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Tip #1604: SoftRAID Now Compatible with M1 Macs

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Be sure to upgrade to macOS 11.3 for SoftRAID to work.

The SoftRAID logo.

Topic $TipTopic

Due to significant changes in file handling with Big Sur and M1 Macs, it took at while for OWC SoftRAID to become compatible.

Then, with Big Sur 11.2, Apple broke that compatibility, again, with file changes that affected M1 Macs.

SoftRAID just announced that Big Sur 11.3 now allows SoftRAID to work with both Big Sur and M1 Macs.

Here’s a blog post from Tim Standing, head of the SoftRAID team at OWC with the details.


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Tip #1608: Add Metadata to Videos in Compressor

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Metadata can be read by many different applications, as well as asset managers.

Custom metadata fields that can be added to any ProRes, MP4, MP3 or QuickTime movie.

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You can use Apple Compressor to add metadata (labels) to your videos during compression using Compressor. Here’s how.

  • Import one or more files into Apple Compressor.
  • Select the file name in the Job list, not the compression setting.
  • In the Job Inspector (top red arrow in screen shot), scroll down to the Metadata menu (bottom red arrow).
  • Click it and select as many custom fields as you need.

NOTE: No, you can’t add fields that aren’t on this list. However, you can import an XML Property List, if you know how to create XML files.

Metadata can be added to ProRes, MP4, MP3 and QuickTime files.


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Tip #1610: Add Automated Job Actions in Compressor

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Job Actions can trigger an Automator workflow for extensive automation.

The Job Action menu options inside Apple Compressor.

Topic $TipTopic

Apple Compressor has eight pre-built automation tasks that can be triggered when compression is complete.

These include:

  • Save the file
  • Add to TV Home Videos
  • Create a Blu-ray or AVCHD Disc
  • Create a DVD
  • Open with a specific application
  • Prepare for HTTP Live Streaming
  • Run Automator Workflow
  • Send Email
  • Post to YouTube or Facebook

To access these:

  • Select a file in the Job list.
  • Scroll down in the Job Inspector (top red arrow) to the bottom.
  • In the Action menu (bottom red arrow), select what you want Compressor to do when compression is complete.

Most of the time, I simply want Compressor to save a file. However, I used HTTP Live Streaming every week to provide mobile device support for my webinars.

EXTRA CREDIT

For true flexibility, you can couple Compressor to Automator for significant file processing after compression is complete.


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Tip #1596: SxS Card Data Transfer Speeds

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

SxS cards now offer transfer speeds up to 10 Gbps!

The relatively new SxS Pro X card from Sony.

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Sometimes, my brain puzzles over very unusual things. I found myself wondering about the data transfer rate of SxS cards, which a variety of cameras use for recording media.

According to NewsShooter.com

SxS cards were announced way back in 2007 and they have been used on a variety of cameras over the years.

The original SxS flash memory cards had transfer rates of 800 Mbit/s and burst transfer rate of up to 2.5 Gbit/s over the ExpressCard’s PCI Express interface. Sony first used these cards as the storage medium for their XDCAM EX line of professional video cameras.

Then in 2011 came SxS Pro cards. These cards could read and write data at up to 1.2Gb/s through an ExpressCard slot without the need for an adapter.

A 64GB capacity SxS Pro card enabled you to capture 120 minutes of HD422 50Mb/s recording in the MXF mode.

SxS Pro+ cards appeared along with the Sony F5 and F55. They are a faster version of SxS Pro designed for the recording of 4K resolution video. SxS Pro+ has a guaranteed minimum recording speed of 1.3 Gbit/s and an interface with a theoretical maximum speed of 8 Gbit/s.

In 2019, Sony announced new SxS Pro X cards. SxS Pro X is the next step up from SxS Pro+ and it offers transfer speeds of up to 10Gbps (1250MB/s). This is significantly faster than the SxS Pro+’s 3.5 Gbps max read speed, and 2.8 Gbps max write speed.

Here’s a link to learn more.


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Tip #1597: MicroSD Storage Growth

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

The MicroSD card family has continuously evolved since 1999.

SanDisk Ultra 128GB microSDXC Memory Card

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For some reason, this morning I found myself thinking about storage; especially portable storage for cameras. And that brought me to MicroSD cards.

The technology behind MicroSD cards (the “SD” stands for “Secure Digital”) was introduced in August, 1999 as a joint effort between SanDisk, Panasonic and Toshiba.

MicroSD cards first appeared in 2005, with a capacity of up to 128 MB and read/write speeds of 2.2 MB/second.

SDHC appeared in 2006 with a 32 GB capacity and mandatory support for the FAT32 file system.

SDXC appeared in 2009, with a 64 GB capacity and read/write speeds topping out at 300 MB/second.

In 2018, the SDUC cards appeared supporting up to 128 TB with read/write speeds maxing out at 9865 MB/second. While these speeds are in the spec, no currently shipping cards match the spec.

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article that covers these cards in more detail.


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Tip #1598: What is an NVMe SSD?

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

NVMe is the technology behind the fastest SSDs available today.

A Western Digital Black NVMe SSD.

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[ The information in this tip is from a Western Digital blog. ]

NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory Express) is a new protocol for accessing high-speed storage media that brings many advantages compared to legacy protocols. But what is NVMe and why is it important for data-driven businesses?

The first flash-based SSDs leveraged legacy SATA/SAS physical interfaces, protocols, and form factors to minimize changes in the existing hard drive (HDD)-based enterprise server/ storage systems. However, none of these interfaces and protocols were designed for high-speed storage media (i.e. NAND and/ or persistent memory). Because of the interface speed, performance of the new storage media, and proximity to the CPU, PCI Express (PCIe) was the next logical storage interface.

PCIe slots directly connect to the CPU providing memory-like access and can run a very efficient software stack. However, early PCIe interface SSDs did not have industry standards nor enterprise features. PCIe SSDs leveraged proprietary firmware, which was particularly challenging for system scaling for various reasons, including: a) running and maintaining device firmware, b) firmware/ device incompatibilities with different system software, c) not always making best use of available lanes and CPU proximity, and d) lack of value-add features for enterprise workloads. The NVMe specifications emerged primarily because of these challenges.

NVMe is a high-performance, NUMA (Non Uniform Memory Access) optimized, and highly scalable storage protocol, that connects the host to the memory subsystem. The protocol is relatively new, feature-rich, and designed from the ground up for non-volatile memory media (NAND and Persistent Memory) directly connected to CPU via PCIe interface (See diagram #1). The protocol is built on high speed PCIe lanes. PCIe Gen 3.0 link can offer transfer speed more than 2x than that of SATA interface.

The NVMe protocol capitalizes on parallel, low latency data paths to the underlying media, similar to high performance processor architectures. This offers significantly higher performance and lower latencies compared to legacy SAS and SATA protocols.

EXTRA CREDIT

The Western Digital blog, linked above, goes into much more detail and, best of all, it is clearly written and easy to understand.


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Tip #1584: New DJI Air 2S Drone with 5.4K Images

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

20-megapixel stills, 5.4K/30 video, 1″ sensor.

The DJI Air 2S Drone (courtesy of DJI).

Topic $TipTopic

As reported by Eric Naso in NewsShooter.com DJI updated the popular Mavic Air 2 with a 1″ sensor and a new name. The Air 2S. The body and many features are similar; however, the flight time has decreased by a few minutes due to the larger sensor and camera. The new Air 2S comes in at 595 g, while the Mavic Air 2 is 25 g less at 570 g. I think most people will appreciate that trade-off for the 1″ sensor.

DJI states the Air 2S is the first drone of its size to be able to capture 20-megapixel still images or 150 Mbps video in 5.4K at 30fps or 4K at 60fps with the use of that new 1-inch CMOS sensor and 22mm wide-angle lens.

The camera can record in 10bit D-log and RAW format photos with a dynamic range of up to 12.6 stops.

A new digital zoom supports 4X at 4K 30fps, 6X at 2.7K 30fps, 4X at 2.7K 60fps, 6X at 1080P 60fps, and 8X at 1080P 30fps. No SDcard? No problem, as it includes 8 GB of internal storage.

You can record in H.264 or H.265, depending on your preferences for image quality and storage capacity. You can also choose from three video color profiles, Normal (8 bit), D-Log (10 bit), or HLG (10 bit). It’s great to see in a consumer drone the ability to shoot 10bit and have a log option. This makes the Air 2S very tempting for occasional professional use if you are a licensed pilot.

The article includes more details, specs and a delightful promo video shot by DJI. (link)


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Tip #1585: Canon Utility Converts Cameras to Webcams

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Webcams are in short-supply. Canon has an answer.

Alejandro Medellin’s webcam studio with Canon camera on the right.

Topic $TipTopic

This article, written by Alejandro Medellin, first appeared in PremiumBeat.com.

Webcams these days are in short supply. Fortunately, last year, Canon released the EOS Webcam Utility, Canon’s answer to the ongoing webcam shortage. It’s really, really easy to set up, and the picture quality is top notch.

The webcam utility turns several Canon cameras into legitimate webcams. (22 EOS cameras and 3 Powershots). The utility was good, the battery life of the cameras wasn’t.

So, Canon just released the new Webcam Accessories Starter Kit. This kit comes in three variations that each serve a line of Canon cameras. Each kit comes with an interface cable, a power adapter, and a dummy battery. The camera can stay on for hours with the dummy battery, which draws its power from an electrical outlet via the power adapter. The interface cable connects the camera to the computer via the USB port, which the webcam software then converts into a clean video input.

Though Canon’s accessory kit would have made a more significant impact last year at the height of the pandemic, it’s still a welcome product. The kit puts the hardware on par with the webcam software, and that’s all I needed. With demand still for webcams, the accessories kit is highly sought after.

EXTRA CREDIT

The article includes a list of all supported Canon cameras, details on configuring the software, and a review on how easy it is to use and how well it works.


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Tip #1586: Video Tips for Nikon Cameras

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Going “Behind the Scenes” is a fun way to learn from the best.

Still from David Tejada’s “Lighting with SpeedLights” video.

Topic $TipTopic

Nikon has published an excellent series of tutorials on using Nikon cameras for stills and video.

There are sections on lighting, technology and creativity. A section that I really like is the “Behind the Scenes” videos. 35 videos on how photographers get their images.

The videos are short, well-produced and fun to watch.

Here’s the link

EXTRA CREDIT

After watching these, I wanted to stop typing, grab a camera and start shooting.


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Tip #1564: Premiere Pro’s Color Management

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Colors shift, especially with different playback platforms.

Image courtesy of Oliver Peters.

Topic $TipTopic

This article, written by Oliver Peters, first appeared in ProVideoCoalition.com. This is a summary.

Read through any of the online forums and you’ll often see this common concern: “Why doesn’t my export look the same in QuickTime as it does in Premiere Pro?” This tends to be more common with Mac users than PC users, but it happens with Windows, too. The underlying assumption that they should match is a fallacy and Oliver explains why in this article.

Let’s start with displays. If you line up a CRT monitor, an older flat-panel plasma, and newer LCD, LED, and OLED displays, then you would be very hard-pressed to get the same image to match identically across all displays, even with calibration.

The world of Apple displays.If you are working on a newer Apple iMac, iMac Pro, or Pro Display XDR, then you are using an image system calibrated for a different display profile. iMacs use the P3 D-65 color standard with the ability to go up to 500 nits of brightness. The only consistent reference you will ever have is how the image appears through AJA or Blackmagic i/o hardware to a reference display.

Adobe Premiere Pro’s working color space. SDR sequences in Premiere Pro are designed to use Rec 709, 2.4 gamma as the working color space for the timeline and viewer. There’s a preference toggle for display color management to compensate for the interface display that you are using.

Solving the problem? My recommendation is to turn display color management ON in the Premiere Pro preferences. This gives you a proper visual match between the timeline and the output to a reference display. Unfortunately this leaves you with the dilemma of the exported file. The simplest answer is to first export a “standard” file for broadcast use. Then add an adjustment layer to your Premiere Pro sequence and apply a Lumetri effect to it. Increase saturation and lower shadows slightly. Test to taste.

But, if we are posting to the web, social platforms make additional changes to our color that are beyond our control.


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