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Catching up

June 11, 2012 — Leave a comment

Just a brief update before we get back to business around here. You’ve probably been wondering if I ever made it back from Vegas, given my silence here on the blog. Yes, I’m fine. Here’s what I’ve been up to:

NAB was incredible, as always…but it seems the last several years especially, my personal NAB experience has been topping itself year over year. That is in large part driven by people and relationships. The nexus of that activity is of course the MediaMotion Ball and this was the biggest and best event ever in our 15 year history. I was interviewed by Toolfarm shortly after NAB about the event, it’s history and why we continue to do it.

So what have I been up to since NAB? Well, an interesting mix of things. Some work, and some pockets of business down-time. Work: I have been out of my office a bit in the past month, collaborating with teams on a couple of mograph-heavy projects on site at a couple of different agencies. I don’t take this kind of out-of-house work often, but sometimes it is for the best. Many of the projects I create are for private audiences and can’t be shown online (or at least not right away), but sometimes it’s okay and the companies put stuff up on their own content channels. Here’s a 2D text/messaging mograph project I recently created for an agency. This was to play as a loop in a tradeshow booth. The interesting thing is that I built that in AE onsite at an agency that was still running CS5 everything. Blast from the past! A lot has improved in the past two years.

Speaking of software, I’m running the full CS6 Creative Cloud package now, but have also left CS 5.5 installed side-by-side without issued. CS 5.5 will probably not be re-installed the next time I do a clean install. CS6 is wonderful. The absolute best release of Adobe products ever. Standouts for me of course are Premiere Pro, After Effects and Audition. I’m sure I’ll have much more to say on that subject in the future. This is the software I use in day to day production more than any others at this time. I’m doing paid work faster, and just plain better than ever before.

But, after ripping off my FCP blinders a couple of years ago (my transition off FCP began earlier than most folks and was more gradual), I’m not about to put on Adobe blinders to replace them, so I’m always looking around at what else is going on in the NLE space. Therefore, I also have a shiny new copy of Avid Symphony in-house. But due to other projects and some downtime I spent offline I have yet to really scratch the surface of it. Personally, I have not cut on Avid systems since the late 90’s when I bought Media100 setups and literally did not look back. That makes me an Avid noob. It should be very interesting tracking my experiences as a highly experienced multi-tool-using editor, approaching Avid software essentially for the first time…and finding my way. No doubt I will find things to like and things to…well…not like. But one thing is for certain, I don’t have any Avid “legacy thinking” in my head, nor muscle memory, as is the case with most of Avid’s customer base (most of whom have used Avids for many years) and that will make for a different perspective upon approaching the product as “beginner” today. We’ll just have to see how it goes! Note that I will be baby-stepping with the software and would certainly not sit down with a client to cut a project in it without getting proficient first.

I mentioned some downtime earlier. I’ve had a couple of slower pockets in my work schedule, which has afforded me the opportunity to spend time offline with my wife and kids, enjoying our first taste of glorious MN summer weather the past month or so. For me, family time suffers quite a bit during the 3 months prior to NAB due to the exceedingly high load of regular work coupled with all the volunteer time put in to the IMUG and MediaMotion Ball prep, so call this “re-balancing”. Looking back, it seems I always tend to have a post-NAB lull. The industry-wide news lull coincides nicely with this.

Bouncing off that now, I’m looking to get busy again and resume more frequent posting. A few things I’m looking forward to right now: The release of the Smoke 2013 public beta, Following Philip Hodgetts and crew on The Solar Odyssey, and what happens at WWDC. Take care and I promise not to be such a stranger around here going forward!

Hey gang,

I’m finally back with a new post. This week as brought a wave of news out of CES, including some new Thunderbolt peripherals. Here are some of my thoughts on what’s ahead.

Update 1: AMD intros “Lightning Bolt”, creates confusion about true Thunderbolt

I became aware of this a day after I recorded the Thunderbolt round-up video above. Just as Thunderbolt is starting to get some traction, AMD has announced it is developing a cheaper, slower, less capable competitor that uses THE SAME CONNECTOR (Mini display port). They are conspicuously calling this tech “Lightning Bolt”. This tech is USB 3 based, but due to muxing this would run at “less than” full USB 3 speeds. Note: USB 3 is rated at 5Gbps (total). True Apple/Intel Thunderbolt is 10Gbps (bi-directional…i.e. 20Gbps total). Does this smack of “cheap knock-off” or what?

Ugh. I predict widespread confusion, especially outside of the geek-o-sphere.

Anandtech has the known details.

Update 2 : My follow up to this video

My follow-up to this video regarding Thunderbolt and the Mac Pro’s future

I’m on site at an agency client, cutting in Premiere Pro and After Effects, but I thought I better get the word out that Apple have announced an update to FCP X.

Major points:

•XML Support

•Stems Export

The Apple site specifically mentions DaVinci Resolve, under the XML support paragraph. That’s notable for two reasons: 1) Apple are apparently acknowledging the industry’s move to Resolve as a replacement for their own end-of-life Color (and that they have no competitor in the offing), and 2) It seems to indicate this support is ready at launch.

Apple have indicated that multicam support and broadcast monitoring support are coming in 2012. The Multicam was previously announced as intended for “the next major release”, so that’s not a huge surprise, but now that the XML feature is added (although implementation and workflow with all apps is TBD), professional editors are likely to remain frustrated on the monitoring issue, as having a system configured with external monitoring is a standard way of working in most all serious production environments, particularly those where clients are frequently in the room. Many will simply find other editing apps to work in that provide the editorial experience they are accustomed to.

Also noteworthy, and in my opinion a clear indicator of Apple feeling competitive pressure, is that Apple are now offering a 30 day trial of Final Cut Pro X. I have not seen them do that before.

The full list of features is available at the Apple page announcing the update. The update is available via the Mac App store.

When I get a chance, I’ll drive the new upgrade features and test drive an XML workflow, particularly to Resolve and try to get it over to AE (Automatic Duck factor? have to wait and see on that…).

UPDATE 1:

Apple have also posted updates to the Pro Apps codecs. Details on the Apple Support page by clicking here.

UPDATE 2:

Apple have also posted a white paper entitled “Final Cut Pro X for Final Cut Pro 7 Editors”. Clearly a coordinated effort timed for the same day as the update to help curb some of the negativity and ease the transition. Smart move. Apple seems to be moving with a counteroffensive, for lack of a better term.

Venerable video effects plugin developer Digieffects has released a new service product today: RenderMon.

RenderMon provides the ability to monitor video rendering from remote locations, giving professionals an extra level of freedom while still assuring the job gets done.

The App is still under development. Feel free to download the App and help us to produce the best product as possible.

More information can be found at http://rendermon.digieffects.com/

Congratulations to Robert Sharp and the team at DigiEffects on this new category of service aimed at making the lives of motion graphics and video professionals just a little more convenient. There have been many times, when on deadline, I chose to miss activities so I could keep an eye on my renders. With a service like RenderMon, I could escape the suite once in awhile and still keep an eye on things while on the go.