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BlogIBM to sell and support Macs in large organisations: ProApps one day?Thursday, August 6 2015

Yesterday IBM announced that they will be selling and supporting Apple’s Macs in large enterprises:

This new offering from IBM MobileFirst Managed Mobility Services is designed to help large enterprises incorporate Macs within their IT infrastructures

[…]

With these new services, clients can order Macs and have them delivered directly to their employees without any additional set-up, imaging or configuration, saving time, reducing costs and creating a great employee experience. Employees can then quickly, easily and securely gain network access, connect to email and download business applications. The services also can support personally owned Macs that are authorized in a bring-your-own-device environment.

[…]

Users also can access a range of self-help resources, including password reset, chat, and expert knowledge forums, as well as traditional help desk services.

Casper Suite from JAMF is the system IBM will use to provide this service.

Post production applications for enterprise?

As Apple would like professionals of all kinds to use their software, it’ll be interesting to see how IBM’s new support of Macs in enterprises will affect IT department support of Apple ProApps, Adobe Creative Cloud and Avid tools.

The press release states that the IBM service will allow employees to download business applications. IT administrators create network installer packages using an application called Composer.

IBM is offering to manage Macs to their client organisations. It is up to those organisations to decide if they need post production software. If IBM salespeople decide they can make money from selling Mac post production software and consultancy to their clients, this system can be used to support proposed solutions.

IT admins and Apple’s ProApps

JAMF maintain JAMF Nation: what they describe as ‘The world’s largest Apple IT community.’

The area associated with Final Cut Pro X is currently very quiet. However, perhaps this forum may become much busier.

Here is a useful tip from scottni from last year on keeping a 100 Mac Final Cut Pro X lab up to date:

I manage about 100 lab machines with FCP X. We purchased 100 licensee with our admin Apple ID, I download it once on my master machine, and then create my image and deploy it to the labs. When there’s an update, I download it on my master machine with our Admin Apple ID, package it with munki and push it out to my labs. That seems to work for us.

It’ll be interesting if third-party post tools makers will be welcome in Mac IT admin forums like JAMF Nation. Given the complexity of post production it would be good if there were a few places where best practice can be shared and discussed.

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BlogSway: Microsoft’s vs. Apple’s market engagementThursday, August 6 2015

During my lunch with Philip Hodgetts, he said that it is Apple’s policy to always provide tools the support personal creativity. Given that Apple don’t seem to consider other video editing software as competition for their products, it’s worth looking at other tools that might be.

Microsoft Sway is a presentation/motion graphics creation tool that isn’t at all like Microsoft PowerPoint or Adobe After Effects. As you can see in this Microsoft video on YouTube, users define the structure of the story they want to tell and the content they want to work with and leave the design up to Sway.

This works very well when you want to tell a story that works across a variety of screen sizes, aspect ratios and orientations. Here’s product manager Chris Pratley as quoted by Fast Company:

“Once they realize, ‘Oh right, I’m designing something that works across devices, and the way I do that is by expressing my intent rather than all these pixel-level sizes and so on,’ they have this eureka moment”

Microsoft learning from their market

An interesting aspect of the development of Sway is how Microsoft seemed to work with the potential audience for Sway:

The last time I spoke with Pratley, he mentioned that Sway was an experiment in letting users dictate the direction of a product. While he won’t come to any conclusions yet, he now points to the Windows 10 Insider program as an example of the company opening up more to outside suggestions.

”I actually think it’s the new way that everything new will be made, and we’re going to be adapting this to be the sort of agile approach where we react to feedback for everything else that already exists,” Pratley says.

Apple’s market insight?

The Apple position is that they don’t ask what a possble market wants. They work like Pixar: the policy is to make products and services for people like themselves, then work out which markets also need those tools.

That works as long as the people who work at Apple aren’t too different from the people who make up the markets they want to sell to.

That means those of us who are interested in the future of Final Cut and iMovie shouldn’t tell Apple want we want; we should make sure Apple understand us well enough for them to give us what they think we need.

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BlogEDL-X 2.0: For Final Cut Pro X offline editorsWednesday, August 5 2015

Although devoted fans would say that whole productions can be edited and finished in Final Cut, X plays very well with other post production applications. It has an XML format that supports full transfer of timelines to other applications. Sometimes these applications support X XML import and sometimes intermediary applications are needed.

Editors who need to collaborate with those who use high-end systems used in big budget commercials and music videos use XMiL EDL-X to convert Final Cut Pro X XML to the CMX 3600 industry standard EDL format.

Hollywood-based feature film trailer editor Charlie Austin: “EDL-X is indispensable for finishing offline cuts here in L.A. EDLs are still a ‘universal’ way to talk to pretty much any video application and they’re required by most post houses here.”

The version 2.0 update is out now (Mac App Store link):

  • Role Filtering: control what footage is included based on Roles assigned in FCP X.
  • Support for retimed footage on all nesting levels.
  • List Effects including some parameters and keyframes.
  • Fades at the head or tail of clips can be represented as dissolves in the EDL.
  • EDL-X can be used as a Share Destination straight from FCP X’s Share menu. This means that an XML file doesn’t have to be explicitly saved to disk any more, and sequences/cuts/projects can be made to EDL-X from FCP X in a single step.

If you already have an older version, the version 2.0 update is free.

The fact that an application used for such tasks is being updated to match the needs of offline editors shows there is a market for such tools.

Charlie tweeted:

London based commercials and music video editor Vid Price says “Speed changes on all levels is a massive one for me. If I change the speed of a clip that I’ve synced through Sync-N-Link there’s previously been no easy way to get this out as an EDL. I used to have to eye match the original non synced shot and try and match the retime. Not any more!!”

Award-winning ad editor Thomas Grove Carter has tried it out and says “This is a FANTASTIC update. It’s really very good! One example: If you have a Multicam clip where one of the angles is sped up 200% inside, and you speed up the Multicam clip itself to 150%, EDL-X will correctly represent this a 300% speed change in the EDL. Same goes for compound clips!”

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BlogNLE audio: Tracks vs. the magnetic timeline and rolesWednesday, August 5 2015

If you’d like to see how the combination of the magnetic timeline and roles compares with traditional track organisation, check out the first part of a three part blog post from finalBUG, the FCPX Berlin User Group’s blog:

I thought that I would look at constructing a very simple edit in Da Vinci Resolve versus Final Cut Pro X and whilst I was at it I thought that I would throw Legacy Final Cut Pro into the mix.

[…]The holy grail at least in the world of broadcast being patching multiple audio tracks for multiple clips to a common destination.​ I hope that you find this comparison useful.​

In Part 2:

In this sixth video I swap out some clips and groups of clips. A lot of human error is eliminated straight out of the gate. There is a reason why Video and Audio are in the same clip so to speak. And with Roles set up correctly I can move stuff and do not have to worry about track collisions and other unpleasant surprises.​

Part 3:

…here is the disclaimer. I was never a fan of tracks, I found it strange that I had to be constantly thinking about technical stuff such as, what goes where. Surely​ it make sense to be able to concentrate on the edit and simply setting those in and out points to build a story. Trackless does not automatically mean clueless!​!!

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BlogNew Intel CPU: Candidate for next iMac?Wednesday, August 5 2015

For the last few years Apple have been waiting Intel to deliver better CPUs for use in iMacs, Macbooks and Mac Pros. Today saw the launch of their Skylake series of chips.

Today’s launch of the Skylake archirecture doesn’t point to a big update for the Mac Pro, but it might be good news for iMac fans.

Ars Technica:

Many people are still using a PC [e.g. 27″ 2011 iMac] with a Sandy Bridge chip such as the Core i7-2600K, which will still hold its own in just about any desktop software or gaming[…]

For them, Skylake might be tempting. Four years of modest yearly CPU performance improvements add up to a fairly big overall gain. The new additions in the chipset are definitely welcome, with super-fast M.2 solid-state storage, improved DDR4 memory, native USB 3.0, and the option of USB 3.1 ports on many retail motherboards. Throw in a decent cooling solution, an M.2 SSD, and do a little overclocking, and you’re getting a PC with next-generation technology and very strong performance.

That would suggest that the next iMacs will have USB C, and that SSD read/write rates will be measured in low GB/s instead of high MB/s.

Although editors would rather have dedicated GPUs in their Macs, the integrated graphics part of Skylake CPUs have some post-relevant improvements such as hardware support for UHD/4K decoding and encoding. According to Anandtech:

Skylake gets a full, low power fixed function HEVC decoder. For desktop users this shouldn’t impact things by too much – maybe improve compatibility a tad – but for mobile platforms this should significantly cut down on the amount of power consumed by HEVC decoding and increase the size and bitrate that the CPU can decode.

[…] Intel is also hedging their bets on HEVC by also implementing a degree of VP9 support on Skylake. VP9 is Google’s HEVC alternative codec, with the company pushing it as a royalty-free option.

Ars Technica:

There’s no doubt that in terms of single and multithreaded and performance, Intel’s Core i7-6700K is the best quad-core chip on the market. In a high-end consumer PC, particularly for gaming, there’s nothing better. If you’re shopping for a new desktop PC, get one with a Skylake chip.

As regards what most editors need in a future Macs, instead of faster CPUs perhaps we should be looking for faster CPUs that are able to connect to more devices using higher bandwidths.

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BlogLunch with Philip and Greg: Alex GollnerTuesday, August 4 2015

As part of my recent trip to California in June, I took part in a new video podcast: Lunch with Philip and Greg.

When I started I wasn’t sure of how the show worked, so monopolised the ‘conversation’ and talked pretty quickly. I talked about my first Final Cut plugin, my most complex Final Cut Classic plugin.

I pontificated on 4K, HDR, 360º video, this blog, Pat Inhofer’s Tao of Color blog and newsletter, why Final Cut Pro X plugins shouldn’t be as complex as Motion.

If you want to skip the autobiography section, start 10 minutes in!

After a while Philip and Greg get a few words in edgeways. Watch us talk for an hour about the state of play for post production plugins and much more…

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