Apple’s September 2015 Event and film makers

Wednesday, 09 September 2015

Apple’s September announcements have interesting elements for video storytellers.

iMovie

The new iPhone 6S models have cameras that can record 4K video. That means iMovie on those devices will be able to edit 4K video:

iMovie is designed to take advantage of the beautiful 4K video you can shoot and edit on your iPhone 6s. In fact, iPhone 6s is so powerful you can smoothly edit two streams of 4K video to create effects like picture-in-picture and split screen.

Desktop-class performance lets you create advanced effects with up to three simultaneous streams of 4K video and export your 4K video at blazing speeds. And accessories like the Smart Keyboard let you use efficient shortcuts to make quick work of your project.

Interesting that they saw the need to handle three streams of 4K. iMovie will also be available as an extension to iOS applications that allow what photos and videos to be editing. If iMovie for iOS 2.2 doesn’t edit non 30/60p videos, hopefully editing extensions will be made by other developers.

At the moment the specs for the iPhone 6S only mention a limited range of frame rates:

  • 4K video recording (3840 by 2160) at 30 fps
  • 1080p HD video recording at 30 fps or 60 fps
  • 720p HD video recording at 30 fps

The native resolution of the iPad Pro is 2732 by 2048, leaving plenty of room for editing UI around a full 1920x1080 HD display, all those pixels would make it a good wired or wireless viewfinder for high-end video cameras.

Apple also have introduced a content-based refresh so the screen is updated as often is dictated by content. This should mean that if video is running at 23.976fps, then that’s how often the display is updated. Maybe that will work for 120fps content too.

Here is what iMovie for iOS 2.2 looks like on an iPad Pro:

iMovie-HDsm

The iPad Pro includes a ‘Smart Connector’ for its Smart Keyboard that allows power and information do go in both directions:

The Smart Connector works hand in hand with the conductive fabric inside the Smart Keyboard to allow for a two‑way exchange of power and data.

That means the iPad will be able to power accessories, and accessories will be able to power the iPad. Data going both ways might allow for some interesting third-party products...

3D Touch

The new iPhones and the iPad Pro have an advanced pressure sensitivity feature that Apple calls ‘3D Touch’.

Fortunately, Apple didn’t just add a new input method and leave its use up to individual developers. In iOS 9 and Apple applications, a light touch is a ‘Peek’ and a heavier touch after that is a ‘Pop:’

Peek and Pop let you preview all kinds of content and even act on it — without having to actually open it. For example, with a light press you can Peek at each email in your inbox. Then when you want to open one, press a little deeper to Pop into it.

I like to think of Peek as ‘Look at the metadata associated with this thing’ and Pop as ‘Act upon this thing with another tool’

It might be useful to have these shortcuts in Mac apps. Here’s hoping Apple introduce 3D Touch mice and trackpads…

Vertical Video Live Photos

The default action of the Camera application on the iPad Pro and the iPhone 6Ss is to capture a few moments around each photograph, a little bit of audio and some movement. When you press on them anywhere in iOS, they’ll show more than just the moment the picture was taken: 

A whole new way to look at photography, Live Photos go beyond snapshots to capture moments with motion and sound. Press a Live Photo to make it come alive. Experience the crack of a smile. The crash of a wave. Or the wag of a tail.

Just when some people are getting the message that video should be taken in a landscape orientation, Apple will be promoting the idea of photos that are a little ‘live.’ Oh well.

We’ll soon discover whether Live Photos will appear as video in iMovie, and whether the still image shown by default will be able to be changed - the best moment might not be in the middle of the sequence.

Apple TV – Apple’s Home Computer

The Apple TV brings applications to TV screens. Instead of iOS running on the new Apple TV, there's a new OS: tvOS.

With apps providing TV, movies, music, games and family organisation support, maybe Apple would like the Apple TV to be the new ‘Home Computer’ 

As well as tvOS sharing many features of iOS, for producers with large amounts of online content tvOS also allows web-based content to be made available in the Apple TV UI based on XML specifications:

Use Apple’s Television Markup Language (TVML) to create individual pages inside of a client-server app.

Every page in a client-server app is built on a TVML template. TVML templates define what elements can be used and in what order. Each template is designed to display information in a specific way. For example, the loadingTemplate shows a spinner and a quick description of what is happening, while the ratingTemplate shows the rating for a product. You create a new TVML file that contains a single template for each page in a client-server app. Each template page occupies the entire TV screen.

…and Javascript:

The TVJS framework provides you with the means to display client-server apps created with the Apple TV Markup Language (TVML) on the new Apple TV. You use other classes in the framework to stream media and respond to events.

As part of the demo a live sport app was able to show metadata during a game:

mlbmetadatasm

It would be good if Apple or another developer added time-based metadata display and editing to an NLE. 

Imagine a version of Final Cut or iMovie that could interpret Apple’s Television Markup Language and show what a production would look like when streamed on an Apple TV while editing in the timeline…

The odd one out

In recent years Apple has had two autumn events and distributed news about all their platforms between the two. Today’s event talked about devices that run watchOS, iOS and tvOS. The odd one out is the Mac. Either the next Mac update is so big it must have its own event, or there won't be much to report about devices running ‘macOS’ (if that’s what OS X is renamed as)  until next year. We’ll see…