excerpts, quips, and musings on the production and post-production industry, and other stuff of interest

Moving From FCP to PPro

Meagan Keane of Adobe interviews editor, Andrea B. Scott, on the 2015 Sundance Film Festival documentary "Fresh Dressed"

Adobe: Which features of Adobe Premiere Pro CC were most useful?

Scott: Certain aspects of working within the timeline are much easier than with Final Cut Pro. Even small things are really nice, like the ability to hoverscrub through the footage. Another helpful feature of working with Premiere Pro CC is its ability to work with different codecs in the timeline, without worrying about transcoding.

I'll continue to say it: all modern NLE's are capable of producing high-quality content for broadcast television or film. Apple Final Cut Pro X, Adobe Premiere Pro CC, and Avid Media Composer all have the ability to cut your story and cut it well. The difference is in the user and which product makes the most sense for a given workflow. Stop the nonsense about whether not NLE is faster than that NLE, or if <fill in the blank> NLE is "pro"...they are all capable choices in the hands of the right person.

Should A Video Editor Buy a Mac Pro or iMac

If money is not a big concern, don’t waste any more time – get the Mac Pro. While the 12-core system provides maximum bragging rights, the 8-core system is a better value with great performance.

If your budget is constrained, get an iMac. It is outstanding as an editing system and, while not as fast in video compression or rendering, what you lose in time you’ll save in dollars.

I run both at my shop and they each have distinct advantages (the 5K Retina screen is gorgeous). It's always a trade-off between speed and cost. The faster you want to go, the more money it's going to cost. For many of today's task an iMac is a great machine. But if you need the horsepower for transcoding you're not going to beat a Mac Pro.

Everything You Need To Know About Codecs

I explain the concepts behind different types of codecs, but I also give some real-world examples which should help you understand how these algorithms work on a practical level, pulling frames into Photoshop to break them down and examine how our codecs have changed the image.

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.

Creative Cloud Isn't All Rainbows

Scott Simmons writing for ProVideo Coalition:

What Adobe needs is some type of fail-safe to allow users to, at the very least, get in and launch their apps for a 24, 48, 72 hour period when something like this happens. If you’ve ever signed up for 2-step verification for any of your online services you might have gotten a secret verification code to use in the event one of your verification methods isn’t available, say if you lose your cell phone. Supplying something similar to Creative Cloud users might ease the fears that were caused by this recent outage. This option has been discussed before and was, of course, discussed again. I can’t image the Creative Cloud ever staying down for an extended period of time as Adobe has bet the farm on this new business model and they want it up and operational more than anyone. But some failsafe would be great for the customer. If their servers are down you might not be able to access your fonts or sync your settings but at least you’d be guaranteed the ability to launch an app and work.

By now I'm sure you've read or experienced the Adobe Creative Cloud meltdown that happened last week. Scott has a good, fair-balanced look at the problem. I too agree with him that Adobe needs a fail-safe in place for when (not if) this happens again. Technology will always malfunction at some point and typically it seems to happen when you need it just work. So building in some sort of safeguard so that when their servers go down (for weather, maintenance, outside hackers, etc) there is still a mechanism in place for users to login and get to work (though the CC services like fonts, or files won't be available).

I didn't experience any problems during the Creative Cloud outage. We have 4 machines running CC and none of them reported any problems last week. I'm very sorry for those that did though as that can be costly both financially and for your reputation.

I did, however, chuckle over Scott's "if you have a few hours to kill" jab at the Creative Cow forum entitled "Adobe Creative Cloud: The Debate Forum." But he's right! If you want to waste some time read those threads...

Boxx Tries to Fill A Round Hole

Boxx Technologies, maker of high-end workstations typically known in the 3D software environment, has just started a new campaign trying to steer (all?) creative professionals towards their hardware solutions away from the new Mac Pro.

Convinced? They have a website dedicated to the campaign as well. They aren't the first to do this. HP started doing this months ago with nearly the exact same computer specs.

There are advantages in both camps - Mac or Windows. Ultimately, it depends on your budget, workflow, software, and personal OS preferences. For me and my team, we're currently an all Apple shop. But these other options do look tempting....