… for Codecs & Media

Tip #1030: What’s the Difference: CAT5e, 6 or 6e?

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

The type of cabling determines maximum network speed and distance.

(Image courtesy of Pexels.com.)

Topic $TipTopic

I want to upgrade my office network to 10 gigabit Ethernet. But that requires replacing my Category 5e cables with either Cat6 or 6e. That got me wondering: What’s the difference?

According to Black Box: “Cat5e, also known as Category 5e or Category 5 Enhanced, is a network cable standard ratified in 1999. Cat5e cables are typically 24-gauge twisted pair wires, which can support Gigabit networks at segment distances up to 100 meters.

Cat6 came out only a few years after Cat5e. Cat6 is a standardised twisted pair cable for Ethernet that is backward compatible with Cat5/5e and CAT 3 cable standards.

Like Cat5e, Cat6 cables support Gigabit Ethernet segments up to 100 m, but they also allow for use in 10-Gigabit networks over a limited distance. At the beginning of this century, Cat5e typically ran to the workstations, whereas Cat6 was used as the backbone infrastructure from router to switches.

The main difference between Cat5e and Cat6 cable lies within the bandwidth, the cable can support for data transfer. Cat6 cables are designed for operating frequencies up to 250 MHz, compared to 100 Mhz for CAT5e. This means that a Cat6 cable can process more data at the same time. Think of it as the difference between a 2- and a 4-lane highway. On both you can drive the same speed, but a 4-lane highway can handle much more traffic at the same time.

Because Cat6 cables perform up to 250 MHz which is more than twice that of CAT5e cables (100 Mhz), they offer speeds up to 10GBASE-T or 10-Gigabit Ethernet, whereas CAT5e cables can support up to 1GBASE-T or 1-Gigabit Ethernet.

1 Gigabit Ethernet supports cables up to 100 meters. 10 Gigabit Ethernet on Cat6 cable limits distance to 55 meters.

EXTRA CREDIT

A newer version of Cat6 is Cat6e (also called “CAT6A”). According to TrueCABLE:

  1. Cat6A cable is made and terminated to tighter tolerances than Cat6. This means the copper conductors are twisted tighter. This requires higher specification patch panels, wall jacks, and RJ45 connectors.
  2. Cat6A speed is at least 500 MHz. This allows 10 Gbp/s (Gigabits per second) up to 328 feet (100 meters). Cat6 speed is 250 MHz. Therefore, it only supports 10 Gbp/s to 165 feet (55 meters) under ideal conditions; less in heavy cross talk environments.
  3. Cat6A cable often uses thicker copper conductors and jackets. This make installation more difficult and drives up the price.

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… for Codecs & Media

Tip #1029: HDR Playback to TV Screens

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

HEVC was designed with HDR in mind. However, compression times are very slow.

(Image courtesy of Pexels.com.)

Topic $TipTopic

Stephen asks: I have been filming home movies for more than 60 years. I try to get the best output I can and future-proof my movies. Earlier this year my wife and I did an Antarctic cruise and managed to avoid Covid 19. I filmed this in HLG with a Sony PXW Z90.

I want to produce a deliverable HLG movie that I can watch on my HDR TV, an LG OLED. What format should I use?

Larry replies: You’ll need to use 10-bit HEVC. There are two flavors of HEVC: 8-bit and 10-bit. You MUST use the 10-bit version, 8-bit codecs, whether HEVC or H.264, do not support HDR media. (ProRes, though 10-bit and great for editing, is not a supported playback format for televisions.)

Apple Compressor, among other software, compresses into HEVC. However, on older computers, 10-bit HEVC will take a LOOOONNNGGGG time to compress. Probably 10 hours for a one-hour program. So, do a short test to verify this format will work on your TV, then allow enough time to compress the longer version.

Newer computers use hardware acceration for 8-bit HEVC, which speeds things a lot. However, I don’t know of any Mac hardware that accelerates 10-bit HEVC. I expect that to change in the near future.


… for Codecs & Media

Tip #1025: RAW vs. JPEG: Which is Better?

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

RAW is always better, but takes more time to get the image to look right.

(Image courtesy of NightSkyPix.com)
This illustrates what happens to a JPEG image when saved multiple times.

Topic $TipTopic

The folks at NightSkyPix.com looked at RAW vs. JPEG from the point of view of astrophotography. However, this also applies to shooting video more down to earth.

This is an excerpt.

Loosely speaking, a RAW image is the digital equivalent of a film negative. In reality, a RAW file is not an image that can be visualized with classic software, but must be developed before using RAW editors such as Adobe Camera Raw.

The JPEG image format is arguably the most common standard format for digital images, and the name stands for “Joint Photographic Expert Group”.

The JPEG format uses lossy and compressed image data to create an image file that is both lightweight and readily usable with any software and device able to visualize graphics.

JPEG is easier to use and view, but RAW is the better choice.

The article provides additional details, pros and cons, and illustrates these ideas with screen shots. It’s worth spending time reading.

EXTRA CREDIT

For us video folks, JPEG is similar to H.264, and RAW is similar to raw or log files.


… for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Tip #1024: Moving the Anchor Point

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

The Anchor Point can be easily moved using the Move tool.

The Anchor point (red arrow) is set by moving the cross-hair icon.

Topic $TipTopic

The Anchor point is that spot in an element around which it rotates or scales. Clips, shapes and text each have separate anchor points, but moving them is the same.

  • Select the clip who’s anchor point you want to move.
  • Select the Move tool.
  • In the Program Monitor, drag the small circle with the cross-hair to the position you want. The EXACT position is the center of the cross-hair.

If you need more precision, or need to match anchor points for multiple clips, select the clip, then, in the Effect Controls panel, enter the precise numbers you need for the Anchor point for the selected clip.

EXTRA CREDIT

Here’s where to find the appropriate Anchor point. Using the Move tool, select the object in the Program Monitor you want to adjust. It will highlight in the Effect Controls panel.

  • Video: Effect Controls > Motion
  • Shapes: Effect Controls > Shape > Transform
  • Text: Effect Controls > Text > Transform

… for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Tip #1023: Tricks of the Zoom Tool

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

The Zoom tool is the fastest way to zoom into a timeline segment.

The Zoom tool is located in the Hand menu. (Shortcut: Z)

Topic $TipTopic

Hidden, but accessible with a keyboard shortcut, is the Zoom tool. This is often faster than using keyboard shortcuts to zoom into the timeline! As a certified keyboard junkie, it often hard to believe that anything with the mouse is faster – but the Zoom tool may be the exception that proves the rule.

Click and hold the cursor on the Hand tool, then select Zoom tool from the menu that appears. (See screen shot.)

NOTE: The keyboard shortcut for the Zoom tool is: Z.

While we can simply zoom into the timeline by typing + [plus] or [minus], the Zoom tool is faster when we want to get more specific. To zoom into a specific section of the timeline, select the Zoom tool, then drag a rectangle around the section of the timeline you want to see.

Poof! That region instantly fills the timeline!

EXTRA CREDIT

The Zoom tool only works with clips in the timeline.

Type \ [back-slash] to fit everything back into the timeline again.


… for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Tip #1022: The Pen Tool

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

The Pen tool creates shapes we can use standalone or under text.

I have no idea what this it, but it’s kinda cute – and has a drop shadow.

Topic $TipTopic

The Pen tool allows us to draw shapes directly in the Program Monitor, fill them with color, add a border or drop shadow, then animate them. We are used to using the Pen tool as part of Effect Controls. But there is also the Pen tool in the Tools palette. We use this to draw shapes on-screen.

  • Put the playhead in the timeline where you want a shape to start, then, select the Pen tool from the Tools palette.
  • In the Program Monitor, click and draw a shape. Click to create a corner, click and drag to create a curve.
  • Re-click the starting point to create a closed shape, or don’t to create an open shape. (We most often use open shapes to create a curved line – it is a border with no fill.)
  • To move a shape, select the clip, then use the Move tool.
  • To adjust a shape, select the Pen tool, then, in Effect Controls, twirl down the Shape, and select Path.

NOTE: The shapes created by the Pen tool are vectors, which means they can be scaled as much as you want without losing edge sharpness.

EFFECT CONTROLS

The Shape controls, in the Effect Controls panel, provide:

  • Path. Redraw the shape, using the Pen tool.
  • Appearance. Change fill, stroke and shadow settings.
  • Transform. Change size, position and rotation, along with adding keyframe animation.

… for Apple Final Cut Pro X

Tip #1018: New! Adjust ISO for ProRes RAW

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

New ISO and white point settings are now available for ProRes RAW in FCP X 10.4.9.

Info Inspector > Settings. These new settings (red arrows) only appear for ProRes RAW.

Topic $TipTopic

A new feature in the 10.4.9 update to Final Cut Pro X is the ability to adjust ISO and, for some cameras, the white point. Apple now supports changing the ISO setting (essentially, video gain) and white point for ProRes RAW media when edited natively.

NOTE: These settings only appear for ProRes RAW media and don’t appear when FCP X is in proxy mode.

To access these, select a ProRes RAW clip in the timeline (not the browser), then go to the Info Inspector and switch the menu at the bottom left from Basic to Settings. The red arrows in the screen-shot indicate the new settings with this update:

  • Camera ISO. The ISO setting at which the media was recorded.
  • ISO. A menu allowing you to change the ISO setting from 50 to 25,600.
  • Exposure Offset. This slider provides finer control in adjusting the ISO. The range is one stop lower to one stop higher.
  • Camera Color Temperature. The white point setting at which the video was recorded.

EXTRA CREDIT

For some cameras, Final Cut also supports changing the white point. Here is the current list of cameras supporting these new features.


… for Apple Final Cut Pro X

Tip #1017: Chapter Marker Export Option Missing

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

The option to include chapter markers on export has disappeared in FCP X 10.4.9.

The Master File > Settings panel. The checkbox to export chapter markers is gone.

Topic $TipTopic

Another problem that surfaced with the 10.4.9 update to Apple Final Cut Pro X is that chapter markers can no longer be exported – at least on my system.

As you can see from the screen shot, when exporting a master file, there’s no checkbox to include chapter markers in the export. And, not surprisingly, if I include chapter markers in my project, they don’t export.

This problem did not exist in the 10.4.8 version of Final Cut.

For now, if you need chapter markers, don’t upgrade to 10.4.9.

EXTRA CREDIT

Chapter markers can be included in both QuickTime movies and MPEG/4 movies. I use them in all my webinar downloads and streams, not just DVDs.

I’ve contacted Apple about this problem and they are looking into it.


… for Apple Final Cut Pro X

Tip #1016: Caution: Color Flickering in FCP X 10.4.9

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

FCP X 10.4.9 seems to create color flickering during grading.

Topic $TipTopic

I have received multiple reports this last week from editors reporting color shifts or color flickering when editing camera native media in Final Cut Pro X 10.4.9. This problem did not exist in Final Cut 10.4.8.

As one editor reported:

We have found the following:

  • The jumpiness happens as the clip is being color corrected with or without a camera LUT applied
  • There is no difference whether the timeline is set to “Better Performance” or “Better Quality;” the color levels still jump around
  • Transcoding the media to “proxy” and working with the proxy files eliminates the jumpiness during color correction

I reported the problem to Apple and they are looking at it. For now, until they figure out what’s going on:

  • If you haven’t upgraded to 10.4.9, don’t.
  • If you have, consider doing your color grades in proxy mode until this issue is resolved.

EXTRA CREDIT

Please add a comment if you’ve experienced similar problems. I will forward your comments to Apple.


… for Random Weirdness

Tip #1010: BMD: ISO Recording for Live Streams

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

ATEM Mini: Live, 4-camera switching with ISO, for less than $900 (US).

(Image courtesy of BlackmagicDesign.com.)

Topic $TipTopic

Blackmagic Design recently released the ATEM Mini switcher. While designed for live streaming using up to four cameras, there’s a significant hidden feature in the high-end system.

With ATEM Mini, you can switch live between four high-quality video camera inputs, or connect a computer for PowerPoint slides or gaming consoles. The built in DVE allows picture-in-picture effects, as well as a variety of other visual effects.

The USB webcam output of the ATEM Mini connects to any computer and looks just like a built-in webcam so you can use any streaming software while the ATEM Mini Pro model adds live streaming and recording to USB disks.

There are three different models, with the ATEM Mini Pro ISO adding recording of up to 5 separate H.264 video streams in real time! That’s a clean feed of all inputs and plus the live program! A DaVinci Resolve project file is also saved so you can open your live production to adjust edits, change shots, remix audio and add color correction.

Pricing starts at $295 (US).

Here’s the link to learn more.