Where Have I Been?

Hey everyone, it’s been almost 4 years since I posted anything! So where have I been?

At doddleNEWS as Editor-In-Chief since April 2012; we cover filmmaking news, reviews and tutorials, plus movie and TV news and reviews. Check it out here. I recommend bookmarking doddleNEWS, where you can get a lot of news on cameras, editing software (FCP X, etc.), and much more.

Our parent company Thalo recently acquired Larry Jordan’s training site (Larry is still onboard) and his podcast The Buzz.

In addition, I got married last December 2015, and since January 2012, I’ve been running. Literally running. Ran my first half-marathon in Southwest Florida in January 2013, and my first marathon at Disney World in January 2014.

As far as film and video production and editing (I still love and use Final Cut Pro X), not much is new there. I will be making a new short film in the coming months, if all goes according to plan. It will be the first film I’ve directed since September 2007 (Hellevator), and the first film I’ve been involved with since April and May 2008, when I co-produced the feature film December for writer/director Dr. Gary Dresden.

In the meantime, my most recent works are the afore-mentioned Hellevator (a short film written by comic book legend David Michelinie [Iron Man, The Amazing Spider-Man) and 9:04 AM, now on DVD. If you’re a local filmmaker in South Florida and the Treasure Coast, check out the Palm Beach Film Society.

Here’s Hellevator:

Final Cut Pro X update: 10.0.6

The new Final Cut Pro X update, 10.0.6

As if the new iMac, Mac mini and 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display, plus the 4th generation iPad and the iPad mini weren’t enough, us FCP X pros got a ‘one more thing’ surprise when Philip Hodgetts tweeted that Apple has finally released the biggest update to Final Cut Pro X since January 31, 2012! Sure, we had some updates before NAB and in June when the 15-inch MBP with Retina display came out, but this is a big one! So what’s new?

Final Cut Pro X multichannel audio editing

 

  • Multichannel audio editing: Apple discussed this prior to NAB with Philip and Larry Jordan, and now it’s here! This is incredible: quickly expand or hide the audio control options right in the timeline, to help edit and mix your sound.
  • Dual viewers: We’ve been asking for it, and it’s here, the ability to pull up a second monitor whenever you wish, so you can see your raw footage, and still view your edits. Just like in FCP 1-7, the Viewer and Canvas, though I don’t believe they’re called that.
  • Unified import: This is awesome, because in today’s world, we’re shooting on different formats, like RED, Sony, Panasonic, DSLR, GoPro and more, plus from other drives and the network, all in one window.
  • Tons of RED support: Apple doesn’t just give us more RED support, they give us direct import and edit of native .r3d, convert it up to ProRes 4444 or down to ProRes Proxy, the ability to work with the new RED Meizler Module and ProRes, REDCODE RAW, RED ROCKET for faster renders, trancodes and encodes and more.
  • Extremely awesome (and streamlined) share options: This is just incredible, because while I do like the share options, this makes it easy and still powerful and customizable, to share your video projects just about anywhere!
  • MXF support: Works with third-party apps to allow you to edit native MXF.
  • The return of copy and paste attributes (!!): One of my favorite features in the previous versions of FCP, I loved to copy and paste specific attributes, like filters, settings, etc., then paste to specific clips.
  • And more!

The new share window in Final Cut Pro X really is streamlined

I highly recommend checking out Apple’s page on the major new updates, and also the full specs. FCP X 10.0.6, Motion 5.0.5 (open multiple projects and switch, copy and paste easily, better anti-aliasing, faster load times) and Compressor 4.0.4 (enhanced share for MBP with Retina display, stability improvements) are free updates for existing users. You can still try FCP X for free for 30 days by clicking here. Be sure to read Philip’s review here.

How to Get Great Audio in iMovie ’11

I have a new article at Macworld about using iMovie ’11 to get better audio in your video and film projects. There are plenty of great sound tools in iMovie ’11, and good audio is very important. If you decide you want to step up to better audio mixing, then take a look at Final Cut Pro X. Check out my article on getting great audio in iMovie ’11 at Macworld!

Hellevator, My New Short Film Written By Comic Book Legend David Michelinie

Greg Nappo as Jordan

It’s my first film in over 5 years, Hellevator is finally done! A little backstory: I asked David Michelinie (comic book creator on Iron Man — with Bob Layton, Amazing Spider-Man and more) if he’d like to write a short film for me. He sent me the script for Hellevator, a film that takes place mostly in one location, an elevator. Greg Nappo, a fantastic actor I’ve worked with in several films, took the lead role as high-strung sales executive Jordan Marley, and we shot the film in a studio, in front of a green screen.

Jeremiah Hall handled the visual effects (Adobe After Effects, Photoshop, Boris FX), I cut the short film in Final Cut Pro X and Motion 5, and Grant Balfour composed the music score and provided sound effects. Check out the Facebook page here.

Here’s a clip from the film, which I hope to get into film festivals and some local, South Florida screenings:

Happy Birthday Final Cut Pro X!

Editing Hellevator in Final Cut Pro X

It was one year ago that Final Cut Pro X launched (along with Motion 5 and Compressor 4) to hype and, yes, controversy. Even I was hesitant, but with each update (including the biggies like 10.0.1 and 10.0.3), FCP X got more and better features, and of course 7toX made our lives easier, helping us translate FCP 6 and 7 projects over to FCP X. Even the latest update, 10.0.5, adds more stability and allows you to edit in full HD 1080p on the new MacBook Pro with Retina display, without going to fullscreen.

I have been using the app pretty much exclusively since 10.0.3 and 7toX came out, and I won’t go back to FCP legacy. I recently finished editing my latest short film Hellevator (more on that soon) in FCP X (which helped me learn this great app), and I’m really excited about the upcoming features Apple talked about in special NAB meetings. FCP X is a professional non-linear editing app that has changed everything I do when I cut. The features are incredible, including the meta data, keywords, smart collections, skimmer, magnetic timeline, Roles, multicam, third-party apps and more. Editing, sound and color, all in one app! And Motion 5 and Compressor 4 aren’t half bad.

Check out FCP.co’s timeline of FCP X history since it changed everything on June 21, 2011. And download and try out FCP X today, you’ll be surprised!

My First Macworld Article: Editing Your Vacation Videos On iMovie For iPad

I’m really excited to share my first Macworld article, “Editing Your Vacation Videos The Easy Way With iMovie On Your iPad.” This is a tremendous opportunity, and I’m grateful for the Macworld editors giving me a chance to write for them. Check out the article and enjoy your summer vacation!

Apple Details Final Cut Pro X 10.0.5 Update And MacBook Pro With Retina Display

Apple updated their Final Cut Pro X page, and under the “What’s New” section, they offer some details on the 10.0.5 update, and how it works with their new MacBook Pro with Retina display. In addition to beautiful, 2880 x 1800, 5.1-million pixel screen, you’ll be able to edit and view in full-resolution 1080p video in the viewer, without having to open it for full screen playback. You can view it while in your normal FCP X workspace.

Thanks to the standard flash drive, fast RAM (up to 16GB), and faster Intel Core i7 processors, up to 2.7 GHz, this baby is lightning quick, so it can handle multistream and multicam smoother and faster than on other systems. According to Apple, the throughput is up to 500 MBps, so you can edit up to 9 streams of ProRes video at 1080p resolution, or four streams of 8-bit uncompressed 1080p video. Wow! This system is a BEAST! The rest of the details go back to the 10.0.3 update in late January 2012.

I personally can’t wait to get my hands on the new MacBook Pro with Retina display, with 16GB of RAM, and put it through its paces with FCP X 10.0.5, along with Motion 5.0.4 and Compressor 4.0.4. Check out all the “What’s New” details on Apple’s FCP X page.

Final Cut Pro X, Motion 5 and Compressor 4 Updated

As I speculated, Final Cut Pro X is getting an update to 10.0.5, and Motion 5 and Compressor 4 are getting updated, too. Looks like a minor update, to add stability and allow Apple’s NLE and motion graphics apps to be viewed on the new Retina Display MacBook Pro. It’s a pretty cool update, if you think about it — how about full-resolution 1080p video display in FCP X?! iPhoto is also being updated, so I’m sure we’ll see some other Mac apps getting updated, too, for the Retina Display MBP. Also, the Compressor 4.0.4 update also “resolves a stability issue that could occur when selecting the Publish to YouTube job action from the Inspector.” The iPhoto update now supports AVCHD, how about that?!

What the Mac App Store Showed Me (Click for larger)

The Mac Pro Isn’t Dead, But It Only Gets Small Update

Looks like the rumors were slightly true about a new Mac Pro, but not entirely. Apple has updated the processors to the latest Xeon Intel E5 technology (check out the specs):

  • The option to get two six-core processors now at 3.06 GHz X5675, up from 2.93 GHz.
  • Dual six-core Intel E5645 Westmere-EP 2.4 GHz processors, or you can go with 2.66 GHz or the above-mentioned 3.06 GHz.
  • Single quad-core is an Intel Xeon W3565 at 3.2GHz, up from 2.8 GHz if I’m not mistaken, or you can choose a six-core processor at 3.33 GHz.

Unfortunately, the graphics cards are the same, an AMD Radeon 5770 or 5870, but you can buy a new one, if you’d like, from a third-party vendor. However, there isn’t a Thunderbolt or USB 3.0 option available… But it’s still the fastest Mac, and one of the fastest desktops available. I’d love to try one out with Final Cut Pro X.

My friend Paul (a film and TV editor) speculates that Apple could be using the processor updates to help get rid of stock hanging around, which might explain the lack of additional hardware updates. They can probably add the processors without much of a change, if at all, to the logic board. But part of me thinks MAYBE there will be a bigger update, perhaps in 2013. Or maybe a major iMac update with a retina display soon? For now, Apple introduced its new .71-inches thin MacBook Pro with Retina display. Now that’s a pro machine!

Source: The Verge, Apple’s Store

New Apple Hardware Includes New Line Of Thin MacBook Pros With Retina Displays

Today at the 2012 Apple Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple did some major updates to its line of hardware, updating the MacBook Air (and dropping the price), the standard MacBook Pro line, and introducing a brand new, thinner MacBook Pro line with Retina display, which Apple is calling their new ‘flagship line.’ Editing in Final Cut Pro X at 1080p on this 15.4-inch laptop will look great, as will photos in Aperture (both apps will be updated to the Retina display of 2880 x 1800, nearly 5.2 million pixels). The laptop will be pricey, starting at $2199, so this is a workstation-style laptop, aimed at the video editors, Photoshop and Aperture users and graphics/animation designers. All on sale as of today! By the way, looking at Apple’s MBP page, it’s appearing that the 17-inch MBP is history…

This new, thinner MBP also features up to a quad-core i7 2.7 GHz processor, up to 16GB of RAM, next-gen graphics (Kepler graphics, GeForce GT 650M with 1GB VRAM), HDMI out, two (!!) Thunderbolt adapters, USB 3 and 2, great speakers, and more. It’s .71-inches thin! Solid State Drives, too (SSD), up to 768GB, battery life up to seven days, 30 days in standby mode. Check out more photos and video at doddleNEWS.

Apple is teasing that a ‘major’ update to Aperture is coming, and we’re coming up on the first anniversary of FCP X’s release. Larry Jordan got some inside scoops from Apple on the next FCP X update, including a built-in audio mixer, dual-viewer, RED support and more. I’m guessing this FCP X update with higher resolution for the retina display will include the new features and improvements Apple talked to Larry about.

Yes, there was a Mac Pro update, but it was VERY minor, blink-or-you’ll-miss-it. Basically, according to The Verge, they bumped up the option of two six-core processors from 2.93 GHz to 3.06 GHz. No Thunderbolt, etc. And some other, minor processor updates, too, bringing the tech to the latest Intel processors.

Apple also introduced some adapters, including a FireWire 800 to Thunderbolt, and Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet. iOS, hardware-wise (iPhone, iPad, iPod touch), Apple has sold 365 million units up to March 2012. Think about that for a minute, just astounding!

They previewed more of Mountain Lion which will debut on the Mac App Store July 2012 for $19.99 (!!), and the upcoming iOS 6 (Siri is improved AND can launch apps and will run on iPads, YES!), both of which look great. iOS 6 will debut this fall 2012, likely when the rumored iPhone 5 will be released. I’m pumped about these new, thinner MacBook Pros running Mountain Lion, I bet editing in FCP X will be a dream! Also, there are 125 million iCloud users, which is stunning. Notifications (like Growl, which I love), dictation coming to Macs, new version of Safari (I quickly adopted the beta back in 2003, that’s how much I wasn’t interested in Internet Explorer), tighter integration with Twitter, Facebook and other services, and more. Plus, their new and amazing maps/Flyover app, with 3D city models and turn-by-turn navigation.