… for Visual Effects

Tip #1691: Monogram Now Integrates with Final Cut Pro

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Monogram’s control surface supports Final Cut Pro and Premiere Pro.

Monogram controls surfaces for color grading. (Image courtesy of Monogram)

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As first reported by ProVideo Coalition, Monogram announced this month that the company worked directly with CommandPost to add incredible functionality between Monograms modular control surface and Final Cut Pro (FCP). The FCP integration with Monogram via CommandPost makes color grading significantly more precise and productive than with a mouse and keyboard.

Here are some of Monograms’ key features as presented by the company:

  • The Orbiter module is one of a kind. The pressure sensitive disc in the middle paired with the outside infinite encoder ring makes for incredibly precise adjustments in tasks    like color grading or tonal adjustments a breeze
  • It can easily shave hours off of editing time, plus with the physical controls it helps you stay focused on your work instead of looking at software UI like adjustment panels.
  • We’ve worked with the Adobe team, Capture One team and Final Cut Pro team to create fantastic integrations with the most popular creative applications used by professionals.

Monogram worked with Commandpost.io to beta test their newly developed integration between Monogram Creative Console and Final Cut Pro. The new integration supports:

  • Grading controls: Color wheels and color boards
  • Inspector and compositing controls: Position, anchor, crop, scale, opacity, and rotation
  • Timeline controls: Jog, nudge, select items, and blade
  • Additionally: any menu item or key command assignable in Final Cut Pro
  • Because this was built upon CommandPost’s incredible macOS automation tools, says the company, it’s a more capable integration than anything previously offered for Palette or Monogram + Final Cut.

EXTRA CREDIT

Read the ProVideo Coalition article here.

Learn more about Monogram here.


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… for Random Weirdness

Tip #1617: Best Cinema Cameras for Docs

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Pick a camera that makes docs easier to shoot.

Panasonic AU-EVA-1 camera.

Topic $TipTopic

This article, written by Tanner Shinnick, first appeared in PremiumBeat.com. This is a summary.

Documentary filmmaking can oftentimes require a unique set of needs, skills, and demands on any production. This is especially true when it comes to the camera system that you choose to utilize. Having the best camera for the job is an age-old adage that’s especially true for the documentary filmmaker.

Some of these common requests and needs of the documentary cinematographer are:

  • Built-in ND filters
  • High ISO performance
  • XLR/audio capabilities
  • Robust features (high-speed, in-camera IS)
  • Plus, general ease of use

Here’s the list:

  • Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro
  • Canon C70
  • Panasonic EVA-1
  • Sony FX6/FX9
  • Canon C300 MIII & C500 MII

The article has details on each camera, along with a video illustrating each cameras’s strengths.


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… for Random Weirdness

Tip #1624: LiveU Launches Subscription Production Service

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Flexible subscription program with an all-inclusive monthly payment.

LiveU production hardware. (Image courtesy of LiveU.)

Topic $TipTopic

LiveU launches LiveU 360° – an all-inclusive subscription-based service package.

The adaptive turnkey package offers a modernized video production solution in a cost-efficient and scalable turnkey package – combining hardware and software, cloud workflow connectivity, unlimited data and value-added services with a new fully managed Platinum Service.

The LiveU 360° offering includes a range of plans under two umbrellas – 360° Essential and 360° Premium – which are optimized for specific markets (news, sports and other live productions) and can be upgraded at any time. An adaptive business model by design, LiveU 360° provides self-service capabilities, for example, multi-camera and roaming activation.

Features:

  • Field production gear
  • Unlimited connectivity plan
  • Physical/cloud channels acting as your video hub
  • Seamlessly connect with any other IP cloud-based production platforms or solutions
  • LiveU Central unified management platform and reporting tools.
  • IP Pipe, Video Return, Audio Connect and Tally Light

Here’s the link to learn more.


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… for Random Weirdness

Tip #1628: Tips to Keep Lenses from Fogging Up

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Fog is the opposite of evaporation, but easy to prevent.

Image courtesy: Pedro Figueras, Pexels.com.

Topic $TipTopic

This article, written by Jourdan Aldredge, first appeared in PremiumBeat.com. This is a summary.

Here are the best ways to prevent foggy lenses, and practices for keeping your lenses clean, clear, and ready to shoot in inclement weather.

According to sciencing.com, condensation is simply defined as “the process where water vapor becomes liquid.” You see condensation more often than not on glass surfaces, like a drinking glass or the windows to your house.

Keep Gear Covered and Protected.The first step to combating condensation and the fogging up of your camera lenses is to always remember to keep your gear covered and protected. Safety should always be your first concern.

Get Your Lenses Acclimated to the Weather. The next big step for keeping your lenses fog-free is the most important. Before heading out to start your shoot, get your lenses acclimated to the weather! This is 100% the best, and pretty much only, way for you to truly “de-fog” your lenses in a safe and scientific manner. Don’t try to simply wipe your lenses clear, as this can risk scratching the glass or fogging things up worse.

The article also has videos that illustrate these suggestions, as well as techniques for defogging gear.


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… for Random Weirdness

Tip #1609: Prompters for Remote Production

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Prompters aren’t just for studio use today.

Prompter People iPad Free-standing Prompter

Topic $TipTopic

TV Technology reports that remote production and IP are driving telepromper innovations. This is a summary.

In this in-depth article, the ubiquity and effectiveness of prompters now extend to independent and individual internet broadcasters, to the extent that there are regularly videos on YouTube selecting the best teleprompters for YouTube.

By its very nature, this end of the market is serviced primarily by systems in the $80–$1,400 price bracket but over the past year the higher-end manufacturers have been looking more closely at how their technology can be used both at and from home, for traditional broadcasters rather than YouTubers.

“We have seen an increase in the need to use smaller, more portable displays for prompter text, especially when home working,” said Robin Brown, product manager of Autoscript (part of the Vitec group with Autocue). “These screens are mostly tablet-sized and the ability to connect an iPad into the system as a prompter, without any added latency from streaming video, has been significant for many of our customers.”

“Everyone wants smaller but the problem is that the talents’ eyes are not getting any better,” said Michael Accardi, president of CueScript. “Small consumer-based products fall short on readability, connectivity and dependability. Now more than ever, people are depending on prompters to get the message out the first time and we have been designing systems that meet the customers’ needs. There is no room for error.”

The article takes about three minutes to read and is filled with descriptions on the changing nature of prompting in today’s remote world.

Link.


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… for Random Weirdness

Tip #1601: Divergent Thoughts on the New M1 iMacs

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

The new M1 iMacs have performance, but they are still entry level.

Image courtesy of Apple.

Topic $TipTopic

Here are two takes on the new M1 iMac. The first is from PremiumBeat, the second from Larry Jordan.

This section, written by Mike Maher, first appeared in PremiumBeat.com. This is an excerpt.

Apple announced a colorful new line of iMac computers that can finally use highspeed GPU render engines once exclusive to PCs.

Apple has announced the newly redesigned iMac featuring the company’s powerful M1 chip. The machine features a 24-inch screen, HD FaceTime camera, new keyboard with Touch ID, and is available in seven different colors.

Apple has certainly put a focus on promoting their own Final Cut Pro X. The latest version was released with the last line of MacBook Pro laptops that also feature the M1 chip and accelerated performance on Metal, Apple’s hardware-accelerated 3D graphic and compute shader API. The new iMac will feature these same M1 chips, and we’ll likely see the release of a new iMac Pro in the next year.

[Given that these new machines haven’t shipped yet, final performance specs are only guesswork. But,] Final Cut Pro is seeing render performance increased up to 20%, with iMac users looking to see up to 35% faster. Editors can work with 8K RED RAW up to three times faster, depending on their model machine. Rendering your timelines is said to be up to six times faster, with increased playback for 4K and 8K projects.

As for Adobe Premiere Pro and the rest of the Creative Cloud, in December, the team announced that M1 builds of Adobe products were underway, with early betas available for Premiere Pro.

Cinema 4D has long been on both PC and Mac, but when it came to rendering power, PC dominated the 3D market with NVIDIA’s powerful GPU rendering power. Now those render engines once exclusive to NVIDIA have been ported over to Apple’s M1.

This is one of the most artist-friendly drops in quite some time for Apple. Vast improvements make a difference not only on the technical side for rendering, but also improved stability in all sorts of apps for video creation, music making, motion design, and 3D. The last MacBook Pro release and these iMacs are the way to the future for Mac to catch up on all the creatives they were losing to the PC market.


Larry Jordan shares his thoughts on the new iMacs. While he is impressed with their performance, they are still lacking when it comes to GPU speed, ports, RAM and Ethernet. “Keep in mind that Apple still considers the M1 as an entry level chip.”

Read his thoughts here: Configuring an M1 24″ iMac for Video Editing.


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… for Codecs & Media

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.

Topic $TipTopic

[ 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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… for Codecs & Media

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.

Topic $TipTopic

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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… for Codecs & Media

Tip #1597: MicroSD Storage Growth

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

The MicroSD card family has continuously evolved since 1999.

SanDisk Ultra 128GB microSDXC Memory Card

Topic $TipTopic

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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… for Codecs & Media

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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