Friday, October 31, 2008

Next meeting - final whistles...

If you haven't reserved your place by emailing Richard info@wefcpug.org.uk for the next meeting, hurry along. It's going to be one of the big ones. Plug-ins are flooding in, and we'll be demonstrating some of the best - we've got one of the world's leading writers of plug-ins to do a special appearance, and we could be giving away nearly $5000 dollars' worth!

We meet at BBC Bristol - back door security gate - 6.30pm for a prompt 7pm start (and it'll have to be prompt to get a chance of fitting all this in) on Monday next, Nov 3rd.

More details, with lists of the plug-ins we've been offered by sponsors, from the wefcpug website.

Please don't risk being disappointed: book your place now and arrive well before 7

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Next meeting - read the numbers

2957, that's pounds sterling - the current total retail value (Tuesday lunchtime) of pledged give-aways that Richard has gathered in for the forthcoming wefcpug meeting. It's next Monday, Nov 3rd, and we've got a special guest speaker too.

Peter Wiggins, of Industrial Revolution, is one of the leading writers of plug-ins for Final Cut, and he's agreed to give us an exclusive presentation. That's provided we've got the time, with all the prizes to give away! Details on the wefcpug website wefcpug.org.uk as usual - with regular updates on the increasingly incredible value of prizes. Just cast your eyes over the logos that are crowding their way onto the front page.

100 - that's the number of this blog posting. So much to say, so little time!

Friday, October 24, 2008

What we saw in the wilderness

October's meeting, which kicked off our 5th year saw a presentation by Dilesh Korya, editor of renown in these parts, and long-term wefcpug member. Dil has been working on 'Wilderness Explored', which has just finished its first series run on BBC4 here in the UK. It's always great to get the inside track on current projects, and they don't come much more current than this one! The programme was a mix of library (drawing on the huge back catalogue of the BBC Bristol's Natural History library - but with much of the footage previously untransmitted rushes from their block-buster round the world series as well as historic archive material), new interview and a lot of motion graphics and layered effects. All achieved in FCP, and in a couple of cases, right before our very eyes.

The usual warm-up acts came from Richard, who, in response to an audience request last month, worked the changes on Motion to do an (almost) instant moving face blur. We could tell you who requested this feature, but we'd have to kill you...

and by way of even lighter relief, Phil (c'est moi) gave a first-impressions report on Dirac, the open-source video codec which has emerged from BBC R&D. (I nearly wrote a 'report on what I understand about Dirac' but that is something of an exaggeration - and it would have made a very short presentation). Brief advantages are: it's good quality, at lower bit-rates than current codecs (mpeg-2) - one example quoted by the Beeb is the use of an SD circuit from Beijing to carry a Dirac-coded HD signal; it's scalable, meaning it's a possible competitor for H.264 in streaming/downloads to home - see the iPlayer next year; it's open-source, meaning there are no royalty payments for developers/users - and you're free to tinker with the code yourself.

Yeah, right, I hear you saying. But if you are so inclined, head over to http://diracvideo.org/ for the unexpurgated technical details, or a (slightly) more readable intro from the horse's mouth at http://www.bbc.co.uk/rd/projects/dirac/ . There are links on the dirac project pages to a couple of mac-specific projects. One is an experimental codec for Quicktime (the Shroedinger project) and another is for playback through VLC. I'm pursuing these, though I don't think I'll be doing much rewrites of code (!) and will report back one day.

Keep watching for news of our exciting big plug-in night in November....£2500 worth in prizes already garnered by Richard, with promises of more to come.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Ola! wefcpug tonight - exploring wilderness

Back to my keyboard after nearly a week's abstinence, with nought but an iPod touch and a dodgy wifi at the nearest coffee-bar, just in time to remind you all of the Oktoberfest wefcpug, which begins our 5th Glorious Year.

So it's tonight at the usual RV point - BBC reception (rear), 7pm - and for those of you not reading this on Monday 6th October, well you're too late. Names and blood samples to Richard so you're on the list, as usual.

And this year we begin with...

Renowned FCP editor Dilesh Korya has finally been persuaded to talk about what he's been doing - and it's 'Wilderness Explored', another mega BBC Bristol series, which promises 'breathtaking imagery and powerful narrative'. So the camerawork and narration will be good, then...

but there's more...

Richard will be blurring out faces (not a reference to visits to the bar) with, need I say more, Motion. An essential skill for any doc. editors these days.

and as the comedy warm-up...

I will attempt a plain-folks' introduction to BBC R&D's next Big Idea (which has been around for some time, admittedly) - and explain why we'll all be getting upgrades to the iPlayer next year. Dirac's the name, compression's the game.

And finally, we solve all known problems brought to the table. Possibly.

Phil