Archive for February, 2012

My Review Of The Matrox Thunderbolt Adapter

Matrox has some pretty cool all-in-one devices with their MXO2 line, which can handle video capture, conversion, broadcast monitoring and much more. I’ve had an MXO2 Mini for a couple of years, and used it regularly to capture BetaSP footage in Final Cut Pro 7, with a 17-inch MacBook Pro with an ExpressCard/34 slot. That Mac went away, and since I didn’t have a Mac Pro (with PCI-Express), I couldn’t use the MXO2 anymore. Until Thunderbolt changed everything, the new Apple and Intel technology that allows for blazing fast 10 Gbps (Gigabits per second) transfer speeds. With the Matrox Thunderbolt adapter, I can now use my Mac Mini with the MXO2 Mini and capture analog footage, and a whole lot more.

Plus, all of Matrox’s new MXO2 devices feature software that’s optimized for the technology, plus takes advantage of Final Cut Pro X‘s broadcast monitoring (see this press release). Be sure to check out my review at Digital Media Net.

Adobe Photoshop Touch Now On The iPad

Adobe announced today that their Photoshop Touch is now available on the iPad for $9.99. Here’s what Adobe has to say about this, and I think it’s pretty darn cool!

The new Adobe Photoshop Touch app lets you quickly combine images, apply professional effects, share the results with friends and family through social networking sites like Facebook, and more — all from the convenience of your tablet.¹ Initially available for Android.

Check out the official page for more information.

Sync Your Audio And Video Quickly With PluralEyes

I did a review of Singular Software’s excellent PluralEyes, which syncs video and audio from separate sources, quickly and easily. It’s remarkable software, and I love that if you have footage from multiple cameras, it can sync, and if you wish, replace the audio with a clean track! It’s available for Final Cut Pro X and FCP 7, Premiere Pro, Avid Media Composer, Sony Vegas Pro and EDIUS. Check out my review of PluralEyes at Digital Media Net.

Final Cut Pro X Certified Pro Training And Certification

I edited on Final Cut Pro versions 1-7 for nearly 12 years when FCP X came out last summer 2011. I was never certified, and I learned from a variety of sources, including training videos, books, friends and colleagues, and more. I never got certified in FCP, even though I could easily have done so. Now that Final Cut Pro X has been out for about eight months now, and as I use some training material, I’m going to work towards getting trained and certified as an FCP X editor.

What made me decide to do this? I’m not fully sure, but stepping into FCP X brought me back to the fall of 1999 and very early 2000, when I was not only learning how to use FCP 1.0, but I was also editing my first feature film Skye Falling. In those wild early days of FCP, there wasn’t much in the way of support, but it was growing. Nowadays, there are many great Final Cut Pro resources, and a lot of great training options (click on that, because it’s extensive), so why not get certified? I consider myself a good editor, and I have a strong feeling folks are coming back to check out FCP X with the great 10.0.3 update, that it’s a great time to be a certified Final Cut Pro X editor.

The Final Cut Pro X Certifications

There are two types of certification that Apple offers, Associate Certification and Pro Applications Certification. The Associate is similar to the Pro Applications level one certification, as you learn the same things and use the recommended FCP 101 and FCP 200 course material. Once you pass the exam — here’s the exam prep guide — you’ll be a Final Cut Pro X Level One Pro Applications certified user, or if you take it at home vs. in an Apple authorized training center, you’ll receive the Associate Certification. From there, you can learn more advanced techniques, use the recommended FCP 300 training material and take the FCP X Level Two exam (prep guide coming soon, according to Apple). For me personally, I am going to do the Pro Applications Certification, Levels One and Two.

Ways to Train

There are several ways to train, either in an Apple authorized training center (see below), or on your own using the Apple Pro Training Series: Final Cut Pro Xby the great Diana Weynand (I own the Kindle version,good price and you download the special content), along with the Apple Pro Video Series: Final Cut Pro Xwith Steve Martin (the editor and instructor). There is the new, Apple Pro Training Series: Final Cut Pro X Advanced Editingcoming soon, by Michael Wohl and others, along with several other Apple-certified books, like Apple Pro Training Series: Keying and Compositing in Final Cut Pro Xand the Apple Pro Training Series: Final Cut Pro X Quick-Reference Guide (Apple Pro Video Series).The books are very important, because that’s how the certification happens. I also recommend using some other training material, including Larry Jordan’s video series on FCP X. There are a ton of great FCP X training options out there!

The other ways to learn FCP X for certification is to visit an Apple authorized training center; you can find a location here on Apple’s site by typing in your zip code or address. These training centers will take you through instruction, working with the software and exams to become a level one and level two certified FCP X user. The ones in Florida that are Apple authorized training centers include Future Media Concepts in Orlando, Go4Cast in Port St. Lucie, InstructUs in Tampa and Florida State College in Jacksonville. Surprisingly, there is nothing in Miami. By the way, I spotlight Florida, because this is where I call home, and I’d like to go to Go4Cast, since it’s closest to me. Future Media Concepts has training centers around the country, which is great! These centers use the Diana Weynand book as part of the curriculum. The only downside is the price, which can push into the thousands of dollars if you’re going for the two levels of certification.

Motion Certification

There is Motion 5 Level One Pro Applications Certification, too, and you can use the Apple Pro Training Series: Motion 5 (here’s the Kindle version, which costs less),the recommended preparation material and study with the exam prep guide, then take the exam at an Apple authorized training center. They also offer training, too, if you wish to go that route.

Apple Announces OS X Mountain Lion 10.8

Apple introduced their next-generation operating system, OS X Mountain Lion 10.8, which will be released summer 2012. Of course! What comes after Lion but Mountain Lion? This looks to be an update similar to 2009’s Snow Leopard, giving the extra boost and new feature to Leopard, which shipped in late 2007. Yes, it’s OS X, not Mac OS X, though I noticed Apple had rebranded it when Lion debuted last summer. Looks like they’re taking some of the best features from iPad and iOS 5 and bringing them over, which I like a lot. If you don’t have a laptop with that great Multi-Touch TrackPad, you need to buy the Magic TrackPad, which I use exclusively with my Mac mini, and it lets you do all sorts of cool Multi-Touch gestures, like with the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, thanks to OS X Lion. You can download the developer preview now. Also, I’m curious how Final Cut Pro X will run on Mountain Lion, and if new features were added under OS X 10.8’s hood that FCP X can tap into? It’s already pretty fast with Lion. Plus, with Mountain Lion, you’ll be able to share your Mac’s screen with your HDTV via the Apple TV, which you can do with iOS. Imagine editing in FCP X on a 50-inch HDTV!

A brief rundown of the new features found in OS X Mountain Lion: Notes is pretty cool, similar in some aspects to the excellent Notebook from Circus Ponies, which I use almost daily; it’s linked via iCloud to all your iOS devices, too, which is great. The Notification Center alerts you to new emails, appointments, third-party app alerts, etc., like Growl notifications, which I’ve used for 2-3 years now. Share Sheets is part of tech right out of what we use in iPhone and iPad, and it’s easy to share sites you’re on via Twitter, Email, Message, add to your Reading List or just bookmark it. Game Center is coming to OS X! It’s pretty cool, and all about social networed gaming. Messages (download the beta now) is essentially iMessage, iOS 5’s free messaging service, and what’s cool is you can send video, etc., plus pick up on conversations when you go from Mac to your iPhone. Notifications comes to the Mac, though I still love using BusyCal and iCal to set up my appointments, reminders and alerts. AirPlay Mirroring lets you share what’s on your desktop, making it easy to do a Keynote presentation, visit websites, etc., via your Apple TV. Twitter is more tightly integrated withing OS X; I’d like to see Facebook integration, if it’s possible.

Check out the new features video to see everything in action:

Move Over RED, JVC’s Affordable 4K Camera

That’s right, JVC announced the small, handheld professional 4K camera, GY-HMQ10, at CES in January 2012, and it’s going to cost $5,000. It has a 1/2.3-inch backlit CMOS sensor with 8.3 million active pixels shooting in 3840 x 2160, at 60p, 50p and 24p. The HMQ10 uses the Falconbrid picture processing technology to handle 4K acquisition and image processing without needing sn external device for storage. with that workflow, you would need to process the 4K clips in your NLE or other software. It also ships with a fixed, high resolution lens made for 4K resolution, at F2.8, plus the ability to record up to two hours on four 32GB SDHC cards (you need all four SDHC cards to shoot in 4K), full 1920 x 1080 HD resolution (only 1 card needed), a high resolution touchscreen LCD (920,000 pixels) and a quality viewfinder (260,000 pixels). And a whole heckuva lot more. You should check out JVC’s page on the GY-HMQ10, and read the press release here. It should be available in the spring, either March or April 2012.

The 4K sensor powering the JVC GY-HMQ10.

I’m very excited about this affordable 4K camera, and it’s fitting that JVC is introducing the world’s first sub-$20,000 (or so) 4K cinema camera. While 2003’s JVC HD10 wasn’t the greatest camera (I bought one that summer — here’s a film I directed shot on it, featured in a few film festivals), it launched HDV which contributed many of the HD compression techniques we know and use, such as those for Sony, JVC, Panasonic and Canon HD camcorders, along with HDSLRs like the Nikon D5100 or the legendary Canon 5D Mark II. I have a feeling the quality will be excellent, and I’m looking forward to cutting the 4K footage with Final Cut Pro X, which can handle 4K editing without a problem. It captures via MP4/H.264, and JVC includes a software program for Mac to make it easier to import and convert the footage via a single USB cable. Cool!

JVC compares 4K to 1080p

It’s interesting how the 4K video is captured onto the required four 32GB SDHC cards, which JVC explains (and more) on the GY-HMQ10’s technical page. Essentially, it shoots 144 Mbps (Megabits per second), variable bit rate, and the 4K image is actually split into 4 separate pieces, if you will. Each one goes to a different card, as illustrated below:

How the JVC GY-HMQ10 records 4K video to four 32GB SDHC cards.

JVC’s Archive and Merge Utility software that ships with the HMQ10 4K camera (Mac and Windows) will combine the four video images into one for cutting, though JVC promises near real-time 4K playback from the camera via four HDMI ports and cables. With Mac, it will turn it into a single 4K ProRes video clip, of all your 4K camera footage.

JVC's software will merge the four images together into one 4K image.

It’s making me think also about shooting with the JVC in 24p and converting it in FCP X to 48p, or shooting 50p and converting to 48p. The legendary Douglas Trumbull, James Cameron (for Avatar 2 and 3 at 60p), Peter Jackson (The Hobbit is shooting in 48p) and others see higher frame rates as the next evolution in filmmaking. The higher the frame rate, the more ‘realistic’ the image becomes. Of course, digital projectors will need a special upgrade, but a lot of theaters have gone digital, something I’ve been hoping for since the mid-90s and early 2000s.

So basically, we’re getting a 4K camera for $5000, around the price RED said the original Scarlet was going to run, at 3K resolution, back at NAB 2008. This is in no way any sort of disrespect to RED — the Scarlet has become much better than they originally planned, and the current price is right for those changes. By the way, 4K editing with the RED isn’t hard with their Red Rocket with Thunderbolt and a Sonnet Chassis, a MacBook Air, Windows via Bootcamp (or OX Lion) and Premiere Pro CS5.5, as demonstrated by Dave Helmy via Gizmodo. JVC just makes it easier.

Images courtesy JVC.