2013 saw a number of announcements and updates from the biggest names in the industry, but really that’s the case every year. Specifically, NLE systems saw a huge amount of love as the big three (Adobe, Avid and Apple) all updated their software while Adobe completely changed the way they do business. Avid and Apple’s updates were met with generally positive feedback but the Rhythm & Hues bankruptcy was huge news when it broke, and what that means to and for the industry continues to be a topic of conversation. On the hardware side of things, Blackmagic had a big year with the debut of their Pocket Cinema Camera as well as their Production Camera 4K while Sony and Panasonic continued to roll out new and different products to the market.
It feels like this was the year companies finally realized the days of the $150,000 edit bay and convincing content creators they had to use a $100,000 camera in their production were over. Many companies are looking to replace the incredible costs they used to be able to charge for their hardware or software with either monthly/annual fees or by rolling out hardware that can and should be upgraded on a much more regular basis. Whether that change will get these companies back to where they think they need to be financially remains to be seen, but it’s safe to say they know they need to approach things differently now.
That technology continues to change the tools we use and the industry itself was just as true in 2013 as it was in 2012, just as it will be in 2014 and beyond. Many swore off Adobe because of their requirements around the Creative Cloud while others are embracing it because it has given them access to these programs for the first time. How many people who could only afford the basic Creative Suite package will now learn After Effects since it’s available to them with Creative Cloud?
As always, ProVideo Coalition writers contributed articles that covered just about every corner of the industry in 2013, and they did so in the typical detailed fashion that you’ve come to expect from the working professionals that make up PVC. Below is a run-down of what each author had to show us this year, but if we've missed anything please let us know in the comments or via Facebook and/or Twitter. Also, please make sure you’re signed up to receive our newsletters on a weekly basis.
Let’s take a look at the highlights from PVC in 2013…
Scott Simmons started off the year by pulling out his crystal ball and making a few predictions for 2013. He had more hits than misses, so definitely watch out for his 2014 predictions. His comparison of two Thunderbolt capture and playback devices was an incredible resource for professionals of all sorts. Speaking of resources, he also brought back his Useful Tools for Editors column this year and rolled out an After Oscars Edition, an After NAB Edition, a mid-August edition and finally an After ETE edition. Since we're on the topic of NAB, Scott taught a bunch of classes at the event as he always does, but he made time to check out a number of products with the FreshDV guys and also gave us some in-depth thoughts once the show was over. His NAB materials are too numerous to go through here, but I did want to highlight his visit to the Red Giant booth, what he found in the ProMax booth and his update for a do-all encoding application. Check out page two of his channel to see all of those NAB articles.
Once Adobe made the decision to move all of their software licensing to the cloud, Scott gave us some details around what that meant for users of Premiere and even for people who wanted to become users of Premiere. He didn’t stop there though, and dove in much deeper once some of the dust had settled and went right to the source to answer some questions about Adobe Anywhere. He also gave some thoughts around the new Mac Pro once that announcement was made and took a closer look at the updates that Media Composer 7 features, and still had time to talk through a more controversial decision from Avid. Plus he got nostalgic on us and admitted that he actually missed digitizing footage. To wrap up the year, Scott found the time to take an in-depth look at what Adobe Premiere CC has to offer, kick the tires on the Final Cut Pro 10.1 update and give us his annual Christmas Gift Ideas for the Editor column.
He was also able to facilitate a guest post from Robbie Carman which dealt with color grading from a colorist’s POV. Scott is a working professional and has a family so I’m assuming he didn’t sleep at all this year, which might not be good for his health, but we’re obviously better of because of it.
Sound for Picture was a new channel on PVC in 2013, and it featured content from an award winning supervising sound editor, sound designer and rerecording mixer, Woody Woodhall. Audio tends to be an area that we sometimes forget about or think will just take care of itself, and Woody has put together a number of articles that illustrate how and why audio should always be a priority, no matter the size or scope of your production.
His audio post for reality TV obviously takes a look at a specific aspect of the industry, but there are relevant tips in it for anyone who wants to make sure they capture audio correctly. His frequency adjustments piece takes a wider view of how to make sure you’re capturing audio correctly, while his don’t just get the shot article should be required reading for people involved in just about any aspect of a production.
Audio is of course an essential aspect of a production and we’re thrilled to see Woody become a part of PVC in 2013 and look forward to seeing what else he has in store.
2013 saw the full debut of a channel for longtime PVC contributor Jeff Foster. The PixelPainter is the home for all of Jeff’s new materials, but you can check out the archive of everything he’s ever written via an article that has links to all of those resources. That new material got off to a strong start in 2013 with Parts 1 and Part 2 of his Product Review for the DJI Phantom Quadcopter for GoPro. Later in the year he gave us Part 3 which updated a number of the topics he talked through in the earlier pieces and provided us with an amazing resource for the product and how to utilize it. Staying with that topic, Jeff also gave us a product review of the DSLRPros Ultimate Cinema Edition Aerial Kit as well as a first look at the DJI Phantom 2 Vision. He wrapped up the year by giving us some info about how to use mini quads as training tools when he found the Hubsan X4 H107D FPV Quadcopter.
To say Jeff is a jack-of-all trades is an understatement, and that’s reflected in the reviews of various products that he put together throughout the year. He gave us in-depth reviews of the Flashpoint DSLR/DV Cinema Bundle & Accessories, iOgrapher for iPad/iPad Mini and the Davis & Sanford ProElite Tripod with 525 Fluid Head. Those reviews showcase his production skills and expertise, but his post-production knowledge runs just as deep. He proved that by showing us how to improve POV cam footage with a few tricks in Adobe CC, gave a thorough review of Red Giant BulletProof and tells us about Rampant Design’s Drag, Drop & Go Effects as well as what you can find on their new Rampant Drives.
Mark Spencer takes us into the MacBreak Studio on a weekly basis so there's no way I could do justice to his contributions in an article like this. Definitely check out his channel to get a better idea of just how much useful information he provides to the community on a weekly basis.
We’d need several articles to properly summarize his entries so I wanted to use this space to highlight just a few, and those include keyboard-driven color correction in Final Cut Pro X, multicam for YouTube in Final Cut Pro X, secondary color correction in Final Cut Pro X and wrapping text in motion. Mark and Steve Martin are a couple people who know FCPX inside and out, and it’s the reason they were able to give us such a detailed first look at FCPX 10.1. Whatever your thoughts are about Apple or FCPX, you want to see what these guys have to say about it.
Allan Tépper is another prolific PVC writer and 2013 saw a number of articles from him that jumped into the technical aspects of an issue or topic while working through what solution or answer was going to make the most sense logistically. His open letters to Apple asked why FCP X was still dealing with pro i/o interfaces haphazardly and why does the Mac still deal with connected HDTV monitors haphazardly, which were both questions that were undoubtedly on everyone’s mind. His NAB content covered everything from Átomos expanding their Connect converter line with CONNECT-AC to Matrox showing a standalone streamer/recorder appliance all the way to his thoughts around Version 11 of Pro Tools.
2013 also saw some controversial articles from Allan, and even though he’s a big fan of Vimeo, he has no problem taking them to task when necessary. Whether or not that led to the changes that were eventually rolled out is anyone’s guess, although it couldn’t have hurt. Those are just a few of the highlights though, and as usual Allan gave us articles that focused on everything from how to pick your ideal HDMI or HD-SDI interface for WireCast to getting answers around Canon’s XA20 and XA25. He even found time to tell us how to adjust audio levels with Blackmagic cameras and keep up with the news about FCPX 10.1 on Christmas Day.
I don’t know if Allan is the hardest working man on PVC…but he’s got to be close.
The folks who literally wrote the book on After Effects, Chris and Trish Meyer, provided us with some amazing content this year. Their highlights for 2013 have to include the article about the After Effects Creative Cloud Updates, the webinar where they showed us what two decades of After Effects looks like and the incredibly practical spotting (and solving) sync issues entry. You’re missing out if you don’t take a close look at all of those features.
They also continued to rollout entries in their After Effects Apprentice Free Video series, and it would too much to list all of them here. We can certainly mention a few of the highlights though, and those include roughing out a Camera Move, adding 3D lighting to a scene, roto brush parameter changes and pixel motion blur in After Effects CC. These entries just scratch the surface of their output in 2013, so make sure you check out CMG Keyframes to see everything they published.
All of the content Chris & Trish have written for PVC now resides on this channel (there’s an entry in there that was created in 1995!) so you’ll undoubtedly find something of value here.
Mark Christiansen is a busy guy so we’re always thrilled to see new articles from him. Judging by the response those articles received this year we’re not the only ones who feel that way. His pertinent question of “why is the VFX business failing at its moment of greatest success?” was one that was on everyone’s minds when the Oscar’s were being announced, and his follow up Q&A with Scott Ross brought the issue into a whole new light.
Mark also told us how the Hackintosh suddenly caught fire and took a measured look at what the Creative Cloud means for individuals and the industry as a whole. Plus he was able to give us a few lessons from the Southern Wild. He’s able to provide an incredible perspective on just about any topic that he writes about, and his expertise makes what he has to say even that much more powerful and relevant.
Art Adams specializes in giving a spot visual personality so that it stands out from the others, and you can say the same thing about his articles. He provided production experts who do and do not have experience some incredibly practical advice when he told us we need to move the camera, not the actor and how to be kind to a camera assistant. Whether you’ve been working in production environments for one year or for thirty, you’re going to discover or re-discover something in those articles that will stay with you on your next gig.
He gave us even more practical info in his log vs. raw article as well as his color matching a Canon C300 to an Arri Alexa piece, but the highlight of the year might have been Art’s response to being called out by Jim Jannard in his final post to Reduser. Displaying the same calm but forceful tone that he has in the past, Art tells us what it’s like when a camera manufacturer hates you, and his piece says just as much about the industry as it does the individuals involved. His articles are a must-read for anyone even peripherally involved in the industry.
We often call them “the FreshDV guys” but it was Matt Jeppsen whose contributions were the ones that showed up on PVC this year. Kendal Miller might be on an NAB only schedule these days, but we’ll keep an eye out for him in 2014 regardless.
Matt provided us with some 2013 highlights though, as his Cine Gear 2013 wrapup was one of the only all-encompassing Cine Gear pieces online and also told us how to calculate light output through diffusion, which gave some incredible insight into an issue people run into on a daily basis. Matt was also kind enough to participate in the very first PVC Experts & Answers webinar where he talked through some of his production experiences out in the field and gave some practical advice for anyone in the production environment. All of that was in addition to the Daily Inspiration pieces that he continues to publish, and those range from words as images to small feet “Rivers”.
Special thanks to Matt for making that webinar possible, and we hope to make the series a big part of the site in 2014.
David Torno is another longtime PVC contributor who launched his own channel this year, so from now on you’ll be able to find all of his content on VFX Essentials. To see all of his articles and tutorials from the past few years on PVC, check out the entry which has all of those links laid out.
David completed the epic 19 part After Effects ExtendScript Training series this year, and that 19 parts is actually misleading since many of the sections have Parts 1 and 2. David also completed the Expression Shorts Complete Series as gave us a free After Effects script to organize project assets, and all of this content really is the sort of thing you'll only be able to find on PVC.
Speaking of new channels, Chris Zwar launched AE Anecdotes in 2013 while putting together the Zwarchives – his oldies but goodies. His content is another great example of what makes PVC truly special and unique as he takes great care to put together content that he knows people are going to find useful.
Chris had more than a few new entries in 2013 and they included 2 part series for leftover plugins, Vegas Visits Vivid and creating a watercolour wipe in After Effects. He also gave us a close up look at a real-life project that creates a 3D flag effect using standard After Effects plugins.
Clint Milby put together a ton of content that focused on what he saw and experienced at various shows throughout the year, and those include NAB, Cine Gear, the TransVergence Summit and the Entertainment Technology Expo. Just a few of those highlights include his coverage of the Canon XA20 & XA25 Camcorder at NAB, his interview with Adam Besserman of Yahoo at TVS and what Carl Zeiss had to showoff at ETE.
But Clint’s coverage on PVC went far deeper as well, and his ETE wrap up was an incredible resource for anyone who was or was not at the show. He also gave us an in-depth look at the Cobalt Cage and a review of the Marshall V-LCD56MD, all of which gave us a much better idea of what sort of capabilities these products possessed. His ability to provide us with these quick or in-depth looks at various topics is unsurpassed on PVC or anywhere else online.
Rich Young is another contributor who publishes something on PVC far too often to accurately highlight in a piece like this. Check out the AE Portal to see everything he's published this year.
Rich puts together a weekly roundup that covers some of the highlights from around the web, so much of that material is best viewed when it’s first published. That said, his Premiere Pro News Notes series digs into these topics a bit further and his 4K in Premiere Pro with Thunderbolt on HP will continue to be noteworthy. He also puts together plenty of entries with a longer shelf life that deal with everything from ray-traced 3D renderer in After Effects to how to shoot car videos inside & out to an article that gave us a few resources for headphones.
Adam Wilt has always provided PVC with thorough and detailed articles that dig into the specifics of whatever topic or subject he’s exploring, and 2013 was no different. He gave us a summary of all four days of the HPA Tech Retreat but the wrap-up is where you’ll find his observations and comments that span all four days. 2013 also saw the Cine Meter for iOS shipped, and that has obviously been a big part of what Adam has been working on for awhile.
Adam also gave us some quick takes in 2013 which may not have gone as in-depth as some of his other articles, but were nonetheless essential in terms of the kind of info they contained. His article about phase-detect AF coming to Canon C100 was an informative piece but perhaps not as illuminating as his fixing AVCHD media to avoid the dreaded “CANNOT OPEN” article.
His preview of the SLR Magic ANAMORPHOT 1,33x 50 anamorphic adapter is a great example of the incredibly unique material Adam published in 2013 and we can't wait to see what he's going to have for us in 2014.
Kevin P. McAuliffe came back to PVC in a big way in 2013, and it saw the launch of The Post Podcast, which he hosts. The first ten episodes debuted this year and 2014 promises to see even more episodes and even bigger guests. You can check out links to every show on his channel, but definitely check out his first episode and the most recent one.
Kevin isn’t just posting the podcasts on his channel though. He’s also started his Get Started Fast with Avid Media Composer 7 series and has rolled out three parts so far. That’s in addition to his Let’s Learn Media Composer series, which just saw lesson 94 go live. We’re thrilled to see Kevin contributing to PVC again and can’t wait to see these series grow and develop.
As working professionals, many of our contributors aren’t able to submit articles to PVC as much as they might like, but it’s still great to see what they put together when they do have the time. In 2013, Steve Hullfish told us about the color grading environment and ideal lume bias lights as well as the missing link between Canon 5D and Avid. And he posted another test for golden eyes which are always popular.
Bruce Johnson was all over NAB this year and put together some amazing original videos that showcased the people, products and technologies he found at the show. Blackmagic Cameras, Sony Alpha NEX E-mount Lenses and the Zacuto Z-Light were just a few of the highlights. He also published a couple reviews that focused on the Blackmagic Designs Hyperdeck Shuttle 2 and the ProDAD DeFishr.
Most of Dan Carr’s articles can be found over on PPC, as he is first and foremost a professional photographer. But he’s another person whose expertise covers a wide range of fields and subjects and that is one of the reasons he was able to tell us all we needed to know about the Creative Cloud when it was first announced and was all over the ARRI AMIRA news that came out of IBC this year.
Dan’s articles often go into depths that are unexplored elsewhere, so make sure you check out all of his PVC content.
Alexis Van Hurkman wasn’t trying to be clever with the launch of his Answers Occasionally Given column, as he answers questions that come to him when he has time to sit down and really answer these questions. This year he was able to answer two questions about video scopes, a question that centered on the differences among grading controls and operational ordering and also tackles a question about efficient scene balancing workflow.
Alexis’ column gives the PVC community a chance to really interact with a professional and have their questions answered in much more depth and detail than they’d see in a forum post or even in an email. If you have a question for Alexis, please tweet him.
Eric Escobar is a Working Filmmaker and technology geek who puts together some great content for us when he can. He told us how to write screenplays in 2013 with Fountain & Slugline and also how to set up a leap motion controller to edit video using motion capture gestural input and Premiere Pro CS6. But it was his article about the state of cinema in 2013 which centered around Steven Soderbergh’s statements at the 56th San Francisco International Film Festival that really stood out and gave us a peak at what the future of the industry just might look like.
Brian Hallett was another new contributor to PVC in 2013, and he's been putting together some incredible pieces around the Blackmagic Cinema camera. Those articles range from seeing how it works in a news environment to looking at the post work-flow of the camera. He also gave us a Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera review and showed us the first 4K Footage from the Blackmagic Production Camera. Later in the year he took the Cinema Camera out into the field to show us the essentials around getting the best out of the camera. To wrap-up 2013 he showed off some new Blackmagic Production Camera footage which gave us New Zealand in 4K.
We also have some writers who have been contributing to the PVC Exclusive Channel, and this column really does feature some one-of-a-kind content. Richard Wirth gives us a genuine history lesson in every one of his articles, and they cover everything from videotape being the mother of invention to AT&T building television's version of America's Transcontinental Railroad. Aaron Williams published Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 of his IMAG series while Michael Caporale put together the introduction to “Hold the Roll”, his serialized-by-chapter book. And Don Starnes told us how and why a movie is greater than the sum of its shots.
Sony provided several updates from the 2013 Sundance Institute Directors Lab while Alister Chapman, Erik Bragg and Gavin Rawlings were all able to share their stories and experiences around how they’re able to utilize Sony products. The Sony LiveWire channel is home to content that gives readers a unique perspective on Sony products.
Over on the Adobe channel, Michelle Gallina posts content on a regular basis that showcases how VFX and motion graphics experts use Adobe on the biggest movies in Hollywood. Eric Philpott kept us updated around the announcements Adobe rolled out this summer and in December, and it seems like they always have something just around the corner for us. Meagan Keane showed us that their products can be utilized by everyone as we heard about how an MTV music group revolutionized red carpet workflow and how Scruffy.TV transformed their workflow with Adobe Creative Cloud.
Finally, I wanted to mention my own entries to the site, which are much different than the articles written by the folks who make PVC what it is. The videos I put together are designed to highlight a show or event, so definitely check out our coverage of both NAB and SIGGRAPH in 2013 to get a better idea of what those shows will be about in 2014. I’ve also organized a handful of webinars this year and hope to do many more in 2014. Lastly, you can also check out some exclusive footage from ETE in 2013, and the highlight of that show is probably the PVC panel which features Scott, Woody, Clint, Terence Curren and Von Thomas.
A big year for all of us, but we’re all looking forward to even better things in 2014 and want to connect with the community in an even bigger way. It's our goal to continue to provide you with the content you've come to expect to find here.