Media Apple FCP X

… for Codecs & Media

Tip #1815: The Early Years of Cable TV

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Local cable TV in the ’70’s meant small budgets and a lot of patience.

The author operating a Shibaden/Hitachi camera in 1979 at 16 years old. (Image credit: Dan Slentz)

Topic $TipTopic

Dan Slentz writes in TV Technology about the early days of cable TV, which got its start providing a shared television antenna to communities with no access to broadcast television.

NOTE: My first paid position out of school was working in cable TV in Billings, Montana. I got hired and fired the same day. But, that’s a different story…

In 1977, the author writes, I was 14 years old and desperately wanting to work in radio or TV. At that time, being 14 really eliminated radio, plus I had a squeaky “kid voice.” Our local cable TV system was one of the earliest in the country and the local person with foresight to start a cable system, Claude Stevanus, would recognize the need for “local TV.”

In the mid-70’s, cable TV local origination/access was more common, but the facilities seemed to run about 10 years behind the technical curve of broadcast TV. In 1977, we had quads, film chains with color Norelco cameras, and our TBC was an Ampex and probably 8RU tall. We had two B&W General Electric cameras with lens turrets, and one Sony Color Trinicon; yes… a studio with two B&W and one color, (plus color film chain: 16mm film and 35mm slide).

If we were doing multi-camera work, this meant we put the main TBC in monochrome, or we were switching between color and B&W cameras! Yes, even in monochrome, you could certainly see a difference in quality between the GE B&W and Sony color camera running in monochrome.

My job was to get there as quickly as I could to help put together the news. This included putting removable plastic letters “in a menu board” for stocks, weather, etc., since we had no CG for this use. This method required luminance keying a camera tilting down while keyed over a slide. A steady arm was needed for the tilt or the words/letters would slightly bounce side to side.

Though it was cable TV, the cable operator ran some return copper paths to the headend and would end up putting a channel 2 modulator in our production truck. On the events where we would go LIVE from a remote location, we’d have to connect to a known return-path location. Someone would turn off the cable modulator at the station and the remote modulator would turn on. This would be like a TV broadcaster driving around with a back-up transmitter and turning it on from their remotes, but it worked!

EXTRA CREDIT

Reading this was like reading about my younger self. If you’ve been in the industry for a while, you’ll appreciate the retrospective. If you are new to media, you’ll wonder how we ever survived.


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… for Codecs & Media

Tip #1814: NHK: 200 Hours of Olympics in 8K

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

8K coverage available only in Japan.

Image credit: NHK.

Topic $TipTopic

TVTechnology.com reports that, with the start of the Olympics, Japan’s public broadcaster NHK will achieve a major milestone on its roadmap for 8K UHDTV as it presents the international spectacle to Japanese viewers on its BS8K (Broadcast Satellite 8K) channel in 8K.

For the 2021 Summer Olympics, NHK plans about 200 hour of 8K UHD coverage, including broadcasts of the opening and closing ceremonies and seven events, including swimming, athletics and judo. It also plans 8K coverage of four Paralympics events: athletics, swimming, badminton and wheelchair rugby.

NHK began work on its Super Hi-Vision 8K television system in 1995, showing the world the incremental progress it was making on development of the concept and technology at special exhibits during major international industry gatherings, such as the NAB Show and IBC.

8K UHD is the pinnacle of the TV viewing experience. From a resolution point of view, it creates pictures with four times more pixels than 4K UHD (7,680 x 4,320 pixels vs. 3,840 x 2.160 pixels, or 33 million pixels vs. 8 million) and 16 times more than HDTV.

NHK’s 8K UHDTV coverage of the 2021 Summer Olympics will only be available to viewers in Japan.


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… for Visual Effects

Tip #1773: Chaos Updates V-Ray 5

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Chaos updates V-Ray 5 to support USD.

Image credit: Goodbye Kansas & DDB Paris—Assassin’s Creed Valhalla © 2020 Ubisoft

Topic $TipTopic

Last week, Chaos introduced initial Universal Scene Description (USD) support for V-Ray 5 for Maya, Houdini and Cinema 4D tying powerhouse production renderers to one of the fastest growing file formats in visual effects. Artists now have a non-destructive way to collaborate and assemble their scenes, making it easier to store and move scene data between different applications.

Initially developed by Pixar, the USD format is designed to hold the most common types of scene data – geometry, shaders, lights, rigs, hair, etc. – so artists have an easy way to share and dynamically update assets without workarounds or compromises. As the pipelines have grown more complex, the need for a universal format has become even more pronounced. Today, Chaos will begin providing V-Ray support to USD, giving artists more flexibility as the technology continues to develop.

The initial Maya implementation will support several key asset exchanges, including static/animated meshes, V-Ray materials, subdivisions, displacement and more. V-Ray 5 for Houdini will also mark the beta launch of V-Ray for Solaris, which helps artists work natively in SideFX’s USD-based shot layout and look dev tool via a V-Ray Hydra delegate.

Learn more here.


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… for Codecs & Media

Tip #1775: NBC Chooses Signiant for Olympics

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Signiant to streamline remote production for 2021 Olympics

The NBC Sports logo.

Topic $TipTopic

NBC Olympics, a division of the NBC Sports Group, has selected Signiant to provide intelligent file transfer software for its production of the Games of the XXXII Olympiad, which take place in Tokyo, Japan, from July 23 – August 8.

With Signiant’s software, NBC Olympics will be able to move petabytes of footage from Tokyo back to its International Broadcast Center in Stamford, Conn., immediately upon capture. Signiant’s patented network optimization technology enables seamless transfer of the footage over standard IP networks, eliminating latency and packet loss, so that editors in Stamford can begin creating highlights almost immediately as the action is happening thousands of miles away. The software also allows for content, including advanced graphics work and pre-recorded footage, to be transferred quickly, easily and securely back to the broadcast center in Tokyo. Signiant’s software enables NBC Olympics to leverage their talent and equipment back home in Stamford, enabling them to provide enhanced viewing experiences to their audience much more efficiently.

Read the full press release here.


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… for Codecs & Media

Tip #1776: Import VHS Media Using USB

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Roxio Easy VHS or QuickTime Player seem the best options.

The Roxio Easy VHS to DVD software package.

Topic $TipTopic

A recent forum thread on MacRumors discussed low-cost options for batch importing VHS tapes of home movies into an iMac using HDMI or S-Video connected via USB.

While Photo Booth works, it is inflexible and hard to use. FaceTime sees the video, but doesn’t record.

The reader reported that iMovie and FCP don’t recognize video coming in via a USB port. What did readers recommend?

One suggested QuickTime Player. However, “the only quality control is “High” and “Maximum”, which are still much higher resolution than VHS in wide format. No option to save to external drive when digitizing, or auto stop after 1 hour or 2 hours.”

NOTE: However, you can work around some of this by capturing internally, then manually moving the file after capture to another drive. You could also compress it manually, as well.

Another reader reported using Roxio, but importing tapes “takes forever.” [Editor: By this, they mean that all video imports in real-time, unlike the high-speed transfer from an SD card.]

General consensus was Roxio Easy VHS to DVD for Mac. “When I used the Roxio software, I had to set it on “medium” quality. If I set it higher, the audio would begin to drift, and be really out of sync the longer the video went.”

Just thought I’d pass along the conversation.

EXTRA CREDIT

First, a caution. I was not able to verify that Roxio supports Big Sur. You may need to run it on earlier versions of the macOS. Or, use QuickTime Player.

Roxio says: “Easily convert VHS, Hi8, and Video8 tapes to popular digital formats.” This requires USB 2.0 (which every computer today supports).

Video quality is selectable between:

  • High. Apple intermediate codec at 640 x 480 (square pixel) resolution
  • Medium. H.264 at 640 x 480 (square pixel) resolution
  • Low. H.264 at 320 x 240 (square pixel) resolution.

Here’s the link.


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… for Codecs & Media

Tip #1760: Creating Video After Lockdown

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

The future of media work looks increasingly hybrid.

Image courtesy of IPV.com.

Topic $TipTopic

IPV, developers of media asset management software, recently published a free report on how the media industry returns to work.

While the world is slowly getting back to normal, the way we work may be forever altered. In a recent study, Gartner said that 95% of the companies’ they surveyed are planning to stick to a hybrid work model for years to come.

Not only are employees asking for it, but it also saves companies’ money on overhead costs. This free report shows how video and creative teams moved to remote/hybrid work, and how you can stay that way long term, keeping your creatives happy whilst saving money.

This free report covers issues such as:

  • Home internet speeds, slowing down video editing processes.
  • Limited access to media files and footage from outside networks.
  • Poorly organized and unsearchable video file archives.
  • Creative slumps resulting from not being able to meet in-person or work physically together.
  • Security concerns and permission controls for files and media.

At its core, this report is about the role of media asset management (MAM) in changing video production workflows. After all, the right MAM tool can improve:

  • How archive material is accessed
  • How collaboration occurs
  • The type of metadata that can be generated
  • How teams review in-progress and completed material.

So, in looking at MAM tools, we will reveal how secure, cloud-based, multi-user collaboration is not only possible but actually relatively simple. We also take it all one step further — setting out a strategic vision for the very bright future of video production.

Subjects covered include:

  • Sports Broadcasting
  • Higher Education
  • Broadcasting
  • Retail
  • Publishing
  • And planning for the future

Here’s the link – the report is free and requires no login.


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… for Codecs & Media

Tip #1762: Top 5 Content Production Challenges

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Quantum seeks to show how StorNext simplifies the post process.

I’m sure we all color grade on the edge of a cliff overlooking the ocean at sunset. (Image courtesy of Quantum.)

Topic $TipTopic

Jumping into the “how will we get back to work” fray, Quantum has published a free e-book called “Top 5 Production Challenges Addressed.”

Quantum writes: “Consuming high-resolution video content grew over 60% last year, and demand will only keep increasing. To rise to the challenge, you need post-production and content management tools that enable cross-team collaboration and real-time editing — so you can get more content out to the world faster. That’s why we compiled the top five video production workflow issues that could be holding you back.”

Their top 5 challenges are:

  1. Workflows are increasingly complex.
  2. Content and project archives get very large.
  3. It’s hard to ‘stand up’ new collaborative teams quickly.
  4. Managing large systems is complex.
  5. Some storage platforms don’t scale economically or adapt to your workflow.

Not surprisingly, they are recommending StorNext.

Here’s the link. No login is required.


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… for Apple Motion

Tip #1746: Create an HDR Project in Apple Motion

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Creating an HDR project requires changing three settings.

An edited version of the Inspector showing the location of the Color Processing menu and an HDR image.

Topic $TipTopic

Creating an HDR project in Motion requires changing three settings. However, those settings are pretty well hidden. Here’s how to do it.

SET COLOR PROCESSING

By default, all Motion projects are set to HD (Rec. 709) color space. We need to change this first.

  • Select the Project in the Layers pane.
  • Go to Inspector > Properties and change the Color Processing menu from Standard to Wide Gamut HDR.

SET RENDER PROCESSING

This setting determines the color of images you see in the canvas, as well as the color space and appearance of your exported project (the output media file) when “Use canvas setting” is selected in the Settings pane of the share window.

  • Go to the View menu in the menu bar, then select Render Color Space.
  • From this menu, select the video format of your project. In my example, I set this to HDR Rec. 2020 HLG, which matches my media.

NOTE: If your media does not match your project, you’ll need to convert it using HDR Tools.

SWITCH NON-HDR MONITORS TO TONE MAPPING

  • If you have a Pro Display XDR monitor, you are done.
  • If you are using your Mac display, which does not display HDR media, go to the View menu in the menu bar at the top and check Show HDR as tone mapped.

NOTE: This View menu option is only enabled when the Project is set to Wide Gamut HDR.

You have now created an HDR project and allowed HDR media to be displayed accurately on the Mac monitor. This is still HDR media, however, so exporting video from this project won’t look good on a non-HDR monitor.

EXTRA CREDIT

While this allows Motion to display and export HDR media, you will probably still need to apply Filters > Color > Levels to adjust the gray scale values to your liking. In other words, these steps get you close, but you’ll need to go through a color grade before you are ready for final output.


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… for Codecs & Media

Tip #1736: Streaming Media – Not as Big As Thought

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Finally, the streaming world has ratings.

The Nielsen logo.

Topic $TipTopic

This article, written by Dave Morgan, first appeared in MediaPost.com. This is a summary.

Last week, Nielsen unveiled the first true independent measurement of cross-platform viewing on TV, The Gauge, a panel-based, representative tracker of what 300+ million Americans are watching each month, broken out by linear TV (broadcast and cable), streaming and other (video games, DVDs, etc.).

Nielsen revealed that broadcast and cable still account for 64% of total TV viewing, with streaming only representing 26% of viewing — and Netflix, the dominant streamer, only at 6%.

No one described the disconnect between perception and reality better than CNN’s Brian Stelter, who said: “Streaming might take up three fourths of the media world’s attention, but right now it’s only one fourth of viewership time. Streaming might eventually cannibalize everything, but that day is a long way away.”

Incredibly, one of the stats in Nielsen’s report hasn’t gotten much attention, but everyone in the ad business hopefully caught it. A big chunk of the streaming viewing was on services with no or few ads: Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+ and Hulu. So, for all of those marketers out there telling their media teams to shift 30% of their TV budgets to streaming video, you’re likely to be disappointed.

The ad inventory just doesn’t exist.

EXTRA CREDIT

The article linked above has more stats and additional detail.


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… for Visual Effects

Tip #1704: VFX for LED Walls Course

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Designs for artists created effects for LED walls.

Image courtesy of VFX Technologies.

Topic $TipTopic

VFX Technologies announces their first Virtual Production interactive course!

The adoption of Virtual Production has skyrocketed during the pandemic, and as LED walls are being utilized all over the world, the need for artists who can operate them is growing.

This in-person course covers everything there is to know about LED wall setups for Virtual Production. By taking part in this event, you will be a part of a select few who get to see and interact with this technology firsthand.

This course is suitable for someone who is looking to better understand the technology behind LED walls and the use cases for them.

NOTE: The announcement did not indicate if there is a fee, but the implication is that there is not.

Here’s the link.


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