Monday, July 27, 2009

ProRes 444 + PAL in Color 1.5 = NFG

I just love this:

Apple KB Article.

Thanks Apple. Clearly related to the Quicktime gamma shift that has been in Quicktime for like - well, forever...

I see it all the time if I try to render out of AE. Then you have to apply this:

After rendering into a QuickTime/h.264 file, open it up in QuickTime and select “Show Movie Properties.” Highlight the video track then click on the “Visual Settings” tab. Towards the bottom left you should see “Transparency” with a drop-down box next to it. Select “Blend” from the menu then move the “Transparency Level” slider to 100%. Choose “Straight Alpha” from the same drop-down and close the properties window and finally “Save.”

Apple really needs to fix this. I am going to guess that it must be an overwhelming task to fix it as they have, long ago, acknowledged that it is in issue.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

FCS 2009 first impressions

Well, after the obligatory 6 hours of installing the software, Nancy and I had a little bit of time to check things out. We took the feature that she is re-editing (Surviving in LA) and loaded it up. It asked to convert the project from version 6 to the current version 7 and then proceeded to load the project just fine.

We LOVE the new TC overlay window. VERY nice. Would have been nice to also be able to specify a TC to jump to using this but alas is it display only. Still a very nice improvement. Nance loves the new marker system as she is a marker junkie.

For grins, I rendered out some animation from Lightwave to the new ProRes 444 codec (since I do not have access to a camera that produces an uncompressed colorspace) and looked at it in FCP and it is truly stunning. And very fast as well. This is a really nice addition.

We also tried out the iChat theater system that will truly prove to be a boon. SO nice to be able to show the client a WIP and get approvals that way. I played with Motion briefly and the new features look to be a nice addition to the app. I tend to prefer doing quick and dirty motion graphic work in Motion as opposed to AE which I reserve for more complex projects.

Nance will dig into the changes for Color next week I suspect and after she does I will post her thoughts here. The update to STP includes a thing called Voice Level Match. This will allow you to match dialog amplitude across multiple clips simply by clicking once on the clip that you want the other clips to match to and then click on the errant clips to level ONLY the dialog to that first clip.

I admit I was sceptical. So I did a test where I setup a bunch of background cacophany in my studio here - Mostly music and other sound effects. I then recorded some dialog in the room at two different distances from the mic. Then I tested the Voice Level Match. It was VERY simple to use and it worked amazingly! Very cool.

As has been noted elsewhere, DVDSP has NOT been updated. They did add the ability to burn right from Compressor including Blu-Ray, but DVDSP still remains stuck at version 4. A friend of mine speculates that Apple wants physical media to go the way of the Dodo and as such will not invest development time into DVDSP.

So, all in all, $300 (x2 for each machine) is money well spent on this. I HIGHLY reccomend the update as well as the new package if you are not a current user. While there were a LOT of things I was hoping for that Apple did NOT do in this release, it is still a solid update and well worth the money.

There are some nice training resources for free online now for this. lynda.com has about 3 hours of training and Ripple has training that covers only the new features. So the combination of the two make a nice free training suite.

Additionally, Apple has put ALL of the ProApps docuementation online HERE.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Final Cut Studio 2009 packaging

Well, FCS arrived and I was a bit amazed. Previously, FCS was in a huge box that weighed a ton with all of the manuals. Now what we have is a small box, the size of a stack of DVDs. All documentation is provided on disk.

Thank you Apple. This is a very green solution, adds convenience to the user, is less wasteful and reduces costs which Apple has clearly passed on to the customer.

Nice work.

Final Cut Studio 2009

As I am sure everyone is aware was released yesterday morning at about 8:30 AM EST. I have been under NDA on this for a while so I was aware of what this was going to be feature wise. It's an incremental update and the update price is very cheap at $299. I won't go into all the new features here right now as there are plenty of blogs doing that as I write this.

I will have my copy of it this afternoon and this weekend I will blog about the install / upgrade experience and how it handles my existing projects in each of the apps. I'll also put together a set of links for reviews and comments on it as well as links to the plethora of free training that is now up on the net that Apple partnered with to create.

Stay tuned.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Snow Leopard, QT X and FCS 2

Just a quick note that I had a chance to test FCS 2 under Snow Leopard. I did a variety of tests with all of the apps except DVDSP. I had NO issues with any of it. FCP worked just fine as did Color, STP, Compressor and Motion.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Saul Bass

Saul Bass was, among other things, a title designer. He had 61 feature film credits to his name and he had a very distinctive style. Starting in 1954 with Carmen Jones, his career spanned 5 decades up to doing the title sequence for Casino in 1995 (He is credited with the title sequence for 1998's remake of Psycho but it was the title sequence that he had designed for the original film). Saul was active in this art until his death at 76 in 1996.

Saul Bass had done it all. Films. Packaging. Products. Architecture. Corporate identification. Graphics.

Saul Bass's client list included United Airlines, Continental Airlines, Frontier Airlines; North American Rockwell, Hunt Wesson, Quaker, Alcoa, Lawry's, Dixie, Saturday Evening Post, Warner, Minolta, The United Way, Girl Scouts and many more.


A classic example of Saul's style can be found in the opening credits of Otto Preminger's Anatomy of a Murder:



And a look at what Star War's might have been with Saul's touch:



Saul also directed a film that was a personal passion. The film was crewed by friends and family and I had only heard of the film but had never had the chance to see it. Recently, I ran across it on the net. So, with no further ado, I present Quest:

Part 1:



Part 2:



Saul Bass's Film Title Design Credits:


Psycho (1998) (title designer)
Casino (1995) (title designer)
A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies (1995) (TV) (title designer)
Higher Learning (1995) (title designer)
The Age of Innocence (1993) (title designer)
Mr. Saturday Night (1992) (title designer)
Cape Fear (1991) (title sequence by)
Doc Hollywood (1991) (title designer)
Preminger: Anatomy of a Filmmaker (1991) (title designer)
Goodfellas (1990) (title designer)
The War of the Roses (1989) (title designer)
Big (1988) (title designer)
Broadcast News (1987) (title designer)
The Human Factor (1979) (title designer)
Alien (1979) (title designer) (uncredited)
That's Entertainment, Part II (1976) (title designer)
Rosebud (1975) (title designer)
Phase IV (1974) (title designer)
Such Good Friends (1971) (title designer)
Grand Prix (1966) (title designer)
Not with My Wife, You Don't! (1966) (title designer)
Seconds (1966) (title designer)
Bunny Lake Is Missing (1965) (title designer)
In Harm's Way (1965) (title designer)
The Cardinal (1963) (title designer)
The Victors (1963) (title designer)
It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World (1963) (title designer)
Nine Hours to Rama (1963) (title designer)
"Alcoa Premiere" (title designer) (1 episode, 1962)
Advise & Consent (1962) (title designer)
Walk on the Wild Side (1962) (title designer)
Something Wild (1961) (title designer)
West Side Story (1961) (title designer)
Exodus (1960) (title designer)
The Facts of Life (1960) (title designer)
Spartacus (1960) (design consultant)
Ocean's Eleven (1960) (title designer)
Psycho (1960) (pictorial consultant) (title designer)
North by Northwest (1959) (title designer)
Anatomy of a Murder (1959) (title designer)
The Big Country (1958) (title designer)
Vertigo (1958) (title designer)
Bonjour tristesse (1958) (title designer)
Cowboy (1958) (title designer)
The Pride and the Passion (1957) (title designer)
Saint Joan (1957) (title designer)
The Young Stranger (1957) (title designer)
Edge of the City (1957) (title designer)
Around the World in Eighty Days (1956) (title designer)
Attack (1956) (title designer) (uncredited)
Storm Center (1956) (title designer)
Johnny Concho (1956) (title designer)
Trapeze (1956) (title designer) (uncredited)
The Man with the Golden Arm (1955) (title designer)
The Big Knife (1955) (title designer)
The Night of the Hunter (1955) (publicist) (uncredited)
The Shrike (1955) (title designer)
The Seven Year Itch (1955) (title designer)
The Racers (1955) (title designer)
Carmen Jones (1954) (title designer)