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BlogTo the Apple Silicon Mac Pro and BeyondMonday, February 22 2021

In case you missed it, I wrote about how Apple might transition the Mac to Apple Silicon over the next 18 months over on fcp.co. As well as replacing or discontinuing all current Intel-based Macs, Apple have the opportunity to make new Macs for new price points and new markets.

  • Apple likes to keep Macs at the same price points over the years. This means the extra power the M-series SoCs will provide more Mac at the same price. Not new Macs with the same power at lower price points.
  • I suggest that a new industrial design for iMacs could include a transparent bezel – like the outer edge of the screen used in the 2004 iMac. Wide enough for users to be able to grip the edge to turn the screen vertical:
  • The limits to how fast the transition will take place. Not all Macs will transition this Summer – which Macs will be last.
  • A new opportunity for Apple in education:

Hundreds of dollars below that $899 education price, Chromebook tablets and laptops prices start at $269. I expect that schools will hope to allocate $300-$350 to buying each tablet plus keyboard or laptop. At this level, computers for education have 4GB of slow RAM and 32GB of slow SSD storage.

  • If Apple wants to seriously compete in education market, what would a new M1E-based Mac be like?
  • 4 CPU cores (including at least two high-performance cores)
  • 4 GPU cores
  • 4GB of fast RAM
  • 64GB of fast SSD storage
  • No screen
  • No keyboard
  • Single USB port for keyboard/mouse
  • HDMI port for display
  • Separate power port
  • $250
  • New Mac price points and form factors:

As Apple are likely to using a small variety of M-series SoCs at any one time, in a larger range of enclosures (13-inch, 14-inch, 16-inch, mini, iMac and Mac Pro), eventually Macs might also be available in additional enclosures:

  • 11-inch MacBook Air/Pro
  • 18-inch MacBook Pro
  • 16-inch iMac
  • 40-inch iMac
  • Mac Pro mini – a smaller version of the Mac Pro
  • Mac nano – the smallest ‘hockey puck’ Mac that can contain an M-series SoC, for those who think a Mac mini is much too big
  • Mac Pi – a tiny circuit board-only Mac version of the Raspberry Pi computer that is used in education and embedded systems

Read the article over at fcp.co, the home for Final Cut Pro on the internet.

 

 

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BlogHow to add a ‘Search in iMDB’ command to your MacWednesday, January 13 2021

When reading a web page or a document on my Mac, I often want to search for a film name, cast member or crew member I see in the Internet Movie Database. I’ve added a Global Quick Action that sends the selected text to the search system of IMDb.

Here’s how to add a ‘Search in IMDb’ command to the context or Services menu in Mac applications.

1. Open Automator from the Applications folder.

2. In the first dialog box, click the New Document button.

3. Choose Quick Action

4. Click the Library button in the toolbar.

5. Type shell in the search field.

6. Drag the Run Shell Script action to the grey area labelled Drag actions or files here to build your workflow

7. Paste in this shell script:

open "https://www.imdb.com/find?q=$(ruby -rcgi -e 'print CGI.escape $<.read.chomp')&s=all"

8. Save the quick action as Search in IMDb

9. Quit Automator

To use the global ‘Search in IMDb’ quick action, in applications where text can be selected control-click (or right-click) the text you want to search for on IMDb.

Alternatively, once you have selected your text, go to the application menu and choose ‘Search in IMDb’ from the Services submenu.

 

 

 

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BlogBenchmarking Final Cut Pro on Macs from the 2010 Mac Pro to the 2020 M1 MacBook ProThursday, November 19 2020

In October 2013 I published a new benchmark for video editing on the Mac: BruceX. It tests the graphics and compositing power of a specific combination of Mac and version of Final Cut Pro. It is a two second 5K (5120×2700) timeline with various Final Cut graphics generators laid one on top of the other. Exporting this timeline tests the graphics power of the Mac. This is relevant because much of the time Final Cut uses the GPU to render and composite multiple video and graphics clips together.

It is still being used today. Including for testing how fast the new M1-based Macs are.

Here is a graph that combines the results of testing Macs since 2013 by various testers over the years, mostly Rob-ART Morgan of Bare Feats  

BruceX measures how long in seconds it takes to export a complex 5K timeline to ProRes.

Edited to add… A 2019 Mac Pro 12 Core with AMD Pro Vega II 32GB took 4.6 seconds, George Manzanilla reported in the ‘Final Cut Pro X Editors’ Facebook group.

To test your system, follow the instructions on my original blog post from 2013.

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BlogFinal Cut Pro 10.5 updateThursday, November 19 2020

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BlogDolby Vision: iPhone 12 to Mac workflowFriday, October 30 2020

During the Dolby Summit* yesterday, I used the Q&A system them about the Dolby Vision workflow from iPhone 12 to Mac/PC. Here’s a summary of their answer:

  1. Import media from your iPhone 12 / 12 Pro into any HDR-capable video editing application as plain HLG files, edit normally. [For us that means Final Cut Pro working with Hybrid Log Gamma media]
  2. Grading: set up project as PQ, import media, apply HLG to PQ conversion, generate Dolby Vision metadata. [Most often this means using Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve Studio 16]

You can’t import the phone’s Dolby Vision metadata into desktop applications. Yet.

Apple have said in their press release for the iPhone 12:

Dolby Vision grading is processed live and sustained during editing, whether in the Photos app or iMovie, and coming to Final Cut Pro X later this year.

Hopefully November will see an update for Final Cut that will be able to read the Dolby Vision (‘DV’) metadata. That metadata will ensure that footage looks good on Dolby Vision-compatible HDR displays. 80% of TVs sold in Europe have Dolby Vision.

The Dolby Vision mastering process includes automatically generating metadata for your video so that it displays well on SDR displays – such as older phones, TVs and most computers. Graders say that this automated process works for 95% of shots. The process creates colour and brightness metadata to each shot in your programme. The art of the colour grader is going through those shots, finding the 5% that need to be changed for SDR viewing and making the right changes.

To be ‘Dolby Vision compatible’ I expect Final Cut will be able to display the light and colour metadata generated by the iPhone camera app when footage is captured. It should also generate the metadata for edited programmes so that it can be modified in colour grading applications. It would be a bonus if that metadata could be changed in Final Cut too.

HDR and Final Cut Pro 10.4.10

Apple have a December 2019 white paper on the subject: ‘HDR and Wide Color Gamut in Final Cut Pro X’. In your timeline’s Project Properties, set the colour space to Rec.2020 PQ:

Choose this option if you want to create an HDR movie with the Rec. 2020 color space and PQ transfer function (Rec. 2100 standard). This format can be used for Dolby Vision and HDR10 mastering at a later stage.

So for now, although the footage from the iPhone 12 / 12 Pro is HLG, a PQ timeline is better if you want grading applications to be able to make the most of what was captured.

Here’s Dolby’s list of Macs that support Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos playback.

Dolby Vision and Final Cut Pro

I’ll update this post once Final Cut is updated.

*Dolby Summit was a streamed conference for those who make TV, films, music and video games that use Dolby technologies such as Dolby Vision for video and Dolby Atmos for audio.

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BlogAll you need to know about Final Cut Pro 10.4.9 – improvements in many areasTuesday, August 25 2020

Today Apple released an update to their professional video editing software.

The current Apple policy is to have no roadmap for future plans or ongoing public promotion of Final Cut Pro. This means what features are prioritised in updates give us hints on how they think about Final Cut and who they think it is for.

There are improvements for…

  • Workflow supervisors and editors on teams: big improvements to proxy workflows and library management so that multi-terabyte media libraries can be shared over low-bandwidth connections as low-gigabyte ‘proxy’ copies
  • Final Cut template designers: titles, effects, generators and transitions can now use complex 3D models
  • Online editors and colour graders: new ProRes RAW settings in the inspector
  • Day to day editors: a command and keyboard shortcut to create audio-only edits
  • Integrated media companies and social media producers: new square and vertical aspect ratios, a way to automatically make a new timeline with a new aspect ratio from a current timeline and new vertical and square aspect ratio aware titles
  • Motion users: import and animation of USDZ 3D models – which can include animation plus a new Stroke filter
  • Compressor users: the ability to batch apply camera LUTs to source footage, for custom batch processing of proxy media. New IMF (Interoperable Mastering Format) ProRes package export for sending masters of films and TV shows to distributors and film festivals

Apple is telling us with this release that they want to please almost every kind of Final Cut user you might imagine. From feature film editors and post supervisors up to those starting out in multiple channels of social media.

This isn’t the ‘everything I want’ update to 10.5 (or even 11) that some have been hoping for since the last big update in Autumn 2018. The good news is the majority of the new features will change many Final Cut user’s lives for the better.

I’ll update this page with new information as I find it.

Apple Final Cut release notes (not yet updated for 10.4.9).

Motion release notes.

Compressor release notes.

Online documentation: Final Cut, Motion, Compressor (not yet updated)

All three applications work with macOS Mojave (10.14.6) and newer.

There is a 20 minute video from Felipe Baez on the workflow improvements in Final Cut:

Another is a 40 minute video from Ripple Training, who make training courses for Final Cut Pro, Motion, Compressor and DaVinci Resolve:

Ripple also make plugins for Final Cut Pro.

Here is their video on new features in Motion 5.4.6:

As do I!  (many of them free).

Third party ecosystem updates

Frame.io have updated their workflow extension:

 

Before you apply the updates

The 10.4.9 update changes the format of Final Cut libraries, so best back up all libraries made with 10.4.8 and also compress (using the Archive command in the Finder) and back up the Final Cut 10.4.8, Motion 5.4.5 and Compressor 4.4.6 too. Apple’s support document on this.

When you are ready, use the ‘App Store…’ command in the Apple menu to see if the updates are available.

To buy Final Cut Pro for the first time, visit the Mac App Store.

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