Articles tagged with: Apple

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!

 

What next for Final Cut Pro X?

Monday, 07 July 2014

I was the guest on today's episode of the FCPX Grill podcast, part of my conversation with Chris Fenwick was about what the 10.1.2 update tells us about the future of Final Cut Pro X.

It seems ungrateful to immediately start thinking about future versions of Final Cut. Even grateful users can't help but think about features and bugs they hoped Apple had paid attention to in the most recent update. It is worth considering now because Apple very rarely hints as to the future of their hardware and software - one of the few times they communicate anything is in the features of the products and services they do release.

As the 10.1.2 update seemed to concentrate on improving the lot of those new to editing and those working on high-end productions, I think the next major update will look at serving the middle of Final Cut's markets.

The following graphs show how Apple's Final Cut updates have served its markets. They show which markets the major new features of each version were aimed at. The left-hand end of the horizontal axis are features that support people who use Final Cut on personal projects, free videos or videos to support their professional lives in other fields (such as photographers, architects and doctors - people who wouldn't describe themselves as film makers first). The right-hand end of the horizontal axis is for features relevant to high-end big budget feature films, TV shows and complex news gathering organisations. The middle of the horizontal axis is 'the rest of us' people who are visual storytellers ranging from videographers to indie film and documentary production companies.

features-for-segments-1

In 2002 Final Cut Pro 3 reached critical mass when pioneering TV shows and feature films took a chance on what most people saw was a prosumer editor at best.

In 2003 Final Cut Pro added LiveType to give more casual users easy access to motion graphics effects without having to invest in learning After Effects. The pros got Soundtrack - an application for sound designers and sound editors and for picture editors who had to their jobs. 'The rest of us' got RT Extreme, which made editing on PowerBooks possible - you could digitise all your DV tapes at a lower resolution and then recapture at full resolution as your online.

features-for-segments-2

In the next two versions there wasn't much for the low end - new editors had the option of Final Cut Express, whose main feature was easier access - a lower price. The middle was built up with features best suited to individual pros. Instead of adding more and more features for the high end, Apple bundled high end applications and improved links between them and Final Cut with round-tripping.

features-for-segments-3

The end of the Final Cut Pro classic range came with Final Cut Pro 7 - which was sold as part of Final Cut Studio 3. The high end was taken care of by popularisation of colour correction with Color 1.5 and 4K RED workflows, and there were a few improvements at the low end with easier online sharing and iChat Theatre for collaboration.

features-for-segments-4

As Apple gave themselves the task to start from scratch (probably in 2007), they had to choose where to focus their efforts - it wouldn't be possible to get to the range of features available in Final Cut Studio 3 in four years. They started with the low end and moved up from there.

features-for-segments-5

Like OS X, Final Cut Pro X was developed in public - many would say the fourth major version of both was the first that could be safely recommended to a wide range of traditional users.

features-for-segments-6

The 10.1.2 update has now got Final Cut Pro X pretty close to where Final Cut Pro 7 was features-wise, although the features in almost every case are implemented in a much more effective way than before. It is much more powerful at the low end, and at the high end Apple is currently leaving high-end colour and sound to other companies.

This is a roundabout way of saying that I think Apple will next fill in the middle of the graph, features for videographers, freelance editors and smaller production companies. They are also likely to use new Final Cut features to demonstrate features of OS X Yosemite - iOS 8 continuity features.

The good news is that although Final Cut Pro X is now being used for a wider range of projects by a much larger constituency of people, there is a great deal of headroom in Final Cut's future.

 

 

Apple Awarded 'Second Screen' Patent

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Today Apple was awarded U.S. patent 8,763,060:

A system and method for providing companion content on a device that downloads content associated with a media presentation playing on a media player and displays the downloaded content at times synchronized to time-offsets (from the start of the program) of the presentation by signals from the media player.

This is popularly known as 'Second Screen' media - information you receive on a small personal  device that acts in sync with media playing on a larger, sometimes shared screen.

The Apple method is that a media player (such as an Apple TV) broadcasts information that nearby devices (such as iPhones or iPads) can use to display relevant content. This first figure shows personal devices receiving a content URL and a time offset (from the start of the programme):

Apples-second-screen-patent

Some examples of what personal devices might do given in Apple's patent description include:

- "The current film playing is… Starring ActorName…"

- "Click for the ActorName fan club"

- "Read script of film"

- "View film storyboard"

- "Show closed captions" (would work for translated subtitles)

- Show advert relevant to programme or to personal device user (This is a primary idea in the patent description that says that this method would avoid bad product placement within a film by showing ads on nearby connected devices instead).

- "Like the shirt ActorName is wearing now? Click to buy it now"

- Act as media device remote control

Many people will point out that this isn't the kind of idea that should be patentable, and that there are many examples of prior art. I'm writing about this because this patent provides hints to possible future directions for Apple products and services.

Beyond Second Screens: HomeKit

Not mentioned in the patent description that this idea would work very well with OS X Yosemite and iOS 8 HomeKit integration. As well as affecting media playback and web browsing on hand-held devices with screens, this system could also control HomeKit managed devices.

Imagine allowing a horror film to turn off the lights in your home or even play scary sounds in nearby rooms! 

Mac Pro (Late 2013): Resources

Friday, 20 December 2013

New MacBook Pros and MacPro: 4K at high refresh rates via DisplayPort?

Thursday, 07 November 2013

Many Mac users are hoping Apple release a 4K monitor. They want a Thunderbolt-equipped display that can handle resolutions at at least 3840 by 2160 at high refresh rates.

The graphics system on the new MacBook Pros seems like a good intermediate step: They can support 3840 by 2160 at 30Hz and 4096 by 2160 at 24Hz via the built-in HDMI connector.

Today saw the an announcement from Canon of their first 30" 4K display. The DP-3010 is a 16:10 reference display for use in high-end post production. It can display 4096 by 2560 10-bit pixels at up to 60 frames per second.

Although it has two 3G/HD-SDI connections and a DisplayPort connection, it doesn't have an HDMI connector. 

The HDMI standard was updated to version 2.0 in September, allowing for higher frame rates at higher resolutions, yet Canon didn't include HDMI. Sony's new Z100 4K camera has an HDMI connector that they plan to upgrade to version 2.0 using a firmware upgrade:

A future firmware upgrade is planned to provide compatibility with the new HDMI 2.0 standard and enable 4K 50fps/60fps output to a wider range of devices.

Up until now I've assumed that 4K at higher refresh rates on MacBook Pros and the new Mac Pro was a matter of waiting for an HDMI software upgrade. But, perhaps we don't have to wait.

There's a good chance that the display limitation MacBook Pros have is that of the connection used. HDMI 1.4 is limited to 24Hz at 4096 by 2160. What if a 4K was connected using the DisplayPort aspect of the Thunderbolt 2 connector?

The DisplayPort standard was last updated in 2009. The big change was to double the effective data rate to 17 Gb/s. It also added Apple's Mini DisplayPort connector design.

Thunderbolt connectors are based on the older Mini DisplayPort connector design. I'd like to see how well a new MacBook Pro connects to a 4K monitor with a DisplayPort connector. As Thunderbolt 2 cables can handle 20 Gb/s in two directions, there's a chance that they can handle the 21.6 Gb/s bandwidth required by by DisplayPort v1.2 (there is a 25% overhead for error correction).

There's a good chance the Mac will be able to drive the display at higher refresh rates: at 50 and 60 frames per second. The refresh rate limit isn't down to the graphics processing power of the Mac, but because of the connection used.

When you set the internal Retina display to be 'Scaled' to show 'More Space' the OS draws to an imaginary 3840 by 2400 pixel screen (double the perceived resolution of 1920 by 1200) and the GPU scales it down to the native 2880 by 1800 screen. The Iris Pro Graphics GPU can handle the high refresh rates expected on computer displays, so 50 or 60Hz might not be a problem

Has anyone tested a DisplayPort-equipped 4K monitor with a new MacBook Pro yet?

The combination of a fast DisplayPort connector plus an SSD that can read and write data at 1.1 GB/s makes me think these new MacBook Pros are a great testbed for making sure 4K works well on the new MacPro.

NLE innovation - does Apple want to keep up?

Friday, 13 September 2013

This weekend sees many announcements at the IBC Show in Amsterdam. Another set of features and innovations that Apple will probably ignore, as they have been for many months. 

Ben Thompson has written an article about why Apple might deliberately limit its innovation.