Friday, December 14, 2007

toon fans only...

... or should that be Pixar Pedants?

Impressively detailed post of the cross-references and in-jokes in Pixar feature films. Now how many did you spot beforehand?

read it in Jim Hill's blog here

Thursday, December 13, 2007

mac "compatible" iPlayer limps in

An early Christmas present of sorts for MacHeads (I guess that's us). The BBC iPlayer, previously not for Macs, as so frequently noted here, is due for a relaunch on Christmas Day in a Mac compatible version.

The beta version has soft-launched today. The interface is the same across all platforms, I believe, and has been slightly re-worked from the original beta. For Mac and Linux based users, it's a streaming-only service, which uses Flash (.swf files).

It works OK-ish. For full-screen playback you need the latest Flash 9, and there's a link on the BBC iPlayer site. Bizarrely you have to choose Intel or PPC downloads (Adobe don't know how to find out??). Quality is grainy full-screen on my MBPro, nowhere near as good as streamed H.264 files from the Apple site, but acceptable for that programme you missed and have to see. I don't know how they are encoded yet - all I can see are .swf files, which could contain any standard. Different programmes may be at different quality levels? Not all content appears to be streamable - this may be just a teething period, I guess, as they update the libraries of files on launch. Obviously you'll need broadband, and the speed of your broadband link may be critical. (Not to mention any data limits on your account).

Find it at

There's also an updated version of the BBC Radio player on the same site.

An End of Year puzzle.

What links the following numbers: 40, 87 and 4.43361875?

The last one is the easiest, or rather, it's one you know or you don't. 4.433 etc is the frequency in MHz of the PAL colour subcarrier. What do you mean, you didn't know that? To TV engineers from the Analogue era - either service technicians or broadcast engineers - it's as familiar a figure as 625 lines, or today's 720 or 1080 magic numbers. And this year marks the 40th birthday of the first PAL colour TV services. Soon it'll be no more, as we move to digital switchover: we use the term PAL loosely to describe the 625 line TV standard, but strictly speaking it's only applicable to the analogue broadcast signal and the CVBS analogue signal that comes out of the back of VHS and DVD players. All the rest: S-video, DV, HD of course, even component and SDI signals - they're not PAL encoded. So it'll be farewell to the invention of Dr Walter Bruch of the Telefunken company. As you might know, Telefunken held the patents for PAL, or, more accurately I suspect, for the decoding circuitry of PAL, which included that high technology of the day, the analogue quartz delay line. I was told that, when the first Trinitron receivers came on the market, Sony were unable or unwilling to purchase licences, and so the sets discarded half the colour information and decoded the TV signal as a modified form of the US NTSC signal. Hence the 'hue' knob on these sets which changed the displayed signal to the viewers' whim, be it blue or green. Farewell too to the 'Hanover Bars' of which more another time.

And the 87? By coincidence it's also the 40th anniversary of the Neumann U87 microphone, which, as their own website describes, is probably the most famous model of studio microphone in the world. Should you be so inclined, there's a special anniversary edition of the U87 for sale in a 'classic' case which looks very fine indeed, an upmarket suitcase if ever I saw one. Ogle it here.

More musings on these anniversaries in the next podcast, when I get time and studio space to spare.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The last wefcpug of 2007

Yes, it's wefcpug phil with the blog reminder of our final meeting of the year, back in the BBC bar on Monday next (10th Dec): 7pm kickoff. Notre vieux ami Richard has been detained by Cupertino agents in Paris this week to have his brain updated to version 6.1 and he's bursting with enthusiasm for Soundtrack Pro. I'll remind him he was going to talk about when I find my notes (or read the wefcpug website).

It's been quiet on this channel for the last fortnight, pressure of work I'm afraid. It's all been in aid of tonight's RTS West of England awards, in the luxurious Marriott Royal in prestigious downtown Bristol. Look carefully in the background of any local news footage of (their own) winners tomorrow and you might see yours truly lurking by the floor camera (wearing the classic combination of dinner jacket, headphones and clipboard). To any readers who are in for an award tonight, good luck! And if you win, the drinks are on you.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Update, update, read all about it

'Pro Apps Update 2007-2' has appeared in this morning's software update window - this is Applespeak for the next point upgrade to Final Cut Studio, with some 300MB+ of updated software to download.

There are .2 versions of FCP, Compressor, Motion, DVDSP, Color, Cinema Tools, STrack Pro - the works, in other words.

First off, FCP 6.0.2 is now Leopard compatible (though - hint of caution - the first point upgrade to Leopard is probably due any day now).

The Apple doc here has the full details. Apart from Leopard compatibility, and a whole load of more video standards to work with (XDCAM, AVC-Intra and other various timecode/frame rate combinations), the main headlines for me are:

- 'lost render' bug squashed (mostly). Closing and re-opening a sequence should no longer cause previously rendered material to require a re-render.

- new feature:

New Playhead-Centered Zooming Commands in the Timeline

Final Cut Pro 6.0.2 includes three commands for playhead-centered zooming and navigation in the Timeline:

  • Zoom In on Playhead in Timeline: Keeps the Timeline playhead centered while zooming in (regardless of the selection in the Timeline).
  • Zoom Out on Playhead in Timeline: Keeps the Timeline playhead centered while zooming out (regardless of the selection in the Timeline).
  • Scroll to Playhead: Horizontally scrolls the Timeline so that the playhead is centered in the window.

These commands can be mapped to keyboard shortcuts using the Keyboard Layout window (choose Tools > Keyboard Layout > Customize).

Final note of caution - projects opened & saved in 6.0.2 format won't open in 6.0.1 (or of course earlier versions).

Nearly forgot - there's a .11 upgrade to Tiger (aka Mac 10.4.11) for those keeping clear of the Leopard for the moment.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Gone Missing in Leopard

The spots on the Leopard?? It's the little things that take time... updates from the Leopard front line, as promised.

On the whole I'm (still) pleased with Leopard, which seems more stable on this particular MacBook Pro (an early dual 1.8): there have been a couple of freezes on my wifi connection, but to date, for the most part, it seems the system copes better with misbehaving apps or routines (or whatever is messing up).

But I've found - or rather not found - a couple of little touches that have gone missing from previous versions, both of which were rather useful. To save you the time that I spent trying to find things that aren't there, here's the current list:

Desktop clock - it's no longer possible to have a big, translucent clock on the desktop, that option has gone from the Date/Time settings.

Bluetooth support in Address Book: this is really annoying. Previously it was possible to pair with a mobile through Bluetooth, so incoming call information came on screen and SMS texts could be sent from the Mac. Both have gone, as has the ability to text through Skype from the Address Book (maybe this will reinstall with a reinstallation of Skype). The only snag with sending the SMS was the lack of any feedback, so you were never really sure it had actually been delivered to the phone, but the advantage of texting from the keyboard (for this touch-typist, anyway) overweighed the disadvantage.

So, two more requests for the .1 update!

Further to the previous posting - as Ian mentioned at the meeting, there's a free Flip4Mac update for Leopard compatibility.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

What you missed - November's meet

If you didn't make the meeting, or (quite understandably) fell asleep during the Unix-y bits, here are the headlines from last night's meet of the wefcpug.

Leaping into Leopard

Without much qualification, a 'thumbs-up' from me for Leopard on the MBPro I run. Due to operator inattention (I've got the builders in - see below) this turned into an 'update' rather then the intended 'Archive & Install', but went pretty well, with the job done in 1hr30 or so.

Good points: inter-Mac networking much improved over Tiger. Finder remembers login details for remote machines, presents them automatically on discovery (as Paul reminded me last night, just as Apple networking used to work in OS 9 days!). Wi-fi seems stabler than previous: especially with the problematic router (a Wanadoo/Inventel box) that I use. Quicklook surprisingly useful from the Finder.

Problem Areas: 'APE' (application program extender) if not updated will cause Leopard Update to crash. Commonly this program is installed by Audio Hijack Pro (for 'Instant Hijack'). Clean install or Archive/Install would not be affected.

X11 is now a default installation with Leopard, not an optional (although it can be de-selected). There seem to be several issues with the current Leopard X11 implementation: especially running X11 from the Dock, which is 'deprecated' by Apple. Their instructions are t0 allow any programs requiring X11 to cause it to run automatically. Note in passing that the Gimp is reported to be non-functional. There is advice on the web to remove the Leopard X11 and replace it with the previous (Tiger) version. More reports needed....

PPMulator problems - the app doesn't work anymore, because there's currently no way of routing system audio out to it. Previously this was done by Soundflower - we await a new version. Note the plug-in PPMulator still works fine inside Soundtrack Pro.

Updated versions were needed of: Epson software for my scanner (free download); Parallels (paid upgrade for v3.0 - problems here in running previous win98 virtual machines. Research is ongoing); Freeway Express (free download I believe -TBC); Snapz Pro (free download).

Very Good Point: Time Machine works very well, and especially during the intended test to 'Reinstall System' that I conducted when an electricity failure (plus some fiddling at the time with Parallels/Win98 virtual drives) broke an ongoing connection to the Firewire Drive, which in turn led to a non-bootable MBPro.

Note in Passing: Spotlight and Time Machine need plenty of time and processor cycles to establish indexes and system backup - I suggest not trying to do much else with your Mac after the first boot - and ideally not enabling TM until Spotlight has done its stuff.

Disappointments: There is a lower limit of proc speed and Mac model, below which Leopard won't install. The G4/400 falls below this. Workrounds are being investigated around the web.
The preview of Leopard's iChat showed some of the fancy effects in iChat video. It's shipped with most of the chroma-key effects they showed but without the Star Wars 'hologram' effect.

Also at the wefcpug

we saw the cut versions of the commercials that Aardman had in progress when we visited in September.

we answered (or at least talked about) queries to do with Display Imaging, NTSC conversion, and other matters - all of which you will soon be able to read about in more detail on the wefcpug site thanks to this month's scribe, Matt Wenner.

Next Meeting

will be Monday 10th December - that's the 2nd Monday in the month for a change.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

November wefcpug meet

an early warning to all: the by now traditional 1st Monday of November is the 5th, and it's reckoned we'll all be too busy waving sparklers around a bonfire to talk FCP. So we'll be meeting on the 6th November, at the usual BBC place, details to come next week.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Bêtes noires (or rouges)

With one broadcasting-crisis or another, I've found myself watching BBC News24 on the side monitor quite a lot over the last few days. There's a whizzy 30 second montage they run on the hour, just before the news bulletin starts up, presumably as a means for the producer/presenter teams to swap over or refill their coffees (or empty their bladders?).

So, what's wrong with these pictures, grabbed from their promo, illustrating the 24/7 electronic flow of news into the central hub? (Hint, why are satellite dishes shaped the way they are, as parabolic reflectors ).

O tempora, o mores, as we used to say.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

It's not just the naming of cats

that can cause trouble in telly-land. In a development that, admittedly, you may well have missed, French breakfast TV presenter/producer William Leymergie has been suspended* for a fortnight by France2. As I read the AFP press release, it's all to do with a physical attack (allegedly attempted strangulation) on the theatre critic of the programme, Telematin, which left said critic in need of emergency first-aid. (I am treading carefully here). The french text is here .

I am rather gobsmacked by this news: Leymergie struck me as the most relaxed and good-humoured presenter I've seen on the TV. The nearest UK equivalent is for Terry Wogan to have thrown a punch at a sports reporter. Now there's an idea for BBC3.

*the French phrase is 'mis a pied' which Babelfish unhelpfully translates as putting at foot.

Out with the dots

and in with the coffee theme! Not so much art as an exercise in how much one can bend a template. Better to come later on in the year.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Notes on the October meeting

If you missed it, episode 2 of Series 4 of wefcpug will not be available on repeat on a digital channel near you, but here are the headlines and links promised.

Thanks to our John and Stuart at Finalize media in Bristol, both for hosting the meeting and for giving us the Platinum tour of their facility

The new arrival cameras I skirted around in the 'Just what I really wanted, yet more cameras and codecs' are
  • Sony PMW-EX1. Chunky hand-held format, 1/2" detectors, 'effectively' 1920x1080 pixel count, records onto SxSPRO- a memory card that plugs into the PCI/Express socket. Records in XDCAM 35Mbps and SD HDV modes. Sony site is here.
  • Panasonic AGHPX500. Shoulder mounted 2/3" chips, DVCProHD record onto P2 cards. More variants formats than I could shake a stick at. Panny site here.
And the info on the AVC-Intra Codec is to be found here.

Also at wefcpug
Richard continued his exploration of features in Motion with the live demo he said he wouldn't do, using audio tracks to animate (and even colourise) elements within Motion. He's probably going to ask us questions about this next month.

We welcomed our new sponsor Noise Industries who provided this month's major lottery prize - and we'll be reporting on FxFactory next meeting.

And finally
Here's the YouTube clip that impressed so many. Strictly speaking, it's not editing, but it's prompted some of the best discussions about editing that I've had this month! My thanks to Quentin at DisplayLink for the link to Richard Wiseman

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Readers' Lives

I've just been looking at the latest stats for this blog and the podcast, and there are a couple of factoids I had to share. Greetings to our readership in Spain, Dubai, the Czech republic, S Africa and all our US fanbase in LA and Delaware.

Especial greetings to the London reader who came to the wefcpug blog by means of a Google search for 'Bristol Spanking Bottoms'. I confess myself equally puzzled by both the nature of the search question, and the fact that it apparently led to this blog. Must have a look at previous postings again.

(And, to forestall all you smart alecs, yes I realise that by including the term 'Bristol Spanking Bottoms' - twice now - in a post I have further increased our page ranking on this very search, and probably got us banned by several profanity screening engines.)

Early notice of October meeting

The next meeting is on Monday October 1st and is being kindly hosted by Finalize Media at their post production facilities off Richmond Hill, Bristol BS1.

For more details, inlcuding links to maps of how to get there, visit the usual
and pause to admire Richard's new design. Eagle-eyed readers will also spot a new sponsor's logo, but you'll have to wait until the meeting to hear the exciting details.

I also read in the preview of the meeting that I'll be presenting some exciting web research, so I'd better go and do some.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Whilst we were away

Quite a lot has happened over the last couple of months, some of which I noticed and tried to sum up in the slide-show at last week's wefcpug meeting. It's now available as episode 5½ in the "Out of Vision" podcast series, with a 'presenter's commentary' courtesy of the feature in Keynote. No time for me to polish or even edit - the real podcast series resumes later on this month!

The links I mentioned in the talk are as follows:

video on the iPhone is on the Apple Developer site where there's a link called 'ADC on iTunes' - I showed clips from videos in the WWDC 2007 Leopard series, and the 'Developing video for iPhone' link below. You may need to register (free)with the site to download, although these may be free access.

the news about Flash 9 player in beta is at
where you should also find a download link (remember it's BETA).


Friday, August 31, 2007

Sudden outbreak of good taste (probably temporary)

(According to the usual reliable sources) Five news, followed closely by 4 and possibly Newsnight (subject to a viewer poll) will henceforth no longer 'fake' news interviews by using reconstructions such as walking shots, reporter noddies, cutaway questions. So will we now see an outbreak of jump-cuts, fast 'verite' dissolves or just long uncut rushes? Or maybe 2 camera news shoots will become the norm.

Whether this rush to honesty will include captions that say 'This is NOT this person's office, these are NOT his books, this is NOT her office staircase' has yet to be announced. Well, I'm glad it's not me having to cut the things under pressure.

It's a great blow to the 'most unconvincing cutaway of the week' competition we've long run in my household - although there is still hope for the local TV standby, the 'interviewee making a cup of tea/doing the washing up' mini-sequence.

Amusing too, to note that five's exec described all these disgracefully dishonest tricks as redolent of 'tired old showbiz' and went on to say they're no longer necessary because of all the new editing tech we have (ie flash frames, verite dissolves, see above).

It won't be long until we all have to sign an Editor's Oath to work on news.

Cracking meeting next week 3rd Sept

Our Fourth Glorious Year starts off - Same time but different place.

Monday 3rd Sept, gather at 6.30pm onwards, prompt start at 7pm: Aardman Animations, Gas Ferry Rd, Bristol. We've been promised a tour of the post production facilities and a look at the workflow (based of course on FCP). And there's more - Richard will be demonstrating Motion templates within FCP, and Phil will give a brief roundup of 'What's been happening' in the months we've been away from the wefcpug. And a raffle. Plus YOUR problems solved. Quite Possibly.

Contact details to email if you'd like to come, and a map of how to get there all on the brand spanking new wefcpug website at

Thursday, August 16, 2007

wefcpug Season 4 - a preview

Yes, we're starting our fourth year in a couple of weeks, and it's going to start with a must-be-there meeting. We're still inking in the details (as they say) but we do know it'll be on September 3rd, and it'll be at Aardman in Bristol. Exact time and address to come later!

Richard will be 'talking templates' and Phil will be 'krafting keynotes' PLUS lots more, including the fabulous raffle. Somewhere in the evening we'll be trying to clarify just which upgrades you need and which you should avoid, amidst the torrents of stuff that's come out since we last spoke.

And there's a new design to the blog, what more do you want to tempt you back from holidays?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Timewarp Radio

- this posting has a 'best before' time - 3pm 14th August. That's when 'Pirate BBC Essex' stops transmission (on Medium Wave!). They've kitted out the LV18 Lightship with turntables, decks, studio, and transmitters - and a load of the old pirate DJs (Dave Cash, Johnnie Walker, and many more) - and their playlist is strictly 64-67, with original jingles from Caroline and Big L. It shouldn't work, it ought to sound fusty, but it's surprisingly fresh and unforced.

Oh - and this time round they've got the benefit of internet connections to the audience!

Catch it while you can online via where there's a 'listen live' link in the main body (not the BBC Essex link - you don't want to go there).

Prizes, prizes

The nomination period has now opened for this year's Royal Television Society awards, that's the local (West of England) awards, presented at the conventionally glittering dinner in Bristol on the 6th December.

There's a 'Craft Editor' category as well as 'Camerawork/Lighting Cam' plus the usual mix of network and regional programme categories. Full details on the RTS web page - click on this link. The documentation is in the form of pdf's.

Closing date is 24th September.


Monday, August 13, 2007

From one Salfordian to another

Off topic for this blog, but indulge this expatriate Northerner. I wanted to mark the passing of Tony Wilson (aka Anthony, Anthony H) late of Granada TV, Factory Records, Hacienda and so on. We attended the same school (most emphatically NOT a public school!) in Salford but I outranked him by a year: I can actually remember him in a Sixth form uniform, a rather unlikely appearance in view of his later career. I have to admit my mum know Anthony a lot better than I did: he was a regular at the music club my family ran in Manchester, up to the time he founded his own.

The best obits I've seen are from today's (Manchester) Guardian
and the Manc Evening News and there's not a lot to add to them, apart from one sideline.

The last time I saw Anthony, he was chairing an Indies conference at the Salford Lowry, about 4 or 5 years ago I think. One highpoint was a mock news report he'd made which featured the 'news from the future' about the Manchester-based BBC-2 channel. Amongst the audience was the then head of BBC2, Jane Root. I don't believe anybody took the report seriously - well how wrong can you be?

Friday, August 10, 2007

You wait all week for a new Mac

and suddenly they all come at once. Well, not quite all, but with new iMacs, improved MacMinis, new versions of iLife (with a really new iMovie, more later) and iWork (with a Spreadsheet app), .Mac, and software updates coming at us like the proverbial rats up a drainpipe (or should that be rats down a fibre optic pipe) - lots of New Stuff (technical term) to play with.

First Impressions:

iMac looks pretty good for a 'home' (meaning not in the Pro range) computer. Tech specs outperform the best Pro towers of only a couple of years back. What used to be the drawback, the difficulty of expansion of hard drive (make that the impossibility for us mere mortals) isn't an issue in this age of firewire and USB drives.

Note that the Apple logo has gone from the Command key in the new improved keyboards - it even says 'Command'. I also spot that they moved all the Function keys around. I mean, they're still numbered from the left, but the right hand side now do the video transport things, didn't spot where they've moved the eject button. This will be fun for starters.

iMovie08 is, apparently, a whole new program, with a 'new way' of editing video. Jobs' demo is as slick as ever and there does seem to be a place in all our lives for quick and easy assembly of clips - I like the way that scrubbing has made it to the consumer market (though it's now called 'skimming') and I suspect there are pointers to the way FCP will develop, at least in the indexing and display of content. Note one thing there isn't - a Timeline. What the demo doesn't say (but we all know about iMovie) is that you can't do much apart from AV joins - no complex sound, no split edits. But what do you expect for £55? One note - iMovie08 requires a G5 or faster processor.

Numbers - the spreadsheet program - is (IMHO) worth the price of iWork alone. Anyone who's had to pull a graphic out of an Excel spreadsheet, then manipulate the figures and THEN try to print the lot on one page will rush to buy. I have to agree with the cliche view on Apple here - they focus on what users want to do and make it easier.

More trends I've spotted from iPhone presentations coming up later in the blog.


Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Bonjour tout le monde.

Your humble blogcapitain is back from his tour of Gaul, where we took the waters in Vichy, amidst an 'intensif' course at the language school. There may even be pictures to come.

A case of 'sans moi, le déluge' - actually I was back in time to enjoy the last of the rains, and comms work in connection with the Glos. events has kept me away from the wefcblog until today. (The Tour de France is also to blame, partially).

But whilst I was away

there seems to have been an outbreak of confessions in the media. I'm particularly taken by the confession of a digital radio production team who took to impersonating the audience for a phone-in competition that didn't exist. Come on folks, I know digital radio audiences are small, but they're surely not THAT small!

So are we now all obliged to keep edits strictly in time-of-recording order, and am I too late for the BBC amnesty? On second thoughts, some skeletons had best stay buried.

The usual drip feed of rumours, technical info, scandal, comments and daft ideas will now resume to keep you going through August...

...with the first honour going to Apple for today's Software Update of Pro Apps - which makes about the 4th or 5th update since I came back online. Somewhere in this slew of new binaries they have mended (fingers crossed - doigts crois
és) the one that upset my MBPro so much last year. The finger of suspicion is currently pointing at Quicktime. Any other experiences, good or bad?


Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Sunshine amongst the showers

At last some good news when you click on the Alan Johnston link we've had up on the top right of the blog. What's really good is to hear that Alan had access to a radio and did know about the efforts worldwide to keep him (and other hostages) in the public eye.

I don't suppose there's much mileage to be had in 'Alan Johnston - wefcpug's part in his release' but at least we were there! I've been taken back in flashbacks to the night Terry Waite was confirmed kidnapped. I was working in the old BBC TV newsroom that night and in those pre-internet (and even pre-fax) days the news came over on the internal speaker intercoms. The programme I was working on was 'Telejournal' - not a news programme but we 'borrowed' their facilities to record that night's French or German or Italian news, and intercut their stories with studio pieces to interpret and explain. All done with tape (may even have been 2" - but probably 1" - and certainly analogue) and in a hurry.

Budget cuts in later years meant the programme was cancelled. It's now, thanks to the wonders of digits, internets etc., possible to see (some) foreign language bulletins for yourself (even the domestic digital satellite channels if you know how to tweak a dish and a set-top box) but there's no interpretation, in the broader sense of words and context, available. Such is progress. (PS I'm available for a relaunch).

In the meantime, we rely on the Alan Johnstons of this world to do the work for us.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

What happened at the July07 wefcpug

A crowded house celebrated the finale of this year's wefcpug meets, and with a summer break in mind, what better way to ensure peace of mind for Autumn restarts than by looking at ways to keep a Mac happy?

Backups in a nutshell: (not literally recommended except for squirrels)

If you want a bootable clone of your system disk then head for Carbon Copy Clone
It's a very small app (as the developer writes, actually a collection of Applescripts) that can clone a disc onto an external firewire drive. For intel macs especially, making such a drive bootable involves more than the old OS9 technique of dragging a system folder across. Oh, for such simple days! Plenty of info about this on the developer's site. It's donation ware - PayPal drinks money accepted.
Note that, although Carbon copy can do scheduled sync'ing of files, this requires another (free) routine (psync) which may have to downloaded too. Also note that CCC doesn't work with network attached drives.

For this, I recommended Chronosync which is a $30 app. Chronosync does work with networked drives - in my case, a 500GB RAID array on a G4 attached via ethernet - and is configurable as you like to backup folders, files on a schedule. It will even wake up the source Mac, mount and unmount the remote drive. The first run is obviously the longest, when the whole material is copied over, subsequent sync's will only copy over changed files: you can decide whether to mirror deletions, archive previous versions of files, exclude certain folders. The best feature for me is that the backup copies are a straightforward copy with the same hierarchy of folders, no fancy 'restore' software required. Chronosync can of course be configured to go into reverse mode, to restore say a complete set of User folders, but it's also easy to find individual files on the target machine, using Searchlight.

From experience, I recommend backing up the entire User tree, including the Library folders (which contains preferences, metadata as well as cache files) - but restoring with care when it comes to prefs etc. I don't myself backup the Apps folders this way - CCC is the way to go for that. Note that Chronosync is NOT recommended for system restores (ie bootable drives).

Yet to come, with the Leopard release of OS X, is the Time Machine, which it seems will do much of the above with a great 'back in time' interface.

If you don't have a backup strategy yet, and don't want to install extra apps yet, do at the very least use the routines built in to several of the iApps for backup of data. For instance, iCal and Address Book have 'backup database' options under 'File', and iPhoto and iTunes both have options to export albums and data.

Richard Harrison spoke very highly of AppleJack for routine maintenance as well as for persuading a misbehaving Mac back to work. It's donation ware, and runs in Single User mode (Command S on startup) - which is especially good if your system is ill and not booting up to the full login window. The app runs a set of Unix cleanup routines (checking permissions, purging caches) which, if you don't fancy Single User mode, can also be invoked using Onyx
- if you decide to download Onyx, make sure you choose the correct version (there is a 'Panther only' previous version on the page too).

And Finally
Despite all the helpful suggestions from the audience, Richard worked his way through a live demo of sound cleanup using Soundtrack pro. Many more of these demos to come in the next season, when we'll all have had time to unwrap and play with FC Studio 2....see you in September.

Do keep checking here on the blog for updates, news, gossip, and unfounded rumours.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

The great smell of DVDs

Sometime in the last week I came across a mention of sniffer dogs being able to detect fake DVDs (similar story here). I opened a new pack of DVD-R stock yesterday, which has probably been maturing for a month or so on my shelves - a distinct aroma of fennel to my palate.

The ever reliable Wikipedia tells me that anethole (or 1-methoxy-4-(1-propenyl)benzene as we all call it) is the source of the flavour of aniseed/fennel. Whether it's also the source of the smell they don't say. Nor do azo dyes seem to have much in common with the aforementioned.

How do your DVDs smell? Discuss please.

Lost Vagueness comes to wefcpug

Time to dry out your tents, wash the mud from your wellies and focus back on things FCP - or just stop watching Glasto repeats on the red-button services of course.

It's another wefcpug meet, next Monday - July 2nd - at the BBC Bristol Whiteladies Rd branch. 7pm as usual.

Richard writes:

I've had requests to talk about certain elements of Final Cut that people are unsure about, including how to get rid of nasty noise from the background of a clip and also take an in depth look at trimming and, in particular, the Trim Edit window.

So that's what he'll be doing. Apparently Phil is going to be delving into the history of, and in particular, the what of ten years ago or so. Mm... should be interesting!

I can't wait for that myself. What I think I'm actually doing is - allegedly for light relief - revisiting a presentation I made some 10+ years ago on the future of non-linear edits. More seriously, I'm also looking at backup and data protection (in the sense of protection from loss) possibilities, in the run-up to Leopard (or is it Cougar, or Civet, or Lynx) and the Time Machine. No tardis involved, but some free and reasonably priced software to tide us over.

Plus the usual give-aways and some unusual ones - book your place with Richard.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Buzzword alert

While I'm in the blogging mood, here's a snap of a catalogue item that has just fallen through my letterbox. (The catalogue, not the gadget)

Erm... could anyone explain the difference between a 'Voice Messenger' and a telephone?

Podcasts - service announcement

If anyone's been having problems syncing the last two 'Out of Visions' to their iPod, with luck the problem has been solved - I changed the format to AAC but good old QuickTime Pro was marking the files as .mp4 with an internal identifier as a Video file. And recent versions of iTunes helpfully see this and - not so helpfully - won't sync a Video file to what they see as a non-Video iPod (iPod nano, etc).

I've changed the files to genuine audio only (.m4a) versions which should sail through. If you've been listening on your macs, the problem won't have been visible, I mean audible.

You -may- have force a resync in iTunes by deleting the previous download - but I'm sure you'll find it worth the effort.

Thanks to Quentin for pointing me to this - please email me if there are further glitches. I'll go back to mp3 if necessary!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

'Out of Vision' podcast 5 now up

'The view from Cotham Hill' - Phil talks to Gina Fucci and George Panayiatou of Bristol post-production house 'Films @ 59'.

The company's been in business for some 18 years, running offline and online edit suites, grading, finishing, dubbing - and was the first outside the broadcasters themselves to install HD equipment. (Back in the 1990's).

So Gina and George are in a very good position to comment on the state of the industry, and the technical challenges ahead for all of us. Not just FCP editors.

Access the podcast via (links there to free subscription via iTunes)

Sunday, June 10, 2007

RTS meeting Tuesday 12th - Flat screen TVs

Word has just reached me of an RTS Bristol Centre meeting (open to members and guests) this coming Tuesday, 12th June, at BBC Bristol. Entrance, as ever, through the tradesmen's door at the back. Meeting starts at 730pm, with an AGM for RTS members at 715pm.

Richard Salmon, who's one of BBC R&D's gurus, is looking at the new flat panel TV technologies on the horizon for domestic and professional production environments.

Email phil ( if you'd like to come - I'll be there and can invite non RTS members in.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The June MegaMeeting

Please note we've moved the DAY and the PLACE for this special meeting - read, note and act upon it!!!!

Tuesday June 5th | Bristol Zoo (Clifton Pavilion - the 'corporate function' entrance around the side from the main public entrance).

We've pulled a bit of a coup for our next meeting: those nice chaps from Apple are here for the day to talk about and demonstrate the new Final Cut Studio 2 and we've managed to persuade them to stay on a few hours in the evening to let us see and hear it straight from the horse's mouth, so to speak. I'm sure they'll be absolutely delighted to garner feedback from such an experienced and enlightened bunch such as ourselves!

As usual there will be raffle prizes which this month include: Plug-ins from Automatic Duck and Digital Heaven plus books from Peachpit Press. And we have a special DISCOUNT for anyone who wishes to buy the upgrade to Final Cut Studio 2. There's also FREE STUFF from Automatic Duck - tryouts of their products on disc.

But the event is limited to just 30 attendees so you MUST let us know if you intend to turn up; please e-mail wefcpug boss Richard at:

if you would like to be there. And please be there for 6.30 p.m. for a 7.00 p.m. start.


First one there gets to feed the penguins. (Not true).

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

F C Studio 2 Manuals online

If you're the sort who likes reading manuals, especially before the software is delivered, then
is your sort of web page.

Manuals for FCP6, Color, Compressor 3 etc all available for free download to whet your appetites.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Review - Larry Jordan Soundtrack Pro DVD

If you were at the April meeting, you'll remember that Jiri promised to let us know about his experiences with the Larry Jordan DVD - well here's his review. More of these to follow in future weeks (I hope) - Phil

Review: Larry Jordan's Soundtrack Pro Essential Training DVD

by Jiri Kolozsi (

I am not going to write the whole table of contents of all lessons and give my comments to each of them - everyone can read it on Larry Jordan's web page here:

(Editor's note: URL updated by request)

Instead, I would like to be very concise and just sum up good things that I have noticed while going through all lessons and what I think is unique in Larry's approach.

Despite the fact the total duration of the whole course is claimed to be 6 hours - it took me a few days to go through all lessons. Almost every lesson is accompanied by exercise files so you are going to spend some extra time just playing with those files.

The course is aimed on beginners and intermediate users - that means terminology of sound editing and basic editing/mixing principles are explained. For the most of you it wouldn't be necessary, but for any novice to sound editing information provided are invaluable, given in very understandable and concise way.

Larry teaches you how to set up your system and then maintain it. He shows you how to tweak Soundtrack Pro's preferences according to your needs. Different techniques and approaches to sound editing in FCP and ST Pro are compared as well.

During the course, Larry had to invent some workarounds around ST Pro's bugs - so if you have ever ended up being upset by an odd behaviour of the application, you're not alone!

If you have wondered what are the best practices how to achieve this and that - Larry tells you. This way, beginners can save precious time learning the best practices right from the very beginning. You will be able to achieve one thing multiple ways and use keyboard shortcuts effectively.

Having visited Larry's PowerUP! seminar in Manchester this year my expectations of the DVD course were really high - and I haven't been disappointed. I appreciate his real-world production experience, i.e. you are taught by someone who actually does video & sound editing and can provide you with some handy tips that can save you a lot of time - and, of course, money!

If you have never used ST Pro or if you are completely new to sound editing - this training DVD is for you. But even if you are a pretty skilled sound editor the chances are that you will be able to find new approaches and techniques in using ST Pro.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Podcast 4 now out

Relive the joys and dramas of the recent wefcpug meeting by listening to the latest edition of 'Out Of Vision'. Or at least, listen to the interview with Martin Baker of Digital Heaven. Ned Soltz, our US correspondent, joins me down the line with his take on what-was-new at NAB, and there's an interview with Richard Harrison. As well as being a wefcpug member, Richard is FCP manager at Bristol post house Films@59, and he talks about the challenges of running Final Cut suites in such a busy, mixed format, environment.

This podcast is now up on the server - it's been compressed as an mp4 (AAC) rather than mp3. If this is a problem to anyone, let me know!

Free to subscribe, available through the iTunes Music Store (somewhere down in the archives here are the instructions) or by clicking on the link at the podcast website

Monday, May 14, 2007

Next meeting - you won't want to miss

At last, we can confirm the date of the June meeting.

It's a different day - TUESDAY 5th June

It's a different place - the 'Clifton Pavilion' at Bristol Zoo

It's the same time - 7pm

And it's going to be big.

With thanks to Ken Bell at Quad Logic, it's your chance to get your hands on Final Cut Studio 2. In captivity. Live.
And with even more thanks to Ken, if you're there and you place an order for the upgrade, there's an unrepeatable 5% discount.

And wait, there's more - further instalments of the fantastic wefpug FREE raffle. Details of prizes when we feel less faint from excitement.

So mark up your diaries!!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Podcasts in the pipeline

It's been a busy couple of weeks in and out of the production offices of 'Out of Vision' - the wefcpug podcast. First up on the site will be episode 4, our post NAB issue. There'll be more from our US correspondent, Ned Soltz, plus exclusive (naturally) interviews with wefpug member Richard Harrison, who's the FCP manager at Films@59 in Bristol, and with our special guest for the May wefpug meeting, Martin Baker of Digital Heaven in London.

I'm also preparing a programme centred around an extended interview with Gina Fucci and George Panayiotu of Films@59. They're in an ideal position to comment on the technical and structural changes we're seeing in production, the move to HD, and the struggles faced by productions as budgets have been trimmed. It'll make a thoughtful - and thought-provoking - special edition of 'Out of Vision' - coming soon to an iPod near you.

If you haven't subscribed yet, visit the Out of Vision website for the links.

May's meeting links and report

The attraction of a night in rainy downtown Bristol (or maybe it was the fabulous prizes of our free raffle) was too strong to resist, with visitors from far and wide last night, including our special guest, Martin Baker of Digital Heaven.

Yours truly was the warm-up act, with a brief discursion into how to handle 16:9 and 4:3 clips together in FCP (literally a warm-up act, as the MBP decided to go into a temporary overheat-inspired shutdown). Notes on this another day. But at least we all got to share the joy of trashing FCP prefs and recovering a project file. Revision Questions may well be set.

Martin began with his take on events - primarily Apple inspired events - at the NAB in Las Vegas. He was particularly impressed by the pricing of Color (sic) and, like most in the room, is looking forward to the joys of 3d work in Motion 3. We'll be reviewing the package just as soon as we get it!

With a brief pause for the first raffles of the night - copies of the Walter Murch book 'Behind the Seen' and the new Quickbook guide to Quicktime Pro (just published by Peachpit Press) - Martin came back for more, with a demo of the filters, transitions and other apps his company now produces. Winner on the clapometer seemed to be the 'RetroTV' effect, with 'WhipPan' a close second, and a judges' special mention for the sound effects bundled with (especially the 'Dream' transition). Full details, and downloads available, on Martin's website

One lucky wefcpug member won a voucher for software to the value of $100 (or was it $200?) from digital-heaven but wait, that's not all. There's ANOTHER voucher to be raffled next month (and we sure do have a special meeting planned then) and we can ALL download freebies from Martin's site.

If you missed the meet, there'll be a contribution from Martin on the next 'Out of Vision' podcast - see the next posting for details of this and forthcoming online offerings.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Next meeting - May 8th TUESDAY

Next Tuesday's meeting of wefcpug - yes Tuesday 8th May - will feature presentations from Martin Baker of Digital Heaven who will be giving us a full report on NAB and Final Cut Studio 2 and, if we're lucky, will also talk about writing plug-ins and demonstrating some of his own. These are world class plug-ins and, as such, respected worldwide as some of the best available anywhere.

Phil will be trying to de-bunk some of the myths surrounding conversion of a picture from 4:3 to 16:9. And just when will we see the end to anamorphism? (Hint, probably never).

There's another chance to stump the gurus who will trample over each other to solve your FCP problems, and we'll share notes over which updates have worked (and which haven't).

Please, please let Richard know if you would like to attend; it's at the BBC Whiteladies Road, Bristol again, will start promptly at 7.00 with entrance via the side gate.

Oh yes, and following on from last month's exciting raffle of a Larry Jordan Training DVD we have yet another fantastic prize up for grabs. For FREE (yes, as in Free Beer).

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The podcast that gets results from the BBC

A mere couple of podcasts (which is a blink of the eye in Internet time) and the BBC is shifting ground over the iPlayer's Mac compatibility. You will possibly remember my remarks about the public consultation - according to reports reaching me, BBC future media supremo Ashley Highfield has admitted that making this so is a priority. As reported in Media Guardian:

The BBC is working with Apple to ensure its iPlayer video download service is compatible with Macs, as part of moves to make its content available as widely as possible on digital media.

Ashley Highfield, the BBC future media director, said making the iPlayer compatible with Apple software was a priority in a keynote speech entitled "Distribute or die" at the MipTV conference in Cannes today.

Mr Highfield said offering download services for different bandwidth speeds and in different player formats was not enough.

"Although [Apple's] proprietary and closed framework for digital rights management gives us headaches, it is one of our top priorities to re-engineer our proposed BBC iPlayer service to work on Macs," he told the conference.

Read about it here (will need to be a subscriber)

Listen to the podcasts via an iTunes subscription - it's free folks, iTunes just acts as a directory!

What you missed on Monday

A pretty full house at the April wefcpug witnessed our best efforts to set up the circuit to our NAB correspondents, alas in vain because they were unavailable in person. At least the technology worked, and I have a firm promise to make amends via the next podcast - soon as I hear from them, I'll wrap it up and put it on the website. In the meantime, we had a thorough looking over what-we-know about FCP6, or FCS2, which has raised some interesting issues for all!

That aside, we marvelled at Richard's heartfelt soliloquy on what keyframing means to him, with a PIP before our very eyes. We didn't come to a firm conclusion on a neat way to solve the 'picture in picture with a border' problem - maybe because there aren't any neat ways, just annoying layered work-rounds with nests.

A link you may want to follow:

Google Desktop for Mac is now released, link here
It's for OS 10.4+ users only - as I mentioned on the night, there are a couple of issues you might want to take into account: initial indexing takes a long time, and the install gives the programs 'root' privileges. It is (of course, being Google) beta software. First impressions from me (Phil) is that it's very good at what it does - find emails, web pages in history, and files - and especially good if you're a Gmail user. Indexing did take a while, and broadband is essential, but on my MBPro it didn't slow the rest of the system down over much. More news over the coming weeks, if I hit snags.

Congratulations to the lucky winner of our first raffle, who took away the Larry Jordan 'Soundtrack Pro' tutorial DVD. Next time it's the 'Audio filters' DVD - if I can remember how to work the raffle again. And next time is SOON - because of the bank holiday it's TUESDAY May 8th. Special Guest is Martin Baker, of Digital Heaven, in person.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

You heard it here first

Score one to Ned Soltz then, since one of his pre-NAB predictions in the podcast has come to pass already. Apple announced the newest MacPro lineup over the weekend with a choice of 8 or 4 processor cores inside the box. 8 processors? They're multiplying quicker than blades on a razor. There's plenty more to hear in the podcast, with episode three now available for free download via the iTunes Music Store - see the side panel for details.

Time to mark up your diaries for next week's thrilling live meet - wefcpug gathers again Monday next, 16th April, at the BBC Whiteladies Rd, 6.45pm for a prompt 7pm start. Entrance as usual via the back door, names to Richard please for the guys at security to have you 'on the list'. And on the agenda we have Richard's promised 'First things First' look back at the basics of keyframing in FCP, reports on NAB from sources various, (we have agents posted), latest news and rumours, 'Stump the Guru' and (you never know) a Show 'n Tell. PLUS our exciting free raffle, the prize being a Larry Jordan DVD on 'Soundtrack Pro'.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Podcast 3 now available

It's a small-scale version of the World Service on the latest 'Out Of Vision'. I've scoured continents to bring interviews to your iPod. First off, a look back at the Video Forum exhibition held in London earlier this year, with a round-up of technologies to watch in the coming year - maybe we'll get some of them into a wefcpug meeting.

From Dallas, Texas, indie producer, tech guru and all round nice guy Ned Soltz files his first despatch as our US correspondent. He's looking forward to NAB later this month, and offers some words of advice for anyone 'lucky' enough to be attending.

Fresh from a day's filming of Vervet monkeys*, James Bickersteth of Icon Films talks down the line from Durban, South Africa, about their current experiences of tapeless shooting, logging, P2 cards and all that.

All of this in one show? Twenty minutes of techtalk to while away a short lunch or a long render break. If you haven't subscribed via iTunes (button on the right hand bar of this blog) your Mac won't have downloaded the show yet. Otherwise it all runs by itself. Website for xml feeds is

For the first couple of weeks it's even in stereo, folks!


*My only disappointment is that, when I was lining up with James for the down-the-line recording, I misheard him and thought they were filming Velvet monkeys - hints of Johnny Vegas and the ITV digital Monkey. Now that would be even more watchable.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Coming Real Soon Now

Episode 3 of the wefcpod is recorded and assembled on my G5. As I sip from my cup of Earl Grey, all that awaits is the mix and the mpegging and it'll be in your iTunes library before you know it. Matters have not been helped by my ISP choosing last week to upgrade the ADSL connections hereabout, but circuits were found around the globe to correspondents across 3 continents.
There's a look back to Video Forum, a look forward to NAB, and a look sideways at rumours and gadgets just launched. Plus a contribution from a brave crew pioneering the use of P2 and - it's that word again - metadata.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

March meeting - Cat DV & metadata links

Cosy as we were in our new home even higher up in Whiteladies Road, wefcpug brains were as sharp as ever to spot that when John Donne wrote 'Song' in the 17th Century he had metadata in mind.

Links from Phil's discourse are: home of xml2text and other practical apps for handling XML for Traffic - the node-based editing app (ie looks like the Shake interface) is where to find the (slightly dated) Apple view on XML and FCP

Kevin Duggan showed off Cat DV - Ken Bell's company Quad Logic are the local source for that - and thanks to Kevin and Ken for organising the demo on Monday night.

Thanks to all who came, and asked such intelligent questions. Even more thanks to those who came and gave intelligent answers. We do it all over again on Monday April 16th - and don't forget there'll be a free raffle on that and following meetings. With luck and a following wind, there'll be another 'Out Of Vision' wefcpod podcast in the intervening time, to help you while away the Easter holiday.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

What's on March 12th?

Yet another thrill-packed meeting awaits us in the once delayed but much anticipated March meeting of wefcpug. Usual place & time (7pm, BBC Whiteladies Rd, backdoor entrance - names to Richard beforehand please to help security).

In a rash moment, whilst committing the last 'Stump the Guru' to disc for the podcast, I volunteered to make the subject of metadata a compelling and entertaining 10 minutes (I know, you'll be the judge of that).

Richard will be taking us through 'Wordlogger' - a logging program
and (I think) Kevin will reprise his demo of CatDV - pure AV delight.

Stump the Gurus but no questions about BLTs please and 'Show n Tell' - bring your masterpieces along (if they're short and portable).

PLUS some news about coming benefits for members
AND some new faces in the crowd. They're on the email list, they know the time and place and all that remains is to teach them the secret handshakes.

See you on Monday next.

Monday, March 05, 2007

March meeting moved on a week

Despite all you may have read in the blog and heard on the podcast, the March meeting has had to be be postponed a week - so we're now reconvening on Monday 12th at 7pm at the Beeb in Bristol.

You should know this already because you're on Richard's email list - if not, write to me at the address in the top intro!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Relive the evening - wefcpod ep 2 now out

Early notice that I've just mixed and uploaded episode 2 of the podcast to the server. If you subscribe through iTunes it'll happen automatically - otherwise you need to revisit
Safari works best, it'll give you a clickable feed to download the mp3 file.

Fuller write-up and links when I get time tomorrow. If you don't believe that technical advice and stand-up comedy go together, listen to this! Includes highlights of Larry Jordan's 'Stump the Guru', interviews with Larry and Oscar Stringer, plus my brief commentary on Ofcom and BBC proposals.

A full 36+ minutes of information and entertainment.


Tuesday, February 20, 2007

When Larry came to town - Feb's meeting

All those who were there will agree that was quite some night last week, when Larry Jordan visited the wefcpug. The BBC's Pete Lawrence did the warm-up act, Larry gave what turned out to be a lively and stimulating presentation on 'Livetype' (and, to be honest, who'd have thought ANYONE could make an interesting 40 minutes of that!), our very own Oscar Stringer demo'd 'I Can Animate' and Larry joined the 'Stump the Guru'. We didn't stump him, of course.

Links for this month:

Larry's website

I Can Animate

A fuller report on 'Out Of Vision - the wefcpod' Episode 2, when I get time to put it together. Should be later this week. This month's edition will include a substantial chunk of the 'Stump the Guru', exclusive post-match interviews with Larry and with Oscar, plus news and views, if I have any. In the meantime, here's some more of Richard's gallery.

Pete Lawrence's standup routine

Larry counts up the attendees

Oscar adjusts Prospero's hat

Thursday, February 08, 2007

We met the man

Both wefcpug guy Richard & wefcpug guy Phil had a day out in town, visiting the Video Forum show, and shook the hand of a slightly jet-lagged Larry Jordan, who's coming to Bristol next week. (Don't forget to book your place at the Thursday wefcpug with Richard).

Our other mission was to report on the Show - a report destined for the podcast if not the meeting, which will be action-packed. If you went and YOU have a 'best of show' to share, drop me a line ( or append your comments to this post.

upgrade to podcast feed

Hi folks

the content hasn't changed for episode 1 but there's now a grown-up XML feed compatible with iTunes and the works, URL for this is
The easiest way I've found to get this all up and working (assuming you want to) is to open that URL in Safari, and then down the bottom right of the result you'll see a link to 'Subscribe in iTunes'. Click that and for the rest of time iTunes will synchronise with whatever's new on the podcast feed. And now you get information about each episode. Artwork will follow!!
FYI the podcast has also been submitted to the iTMS directory, so it'll come up on a search one day soon.

The podcast is now live in the iTunes podcast directory. I've added a 'subscribe via iTunes' button to the right hand sidebar, newly spruced up - Phil

Friday, February 02, 2007

Out Of Vision - the wefcpod

'Out Of Vision' episode 1 is now available for downloading. The previous post, slightly revised today (2nd Feb) contains technical details if you're not sure about downloading a podcast.
The web address for the downloads (which is an RSS feed, compatible with iTunes Music Store and browsers such as Safari) is

What's in episode 1, and further links:

  • US FCP guru Larry Jordan speaks about his forthcoming Seminar series here in the UK, in an exclusive interview. To book places on the seminars, visit Larry's website . Larry's coming to the next wefcpug meeting - wefcpug members can receive a special discount on the ticket prices.
  • Pete Lawrence, from the BBC in Bristol, talks in another exclusive interview about the progress made in the last 12 months and future plans, as the BBC adopts FCP within its digital programme making strategy.

  • A chance to hear sample tracks from local composer Claudio Ahler's new album of production music 'Dreams of the Delta', distributed by Boost Music.
    Links for : Claudio's Website, Boost Music.

Monday, January 29, 2007

The Podcast is launched - Out of Vision

With slightly more effort and considerably more technology than I'd expected, the wefpug podcast, now to be known as the wefcpod, is launched. As part of the vagaries of the host system, it needed a title, so it's called 'Out Of Vision'.

Episode one, and future episodes, are to be found at
Tech notes are below.

I hope to produce one a month, in between our meetings, partly including the best bits of whatever happened, and partly looking forward to the next....

So the January 07 edition has an interview with US FCP guru Larry Jordan, who's coming on a UK tour next month - and is the special guest at the Feb 15th meeting - plus an extended chat with Pete Lawrence of BBC Bristol, talking about future plans (for kit and for people!) within the BBC. I hope you find something of interest to liven up your morning commute, or evening jog. There's also what I hope will turn into a regular feature - samples from a new CD of production music by a local composer, in this edition Claudio Ahlers.

Comments, suggestions, please append here (if you're a registered member) or email me at
The next posting will contain further details related to the content.


Technical details: (revised 2 Feb)

I've not yet done all the necessary techy things to make this an automatic feed in the iTunes store. That's coming soon. Depending on how your browser is set up, clicking on the feed link will open up your news feed browser (eg Firefox/NewsFire) or display a list of the mp3 files (there's only one there at the moment!) which will open in QuickTi

If you are surfing with
Safari, the url above, or feed:// - which it resolves into, gives an option to subscribe via iTunes which is the easiest way to receive the podcast.

The screen grab shows the display from Safari. Firefox will ask you what feed-reader (news aggregator) you want to use - more suitable for text than podcasts, but in, for instance, Newsfire, it works OK, producing its own downloads section.

You can make a manual subscription in iTunes:
follow Advanced>Subscribe to Podcast and type the URL in the dialog box. iTunes should then download the podcast a
nd automatically check in future.

Eventually more text will appear
in all the boxes, artwork too.
Bear in mind I'll be tinkering over the next week or so, apologies if the feed isn't available when you'd like it.

If all else fails - or you just don't want to bother with these subscription thingies, this edition can also be found the old-fashioned manual way at
but you'll find that a rather 'sparse' visual experience!

Friday, January 12, 2007

News of our next two meetings. Jan & Feb 07

It's a new year and the start of many, many more editors using Final Cut Studio in our region. This e-mail is going to our regular members and a few others I've had the pleasure of meeting during '06 in the training room. For their information, weFCPug (West of England Final CUt Pro User Group) is a monthly gathering of editors and film makers to share techniques and tips, learn about who's doing what and to have demos from leaders in their field. Last year saw evenings on Panasonic's new HVX200 camera and high definition in general plus many warm conversations on the merits of whatever Apple throw at us next. This year we promise some real treats. But first, news of the January meeting:

Monday 15th January at BBC Whiteladies Road, Bristol. (Please use the side entrance.) Start time 6.30pm for 7.00pm start. Usual wrap time about 9.00.

To include:

Richard on Steve Jobs keynote speech at Macworld, Las Vegas.

Phil on cyTV, IPTV and ad-hoc networking - fingers crossed for a live demo across the room!

and a special presentation from Pete Lawrence of the BBC talking about their switchover to using Final Cut Studio.

Sneak Preview of one month later:

Thursday 15th February (location as above) - NOTE THE DAY

To include:

Richard on new (and old) toys at Video Forum
Phil on his latest project, the weFCPug podcast - which might have even launched by then

and special guests, in person:

Oscar Stringer demonstrating I Can Animate

Larry Jordan (yes, THE Larry Jordan!) on his forthcoming seminars in Bristol - more information on this at the January meet

Please e-mail Richard to let us know you are coming to either meeting and, for February, I'm afraid pre-notification is a must. We expect to be very busy that night!

Since our inception 18 months ago we have been lucky enough to have had the use of Granada TV's facilities. Now that we have to move on we'd just like to extend a final thank you to Dave Blackham and his staff for accommodating us over all those months. Thanks Dave.

See you Monday 15th Jan,

Friday, January 05, 2007

Sign of the times?

As those who attended the last meeting will know, this unsolicited gift appeared on my doorstep. It's a sure sign of superior technology - Avid now have pens that LIGHT UP! All the better to write edit lists (or fault reports) in the dark.

We can but wait for the Apple retaliation - which may be coming in the MacWorld announcements later this month, of course. Pens which speak? Pens which edit on their own?

A timely reminder to all to -em- defer buying any new stuff until after the announcements, should there be any. Or then again, wait until NAB in Spring, or MacWorld next January....

What you DO have to wait for is the next wefcpug meeting. All being well, it'll be on Monday 15th, venue yet to be confirmed. The February meeting will also be around the middle of the month, for reasons to be announced shortly :-)

In the meantime, happy new 2007