Saturday, October 29, 2011

A last quack from the duck

Many of you will know of Automatic Duck, the first and best inventors of software (in the pre 'apps' days) to transfer edit information between FCP, Avid, and AE, as well as ProTools.  Not only did their software work, and work well, but they always struck me as nice guys to do business with.   Time after time I've come across posts from Wes Plate (founder of the company) explaining how to do stuff, or promising to make something happen.   For many a pressured editor, Automatic Duck came to the rescue like the seventh cavalry.  And let's face it, it's a great name for a company.

Alas, it looks like the Duck has become the first victim of the new order represented by FCP X - in what would appear to be a chilly climate for third-party suppliers, it's been announced that the company will no longer be updating their software or able to support customers in the manner accustomed.   Wes himself now works for Adobe systems.

But they're going out in style; they've made the current offers free to download, even including the recent FCP X to AAF/OMF export.   That's a generously good-spirited offer back to the community, and well deserving of a round of applause here at the wefcblog.

Read more of the background / link to the downloads here.  (It's a now rare dotted IP address in the link, btw, offered by the Duck because of the delays in DNS promulgations.)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Our connected world

What comes first to your mind when you think of Thailand?  The food, the exotic architecture, or more recently (though blink and you'd miss the reports) the floods that are devastating the country?  Bet you didn't think of Thailand as a major manufacturer, especially of hard drives (which they are, or rather were).
It seems that ALL of the major HD manufacturers (Hitachi, Samsung, Western Digital, Seagate, Toshiba) either have plant in Thailand, or are dependent on Thai suppliers.
As one headline put it, 'Brace yourself..for the coming HD shortage'.

My first notification came from another direction - with a call from my opticians to say that Hoya couldn't supply a particular lens for several weeks.   I've been looking around the usual HD suppliers, and there are already price rises and 'sold out' labels across the board.

It's probably too late already to avoid problems, if you need large numbers - otherwise there's always SSD to consider.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Piece by piece the good news arrives (FCP X)

Or, given the context, maybe that should be tile by tile (colour joke).
We've mentioned the unbelievably free colour correction software Da Vinci Resolve frequently at the wefcpug, with a promise of a run-down/review soon.   Which is to say, once I've read my way through the 300+ pages of the manual and conquered the usual fear-of-unknown-interface problems.

As of today, there's more reason to do this - and to rejoice.   Following the update of FCP X, adding XML import/export to the app (admittedly its own very special dialect of FCP X), there's now an update to da Vinci Resolve (yes, including the free version) that speaks this dialect.  So FCP X'ers are liberated from the underwhelming colour correction interface in 'X' and can turn to Resolve.
It's a very welcome development - according to Blackmagic:

The new Resolve 8.1 software update includes support for Apple Final Cut Pro X XML round trip, new layer node composite effects, ACES colorspace support, compatibility with Avid AAF for round trip with Avid Media Composer™, Final Cut Pro 7 clip size and position support, new copy commands for grades, upgraded EDL features, support for UltraStudio 3D for Thunderbolt™ and compatibility with the 2011 MacBook Pro 15” computer.
With this new update, DaVinci Resolve can now import and export Final Cut Pro X timelines using the new Final Cut Pro rich XML file format. When working in Final Cut Pro X, customers will get full timeline round trip where projects can be moved between Final Cut Pro X and DaVinci Resolve,retaining the multi track timeline with frame accurate cuts, dissolves and even speed changes. DaVinci Resolve will also use rich XML from Final Cut Pro X to link to original camera footage. DaVinci Resolve supports full media management for Final Cut Pro X projects including additional source clip folders and alternate image source when conforming edits in Resolve.
Because DaVinci Resolve supports grading of high resolution and bit depth files, edits can be exported out of Final Cut Pro for finishing in the highest quality. An alternative workflow is to use DaVinci Resolve 8.1 to manage extremely high resolution raw image formats such as RED, ARRI, CinemaDNG and DNxHD and then to grade and render to ProRes or uncompressed media for Final Cut Pro X.

Read all about it here 
Download the software (and the hefty manual) by registering here

This is big news for FCP - not just for colour graders but (fingers crossed) someone somewhere might be creating linkages for the rest of the post-production work that's done.  Soundtrack Pro (or better) - it's you we're talking about.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Blame the algorithm

Observant readers (aren't you all?), depending on how this blog is accessed, will have noted the tasteful ads served up by Google in between the pearls of wisdom.   For the most part, the ads, which are chosen by the gnomes in the googleplex, are presumably picked for their pertinence to the aforesaid pearls.  So, it's the usual suspects:  hardware vendors, edit software trainers, broadcast-related manufacturers.   But yesterday's post about the RTS meeting, which contained words such as 'Twitter', 'Reporter', and 'Journalist', brought forth an ad for pest control advisors.  

Monday, October 17, 2011

Another event in Bristol, 25th October.

The Bristol Centre of the RTS is hosting a talk by Matthew Eltringham, who is editor at the BBC's college of journalism.  It's title is 'Can TV News keep up? The battle between web and telly.' 
Here's the precis of the talk:

The coverage of the Summer Riots (2011) proved that online beats rolling TV news in breaking live coverage. For the news audience, the web was the winner as TV and Radio struggled to keep up with events across the country.
The live web coverage from mainstream media operators like the BBC, Guardian and Daily Telegraph had the speed, immediacy and breadth to reveal the full extent of the crisis on our streets. Traditional platforms were left trailing as the Web, Twitter and YouTube stole the march.
All big news media organisations are plunging into the world of social newsgathering with its potential to engage audiences and share content.  But  #ukriots taught us why journalists need to use the power of social media and also to understand its many pitfalls, to avoid giving credence to half-truths, rumours and factoids. It also showed how flexible and compelling these new platforms are in telling news stories.


Open to all, not just RTS members (though it might be advisable to write) - see www.rts.org.uk/bristol
BBC conference room, Bristol 
7.30pm on Tuesday 25th October 2011

Friday, October 14, 2011

November 2011 Bristol event

An early pointer that this year's Encounter festivals are almost upon us.  The 2011 season is the 17th of this international film festival, which incorporates Brief Encounters and Animated Encounters.

As usual, it's at the Watershed - dates this year 16-20 November.

Much more, in colour and with pix of Wallace and Gromit, here

coming soon to Bristol

Very soon, in fact tomorrow - Saturday 15 October @1530 - there's a special screening at the Watershed of 'How the world got mixed up', a BBC doc at feature length which forms part of BBC2's 'Mixed Race' season.

Following the screening, the programme's director David Okuefuna (who was previously a BBC director based in Bristol) and Bristol-based executive producer Michael Poole will lead a discussion on some of the issues raised.

This event is the first in what's to be badged a 'Made In Bristol' preview:  this one is presented in partnership with BBC Bristol as part of Black History Month at Watershed.

Full details for this free event here (Watershed site)

when the dust settled...report on Oct11 wefcpug

It may have been a Monday night, and after work, but there was plenty of lively discussion and a widespread divergence of views and opinion at this month's wefcpug.   For once, we weren't arguing the future of editing tools, but important topics like narratives and story-telling.   And what provoked this outbreak?   Viewing of just one of the graduate films from the Newport School of Film Doc, with many thanks to John Burgan, who brought the material along.

Sure, the discussion did range around FCP X versus the rest - with a growing group that comprises 'the rest'.   There'll be another exclusive screening at next month's wefcpug, when distinguished editor and wefcpug member Don Fairservice shows his current work.   Keep following this blog for details - the date is 7th November 2011.

In the meantime, we'll be keeping tabs on the tech developments, both in FCP X and in Lightworks, as they move out of beta phase / continue their update paths {delete where appropriate}

wefcpug aside, there's an eventful media calendar in Bristol - see the next entries.

Friday, October 07, 2011

wefcpug Oct 2011 - Monday 10th

Monday's wefcpug continues the conversations from last month, with a unique chance to view new work from rising talents at one of Wales' leading film schools:

Documentary at the Newport Film School

Founded by the father of British documentary John Grierson in 1966, Newport Film School is one of the oldest film schools in the UK. It all started with just one clockwork Bolex camera, but Grierson was unapologetic – “Give them a box, a cardboard box with a hole in it. You don’t need sophisticated equipment. What you are going to say is more important.”

Ten years ago the film school launched the UK’s only BA (Hons) course solely focused on documentary film-making which has grown steadily since then. Programme Leader John Burgan will present a selection of shorts from the current crop of graduates.


And we return to the new boy on the block, FCP X.  With the recent .1 update is the package ready for the real world yet?    As they say everywhere, your voice counts...

Join us at BBC Bristol, 7pm on Monday 10th Oct - email me or Richard to be sure your name is on the list for the guys at security.  There is no charge for entry to this meeting.

The inevitable day

Given that this blog and our group wouldn't have happened without the work of Steve Jobs, it would seem wrong not to mark his passing.  So a tip of the hat to a genius who's affected our lives and our careers, and a pause to reflect before business continues.