Archive for July, 2011

The South Florida Trilogy

Skye Falling

What is the South Florida trilogy, you ask? Glad you did! Back in film school in 1997, I was developing 3 films at once, first 9:04 AM, whose story was first developed in 1995, but I wrote the script in May 1997, then later I wrote, directed and starred in the short film Conversations…, then by the fall of 1997, I started working on the script for Skye Falling.

I once called it the Lost and Found trilogy (don’t ask), but now I dub it the South Florida trilogy. It’s basically the three films, interconnected by themes and stages of relationship loss (Skye Falling), recovery from a relationship (Conversations…) and finding new love (9:04 AM). None of the characters are in the other films, but thematically, the films are tied together.

9:04 AM

As the 10th anniversary of Skye Falling approaches on July 30, 2011, I thought it would be appropriate to show the trilogy, something I’d planned since around late 1997. I’ve even been listening to the Skye Falling soundtrack, by my long-time film partner Grant Balfour, who helped shoot and score Conversations…, co-wrote, scored and co-produced Skye Falling and co-wrote and contributed songs to 9:04 AM.

Part 1, Skye Falling. You’ll need to rent it from Amazon VOD, but it’s only $2.99, and you’ll be supporting an indie filmmaker!

Part 2, Conversations… This one is on YouTube:

Part 3, 9:04 AM. This is on ExposureRoom:

Final Cut Pro X Strikes Back!

My friends over at point out four new videos on Apple’s Final Cut Pro X website that showcase all the cool new features and how the program has evolved. You can see the videos on the FCP X page.


OS X Lion Release, Adobe Photoshop Elements 9 On Mac App Store

Mac OS X Lion, v. 10.7

A little late, but I wanted to put up some updates. Apple released OS X Lion (10.7) today for only $29.99! (That’s 99 cents more than Snow Leopard! wink) There are a lot of cool things about it, but I thought I’d link to some stuff.

Mac Rumors links to a bunch of reviews.

TUAW provides a bunch of OS X Lion tips.

You can use the internet for a Lion “disc-less” recovery or repair. Neither has an optical drive (no surprise with the MB Air, but BIG surprise with the Mini). Get the external SuperDrive, if you need it.

Boy, Apple doesn’t like physical media anymore; so long, boxed software. Years ago, I did a review of the original VUDU download device (now software-based), and I started to think DVDs will go the way of the CD soon. Wow, now software, too! Hey, I got Final Cut Pro X, Motion 5 and Compressor 4 off the Mac App Store, and it STILL freaks me out that it’s all downloadable (plus, run Software Update for content, etc.).

New Mac mini and MacBook Air, both faster, better graphics and Thunderbolt!

Notice that Apple dropped the “Mac” from OS X with Lion?

Lion will create a partition on your Mac for maintenance, plus how to create a boot disc or disk

Apple will sell a USB drive in August 2011 for $69.

A friend of mine tells me Final Cut Pro X is faster with Lion.

Front Row is gone, but TUAW details how a blogger installed it via Snow Leopard.

Adobe has released their first official app onto the Mac App Store, and it’s Photoshop Elements 9 (PSE 9). The regular boxed version retails for $99, and comes with Elements Editor, a comprehensive set of incredible image editing tools, along with the Elements Organizer, and easy and powerful way to organize all your photos.

But the new version on the App Store is $79.99, but doesn’t include the Elements Organizer. Adobe is aiming this app squarely at iPhoto users, and expects them to organize their photos with iPhoto. You know, that’s not a bad idea, because iPhoto really works well when you’re in the app, and opening a photo or set of photos into an editor, in this case PSE 9.

By the way, here’s my review of a bunch of great Mac photo editing software, including PSE 9 and iPhoto, on TopTenREVIEWS. I also reviewed Apple’s Aperture 3, a professional organizational and editing app (now $79.99 on the App Store, formerly $199 in the box) and Adobe’s similar Photoshop Lightroom 3, which is $299.

You know, with Apple putting all their software on the App Store, they’re saving money on production and shipping costs, and we’re reaping the benefits. NICE!

100 Final Cut Pro X Questions Answered

Scott Simmons over at posted up “100 Final Cut Pro X Questions Answered,” which really covers a lot of the most common questions and misconceptions. It’s a great read.

Hat tip: @VideoGuys


FCP X: 10-Bit Video Output For Monitoring Coming Soon

A source very close to Apple tells me they are working with companies to offer true 10-bit video output for monitoring for Final Cut Pro X, and it’s coming soon. I don’t have any other details, but I’m assuming the companies include AJA, Blackmagic Design, Matrox, etc.

Mac OS X Lion Will Create A Partition On Your Mac For Maintenance

Mac OS X Lion, v. 10.7

Briefly… Mac OS X Lion (10.7), which you have to purchase from the Mac App Store, but for only $29. You’ll also need a copy of Snow Leopard already installed on your Apple computer ($29, as well). I asked an Apple tech support specialist whether you’ll need to burn a DVD or not to do maintenance on your Mac. He said that Lion will create a partition with a full version of 10.7, and you’ll boot up with that partition to perform maintenance, install (archive, erase, etc.) on your Mac. Apple is moving us into a disc-less world!

But if you want to burn a boot disc of Lion, TUAW has instructions. OS X Daily instructs making a bootable OS X Lion on a USB Flash Drive.

Mac OS X Lion should be available sometime in July 2011 (maybe Tuesday July 26, 2011).

The Official Final Cut Pro X Resources Page

Final Cut Pro X

I just wanted to post up a link to Apple’s Final Cut Pro X Resources Page, with a lot of great information, including supported third-party plug-ins, tools and content. They also discuss and link to FCP X training (web and books) and more. There’s no doubt it will grow as more third-party apps become compatible with FCP X.

Also, here’s an earlier post about Apple’s FCP X FAQ page and more. Lots of great information from Apple!

Contour Adds Shuttle Settings For FCP X, Avid Media Composer 5.5, Adobe CS5.5

New developments from Contour, maker of the very cool ShuttlePRO v2… They’ve released new settings for Final Cut Pro X, Motion 5, Adobe CS5.5, and Avid Media Composer 5.5. I know a lot of editors, from across all the major platforms, will be happy to hear this.

From their press release:

All-new settings for the latest professional video software releases from Adobe, Apple, and Avid

Windham NH – July 13, 2011 – Contour Design, a market leader in multimedia control surfaces, has released new optimized ShuttlePRO v2 and ShuttleXpress settings for Apple Final Cut Pro X, Apple Motion v5, Adobe Creative Suite 5.5, and Avid Media Composer v5.5. Supported Adobe CS5.5 applications include After Effects, Audition, Encore, Flash Professional Illustrator, Photoshop, and Premiere Pro for Macintosh as well as Windows.

“These new settings continue Contour Design’s long association with creative professionals,” said Larry Jordan, president, Larry Jordan & Associates, Inc. “The ShuttlePRO v2’s combination of an ergonomic shuttle with programmable buttons makes it easy to configure for a variety of applications, with an ease of use that appeals to many editors.”

The Perfect Tool for Every Application
ShuttlePRO v2 is a multi-functional multimedia controller for audio and video editing, photography, gaming, and many other applications. Designed for ergonomic integrity and maximum productivity, the ShuttlePRO v2 allows one-handed access to 15 fully-programmable buttons, a jog knob, and a spring loaded shuttle wheel. At the head of the ShuttlePRO v2 are nine programmable buttons complete with crystal clear removable keycaps for labeling and ease of reference. The inner ring or ‘jog knob’ at the center of the ShuttlePRO v2 rotates a full 360° to provide precise frame-by-frame control while the outer black ring or rubberized ‘shuttle wheel’ facilitates fast forward and rewind. The jog and shuttle can also be configured for many other purposes including scrolling, volume control, and sequencing.

Based on the award-winning ShuttlePRO v2 multimedia controller, the compact ShuttleXpress features five oversized programmable buttons, a jog knob, and a spring loaded shuttle wheel. The smaller footprint makes it ideal for travel and tight work spaces. The ShuttleXpress can be used by itself or alongside a ShuttlePRO for enhanced cooperative control.

Pricing and Availability
The new settings are immediately available for free download from the Contour Design Shuttle Forum at Contour Design continues to update the Shuttle device settings to ensure compatibility with all of the most current hardware and software.

The ShuttlePRO v2 and ShuttleXpress are available from Contour Design’s worldwide reseller channel and for MSRPs of $109.95 USD and $59.95 USD, respectively.

Matrox Adds Tape Capture/Output, Monitoring Solutions for Final Cut Pro X & Compressor 4

I thought I’d just quote Matrox‘s entire press release detailing how Final Cut Pro X users will be able to capture multiple tape formats with their hardware and software solutions, plus export back to tape. They also offer a way to monitor in FCP X. This is great news so far, and Matrox is continuing to work on solutions!

Using Matrox MXO2 devices with FCP X and Compressor 4

In the first release of Final Cut Pro X, the interaction with I/O devices such as the Matrox MXO2 products is different than with previous versions of Final Cut Pro when it comes to capturing, monitoring, and outputting video. Exporting to H.264 files from the new Compressor 4 using Matrox MAX-enabled MXO2 devices remains up to 5 times faster than software alone.

With FCP 7 you can capture from tape or live sources from within the app. With FCP X you use the Matrox Vetura Capture stand-alone application to quickly and easily capture to many of the QuickTime codecs that are installed on your system such as Apple ProRes 422 HQ, XDCAM HD, and many others.

With FCP 7, the Matrox MXO2 devices provide full quality audio and video monitoring via digital and analog outputs so you don’t need to rely on just a preview-quality output when making edit decisions. The Matrox MXO2 products also include the unique Matrox HDMI Calibration Utility that lets an HDMI monitor perform like a broadcast HD/SD monitor.

FCP X does not support professional video monitoring. For full-screen, preview-quality output you can use the second DisplayPort output from your computer in Full Screen Mode. The audio outputs of the MXO2 devices can be used for audio monitoring.

With FCP 7 you can print-to-tape from the timeline within the app. With FCP X you must first export your timeline to a 1080, 720, PAL, NTSC .mov file then use the Matrox Vetura Playback app to record to tape through your MXO2 device.

Lightning fast H.264 encoding
Matrox MXO2 devices with MAX give you the same accelerated H.264 encoding with Apple Compressor 4 as they did with Compressor 3.5. You can still deliver H.264 video up to 5 times faster without sacrificing quality! Matrox MAX taps into Compressor to let you quickly and easily create H.264 files for the web, mobile devices, Apple TV, and Blu-ray discs from a variety of video sources including SD, HD, and RED proxy files up to 2K.

More to come
Matrox is committed to adding new features to the Matrox MXO2 products to further enhance FCP X workflows for professional users. As the FCP X software platform evolves, so too will the workflows we can offer.

L.A. Final Cut Pro Users Group’s Final Cut Pro X Videos

Some of the biggest Final Cut Pro and Final Cut Pro X gurus were out in force in June 28, 2011 at the Los Angeles Final Cut Pro Users Group (LAFCPUG), and they were nice enough to post the instructional videos up on YouTube. All the videos are worth watching; I link to each one, so once the video is done, click the back button to return here.

Philip Hodgetts talks about mastering metadata and media management.

Michael Wohl talks about editing in FCP X.

Larry Jordan discusses effects (FX) in FCP X.