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Recent Blog Posts in September 2009

September 25, 2009
  Crash the SMPTE Technical Conference October 27-29 in Hollywood...sort of
Posted By Barry Goch
I've always wanted to attend the annual SMPTE conference, but it's pricey for us freelance folks so a friend of mine offered a great way to get in for free...by volunteering. Work a half day, enjoy the conference for the rest.

http://www.smpte2009.org/

If you are interested, please contact Henry Gu by email (henrygu@earthlink.net) or phone [censored] Millias at IVC 818-569-4949.

If I'm not booked those days, I'll be there too.

Barry
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September 23, 2009
  No Plans yet for Friday night? Head over to the Editors' Lounge
Posted By Barry Goch
Come and join me so we can learn the latest about XDCAM workflows. Head over to Terry Curran's place in Burbank to drink beer and geek out. I'll be there geeking out too...

Details:

At 6:30pm on Friday, September 25, The Editors' Lounge will present "Sony XDCAM II: The Sequel ." Attendees can see the latest updates to the XDCAM lineup and hear from experts about improved workflows. Sony's Mike Desroches will be on-hand showing off the new XDCAM PDW-F800 camera featuring 24p 1920x1080 4:2:2 and the companion PDW-F1600 deck. Discussion will include current TV productions using XDCAM. Editor Jess Bushyhead will demonstrate the latest XDCAM workflows for the Avid. There will also be an expert demo on Final Cut 7 XDCAM workflows, as well as double-speed HDCAMSR captures via AJA Kona. Gabriel Dimitri of Matrox will explain how their MXO2 works with realtime XDCAM outputs. And Sony’s BVM-L231 and PVM-L2300 HD monitors will also be on display.

AlphaDogs is the host of The Editors' Lounge. The studio is located at 1612 W. Olive Ave. #200, Burbank, CA. The event can also be watched online.
Continue reading "No Plans yet for Friday night? Head over to the Editors' Lounge" »

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September 22, 2009
  Welcome to My Blog
Posted By Barry Goch
This is my first blog and it is fitting that it is on Post Magazine's Website. I'm an Avid (ha ha) reader and I'm a tech junky who is always looking for my next fix of gear - and swag ;-) By the way, since I'm based in LA, I will have a bias towards the goings on here in H'wood.

With those two principles in mind, I have something for y'all to check out. For sure you (the collective you) should head over to:


They are always having cool sessions about cutting edge stuff - with swag usually too! For example, last week they had a cool session on the history of Blu-ray. A cool sounding session coming up next month is going to be about displays.

Also, don't for get about DVExpo this week and AlphaDogs' Editors Lounge on Friday.

Barry
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September 17, 2009
  Studio Suite 9 at IBC
Posted By Mark L. Pederson
Left out of the IBC Exhibitors Guide and in the wrong hall for their potential customers - ALTER MEDIA quietly showed their new version of Studio Suite - Studio Suite 9, due in just a few weeks.

Studio Suite is "leading studio management software, meeting the fast paced demands of thousands of users in post-production, digital intermediate, recording, mastering, game, and rental facilities, and more, in over forty countries."

I looked at solutions over the past few years - and it amazed to me that affordable, enterprise software for post boutiques is almost non-existant. A couple industry leaders offering Windows only modular software at about $40K to get into the game. I started asking small and mid-sized post houses what they were using and the answers is almost always - FileMaker Pro, Quickbooks and some sort of "custom" solution. I finally got a demo of the last version of Studio Suite and purchased Version 8 last year.

We got side-tracked from deploying Studio Suite with construction of our new facility but started building the data-base of equipment for our camera rental department, and testing features. Originally, Studio Suite wasn't designed to be "rental software" - it was designed to manage a facility - book rooms, push tasks, etc. but we wanted to have a solution to cover our entire business, which is a mix of production, post and equipment rentals. As we got closer to deploying the solution, we contacted AlterMedia with our feedback and desire to potentially customize Studio Suite to handle equipment rentals in a more efficient manner. After I described what we wanted to Joel Stoner, founder and owner of AlterMedia, he told us everything we wanted would be in Version 9. I got a sneak peak of Version 9 at NAB this year - and was so impressed and excited with the improvements that I decided to wait until 9 was released to deploy the software.

At the end of the IBC show this year, I finally caught up with Joel in the booth and got a complete tour of the new features, including a very handy "read only" iPhone application. A new, improved calendar, and extensive retail features are fantastic. You can use barcode to put an item on hold, add it to a quote or invoice, and also scan the item back into inventory. New flexible QuickBooks integration let's you export directly to QuickBooks: PC, Enterprise, and Mac editions.

Version 9 is due out in just a few short weeks - and it's extremely impressive.

AlterMedia's website has videos and details on features.
Continue reading "Studio Suite 9 at IBC" »

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September 16, 2009
  Amsterdam 2009 and a new experience
Posted By Max Burgess

Amsterdam in September is normally a busy weekend for me and this year was to prove no different with the addition of this assignment for Post Magazine, to write about what I am finding interesting at this years IBC event.

Having been an Avid Media Composer editor for the past 10 years and a DS editor for the last 3, I am always interested in what is happening at Avid's HQ in Tewksbury, but I also have to be aware of other things happening in the Post industry to enable me to make the right decisions about equipment and workflow when I am working for Box Television, a part of Channel 4 in the UK.

I have a a very keen interest in the RED digital camera due to the amount of work I have done with it, more can be seen at www.maxburgess.com, so I am always looking for interesting tools to ease the process of finishing a RED production.

Continue reading "Amsterdam 2009 and a new experience" »

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September 16, 2009
  Digital cinema cameras
Posted By Max Burgess

The new breed of digital cinema cameras and the workflows that accompany them mean post production has to be much more aware of the camera market than ever before. Updated builds and firmware always have a knock on effect, but understanding different camera systems is vital in planning the workflows that go with them.

Always the marketeers favorite, RED Digital Cinema did an amazing job of having such a presence at the show without actually being there. Every other stand seemed to have a RED One camera on it showing either their latest accessory or workflow tool. I briefly spotted the much anticipated RED Epic and Scarlet traveling through one of the halls. Prototypes or release build's I wasn't able to see but I definitely hope there was circuit boards in them.

Despite this phenomenon, I was left wondering about where RED is heading in the market. In my experience the camera has found it's home in lower budget productions, the ever tightening budgets of the music video sector is a hotbed of RED productions, but as soon as the money gets better Arri's and Sony F35's start becoming more prolific. Even when the Epic finally makes it's arrival who will be able to cope with the potential of 28k image resolutions. My MacPro can barely cope with 4k and I am pretty sure their RedRocket video card will not make up for the other 24k?

Arri might have RED a little worried with their Alexa prototypes that could yet again change the layout of of camera systems. Similar specifications and almost similar pricing points yet easier workflows might reduce post production costs and make them more attractive? 

Continue reading "Digital cinema cameras" »

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September 16, 2009
  Not buying a Canon 5D mkII was definitely the right choice
Posted By Max Burgess

I took one of the hardest decisions (and at the same time, easiest for my wallet) to not upgrade my 5D to a mkII for it's ability to shoot 1080p footage. A brief stroll around the Canon stand at IBC confirmed this decision was right with the technology preview of the 7D encased in impressive cinematic accessories.

While the 5D mkII was capable of shooting beautiful narrow depth of field 1080p video through it's amazing 35mm glass it was slightly limited in the way it went about it as well as being limited to only 30fps, which if you live outside the USA like me, is ever so slightly annoying. The 7D however will add in an 18mp APS-C CMOS sensor that will shoot 1080p at frame rates from 24, 25 and 30 to 50 and 60 in 720p mode while making it far more practical to shoot with.

The 5D mkII has already made waves with it's video capabilities and the 7D will be making those even bigger when it becomes available. RED might have to worry about this camera, especially if they prolong the release of the Scarlet and Epic systems.

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September 16, 2009
  IBC2009: a quick glimpse
Posted By Harry Skopas
Amsterdam… the land of canals, coffee shops and IBC2009.

In lieu of the current economic crisis the show seemed surprisingly vibrant and very well attended from both an exhibitor and attendee standpoint. Let’s hope the positive sentiment is carried around the globe so we can all get on with our lives!

If you didn’t have 3D glasses on, you probably weren’t at the RAI! There was a big emphasis on 3D displays, camera systems and finishing products. There are many new products in the 3D space, but JVC‘s newly introduced 3D LCD monitor displayed exceptional flicker-free 3D content and its 2D-3D converter box looks very promising.

There is also a desperate need for a new reference color video monitor.  The CRT has been the gold standard in the broadcast world for over 60 years and its demise is inevitable. There are a number of manufactures (working along with SMPTE and the ITU) that are feverishly working with current LCD technology to create a new reference standard. The IBC shed light on a few manufactures with some very promising LED backlit LCD technologies. We may finally be on the road to a new video reference monitor.

As the IBC highlighted, there are now many manufactures with tools to help in our RED centric raw file, digital camera world: DVS Clipster, Filmlight Baselight, IRIDAS, AutoDesk Smoke/Flame 2010, Root6 CA, Assimilate SCRATCH, and the list keeps growing and growing.. just like our data needs.

A great piece of German Engineering - SCANITY was the new digital film scanner introduced by Digital Film Technology: 2k and 4k scanning up to 25fps/15fps respectively, LED light source, precision roller gate – continuous motion capstan and optical pin registration helps for safe film handling and steady film movement… smooth very smooth.

In today’s world of desk top systems and YouTubeTM, Ensemble Designs introduced their BrightEye Mitto scan converter. It’s a versatile high performance scan converter used for seamlessly getting your workstation graphics output to a display, video router etc… The conversions look outstanding and the features are what you would expect from Ensemble… functional!

Doei for Now….
Continue reading "IBC2009: a quick glimpse" »

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September 14, 2009
  This year’s IBC buzz The Third Dimension
Posted By Max Burgess

Without a shadow of a doubt this years biggest buzz in Amsterdam was 3D technology. From screen makers to camera producers to the companies that edit and finish, there was a 3D demo of some kind to be had everywhere.

Before the show began I had been rather skeptical of whether 3D was really coming to invade our homes like is being largely touted. With most people only recently having made an investment in an HDTV panel for their living room, let along the infrastructure that producers and distributers of television and film have also just made it makes me think that 3D might still be a little way off. 

Of course with BSKYB launching it's first 3D channel next year only time will tell, but the novelty factor and not being able to find your polarizing glasses from the crack of your sofa, might just mean the home invasion is not as close as we think. Until a quality panel is released that doesn't require glasses (which frankly from what I saw at the show doesn't seem too near) 3D should be kept in the cinema where it becomes more of a special experience. 

Continue reading "This year’s IBC buzz The Third Dimension" »

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September 14, 2009
  Destroying the myth of RED and Final Cut Pro
Posted By Max Burgess
As part of my busy IBC, I was asked by Avid to participate in a Talk on their stand about the Post Production of RED projects and how the Avid workflow has really opened up the format, making it easier and more creative than ever before.

Destroying the myth is a quote from Ted Schilowitz from RED who was supposed to be talking during the presentation aswell, but was unable to fly to Amsterdam for health reasons, much to all our disappointment (wishing him a speedy recovery) So we went ahead with the presentation with Michael Lindsay of 16oz (www.16oz.co.uk) and myself.

From my part the talk was about being able to conform complex offlines from Media Composer into DS without loosing control of the edit points and effects, which is something you weren't able to do with ease before limiting a RED offline to a basic edit. Having used both Avid and Final Cut Pro to edit RED projects before, this is something I feel passionate about.

To help demonstrate the point Avid demoed a project called 'I Love It' by Sneaky Sound System which is a music video I edited for an Australian band with director James Copeman. (An example can be seen here http://www.maxburgess.com/Max_Burgess_DS%26MC/sss_like_it.html) Because it was shot on green screen with alot of timewarps and effects there had to be alot of previs and layering done at the Media Composer offline stage. Initially some post houses in London were asking for more than 100 hours of post to finish the project. Instead we worked hard with Avid and the East London post house Splice TV to create a workflow that brought as much of the offline through to the online, saving crucial time and money in the conform. A complete file based end to end workflow using Media Composer, DS and Baselight enabled us to get the high end finish that we required for the piece at a budget that wasn't out of this world.

Continue reading "Destroying the myth of RED and Final Cut Pro" »

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September 14, 2009
  Avid getting it right at last?
Posted By Max Burgess
Avid announced Media Composer 4.0 and Interplay 2.0 at IBC this year with DS seeing an update to 10.2. 

Some really nice updates in Media Composer, notably Mix and Match timelines that lets you use different resolutions and frame rates in the same timeline that unlike Final Cut Pro, is actually doing a conversion in software meaning the timeline can be played out without any issues. The implementation of floating licenses will be a big bonus for post houses rolling out more workstations and producer logging stations, cutting down on the amount of licenses required when they aren't in constant use.

Interplay 2.0 has traditionally been a Broadcasters tool and as I have a strong connection to a broadcaster I have always been interested in this product. The new version should open the eyes of Post facilities that will be able to offer clients remote access to the media on their Unity system letting them view, log and make comments about clips and sequences. A close friend of mine from Splice TV in London (www.splicetv.com) sees it as a way of attracting clients from the other sides of London who might be less keen to travel so far. 

As an Avid user and customer it feels like there are positive things happening within the company which is being manifested in the direction of it's products. As a DS artist it was very reassuring to hear the development happening on that side and at last, talk of Avid killing off the product is nowhere to be heard.


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September 14, 2009
  The right agent for your content
Posted By Max Burgess

Root6 Technology showed off version 3 of Content Agent at IBC this year. It is a very useful tool in these days of digital deliveries and client approvals. Billed as a content repurposing and management system, Content Agent lets you put any myriad of formats into the box and convert them into anything on the way out. Deep levels of automation and metadata management mean this box has the potential to become the the hub in any MCR room.

I recommended the product to Box Television and post house Splice TV a few years ago and the new v.3.0. adds some exciting features for post production companies and broadcasters alike. Integration with Tektronix Cerify and Telestream's Episode Engine provide a good QC platform and important ProRes functionality respectively. The ability to add cluster nodes for increased processing power, remote browser access to view log and initiate workflows as well as Blu-ray authoring with Rimage and their duplicators make this a very powerful box.

Continue reading "The right agent for your content" »

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September 13, 2009
  JVC tops the 3D monitor solutions
Posted By Mark L. Pederson
No surprise that 3D solutions and tools are everywhere at IBC this year. I took a close look at the various 3D monitors and here's what I found:

GLASSES-FREE 3D MONITORS:

There was a steady crowd around the ALIOSCOPY display in hall 7. In the Fraunhofer Institute booth they had four different glasses-free 3D monitors side-by-side showing the same material. Phillips, Newsight, Tridelity and the Alioscopy. Phillips looked by far the best - rather ironic since early this year Phillips suddenly stopped their 3D panel program - http://displaydaily.com/2009/03/27/philips-decides-to-shut-down-3d-operation/.

The Alioscopy showed bad aliasing on text - significantly worse than the Newsight and Tridelity - and its image showed the most line artifacting.

In my opinion these panels are great for digital signage - but I think the technology needs to get better before folks will start watching television and films on panels like these. The overall image quality is just compromised too much right now.

3D MONITORS (with polarized glasses):

HYUNDAI, ZALMAN, MIRACUBE and JVC 3D monitors showing 3D content and workflow tools at various booths.

The BEST in my opinion (by a LONG shot) is the new JVC GD-463D10. Not only is it 1.5 inches thick - the color and 3D quality is just fantastic. This is a flicker-free 46-inch 3D LCD monitor that "uses JVC's unique high-quality 3D visual engine to deliver a natural, flicker-free visual experience."

This display uses the Xpol polarizing filter method and passive circular polarizing filter glasses. Video input is compatible with industry standard line-by-line and side-by-side 3D formats.

Three HDMI input terminals are compatible with standard HD video signals, including 1080/24p, 50p, 60p, 50i and 60i. Input signals in line-by-line or side-by-side format can be displayed as 3D images (50i and 60i for side-by-side format only).

The GY-463D10 has a suggested list price of $9,153 and is currently available.

You can see it at IBC in the ElementTechnica booth and the JVC booth.

Continue reading "JVC tops the 3D monitor solutions" »

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September 11, 2009
  IBC 2009 - Day 1 - Euphonix and Element Technica
Posted By Mark L. Pederson
Perfect weather here in Amsterdam! The show kicked off at 11:00am today - and seemed to me to be as busy as last year. Tomorrow is the day I "dig in" to the show -  but I did spend some time at EUPHONIX  - a must see booth. Low cost control surfaces for the Final Cut Studio applications - including the MC Color for Apple's Color application. I plan on putting the MC Control and MC Transport into our eight new edit suites. I'm really impressed with the quality and low price - these guys are going to do very well.

As expected, 3D is big this year and I will be posting solutions that appear impressive as well as taking a closer look at ARRI's RELATIVITY software and their QCP application.

Although not post related - ELEMENT TECHNICA is showing their new 3D Rig, outfitted with Red Cameras, something we're thrilled to have available in NYC next month.

Stay tuned!
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