CAT | Business
As a small independent software developer we don’t have a huge staff. There are exactly two of us: Greg and myself, so if we’re traveling together we have to be able to support customers. That means Internet access and some means of answering the phone. These are not as easy as I’d like when traveling internationally, so I thought I’d share our approach.
In the first Terence and Philip Show for – well, too long – Terence Curren and I look back on the trends of 2014.
CNET are reporting that the February 25th Episode (Season 6 Episode 16) was shot with iPhone 6 and iPad Air 2 (with a little assist from a MacBook Pro). An iPad Air 2 was my primary “camera” for my family history video shoot back in early January.
As it turns out, Gatekeeper wasn’t finished with us yet, as it turned out when Greg went to add another feature to Producer’s Best Friend.
Writing the code for a new feature is often the easiest part of the life of a small software developer. Two recent examples tell the story very well. Both involve updates to our reporting tools: Sequence Clip Reporter and Producer’s Best Friend. Part 2 follows tomorrow.
Out of the blue, Apple announces Final Cut Pro X 10.1.4, which includes some key stability improvements. There is also a Pro Video Formats 2.0 software update, which provides native support for importing, editing, and exporting MXF files with Final Cut Pro X. While FCP X already supported import of MXF files from video cameras, this update extends the format support to a broader range of files and workflows.
– Option to export AVC-Intra MXF files
– Fixes issues with automatic library backups
– Fixes a problem where clips with certain frame rates from Canon and Sanyo cameras would not import properly
– Resolves issues that could interrupt long imports when App Nap is enabled
– Stabilization and Rolling Shutter reduction works correctly with 240fps video
Jon Chapelle of Digital Rebellion has noted that the support for MXF is much wider than just Pro Apps. What is interesting is that the MXF components seem to be QuickTime based, rather than AV Foundation, probably for historic reasons.
I was saddened, but not really surprised, by this week’s announcement that Adobe were pulling Speech-to-Text transcription from Premiere Pro, Prelude and AME. As Al Mooney says in the blog post:
Today, after many years of work, we believe, and users confirm, that the Speech to Text implementation does not provide the experience expected by Premiere Pro users.
I am saddened to see this feature go. Even though the actual speech-to-text engine was somewhat hit or miss, there was real benefit in the ability to import a transcript (or script) and lock the media to the script. So it’s probably worth keeping the current version of Premiere (or one of the other other apps) to keep the synching function, as the apps will continue to support the metadata if it’s in the file.
Co-incidentally, we had a feature request recently, wanting a transcription-based workflow in Final Cut Pro X. When questions on how he’d like it to work, he described (unintentionally) the workflow in Premiere Pro!
In fact, I’d almost implore Adobe to keep the ability to import a transcript and align it to the media, using a speech analysis engine. That way the industry will have an alternative to Avid’s Script Sync auto-alignment (previously powered by Nexidia) tools currently unavailable in Media Composer. The ability to search – by word-based content – hundreds of media files with transcripts, is extremely powerful for documentary filmmakers.
And yes, there is the Nexidia-powered Boris Soundbite, but there is one problem with this waveform-matching approach: there is no content metadata. Nor anything (like text) we can use to derive content metadata.
A recent comment in an article on CNET.com caught my eye:
“If I owned a studio, I’d make movie theaters pay me,” says Dana Brunetti, producer of “House of Cards” and “The Social Network.”
Needles to say I had to read the article. First note was that this comment was in the context of a web focused conference, so there may be an element of “playing to the audience”, but in essence the argument is that more online/web companies should follow Netflix (and Amazon, Google and Apple) into producing more original content.
With online and technology-based companies already threatening traditional distribution methods, the impact would be huge: “Once Silicon Valley can create content as well,” said Brunetti, “they’ll own it soup to nuts.”
I can’t argue with that. More original production means more jobs in the industry. (And yes, more clients for my day job’s business.)
What appeals to me is the push for “per program” content purchase. As long as the pricing issue is solved. It should cost no more (over a month) for a la carte purchases of limited programming, than it is for a full cable subscription.
Variety just posted an article on how many people had watched online game play (of one game) in one week. 75,000 players and 6 million individual viewers who collectively watched 327 million minutes of gameplay. Watched. That’s about an hour per viewer on average.
Six million people watching one game’s game play. That’s a decent network-sized audience these days. That’s one game for one week. Admittedly a release week for the game.
Watching game play has become a huge audience, with very low production costs. While it’s not traditional production, the time spent watching gamers play video games, erodes the time available for other forms of entertainment, specifically films and television!
Once upon a time it was easy to differentiate between Film and TV production: film was shot on film, TV was shot electronically. SAG looked after the interests of Screen Actors (film) while AFTRA looked after the interests of Television actors. That the two actors unions have merged is indicative of the changes in production technology.
As is noted in an article at Digital Trends, there is almost no difference between the technologies used in both styles of production, so what are the differences? It comes down to two thing, which are really the same thing.