Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Weather, what weather?

(This should really be titled 'My Monday Diary' but there will be a wefcpug upsum in here somewhere, do read on.)

It's come to something when a temperature of +1 is felt to be quite tropical, but such was the situation on the Bristol-bound platform of Bath Spa station, Monday morning.   I was still in media-related shock,  hearing Jim Naughtie's potty-mouthed non-reading of the 0800 Today programme headlines, and the overnight cricket c/o Radio5 sports extra.   What greater boon to mankind has digital technology brought than crystal-clear cricket commentary from the other side of the world - but how can you sleep through it?   Despite the shock, I was able to chat with the German school group on the platform (and gently point out to the teachers that in England, our trains keep on running through the snow.   Well, sometimes).

Those perceptive, intelligent people from BBC Knowledge (commissioning) were hosting what turned out to be a day of presentations about what they want next on their channels.   There may (really!) have been huge chunks of ice in the harbour, but the warmth of the reception given to these witty charming good-looking people was a fine contrast.   If you weren't there, suffice it to say they want your best new ideas (so no old boring ones) and you'd better be tuned in to the Zeitgeist.   You see, there was a German thread running through the day.  But don't have big Natural History series ideas, they've got someone up the hill to do them, and better steer clear of food and house-hunting.   Unless you've got a better idea.  Other keywords for your proposals are 'passionate expertise', 'timeliness' and 'sense of purpose'.   Any more detail, you'll have to pay me!

And so eventually up the hill to the wefcpug, where a few intrepid souls braved the hurricanes and the ice, pausing only to shepherd the penguins across the Whiteladies Rd.

A warm welcome to new member John Burgan, an indie doc film-maker whom I've known for at least 10 years without ever actually meeting.   We ought to have a new term for virtual friends & associates - met 'on the boards' maybe?

For once, we watched actual content without a single timeline in sight.   (Although timelines were ever in mind.)   I can't, for copyright reasons, embed any of the video - sorry folks - but I was able to show 'n tell  a couple of the key scenes in the Ben Hur DVD.   This is a recording of the theatre production, which prompted a lot of discussion on Monday night, about performances, lighting, design, as well as the technical issues of sound and camera angles.   One point made struck me as very well made:  seeing the TV cut emphasises just how much do we as director/editors (to use a phrase from Monday) impose a point of view on the drama or event.   How much should you / would you leave to be done by the audience themselves?   In the early days of HD (I'm talking 20+ years ago) there was one school of thought which said:  big screens, plenty of detail, don't need the close-ups any more, stick to the locked-off wide shot of the stage.

And by contrast there was one of the bonus features, which we made in a freewheeling gun & run style, almost edited in camera.  How times change, was the verdict - shooting and presenting styles that once seemed too rough and ready are now mainstream, conventional.

I could go on, but not in this place where brevity is all.   I think we all felt 'we should do this more often' ie view and talk content.   So we will.

Apart from some techy problem-solving and a couple of 'best buy' software (sorry, apps) that will be discussed at a later date, that's it for 2010, or MMX - see you next year.

PS Did I mention how the grace charm and beauty of the BBC Knowledge commissioning team were matched only by their peerless grasp of 21st Century media and ability to communicate.  Oh I did.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Let it snow, let it snow, etc...

Greetings from the snowclad northern heights of Bath, where the gritting lorry rarely visits so we shoulder our own shovels.   I've dug my way out of the last project, with the DVD master safely at the duplicators, so what's happening in the world?  How many new cameras, new codecs, new edit systems have been launched in the last 6 weeks?   Em, quite a few actually.   How to keep up???

Assuming that you can tunnel your own ways out to the glittering media hub that is BBC Bristol on Monday night, you should find there's another wefcpug night taking place.   7pm at the BBC Club, entry via the back security gate, names to Richard as usual etc.etc.

Plan A is that the December meet will be more programme content than tech detail (but don't we always say that?).   I'll have a choice scene from the Ben Hur epic to dissect, and Richard may well have a car or two up his RAID, I mean sleeve.   Plus all the FCP questions that we've not had the time to solve over the last meeting (or two, or three).  And bring your own (footage that is) - let's see some movie!!

So that's Monday 6 December, as planned (that's a first) for the Dec 2010 wefcpug.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Catching up

It's been quiet here on the blog, in contrast to the nose/grindstone situation around me, with deadlines to meet and epics to cut.   I've always wanted to say that I've been editing Ben Hur, well now it's true.   It's not the Charlton Heston version, nor even the BBC 'Imagine' doc that's coming in December (they say), but the front-of-house and backstage DVD of the recent performance at the Theatre Royal Bath.   A screenable not-too-rough cut, running a mere 1hr 50min, was indeed screened at the egg in Bath on Sunday, to a generously appreciative audience.  Or in fact two generously appreciative audiences, in two showings.

Ben Hur has been a huge project for the Theatre Royal, and continues to be for my little corner of it, with sound dub, grading and authoring still in progress.   I've learned a great deal as always, and as always a lot of what I learned I sort of knew already:   it's difficult to edit when the audio tracks are mixed already (ie music plus dialogue), and it's doubly difficult when every angle has a shot of a drummer (actually a 'Hortator' in the roman galley sense) who has to keep the beat.   In sync.   Left following right.   Every shot.

More on this, maybe even some choice scenes, at a later meeting.

In the meantime, a follow-up to share with you all.   You might (just possibly) remember that my otherwise faultless chroma-key presentation was enlivened by the vuvuzela-like screech of the cooling fan on my MacBookPro.   We didn't quite end the evening in flames, but it felt like it.    Good news though, I have been successful in sourcing a spare part for this venerable machine, and in effecting the replacement in a quasi-surgical procedure.   I'm sure the good people at Apple servicing could have done this for me, but not at a sensible price (given the age of this machine).   It's now running again, cool and QUIETLY.   Still crashes on Google Earth 3 times out of 4, and still freezes once in a while when Mail can't cope with graphics input - but runs FCP through the day when needed.

And it seems I'm not alone.   From the pc world, where it's even worse:

hit this link

Maybe there's a place for a sax backing here.   Normal service to resume in time.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The wefcpug headlines Oct 2010

Here's the easily digested version of what's been going on - with future dates to note:

- the Oct wefcpug saw me demo a workflow for a compound-shot music piece, shot in a chroma-key studio, recorded via a Matrox mini and composited/assembled using multi-clips in FCP.   More detailed write-up to come when I get clearances for the pictures.

- we also saw for the first time the (beta) direct recording app for the Matrox mx, known as Vetura recorder.   (More news on this when my noisy and disfunctional MBPro fan is replaced!)

- next wefcpug is on Tuesday, 2nd Nov.  Richard will be talking TK transfers in the HD age.  Note this date breaks our usual pattern of second (or first) Mondays.

Other diary dates:

- don't forget today's (Oct19) RTS public meeting, with Danielle Nagler of BBC HD.  Also on the bill, a late addition, is Ian Potts, Exec Prod at BBC HD, who's one of the people deciding tech specs for HD on the BBC.  Details previously in this column.

- Nov 9th sees the next in the Bristol Anchor series of talks.   This time it's film producer Jan Harlan, who was EP on Barry Lyndon, The Shining, Full Metal Jacket and many other, talking about music as a dramatic and scripting tool...

Monday, October 18, 2010

BBC HD - the view from the top

The Bristol centre of the RTS is organising a meeting this week (Tuesday 19th October) billed as 'In Conversation - Danielle Nagler BBC HD'.   Danielle has been head of the BBC HD channel since July 2008, and will be talking about her role in the channel and future plans for HD at the beeb.

The meeting is open to guests of the RTS, it's in the BBC Bristol Conference centre - starts at 7.30pm, entrance via the back security gate.

email phil if you wish to attend.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Frameline going offline?

Way way back (March this year) we demo'd Frameline 47, a media indexing app for the mac - summary review here.

At the time, the package was retailing around the £90 mark.   But no more.   There's a note on the Frameline website to the effect that they're ceasing development.   You can still download and there's a long-term development licence free of charge, but this looks like the end of the road for the current version.

Today's the day

The new wefcpug season kicks off today, Monday 11th Oct.  Taking our cue from the success of  'Avatar', all our presenters will be in 3D, and surround sound (provided they move around a bit).

We're back in the usual room behind the club at BBC Bristol - contact Richard in the usual manner to get your names on the list.   7pm kickoff, gathering beforehand if you can to help get the gear set up.

On the bill tonight - 'Matrox Reloaded' - using the mxO2 in a studio context, direct capture to disc (exciting new development to be announced) and multi-layer chroma-keying.  With music and dancing girls - what more do you want?   There's stuff about IBC and Soundtrack from Richard plus whatever problems have been stored up over the summer.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Late Change to OCTOBER MEETING - NOW OCT 11th

(If you're on the email list you'll know this already, or you are about to!)

We've had to change the date of the October wefcpug to NEXT MONDAY, which will be the 11th October.   Provisionally, it's the usual venue (room behind the Club at BBC Bristol) but please await further confirmation of this!

Working title for one contribution (from myself) is Matrox Revisited - a comprehensive (I hope) rundown of a day in the life of a studio shoot with - look everyone, no hands -  no tape.   OK, except as backup.


Plus - a rundown of IBC reports and rumours.

See you in a week's time, and sorry again for the delay.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

How not to have an easy life if you're an animator

I've just been sent links to one of the latest, and smallest, projects that our good friends at Aardman have been up to.   The next time you've lost a clip somewhere in the bins, think about losing a character!

Presumably the animators had to be vetted for hay-fever, and better not start laughing while at work.

See it here
and there's even a mini 'Making of' which is worth 5 minutes of anyone's time here

Watch and wonder...

Monday, September 13, 2010

Better link for Factual Talks in Bristol

SWScreen have also put up a notification for the BBC Anchor sponsored talks, which start this week, one a month - this one has details of the complete run.

Link

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Bristol-based talk on Factual programming - Wed Sept 15th first one

Greetings, faithful readers.  Events have conspired to keep me from keyboard and microphones for the Summer, but rest assured I'm back.  A new season for this blog, the podcast and other exciting developments is under preparation, but as an 'amuse bouche' here's a prod towards the first of a (roughly) monthly series of addresses to the faithful by (and I quote the organisers) 'industry insiders' who are inside Factual programming.

The series is based at the Watershed, at a work-friendly (if you work in Bristol Medialand) 6.30pm and is brought to us by the BBC Anchor project.  Free to attend, but you need to email for a ticket.

Visit this link

http://www.bristolmedia.co.uk/diary/2010/9/15/in-conversation-with-simon-dickson-discuss-what-makes-great-viewing-with-television-insiders )

for the Bristol Media notification, with helpful whizzy links to put it into your online calendars.

There is an overview of the series of talks, but I haven't found it on the web yet!   I think it must be an intitiative test.

I'll see you at the first one - but alas I'm blowing  my alto sax on subsequent dates.*

More, much more, to come in time.

---------------------------

* Addendum.  It has struck me that some might infer a cynical construction here, a counterpoise between the aforesaid learned 'industry insiders' blowing their own trumpets and myself blowing a saxophone.  Heaven forefend, and anyway such a trumpet would be metaphorical, whereas the saxophone is concrete.**

---------------------------

**Corrigendum.  Nor do I wish to imply that my saxophone is made of concrete, it is of conventional metallic formation.

Friday, July 02, 2010

But wait, there's more - Monday next for wefcpug

Not only do we have an exclusive first demo of the 'get' software by one of the developers (see previous posting here) but Richard's finagling has produced a super prize for our world famous free lottery.  Not only will some lucky person get to take away the latest CrumplePop goodie, but we'll all find out how to use it too!

See you Monday 5July - indicate your attendance to Richard in advance, and you'll be able to get in without detention in the holding cells.

Monday, June 28, 2010

July 2010 meeting of the wefcpug

Match, what match?   Time to put away the Vuvuzelas (see previous!) and your Argentinian / Brazilian flags (you were supporting them all along, right?) and 'get' ready for another season finale wefcpug meeting.


‘get’ is a tool that searches video by the spoken word, phonetically and can then export any chosen results into FCP. It is extremely accurate and after being announced at NAB 2010 won a DV Black Diamond award for Best of Show.   And - guess what - Adam Knight from AV3 software, developers of 'get' will be giving an exclusive demo of the product, currently emerging from beta. 


Plus news and views from a world outside football.


Next week - Monday July 5th - BBC Bristol, 7pm.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Great minds think...differently

(You may want to argue about the great minds too).

Following our learned discourse on Monday night, on the desirability or otherwise of Vuvuzuelas, Nick reports a hot link to work done in the Centre for Digital Music, at QMC London - they helpfully include an audio plug in (not sure if it's AU or VST) to filter out the massed Vuvus.

By a strange coincidence, I've just spent/wasted half an hour generating the sound of massed Vuvus in Garageband, with the ultimate aim of hearing what the National Anthem would sound like.   (If you could play more than the off-tuned Bb which QMC confirm is the note).  

Annoyingly, no-one has yet produced a SoundFont of the Vuvuzela (I wait to be corrected), and it is unbelievably complicated (I remind myself) but possible to add extra synths and vocoders to Garageband.   I am rapidly climbing the learning curve on .sf2 files, aka Soundfonts, plug-ins and components.   I've even managed to find a way to output Midi....But, as Sherlock Holmes put it, the world is not ready for the end results, I fear.  Think Kazoos.

(The original aim was to produce an electronic version of an un-tempered keyboard, but I got sidetracked from this grander project).

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Are you a true geek - try this test?

For about a year, one of the links on the right (an unsponsored one - there just because it's the right thing to do) is for the 'Joy of Tech' daily(ish) comic strip.   They're funny, a bit too accurate sometimes, and often beautiful works of illustrative art.

And sometimes, as in today's brilliant example (permalink here) they involve a couple of minutes explanation for passing civilians/spouses to understand the joke.  

The June meeting

A surprisingly full and varied agenda last night, ranging from a preview of Avid's Media Composter, sorry Composer, 5, to Richard's demo of Vuvuzela* removal at a stroke (almost), taking in the Circle of Fifths on the way.

If you missed any of that - well it's gone, sorry.   Sometimes the Web just can't replace being there on the night.

Our (FCP shortcut) letters of the month were B G and T - careful Richard, you're going to use them all up soon.

Coming next month:   the Council of Elders have met and decreed a Variation to the Wefcpug rules, and the next meeting will be the First Monday of July - July 5th.   Think of it as Independence Day + 1.

We'll be setting up the design for this year's most-desired accessory (after the Vuvuzela), which will be the official wefcpug membership card.   Details to come.

In the meantime - welcome to the 100+ extra readers steered to this blog yesterday by the BBC's Internet Blog.  In your honour I've repainted the walls.   Further redesign will follow.

And do take a look at the newly fashioned wefcpug website - wefcpug.org.uk - and especially at the right hand column, where Richard is lovingly embedding links to YOUR WORK.   If he knows where to find it.

Which reminds me - I may have been dreaming, but I swear the majority of those present last night agreed that we should have an online film (filmette) tournament - go on, let's do it.

------------

*I checked on Wikipedia, so it must be true, the note of the much loved Vuvuzela is Bb - which, give or take an octave or so, is the C of the Tenor (and Soprano) saxophone.   I'm still weighing the significance of this little known fact.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

BBC HD picture quality - now it gets personal

There's been considerable, and at times heated, discussion about the technical quality of the BBC HD channel, primarily related to changes in the Freesat feed (lower bitrate, change of encoder) - the general tenor of the discussion being that these have been downward steps in quality.

A group of the leading contributors (to the BBC's HD - since relocated to Internet - Blog) were invited to meet the BBC group they've been arguing with, and participate in technical tests.  You can read a first report of their meeting at http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/bbcinternet/2010/06/picture_quality_on_bbc_hd_a_vi.html

It's worth noting the several references to tightening up on production companies to meet the specs (ie in camera / coding choices).   We'll see how this develops.

What they don't talk about is the choice of transmission standard for satellite feeds of HD - in the UK we use a standard known as DVB-S which is an MPEG2 transport stream.   Elsewhere, in Germany for example, DVB-S2 is the standard.   As you'd expect from the numbering, it's a later (and improved) development, and can include MPEG4 (aka AVCHD) streams.   It would appear that Sky and Freesat are moving towards DVB-S2 - and I'd assume that any receivers marketed as 'Freesat' will be dual capable.   If you want to see the results, the two German HD channels (Das Erste HD and ZDF HD) are currently transmitting in the clear on the Astra satellite system (19.2 E).

What happened in May (Tech Droolfest)

For the record, electronic thanks to Devin Workman who dropped in to the May wefcpug to give a quick description and part demo of the newly announced Euphonix range of FCP-friendly control surfaces.

http://www.euphonix.com/artist/solutions/video.php

links to their own pages.   We've been promised more, more, in a meeting later this year - we just had time to drool over the programmable/touch-screen keys on the MC Control panel.   What caught my eye was the use of their own (EuCon) control protocol over ethernet - promising tighter, more responsive controls.  This is a very welcome improvement to FCP's (and more importantly Soundtrack Pro's) use of motorised faders, with (we were promised) huge improvement in latency over Midi connections.

Nick brought in the pre-production Canon XF305 which he has been testing, and which prompted further drools from all.   More, much more on this too in future communications.

Our next is to be on Monday 14th June:  the usual last-minute emails and posting here will be sent...

Saturday, May 08, 2010

May 2010 wefcpug - the declaration of results

Members and blog-followers, I, as returning officer for the constituency of wefcpug, do hereby announce the following topics were elected as part of Monday's running order....sorry, been working late nights and early mornings this week

The ink is dry on this month's menu, and it's an unmissable night for anyone who wants more faders to fade, more knobs to twiddle, or to put it another way, it'll appeal to the control-freaks inside us all.

Our new best friend, the very nice Devin Workman of Euphonix will be with us to demo the latest range of controllers and control surfaces from said company, whose newly-developed compatibility with FCStudio was much trumpeted a year or so back. 

Alas, no euphonia (or euphoniums) will be on demo, as I originally thought Richard's phone message said, so brass band night will have to be postponed for a month or so.


There'll be more to see and hear, if we get time - it's going to be a great night.
See you on Monday then!

Thursday, May 06, 2010

May 2010 wefcpug meeting

The usual reminder that it's wefcpug Monday next week - 10th May.
At BBC Bristol, 7pm - usual terms and conditions apply.


Agenda is still under consideration - minor matter of a general election in the way.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Freeview HD on show tonight

Since the digital TV changeover in our region, the Mendip transmitter has been carrying the Freeview HD channels.   If you'd like a preview before the boxes and sets hit the shops, there's a chance at tonight's RTS meeting.

Guests and RTS members welcome to
Conference room A, BBC Bristol - usual backdoor entrance

Tuesday, 20th April - 730pm  (715pm for RTS members attending the AGM).

Friday, April 09, 2010

April 2010 meeting

A breathless reminder that the next meeting of the wefcpug is on Monday next, 12th April - the usual 7pm at the BBC Whiteladies Rd, Bristol.

We're pencilling in the agenda - Richard will certainly have another mystery letter - and currently it'll either be an exciting Motion project or an exciting Sountrack Pro project.   I might even toss a coin.

Plus the usual Mac rumours (100% correct), never deliberately misleading tips and hot advice...see you there.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Software review - Frameline 47

Here as promised at the last meeting are my first thoughts after a week or so playing with Frameline 47.  A fuller review will appear later in another place - to be advised!
Phil


Frameline 47 is the latest software product to offer an answer to a problem you don’t realise that you’ve got yet.   As media content and delivery systems proliferate and as storage costs fall, the amount of audio/video content we’re storing on our personal computers, either at home or in business, is rising, and it may well be an exponential rate of increase.   The problem comes when you want to find that movie file you produced or bought 18 months ago, you know, the one you shot in France, where was it now, and when did you make it?  What did you call it, even?
If it’s a matter of finding your personal photos or your iTunes tracks, it’s no big deal if you need to rootle around the folders in your personal directory.   But what happens when you’re using shared, networked storage, or removable disks?   And what if you’ve no idea what the file was called?   And what if your business depends on locating that set of media?  That’s when you need help with the organisation - cue Frameline 47 .
The premise is simple - the app scans all the connected discs you want it to, detects the media files, and displays the list with thumbnail pictures.   Other data in the file, such as timecode tracks, or Quicktime annotation entries are also shown.   Frameline 47 then allows the user to add information (let’s give it the proper name, metadata) to each file.  The built-in editor follows the familiar Who? What? Where? format of entries for a start, but it’s considerably more subtle.   The software distinguishes between ‘Content Notation’ fields such as Who, What, Event, Place, Time, and Word notation which includes Keywords (as in Aperture or iPhoto), description, Transcript or just Notes. 
The metadata you enter is written into the media file itself, as well as being stored in a Frameline 47 database - fairly obviously this can be used to sort search criteria for file location.  Other file operations are available too on different screens:  media files can be edited (after a fashion in a simple interface), output as h.264 (mp4) proxy files with matching timecode.  Clips can be scanned for shot changes and marked up, and best of all (as you would hope) the metadata can be exported in an XML form suitable for use within Final Cut Pro.  The figure 7 in the name refers to the mpeg-7 standard for metadata interchange, to which the programme will comply.  (As anyone who’s had experience with TV data ‘standards’ will know, this appears to me to be currently a looser description than expected, with plenty of customisations for consumers, eg broadcasters, to adopt, hence diluting the standardisation).
After proving trials over the last week for this review, I can verify that it works as advertised, has been stable on my Leopard OSX installation (it is Snow Leopard compatible, I believe), and looks to be a useful addition at the modest price for single users.   The challenges it’s designed to address are real enough, and if the metadata / XML outputs it produces are adopted as world standards (or, let’s face it, they’re what your customer is demanding) it’s well worth investing the time inputting the data.
The software is still under active development in the UK. One drawback that struck me is the lack of availability of thumbnails etc for disks that are temporarily offline - I’m told this will be addressed in a later update.   There are some annoyances in displaying 16:9 anamorphic footage (which, except for mp4 files, will show up as 4:3):  this I assume is because of the familiar limitations of the QuickTime engine which is used by Frameline 47.  Similarly there are some constraints in the way FCP will initially display customised column headings in its browser (this is an FCP ‘feature’ rather than a limitation of Frameline 47) but it’s modifiable thanks to a clear and comprehensive Help system in Frameline 47.  
The software can also do more, such as generate html code for web pages (complete with thumbnails and inbuilt links to media files for display), consolidate files, even generate enhanced podcasts.   I can’t imagine that I would use it for editing if I’ve got FCP available, and the latest FCP7 will itself export mpeg-4 files (for ‘sharing’) in the background.   But as a solid stand-alone archiving app, Frameline 47  has much merit as the new kid on the block.
There’s a 30-day free trial available for download, as well as online purchase, at the company website http://www.frameline.tv/
Currently it’s priced at £89, €99, $139 for the single user version, £799, €899, $1099 for the network edition.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Diary dates for March - BBC Anchor sets sail

So much to do, so much to write up - as all who attended this month's wefcpug will know, it'll be a big report when it comes out.  (Watch this space).

But before your diary fills up, make a visit to the 'New Tools, New Ways of Working' page on the Bristol Media site, which is here.   There's to be a 3-day series of presentations, either at the Beeb or at the Watershed, on subjects close to our collective heart.  Entry is free, but you do need to book in advance by following the links on their cover page (which is hosted by Bristol Media).   That'll push you through to the appropriate eventbrite.com page, from which you'll receive an emailed e-ticket.   Note that you have to print this ticket (and its barcode) out to get into the sessions.  Though someone might like to try displaying it on an iPhone?

If you can navigate your way through the crowded page (more icons than the average backdrop to a football interview) the current picks of your scribe are the Blue Room (gadgets to play with!), Practical HD (OK, so as opposed to what, Impractical HD? Don't be cynical), and a session on Thursday night when Roly Keating talks about digital archives (that's at the Watershed).

See you at some of them? 

Monday, March 01, 2010

Tonight's the night

for the wefcpug March meeting.  If, that is, you are reading this blog on Monday 1st March.

Almost a record, blogging the forthcoming meeting after it's happened, but I have finally disentangled myself from the non-urgent tasks of life to reach the keyboard.

Assuming all goes well in the next hour, I'll be talking storage, showing off some new options, and, with more relevance than ever before, how you find the stuff you stored away one year afterwards.   There's a fabulous prize to be won in our new-look raffle, plus all those web goodies you've been emailing me about.  Well, some of them anyway.

And, wait, there's more.   When I hand over to Richard...
...yes, it's the usual place - BBC bar in Bristol, kickoff at 7pm.  Names to R so security know whom to expect.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Changes of plan

I knew I'd have to pay for taking time off at Christmas - been too busy to blog, Bah humbug. 
In other news I read that my namesake from Punxsutawney reckons there'll be another 6 weeks of winter to come.  (See here if the above mystifies you).  So, given the bad vibes, we've put off the February meeting.   Well, not quite.   Neither R nor I can make next week's 'traditional' second Monday, but there is a large exhibition in London the following week.  Contact Richard to co-ordinate diaries.   (I'll be some many miles away, sorry).
And to continue the tradition of abandoning tradition, we've had to move the March meeting date, but it's forward this time, to March 1st.  Pencilled in so far is a demo / review of a new app for managing those video assets currently clogging your disks, Frameline 47.  You can download a time-limited demo here and we are being promised a special introductory discount for members.   Possibly even a licence for the raffle.  Plus we'll be adding our own uninformed comments about iPads and the future of media.  And much much more.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

iPlayer beta now public on Freesat

If you've got a Humax/Foxsat Freesat receiver, you're now able to participate in the public beta trial of the BBC iPlayer.   That's provided your hardware has done its automatic updates of course.
You also need a (wired) connection to your broadband router.

For the beta program, you then tune to BBC1, press the red button and enter code 5483.  Then it's a matter of navigating the (IMHO) rather naff oversized front-end of the iPlayer.

Fuller news and links at digital spy.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Meeting tonight (11th Jan 2010) - let's go for it

So far so good on the weather forecasts for tonight - it'll be more of a planning for 2010 meeting than a show'n tell (but do bring along anything you have to talk about - problems especially welcome).  And we may beat a hasty retreat to a nearby hostelry (or home!) if they have to shut up shop 'cos of the weather.

But I'll be at the usual spot at 7pm or so tonight - so round up your huskies and sled, and let's do the show right there.

If you're a definite Yes or No drop me an email please.

Phil

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Happy New Year - some belated presents

All the best wishes for a busy and prosperous 2010 to my readers, wherever you all are.  Today is reputed to be the most boring day of the year (being the second day back at work after the holidays, and all reasonable excuses for avoiding work used up on the first day).   But not on this blog...

To begin with matters arising:
If anyone can remember that far back, we had a good set of meetings in December.   The Alan Roberts joint meeting with RTS was the official one - there'll be a write-up on the RTS website (when I've done it) - and the meal at Racks was the (slightly) less technical affair.  Incidentally I wonder if anyone at Racks ever worked in TV OBs (Outside Broadcasts, that is) where 'Racks' is still the term for Vision Control - an engineering job that was one of the first I did, back in the (analogue) day.   The camera then was the EMI 2001 4-tube colour camera, whose internal optics I was pleased to be able to identify as one of Alan Roberts' cabinet of curiosities.   To his surprise.

Back to the Bristol Racks:  the cineaste end of the table were discussing films noirs (well noirs et blancs to be accurate) - and by happenstance a couple of days later I came across this website, dedicated to films of the period.  It's worth keeping an eye on because they seem to have freebies on offer every so often.  I just missed the 'Stella Artois' mini season of classics, for instance.  Most of the current offering of classic films are £3 to stream, but the trailers are free.

Are the iPhone/iPod Touch owners amongst you aware of the '12 days of Christmas' freebies at the Apple Store?  Only a couple of days left - have to be honest, you've not missed much, though 'Labyrinth' the game has kept me amused.

A different sort of freebie app, by courtesy of those very very nice people at AJA.  It's another video footage / data size calculator, but an app this time, very useful, very neat.   The easiest way to get it is to type AJA into the search bar once you're in the apps section of the iTunes store.   As opposed to typing AJA into the music section, which gives you results, but not the ones you expect.

In theory, provided the snow avoids us, we're back in business at the Beeb on Monday next, which is the 11th Jan in my calendar.   Agenda yet to be decided.   Though I'll certainly be showing off a couple of other TV editing related apps now residing on my iPod!

If you can't wait until then, and your brain is addled with too much undemanding TV viewing, there's 'another chance to see' the Apple 'Meet the Expert' featuring wefcpug-friend Peter Wiggins.  It's now a QT stream (which you can save as a .mov) to be found here.   Pete is talking about his editing of the Tour de France and other sports programming, as well as answering online questions that were sent during the original webcast.   Some of the content will be familiar (especially if you heard the podcast I made at the Tour production in Summer) and the 'studio' setting is somewhat offputting (the standard Apple tutorial/demo  2 blokes in shirts at a bar with a MacBook in a white limbo set) but it's a good use of an hour of your time, IMHO.