far.

mio tab

Mio Tab in Adobe Premiere Pro CC

A Mio production workflow amongst other things establishes a media storage limit, standard metadata tags and names the people involved. It uses Adobe Prelude to ingest footage, giving on-set post people the correct set of tags and the chance to do simple sequence stringouts. The clips and sequences then can be accessed in Adobe Premiere Pro. As Premiere can host HTML5-based UI elements from external systems, editors can access a special Mio tab which shows production metadata and handles the approval process. Instead of individually making DVDs in Premiere, Mio handles encoding, file transfer to approvers and import of timecode-based notes from collaborators.

After signoff Mio then prepares the required files for submission to the broadcasters - the required metadata stored as XML as well as a quality-controlled file using the correct codec settings.

Why Adobe Premiere Pro?

The audience at the event was made up of in-house editors and freelance editors. I got the impression that one of the aims of the evening was for the experienced Avid-only in-house editors to take Premiere seriously. The presence of many freelancers unthreatened by Premiere was perhaps supposed to give a strong message to those who haven't needed to learn it yet.

From a technical perspective, the Adobe advantage is that it can most easily fit into non-Adobe workflows. Adobe sticks to providing software instead of attempting to sell production companies and broadcasters full systems from software to storage to networking.

There's currently no way for a third-party system to populate a custom part of the Avid Media Composer UI with information relevant to the current edit. Avid users can export AS-11 compliant video files for submission to broadcasters, but won't be involved in creating the complex XML package that is also needed.

Matthew Gyves, Senior Manager, Professional Video Team, Adobe then gave a great demo of Premiere itself. Here's the order of the features he thought relevant - as he only had 30 minutes:

  1. No rendering needed - no transcoding
  2. Flexible interchange using AAF and Final Cut Pro 7 XML
  3. Adobe Story - using a text transcription from a clip, speech to text means you can select a phrase in the transcription to set an in and out point for the clip
  4. Integration with Adobe After Effects - sending a clip, making changes in AE - instant update in Premiere
  5. Integration with Adobe SpeedGrade - same timeline in grading application, all changes implemented as non-destructive effects applied to clips
  6. Integration with Adobe Audition - fixing an audio problem in a single clip using Photoshop-like 'heal' tool to remove a syllable
  7. Features in After Effects now built into Premiere - Footage stabilisation
  8. Many effects have masks that can track features in footage
  9. Integration with After Effects - If you need to make text changes in a title, you don't have to visit AE. Text now editable in Premiere Pro.

Selling to Premiere to Avid editors

After these two technical presentations, we were treated to a pair of interesting case studies: quick turnaround music TV programme production from Jon Walton of My Little Eye productions and using multicam features to manage multiple takes in a short video, presented by William H. W. Read

For variety, Ben Foakes of We Are One Media gave a presentation about how much could change in post production in coming years. With wider availability of fast internet connections he predicts that production houses will become virtualized: the media and rendering power will be in the cloud - fast connections will mean that editors will use NLEs that transfer commands to the cloud. The cloud will then do whatever media access and rendering needed with the UI on the local computer being updated at 50 frames per second. Adobe Anywhere is a step in this direction.

The last speaker was Ollie Tait, Managing Director of Lambent Productions. He described the first full production that used the new Production Modernisation programme: The Pity of War - a documentary drama starring John Hurt. He explained that the Mio-managed file-based workflow saved them money.

  • Less ingest cost
  • Less storage cost
  • Editor can use low-end system to edit in production office - not locked away in expensive edit suite
  • No tape deck hire, no tapes
  • Biggest saving: no conform costs

An extra expense was the extra two weeks for the editor to get used to Premiere Pro - 6 weeks of editing for an hour-long drama instead of 4.

Ollie described the savings in post production as being enough for a low-budget drama documentary to be able to afford to hire John Hurt. 

Final Cut What?

Final Cut Pro doesn't seem relevant to ITV Studios productions at the moment. The resentment and mistrust of Apple seems to be present three years after Final Cut Pro 7 was suddenly discontinued. One of the main advantages of Premiere over Avid that was presented was the lack of any need to transcode footage - a feature available also in Final Cut Pro X, but irrelevant to those in the room who only took Final Cut Pro in its version 7 incarnation seriously. For many busy freelancers, the lack of layers is still a strong disincentive for them to set aside the hours to learn a completely new editing application.

Despite all the enthusiasm Final Cut Pro fans have, it looks like it will be a long time until their favorite application is a peer to Media Composer and Premiere Pro in UK TV post. In order for Apple to invest in regaining trust and opening up to third-party partnerships, they'll have to see the potential benefit to their bottom line. Will the fact that popular TV shows are edited using Final Cut encourage more people to spend $300 on an editing application? If an extra 20,000 copies are sold, then it will be worth Apple's investment.

In the coming months we'll see if Apple supports a range high-end TV and film productions. In practice that means collaborating with companies like L.A.-based FCPWorks in other parts of the world.