Scott Simmons – ProVideo Coalition https://www.provideocoalition.com A Moviola Company Wed, 01 Mar 2017 14:08:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.2 https://cdn.provideocoalition.com/app/uploads/cropped-Moviola-Favicon-2016-32x32.png Scott Simmons – ProVideo Coalition https://www.provideocoalition.com 32 32 The Editblog’s 2017 NLE Buyer’s Guide https://www.provideocoalition.com/editblogs-2017-nle-buyers-guide/ https://www.provideocoalition.com/editblogs-2017-nle-buyers-guide/#comments Mon, 30 Jan 2017 16:45:47 +0000 https://www.provideocoalition.com/?p=44855 It’s a new year and 2017 is a year unlike any other in terms of the technology we have at our disposal for editing and post-production. The controversy over the new MacBook Pro aside we have very powerful hardware to choose from over a wide range of prices. If you’re in the game to edit

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It’s a new year and 2017 is a year unlike any other in terms of the technology we have at our disposal for editing and post-production. The controversy over the new MacBook Pro aside we have very powerful hardware to choose from over a wide range of prices. If you’re in the game to edit then running on that hardware will be non-linear editing software as there’s no way around using an NLE to cut your film, commercial, music video, documentary or story together.

Now more than ever there is a broad range of applications that editors (both experienced and amateur, pro and hobbyist alike) can choose from when it comes time to cut their show. Beyond the most obvious of choices when it comes to Adobe, Avid and Apple there are NLEs that fit any budget, run on any platform and can meet most any need. This buyer’s guide came from a list I was putting together for a client who asked about alternatives beyond Adobe, Avid and Apple (and this whole thing will be a class at NAB Post|Production World as well). I was surprised by how many choices we have these days and how capable many of them are.

All of the NLEs listed here have achieved some level of notoriety in the “professional” editing market and/or have pushed into the collective consciousness of the film/video production space to be, IMHO, considered relevant. What’s not included here are any of the numerous “low end” video editing applications that come from small programmers and quickie developers that are in the Windows app store or the Mac app store. Some of those “low end” tools not mentioned here might not be low end at all but they aren’t well known enough to have made a dent in the production world, either in the past or the present. In addition, I’ve personally used almost all of these NLEs mentioned below in some capacity.

Here we go.


 (you can get that custom 2017 icon here)

Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2017

Mac/PC – $50 / month for the main Creative Cloud plan

By now Adobe Premiere Pro has a good footing in the post-production space. It may not be editing all of Hollywood’s films and television shows yet but it’s found it’s place in most all other markets. IMHO PPro CC currently has the most well-rounded feature set when it comes to power/price/performance while maintaining the traditional editing paradigm that most editors know.

If you’re working outside of Hollywood then you’ve probably encountered Premiere Pro quite a bit over the last few years. Adobe has been on a steady march forward as they have continued to update and refine Premiere since CS 5 and 6. Premiere seems to have cemented itself at the top of the heap in terms of access, marketing and place in the overall video editing world.

Pros: Both Mac and PC versions available as well as cross platform compatibility between them; nearly infinitely customizable; lots of updates seemingly all the time

Cons: If you read the internet you’d think it’s an unstable NLE; monthly subscription costs; lots of updates seemingly all the time

Wildcard: Adobe Team Projects. If Adobe’s new collaboration tools work well and are affordable they might be able to take some marketshare from Avid in Hollywood.

Buying Advice: If you want to be able to move up, down, left, right to any other NLE out there then Premiere is the way to go. The value of all that you get in the monthly Creative Cloud subscription cost can’t be matched. More and more outlets, companies and editors seem to be moving to Premiere.


Apple Final Cut Pro X

Mac – $300 (Mac App Store link)

Final Cut Pro X 10.3 introduced an updated interface and enhancements to the Magnetic Timeline. While the original FCPX unfairly got a bad reputation the current version can do most anything that its competitors can do (though you may have to rely on third party tools for some workflows) and often do them faster. If you’re STILL complaining about FCPX then you need to get a life.

You know it exists but you might not have used it. Or you may use it all the time and thing that those that don’t are insane. Or you might think that anyone who would even entertain the idea of using FCPX is insane.

Rest assured that if you do edit with Final Cut Pro X you’re probably happily editing along every day getting your work done just as well as those not working with FCPX. With version 10.3 of FCPX Apple addressed some longstanding complaints that made this entirely capable NLE even more capable. I don’t know many editors who have tried it who haven’t at least acknowledged many of its strengths.

Pros: Organizational capabilities unlike any other NLE on the planet; speed both in general usage and exporting; it thinks different

Cons: Mac only; still missing some pretty basic NLE features you’d be expecting if you’ve used any other NLE for any length of time; native MXF support doesn’t always mean native MXF support, it thinks different

Wildcard: Organization and metadata. I’ve yet to meet an editor who didn’t marvel at FCPX’s different way of thinking when it comes to sorting, organizing and finding media. And in an increasingly metadata-centric production world FCPX can do things the other NLEs can’t.

Buying Advice: Don’t try to make FCPX act like another NLE and you’ll be much happier; get as fast a Mac as possible to run it and you’ll be much happier


Avid Media Composer

Mac/PC – $50 / month to $1,299 depending on license

Some find the Avid Media Composer interface to look and feel dated while others find comfort in its utilitarian design. Truth is that if you know it well it will do anything you ask and rarely let you down. Just don’t expect the most modern of features.

Contrary to what you might believe from reading the Wall Street financial reports on Avid, Media Composer is the tool cutting most of what you see at the movies and on network television today. Avid’s programmers seem to have woken up over the last couple of years as recent updates have added some very good (and long time coming) features that makes editing in Avid Media Composer a much nicer than it has ever been.

Pros: It’s a workhorse; it has a track record unmatched by any other NLE out there; purchase by subscription or perpetual license; Hollywood uses it so how bad can it be?

Cons: It’s not a “modern” NLE and its age shows; to do certain things you have to click … a lot; Hollywood does use it but what they don’t tell you is much of Hollywood hasn’t upgraded in years

The Source Browser is one of the biggest changes to come to Media Composer in years. And it has come along years behind Adobe.

Wildcard: Shared storage. Beyond the fact that Media Composer is still the king in Hollywood Avid owns and sells the gold standard for shared storage: Unity, ISIS, NEXIS is their new product in a long line of shared storage which is reliable and installed in post-production houses all over the world. Oh, there’s also the wildcard of what seems to be an endless string of corporate layoffs and falling stock price.

Buying Advice: Since the Nexidia ScriptSync/PhraseFind technology is coming back that’s a tool that only Avid has; MC’s strong point is collaboration but I don’t see many lone-wolf editors basing their edit suites around Media Composer these days; no one has ever been fired for choosing Avid.


DaVinci Resolve

Mac/PC (you won’t need the Linux version) Free – $995

The speed at which DaVinci Resolve has gone from high end color grading tool to very capable NLE is breathtaking. While it’s not in the same league as Avid, Apple and Adobe as a reliable offline editing tool it’s getting close and will only keep getting closer.

No NLE list compiled today is complete without mentioning Resolve though you might not yet see it populating many craft editor’s suites at this point in time. Blackmagic has put a lot of resources into building the editing functions of Resolve into something that can compete with the big boys.

Pros: The free version is incredibly capable; constant updating by the Blackmagic engineers; it’s an NLE that’s got pretty good color correction built right in

Cons: The NLE portion might not be up to the standards that Blackmagic marketing would have you believe; media management (an important thing for real-world, big-project editing) needs work; does the market need another NLE that doesn’t “think different?”

Wildcard: Blackmagic. Though it still has the name DaVinci Resolve, make no mistakes that this product is now Blackmagic’s and they are in it for the long haul.

Buying Advice: Since you can do most all of the editing you’d ever want with the free version there is no buying, just downloading (compare versions here). You’ve got nothing to lose in trying it out.


Autodesk Smoke for Mac

Smoke made a big splash when it came to Mac many years ago. It’s hard to know how successful this Mac version has been. But there is no doubt it’s one powerful tool in the hands of a good Smoke artist.

Mac – $185 monthly up to $1,470 annually

Smoke on Mac is still a thing. It’s still shipping and Autodesk is still supporting it contrary to what you would have though at NAB 2016 since it was nowhere to be seen at the Autodesk booth. Smoke is at version 2017 so that’s a fresh update for the new year.

Pros: It’s an incredibly powerful piece of software that can do some amazing things if you can master it; from the Autodesk website: “Use Timeline FX within a familiar track-based video editing timeline” means it will look somewhat familiar to the editor; there was a time when you had to mortgage your house to be able to afford Smoke

Cons: despite how it was marketed when it came to the Mac, Smoke isn’t an offline editor and no one is using it that way

Wildcard: Autodesk’s commitment to the tool. I don’t have any idea how successfully Smoke for Mac has been but the lack of it at the NAB 2016 Autodesk booth might speak volumes to their commitment.

Buying Advice: Those that need/want Smoke know who they are and what they are getting into, everyone else move along and keep using your Adobe Creative Suite.


Magix Vegas Pro

PC – $399 Edit, $599 Pro, $799 Suite

Writing this article was the first time I had ever sat in front of Vegas. While I didn’t get to dig too deep I could see a lot of impressive features just waiting to be discovered. I couldn’t figure out how to get the right aspect ratio with this 720p footage though.

Vegas is that fringe tool of the video editing world. It has been around forever and most everyone working in post-production had heard of it but the majority had never used it. Sony decided that it no longer fit into their plans and sold it to Magix. That looks to mean new life for Vegas as Magix is marketing and developing it.

Pros: Vegas has been around a long time and with the purchase by Magix it doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere; there are those that swear by Vegas; it was doing modern NLE things before most others

Cons: Most freelance editors I’ve talked to have never seen Vegas out in the wild or been called to work on Vegas; Magix isn’t Sony (but maybe that’s a Pro?); Vegas gets no respect

Wow. That's a lot of import/export options available in Magix VEGAS Pro 14.

A photo posted by Scott Simmons (@editblog) on

Wildcard: Magix. With a new owner we can expect a new marketing push for Vegas Pro and maybe they can tell all the rest of us why the diehard Vegas users love it so. I remember diehard Avid DS users telling us why they loved that tool so much but that didn’t save it.

Buying Advice: I think Vegas is a bit like Smoke … if you want it and need it then you’ll buy it and no one can tell you different. Godspeed.


Lightworks

Mac/PC/Linux – $25 / month, $175 / year, $438 outright license

Every time I mess around with Lightworks I think “quirky.” It’s an interesting NLE that seems to be able to do a lot. The trimming always seems to be a strong point. And if it’s not dead yet then it probably won’t go anywhere for a long while.

Lightworks is another NLE that has been around for year and years thought the Lightworks that you install today is very, very different than the Lightworks of 1999. The interface is different, the media you put into it is different and the company that owns it is different. But it’s still alive and kicking.

Pros: Like Vegas Lightworks has been around for a long time but it’s been used in very different markets than Vegas; it has that cool Lightworks Console controller hardware; it has a Linux version (how many other NLEs can say that?)

Cons: It’s got some kinda quirky stuff to it; Bless its heart it just hasn’t been able to get much traction over the years outside of Thelma Schoonmaker; Do you really know anyone who regularly uses Lightworks?

Wildcard: A world without Avid? If something did happen to Avid and Media Composer went away Lightworks could benefit. The tools has a history in Hollywood so there would be those who would probably champion it over Adobe.

Buying Advice: Lightworks does a lot of stuff and it’s been around forever so if you work all on your own and you want to do your own thing then give Lightworks a try … and invite me over to hang out so I can watch you run it.


Media 100

Mac – $99

Even thought I worked on Media 100 years ago it felt very foreign booting it up for this article. Thought it ran on macOS Sierra I got a warning or two. Performance wasn’t great and the settings seemed ancient but this was an NLE from an earlier era.

That’s right, Media 100 is still around after all these years and you can download an installer right now. In my limited time playing with it it’s hard to know if it could handle the demands of current day media production when it comes to both formats and quantity. But the Creative Cow Media 100 forum still has active users posting so it’s Not Dead Yet.

Media 100 had the most advanced mixer that I remember for its time… back in the early 00s.

Pros: Media 100 is still a thing and can be downloaded and used; it has a 60 day free trial so you really can give it a shot; Media 100 costs $99 and does a lot for that $99 so what have you got to lose besides $99?

Cons: 9 out of 10 editors out in the world thought Media 100 was dead and gone; it’s hard to be sure of its future but hell, it’s lasted this long and it’s only $99 so what have you got to lose?

Wildcard: I don’t think there is a wildcard for Media 100. It’s an old tool that feels old when you use it. If there’s enough of a fanbase to pay for its development it’ll live, if not … it won’t.

Buying Advice: If you dedicate some time to Media 100 I bet you can get in good with Boris FX and help steer the direction of the product; This Rest in peace M100 thread might be a good read before buying; It’s $99 and has a long feature list so what have you got to lose?


Sony Catalyst Edit

Mac/PC – $22 / month to $200 / year

Catalyst has a somewhat “traditional” interface and workflow. It feels like a combination of FCPX and it’s single-screen design and a normal track-based NLE. Integration with Sony cameras is probably where the entire Catalyst package would shine.

Sony introduced Catalyst Edit as part of the Catalyst Production Suite. It supports resolutions up to 4K and has a companion app in Sony Catalyst Prepare. It fells a bit like the Adobe Prelude to Premiere workflow. These products are interesting birds: they seem dedicated to Sony media but they’ll work with formats beyond what is acquired by Sony cameras; the interface is simple and a little generic but yet housing some powerful features; they were created by Sony and then Sony ditched most all their other software. I don’t have any idea who the target market of Catalyst might be.

Pros: In my limited use of Catalyst Edit the Sony mantra of “focused, fast editing” seems to be true as the NLE isn’t bloated with features; if you live in a Sony world the the Catalyst Production Suite might be for you

Cons: Sony isn’t exactly known for their software (they saw fit to ditch Vegas); It’s a step backward features wise from more established NLEs; Did you even know this thing existed?

Wildcard: Sony. Sony sells a lot of cameras that product media that needs to be organized and edited. If they can get their camera fan base to try the Catalyst Suite they might win a few converts. They could start by giving it away for free with any Sony camera purchase.

Buying Advice: With a package as new and unknown as Sony Catalyst Edit you have to download the free trial and try it yourself.


EDIUS Pro 8

PC – “We have EDIUS Pro 8 in stock and on sale for $479” is one price that I found.

Out of every NLE here in this list I know less about EDIUS Pro than any others. It must be in use in a lot of places around the world, at least that was the impression I got from getting a demo of EDIUS at NAB 2016. There’s a lot of EDIUS videos on YouTube that have a lot of views (if that is any indication). But asking Twitter who out there uses EDIUS … crickets.

Pros: Believe it or not there are a lot of EDIUS users out there; being a part of Grass Valley means a big booth at the very front of the NAB South Hall; EDIUS has a ton of features and a decent third party plug-in market with names you’ll recognize

Cons: Most of us have never seen EDIUS in the wild, Grass Valley doesn’t exactly seem to promote the EDIUS product very much

Wildcard: News. I’m speculating here but I think EDIUS is installed in newsrooms around the world. That’s a good user-base right there.

Buying Advice: There’s no way I could give any advice on buying EDIUS Pro 8 beyond saying that it isn’t at all prevalent in the markets where I work so I would advise a client on Adobe, Avid or Apple NLEs. That doesn’t mean EDIUS couldn’t get the job done as I’m sure it will do what all of its competitors will do in the hands of a skilled EDIUS operator.  In the meantime, put on your dancing shoes and watch the editor below have a play in EDIUS 8 if you want to know more.


HitFilm

Mac/PC – Free up to $349

HitFilm Express acts and feels a lot like Premiere Pro. There are a lot of tools even in the free Express version and a look around YouTube shows a lot of people doing some cool work.

Remember the talk of the extreme super-NLE a few years ago? HitFilm seems to be as close as we’ve come to the super-NLE that really can do everything. I hear very little about HitFilm in the markets I work in but my anecdotal evidence tells me it’s got a big fan base with a bunch of users. When my boys decide it’s time to make their own action/horror/special fx movies I’m going to get them HitFilm.

Pros: It can do a lot of stuff at a very low price; if you’re into effects-y kind of filmmaking but don’t want to learn After Effects HitFilm is a good way to go; they also make a HitFilm plug-in package for other NLEs

Cons: I think many people view HitFilm as a toy; you’re not going to work in Hollywood by devoting a career to HitFilm

Wildcard: The kiddos. While there are lot of youngsters making their movies with FCPX there’s a lot of them also using HitFilm. By marketing HitFilm’s bullet hits, blood spatters, light sabers and plasma flashes their going to pick up a lot young filmmakers.

Buying Advice: Got only $349 to spend on your NLE that you need to do everything humanly possible from editing to visual effects? HitFilm might be the only option in town. Aside from the Pro version, HitFilm Express might be the most capable free editing and post-production tool on the planet that could give DaVinci Resolve a run for its money.


Final Cut Pro 7 (Classic)

Even though it can feel like a warm blanket when you boot into it, Final Cut Pro 7 (Classic) really shows its age and humble beginnings in a hi-def world. Constant rendering (and crashing) can bring a good session to a halt. But FCP7 had a long and successful run and broke Avid Media Composer’s grasp on the post-production industry … and let many of us work from our own shop.

Mac – Search out eBay, Craigslist or maybe Amazon

Believe it or not FCP7 still runs on the latest Mac OS. And believe it or not if you search Amazon and eBay you can still get the install discs. And also believe it or not there are people in the world who have purchased it as recently as yesterday (though that 1 left in stock might be gone by the time you read this).

Pros: I bet there are still editors out there who know how to use it; I bet there are still editors out there who are actually using it; it still has a few things the others don’t;  it will slice through your DV25 material like butter

Cons: Do I really have to list any?

Wildcard: The wildcard here is that people are still actually using it. And there might be more people still using FCP7 (Classic) around the world than we realize.

Buying Advice: Don’t.


What do you think? Did I get it wrong on the Pros, Cons and Buying Advice for any of the NLEs above? Did I miss one entirely? Should Blender really be a consideration for video editing? Is one of those more obscure tools your weapon of choice? Please leave a comment below and tell me where I’m wrong.

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Christmas gift ideas for the editor – 2016 edition https://www.provideocoalition.com/christmas-gift-ideas-editor-2016-edition/ https://www.provideocoalition.com/christmas-gift-ideas-editor-2016-edition/#respond Sun, 27 Nov 2016 21:18:22 +0000 https://www.provideocoalition.com/?p=41958 Since Thanksgiving is over here in the United States it must mean the holiday buying season is in full swing. That must also mean it’s time for the original, everywhere-duplicate Christmas Gift for Editors. This series is now in its 7th year and to be quite honest it’s getting to where there isn’t a ton of

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xmas-gifts-2016-featured

Since Thanksgiving is over here in the United States it must mean the holiday buying season is in full swing. That must also mean it’s time for the original, everywhere-duplicate Christmas Gift for Editors. This series is now in its 7th year and to be quite honest it’s getting to where there isn’t a ton of really new and original stuff that might make a great gift for Editors. A new computer is always nice. And you can never have enough hard drives. But I’ve found a few things below. As always dig into the 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 or 2015 edition for TONS of other great ideas.

Tangent Ripple

At the top of the list has to be the Tangent Ripple. We’ve mentioned the Tangent Element before in the Xmas list but the Ripple is the $350 option that the occasional color grading editor needs. It’s small, easy to set up and affordable. Read all about it in my review. While you can order it from a lot of places why not support the good folks at Flanders Scientific as they sell it right in their store.

Macbook Pro with Touchbar

macbook-pro

Let’s face it: there has been a lot of controversy about the newest MacBook Pro. But the truth is that if you’ve a Apple used and editor there is no way you would turn one down if Santa brought you one for Christmas. So the new MacBook Pro goes near the top of the list. I was going to next list a batch of Thunderbolt 3 peripherals you can use with this new MacBook Pro but since it’s currently such a confusing market of what will work and what won’t I’ll just leave that for another time.

Sony Rugged RAID

Review of the new ruggedized Sony RAID Sony's latest professional RAID might just be the new favorite drive for on-set transfers

I was very surprised how useful it was to have a truly portable RAID in the edit suite while I was writing this review of the Sony PSZ-RA4T Rugged RAID. It is fast, rugged and easily portable with a rubber bumper-like casing and an integrated handle. It’s the kind of thing that most any editor could make use of. I’d recommend the 6 TB version as the more space the better when it comes to hard drives these days. You can buy them from PVC’s sister site Filmtools and support PVC along the way.

Speaker Isolation Stands

isoacoustics  pyle

There are a lot of different options for speaker isolation stands/pads that get your studio monitors up off the desk. The ones I decided on and have been very happy with are IsoAcoustics. They make a number of different options but their adjustability and design are two reasons that I like them over just a formed foam pad. Search Amazon and there are a ton of options at a lot of different prices so you should be able to find some for most any budget.

Mini Fridge

red-fridge han-solo-fridge

Every edit suite needs access to a refrigerator to keeps drinks cool, water chilled or beer cold. Depending on what you might want to put in it there are several options that could be good for an edit suite. To cover all bases these Danby compact refrigerators come in a large variety of size, styles and prices.  If you want another category of options then check out the Koolatron line on Amazon as there are lots of different types. Finally there’s the Han Solo Fridge for the ultimate conversation piece but according to the reviews on ThinkGeek it might not be the best at actually cooling the beverages.

Neon Video Sign

n100-1674-video-oval-blue-neon-sign

This one might be a bit extravagant but an editor who is trying out outfit an edit suite with some unique decor might love to have a neon video sign.  A place like Everything Neon has a bunch of them. But they aren’t cheap with prices starting in the high $200s. It’s probably best to voice the XXX Video signs though.

GT Office Chair

22988-jpg

Here’s another gift for the editor that has everything (and it’s probably best for the automotive fan): A GT Office Chair. This chair looks like the supportive bucket seats you see in many high end sports cars. It’s certainly stylish looking and would make a great conversation piece. But at $400 it isn’t cheap but then again good office chairs can cost twice that. I doubt that this chair has an adjustable pump-up lumber support though.

Whiskey accessories

I’m a fan of good Scotch and often like to imbibe a bit after a good editing day. If your editor is a whiskey drinker then there’s a few items that will make the experience a bit more pleasurable.

glencarin-glass

A good set of whiskey glasses are a must and the Glencairn glasses are a must. And at under $13 they are affordable. If you like the peaty variety then the Ardbeg tasting glass is a great choice to keep the smokey aroma in until you sip. I recently broke the leg to one of mine so I’m in the market for a replacement.

whiskey-stone

Don’t let the whiskey drinker water down their single malt with melting gobs of ice. Get them a nice set of whiskey stones to chill the beverage just a bit but not water it down.

41aimc2huflfunny-mug

And while you might not want to drink good whiskey out of them these two novelty items might make for a good pen holder and conversation piece. There’s the Good Day Bad Day glass as well as the Funny Mug.

Vintage Television or (Not so Vintage) Movie Art

philco-television-mike-mcglothlen drive-metal-poster

If you’re decorating an edit suite then how about some vintage television art. What I like about this selection from Fine Art America is that isn’t not all tv shows in the art but some cool shots of old television sets and images that are a bit more abstract. But there’s your usual shows and tv star prints in there as well. If you want to take this idea a step further into some even cooler, more abstract images that are metal check out the tv and movies category at Displate. There’s some really nice stuff there.

Coffee (or tea) Mug Warmer

mr-coffee-electric-mug-warmer

I don’t drink a lot of coffee but I do like tea. I like to drink slowly so a mug warmer is a nice thing to have around. I’m sure most any editor out there would appreciate one. There are a million of them and the click-bait ad sites even rank them! Here’s a list of 8 USB food gadgets of a coffee warmer isn’t your thing.

I hope those might be some helpful hints for the Christmas buying season. Some of these links go to the manufacturer site, some to retailers and a few are Amazon affiliate links as those are easier links to paste than the regular one. As always editor you can forward this link (or any of the previous years above) over to someone you love who doesn’t know what to buy you. Or just treat yourself! Happy Holidays from The Editblog.

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Review: Sony PSZ-RA4T hard drive – A very portable rugged RAID https://www.provideocoalition.com/review-sony-psz-ra4t-hard-drive-portable-rugged-raid/ https://www.provideocoalition.com/review-sony-psz-ra4t-hard-drive-portable-rugged-raid/#respond Tue, 22 Nov 2016 03:51:50 +0000 https://www.provideocoalition.com/?p=41728 When you think about rugged hard drives most of us probably picture the bright orange bumpers of a little Lacie Rugged or the blue case of a G-Tech G|Drive ev ATC . These are both small, single drives with slower mechanisms that aren’t terribly big or terribly fast. Now we can add the Sony PSZ-RA4T

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When you think about rugged hard drives most of us probably picture the bright orange bumpers of a little Lacie Rugged or the blue case of a G-Tech G|Drive ev ATC . These are both small, single drives with slower mechanisms that aren’t terribly big or terribly fast. Now we can add the Sony PSZ-RA4T Rugged RAID to this list. The Sony Rugged RAID adds both speed and capacity to the portable hard drive category.

The Sony Rugged RAID sitting, ready to power and serve up media.
The Sony PSZ-RA4T Rugged RAID, ready to power up and serve media.

We’ve reviewed the Sony Rugged RAID before on PVC. I’m often the skeptic of anything that is a bit out of the norm and I was skeptical of this new RAID as well. One reason is that I don’t think of RAIDs as being either rugged or portable (maybe when they are SSDs). Another reason is I don’t think of Sony when it comes to storage. It was this skepticism that prompted me to ask Sony for a review unit for some editing travel as I wanted to try it out. I needed speed, capacity and portability. The specs of this RAID seemed to fit the bill.

rugged_raid-1
It’s great to see both Thunderbolt and USB 3 in one unit. This proved very versatile as I was able to drop it with clients who had both newer Thunderbolt equipped Macs and older non-Thunderbolt machines.

It’s important to note the PSZ-RA4T isn’t the only “portable” RAID out there in the market. I talked about my OWC Thunderbay 4 being “portable” but it’s certainly not so easily portable as the PSZ-RA4T and nowhere near as rugged. Jeff Foster looked at some other portable OWC products recently and while the ThunderBay 4 Mini is easily small enough to be portable it’s an SSD RAID so the cost is going to be much higher and the capacity much less relative to the cost of a spinning media RAID. There are a lot of other rugged drives out there but they are small and not fast. The PSZ-RA4T seems unique in this market.

Construction and operation

The PSZ-RA4T (Come on Sony, could there be a worse name than that?) isn’t an SSD system. Both the 4TB and the 6TB versions use spinning media. We don’t always think portability with spinning media but reading over the specs of the PSZ-RA4T shows vibration compensation both on the inside and the outer case of the unit. Sony expects you to move this thing around as there are feet on both the bottom and side so you can fit it into different situations. When editing with the PSZ-RA4T I sat the unit on its bottom but when being carried in my backpack the unit was on its side. I never dropped, smashed or kicked the Sony Rugged RAID but it has it has traveled a good bit over the 6 plus weeks I’ve been using it and it never blinked when asked to power up and edit.

The drives inside the PSZ-RA4T are full size desktop drives so power is required via a non-wall wart power supply. A rubber cage covers the exterior with a handle on top. The handle is a great addition that will get a lot of use.

The handle on this RAID came to be one of my favorite things. Considering this a "rugged" unit it is expecting to be moved and a handle helps with that. The paperwork that comes with the RAID details the internal construction and how it's built to be ... well ... rugged.
The handle on this RAID came to be one of my favorite things. Considering this a “rugged” unit it is asking to be moved and a handle helps with that. The paperwork that comes with the RAID details the internal construction and how it’s built to be … well … rugged.

There’s a power button/power light combo on the front as well as a disk access light. On the back are two Thunderbolt 2 ports that allow daisy chaining as well a USB 3 port. This is a very nice addition as there are a lot of Thunderbolt RAIDs (in fact most) that don’t have a USB 3 connection. This USB 3 port uses a standard-B plug but instantly makes the PSZ-RA4T more versatile. Versatility is important when portability comes into play.

Another unique feature of the PSZ-RA4T is the physical button on the back to change RAID configuration from a RAID 1 to 0 or a JBOD configuration. I haven’t seen that before on a Thunderbolt RAID. This will reformat the drive and lose all the data but don’t worry about accidentally hitting it and losing everything as there is a procedure to go through. That also involves downloading Sony’s Media Memory Utility software to help with the task. The downside of this reformat is you’ll have to deal with Sony’s terrible website and not so well designed software.

Changing the RAID mode

This Sony RAID is the only one I’ve encountered that has physical buttons on the unit to change the RAID level. I did notice a new Other World Computing drive recently that does have such a hardware RAID switch so maybe it’s a matter of not noticing until I had a reason to notice.

The hardware buttons on back are for changing the RAID level. You can't do it by accident.
The hardware buttons on back are for changing the RAID level. You can’t do it by accident.

To change the RAID level, it’s a multistep process that involves powering up the RAID (unhook from Thunderbolt or USB3 first) while holding down the SELECT button. Then select the desired level (RAID0, RAID1, JBOD) and hitting CONFIRM. If you begin the process but don’t hit CONFIRM it powers off. After confirming you have to then format via the Sony Media Memory Utility software.

sony-memory_media_utility_02

It goes without saying if you change the RAID level and reformat all data is lost.

It’s a handy feature to have as there’s some good versatility that comes from easy reformatting. At RAID0 and over 300 MB/second it’s a fast drive that you can edit from. If safety is important then RAID1 give that extra bit of security but that comes at half the space of full capacity of the drive. I love the thought of a DIT putting footage from the shoot onto one of these things in RAID1 and handing that to the editor when turnaround is quick. You’re not going to edit 4K natively for very long but at HD resolution you can do some good work from this portable.

Speed

If it’s a RAID, then it’s speed that is important. The PSZ-RA4T is only a two-drive RAID so speeds aren’t going to approach what you might need for realtime 4K but with read/write speeds that are hitting around 375 MB/sec in my tests it is a plenty fast for a lot of work. And work off of it I did. I never saw an issue working at 1080 and I had the 4TBs stuff pretty full.

sony_rugged_raid-raid0-diskspeedtest-thunderbolt

The ubiquitous Blackmagic Disk Speed test with the PSZ-RA4T Thunderbolt connection.

sony_rugged_raid-raid0-aja-test-old-thunderbolt

For comparison here’s what the AJA System Test was showing.

sony_rugged_raid-raid0-diskspeedtest-usb3

And for more comparison this is a USB 3 connection.

RAID1 is slower as to be expected.

sony_rugged_raid-raid1-diskspeedtest-thunderbolt

As I mentioned above this RAID isn’t an 8K speed demon but what it does have is very usable speed coupled with decent space so that takes it way beyond most portables as a very usable drive.

Real world usage of the PSZ-RA4T

I’ve had this rugged RAID in my possession for nearly two months and I’ve been able to use it in a number of different situations.

I flew the drive cross country to a conference and was able to take 3 large projects in their entirety and use those as demo media.

I’ve taken the RAID on the road for several long weekends when I’ve had to deal with some family issues, meaning I could easily copy a project or two in their entirety onto the PSZ-RA4T at the last minute and take that (along with my laptop) during some unexpected travel and work in some different locations as I had a few hours free.

When I mentioned non-Thunderbolt usage of the Sony Rugged RAID that was on old MacPro towers that had a USB 3 card added to the system.
When I mentioned non-Thunderbolt usage of the Sony Rugged RAID that was on old MacPro towers that had a USB 3 card added to the system.

I’ve had the opportunity to work on a reality show with a production company south of my office. This show had hundreds of hours of media but while the 4TB capacity wasn’t enough to take all of the raw media it was more than enough to take the 1.4 TB of proxy media to work with. The PSZ-RA4T was left at the facility, brought back to me, edited off of both at my office and my home and carried back to the production company for a screening of my episode. This was over a week so the PSZ-RA4T got a lot of moving around, from place to place, bag to bag.

Moving the PSZ-RA4T around usually meant shoving it into this GRUV GEAR backpack on its side so everything would fit, and then setting it up upon arrival. The RAID has feet both on the bottom and on the side so it’s built to sit either flat or horizontal so that help with carrying it too.

This demo unit got a lot of traveling into the couple of months that I've had it. Here it is shoved into a backpack where it logged many miles.
This demo unit got a lot of traveling into the couple of months that I’ve had it. Here it is shoved into a backpack where it logged many miles.

I do wish the power cable of this type of electronic product could be redesigned. While it doesn’t have a wall wart, there’s two pieces to the cable and power supply and I’ve found it takes time to bundle up this power supply when moving it frequently. I have cable ties so it can be cinched up into something portable but it’s a pain to do it several times a day.

rugged_raid-14
There’s the power cable. Someday someone will create a more revolutionary spring-loaded, self-rewinding power solution for these types of portable products.

I do wish Sony (or someone out there) would invent a better, more well designed power supply for portable drives like the PSZ-RA4T. God knows we have enough portable electronics these days and yet so little thought seems to have gone into these power supply designs.

Wrap-up

Overall the Sony PSZ-RA4T is a great choice for a medium-capacity, fast and portable RAID solution. Coming in at 4TB and 6TB I don’t think it will necessarily be the main studio RAID of choice for the busy editor but at $470 and $546 respectively it could be a great option for when you need to deliver footage from the shoot and plug-in to begin editing without transfer to a studio RAID. If you’re an on-set editor or a DIT that needs that sweet spot between portability and speed then the PSZ-RA4T could be a great choice. The capacity is on the smaller side today but I’m sure we’ll see bigger options in the future. Hard drive capacities only grow.

I do like that the Sony RAID is designed to sit both on its bottom and its side. You know it's designed this was because they put feet on both the bottom and the side.
I do like that the Sony PSZ-RA4T RAID is designed to sit both on its bottom and its side. You know it’s designed this was because they put feet on both the bottom and the sideI

Where I really see the PSZ-RA4T shine is in that video editing go-bag situation I wrote about a recently and it was that article that prompted me to seek one out for review. While I mentioned “portability” in a RAID with something like the OWC Thunderbay 4 that portability came from the fact it was a smaller 4-bay enclosure and I saved the foam packaging. That made the Thunderbay somewhat “portable” but I’d never consider carrying that along on an airplane and it’s impossible to put it in a single editing go-bag. The PSZ-RA4T Sony Rugged RAID on the other hand provides the speed, portability, affordability and ruggedness a truly mobile editor might need. It’s a market it might have all to itself.

And I can pay it the highest compliment: I’m going to buy one for myself.

Pros

  • It’s a RAID that is fast and rugged so that’s a big + right there.
  • The handle makes for even easier portability.

Cons

  • I guess the capacity might be too small for some but if you’re needing more than 6TB in a portable drive maybe portable isn’t the way you need to go with a RAID.
  • Like all these kinds of drives the power adapter will be your least favorite thing if you have to plug, unplug and have portability several times a day.

Cautions

  • The RAID formatting button on the back can reformat the drive but it takes more than a quick push so you won’t do this accidentally.
  • The power plug into the back is a little elbow connector that can sometimes get in the way of the connections.
  • Sony doesn’t yet have much of a track record with hard drives.
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A discussion about the new MacBook Pro, MagSafe, SD cards, dongles https://www.provideocoalition.com/A+discussion+about+the+new+MacBook+Pro https://www.provideocoalition.com/A+discussion+about+the+new+MacBook+Pro#respond Sat, 19 Nov 2016 14:00:08 +0000 https://www.provideocoalition.com/?p=41691 I’ve been contemplating the purchase of a new MacBook Pro but like half of the rest of the internet I have my reservations due to the high price and lack of any port except USB-3 / Thunderbolt 3. There’s no doubt at all that this is the way of the future but when you’ve got so much

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I’ve been contemplating the purchase of a new MacBook Pro but like half of the rest of the internet I have my reservations due to the high price and lack of any port except USB-3 / Thunderbolt 3. There’s no doubt at all that this is the way of the future but when you’ve got so much other stuff that connects via everything else you pause before the purchase. There is often a great debate when Apple releases new products that eschews common and current connections in favor of the future. And the same questions are always asked.

How to connect my stuff?

How much extra cash will we have to spend on adapters?

How many more dongle will we need to carry around?

Will those dongles be an inconvenience?

We saw it with the Mac Pro. We saw it with the iPhone 7. Now we see it with the MacBook Pro.

Another thing happened the other day that made me take special notice of this conversation. I had three incidences in the same day when the MagSafe adapter in my old MacBook Pro saved it from possible destruction. One was because of my kids, one my dog and the other was because my desk was a mess. Granted this was a very unusual day but that dad did make me take notice of this exchange.

The discussion was on a private Facebook group but I think the topics were interesting and universal enough it made for a great read when thinking about the new MacBook Pro purchase. The downside of Facebook is that it is a closed community and this discussion often happens behind closed doors. I guess that can be a plus as well.

I asked for permission to post this discussion from my friends in the group and they said yes. It’s not easy to translate a Facebook discussion to a blog post but here it is. Now  I just need to publish the other one I have about the iPhone 7’s lack of a headphone jack (the outcome of that one was I did update to an iPhone 7 but I still hate the loss of the headphone jack).


Felipe Baez

<Rant start>
So, I’ve been watching a lot of reviews about the new MacBook Pro, as well as reading a lot of opinions about it and I wanted to share my opinion as a Video Professional that lives day in and out on editing videos after videos.

I have a team of 6 editors in 3 different countries, a couple of freelancers in two other locations. Most of us are sitting in a most current iMac 5K with upgrades possible. We also use constantly our MacBook Pros, most of which the most recent version prior to the current touchbar version. Together we deliver over 400 videos a month, so this is not a week output.

I will skip the subject of Apple introducing new IO and getting rid of old IO as everyone knows about this already, but seem to forget very easily. People’s expectations now seem to be “bring me amazing new, but keep the old because I depend on it”. News flash, you can have one of them built-in, not both. As a consumer we all have the power to choose with our wallets.

If Apple would’ve kept old USB A plugs (that won’t charge your computer and won’t drive a 5K display, neither have a throughput of 40Gbps) everyone would’ve complained that they are not putting the latest and greater IO connection (Thunderbolt 3). Note that they decided to make this a future proof device, ready to accept input and output from devices coming to market, everyone’s complaining about needing dongles to connect to their old devices. Thunderbolt wasn’t readily available on the market when Apple added to its notebooks (I know they kept USB) but sure enough the market delivered Thunderbolt devices and today a person that invested in that future proofing still can enjoy Thunderbolt devices.

This is like buying a Tesla and then complaining they can’t use that spare gallon for fuel stored in their car just in case they need to walk to the gas station and get some fuel. Yes, I understand that no one is going to throw away their cameras, their SDs or their RAIDs, but my point is that we are purchasing a new computer, future proofed in terms of IO and of course if we have something old, it will be needed an adapter. Bad would be if no adapters existed. Back to the first MacBook with Thunderbolt, this now is the first Mac with a plug that does two different standards at once, USB 3 and Thunderbolt 3, reversible plug. If you buy it, you’re betting on this technology and its future, vote with your wallet.

Remember the move from parallel port printers to USB? We all complained, we needed USB to Parallel adapters that were not always reliable etc. We moved on, printer manufacturers started embracing USB and the industry moved forward. The same from USB 2.0 to FireWire, back to USB 3.0, Thunderbolt 1, Thunderbolt 2, USB 3.1 (with less bandwidth than Thunderbolt 2) and now USB 3.1 gen 2 and Thunderbolt 3 (on the same connection). Instead of one connection per standard and per function, we have a Swiss Army knife of IO.

Fact of life, technology evolves, it can’t be locked to single function ports, connectors change, everything changes. The question is, will you adapt? Will you change? Again, not ignoring the investment everyone already made in their current equipment, but using dongles to connect to the old stuff while having a future proofed laptop in terms of IO seems like a problem that’s not really a problem. A problem is people that still starve in the world, but no one complains about that so loudly on the internet.

</rant end>

Chaz Wren

Look, I’ve said this a million times now. To future proof something is not the act of removing every single option and replacing them all with one single option that’s realistically still a few years away from really gaining traction.
How is that possibly future proofing? It’s not.
“Introducing the new Ford Mustang. We’ve removed the car radio, CD player, aux input, USB input, and Bluetooth, and we’ve replaced them all with several USBC ports. It’s future proof.”
Bad comparison. But my point is, where we have options, there is often a reason for it.

If I hear one more person refer to the port massacre as “future proof” then… Well… Realistically nothing will happen tbh. But I’ll be increasingly annoyed.

Ok well aware of the speed benefits of UBSC. But when have we EVER had a computer that’s put all of it’s eggs in one basket? And when has that ever been a good idea in any industry or with any product?

The loss of the SD port is huge. Let’s not pretend otherwise. Yes, there are other storage formats that aren’t catered for, like CF. But SD is the “USB” of the camera world. It’s huge. It’s everywhere.
Do some cameras take CF? Sure. But are several millions of people all over the world catered for with their SD cards? Absolutely. Until now.

The MagSafe is also a tragic loss. It’s far more innovative and than the touch bar imho. And that’s not a dig at the touch bar. I think it looks ok. But the MagSafe really did solve a VERY real problem. My power cable got yanked out on many an occasion. And every time it happened, I silently (and sometimes verbally) thanked apple for their innovative MagSafe adapter.

You know what I think they should’ve done? (Not that it matters). I think they should’ve kept the SD port, and kept at least one USB3-A port. And absolutely kept the MagSafe.
Bring a couple of USBC ports to the new machine (80Gbps of combined theoretical bandwidth), alongside an existing USB3-A port, the all too useful SD slot, and one of the greatest laptop innovations of all time – the MagSafe.

I have a feeling that the amount of people who are realistically going to drive 2x 5K displays, alongside a Thunderbolt 3 RAID, whilst running a Thunderbolt/USB/SD hub, will be vastly outnumbered by those who will be inconvenienced by the loss of SD, HDMI and USBA.

I’m a forward thinking person. I’m all for genuine innovation that actually moves us forward and solves problems. But I’m increasingly fed up of people implying that this new IO massacre is in some way moving us forward. In reality, it causes more problems than it solves. And it could’ve been avoided by splitting the IO with existing IO.
The real issue here, is that Apple wanted to save space in their machines. And in doing so, they needed to move away from USBA and HDMI (and I’d hasten a bet the internals of the SD reader isn’t terribly thin either).

Just my 2 cents of course.

Roger Bolton

Sorry I agree with Felipe. Its a better solution for me to have a cheap small USB-C dock with all the ports I want on it which I leave plugged into monitor, keyboard and mouse, and ethernet at my office. Once I buy a USB-C external HD then I won’t even need any dongles most of the time when I’m on the road, since I don’t connect to an external display, or ethernet usually. I think my usage pattern is fairly typical, most people just don’t need all their ports except when back at their own desk, which a dock is a better solution, since it’s one cable to unplug and get going. Bang $79, problem solved.

Also the problem with keeping magsafe is that then it’s not one cable at my main desk to connect to a dock with everything. It’s two, power and USB-C or TB3. So sorry I’d rather have the one cable convenience than magsafe.

Chaz Wren

I work with a lot of filmmakers and photographers who are inconvenienced by this. But I also respect that some people welcome it.
It’s never been a good move to put all your eggs in one basket. That’s rarely worked out for anyone.
And the loss of MagSafe is just dumb. There’s no other word for it.

But all USBC ports provide power. So the sensible thing to do would be to keep MagSafe, and people can instead use USBC for power if they prefer.

MagSafe was the last true innovation that Apple brought to their laptops imho. It genuinely solved a very real problem. It saved people thousands of pounds/dollars all years round. It’s a huge deal imho. Huge.
I’d go as far as to say that I’d lose the SD, HDMI and USBA all in favour of keeping the MagSafe. And I use all of them on a daily basis. But MagSafe has saved my bacon more times than I can count.

Roger Bolton

You realise that if it’s a USB-A device that you want to use then all you do is replace the existing cable you have which goes USB-A to mini USB-A to a different cable which goes USB-C to mini-USB-A. Its the same amount of stuff to carry around and the cables are cheap.

Chaz Wren

Now you’re talking. That doesn’t solve the issue with flash sticks though. But I guess the best bet is to ditch your flash sticks and buy shiny new USBC ones. Or grab an adapter.
My biggest gripe remains SD and MagSafe.
I genuinely think the loss of MagSafe is a very sad thing indeed. Apple are throwing away something that has served an important purpose and solved a BIG issue that’s all too real when using your laptop on the move. And they’ve replaced it with something that takes us back to 2005, prior to the revolution of the power cable. It’s sad to see.

Roger Bolton

From what I understand the USB-C cable already pulls out more easily than a USB-A one, so it’s kind of mag safe. And yeah my plan is just to buy some of these dual flash drives. flash drives are disposable anyway, I never expect them to last more than six months.

Chaz Wren

1:35 in this video says quite the opposite.  I think we’re gonna see a LOT of cases of people realising just how important the MagSafe truly was, once it really gets out into the wild.

Roger Bolton

Personally I can’t remember when was the last time magsafe saved me anything, i just don’t leave my power cable across walk ways. But if it’s that important to you.

Chaz Wren

Yup, I’ve seen it. And it really really is. I guess it depends how you use your MBP though.
When I use mine on location, there often isn’t the luxury of setting up next to a power socket. I frequently find myself setup in a place where my power cable is left running to a power source, and could be snagged by passers by.
It’s a real problem. I’m not alone in this. If it doesn’t affect you personally, then that’s great. But it’s a bit like happily waving goodbye to antilock brakes on your car, and saying “meh, I’ve never skidded before. I just don’t see the need.”
If something solves a real world problem for thousands, if not millions, of users. And has been praised by reviewers and users all over the world since it’s unveiling 10 years ago. Then why would you throw it all away, and go back to re-introducing the original problem?!?

Roger Bolton

You know what? It was probably symmetry. They didn’t want one port to be different to the other 3. They could have used a mag safe variant of USB-C. It’s true that sometimes Apple’s obsession with form over function is often something I shake my head at.

Chaz Wren

Yeah, that’s how it seems. And it annoys me. I’m all for symmetry and beautiful design. But not at the expense of usability or innovation.
At least there’s a bunch of MagSafe USBC options on the market already. That’s a positive.
I just wish Apple hadn’t thrown away such a magnificent innovation.

Felipe Baez

I completely agree with the MagSafe perspective, 100% and I Love it, will miss it and I’ll have to be more careful with cables.

Bill Davis

I’m with Felipe. When I moved out of the house we’d lived in for 15 years, I must have finally thrown out about 500 dead era cables. Parallel. SCSI, AppleTalk, RS-232 & 422, and that’s just for computers. I had S-Video, BNC, Composite, Component, and DIN. And Audio via XLR, RCA, Phono Plug, 3.5mm, Toslink and at least one microphone wired for a recorder from the 1920s.
Stuff changes. Deal with it. I’ll post this picture AGAIN…

bill-davis-plugs

If you can’t see the OBVIOUS visual engineering advance between the power only cable on top and the power PLUS super high speed bi-directional data in about 20% of the physical area – I don’t know what to tell you. You move on when moving on gets you an obvious IMPROVEMENT. This does. Period.
A while from now the SDCard reader is gonna look like a slot for Audio Cassettes. It’s what happens. The thing you use every day now? The day comes when you don’t use it EVER AGAIN. (Anybody want to buy a 10-pack of 15 minute VHS tapes perfect for client copies of TV Spots? I didn’t think so. ; )

Chaz Wren

You’re comparing SD to audio cassettes? So, out of interest, what’s the next storage medium that’s going to do away with SD? Because I’ve no doubt that it’ll happen on day, but there’s no big changes on the horizon from what I’m seeing. Thus, SD is till as relevant as is ever been. Comparing it to cassette is an odd comparison to make.

MagSafe was a tremendously useful innovation. It solved a problem. An actual problem that existed, you know?
I’m not comparing it to USBC, I’m saying it should still live alongside those ports. It shouldn’t have been killed altogether.

You’re comparisons are odd. SD cards go up to 512GB now, and in most capacities are an extremely cost affective storage medium. They’re still the industry standard. Killing something while it’s still going strong, with no signs of dropping any time soon, is just daft if you ask me.

Photographers and videographers/filmmakers the world over rely on SD cards every single day. The long term prospects of SD look very bright indeed. Speeds continue to improve, and storage capacities are also on the rise.
They shouldn’t be compared to audio cassettes and VHS, but rather HDDs and SSDs.

Felipe Baez

I wouldn’t see it as killing the SD, but you know what’s the benefit of not having it soldered to the computer? Same benefit we got with Apple not being the one keeping control over the YouTube app on the iPhone.

Right now, they could put a faster reader, but in some time from now there will be a better one and your built-in will be the slower. I’d rather carry a super fast Thunderbolt 3 reader on the go and the dock on the desk.

Of course, that’s just a personal preference.

I have to apologize to everyone, didn’t think so many people would engage on this rant. Love how everyone here is super engaged.

Bill Davis

“Tired of working for the day, Bill gently pressed the button on his ring – storing the days work in its petabyte of memory while mentally reminding himself to check the work one more time before posting it to the world. With a yawn, he tapped the pendant he wore housing an ancient SD card encased in transparent aluminum – a stark reminder of just how much his world had changed.”

Life is but a dream. ; )

Chaz Wren

Lol. Ok. Let’s also kill SSDs shall we? Because that’s a medium that won’t lay forever either. And perhaps we should kill SLR lenses, because there’s every possibility that they’ll eventually be superseded by “virtual”/light field lenses. 

Richard Taylor

Removing the magsafe is not tragic. An earthquake is tragic. It is irritating but can be remedied for $39 which is what I plan to do.

I always want more power and a cheaper price for every Mac I’ve ever bought. But I still buy them and have rarely, if ever, been dissatisfied. Complining about a new iMac, iPhone, iPod, MacPro his nothing new and this time is no different.

Hey Apple, where is my 2016 cheesegrater?

The 2016 MacBook Pro is what it is and Apple is not going to change it. Buy it or don’t, I said as I type this comment on my new MacBook Pro.

Chaz Wren

Lol. Ok, mr pedantic. 😉
Of course, I’m not actually putting the loss of the MagSafe on a level with a catastrophic earth moving event.
I’m just saying it’s bad. And it was unnecessary to lose it. It was real, genuine innovation at it’s best. It elegantly solved a problem that had plagued laptops and electronic devices since their conception. Apple should have kept the MagSafe imho.

And there’s a certain irony to slimming down a laptop to be physically thinner and lighter… And then needing to carry adapters and or/hubs and extra cables with you to get the same job done.

Richard Taylor

I’m not disagreeing with you but this is what Apple always has done.

And I have no Mac that doesn’t have a slew of connections. They all look like an octopus is attacking them.

Chaz Wren

Yeah, and I do hear that. And I know that Apple seem to want port symmetry. But the MagSafe if worth keeping. It’s brilliant! I’ve shown it to SO many PC friends, and their eyes have widened with jealousy every single time. It seems crazy to throw that away.

Richard Taylor

Agreed, but it’s not available on this model. So I’ll buy one for $39.

 

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Adobe Premiere Pro 2017 and the other CC app updates are live https://www.provideocoalition.com/adobe-premiere-pro-2017-cc-app-update-live/ https://www.provideocoalition.com/adobe-premiere-pro-2017-cc-app-update-live/#comments Wed, 02 Nov 2016 23:23:27 +0000 https://www.provideocoalition.com/?p=41017 A new Premiere Pro means a new splash screen. It was a big day for Adobe the Adobe MAX conference kicked off and a who batch of updated Adobe CC video tools went live. These are being called the 2017 release to take us into the new year. You can watch a replay of the Adobe

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ppro-new-splash-screen

A new Premiere Pro means a new splash screen.

It was a big day for Adobe the Adobe MAX conference kicked off and a who batch of updated Adobe CC video tools went live. These are being called the 2017 release to take us into the new year. You can watch a replay of the Adobe MAX keynote here. If you haven’t checked your Creative Cloud app then do so now and get your updates on. But you might want to read this first if you’re in the middle of a project. And be careful if you don’t want overwrite the old version.

I always leave the old version of PPro behind. Old versions of the app can't open new projects.
I always leave the old version of PPro behind. Old versions of the app can’t open new projects.

Most of the features have been covered as Adobe talked about the update at IBC and we covered it here. The first thing you’ll notice is a subtle update to the interface. There’s been a redesign of some icons and interface elements. Nothing too dramatic but enough to let you know it’s new

The biggest thing I noticed while working in the update today is the new clip and sequence icons.

By comparison, the old PPro interface feels a lot more crowded.

By comparison, the old PPro interface feels a lot more crowded.

It’s nice to have a nice, big visual keyboard editor. This makes life a lot easier when mapping keys and no more overwriting a layout with the same name is saves your settings when you close the keyboard editor.

ppro-keyboard01

There are a lot of PPro shortcuts and they are a lot easier to map with the new Visual Keyboard Editor.

ppro-keyboard02

Push they keyboard keys and it’ll show you exactly what is mapped. Man … it took a lot of years to get this feature. you’re next Resolve!

ppro-global-fx-mute

The new Global FX Mute is handy. It will “temporarily disable all non-intrinsic effects in a sequence.” That means things like Scale, Position, Rotation remain while filters will be disabled. You have to add this button from the Program monitor Button Editor or via keyboard shortcut. Note that this fx disable DOES NOT stick on output. All effect will export.

ppro-obsolete-audio

Hit the Effects tab and you’ll see a bunch of old audio effects. These have been updated with more modern effects from Audition.

ppro-audio-warning

If you try to apply one of those old audio effects you get a message that can apply the new one. That’s a nice reminder.

ppro-social-publishing

A  new social publishing pane was demoed at Adobe MAX today but is not in the new release. This will go into beta soon. It will save some steps for those social media tycoons as they export video from PPro to go to the web.

Those are a few of the things I noticed while working with Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2017 today. The Adobe blogs has more on all the new features as well. After Effects got some love and that is detailed by Adobe as well.  Want to know more about the social publishing panel? Then click here. Adobe Audition is worth looking at as well. Finally I’ll link over to the new Adobe article on Team Projects which is going into beta. This is going to be one of the more important CC features in a long time. Read what Adobe has to say so far about how to use them with the Team Projects service. I hope this reaches the individual subscriptions soon.

What’s new in Premiere Pro:

  • A new Global FX Mute button in the Program Monitor to temporarily disable all non-intrinsic effects in a sequence
  • DNxHD export into a QuickTime .mov wrapper on Windows without Apple QuickTime being installed
  • Several new audio effects:  Adaptive Noise Reduction, Dynamics Processing, Parametric Equalizer, Automatic Click Remover, and Studio Reverb
  • Multiple user interface enhancements
  • Improvements to XAVC 60p playback performance
  • Support for RED Helium
  • Improvements to Apple Metal, including support for Lumetri
  • Ability to create sequence presets from an already created sequence
  • A new Save button in the Keyboard Shortcuts window
  • New Title Styles presets
  • GPU accelerated Offset and Lens Distortion effects
  • Option to export MXF file with 12 audio channels
  • New Project Locking preference to allow the displaying in the Media Browser of the username of the user who has the project open (locked) , and preventing a project from being opened by more than one user at a time
  • Multi-cam settings are respected in FCP XML import
  • Alpha-only export from an After Effects composition in Adobe Media Encoder
  • New ‘Multi-Camera Selection Top Down’ item in Timeline wing menu to enable top-most targeted track’s multi-cam to show when in multi-cam mode (default behavior is lowest)
  • Composite shown when in multi-cam mode when a clip is not multi-cam

What’s new in After Effects:

  • Team Projects (Beta): Team Projects is a new hosted collaboration service for Creative Cloud for teams and enterprise customers that allows editors and motion graphics artists to work simultaneously in shared projects within the 2017 versions of After Effects, Premiere Pro, and Prelude CC.
  • Maxon CINEMA 4D composition renderer: Quickly create and render extruded 3D text and motion graphics directly in the timeline, without specialized GPU hardware. Control quality settings with a simple slider.
  • Additional GPU-accelerated effects: Use the GPU for faster rendering of more effects, including Glow, Hue/Saturation, and others.
  • Playback Performance Improvements: Most video footage can now play back from disk in real-time before effects are applied, without waiting for it to cache.
  • Improved Live Text Templates workflow: You can now share live text template compositions between After Effects CC 2017 and Premiere Pro CC 2017 as a single, packaged file that contains all of the assets required for that composition.
  • Sync fonts with TypeKit: Projects that require a font that you do not have installed can now automatically add that font to your Creative Cloud account and sync it to your computer using TypeKit.
  • New Project Templates: You can now set After Effects to load a template project when you choose the New Project command. Keep your whole studio in sync by storing the template in a shared CC Files folder.
  • Character Animator Scenes via Dynamic Link: Scenes from Character Animator can now be imported as a live connection into After Effects and Premiere Pro.
  • Draggable Marker Duration: Interactively set the duration of composition and layer markers by Alt-clicking them.
  • Date and Time Values in Output Name Templates: Rendering to a file can now automatically use the date and time as part of the file name or file path.
  • Freeze On Last Frame: This new command automates enabling time remapping to freeze a layer until the end of a composition.
  • Alpha-only Rendering from Adobe Media Encoder: Adobe Media Encoder CC 2017 can now render the alpha channel of any source, including After Effects compositions, as a grayscale image.
  • User Interface Enhancements: The After Effects user interface has been updated to a new design with improved functionality. User interface elements, including icons and buttons, are now vector graphics that draw smoothly at any scale factor on high resolution monitors, such as Apple Retina displays.
  • Additional native format support: Avid DNxHD and DNxHR QuickTime files can be exported without needing to install the Avid codecs package. RED camera raw file decoding now supports RED Helium sensor footage. RED footage can now also be processed using the GPU.
  • Maxon CINEWARE 3.1: The latest version of Maxon’s CINEWARE plug-in includes bug fixes and improved OpenGL rendering.
  • Extended Scripting Support: New scripting access to tools, composition markers, the Queue in AME command, and GPU acceleration options.
  • And even more: Support for macOS 10.12 Sierra. Many additional small improvements, such as new 4K and 8K composition presets, and many bug fixes.

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Final Cut Pro X 10.3 Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue https://www.provideocoalition.com/final-cut-pro-x-10-3-something-old-something-new-something-borrowed-something-blue/ https://www.provideocoalition.com/final-cut-pro-x-10-3-something-old-something-new-something-borrowed-something-blue/#comments Tue, 01 Nov 2016 17:32:37 +0000 https://www.provideocoalition.com/?p=40908 Here we are some 1.5 years since the last Final Cut Pro X update and this one is a big one. There has been a lot of talk and speculation over the last several months about when, where and if FCPX would get an update. Those of us who use FCPX on a regular basis

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Here we are some 1.5 years since the last Final Cut Pro X update and this one is a big one. There has been a lot of talk and speculation over the last several months about when, where and if FCPX would get an update. Those of us who use FCPX on a regular basis were wondering what was taking so long. Those who attended the NAB NDA presentation knew something big was coming, we just didn’t know when. Hot on the heels of the new MacBook Pro event we have Final Cut Pro X 10.3.

The first thing you'll notice in Final Cut Pro X 10.3? The new interface. The first thing you'll study? The new implementation of Audio Roles and new feature in Audio Lanes.
The first thing you’ll notice in Final Cut Pro X 10.3? The new interface. The first thing you’ll study? The new implementation of Audio Roles and new feature in Audio Lanes.

If you’re a regular FCPX user you’ve probably noticed the interface redesign as that’s the most striking feature. Interface elements have flattened, controls have moved around and it feels like an update app overall. As is the case with a lot of the FCPX updates performance has improved and FCPX 10.3 is no different. It’s always been a snappy NLE to use but now even more-so. That’s always one of the best feature upgrades: performance.

I’m not going to go over all the new things point-by-point as there are was too many things to list and other articles have done that. Macbreak Studio has some great, free overview videos so if you don’t know the new FCPX check them out. I’m going to look at some of the things that have jumped out as I’ve used 10.3 for a few days working on a promo. Since Final Cut Pro X 10.3 might make some editors who’ve never looked twice take a closer look, I’ll use the classic wedding metaphor to take us through.

Something Old

Many elements of Final Cut Pro X haven’t changed all that much. What makes it great is still there: speed, organization and (if you dig it) the Magnetic Timeline.

I was thinking where to list out some of those much requested features that we DIDN’T get in the upgrade and that seems appropriate here for something old:

  • No scrolling timeline
  • No in timeline duplicate frame detection
  • No Roles-based audio mixer … at least not in the sense of this recent patent
  • No upgrade pricing despite the Mac App Store allowing subscriptions so in that respect this something old is great!
  • A couple of little shortcuts that I like are gone: the shortcut to Expand Audio/Video Clips for All and Splits as well as the Collapse All command. More on that later.

If you didn’t get that little feature you’ve always wanted then maybe the LateNite Films hacks can add them. But enough with the old. Final Cut Pro X 10.3 is all about the new and there is a lot of it.

Something New

I’ve seen some of the reports around the internet call FCPX 10.3 the biggest update yet to the NLE but I’ll disagree with that one. The 10.1 update that brought us Libraries is the biggest yet IMHO as that was the most substantial workflow change to FCPX since … FCPX. But instantly upon launching 10.3 those familiar with FCPX will realize that there is a lot that has changed.

Interface

The interface has gone flat and dark. It’s a big refresh that flattens out all of the interface elements and gives FCPX a more modern and “professional” look. I like it but I don’t mind radical updates to an NLE’s look because after staring at the same thing year after year … I like to see something different. That’s part of the reason I use multiple NLEs by choice.

A lot of things have moved around so that will be the biggest challenge to veteran FCPX editors as you’ll have to do some searching to find things. Apple has moved some of the interface buttons to be where they make more sense, like clip display buttons in the Browser and the centrally located timecode viewer and background tasks monitor. Gone are the little stars and x’s for favoriting and rejecting which I say good riddance to as no one who is serious about editing ever clicked those anyway.

Audio

Audio has gotten some much needed love in this update as well. One specific issue that has been addressed head on deals with just how unruly the bottom audio area of your Magnetic Timeline can become if you have a lot of audio. It could become a real mess and there was no easy way to separate your music from your dialog from your natural sound. But now there is with what Apple is calling the Magnetic Timeline 2.

Faking tracks or “audio regions” was one way to manage audio in FCPX but that technique required a lot of dragging around of connected clips. It wasn’t a pretty way to work.
You could organize audio in the old FCPX … it just took some faking it.

Faking tracks or “audio regions” was one way to manage audio in FCPX but that technique required a lot of dragging around of connected clips. It wasn’t a pretty way to work.

Faking tracks or “audio regions” was one way to manage audio in FCPX but that technique required a lot of dragging around of connected clips. It wasn’t a pretty way to work.
Here is what is that same timeline looks like with audio updated with proper Roles and those Roles opened in FCPX 10.3’s new Audio Lanes feature. My green music role is expanded while others are minimized.

Audio is a place that Final Cut Pro X has long needed some help. One of the biggest complaints about the sometimes unwieldy Magnetic Timeline is that audio can’t be easily organized during the edit. Roles can be assigned for things like Dialog, Effects and Music (among others you might assign) but they couldn’t be easily organized … until now. Enter lanes.

On the left you can see the Audio Roles I’ve assigned in this project. The VO role has two subroles, English and Spanish. On the right you can see those lanes turned on in the timeline.
On the left you can see the Audio Roles I’ve assigned in this project. The VO role has two subroles, English and Spanish. On the right you can see Audio Lanes turned on in the timeline.

By introducing Audio Lanes Apple has acknowledged that we need some way of organizing a timeline. By showing Audio Lanes you get what are basically tracks, or a thing kind of like tracks in that all audio assigned to a particular Role will stay in that audio lane. The magnetism is still there and you can’t “lock” clips in place but you can group them by Roles.

In one-upping tracks there’s an easy way to rearrange those lanes buy using the Timeline Index.

fcpx_audio-lanes-in-action4
Take a look at this animated GIF. There’s several things happening that I’ve listed below, in order.
  • The Timeline Index has been opened (the absolutely fantastic Timeline Index)
  • Audio lanes are turned on
  • Focus is set to the VO Roles (which are orange)
  • The VO Role is moved to the top of the Timeline Index on the left so on the right all the vo clips are moved to the top of the timeline
  • The subroles for English and Spanish are opened so new Audio Lanes for subroles are turned on in the timeline
  • Focus is then set to the green music Role
  • Music is moved to the top of the timeline

Need to focus on mixing all that nat sound you’ve got all over the place? Drag that Role to the top and all the clips tagged with that Role will jump above all the others. When you’re done bring that dialog back up to the top. Only want a couple of audio lanes on and not all of them? You can selectively turn the lanes on and off in the Timeline Index. It’s a great way to work when dealing with a lot of audio and something I can tell already I’m going to come to miss in other NLEs.

As mentioned I’ve just been using FCPX 10.3 for a few days cutting a promo and I can tell already that this big audio update is going to take time to master. I’m quite surprised by the complexity of it but not in a bad way. There’s a lot to learn. I’ve made a few notes below.

Learning how to properly use Audio Roles is going to take some work.

As I’ve worked in FCPX 10.3 I’ve come to realize that this evolution of Audio Roles in 10.3 is quite powerful but also quite complex. Understanding how they can be properly taken advantage is going to take some study. Apple knows this and they’ve released a new white paper called Understanding Audio Roles in Final Cut Pro X. Subroles, mix downs, components and outputs are all audio terms we’ll have to learn the FCPX-specific definitions for. This blog post from FCPXpert will help too.

For example, if you’ve got several Secondary Storylines and you then Show Audio Lanes that audio in the Secondaries is going to pop below the Primary Storyline into an audio lane. Not a bad thing as that’s part of the new workflow. Where the confusion might come in is if you have audio/video clips  in the Primary Storyline they are going to now become intermingled in that Audio Lane if they have the same Roles applied.

fcpx-toggle-dialog-lanes
Keep an eye on the blue clips in the gif. They are video with audio clips. If you don’t know exactly how FCPX deals with AV clips this might not make sense when they pop away from the Primary Storyline. Now imagine if you have a lot of AV clips with the same blue Dialogue role applied in a bunch of Secondary Storylines.

Since all of my blue video clips have audio they got the Dialog role. When I turn on the Audio Lanes those attached audio clips will pop down to the Dialog Audio Lane. They haven’t been detached from the video clips (which can be done in FCPX) but are just now being viewed in an audio lane. This is good but will take some getting used to even if you know FCPX well. It’s kind of like video and audio tracks at that point but in a track world you have a mental notes of what is placed where.

A solution to this in FCPX 10.3 is to be sure you use good Role management (there’s a new term for editors, Role management). Your Secondary Storyline clip might often be NATural Sound so be sure and apply that Role. That will keep that audio in the proper lane. You can assign a Role after clips are cut into a timeline but if you change the Role on the master clips those new roles will not ripple through the edits. If you change a Role in the timeline the clip will jump to the newly assigned Audio Lane.

Here’s a progression of images below in a little sequence I built. Admittedly I often build somewhat impossible edit scenarios when testing out new software but every now and then you build something that comes out way more complex than you thought.

fcpx_lanes_audio_01

Here we’ve got 2 Secondary Storylines with split edits on a lot of the audio.

fcpx_lanes_audio_02_selected

With the audio expanded you can see the audio edits.

fcpx_lanes_audio_03_show_lanes_intermixed

When you show these in the Dialog Audio Lane you can see they are rather mixed up with all the other audio not in the Secondary Storylines.

fcpx_lanes_audio_04_apply_nat_sound

But one cool thing you can do is create a new audio Role for things like that and move them with relative ease.

fcpx_lanes_audio_05

They are now in their own lane.

Is this better than just good old basic audio tracks? That’s going to be a matter of opinion. Even though Apple has added the very slick Audio Lanes feature to FCPX 10.3 there’s still a nice simplicity to audio tracks.

What surprises me is how complex the new audio roles workflow is. Overall it’s not that complex for someone who has been editing for awhile but for a new user it might be. I like what I see as I hope this is a signal that Apple won’t fear adding in more complex features as FCPX continues to age.

The Expand Audio/Video Clips for Splits has been removed.

fcpx_old_expand-splits-old
Bye bye to expanding only audio splits in one keystroke. And bye bye to collapsing all clips with one keystroke. This menu command is gone in FCPX 10.3.

One casualty of Audio Lanes is the command to quickly expand all the audio components of a selection and show only the split edit J and L cuts. This was very useful if you’ve done a lot of complex audio edits. The argument for their removal would probably be that with Audio Lanes you don’t need this since you can see the splits in the lanes.

If you look at that progression of images above you can see where with this method the audio moves out of context of the Secondary Storylines and makes the splits more difficult to see.

This was my argument for keeping them in a Facebook discussion: It’s never makes sense to remove a useful feature that can still operate in the same capacity it once did when adding a new feature. While audio lanes are great there is some functionality that pre–10.3 had that is now gone that didn’t get replaced in 10.3. Yes we can still see them in a different way but from what I can tell it takes more steps to see the splits and you can’t see them in the same context as before.

The old View > Expand Audio/Video Clips > For Splits was nice as it worked independent of what you had selected. With no clips at all selected you could choose the menu command and it would only expand the audio for those split edits in the whole timeline.

fcpx-old-show-splits

And Collapse All Clips used to be one command to close everything selected. From what I can tell now you have to use Expand Audio Components and maybe open them all before closing them all. Why take away such useful features?

Roles-based mixing requires nesting into Compound Clips to take full advantage of its power.

I’m not going into exactly how to use Roles-based mixing so watch this great explanation by Macbreak Studio.

You can see how this new functionality adds what is essentially submix busses to FCPX. While we could have done something similar before 10.3 with Compound Clips this new workflow is much better because you can use the Subroles to more granularly make global audio changes and mixing on a particular Subrole.

Is this the same as just dragging an effect to a single Role somewhere in the interface? No but you can achieve the same result just with a bit more work in the initial setup. There are those editors who don’t like Compound Clips but this is what we have. Presumably you’ll use this new Roles-based audio mixing at the end of the edit.

Again, check out this article below with a lot more detail on how using these new Role features will work when creating submixes and mixing audio in FCPX 10.3.

Will we see VIDEO LANES in the future?

I highly doubt Video Lanes are part of a future FCPX update. While that would be nice from an organizational standpoint if they do come along they will probably behave differently than Audio Lanes. Video editing by its nature has to stack video layers one upon another as those layers composite together to create a final image. Think a lower-third on top of a talking head. If that graphic clip is below the video then it won’t show through. Audio editing is different in that all audio plays at once so it doesn’t matter the order that audio is stacked in an editing timeline.

I love the idea of a video lane specifically for lower thirds as that keeps them up and out of the way of everything else but if I can then drag that role and move all those Video Roles > Titles below Video Roles > Video then in theory I won’t see them anymore. I just don’t see how that could work. But boy would some kind of video organization be nice.

iXML

One new feature of 10.3 is iXML support in the timeline and I wanted to make special note of this mainly because the competition can’t use iXML as efficiently as FCPX now can.

Toggle the option to use iXML on and off in the CPX 10.3 preferences.
Toggle the option to use iXML on and off in the CPX 10.3 preferences.

There is some real power here as anyone who has struggled with multichannel wave files in Avid or Premiere Pro will know it takes work to keep the tracks organized and even more work to often identify which mic is which. With FCPX iXML support, if your audio recordist has taken the time to set this up those iXML categories will be assigned automatically to a Role upon import.

Above it a wav file with iXML data imported into FCPX 10.3. A nine channel wav with each channel getting metadata for the talent.
Above it a wav file with iXML data imported into FCPX 10.3. A nine channel wav with each channel getting metadata for the talent.

You’ve then got each channel of the wave file assigned a name and when you expand those Roles in the timeline each lane will be tagged with that character’s name.

fcpx-ixml-in-timeline
If you have that iXML data assigned you can then turn on Show > Clip Roles in the Timeline Appearance menu. Then you’ll see, in this example above, each individual miced character’s audio channel.

While this might become unruly on a complex reality show edit being able to quickly identify those channel will be very helpful. But all the audio editing on a reality show can become unruly anyway so having this data can only be a good thing.

Little features that are important ones

Read over the Final Cut Pro X Release Notes for more a full list of all the new features but there are a few I want to point out here … some of those little things that hardcore editors will love.

  • MXF-wrapped Apple ProRes provides a flexible new format for broadcast delivery

This is an important thing for broadcast but also signals wider support beyond the .mov wrapper. Avid Media Composer has done this for awhile.

  • Remove Effects and Remove Attributes commands let you delete specific effects from clips

fcpx_remove_attributes

All we can say is finally and thank you.

  • Option for continuous playback of clips in the Browser

fcpx_continuous_playback

This is a little one but a big feature to speed up making selects. Now you don’t have to click anything to have the playhead move from the end of one clip to the beginning of another in the Browser. And it even works when JKL shuttling.

  • Ability to roll trim on adjacent connected clips

This is nice as you don’t have to have adjacent clips in a Secondary Storyline just to make a trim between the edit. It’s less steps when refining your edit. It’s works great on a rolling trim but a bit strongly on ripple trims.

FACE BOOK VIDEO ON THIS

  • Use a Thunderbolt cable for direct A/V output to an external display, without the need for a separate I/O device

This is nice as it’s one less piece of hardware to buy for many but what we really need is full screen output to ANY connected second display, regardless of connection type. That should be standard for any NLE these days.

  • Press Command–Up Arrow or Command–Down Arrow to select and navigate clips vertically in the Timeline

fcpx-select-above-below

I love this little addition as it means less mouse grabbing. If you have a custom key mapping you’ll need to map this.

  • When you open a Multicam clip in the Angle editor, Final Cut Pro now positions the playhead on the same frame you were viewing in the original Timeline

This is huge as you often want to get back into a multicam clip to do some work on the original source file.

  • Customizable keyboard shortcuts for adding audio fades AND New preference to assign default fade duration when adding audio fades via keyboard shortcut

fcpx-fade-shorcuts

You’ll want to map this to your keyboard ASAP.

fcpx-fade-pref

This preference determines the length of those audio fade shortcuts.

One more little feature to keep hands off the mouse. Couple this with the Command–Up Arrow or Command–Down Arrow and you’re working even faster. Now if only we had a built-in audio-only dissolve.

Something Borrowed

Often feature updates to software like NLEs is the addition of features that have existed elsewhere in competing products. Sometimes these features are made better, sometimes they are not.

Custom Workspaces

fcpx_workspaces
10.3 adds some new workspace options that are very welcome.

While we don’t have Adobe Premiere Pro CC levels of customization at least we can now save that meticulously positioned window-sizing we’ve done. Best of all secondary displays have gotten some love with the ability to send a full-screen timeline to that second display.

Timecode effect

The good news: A new Timecode effect can be applied to clips and show both the Source clip timecode and the Source clip name. Online editors everywhere will rejoice in that they can now get a proper BITC reference of the offline cut they are conforming.

The bad news: It has to be applied on a per-clip basis and can’t be applied to some upper adjustment layer and read the source code of the clip beneath it. Since FCPX doesn’t have video track layers this makes sense but it’s extra work to apply the Timecode effect to every clip in your have a messy timeline.

fcpx-timecode-settings
The Timecode Base parameter allows the Timecode effect to track at different frame rates than your timeline so, in theory, you could use it to track for broadcast at 29.97 drop frame if applied to a transparent title or adjustment layer about your edit. Good luck getting that Offset right to make this happen.

Flow transition

No b-roll to cover that talking head jump cut? The Flow transition can try to smooth it out for you.

fcpx-flow
Flow is located in the transitions browser under Dissolves

Flow is going to take on Avid’s Fluid Morph, Premiere’s Morph Cut, Resolve’s Smooth Cut and FCPX’s own 3rd party mMorphCut.

Something Blue

Okay, something blue is stretching it a bit with my wedding metaphor. But this new interface design did choose to use purplish, kinda-sorta-blue window and button highlights to show what is active.

See all that kinda purple-blue in the new button and window highlights?
See all that kinda purple-blue in the new button and window highlights?

Best of all when it comes to blue is that Roles can now give clips a user-definable clip color in the timeline.

Custom Role colors is a nice addition as actual clip colors in the timeline is a great thing.
Custom Role colors is a nice addition as actual clip colors in the timeline is a great thing.

There’s a couple of caveats to this as clip coloring as it doesn’t work like it does in Avid Media Composer or Adobe Premiere Pro.

  • It’s best to setup your Roles BEFORE editing changing the Role (and color) of a batch of clips in the Browser WILL NOT update those clip colors in the timeline.
  • Audio Role colors supersede video Role colors so if you have a clip with video and audio both the clip is going to take the audio Role color in the timeline until the audio is detached or you edit video-only into the timeline. See? I told you it was complicated.
  • There’s no way to see the Role color assigned to a clip in the Browser.

Role clip color in FCPX 10.3 is way more about organization than it is about really identifying clips by color in the timeline. While it is useful it isn’t the clip coloring we enjoy in competing NLEs.

Conclusion

While the interface redesign and feature updates make for what is the biggest update since Final Cut Pro X moved to the Library concept the question for a lot of users is going to be: What took so long?

In the time it has taken us to go from FCPX 10.2.3 to 10.3 both Avid and Adobe have released multiple updates to their competing NLEs. Blackmagic has too. Vegas has been sold by Sony. I don’t know why Apple has taken so long for this new version but part of it is probably the sheer scope of the update as there was some deep work that was done on the application. But it doesn’t do any good to those FCPX faithful as it gave ammunition to those critics who cried that Apple doesn’t care about anything but the iPhone. And to be honest some of those FCPX faithful were also beginning to question as well. But here we are with a ton of new features and a great looking new version of Final Cut Pro X. While we did get an update to the Macbook Pro on the same day FCPX 10.3 was release we didn’t see a new iMac or a new MacPro. Maybe those are coming soon. Let’s just hope it doesn’t take as long for the next FCPX update.

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Useful Tools for Editors – Useful Hacks Edition https://www.provideocoalition.com/useful-tools-editors-useful-hacks-edition/ https://www.provideocoalition.com/useful-tools-editors-useful-hacks-edition/#respond Wed, 19 Oct 2016 16:36:20 +0000 https://www.provideocoalition.com/?p=39909 It’s time for another Useful Tools for Editors. It gets the title Useful Hacks Edition just for all the hard work that has been put into hacking Final Cut Pro X to add some new features. See that below. But before we get started here’s what might be the most useful tools on the web today for

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It’s time for another Useful Tools for Editors. It gets the title Useful Hacks Edition just for all the hard work that has been put into hacking Final Cut Pro X to add some new features. See that below. But before we get started here’s what might be the most useful tools on the web today for killing time: http://deslide.clusterfake.net   —- Stop the click-baiting!

Kyno

If it’s an all-purpose media-management and metadata-adding application you’re looking for (and something to replace Bulletproof) then the newly released Kyno is for you. For $159 I don’t think you’re going to find a better third-party piece of software that you can use to view, catalog, tag and transcode you media for edit. Kyno isn’t a full media asset management system but I think for many users it could easily function as just that. It’s simple to use (something Bulletproof was always lacking) and could easily be deployed on-set or to a producer to log media if you didn’t want them digging into an NLE.

We used it on a recent job to tag some 7000+ shots with metadata before importing into the edit. Boy did that save a lot of time. A full FAQ might answer some questions. PVC also did a Q and A with the developers. A 15 free trial is waiting for you to download.

BetterStabilizer

A new updated to FxFactory (taking it to version 6) add some new effects as an update always does (EPICOLOR, Hawaiki Keyer 3.0 and Radiance are all newer effects in the FxFactory universe ). One new effect that I wanted to highlight is BetterStabilizer from CrumplePop. I think stabilizers are always worth noting because there are times when one seems to work when another one does not. CrumplePop have been making some more utilitarian products lately rather than flashy flying graphic things and BetterStabilizer adds to that arsenal.

Is it better than what is built into Final Cut Pro X or Adobe Premiere Pro CC? I think you’ll have to compare for yourself on that so download the trial via the FxFactory interface.

Final Cut Pro X Hacks

It was a few weeks ago that I linked to some experimental enchantments for Final Cut Pro X that Chris over at LateNite Films was doing. That post was mainly about enhanced match framing but since then Chris has been working overtime with a ton more.

Check out his latest FINAL CUT PRO HACKS post for everything that he has worked into this enhancement thus far. Everything from keyboard shortcuts to moving markers and lots in between. It’s pretty crazy what he’s doing over there. Use at your own risk.

Magnet for Mac

Ever wish all of your Mac windows could dock into a workspace kind of like your Premiere Pro windows do? Magnet is a $2 utility that looks to do just that (Mac App Store link). With keyboard shortcuts, dragging and multiple monitors supported this looks like it might be a very useful tool for those working in multiple apps at once. Windows 10 has something similar built-in, I just hope it works better. Mac OS is supposed to have Split Screen but I can’t ever seem to get that to work right.

Rampant Previewer app

Rampant Design Tools has introduced the free Rampant Previewer app (iTunes store link) which does just as the name says, lets you preview and of their thousands of effects right from an iPhone or iPad. No worries about this being a heavyweight app with thousands of preview videos to download as it’ll ping the web as needed to see the previews.

rampant-previewer

The real usefulness here will come when you have the producer download and search out which effects and overlays they want to try while you continue editing. Searching out effects can often be a big time suck so the Rampant Previewer app could be a huge help with that task.

Ramma

Do you work with image sequences? If you do then Ramma might be a useful tool as it can “quickly and automatically warn you of missing, dropped corrupted or even non-contiguous frames.” I rarely work with image sequences but when looking through a folder of thousands of still images I can see where this tool might help.

The cost is $99. I suppose if you’re constantly working with image sequences and often encountering bad ones that might be a good 100 bucks spent.

Cruncher

This new transcoding application for Windows is intriguing for a couple of reasons. First is the tagline: Cruncher is the video transcoder Windows users have been asking for!  Second and more intriguing is this: We started with the #1 request: ProRes on Windows. From there, a Queue that makes sense, and a UI that’s actually built for humans to use. The ProRes on Windows encode is not an official Apple-blessed implementation as mentioned at the bottom of the homepage so it’s a use at your own risk encode but ProRes encode on Windows is a rarity so it’s worth noting.

Cruncher is in beta now so you’ll subscribe and get the beta to try out. There’s a lot of information on the Cruncher website so it’s a good read as it looks quite full of features. Prioritized encoding, watch folders, image sequence support and customized windows are a few of the features.

Entangle for Avid

Were you bummed out when the latest release of PluralEyes removed support for Avid Media Composer? Then Entangle for Avid might be able to pick up that loss. This automated audio syncing tool uses an AAF from Media Composer to perform the syncing magic. Yes the latest updates to Media Composer added waveform audio syncing but that’s when creating a Group Clip so what Entangle for Avid offers is an added level of audio-syncing functionality.

Looking around the edit8 website things seem a bit incomplete. I couldn’t find a link to pricing information or anything so it currently looks like a free download. Entangle for Avid looks like it’s the next evolution of Woowave which was an automated audio syncing tool that came out a few years ago. If it can save syncing time in Media Composer then that is a good thing.

Tools, Tips and Tweets from Twitter

Here’s a few things of interest that I’ve saved on Twitter since the last Useful Tools for Editors.

 

 

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Backpack Review: The GRUV GEAR Club Bag https://www.provideocoalition.com/backpack-review-gruv-gear-club-bag/ https://www.provideocoalition.com/backpack-review-gruv-gear-club-bag/#respond Wed, 12 Oct 2016 18:04:48 +0000 https://www.provideocoalition.com/?p=39894 One thing I’ve never really thought that much about is the bag that I’m carrying my gear in. I know it’s a big deal to many but for me as long as stuff fits in and it’s reasonably comfortable I’m set. I have a couple of different bags that I rotate through but other than

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One thing I’ve never really thought that much about is the bag that I’m carrying my gear in. I know it’s a big deal to many but for me as long as stuff fits in and it’s reasonably comfortable I’m set. I have a couple of different bags that I rotate through but other than them being able to hold what I need they are an afterthought. After my recent Video Editing Go-Bag article I was contacted by GRUV GEAR about taking one of their bags for a spin. With a couple of trips up on the calendar I gladly accepted.

The GRUV GEAR Club Bag in the Southwest airline seat next to me. In this since bag is my Macbook Pro, a Sony Rugged RAID, magazines, a mouse and all the assorted cables and connections to make a mobile editing system work. There was even a little space left over.
The GRUV GEAR Club Bag in the Southwest airline seat next to me. In this single bag is my Macbook Pro, a Sony Rugged RAID, magazines, a mouse and all the assorted cables and connections to make a mobile editing system work. There was even a little space left over.

Gruv Gear sent me their Club Bag. It’s a very nice, well constructed backpack with a ton of features. At $150 it’s somewhat in the middle of the market as far as cost. An extra part of buying into the Gruv system is that you can get more than just the backpack when putting together your system. Any number of small Bento zipper packs can be purchased to store all of the little odds and ends you might need to carry. These little pouches are handy and well constructed. Divide your things up right and you can quickly grab one of the Bento Boxes separate from the bag if you need to just take one of them along without the whole bag.

Mix and match any number of Bento Boxes to add a bit more organization to any GRUV GEAR bag. Or you could just buy some for any potential use without the backpack.
Mix and match any number of Bento Boxes to add a bit more organization to any GRUV GEAR bag. Or you could just buy some for any potential use without the backpack.

They also utilize the Sliiv Technology Sleeve system which is an extra layer of protection for your laptop as well as some safety when traveling (more on that in a bit). It also came with an orange tether hanging off which makes it compatible with Gruv Gear’s Krane carts and, from what the website says, “most luggage handles.” I hadn’t heard of Gruv Gear but apparently they are well known in the music circles. PVC’s sister company Filmtools sells a couple of the Gruv bags which is what put them on my radar.

club-bag-6
With the shelf installed the main space of the Club Bag can be divided in two. In the image above one of the larger bento boxes hold my mouse, a USB hub and tons of cables.

When it comes to a good backpack I think the most important things are ample, usable space, ease of access to what you might carry in the backpack and overall comfort. Let’s look at those three things.

Space

There is very good but very purposeful space in the Club Bag. This differs from my usual daily backpack which is just a whole bunch of pockets that will attempt to hold anything you throw in. The most obvious pocket in the Club is the laptop compartment. It’s in the back and padded just as a laptop compartment should be. There’s also a flat pocket (and a business card pocket) in there that’s a great place to stick a couple of magazines. This laptop compartment is deep enough to also fit my beloved Apple Extended keyboard with keypad which I consider a necessity when doing any real mobile editing with a laptop.

There’s also what they call a glovebox which will be one of the most accessed compartments on the Club Bag. It’s a medium sized space behind a zippered door that is designed to be that abundant and easy access space where you’ll probably keep most of your day-to-day stuff.

club-bag-1
The meaty top handle is an easy grab. Behind one of those orange zippers hides a thin pocket in the front for something like a passport or boarding pass.

There are 3 zippered mesh pockets inside the glovebox as well as a large velcro strap at the top designed to hold a pair of glasses, headphones or something similar. It’s a clever little addition but I’m not sure I’d want my glasses hanging lens down if the glovebox is packed full of stuff and the bag is getting jostled around. One thing missing from this bag that I would have expected to see in the glovebox is a hook for a set of keys, a Tile or something like that. I didn’t think I would miss that but I have.

The main compartment and largest storage area of the backpack is a rather cavernous section of the bag that can be divided in two with a velcro shelf. It makes for some nice very functionality as you have a choice in how to use the Club Bag’s biggest storage space. Access to this area is via two zippered locker doors on either side of the bag. When you have the shelf installed and you open the doors it really looks like a ton of space.

For my recent trip to Adobe Video World I was carrying a Sony Rugged RAID with me. While it was too big to fit in the bag with the shelf installed it fit perfectly without it.

That's a Sony Rugged RAID peaking out of the bottom compartment. With a Macbook Pro in the bag it's an all-in-one editing go-bag.
That’s a Sony Rugged RAID peaking out of the bottom compartment. With a Macbook Pro in the bag it’s an all-in-one editing go-bag.

This left enough space in the compartment for the RAID’s power cables and one of the zipper pouches to sit above it for all the other cables and peripherals I had to take with me. I could have shoved a few more things in there but I didn’t want to pack it too tightly. Add the RAID and cable to the laptop and a few other power cables and such in the glovebox and I had a very nice, updated video editing go-bag that performed very well.

Ease of access

The quality of this Gruv Gear backpack is very good and the zippers fell like they will withstand a lot of use. Bright fabric tassels make those zippers easy see and grab. The upper glove box door pivots out when unzipped so that’s good access to dig around in and find what you want. If orange isn’t your color GRUV GEAR has a some other color options as well.

club-bag-2
The glove box is a very handy space. Pockets, zippers, straps and holders (and of course mints for a conference) make the glove box quite functional as well.

A zipper pocket on the glovebox door is where I would keep my keys, some change and a couple of USB sicks.

The laptop compartment has two zippers than can unzip all the way down to the bottom of the bag so depending on what kind of access you want to that pocket you can unzip a little or a whole lot.

club-bag-5

In addition to an outer, zippered passport/boarding pass pocket, there’s also a couple of small velcro pouches on either side of the locker doors. These are easy to access even when wearing the backpack. The velcro on these pockets isn’t terribly strong so I had a thought of how easy it might be for someone to open one without the wearer knowing it if you were in a big crowd so I don’t think I’d put my wallet or cell phone in one of those outer pockets. It would be nice if one of them had a clasp or latch of some kind.

Carrying comfort

When I had the Gruv back full of laptop, RAID, everything else for my trip it weighed around 18 lbs. That is not light.

The GRUV GEAR Club Bag was very comfortable to wear. The shoulder straps are well padded, breathable and easy to adjust. There’s a chest strap that claps to keep the shoulder straps together. This is a must on a backpack that is going to be worn for any real length of time and carry a heady load. It was always easy to grab that second strap and get the thing on my back even when packed with the full weight of the on-the-go editing system.

I also spent a good deal of time with the backpack hanging from only one shoulder and that was comfortable as well. If you don’t need the shoulder straps (or on need one) you can tuck them into a pocket on the front.

club-bag-3
It’s nice to be able to easily tuck the shoulder straps out of the way. Unhook the straps at the bottom and they tuck into a big back pocket. The padding in the back makes carrying either with one strap or two comfortable.

This is great as shoulder straps can get in the way when you’re not wearing them. It’s also nice to have them out of the way if you’re just carrying the Club Bag with the padded handle on the top.

A little extra airport security

A nice feature for those laptop air travelers is the patent-pending ScanFly laptop system. This system uses two velcro straps at the top of the laptop compartment that connects to a Sliiv Tech Sleeve (sold separately). The idea here is that when you get to airport security (or anywhere that asks you to remove a laptop to go through an x-ray scanner) you can just flop the connected laptop sleeve out of the bag and lay it into the security tray to go through the x-ray tunnel. Since the laptop is in the Sliiv sleeve and still connected to the Gruv bag there is some extra security there as it would be a bit more difficult for someone to steal the laptop while it’s still connected to the bag. The Sliiv Tech Sleeves run from $30 – $35 depending on size. There are smaller ones for an iPad as well. An $18 shoulder strap will attach to make the Sliiv its own separate protective carry bag. A nice addition. While the website mentions the Macbook several times I can’t see why the Sliiv Tech Sleeve wouldn’t be compatible with any Macbook Pro-size laptop.

Want a little extra traveling security? Try the optional Sliiv tech sleeves.
Want a little extra traveling security? Try the optional Sliiv tech sleeves seen above in the TSA plastic scanner tray.

You can see in the image above how the connected Sliiv system works. My 15 inch Macbook Pro is out of the backpack in the tray for scanning as requested by security. It went through just fine. I wouldn’t suggest taking a picture right at the TSA security point though, they’ll give you a dirty look.

In addition to the Sliiv system making things a little more secure as your laptop goes thought airport security I think it makes your computer a little safer overall. Some laptop theft occurs when you turn you back long enough for a thief to get the computer out of a bag. With the Sliiv system connected it takes a bit of work to remove it. The velcro is very strong and the whole system requires some time for laptop removal.

The Sliiv system isn’t just for this specific backpack as there are others bags that support this system as well.

Wrap-up

There are a million different options when it comes to backpacks and travel bags. Just look at the Storify near the bottom of my video editing go-bag article. How do you choose a new backpack? Sometimes I think a new bag comes from another’s suggestion. Often it’s browsing around the internet. I’ve had my old backpacks for a long time and they have performed well. I can honestly say I wasn’t in the market for a new backpack but when this Club Bag showed up to try out for this review I was quickly able to see how outdated and uncomfortable my main gear-bag backpack really is.

The laptop compartment unzipped all the way.
The laptop compartment unzipped all the way.

Overall I can safely say that the GRUV GEAR Club Bag backpack is a big update from both my all purpose backpack as well as my more gear and travel-centric Lowepro camera bag. I don’t think the GRUV GEAR Club Bag would ever be my day-to-day backpack that I take to the office as it’s more purpose built for heavy-duty traveling and doesn’t have enough different compartments for what I carry day-in and day-out going to my office, client offices, meetings etc. But it’s much more functional than the Lowepro camera bag both as a backpack that is going to carry a DSLR-camera kit and a video editing go-bag (A DSLR trip is next). And it’s way more comfortable. While I’d gladly sacrifice one of the little side velcro pockets for a mesh pocket that can carry a water bottle overall the Gruv Gear Club Bag is a comfortable, roomy and convenient backpack.

Pros

  • Roomy and comfortable
  • Easy to take off and put on
  • Enormous and functional main storage compartment that is easy to access
  • Optional Sliiv laptop system for extra traveling security as well as the Bento mini cases makes for maximum flexibility as well as pieces and parts that can be utilized without the Club Bag

Cons

  • No dedicated hook to hold your keys
  • No specific port to route a pair of headphones out of the bag but does anyone use those anyway?

Cautions

  • Options can add extra cost
  • Test out the sunglasses holder before you trust your best pair to this storage option

 

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Adobe launches a public beta of their new Adobe Stock Contributor Site https://www.provideocoalition.com/adobe-launches-public-beta-new-adobe-stock-contributor-site/ https://www.provideocoalition.com/adobe-launches-public-beta-new-adobe-stock-contributor-site/#respond Tue, 20 Sep 2016 17:22:43 +0000 https://www.provideocoalition.com/?p=39234 iStock and Getty not doing it for selling your photographs anymore? Contributing video to Pond5 got you down? Then you might be interested in the new public beta of the Adobe Stock Contributor Site. This isn’t entirely a shock since Adobe began integrating stock footage content into the Creative Cloud some time ago. It’s the continued evolution

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iStock and Getty not doing it for selling your photographs anymore? Contributing video to Pond5 got you down? Then you might be interested in the new public beta of the Adobe Stock Contributor Site. This isn’t entirely a shock since Adobe began integrating stock footage content into the Creative Cloud some time ago. It’s the continued evolution of the Creative Cloud. Looking over the information about the new stock contributor site it looks like Adobe is trying to make things as easy as possible with integration in both Lightroom and Bridge. It would stand to reason we might see something similar pop up in other apps as well. I would at least thing Adobe would add the ability to contribute stock video to the site from Adobe Media Encoder. The auto-keywording feature looks quite nice as it will “machine learning technology to automatically generate the first five keywords of each image you submit.” It remains to be seen how accurate that might be but anything helps. I wonder if they will come up with something similar for stock video?

What’s in it for the contributor? Check out Adobe’s extensive contributor FAQ for a ton of answers. Here’s a couple of highlights from that FAQ that potential contributors will be most interested in.

How do I get paid for content?

Every time someone purchases your content on Adobe Stock, you get a 33% commission for photos and vector art, and a 35% commission for videos based on the price of the image. Fotolia’s commission rates differ from Adobe Stock. For sales that occur on Fotolia’s website, contributors will get paid the Fotolia commission rates. Read about Fotolia’s commission structure here. You can request a payout via Paypal or Skrill when you have reached at least $50 in royalties. Please allow up to 7 days for your payment to be processed.

Do I need to be a Creative Cloud subscriber to contribute?

You don’t need to be a Creative Cloud subscriber to submit content, but you do need to have an Adobe ID. You can use an existing one or create a new one.

What kind of content can I sell on Adobe Stock?

You can sell photographs, videos, vectors, and illustrations on Adobe Stock. Our customers are looking for high-quality content in all subject areas, including images with models, culture diversity, technology, fashion, food, portraiture, lifestyle, architecture, beauty, business, and more.

Adobe has also produced a video about one of their contributors.

The full press release is below for this public beta of the Adobe Stock Contributor Site.


Today we are excited to announce the public beta of the Adobe Stock Contributor Site, a new platform that allows you to upload and sell your photos, illustrations, videos and vectors to the world’s largest creative community.

Most creatives that purchase stock assets use at least one Adobe product on an ongoing basis. To support this engaged and passionate creative community, we are delighted to offer the premier destination to buy, but now also to sell high-quality, royalty-free content.

By contributing to Adobe Stock, you have the opportunity to showcase your work to millions of customers directly inside Creative Cloud applications such as Photoshop CC, Illustrator CC and InDesign CC. Additionally, the release of our new contributor site includes two amazing features that will make submitting content to Adobe Stock easier than ever: auto- keywording and Creative Cloud integration.

Auto-keywording

auto-keywording
Auto keyword generation might help take some of the drudgery out of stock footage contribution tagging and uploading.

One of our major new features is suggested keywording, a time-saving tool that leverages innovative machine learning technology to automatically generate the first five keywords of each image you submit.

When you upload an image, our algorithm will analyze it, generating keywords from top images that are similar to yours. We reorder those keywords by relevancy and display the top five for you to review, edit and reorder.

This feature is in beta and is based on the concept of “machine learning” – its accuracy will improve as our contributor community uses it. The more you leverage the feature, the better it gets – ultimately saving you more time!

Creative Cloud integration

A Lightroom plug-in will make contributing to Adobe Stock easy.
A Lightroom plug-in will make contributing to Adobe Stock easy.

One of our major priorities for contributors is to maximize the time spent doing what you do best – capturing and creating content – and minimize the time spent during the submission process. That’s why we’ve integrated Adobe Stock contributor submission directly within Creative Cloud applications, right from where you create, saving you time and reducing friction.

Bridge will also feature integration with Adobe Stock.
Bridge will also feature integration with Adobe Stock.

During this beta phase, you’ll have the ability to upload images to Adobe Stock directly from Lightroom CC and Bridge CC. For an in-depth tutorial, visit our HelpX page. Our goal is to open the feature to more content types and to integrate into more CC applications soon.

More Improvements to Come

Adobe Stock is more than just stills as see in the file formats listed on the upload page.
Adobe Stock is more than just stills as see in the file formats listed on the upload page.

The Adobe Stock Contributor Site is currently in beta. This means that although the site is fully functional, some features will continue to be polished before we release it publicly. The beta phase is a great opportunity for us to give you a sneak peek and to gather your feedback in order to make improvements. We want to build the best tool possible for our contributors, so we’ll be listening carefully to your input.

We look forward to hearing from you as we focus on building the best experience possible for our contributor community.

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Q and A with Boris Yamnitsky about the Boris FX – GenArts acquisition https://www.provideocoalition.com/q-boris-yamnitsky-boris-fx-genarts-acquisition/ https://www.provideocoalition.com/q-boris-yamnitsky-boris-fx-genarts-acquisition/#respond Mon, 19 Sep 2016 03:08:47 +0000 https://www.provideocoalition.com/?p=39122 One of the surprise acquisition announcements to come out of IBC 2016 (I mean besides Blackmagic buy Fairlight) was the announcement that Boris FX had acquired GenArts and the heavyweight effects package Sapphire. It came as a surprise since Boris FX makes the competing plug-in package Boris Continuum Complete. There are probably a lot of users of either and both

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BorisFX_Sapphire_MochaOne of the surprise acquisition announcements to come out of IBC 2016 (I mean besides Blackmagic buy Fairlight) was the announcement that Boris FX had acquired GenArts and the heavyweight effects package Sapphire. It came as a surprise since Boris FX makes the competing plug-in package Boris Continuum Complete. There are probably a lot of users of either and both packages who wonder what this might mean for the products they have invested time and money in.The time investment is an important one in this case as both the Sapphire and BCC package takes quite a big time investment in which to master them. I think if you know one well it’s entirely possible to move to the other but even that will take time to learn.

 

I had a chat with Boris FX founder and leader Boris Yamnitsky about this acquisition of GenArts. I saw several questions floating around the internet after this announcement so I tried to ask the obvious questions that many of us would ask. Of course I didn’t expect that all the questions would be answered but there is some good information below about the merger. Lets talk about the Boris FX / GenArts merger.
Boris Yamnitsky CEO/Founder of Boris FX and Gary Oberbrunner co-founder and chief scientist of GenArts
Boris Yamnitsky CEO/Founder of Boris FX and Gary Oberbrunner co-founder and chief scientist of GenArts
ProVideo Coalition: This Boris / GenArts news was a surprise. Can you give it more details on the merger? Did Boris FX buy GenArts outright?

 

Boris Yamnitsky: Boris FX acquired GenArts, but all the financial details are confidential. We really view this as a “merger” and the three product teams (including Imagineer Systems) plan to work closely together to help advance and improve the Sapphire, Continuum and mocha Pro product lines.

 

Is this just an acquisition of the Sapphire package?

 

No, the acquisition of GenArts was just as much about acquiring the team behind Sapphire as GenArts itself. The majority of GenArts employees (developers, sales & support) are staying on with the new organization and will continue to develop and support Sapphire. The teams will share an office location in downtown Boston, MA. Gary Oberbrunner, (Chief Scientist and a Founder of GenArts) will become CTO for the combined company and Nick Rodriguez (Sales) and Brian Fox (Products) will both be very involved in senior management roles.
The Sapphire booth at IBC 2016.
The Sapphire booth at IBC 2016.

 

What happens to Monsters GT and Particleillusion?

 

Monsters GT was recently retired prior to the merger. Particle Illusion is currently supported as a standalone application only, and we look forward to rethinking the future of this legendary tool once the dust settles.

 

How many people does GenArts employ? Will they continue to work for GenArts? Any layoffs as a result of this merger?

 

All of that info is private and confidential, but we are happy to reiterate this is not a cost cutting acquisition, rather it is a fantastic growth opportunity to leverage the experience and technology from these 3 industry mainstays.
The Boris FX booth at IBC 2016.
The Boris FX booth at IBC 2016.
The Continuum Complete and Sapphire packages are generally seen as competing products, will they continue to be separate packages or will they merge into one?

 

For the foreseeable future, customers can anticipate no major changes. This is all very new for us, so it does not make sense to speculate on long range plans at this time, but I can say that Sapphire is not going away. The product will definitely continue to be sold, supported and developed as a flagship plug­in package for editing, visual effects and motion graphics. We are about to start shipping Sapphire 10 now and already have some very exciting ideas for Sapphire 11. Sapphire owners can be assured that the software will be developed and improved, and continue to be an important part of the post production industry.

 

Sapphire is often seen are the more high-end of the BCC and Sapphire products, might we see the BCC model change as a result of the Sapphire acquisition?

 

Again, it is too early to make any statements or speculations about product changes, however BCC is very well regarded in the post community for powerful image restoration tools, 3D objects, the integration of mocha tracking and much more. I would say that Sapphire and BCC serve both the high and mid end markets, and customers can plan on the two products continuing to fill these roles.

 

Any pricing changes on the horizon?

 

Nothing major at this point, but In the future, customers should expect to see various bundle options for product combinations. For example, when Boris FX acquired Imagineer Systems, mocha Pro was included in the Boris Box Set. Since many customers own combinations such as: BCC + Sapphire OR Sapphire + mocha Pro OR BCC + mocha Pro, we will certainly look to explore more product bundles.

 

What will happen with duplicated effects between the BCC and Sapphire package?

 

All overlapping effects in both packages will be maintained for backwards compatibility for existing users, however, in the future users will see less similarity in the newly developed effects. This will allow both teams the cost saving that can be channeled to developing new innovative technologies.

 

How will this acquisition affect existing customers who have spend money on both packages?

 

It’s business as usual and we do not anticipate any changes. However, by merging our teams together, we expect to see added benefits in general customer communications, sales and tech support.

 

Any chance we’ll see mocha tracking integrated into Sapphire?

 

That sounds fantastic and it’s very much in-line with our strategy of leveraging our combined technologies. But we are not making any new product or feature announcements at this point.

 

BCC and Sapphire have a strong market in Avid Media Composer customers partly because there aren’t many third party developers building tools for Media Composer. How do you address the Avid customers who think that bringing both major packages under the same roof will slow innovation and possible increase costs for the end user?

 

Definitely not slowing the innovation. Both teams have years of experience developing for AVX platform and now can combine their expertise and “compare notes”. Boris FX was the first (and the only!) plugin developer who brought common VFX tools such as motion tracking and spline masking to Avid over a decade ago. Now, these same tools are powered by Academy-Award winning mocha technology. GenArts has created a nodal based compositor right inside Media Composer with the Sapphire Effect and Transition Builder. This provides Avid editors with truly limitless options for creating new effects and transitions. We are by no means finished with innovating for Media Composer, we still have many surprises up our sleeve. We are definitely NOT slowing the innovation, rather we plan on really hitting the gas and accelerating development!

 

Why is there so much less third party development for Avid than Adobe or Apple NLE products? Is it the Media Composer plug-in architecture or the costs to be an Avid developer? I often hear it’s both.

 

Unlike After Effects, Avid is not a compositing or VFX platform so delivering VFX solutions in Avid is a special technical challenge. It is no surprise that other plug-in developers shy away from it. Boris FX was the first plug-in solution for the AVX architecture. At the time, the Avid AVX team had chosen Boris FX as the development partner to iron out initial problems with the new architecture. As a result, our team has the deep knowledge of the platform that is hard to attain by a third party.

 

With this merger will we continue to see Sapphire available on the large number of platforms that can currently host it? Will Sapphire come to Final Cut?

 

Both Boris FX and GenArts teams strive to cover as many platforms as possible. Every new user is very valuable to us. Combined, we have 40 (!!!)  years of plug-in development history and much of this time was spent porting to and maintaining various host platforms our users wanted us to support. Boris FX had very strong presence on Apple FCP market and deep technical knowledge of the FxPlug architecture. GenArts had a similar experience in the past. FCPX support will be considered, but again, we are not making any product announcements at this point.

 

Anything else about his Boris FX / GenArts news we need to know?

 

Just that we are all very excited! This merger means that the people behind BCC, Sapphire, and mocha are all now coworkers and colleagues. Sharing stories, best practices, tips, tricks, techniques, etc. The potential for collaboration on new products is remarkable and we can’t wait to start putting it to the work. The end winner out of this whole deal is the customer, because what we plan on developing as a team will surely redefine the VFX space as we know it today.

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