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Recent Blog Posts in March 2010

March 18, 2010
  Apple Pro Video Event at Key Code Media 3/16/10
Posted By Michael Kammes
Key Code Media, a leading Pro Apple VAR in Burbank, CA, recently showcased Apple’s Pro Video tools. Inside their new facility and customized demonstration room, Key Code had specialized stations for various Apple technology.

After partaking in some free alcoholic beverages and finger food, a revolving door of 150-plus guests got to sit in on demos of the new Smoke 2010 for Mac OS X, demonstrated by Key Code Media’s director of technology, David Sconyers. Autodesk’s Smoke — which was until recently well over $100,000 for software and hardware — is now available for a fraction of that, starting at $14,999, or upwards of $50,000 for a fully loaded system.  Smoke — an industry standard finishing solution — was recently released to function on the new Nehalem based Mac Pros. This breakthrough now allows smaller boutiques and editorial facilities to dip their toes into the finishing pool. Sconyers dazzled the audience with the ability to read project files from various editing systems, showcasing the easier road from editorial to finishing.

A few short feet away, Apple’s Steve McCracken showcased Final Cut Server, Apple’s answer for Digital Asset Management (DAM). Tied to the latest version of their enterprise SAN solution – XSAN — and utilizing Promise Storage, users were able to see Final Cut Server's proxy editing and check in / check out technology.  This enables remote editors to edit Final Cut Pro projects off site using low res versions of the original media. Once the remote edit is finished, the project can be returned via the internet and re-linked to the high-rez media automatically. Coupled with versioning and an exhaustive searchable database, finding that rogue file will no longer be a headache.

Next, guests were invited to view Final Cut Studio doing Stereoscopic — yes, 3D in FCP!  Utilizing Cineform’s Neo3D plug-in, an AJA Kona 3 card, and a 3D capable monitor (in this case, a 46-inch JVC), editors can now perform what was until recently only possible by Avid and high end finishing systems: edit and view 3D. Neo3D accomplishes this by wrapping both the left eye and right eye high resolution media files in their better than HDCAM SR codec — Cineform — which appears to FCP as one file. The Kona 3 can then decode the signal on output, and a user can view the footage on an external monitor in a myriad of various Stereoscopic formats — all the way up to 2K. Add in a Tangent Wave panel, and via Cineform’s active metadata, an editor can adjust convergence and color on the images in realtime with no rendering.

The fourth and last station featured the latest and greatest in Avid audio’s (Digidesign) flagship product: Pro Tools. It was flying faders a go-go with a D-Control and the latest version of Pro Tools — V.8.0.3, which runs under OS 10.6. Paired with Video Satellite, editors and mixers can now work against HD picture without taxing their Pro Tools computer AND have the ability to use the Video Satellite as an Avid workstation.

Key Code Media was supported by the vendor presence of Promise Storage, AJA, and Telestream.
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March 16, 2010
  HPA Tech Retreat 2010
Posted By Barry Goch
Hello Post readers! I'm watching a progress bar in Metafuze transcoding some Red dailies so I thought I would catch up on my blogging.

I had a whirlwind week back in February as I worked part of the week on a two TV shows, demo'd Smoke on Mac at a trade show, and that evening drove out to the desert for the HPA (Hollywood Post Alliance) Tech Retreat. I could just squeeze the last day into my schedule, but it was well worth it.

The HPA Tech retreat is an annual event that take place in February at the Rancho Las Palmas Resort in Rancho Mirage. On Bob Hope Drive no less. This retreat is really the meeting of the minds for all the heavyweights in the industry. For example, this is how my day started...

After gathering a sumptuous breakfast, I joined a table with the head of a well-known LA based reseller, and an executive from Technicolor, and two gentleman from Arriflex. The breakfast discussion revolved around the DPX format and how it stores color information in terms of bit-depth. Talk about having dose of Wheaties for breakfast!

The panel after breakfast was an in-depth look at audio loudness. I even asked a question of the panel!

The next presentation was by Michael Bergeron from Panasonic. He gave a helpful overview of stereo filmmaking and explained the design process behind Panasonic's just announced 3D camcorder.

Hugo Gaggioni and Yasuhiko Mikami from Sony previewed some very exciting developments in 4K production and post that I'm sure we'll see next month at NAB.

Those are just a few highlights from this event. For me, this is my new must-attend event. Nowhere else can you find so many high-caliber participants under one roof, in a casual environment, far from the hectic pace that is NAB. I've already marked off February 15-18, 2011 on my calendar for next year's event. Hope to see you there.
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March 08, 2010
  Red Day in LA at Red Studios
Posted By Barry Goch
Hello Post Readers!

It's been a while since my last written blog so I'm long over due for a little tickling the keyboard of my trusty MacBook. I hope you all enjoyed my last video blog of Lucas Wilson, director of business development at Assimilate, who showing off a very cool new on-set tool that allows for playback of 3D Red footage in realtime off a FireWire 800 drive. Amazing! I first saw this new rig at the Red day in LA the week before, but I was so caught up in the event that I had to circle back to check it out.

Today's blog is inspired by a posting (http://tinyurl.com/yc6dpu6) I just read in the Harvard Business Review on visionaries.

When I was watching Jim Jannard personally present his company's vision on stage it was inspiring. Not in any phony marketing speak kind of way, but here was the man who started this revolution speaking directly to me. What's more, after his presentation, the attendees had time to explore a few of their key partner's booths, like Assimilate, before Jannard personally led an open floor question and answer session.

To me, this was the most amazing part of the whole day. When was the last time the head of any company sat on the edge of the stage and took hard-hitting questions from end users? Even more important to me was how he answered the questions: straight-forward, honest, and admitting past mistakes. These missteps are part of the natural product development cycle. The cool thing is not to hide from them and talk around them, but rather to own up to them and move forward with a better product. And that is exactly what Red does.

In my opinion, Red Digital Cinema has done more in the past three years to move the ball forward into the digital age than any other digital cinema camera company. This time of year being awards season, I have no doubt that in the near future Jannard will be taking home his own Oscar for his contribution to filmmaking.
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