The present and future of post production business and technology | Philip Hodgetts

CAT | Technology

Dec/13

19

Final Cut Pro X 10.1

Apple released Final Cut Pro X 10.1 overnight. I’ve had the privilege of working with this version for a while now, and here’s what I’ve found about the new features.

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The final post in my series rising out of a recent Digital Production BuZZ segment with Larry Jordan and Michael Horton. Larry asked one final, very important question.

Larry Jordan:  Because we are charged with delivering our projects on time and on budget, at what point should we resist change, like not being too close to the bleeding edge, and at what point should we embrace change?

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Nov/13

29

How does technology affect production?

Continuing the discussion from a recent Digital Production BuZZ show. Larry asked an excellent question

Larry Jordan: I was just reflecting on the difference between improvements and changes and I realized that the tools that we use influence the stories that we tell and I was thinking back, again to when I was directing live TV, I would have the opportunity every so often to do a three videotape edit in a very expensive CMX room and the stories that I could tell with that videotape was limited by how much money I had and how much time in the CMX room. I couldn’t do graphically intensive tasks, I’d have to go off to an animation stand. Are we actually being blinded by the tools we’re using in terms of the stories that we can tell?

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There as been some discussion – and a little panic – as the news has leaked out from developers that “QuickTime is deprecated”. What does that mean and what affect will it have on video professionals? When an OS API (Application Programming Interface) is deprecated, developers are warned to not write any new code using that API, because at some future (usually unspecified) time, the API will go away and the code won’t run.

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Apple frequently talk about being at the “intersection of Technology and Liberal Arts” but we rarely experience that other than through their hardware and software. Thanks to the encouragement of our friend Cirina Catania, we (Cirina, my partner Greg and myself) experienced the Invisible Cities Opera in LA’s Union Station. That’s a really unusual place to stage an opera, and indeed this was a most unusual artistic experiment and experience, involving large amounts of production skills – staging, singing, etc – and some amazing technical chops from Sennheiser and Bexel (Burbank CA).

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Many people “worry” that Apple will abandon their professional applications (Final Cut Pro X, Aperture and Logic Pro X) because they don’t make much money for the company. Ironically, the same argument can be made about Media Composer: it is not core to the company’s primary business . In reality it’s more likely that Avid would abandon (or sell) Media Composer than Apple is to get out of the professional creative tools market.

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Greg and I will head out for a long walk when we want to consider some big picture concept. Our most recent walk challenge: how do we fit the concept of Keyword Ranges in Final Cut Pro X, into the more traditional NLE model. As well as reminding me of the Biblical warning about new concepts into old models (at least metaphorically) there were interesting lessons along the way.

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Oct/13

28

Software that recognizes mood!

Software that recognizes mood is apparently used in call centers – could be used to derive metadata for pre-post logging (and story derivation).  Imagine a keyword collection for “happy” or “stressed” or whatever mood happens to be demonstrate in the audio content. I’m not sure if the technologies are related but Affectiva have demonstrated emotion-detecting software in the past.

With speech-to-text, keyword extraction, mood extraction the basic logging of reality and documentary could be done in pre-post and handed to the editor.

Buried in John Siracusa’s excellent review of OS X Mavericks is this little gem:

Modern Macs with integrated GPUs get some nice improvements in Mavericks. Any Mac with Intel’s HD4000 graphics or better can now run OpenCL on the integrated GPU in addition to the CPU and any discrete GPU.

It’s that little bold bit that makes it special! With OpenCL increasingly taking up the load of general computer processes previously forced on the CPU, the more we can take advantage of the GPU power already installed.

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I have conflicting thoughts about 4K for production and distribution. At one level I’m convinced it’s being pushed on us by equipment manufacturers when there is no real demand: at another I know from experience that there are some non-obvious advantages to 4K. But one thing is clear: the push to 4K is not about a push to improved quality.

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