Cut | Color | Post

Ryan Holmes Cut Color Post. Excerpts, quips, and musings on the production and post-production industry of editing, color grading, and deliverables.

Blackmagic Wasn't Joking

Apparently, BMD wasn't joking around when they said a unified code base for their cameras would speed up firmware updates for their cameras. After just adding a slew of ProRes updates to all their cameras, BMD announced today that they are updating the BMPC4K with options that are sorely needed (I anticipate these will be available for the cinema camera soon):

  1. On Screen Histogram
  2. Time Remaining indicator for storage space
  3. Audio level indicators

More information is available here on the BMD update here. Initial testing on my BMPC4K is stable so far.

Blackmagic Pocket Camera now $495

Facing stiff competition from the likes of Panasonic's GH4 and Sony's a7S Blackmagic lowered the price of the Pocket Camera to a mere $495. Keep in mind that this camera is a MFT (micro four-thirds) mount, but has the capability of shooting in any flavor or ProRes (courtesy of the latest firmware update) as well as CinemaDNG RAW. It's also a smaller sensor than the above listed cameras with its Super 16 sized sensor (12.48mm x 7.02mm), which amounts to a nearly 3X crop factor on lenses. The crop factor gets reduced to nearly APS-C sizes (~1.7x) if a Metabones speed booster gets attached.

The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera will be $495 until August 31st, 2014. I doubt they will raise the price back to the $995 after that and I’m sure it’s a marketing trick to get everyone buying quickly, but it might just work as I see the possibility of many retailers running out of stock soon.

Blackmagic Firmware Brings All Flavors of ProRes to Cameras

Blackmagic has followed through with their promise for regular updates, announcing firmware version 1.8.2 bringing all flavours of Apple ProRes 422 to their current cameras.

Head over to Blackmagic and download the latest firmware for your camera.

Even Without Aereo, Those Problems Don't Go Away

Americans are still fed up with huge channel bundles, high prices, poor service and the lack of ability to watch all their shows on all their devices. That’s part of why Aereo was attractive: It offered a few dozen local broadcast channels and the Bloomberg TV financial channel on multiple devices for just $8 a month.

Industry watchers say the pay TV business must continue to evolve to win over unhappy customers, even if the nation’s top court said grabbing signals from the airwaves and distributing them online without content-owner permission isn’t the way.

”Even without Aereo, the reason people were cutting the cord, for cost reasons and so on, those don’t go away,” said Robin Flynn, an analyst with market research firm SNL Kagan.

Robin's right. Killing Aereo doesn't stop their problem. In the same way that shutting down Napster didn't help the RIAA. The problem is that technology is moving faster than these companies. And the companies want to continue to sit on their profit margins more than serve their customer base. It's only a matter of time until a company, product, or service crops up that really addresses how customers consume media (anytime, anywhere, on any device) and forces the main telcos to adapt. Or if it plays out like the RIAA, until an Apple like company throws the telcos a lifeline via an iTunes-esque software/service and then begins to shift the balance of power.

Apple ProRes 4444 XQ

Apple introduced another codec to the ProRes family last week, ProRes 4444 XQ. This codec is geared towards high-end visual fx as the codec supports 12 bits per image channel, 16 bits for the alpha channel and carries a data rate of about 500mbps for 1080p30. From Apple's White Paper:

The highest-quality version of Apple ProRes for 4:4:4:4 image sources (including alpha channels), with a very high data rate to preserve the detail
in high-dynamic-range imagery generated by today’s highest-quality digital image sensors. Apple ProRes 4444 XQ preserves dynamic ranges several times greater than the dynamic range of Rec. 709 imagery—even against the rigors of extreme visual effects processing, in which tone-scale blacks or highlights are stretched significantly. Like standard Apple ProRes 4444, this codec supports up to 12 bits per image channel and up to 16 bits for the alpha channel. Apple ProRes 4444 XQ features a target data rate of approximately 500 Mbps for 4:4:4 sources at 1920 x 1080 and 29.97 fps.

Note: Apple ProRes 4444 XQ requires OS X v10.8 (Mountain Lion) or later.

This is welcomed news for vfx pros in a ProRes-centric workflow. However, I would imagine most doing work at this level are in a DPX sequence workflow. But having the additional option may prove to be helpful for some shops.

See also Larry Jordan's article on the new ProRes XQ codec.

Adobe Doubles Down on Lightroom

Put simply we’re doubling down on our investments in Lightroom and the new Creative Cloud Photography plan and you can expect to see a rich roadmap of rapid innovation for desktop, web and device workflows in the coming weeks, months and years. We also continue to invest actively on the iOS and OSX platforms, and are committed to helping interested iPhoto and Aperture customers migrate to our rich solution across desktop, device and web workflows.

As I mentioned earlier, if you're not an Adobe Creative Cloud user for Lightroom/Photoshop there's never been a better time to start.