Archive for September, 2011

BT VoiceMail / Call Minder

Monday, September 26th, 2011

iPhone 4: Audio: FiRe (“pro” audio recording app)

Monday, September 26th, 2011

FiRe not only records audio, in a much more powerful/flexible way than Voice Memo, but also allows you to add metadata such as location and a photo (e.g. taken live from the iPhone’s camera)…though I couldn’t see any way to export a format that could maintain that metadata (possibly my newbie-ness, like it mentions Broadcast Wave somewhere but I can’t see how to export that).

It can “multitask” the same way that Voice Memo can.  That is, it can be set going, then left running in the background even when say taking a photo.

When running, under its Settings, Input, has a range of presets, including for example “Dictation” and “Lecture”.   Under Effects there are such things as dynamic range compression and hiss filters.  Playback has sped-up (like tape – not pitch-corrected).

Its recordings can be exported from the device as follows.  When I tried it exporting a WAV file, that product was 16 bits, 48 kHz, mono.


  • On the iPhone, FiRe app, tap Share from the toolbar, then iTunes Sharing
  • Multi-select the required export format(s)
  • Connect iPhone to computer, iTunes comes up (else launch it manually)
  • iTunes:
    • On left side menu, select the iPhone device
    • On top menu, select Apps
    • Look at the bottom of the interface (scroll if necessary) to find File Sharing section.
    • In the Apps column there, select FiRe
    • As required, drag files listed there to destinations

Additionally, recordings can be uploaded via FTP, DropBox or SoundCloud (whatever that is…).

Mac: GarageBand: First Impressions

Monday, September 26th, 2011

I have never used Garage Band before, so had a play with it to see whether it could be useful as an audio editing/processing tool.  The answer is a resounding “yes” – despite its “domestic” looking interface.   Not only that, it can edit videos, leaving the video stream alone and affecting only the audio stream.  Just drag a file into it – I tried with a M4A audio file out of iPhone’s Voice Memo.  Some features I discovered were:

  • Basic cutting
  • Envelope shaping (on keyframes)
  • Effects such as:
    • Dynamic range compression
    • Reverb etc.
    • An “Autotune” pitch-stabiliser

“Whatever gets the job done”…

Sony XDCAM-EX3: ISO Rating(s)?

Monday, September 26th, 2011

ISO is about sensitivity.  Useful to know when using a lightmeter – e.g. the iPhone’s “Light Meter” app, where if you enter ISO it tells you the required aperture f-stop.   For the EX3 the ISO depends on several factors, such as Gain, Gamma, Recording Mode (definition and interlaced/progressive).  But a reasonable rough conservative working figure is 400.  More specifically:

  • 400 for 1080p
  • 500 for 720p
  • 800 for 1080i
    • (some say this surprising result derives from the interlaced lines each being derived from the sum of a pair of neighbouring lines)


iPhone 4: Audio: Voice Memo: Audio Enhancement

Monday, September 26th, 2011

Having extracted my iPhone’s VoiceMail recordings, I reviewed them and they sounded boomy – from room resonance.  The best audio enhancement app I know is iZotope RX2, which I have for Windows 7. Windows 7 was run within a virtual machine under Parallels within Mac OS.  I allowed this Windows to read, but not write, Mac OS files.

  • The first enhancement was a parametric EQ
    • Settings: frequency 274Hz, gain -21dB and Q=1.
    • The result sounded better and looked more even in the spectrum analyzer, which prior to that “glowed” around 300Hz.
  • The next enhancement was Denoiser
    • Settings: Advanced, Algorithm D (best, slowest), defaults (including -12dB reduction)
    • Not quick – not much faster than real-time as compared to the recording.
  • Finally, following this “tonal & broadband attenuation” processing, some amplitude processing in terms of dynamic range compression and overall gain.

iPhone 4: Audio: Voice Memo: Audio File Extraction – on a Mac

Monday, September 26th, 2011

I audio-recorded some lectures by using the Voice Memo app in-built on my iPhone 4.  How does one get such recordings out of the phone and into an audio editing (or indeed audio/video editing) app on Mac or PC?  Here’s what I found, mainly by experiment:

  • For a Mac:
    • The iTunes app allows you to transfer/sync an iPhone’s Voice Memo audio recordings onto the computer.  In iTunes, under the device representing the phone, there is a Voice Memos folder. Inside this there is a list of recordings (objects) e.g. as follows:
      • 1  ✓ 21/09/2011 09:33
      • 2  ✓ 21/09/2011 10:43
      • 3  ✓ 21/09/2011 11:01
    • These entries correspond to M4A (FourCC=”MP4A”) files.
      • These files can be transferred (moved/copied) as follows:
        • Copy a file by dragging it out of Voice Memos folder in iTunes’ interface.
        • Move a file by dragging it out of iTunes’ user-specific Voice Memos folder in file system.  That folder is described below.
      • Additionally iTunes can export MP3 equivalent copies of the files:
        • iTunes (Voice Memos): Recording >RtClk> Create MP3 Version
    • The files are stored at (in my case) at:
      • /Users/davidesp/Music/iTunes/iTunes Media/Voice Memos
        • 21_09_2011 09_33.m4a
        • 21_09_2011 10_43.m4a
        • 21_09_2011 11_01.m4a
    • The nature of the files:
      • These files are stated by Mac’s Finder to be of type “MPEG-4 audio”, and are about 30 MB per hour.
      • VideoSpec is able to analyse them, it reports:
        • Container: M4A – QuickTime
        • Encoding: MP4A (FourCC), constant bitrate of 64 kbps, 16 bits, 44.1 kHz, stereo
          • However it makes no sense to encode stereo from a one-microphone device and indeed when imported to an audio editor (Audacity 1.3.13 beta) it only produces a single mono track.
    • Audio Editing/Processing (cuts/envelopes/effects e.g. dynamic range compression) was subsequently achievable by any of these:
      • Audacity (1.3.13 beta) can import the M4A file.  My (multi-platform) old-familiar.
      • Garage Band (e.g. as explained at
      • SoundTrack Pro (but can’t simply drag the file in – instead have to use File>Open).  OK but a little clunky (in my “newbie-to-this-app” opinion)

CeltX and Avid (e.g. Script Sync)

Monday, September 26th, 2011

Avid’s Script Sync tool sounds great.  But it appears the script has to be in a certain format.  Can CeltX-exported scripts be imported?

Casting: BBC: “Edwin Drood”

Monday, September 26th, 2011

I’m a background Extra in it.  No guarantee that my bit will make it past the edit of course.  A two-part drama to be shown on BBC4:

iPhone: Email Account Config

Sunday, September 25th, 2011

Set up email accounts on iPhone, to read (not consume) emails to me at various addresses.  Being no expert at this, I record my experiences for possible future reference.


iPhone 4: MovieSlate

Sunday, September 25th, 2011

Movie★Slate is a slate and clapper board— traditional movie-making tools for syncing picture with sound, and photographing shot/production info at the start and end of shots.  Movie★Slate also provides an easy way to log footage and take notes as you shoot— saving you time during capture and edit.

  • Documentation:
      • e.g. Starting a Take
        • To start a take, tap the clapper at the top of the slate.
          • Timecode IN, all production info, and camera optics data are automatically saved in History when you start a take. This data can be emailed from the History tab (see instructions below).
          • The clapper’s behavior can be customized from Settings -> Slate Behavior. Choose to play sounds, freeze the timecode briefly, show credits leader/end roll animation, and more.
        • Video/Audio Quality ★-rankings can be set during the take.
        • Circle Take button marks good takes by circling the take number in the History log. This practice is an old Hollywood tradition.
        • End the Shot button saves a Timecode OUT marker with the shot history.
      • e.g. Starting a Take – Shot Markers
        • (Log footage and take notes as you shoot— saving you time during capture and edit).
        • Add Shot Marker/Notes button saves timecode-stamped notes during a take. When shooting interviews, this is a useful way to document what remarkable thing was said, and when.
        • Build notes from Snippet phrases by tapping the Content/Shot/Movement buttons. You can also enter text with the keyboard. Use the Snippets tab to customize your phrases.
  • FAQs/Tips:
      • “Movie★Slate is a slate and clapper board— traditional movie-making tools for syncing picture with sound, and photographing shot/production info at the start and end of shots.
      • Movie★Slate also provides an easy way to log footage and take notes as you shoot— saving you time during capture and edit.”
      • Link: MovieSlate Help
      • What does M.O.S. stand for?
        • The term “M.O.S.” generally appears on a slate when a scene is filmed without sound.  Hollywood legend defines the term as “Mit Out Sound”.
      • MovieSlate’s optional PRO Sync (TimeCode-Sync)
        • (Normally) You’ll need a camera or timecode generator that’s capable of sending and/or receiving LTC (Longitudinal Time Code) over an audio cable.
        • My cameras are old DV units or are consumer models with no LTC support. Can MovieSlate’s optional PRO Sync module still help me sync a multi-cam shoot?
        • Yes, through additional software available from VideoToolShed.  Here’s how:
          • Set MovieSlate to output timecode through one of the audio channels and connect from the headphone jack to your camera’s AUX/MIC audio.
          • Shoot your footage with MovieSlate running and Sending sync through the headphone jack. The LTC audio signal will be recorded on on one channel of your DV tape. (Please note the obvious: If this cam is handling your main sound then you will not have stereo audio).
          • Import the footage into Final Cut Pro or Avid.
          • Use VideoToolShed’s FCP auxTC reader software to create an AUX TC track in FCP/Avid and sync your footage with your other cams and audio.
          • Disclaimer:
            • We do not have any relationship with VideoToolShed and also cannot attest to the function of “FCP auxTC reader”.
            • Please visit the website for more information and 3rd-party websites like Creative Cow for more information and workflow tips.

iPhone 4 Tips: Task Management

Sunday, September 25th, 2011

To open the iPhone’s “Task Manager”:

  • From “Home” screen, double-tap the Home button.  This brings up a mini dock / task manager at bottom of screen.  It is a slidable band of icons, only four of which can be fitted on screen.  Slide left to see other icons.  Slide right to see media player transport controls and volume level slider.  Press-hold any icon to get them all wiggling and with a red “X” on them. In each case, the “X” force-quits the task associated with the icon.

If an app is misbehaving or is exhibiting unusually sluggish performance, you could try quitting tasks for apps not currently in use as they each tie up some portion of memory, even while in a suspended state.  If that does not work, try a power-off/on reboot.  After that there is Hard Reset (though when I tried it, it didn’t reset everything).  To Hard Reset, press and hold both the Sleep/Wake button and the Home button for about ten seconds, then you should see the Apple logo indicating reboot.


Avid Basics (not only for Final Cut Pro Users)

Saturday, September 24th, 2011
  • Avid Basics re Projects, Bins, Users, User-Settings
    • Notionally “Avid for Final Cut Pro Users” but generally useful introduction, complete with pragmatics.
    • Overview:
      • In this set of tutorials, it is assumed that a Shared project called “Tempest” will be edited by two people, Laura and David, one on day-shift (say) and the other on nights.  They can each select eithers’ settings (editor configs) via the Project Window’s Settings tab, under the User dropdown.  No need to log-out of Avid or indeed to switch User login sessions.  I guess a given user could create several configs e.g. default, david, david_temp
      • Module 1, Lesson 1 – Creating a Project
      • Private/Shared etc., User Settings (independent of User logged-in), Film features
      • Module 1, Lesson 2 – Intro to Project Window – Avid for Final Cut Pro Users
      • MenuBar: [Tools > Console] brings up a text logger where progress can be recorded by users (as far as I can tell from the tutorial)
      • Module 1, Lesson 3 – Where to find Avid files
      • Explains where the Avid files are stored on the computer’s hard drive, and how to take your settings from system to system.
      • Module 1, Lesson 4 – Project Differences
      • Explains Avid Projects, Bins and how one can move & create stuff equivalently in Avid or in Windows Explorer (etc.)
      • Also explains some ways it differs from FCP.

Cinematography Apps for iPhone

Saturday, September 24th, 2011

iPhone Photos & Videos to Apple Mac iPhoto

Saturday, September 24th, 2011

How get photos & movies out of iPhone:

  • Mac (Mac OS):
    • Plugged-in my iPhone (4) to MacBook via USB.
    • The iPhoto app auto-launched, displaying thumbnails of all iPhone’s photos & videos in iPhone’s Photos section (though not those taken by the PanaScout app), and offered  to Import All or Import Selected.

Where the iPhone photos/movies go (on the Mac):

  • Macintosh HD > Users > davidesp > Pictures > iPhoto Library
    • Get Info:
      • Size 738 MB
      • Opens with iPhoto

How to get iPhone photos into a document:

  • Mac > NeoOffice (3.1.1): Tools > Add-Ons > Show media browser
    • Can’t simply insert an image file – no such file exists, they’re all in the iPhone library/database file.

How to get iPhone photos into Gimp:

  •  iPhoto > Menu > iPhoto > Preferences > General > Edit Photo: Select Applicaton: Gimp
    • Can’t simply drag it in, not even by using desktop as a “stepping-stone”.
  • Warning: Gimp can “Save” an image back to iPhone’s library, but that image is not then displayed in iPhoto.  Possible risk of corrupting iPhoto library?

How to get photos/movies out of PanaScout (an iPhone camera app for cinematographers):

  • PanaScout saves images/movies to its own space (library/whatever), but can export to iPhoto library and to other places.
  • PanaScout has a Send To button (an outline-box with arrow emerging).  Options are:
    • Send Email
      • Sends using the email account you configured for your iPhone
    • Save to Library
      • The iPhone Library, that is…
    • Upload
      • FinalCut, MobileMe, SmugMug


Migrating Media (and Projects) from FCP to Avid

Saturday, September 24th, 2011

Migrating Media (and Projects) from FCP to Avid:

NLE Handling of 10-Bit Recordings

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

There exist various HD-SDI device to record 10-Bit 422 video data.  10 bits is useful for shallow gradients especially when expanded (steeper contrast curve) by grading, while 422 gives better detail, that can matter when pixels are big (e.g. when close to a big screen or when digital zoom employed in post).  In any case, such recorders tend to compress less than on-board camera systems, or in some cases not at all, improving the quality.  But to what extent can the various NLEs cope with this?  From my web searches it seems that the answer is “sometimes”.  For example some NLEs will accept 10-bit only in their own favourite formats, otherwise they discard two bits, interpreting the footage as 8-bit.  One might (naively) have thought the way to be sure was to experiment – but there is plenty of room for confusion when doing experiments, for example Avid’s color correction tool allegedly only displays to 8-bit resolution even when it is importing/processing/exporting at 10-bit.  Other “loopholes” may exist, like it seems (if I understand it correctly) that if you AMA or import 10-bit ProRes then Avid only sees 8-bit, implying one needs instead to transcode ProRes->DNxHD externally (e.g. via MPEG StreamClip?) and import that.  But even that might not be possible, as one post suggested DNxHD 10-bit encoding could only work from Avid, not external apps.   Furthermore, whereas all ProRes formats handle 10-bit, for DNxHD, only formats with an “x” suffix do; the only one I know of is DNxHD 220x.  There exist further subtleties/loopholes/pitfalls, hence more research to be done on this… and I’ll tread very carefully…


Avid MC Workflow: Offline/Online Editing: Video Tutorial

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

As illustrated in my previous post on this subject (, the popular (it seems) approach to offline/online media file replacement is to “hack” the file system.  In the example in that previous post, the hack was to move files to a different folder.  An alternative is to rename the existing folder then rename the required folder the original of the existing folder.  That approach is illustrated in a video tutorial at

Avid Color Correction User’s Guide

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

  • Extremely useful

Avid MC: Bundled Tools & Apps: Their Purpose

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

When you purchase Avid Media Composer, you also get a set of other applications, whose purpose (at least to the newbie) is not immediately obvious.  So I did some investigation and produced a summary of them, as below.  I have no experience of actually using them, I just trawled ReadMe files and (mostly) the web.  Here are my (interim) conclusions:

  • Avid TransferManager – Is e.g. for uploading to a Playback Server []
  • AMA – the camera-specific AMA Plugins (e.g. for Sony XDCAM) are no longer bundled with MC, you have to download and install them separately. []
  • Avid MetaSync automates the inclusion of metadata (expressed in suitable XML formats) into Avid editing systems, including synchronisation with video and audio. The metadata can be anything from subtitles / closed captioning to synchronized entertainments such as lightshows or simulator rides.   []
  • Avid MetaFuze’s primary, if not only purpose is to prep files for Media Composer use – an “outboard importer”.  Avid’s article at summarises it nicely.  Though bundled with Media Composer, it is also available free. That means for example that preprocessing work (e.g. generation of burnt-timecode proxies and online files) can be generated (e.g. in DNxHD) by anyone whether or not they have an Avid system.  Potentially then a great option for breaking up work into collaborative / parallel workflows. []
  • Sorenson Squeeze – a well-known compressor/encoder, bundled as part of Avid Media Composer (MC) but also an independent product in its own right. Avid MC5.5 specifies version v6.04 but further updates are available from Sorenson itself.  There is a free-to-Avid-users update from v6.x to v6.5.  The latest version is v7.0 (with CUDA).  Presumably these later versions are officially unsupported by Avid (but how much does that matter in practice?). []
  • Avid EDL Manager imports and exports EDL (in various flavours) – from/to a bin (e.g. thumbnails storyboard layout?) (or a Sequence or MXF file?).  It can be run stand-alone or from within Avid.  EDLs are somewhat of a hangover from the past, so it’s unlikely to be of much use in my case, but worth knowing about as an option, and as such still features in other people’s current workflows. []
  • Avid Film Scribe generates Cut Lists and Change Lists (used in transfer from video edit to film edit) in more contemporary formats than EDL, e.g. XML formats involved in VFX / DPX workflows (? I am on very unfamiliar ground here ?).  It can generate such formats from a Sequence and also it can be used to translate between some formats.[]
  • Avid Log Exchange (ALE) is an Avid log file format that has become a de facto standard in the post industry. It is a text-based metadata exchange format used in applications from telecine to standalone logging applications, and is supported by many NLEs.  The ALE format is based on a Comma or Tab -delimited file format. []
  • Avid After Effects EMP is (not a disruptive elctronic weapon but) an Avid-supplied plugin for Adobe After Effects allowing that application to use a DNA family video output box such as Mojo (“ordinaire”) or Nitris to provide External Monitor Preview (EMP) on a monitor.  Helpful in order to make use of that Avid box for the Adobe After Effects application, both for convenience and consistency.  Unfortunately it does not work with the more recent DX family, such as the Mojo DX box. []
  • The Avid DNA Diags application is for diagnostics on DNA family e.g. Mojo “ordinaire” (not DX) []
  • The Avid Quicktime Codecs extend QuickTime for encoding and decoding to/from Avid codecs such as DNxHD.  Essentially they add such formats to QuickTime on your system.  The LE codecs are “Light Edition” – only needed on systems where Avid is not already installed.   []
  • Avid Media Log is a standalone app supplied with Avid systems enabling assistants on non-Avid machines to select and log raw (as opposed to RAW) footage in a manner that can easily be transferred into an Avid session/system elsewhere, where the result appears as an Avid Project.  Apparently, Media Log is much like the digitize tool on Media Composer.  But I’ve never used that either… It can output e.g. to ALE (explained below) and hence e.g to other NLEs.  []
  • Misc “Avid Downloads” (?) Looking at  my Avid Downloads page, there is a much larger list of items than I expected, and suspect that many of them are not relevant.  For example, what is Avid Deko?  It’s listed on my Avid Downloads page, though I don’t know if I would be able to activate it, or whether it would be worth the trouble.  It’s listed as Deko 2200.  So I googled and YouTubed about it…  Impression: that version (2200) is very obsolete. []
  • On my web “travels”, I discovered a great article entitled “The Avid Ecosystem” at [], listing many of the resources for the Avid world: links, tutorials, filters, applications, training…
  • It’s helpful to see some of the above items in the context of illustrative workflows, e.g.:

MXF Variants

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

MXF exists in variants.

    • Examples:
      • Sony XDCAM (OP1a)
      • Panasonic P2 (OP-Atom)
      • Avid (OP-Atom)
    • MXF Import QT (one of mxf4mac’s products) is a MXF reader, importer, interpreter and file access plug-in for the QuickTime system framework. It allows to natively open and access a broad range of MXF variations without converting or referencing to the QuickTime movie format. The unique integration enables Final Cut Studio, Final Cut Server and other solutions to directly work with native MXF media.
      • £462 from one UK supplier I just checked.

Avid MC Workflow – Offline/Online Editing Example

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

I found a great simple example of a typical Avid workflow, happens to be for footage from an ARRI ALEXA camera, which can record to ProRes (amongst other things).  Once again, the workflow depends on the clunky/hacky method of taking files offline, in order to substitute others (e.g. proxies), in this case by moving them out of the MXF folder.  The full article is at  The last time I posted on this sort of issue was


LightWorks with AviSynth (via AVFS)

Sunday, September 4th, 2011

Adobe Premiere: Introductory Tutorials & Articles

Sunday, September 4th, 2011

Adobe After Effects: Introductory Tutorials and Articles

Sunday, September 4th, 2011

Tutorials & Articles:

Windows 7 Successful Use of [AviSynth > AvsPmod > avs2avi]

Sunday, September 4th, 2011

Made a simple AviSynth script to get an existing real HDV video (in Cineform format) and apply TDeint (motion-compensated deinterlace filter) to it.  Opened it in AvsPmod and it displayed OK.  Exported the result of that processing from AvsPmod via [Tools > Save to AVI].  This called up avs2avi.exe.  That executable’s menu of codec formats was as below.  NOTE the Cineform codec (following that company’s takeover) now comes under the name GoPro – I missed it the first time I scanned!  The test worked fine – deinterlaced video successfully exported to Cineform and subsequently played in Windows Media Player.

  •  Microsoft Video 1 (an ancient format – as explained at
  • Intel IYUV Codec (a very old format
  • Intel IYUV Codec (again)
  • Cinepak Codec by Radius
  • proDAD Saver for Mercalli (not sure it’s a real codec, maybe a “virtual” one, associated with the proDAD video stabilization plugin for Sony Vegas)
  • GoPro-Cineform Codec v7.3.2 (CINEFORM)
  • ffdshow Video Codec (several choices, shown when you hit Config button)
  • Intel Indeo Video 4.5 (From the “good old days”, I used it back then to compress PAL standard definition video from analog capture)
  • Full Frames (Uncompressed)

10-bit AVC/H.264 Encoding with 4:2:2 for Broadcast

Sunday, September 4th, 2011

Explained in and further documents at  Would like to know what applications recognize this format though, and how would it be incorporated in a workflow involving standard NLEs (e.g. Avid MC or Sony Vegas).  Would it have to be transcoded to e.g. DNxHD first, and if so then how (what app etc.)?

AvsPmod and x264.exe

Sunday, September 4th, 2011

Playing with AvsPmod, tried the [Tools > Save to MP4] option.  It prompted for a path to x264.exe.  Searched for one on my system – but there was none.  Searched in this blog but, although I’ve downloaded it before, I obviously didn’t blog it.  Web-search etc revealed where for my context and purposes the 32-bit app of 8-bit depth worked fine (the other variants did not)


avs2avi works fine under Windows 7 (W7)

Sunday, September 4th, 2011
  • Not sure why, but suddenly avs2avi.exe works fine on my W7 system.
    • Didn’t knowingly alter anything.
    • The only change I’m aware of is I uninstalled AviSynth 2.5.8 and installed AViSynth 2.5.7.
  • I’m using avs2avi as part of AvsPmod 2.2.0.
    • AvsPmod is itself in Compatibility Mode for WIndows XP-SP3 (otherwise it doesn’t work)
    • However I have not put avs2avi in compatibility mode.
  • It (avs2avi) works fine, both from AvsPmod and as standalone.
    • Just ensure it has write permission to its destination of course (no that wasn’t the problem before).


Sunday, September 4th, 2011

Free open-source pro-class NLE: .  Well-received by many.  Glimmers a little bit like FCPX, but more flexible user interface, including keyboard-compatibility options with AVID and FCP7.  Register to download it (just over 40 MB).  Further links:

Virtualub wouldn’t open AviSynth .avs files – Fixed

Saturday, September 3rd, 2011

As described in, I was unable to successfully open .avs files in VirtualDub (1.9.11).  I had AviSynth 2.5.8 installed under Windows 7.  I tried uninstalling and reinstalling AviSynth, but this time stepped back to AviSynth version 2.5.7.  It worked – VirtualDub (1.9.11) can now open .avs files and display their images.  Not sure if it was just the clean reinstall or the step-back to 2.5.7.

AviSynth: Frameserve Virtual AVI: VFAPI & Alternatives on Windows 7

Saturday, September 3rd, 2011

Context & Problem:

  • I want a way to serve an AviSynth media stream into NLEs etc., e.g. Sony Vegas.  I have done this for years under Windows XP-SP3 (32-bit).
    • Partly just for the flexibility of having this option.
    • Partly (as explained at, as a workaround to another problem with old software under Windows 7.
  • However an attempt at installation in Windows 7 failed – because (I now know) the installer is obsolete (and hence incompatible) with respect to Windows 7.
    • VFAPI requires to be installed, via .bat/.inf files, so that for example it appears in the Registry.
    • But the installer fails under Windows 7.  It is compatible with XP but not Windows 7 (or Vista).
    • It is possible to manually “hack-install” VFAPI into Windows 7, but that causes me anxiety…

Possible Solutions:


AviSynth’s AvsP and avs2avi under Windows 7

Saturday, September 3rd, 2011

The context (AviSynth>AvsP>avs2avi):

  • The AviSynth greater community has developed a number of applications to simplify the development and use of AviSynth command-scripts.  One of these is AvsP, an AviSynth-script editor, has an option [Tools > Save using avs2avi].
  • Under Windows XP, this prompts for a location then prompts (in a separate popup) for codec details, then AviSynth renders (via avs2avi) to the required output-file.
  • There is a step-by-step tutorial at

A problem (works under XP but not W7):

  • Under Windows 7 Pro 64-bit (which can also run 32-bit apps), avs2avi merely produces an error message: <<AVIFileOpen failed, unable to open “f:\tmp.avs” : The operation completed successfully.>>  The last bit (“successfully”) merely indicates that the application (avs2avi) does not make a very thorough successfulness-check!
  • This issue was previously encountered & investigated back in March 2011:

Searching for a solution:

  • Experiments, unsuccessful:
    • After much web-trawling, I discovered a new version of AvsP, called AvsP(mod).  But it made no difference – same problem.
    • Next I tried running avs2.exe on its own, both with and without Compatibility mode enabled.  As well as XP-SP3 (which caused a further problem), I tried even older modes (that didn’t).  But no joy, the same error message was obtained.
    • I downloaded the latest version of avs2avi and also I tried the one that comes bundled with AvsP(mod), in its Tools folder,but again, no difference.
  • Asking for advice:


Mac Pro: Install AirPort (WiFi)

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

RAID Health-Check: Any Issues?

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

My Mac Pro system has a ProAVIO RAID via HighPoint RocketRaid card RR2522.  Although it’s a Mac, mostly I’ve used it for Windows XP under Boot Camp.  Recently, in that mode, it’s exhibited an unusually long delay when accessing the RAID, e.g. when clicked on in Windows explorer.  So, I logged in to HighPoint’s  web-based interface for the RAID.

  • I discovered (the hard way) that this interface only works properly when the computer is in Mac OS mode.
  • Once logged-in, the Event (Log) listed only some bad sector etc. repairs on two specific dates, back in July.  There’s nothing more recent.
  • So I guess (?) the “unusually long delay” is something outside the RAID, such as the Windows (XP Pro SP3) system and/or the Kapersky antivirus.


Initial Cuda Experiences & Hopes

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

My systems have CUDA, though I have never knowingly made use of this.  Using GPU Caps (Capabilities) Viewer, that I discovered my computers’ GPUs definitely had CUDA capability:

  • MacBook Pro GPU: NVIDIA 9600M GT, has CUDA, 4 multiprocessors, each 1.25 GHz (shader-clock), CC (Compute Capability) of 1.1.
  • Mac Pro GPU: GeForce 8800 GT, has CUDA, 14 multiprocessors each of 1.5GHz (shader-clock), CC of 1.1 (again).

Sounds promising, but can any of my video apps use this CUDA?  And is it the “right kind” of CUDA, like does it come in various varieties?  What difference will it make to framerate and processing speed? And are there any negatives, e.g. GPU overheat crashes or video “tearing”  ? I’ll have to experiment to find out, but as a starting-point, here’s what I learnt from the web:

  • General knowledge & tips:
    • Quality
      • Some applications/effects are quality-limited in their design in order to avoid excessive (unpopular) processing times on single-CPU systems (lowest common denominator).
      • Some exploit multi-threading in the context of either multiple CPU cores and/or multiple GPU cores, either in terms of quality (the overall processing speed constraint having been reduced).
      • Alternatively some go purely for speed, sometimes even at the expense of reduced quality.
    • Speed
      • Depends on the machine.  For example a fast GPU on a slow machine may be bottlenecked by transfer speeds.
    • GPU Driver Version
      • Update to the latest (having backed-up beforehand, just in case etc.).
        • On my Mac Pro, one of the CUDA-enabled applications (Neat Video, further below) refused it, complaining: “CUDA Driver is too old”.
  • Applications:
    • Sony Vegas (SV)
      • Only helps with SV version 10, and then only with the Sony encoder for H264 (does not help with the MainConcept H264 encoder).
      • Does not contribute to previewing etc.
      • In principle could help with plugins that are themselves designed for CUDA.
      • One such plugin is Neat Video version 3.
    • Neat Video
      • Available as a plugin for several NLEs.  Currently I have its version 2 for Sony Vegas and for VirtualDub, though I only really use the former.
      • Version 3 is designed to take advantage of CUDA.
      • Might as well put this on the Mac Pro, as that has vastly more processing resource and doesn’t tend to crash on overheat when heavily processing for extended periods (unlike the MacBook Pro…).
    • Sorenson Squeeze
      • The new Version 7 takes advantage of CUDA.
      • Adobe:
        • Version 7 comes with an export plugin for Adobe CS5.5
      • Avid
        • The one that comes bundled with Avid MV 5.5 is an earlier version (6).
        • It is possible to upgrade to version 7 independently of the Avid package, in which case:
          • It has an Export-Plugin for Avid
          • However Avid Support (including Forums) won’t support that version.


Sony Broadcast Equipment Service & Repair

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

Sony XDCAM-EX Hard Disk Recorder

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

I am interested in a new PHU-60 hard disk for my Sony XDCAM-EX video camera.  So what’s around, and what’s the cost?  While I’m at it, what other options are there, e.g. for recording off HD-SDI ?  From my web-research today, the answers seem to be:

  • PHU-60 is no longer supplied or supported by Sony, or hence their authorised service centres.
  • PHU-120 is however available, at just under £1K.
  • At that price I’m willing to consider alternatives… Depending on price and capacity of course.
    • Mend it?
    • Record to a standard hard disk?
    • Go instead for SxS etc., e.g. the cheaper alternatives.
    • Think bigger – go for a HD-SDI recorder, get better quality and more gradeable recordings!  But at what price?
  • (To be completed)